Entertainment

Marvels, murder and mayhem: The most-anticipated movies, TV shows to see in 2019

Whether it's the long-awaited conclusion to Game of Thrones or the all-star cast bringing The Lion King back to the big screen, 2019 is filled with lots to watch for big- and small-screen fans alike.

From final seasons to sequels and superheroes, it's a mix of the familiar and fantastic

Leonardo DiCaprio, left, starring in a '60s Los Angeles story, Don Cheadle, centre left, in the middle of the '87 stock market crash, Ellen Page, centre right, in a new Netflix series, and Brie Larson as Captain Marvel are just a few of the titles in store for 2019. (Columbia Pictures/Showtime/Netflix/Walt Disney Studios)

Whether it's the long-awaited conclusion to Game of Thrones or the all-star cast bringing The Lion King back to the big screen, 2019 is filled with lots to watch for big- and small-screen fans alike. 

Most-anticipated TV:

Fun and fantasy  

Coming soon to HBO is Watchmen, an eight-part series based on the visionary graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. It's a lot to live up to but Lost series creator Damon Lindelof has promised more of a "remix" than a literal retelling of the classic comic book. If you're looking for more levity, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens finds David Tennant and Michael Sheen as a demon and angel trying to prevent Armageddon. Netflix subscribers will soon be able to open up The Umbrella Academy, a comic book adaptation about a group of misfit superheroes starring Ellen Page.

Familiar favourites

It's been a long wait but fire and ice will finally collide when Game of Thrones'  eighth and final season hits HBO in April. The women of Big Little Lies are also returning but without Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallée. The kids of Stranger Things continue their ode to the '80s as the weirdly wonderful series pedals into Season 3 with Cary Elwes joining the cast as the town mayor. Speaking of refashioned favourites, CBC's  Street Legal has a mix of old and new faces heading to court in March.

Your next binge-worthy obsession

Hot off his Oscar win, Sam Rockwell's next project is Fosse/Verdon where he's teaming up with Michelle Williams to explore the complicated relationship between choreographer Bob Fosse and Broadway legend Gwen Verdon.   

If you can't get enough of the '80s, Don Cheadle's new Showtime series Black Monday is a cocaine-fuelled comedy set on Wall Street. If it's the '60s you dig, Chris Pine teams up with Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins for the moody detective drama I Am the Night inspired by the Black Dahlia murder case.

Most-anticipated films:

So many super heroes

Avengers: Endgame arrives in April to conclude the story a decade in the making. But before we see what happens with Captain America and friends, Brie Larson will take to the skies as Captain Marvel in the first female-led Marvel movie. DC comic fans can look forward to smirking along with Shazam! in the Toronto-shot film about a boy in a super-powered adult's body. Other slices of spandex wonderment on the way include Peter Parker's European vacation a.k.a. Spider-Man: Far from Home and Dark Phoenix, the X-Men prequel starring Sophie Turner from Game of Thrones.

So many sequels

If anything can take a bite out of the Avengers big-screen domination it's Godzilla: King of the Monsters, a beastly battle royale lumbering toward screens in May. For simpler pleasures, there's John Wick: Chapter 3, which features Keanu Reeves fighting ninjas and riding a horse. 

The Men in Black franchise gets a makeover in June with Men in Black International starring Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson. Also in June, Sheriff Woody and friends return for Toy Story 4 while  Star Wars fans will have to wait until December to find out what director J.J. Abrams has in store for Episode IX.

Remakes and reboots

Perhaps the most prestigious of 2019's offerings is the adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's novel, Little Women. Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig has assembled an all-star cast including Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet, Emma Watson and Meryl Streep. Miss Bala is an English-language adaption of the excellent Spanish-language thriller now starring Gina Rodriguez as a beleaguered beauty queen caught in the crossfire of the drug war. If you're looking for something lighter there's the new  Charlie's Angels starring Kristen Stewart and Naomi Scott.

But let's be honest, 2019 will be dominated by Disney. Whether it's computer animated or live action, audiences can't get enough of the new versions of the classic cartoons they grew up on. Coming soon is Dumbo, Tim Burton's take on the flying elephant. ​Beyoncé is just part of an astounding cast of voices for The Lion King, and then there's the live-action version of Aladdin. The film stars Canadian Mena Massoud as Aladdin, but is the world ready for Will Smith as the genie in the bottle? (Don't worry. Smith says he's going to be blue.) 

The originals

In July, Quentin Tarantino serves up Leonardo DiCaprio in a turtleneck and Brad Pitt doing his best Robert Redford imitation in the '60s-themed Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. In March, Get Out director Jordan Peele presents Us, his widely-anticipated followup film starring Elisabeth Moss and Lupita Nyong'o.  

For buzzworthy Canadian films, there's the mystery set in the Niagara region called Clifton Hill from In Her Place director Albert Shin. The spring also brings Mouthpiece, the big screen adaptation of the successful stage play where two women play the same character.

For music fans in the fall, Renée Zellweger​ returns to the silver screen in Judy, a film set around a series of sold-out Judy Garland concerts in 1968. But before that in May, Taron Egerton steps into Elton John's platform boots for the wide-ranging biopic Rocketman.

About the Author

Eli Glasner

Entertainment reporter and film critic

Eli Glasner is a national entertainment reporter and film critic for CBC News. Each Friday he reviews films on CBC News Network as well as appearing on CBC radio programs coast to coast. Covering culture has taken him from the northern tip of Moosonee, Ont. to the Oscars red carpet.

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