September 4, 2019

What to Watch This Week—and the Rest of 2019

Movie Dope

STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER: Aw, c'mon, this little piece of $#!& is not cuter than me!

It Chapter Two is finally here! Hopefully, this finale is more satisfying than the oft-maligned last part of the 1990 television miniseries. The grown-ups cast as the Losers Club—Jessica Chastain as Beverly, James McAvoy as Bill, Bill Hader as Richie, Jay Ryan as Ben, James Ransone as Eddie, Andy Bean as Stanley and Isaiah Mustafa as Mike—are a strong bunch, but the running time is going to top three hours with previews. 

1975’s Blaxploitation classic Dolemite kicks off September’s movies at Flicker on Sept. 4; check it out to prepare yourself for Eddie Murphy’s Rudy Ray Moore biopic, Dolemite Is My Name. On Sept. 9, Showdown at the Equator presents 1987’s Ninja Condors, which may be known as Ninjas, Condors 13. From what I have read, it is highly recommended for connoisseurs of ultra-violent ninja movies—or everyone. 

The Georgia Museum of Art’s 1930s America Film Series continues on Sept. 5 with John Ford’s Academy Award-winning adaptation of John Steinbeck’s classic, The Grapes of Wrath. Beechwood’s Middle-earth tour continues on Sept. 8 and 11 as Flashback Cinema presents The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. University Union offers two vastly different films in If Beale Street Could Talk and What Men Want on Sept. 6 and 8. One won an Oscar; the other is a remake of a nearly 20-year-old Mel Gibson romcom. Guess which is which? 

Now, let’s take a peek at what the rest of 2019 has in cinematic store for us.

September returns audiences to Downton Abbey (Sept. 20). If you are not excited, you have less than a month to catch up on the enthralling lives of early-20th Century British aristocracy and their servants. If British dramas are not your thing, Sylvester Stallone returns as John Rambo in Rambo: Last Blood (Sept. 20), a title I do not believe until I see Rambo stop breathing. Rob Zombie brings the Firefly clan back with 3 From Hell (Sept. 20), a sequel to 2005’s The Devil’s Rejects (is it really that old?).

October gets spooky right away with Todd Phillips’ standalone origin story of Batman’s greatest frenemy, Joker (Oct. 4). Joaquin Phoenix’s version of the Clown Prince of Crime looks promising in the trailers, and a quick glance at the cast reveals familiar names like Thomas Wayne, Alfred Pennyworth and Young Bruce Wayne. I am sure we are in for a few surprises, as well. Old Will Smith battles young CGI Will Smith in the actioner Gemini Man (Oct. 11), which looks more like an M. Night Shyamalan movie than the latest from Ang Lee. (I like Shyamalan, but consider that remark a dig.) Families will enjoy an animated update of The Addams Family (Oct. 11) and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (Oct. 18). I have no expectations of Zombieland: Double Tap (Oct. 18), as Amazon’s aborted series showed the concept requires star power. I am more excited for Jojo Rabbit (Oct. 18), Taika Waititi’s satire about a young Nazi discovering his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their home, and The Lighthouse (Oct. 18), Robert Eggers’ follow up to The Witch, starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson as two lighthouse keepers.

November brings another attempt to make the Terminator franchise relevant again. James Cameron contributed to the story for this new effort, Terminator: Dark Fate (Nov. 1), which reunites Ah-nuld, Linda Hamilton and the original John Connor himself, Edward Furlong. One of horror’s golden boys still in need of a breakout hit, Mike Flanagan, may have found the right property in his adaptation of Stephen King’s sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep (Nov. 8). Another reboot of Charlie’s Angels (Nov. 15) comes courtesy of writer-director Elizabeth Banks, and the trailer looks more intriguing than any description. Thanksgiving should be dominated by Disney’s Frozen II (Nov. 22). Its major competition is the Mr. Rogers biopic A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Nov. 22), but I am not buying Tom Hanks as the soft-spoken icon. Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s Rian Johnson returns with Knives Out (Nov. 29), an original whodunit starring Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon and Christopher Plummer.

December brings another remake of Black Christmas (Dec. 13). I am excited, simply because I love the 1974 original. The Skywalker saga concludes with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Dec. 20), which features what appears to be a lot more fan service than the polarizing Last Jedi. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats (Dec. 20) finally gets a movie version thanks to Les Miserables’ Tom Hooper. The cast (Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellan, Taylor Swift and more) is phenomenal, but how will those feline FX hold up? 

What film has you most excited? For me, Downton Abbey slightly leads Star Wars.