Escape Room (In Cinemas 4 January)
One of the reasons why I’m most interested for this film is because of its release date. The film is set to premiere on the first week of the new year, which is a slot that has an infamy for not being well-received, particularly in the US. I am curious to check out the film, to see if it can break the mould and deliver a solid, tense, contained, if maybe a little formulaic, thriller. Given the film’s premise of a deadly escape room, it is likely. If the plot does flop, it may make good material for a case study of films released in January in the U.S.
Us (In Cinemas 15 March)
Following the undeniable suspense-horror hit of 2017, Get Out, Jordan Peele has returned to the director’s chair with Us, slated to be released on 15 March. Just as with his debut, Peele appears to be focusing on the psychological aspects of the horror genre with the first trailer giving tantalising peeks at what appears to be a regular family being confronted by their warped doppelgangers. The headline cast could easily double as a who’s-who of Hollywood’s fastest rising talent with Black Panther stars Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke; as well as Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale) and Tim Heidecker (Tim & Eric). While more details are unlikely between now and release, everything revealed so far makes Us seem to be a fascinating step in Peele’s promising career.
Rafiki (In US Cinemas 19 April)
Kena and Ziki are supposed to be good girls and then become good wives, but instead they fall for each other. This Kenyan lesbian film is inspired by Monica Arac de Nyeko’s prize-winning short story Jambula Tree, and explores the Kenyan law around homosexuality through a gentle love between two girls. Despite its initial ban in Kenya, the film has been incredibly successful, and after making the rounds at various international film festivals, it will finally be reaching local cinemas in 2019. Being based on such a wonderful short story, and accompanied by such high praise, it is definitely something to look forward to this year.
Dragged Across Concrete (In Cinemas 19 April)
Dragged Across Concrete is the third film by novelist / screenwriter / director S. Craig Zahler who made the barnstorming horror-Western hybrid Bone Tomahawk, followed by the note-perfect Brawl In Cell Block 99. This new film reunites Zahler with most of his Brawl cast including Vince Vaughn, who alongside Mel Gibson, play two violent policemen, who are suspended due to their rough tactics. They then enact revenge by descending on the criminal underworld. If his first two films are anything to go by, Dragged Across Concrete looks to be a winner, with similar influences of merciless Asian ultraviolence and a Tarantino-esque script that takes its time to develop its characters and surroundings. Although it’s taken a while to get a UK release date, Dragged Across Concrete will premiere in the middle of April. This is a film not to be missed!
Little Women (In Cinemas 25 December)
I will admit, I’m not much of fan of 19th century costume dramas (but I am the Queen of 20th century costume dramas – I love me a good war drama). Yet when you are given the gift of a film directed by Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) and starring Meryl Streep, Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Laura Dern, Emma Watson (my forever favourite person), Timothee Chalamet, James Norton and Bob Odenkirk, you don’t pass it up. Sure to be slated for the 2020 award season, Little Women is bound to be glorious retelling of Louisa May Alcott’s classic story. It’s has all the makings of a wonderfully articulate feminist film, and I will be very sad if it doesn’t live up to the hype.