The 25 must-see films of 2019

From Claire Denis' elliptical sci-fi High Life to Martin Scorsese's reunion with Robert De Niro in The Irishman via Bill Murray/Jim Jarmusch zombie movie The Dead Don't Die, these are our most anticipated films of 2019

Article by Philip Concannon | Carmen Paddock | Jamie Dunn | 08 Jan 2019
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Dir. James Gray | Release TBC

After taking characters to the New World (The Immigrant) and deep into the Amazon rainforest (The Lost City of Z), James Gray's next film is another adventure into undiscovered territory: space. Brad Pitt is the astronaut on a mission to find his father (Tommy Lee Jones), who went missing while trying to track down little green men living on the edge of our solar system. Gray brings an epic, classical scope to his movies, and we can’t wait to see what he does with the sci-fi genre. [Jamie Dunn]

Avengers: Endgame

Dirs. Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Released 26 Apr

Infinity War – expansive and epic as it is – is only one half of a story, and the second half looks to be the real game-changer and superhero-destroyer. Marvel have huge stakes at play and many characters to juggle, and how they handle this final chapter will affect not only their current universe but the perception of their entire output. [Carmen Paddock]

The Beach Bum

Dir. Harmony Korine | Release TBC

Following the wild exuberance of Spring Breakers, Harmony Korine returns to the Sunshine State with The Beach Bum, a stoner comedy centred on a Floridian poet. Matthew McConaughey looks to be perfectly cast as the intoxicated writer, while Zac Efron, Jonah Hill, Isla Fisher and, erm, Snoop Dogg fill out the eclectic cast. [JD]


Dir. Brian Welsh | Closes Glasgow Film Festival on 3 March

Beats, Scottish playwright Kieran Hurley’s hit show from the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe, gets a big screen adaptation and looks to be one of the Scottish films of the year. Set in 1994, it tells the story of 15-year-old Johno and rave culture in the mid-90s, which was under attack from the Criminal Justice Bill attempting to place restrictions on young people’s rights to gather together and party. [JD]


Dir. Lee Chang-dong | Released 1 Feb

Riffing on a Haruki Murakami short story, Korean director Lee Chang-dong’s Burning is an emotionally gripping tale of loneliness and desire. Following three Korean millennials (an aspiring novelist, the spacey girl he falls for and her flash new boyfriend) whose lives intertwine, Lee paints a vivid portrait of contemporary Seoul and the invisible social dividing lines that make it such an alienating place to live. [JD]

Captain Marvel

Dir. Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck | Released 8 Mar

In the Year of Our Lord 2019, a female-led Marvel film is finally hitting cinemas. Carol Danvers has been a comics stalwart, so seeing her first film is an event in itself. The 90s setting looks like a fun departure from the studio’s contemporary framing and raises some intriguing questions as to Captain Marvel’s Infinity War whereabouts. [CP]

The Dead Don't Die

Dir. Jim Jarmusch | Release TBC

Bill Murray and Jim Jarmusch make a zombie movie. OK, we’re already sold on The Dead Don't Die, and that’s before we found out that Adam Driver, Selena Gomez, Chloë Sevigny and Austin Butler were on the cast list too, with Rosie Perez and Daniel Craig also rumoured to be involved. [JD]

Eighth Grade

Dir. Bo Burnham | Released 26 Apr

Hyperactive stand-up Bo Burnham makes a seamless transition to movie-making with this vivid portrait of an awkward 13-year-old girl and her attempts to reinvent herself as a confident YouTube star. The brilliant Scottish composer Anna Meredith provides a sprightly, almost jaunty synthesizer score that’s pleasingly at odds with all the teen angst on screen. [JD]

First Cow

Dir. Kelly Reichardt | Release TBC

Any word of a new Kelly Reichardt film is worth celebrating, but the news that she is adapting a novel by Jonathan Raymond is particularly exciting. Raymond's writing was the inspiration for Old Joy, Wendy & Lucy, Meek's Cutoff and Night Moves, and Reichardt's First Cow will be drawn from his 2004 book The Half-Life. Another exploration of Oregon history, the material sounds like a perfect fit for one of the best directors currently working in American cinema. [Philip Concannon]

The Goldfinch

Dir. John Crowley | Released 11 Oct

Donna Tartt’s epic coming-of-age novel featuring addiction, friendship, romance and art theft made for a rollocking read, and the film adaptation looks to be shaping up nicely. John Crowley – who helmed Brooklyn – is set to direct, while Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, Sarah Paulson, Jeffrey Wright and Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard are among the tantalising cast. [JD]

Happy as Lazzaro

Dir. Alice Rohrwacher | Released 15 Mar

Italian filmmaker Alice Rohrwacher’s Happy as Lazarro – winner of Best Screenplay at Cannes – is a dreamy, magic-realist fable about her changing homeland, and a worthy follow-up to her sweet drama The Wonders. The less you know about its beguiling story going in, the more magical its audacious narrative turns will feel. [JD]

High Life

Dir. Claire Denis | Release TBC

Reportedly a heady, perplexing space oddity with shades of Solaris, the English-language debut from the great Claire Denis sees a group of convicts floating through space on a purported colonising mission, with Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Mia Goth and André “3000” Benjamin among the motley crew. [JD]

If Beale Street Could Talk

Dir. Barry Jenkins | Released 8 Feb

Barry Jenkins’ follow up to Moonlight is a luminous adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel, telling a beautiful love story set in Harlem in the early 1970s. Word is If Beale Street Could Talk is full of the sensory pleasures that made Moonlight such a knockout. [JD]

The Irishman

Dir. Martin Scorsese | Release TBC

Surely no 2019 film has a stronger pedigree than The Irishman. Scorsese! De Niro! Keitel! Pesci! Pacino! Um...Ray Romano! This decades-spanning crime drama is a big deal, and a big gamble, with the CGI technology required to de-age the cast making this the director's most expensive film ever. Netflix paid for it, so prepare for howls of outrage if The Irishman doesn't land in more than a handful of cinemas. [PC]

John Wick: Chapter 3

Dir. Chad Stahelski | Released 17 May

Chapter 2 left our titular Baba Yaga with a massive target on his back and a (thankfully still alive) dog, and if the third chapter continues the fantastic fight choreography, slick visuals and hyper-stylised mythology seen in the previous two instalments, it is set to be one of the year’s action highlights. [CP]

Jojo Rabbit

Dir. Taika Waititi | Release TBC

If it were not for the fact that comedy genius Taika Waititi was writing, directing, and acting in Jojo Rabbit, a comedy set in Nazi Germany would seem a horrendous idea. However, after the sublime ridiculousness of What We Do In the Shadows and psychedelic mayhem of Thor: Ragnarok, anticipation is high. [CP]

Little Women

Dir. Greta Gerwig | Release TBC

Like everyone else in the world, we fell hard for Greta Gerwig’s spiky directorial debut, Lady Bird. We can’t wait for her take on Louis May Alcott's classic love story, with Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh and Eliza Scanlen playing the March sisters. [JD]


Dir. Jonah Hill | Opens Glasgow Film Festival on 20 Feb; on general release 12 Apr

Jonah Hill takes us back to his heady adolescence with this coming of age flick about a 13-year-old who escapes his abusive home life by joining a Los Angeles skater gang. The Killing of a Sacred Deer’s Sunny Suljic stars as the disillusioned teen, with Lucas Hedges playing his older, bullying brother. Glasgow film fans will see it first when it opens Glasgow Film Festival. [JD]

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Dir. Quentin Tarantino | Release TBC

Quentin Tarantino‘s new film, concerned with the Manson Family murders, might sound like a hot potato, but that hasn’t stopped half of Hollywood scrambling for a part in it, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate, Manson’s most famous victim. Tarantino’s last few films haven’t been much cop, but they’re always required viewing. [JD]


Dir. Terrence Malick | Release TBC

In his last three interminable feature films (To the Wonder, Knight of Cups and Song to Song) Terrence Malick has opted for free-floating, semi-improvised narratives set in contemporary times. His new joint, a biopic of Austrian Franz Jägerstätter, who famously refused to fight for the Nazis during the second world war, sees him return to the past – and hopefully to form. [JD]

The Sopranos (working title)

Dir. Michael Caton-Jones | Release TBC

Michael Caton-Jones has spent a decade trying to adapt Alan Warner’s cult novel about a group of Catholic school girls who have a wild old time in Edinburgh during a choir competition. The Rob Roy director should have the film, which stars a cast of newcomers, out by the end of the year. Expect a new title, so as not to cause confusion with a certain television masterpiece. [JD]

Star Wars: Episode IX

Dir. JJ Abrams | Released 19 Apr

It’s Star Wars! Of course it’s on this list.

Uncut Gems

Dir. Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie | Release TBC

Josh and Benny Safdie attempt to rescue Adam Sandler from his self-imposed Netflix purgatory with Uncut Gems. He replaced Jonah Hill in the role of a jeweller sinking into debt, and he stars alongside Lakeith Stanfield, Idina Menzel and Judd Hirsch. The Safdies' Good Time was one of the most electrifying cinema experiences you could have in 2017, but it fizzled at the box office. Hopefully this film will find the audience they deserve. [PC]

Under the Silver Lake

Dir. David Robert Mitchell | Release TBC

David Robert Mitchell knocked us out with his first two features, The Myth of the American Sleepover and It Follows, so we’ll be first in line for this loopy LA noir following Andrew Garfield as an aimless young man who becomes an unwitting detective when he goes in search of a neighbour (and girl he likes) who’s gone missing overnight without a trace. [JD]

Wild Rose

Dir. Tom Harper | Released 29 Apr

Jessie Buckley shines in this zesty tale of a rough diamond ex-con from Glasgow with ambitions to make it as a country singer in Nashville. In a former life, Buckley was the runner-up on a BBC singing competition, and she’s clearly a born performer. What makes Wild Rose truly sing, though, is that she’s an even better actor. [JD]