As one year ends and another begins, our thoughts naturally turn to all the ways we can numb our senses against whatever abject awfulness the future brings. One of those ways is good old-fashioned entertainment! A lot of folks are buzzing about some of 2019's most anticipated movies and TV shows, from the final season of Game Of Thrones to Avengers: Endgame to the inevitable 14 Christmas Prince sequels Netflix throws at us. But we'd like to call your attention to some of the wackier movies and shows on the 2019 slate that may have flown under your radar. Such as ...
In what sounds like a Saturday Night Live sketch that was granted a wish to become a real movie, Cold Pursuit features Liam Neeson as a badass snow plow driver. A remake of the Norwegian movie In Order Of Disappearance, Neeson takes on a cadre of drug dealers after his son is murdered. And while you might think you've seen Liam Neeson wreak revenge a lot already, in this movie, he kills a guy by ramming a goddamn tree through his car.
The movie co-stars Laura Dern and is directed by Hans Petter Moland, who made the original, sadly Neeson-less version. The title was at first going to be Hard Powder -- presumably they changed it so audiences wouldn't think it was a gritty reboot about that bald albino kid with telekinesis.
A24, the distributor behind movies like Moonlight and The VVitch, is releasing an Adam Sandler movie. Not because the CEO lost a bet or angered a wizard; this isn't one of those Sandler movies that seem to exist mainly to keep the bank from claiming Rob Schneider and David Spade's houses. This is a full-on indie crime flick.
Uncut Gems stars Sandler as the owner of a jewelry store "whose life is turned upside down when his merchandise is stolen." We don't know exactly what happens next, but if these photos of a goateed Sandler chasing a woman down the street are any indication, it likely doesn't involve joining the pro golf circuit or going back to grade school.
Uncut Gems is directed by the Safdie Brothers, who made the 2017 frenzied heist movie Good Time, starring Robert Pattinson. And for those who thought this would never be a possibility after the horrors of Jack And Jill, this Sandler movie is produced by Martin Scorsese. Not too shabby.
Now famous for its poster featuring an uncomfortably jacked Sonic, the plot details of the upcoming Sonic The Hedgehog movie are somehow even stranger. The story finds an animated Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz, aka Jean-Ralphio) entering the live-action world. Instead of just running all over the place and manically snatching up rings like a Gollum on cocaine, this Sonic teams up with a cop (played by James Marsden), and the pair head out on a road trip to San Francisco. Why? Because the government is "chasing after him."
If the idea of Sonic getting in a car and driving somewhere doesn't sound super fun (not to mention the whole "persecuted by a corrupt government" thing), at least Jim Carrey is playing Sonic's nemesis Dr. Robotnik. And if the posters are any indication, Sonic does make it to San Francisco ... right in time to air his junk out in full view of the Golden Gate Bridge's commuters.
Disappointing fans who wanted another sex demon movie (and potentially a sex demon cinematic universe), director David Robert Mitchell is following his horror hit It Follows with a mystery film about LA hipsters. Under The Silver Lake stars Andrew Garfield as Sam, a dude with a penchant for tight graphic T-shirts, who turns amateur detective when the neighbor he has a crush on goes missing. It's like if Raymond Chandler was rewritten by an Urban Outfitters.
Variety called it "a meta-mystery made by someone who spent too much time scrawling notes in the margins of his frayed copy of 'Infinite Jest.'" Which, uh, sounds horrible. But hey, we're hoping it's good!
Remember that '90s rom-com What Women Want? Mel Gibson accidentally electrocutes himself, and instead of dying in agony, he can suddenly read women's minds? He can even read a female dog's mind, although he can't understand a Middle Eastern woman thinking in a different language -- and this is still somehow like the third or fourth most racist Mel Gibson movie. Now we're getting a gender-swapped remake, appropriately titled What Men Want, starring Taraji P. Henson.
Realistically, the concept of a woman gaining the ability to read the minds of every man around her would be a constant, unmitigated horror, but it's a fun basis for a comedy. The only thing that could ruin this new twist on an old premise would be if Gibson were to reprise his role from the original, now a Han-Solo-esque figure guiding the new protagonist through mind-reading. (They could call that movie What No One Wants, hey-yo!)
For fans of Thor: Ragnarok who wished it had a tad more Hitler, director Taika Waititi has returned to comedy with Jojo Rabbit. It's the story of a ten-year-old living in Nazi Germany whose best friend is an imaginary version of Hitler, played by Waititi himself. So kind of like Drop Dead Fred, if Fred was goddamn Hitler. The boy's idealized view of the fuhrer is then tested when he finds out that his mom his harboring a Jewish girl in the house.
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Waititi claims that he made this movie purely to "piss off a lot of racists." And the script made the 2012 Blacklist, a roundup of the best unproduced screenplays circulating Hollywood. Plus you have to hand it to Waititi, not many people would have the nerve to follow up their lucrative Disney partnership by slapping on a fake mustache and playing history's most famous genocidal maniac.
Because apparently some people have a hard time empathizing with horrors committed against real-life human beings, we're getting another "What if minorities were represented by mythical creatures?" story. Like 2017's Bright, the upcoming Amazon Prime series Carnival Row takes place in a world in which magical beings live side by side with prejudiced humans.
After a series of murders against the "immigrant population" of literal fairies in a "neo-Victorian" city, only Detective Orlando Bloom can crack the case. It's probably also worth noting that Bloom plays a human, despite the fact that most of us associate him with the elven community.
2019 will see some comic book adaptations that don't involve a grape-colored muscleman wielding Universe-rending jewelry. Case in point, there's The Kitchen (as in Hell's Kitchen), an adaptation of the Vertigo comic about the wives of 1970s Irish mob bosses taking over the business after their husbands are arrested -- and doing so in a more "vicious fashion." While it's technically a DC movie, hopefully they won't all bond over their moms' shared first name.
DC Vertigo Comics
If the premise alone doesn't excite you, the cast should. Melissa McCarthy, Elisabeth Moss, and Tiffany Haddish will lead. Also, Domhnall Gleeson shows up, because he's the current actor who's contractually obligated to be in every movie. The Kitchen is the directorial debut of Andrea Berloff, who co-wrote Straight Outta Compton. And hey, speaking of DC ...
Batman villain and de facto Hot Topic CEO Harley Quinn has a few upcoming projects, most prominently the Birds Of Prey movie (with its ... uh, unique subtitle). You might not know she's also going to be the subject of an animated TV series. And because most cartoons in the 21st century are targeted at lonely grown-ups anyway, it's for adults.
The series, made for DC's streaming service, will be about a Harley who's recently broken up with the Joker, because even random weirdos on Tinder are a step up from a murder clown. It's being described as an "action-comedy," and is written by Justin Halpern, the guy behind Shit My Dad Says, which was a Twitter feed, then a book, then a sitcom, and currently a thing you forgot about until this very moment.
Right when you thought the zombie genre was done, it rises from the dead like some kind of ... mummy, we guess. Yes, Jim Jarmusch, the acclaimed independent filmmaker behind movies like Down By Law and Broken Flowers, has gone full Romero and made a movie about the living dead.
The Dead Don't Die stars Jarmusch regulars like Bill Murray and Tilda Swinton, as well as Selena Gomez, because it's savvy to have a diverse CV. While no plot details have been announced, it's hard to imagine that this won't be worth seeing. Jarmusch previously tackled the supernatural with the vampire flick Only Lovers Left Alive. Although don't be fooled, his movie Ghost Dog is about a samurai-sword-wielding Forest Whitaker, not some kind of canine poltergeist.
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We know history books are often wrong. But have you ever wondered why?
The government has always been wild.