Summer movie-blockbuster season may be over, but that doesn't mean there's nothing left worth seeing in 2019. In fact, most of the year's best movies don't even come out until closer to Oscars time, so don't get too attached to your best-films-of-the-year ranking quite yet. We've put together a list of 19 films coming out in the final quarter of 2019 that we're excited to see, simply curious about or sure will drum up audience buzz, if not awards buzz. So let's take a look at what's in store with the rest of the year's films, including new flicks by directors Ang Lee and Martin Scorsese as well as reboots and a reboot of a reboot (really).
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Release date: Sept. 13, 2019
J. Lo, Cardi B, Lizzo, Lili Reinhart (Riverdale) and Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians) starring as former strippers who team up to take down their rich Wall Street clientele sounds like a fever dream premise too good to be true, and yet the movie Hustlers not only exists, but is out now.
Social media reactions are already pouring in, calling the film "a JOY" and "easily one of the best films thus far from STX [Entertainment]." And the No. 1 positive critique across almost every review? That J. Lo delivers an amazing performance, maybe her best ever. We're expecting this to be the feel-good film that 2019 has desperately needed.
Release date: Sept. 13, 2019
Based on Donna Tartt's 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name, The Goldfinch tells the story of Theo Decker, a young boy whose mother dies at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art after a terrorist's bomb goes off. Theo survives and takes one of his mother's favorite paintings, "The Goldfinch," while escaping.
Later in life, Theo gets involved in crime and art forgery as he continues to try to process what happened to his mother years ago. Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver, The Fault in Our Stars) plays Decker in the film adaptation, with Nicole Kidman, Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) and Sarah Paulson filling out the cast.
Release date: Sept. 20, 2019
The past decade has treated us to some truly groundbreaking, out-of-this-world space movies, including Gravity, Interstellar, First Man and High Life — and thankfully, this trend isn't slowing down in 2019.
In Ad Astra, directed by James Gray (We Own the Night, The Lost City of Z), Brad Pitt stars as astronaut Roy McBride, who sets out on an intergalactic journey to find his father, Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones), a scientist who may or may not be conducting rogue experiments that could affect all of humanity. Stunning visuals and a sure-to-be impressive score by Max Richter (The Leftovers), not to mention its several Venice Film Festival nominations, make this film an early Oscar contender.
Rambo: Last Blood
Release date: Sept. 20, 2019
Rambo's back for one final mission, baby, marking an end to the four-decades-long action film franchise starring Sylvester Stallone. In his latest mission, Rambo heads to Mexico to save a friend's kidnapped daughter and winds up facing off against dangerous Mexican cartels.
The latest trailer promises plenty of bloodshed via all sorts of weapons, including booby traps, knives, guns and crossbows, not to mention a hearty helping of shot-for-shot homages to previous Rambo flicks for the nostalgic (i.e., dads).
Release date: Sept. 20, 2019
The Crawley family has been expecting you. … Continuing the soapy storylines of the 2010-2015 British TV show of the same name, the Downton Abbey movie is sure to deliver more shocks and scandals on the big screen than the franchise ever has. With a visit from King George V and Queen Mary igniting tensions among the servants and the Crawley family members who reside at Downton, drama and snappy one-liners by Dame Maggie Smith will quickly ensue. Oh, how we've missed this place.
Release date: Oct. 4, 2019
Fresh off winning a Golden Lion (the top award) at the Venice Film Festival and receiving a slurry of hot takes on social media, Joker is poised to be the most talked-about film of 2019. Joaquin Phoenix, following in the footsteps of fan-favorite Jokers before him — including those played by Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight), Mark Hamill (Batman: The Animated Series) and Jack Nicholson (Batman) — plays Arthur Fleck, a washed-up comedian whose life circumstances and deteriorating mental health turn him into Batman's archnemesis in the fictional Gotham City.
The film's gritty, indie take on the popular villain seems to be the DC equivalent of Marvel's Logan (2017), an intimate, Mad Max-esque character study of popular X-Man Wolverine. We're excited to see if director Todd Phillips (The Hangover trilogy) can deliver the first Oscar-winning superhero film.
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Release date: Oct. 11, 2019
Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould and AMC took a risk in April 2013 when they announced that a Breaking Bad prequel series called Better Call Saul was in development — but did we really need to see a precursor story to an already nearly flawless show? Well, now, after four seasons of the critically acclaimed and audience-loved prequel have aired, it's clear the decision was a good one.
This year, Gilligan and co. are expanding their "Heisenverse" even more, with a Breaking Bad Netflix original movie, El Camino. This film will extend beyond the events of both the Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad series, showing what happens to Jesse Pinkman after the (likely) death of his partner in crime, the drug kingpin Walter White. Though little is known about the plot, the movie will surely change how we perceive the outstanding Breaking Bad series finale — but because the OG Breaking Bad team has written, produced and directed the movie, we're confident that it'll be just as great.
Release date: Oct. 11, 2019
It's Will Smith vs. CGI de-aged Will Smith in this long-hyped futuristic film by director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain). Smith plays both Henry Brogan, an assassin with a target on his head, and Junior, a cloned version of Brogan trying to kill his older self — and though Junior is faster and younger, the real Brogan can predict his clone's every move.
Fellow hitperson Danny Zakarweski (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) joins Brogan in fighting off Junior, while mysterious characters Baron (Benedict Wong) and Clay Verris (Clive Owen) will likely also stand in their way. It's Minority Report by way of Mission: Impossible, and even as unsettled as we are with this being a sort of feature-length "deepfake" video, we're more than onboard for Smith hurling motorcycles and grenades at himself.
Zombieland: Double Tap
Release date: Oct. 18, 2019
Ten years later, we're finally getting a sequel to the raunchy, fun-as-heck Zombieland. Sure, it probably should have come out, say, seven years ago, or maybe five, but hey, we'll still take it now.
Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) return to kick more zombie butt and tell the surviving humans to nut up or shut up while facing bigger threats and keeping their dysfunctional little family together.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Release date: Oct. 18, 2019
Angelina Jolie reprises her role as the evil Maleficent in this follow-up to the 2014 Disney film about the Sleeping Beauty villain. In Mistress of Evil, Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning) accepts a marriage proposal from Prince Phillip, which causes an uproar from Maleficent. You see, Phillip's mother plans to divide humans and fairies forever, using the wedding as a means of doing so, which creates a rift between Aurora and Maleficent. Can the two find peace as a family, or will their differing points of view endanger everyone in the land?
Release date: Nov. 1, 2019 (theaters); Nov. 27, 2019 (Netflix)
After breaking from his trademark mobster movies with thriller Shutter Island, family-friendly film Hugo and Leonardo DiCaprio-starring dramedy The Wolf of Wall Street, director Scorsese returns to his roots with The Irishman, a crime drama that follows Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), the man who claims to have killed infamous mobster Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino).
With a runtime of 210 minutes (that's 3 and a half hours), this movie is Scorsese's longest to date by a full half-hour, so if you choose to see it during its limited theatrical run before its Nov. 27 Netflix premiere, definitely make sure to pee before you get settled. Scorsese and stars De Niro and Pacino are the perfect recipe for Oscar bait, but will this film's self-indulgent runtime hurt its nomination chances? We'll see in November.
Terminator: Dark Fate
Release date: Nov. 1, 2019
Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger are back as John Connor, Sarah Connor and the titular Terminator, respectively, in the sixth (and last?) installment of the Terminator franchise.
James Cameron has returned to the series after being absent from it since Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and he considers Dark Fate a direct sequel to the first two films, with the events of the other three occurring in alternate timelines. In Dark Fate, a dangerous new liquid-metal Terminator, played by Gabriel Luna (Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), is sent from the future to eradicate a Terminator-human hybrid (Natalia Reyes), and it's up to the Connors and the OG Terminator to save her and the future of humanity.
Release date: Nov. 8, 2019
Horror director Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House) welcomes us back to the Overlook Hotel in Doctor Sleep, which is based on Stephen King's 2013 Shining sequel of the same name.
Doctor Sleep follows a grown-up Dan Torrance, Jack Torrance's son with psychic abilities from The Shining, as he battles literal demons (a group of semi-immortal beings called the True Knot) as well as figurative ones (his alcoholism) while also protecting a young girl named Abra Stone with whom he shares a psychic connection. The production team behind the movie rebuilt the Overlook Hotel using Stanley Kubrick's original blueprints, so the attention to detail alone will be exciting to see.
Lady and the Tramp
Release date: Nov. 12, 2019
Justin Theroux and Tessa Thompson are dogs in love in Disney's newest "live-action" remake, the company's third this year alone, following Aladdin (2019) and The Lion King (2019).
If you thought talking CGI lions were weird, wait till you see CGI dogs eating spaghetti. Still, it should be a nice-enough family-friendly film that'll be good to watch around Thanksgiving, and the voice actors alone are reason enough to give it a chance. It'll also be a Disney+ exclusive film and one of the few originals available upon the streaming service's launch, so it'll be interesting to see how the nontheatrical release affects viewership — for better or worse.
Release date: Nov. 15, 2019
Good morning, Angels! This Charlie's Angels reboot of a reboot is peak 2019 state of cinema. But despite the lack of originality, we're still pumped to see Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska star as the new butt-kicking trio of Angels updated for a more modern age.
Elizabeth Banks (Pitch Perfect 2) both wrote and directed the movie, which is a refreshing change of pace from its male-heavy influence in the past, (Really, how has such a long-running franchise about women never been directed by a woman?) Banks also stars as one of THREE Bosleys, alongside Djimon Hounsou (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Patrick Stewart, which shouldn't be confusing at all. But really, just give us high-tech gadgets, awesome weapons and a decent dose of humor, and we'll be happy.
Release date: Nov. 22, 2019
Who among us hasn't heard (or, admit it, sung along to) Frozen's "Let It Go"? (It's stuck in your head now, isn't it? Sorry, not sorry.) The six-years-in-the-making sequel finally arrives in November, with returning voice actors Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Josh Gad and Jonathan Groff reprising their roles as Elsa, Anna, Olaf and Kristoff, respectively.
Frozen 2 will find our heroes leaving the confines of Arendelle in order to save it by learning more about the origin of Elsa's powers. We can also expect a ton of new songs, at least one of which we're sure to be hearing for years.
Release date: Nov. 27, 2019
Director Rian Johnson's first feature-length film since 2017's divisive Star Wars: The Last Jedi is "a blissfully fun whodunnit" with an all-star cast that includes Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Daniel Craig, LaKeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford and Michael Shannon.
The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last weekend to glowing reviews that promise a fun murder mystery with tons of surprises wrapped up in a stylish, modern package — and we personally can't wait to see what this director has up his sleeves when he's not beholden to a legacy franchise like Star Wars.
Jumanji: The Next Level
Release date: Dec. 13, 2019
A modern-day reboot of Jumanji (1995) with a Jumanji video game rather than a board game sounded like a disaster on paper, but 2017's Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was surprisingly hilarious and fun thanks to actors Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart and Jack Black.
The sequel, subtitled The Next Level, sees the return of that killer cast while adding sure-to-be-great newbies Danny DeVito, Danny Glover and Awkwafina. The group will have to brave more-treacherous locales, scarier enemies and, again, themselves in this big-budget follow-up that we can't wait to see.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Release date: Dec. 20, 2019
This is it, fellow Jedi knights, the ninth and final installment in the Skywalker saga. Director J.J. Abrams returns to the decades-long space epic after 2015's The Force Awakens to tie up the stories of Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa and Han Solo, as well as newcomers Rey, Finn, Poe and Kylo Ren.
The Rise of Skywalker doesn't premiere for another three months, but countless theories and possible spoilers abound, so be careful about where you lurk online if you're not into those kinds of things. How will Palpatine reenter the fold? Will Rey's parentage be further illuminated? And what, exactly, does the "Skywalker" in the film's title symbolize? All will be revealed in December (or not — it is the master of mystery, J.J. Abrams we're talking about, after all). Let's just hope it's not as divisive as Rian Johnson's previous installment, The Last Jedi.