“Oh, I’ll watch that,” you say at the end of every single trailer that’s raised your pulse on social media or popped up between episodes of Christmas TV. “I’ll definitely see that when it comes out in cinemas.”
But you never do, do you? Because, just as London itself often overwhelms us with choices for how to spend our evenings and weekends, so does Hollywood itself. And with the rise of streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon releasing their own originals, that list of films you absolutely-definitely-might-get-around-to-seeing will only get longer every year.
If you can only make time in your schedule this year for 10 films, we recommend you make it these…
The Front Runner
Release date: 11 January
As we point out in the November/December issue of Gentleman’s Journal, Oscar-nominated actor, philanthropist, bonafide Broadway sensation and coffee entrepreneur Hugh Jackman really can do anything. It’s also common knowledge he can play anything too; from Adamantium-clawed antiheroes to top-hatted showmen, via monster hunters and even lending his voice to an animated penguin.
This January, he’s flexing his sizeable acting muscles for arguably his meatiest role yet in political drama The Front Runner, in which he stars as 1988 Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart. The film charts the rise and fall of Senator Hart, whose presidential campaign was derailed by a scandalous extramarital affair.
Jackman is gripping in his acutely observed portrayal of Hart; could this be the year he adds “Academy Award-winner” to his long list of accomplishments?
Release date: 18 January
As if the works of M. Night Shyamalan weren’t already complex and surprising, Glass will smash into January with the crossover super sequel we didn’t realise we wanted. Bringing together the worlds of 2000’s Unbreakable and 2016’s Split, it’ll see Bruce Willis’ David Dunn set out to apprehend James McAvoy’s rogue Kevin Wendell Crumb.
May/June Gentleman’s Journal cover star Samuel L Jackson and Anya Taylor-Joy also return, with American Crime Story‘s Sarah Paulson joining the fray.
Release date: 25 January
To be honest, we were already fully invested in Vice when we heard that Adam McKay’s next project after The Big Short would be directing a Christian Bale as Vice President Dick Cheney. If The Big Short was lacking anything at all, it was that one singular performance that really captivated us.
Well, there’s absolutely no avoiding the Bale powerhouse in this, and we’re not just talking about the bald cap and 40 extra pounds (although, arguably, Bale’s best work comes when he puts his whole body into it.)
Cue the casting of the endlessly watchable Sam Rockwell as President George W Bush and Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney and those cinema tickets were booked, bought and paid for.
Chronicling Cheney’s under-the-radar rise from Washington bureaucrat to secret mastermind of the Bush administration, this political comedy is already leading the way at this year’s Golden Globes with six nominations. Fourth walls will be smashed, laughs will be had and awards will certainly be won.
Release date: 3 May
Whether you’re a Marvel completist or avoider, there’ll be no escaping the epic conclusion to this superhero behemoth this spring, so you might as well strap yourself in.
If you’re the former, you’ll already know that Thanos’ solution to the planet’s overpopulation problem has snapped into action, Tony Stark is floating somewhere in space and Earth’s remaining Avengers must band together to figure out how to take the Big Purple One down. If you’re the latter, you can come out of hiding, it’s almost over (except it probably isn’t, is it?)
Some good news we can all get on board with is the return of Gentleman’s Journal cover star Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton, who appears in the above trailer with a new look. It’s Hawkeye, but not as you know it. OK, it’s actually not Hawkeye at all. Eagle-eyed comic book fans will know what we mean but the rest of you can just take our word that Renner should finally be getting the decent screen time he deserves.
John Wick: Parabellum
Release date: 17 May
If John Wick‘s two chapters have taught us anything so far, it’s that stuntmen should be put behind the camera more often.
Director Chad Stahelski – acclaimed martial arts stunt co-ordinator who doubled for Keanu Reeves in The Matrix and the late Brandon Lee in The Crow – surprised us all with the original 2014 action thriller, in which Reeves’ stars as the eponymous hitman forced out of retirement. In a genre that was beginning to warrant a retirement of its very own, the reunion of Stahelski and Reeves injected enough style, substance and incredible stuntwork to warrant not only a sequel but an entire trilogy.
This third and final chapter will now see John Wick face his biggest job yet. Err, because literally everyone is out to get him.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Release date: 26 July
What Avengers: Endgame has in numbers and shiny-shiny, visual effects, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood has in solid gold stars. Quentin Tarantino directs Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt as a struggling actor and his stunt double, in a story set against the backdrop of the 1969 Charles Manson murders.
The Wolf Of Wall Street’s Margot Robbie plays Sharon Tate – neighbour to DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton – and Homeland‘s Damian Lewis plays Steve McQueen, while Al Pacino, Damian Lewis, Dakota Fanning, Kurt Russell, Lena Dunham, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen and then some fill out this most enticing cast list.
Release date: 4 October
To quote Calvin Candie, DiCaprio’s character in Tarantino’s Django Unchained, “Gentlemen, you had my curiosity, but now you have my attention.”
When DC Films first announced that there would be a standalone film about the iconic villain, with The Hangover’s Todd Philips attached to direct, we were certainly curious. Who would play the Batman baddie as we follow his transformation from failed comic to clown prince of crime?
Would Jared Leto return after Suicide Squad? If this were to be an origin story, would it be a chance for a young up-and-comer cut from the same cloth as Ezra Miller or Eamon Farren to finally break out?
Joaquin Phoenix. Eh? Yes, Commodus from Gladiator. Yes, Johnny Cash in Walk The Line. Well, right, yes, now you really do have our attention…
Release date: 11 October
Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning, coming-of-age novel The Goldfinch, about a young boy who loses his mother in a terrorist attack and descends into a world of crime, was one of the most talked-about books of the year. This autumn, Brooklyn director John Crowley will be bringing the international bestseller to our screens, with Gentleman’s Journal cover star Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver) in the main role of Theo.
If you’ve read the book, you’ll have no doubt pondered or even discussed ideas for who could portray such a complex, gripping character, someone who is desperate, vulnerable, unlikeable and heartbreaking all at once. If you’ve seen Baby Driver or The Fault In Our Stars (we’re not judging), you’ll know this litte birdy is in safe hands.
Kingsman: The Great Game
Release date: 15 November
Kingsman: The Secret Service delighted us back in 2015 with its slick action; refreshing and modern take on the spy genre and, of course, the fact its agents operate from behind the facade of a Savile Row tailors.
It introduced us to the charismatic Taron Egerton, showed us Colin Firth in an entirely new light and made us rethink an orange blazer. Following its successful sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, we’re now suiting up to go back in time with Kingsman: The Great Game.
Although there are few confirmed details as yet, we do know that it’s a prequel set in the early 20th century, Taron Egerton is out, and Ralph Fiennes, Daniel Brühl and Charles Dance are very much in. The Great Game will focus on a “cocky yet charming” young man who wants to fight in World War I, and finds a mentor in Fiennes’ character. A charming double act that sounds familiar? Well, if it ain’t broke…
Release date: Coming to Netflix in 2019
The release date of Martin Scorsese’s next film might be a mystery right now, but the facts are simple: It’s about the mob; its cast includes Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci; and it’s written by the same Oscar-winning screenwriter who brought us Moneyball, Gangs Of New York and Schindler’s List.
Combine all of that with the fact it’s coming to Netflix – who have garnered a reputation for letting directors and showrunners pretty much do whatever they want, and who Scorsese has already described as “brave” for taking it on – and the release date becomes unimportant. Whenever it gets here, we’ll certain be ready for it.
For more of what you must see in 2019, here are the 15 destinations to visit this January…