The 17 movies we're most excited about in 2019

UPDATED: The last three months are packed with must-see flicks

We're most of the way through 2019, true - but the year isn't over yet when it comes to hugely-anticipated films.

Sure, many of the blockbusters and enticing sequels have passed, but the end of the year is when a lot of the critically-acclaimed fare rolls out, plus there are still big franchise flicks like Star Wars: The Rise of SkywalkerFrozen 2, and Joker releasing before 2020 rolls around.

Ready to fill out your cinematic calendar? Here's what we're most excited about before the year's up.

Joker (4 October)

Heath Ledger delivered the definitive Joker portrayal in The Dark Knight, but Joaquin Phoenix might put up a fight in the new Joker. It's helmed by the director of The Hangover trilogy, but DC's solo film certainly channels the twisted side of Batman's most iconic villain.

Here, we see Arthur Fleck as a failed comedian whose life descends into madness, and it seems like much of the film focuses on the human that ultimately becomes the psychotic, face-painted clown that we all know. Whatever the case, it looks super compelling.

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (11 October)

Breaking Bad is unquestionably one of the greatest TV series of the last decade, if not of all time – and it's not quite done yet. While the explosive finale gave us a conclusion for Walter White and his gripping ascent as a drug kingpin, his partner Jesse Pinkman survived.

But he didn't survive unscarred, as seen in the trailer above… and we're sure that's figuratively as well as literally. He's been through hell, and now he's on the run. It's hard to believe that we really need a Breaking Bad movie, but we're certainly not gonna turn it down. This one's heading to Netflix, but it'll also have a limited run in cinemas starting the same day.

Parasite (11 October)

Parasite is the first film from a South Korean director to win the coveted Palme d'Or award at the Cannes Film Festival, it currently has 100% positive reviews from Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing, and Los Angeles Times reviewer Justin Chang describes it as "an escalating freak show of tension, surprise, and class rage." Yes, there's a bit of hype around it.

The trailer is a bit curious and seems to dance around the real meat of the film, but it's clear that something changes along the way and things get wild as a result. The hype seems legit, and we're excited to see Bong Joon Ho's latest flick for ourselves this autumn.

Zombieland: Double Tap (18 October)

Don't remember the finer details of the original Zombieland? Worry not: a decade later, Zombieland: Double Tap looks to carry on the simple, comedic premise of a makeshift family traveling through the zombie apocalypse… and violently killing every shambling threat in sight.

Toss in some new A-list cast members and a stay at the abandoned White House, and this ought to be another entertaining zombie-slaying romp. That said, we have to wonder whether a new Zombieland will still have the same impact after 10 years away.

Terminator: Dark Fate (23 October)

"Dark Fate" could reasonably describe the franchise over the last few films, so we really ought not to have much faith in this one. But with both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton onboard, along with James Cameron behind the scenes and the director of Deadpool behind the lens, we're coming into this one optimistic.

The first trailer (above) still gives us more vibes of the latest Terminator flicks rather than the classics, but we're holding out hope that it'll actually be great.

Doctor Sleep (31 October)

Making a sequel to a no-doubt film classic like The Shining seems like an ill-advised idea on first blush – a misplaced attempt to mine nostalgia, perhaps. But Doctor Sleep was Stephen King's own well-received follow-up novel, and the film itself looks mighty captivating.

Doctor Sleep revisits Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) as a grown man now, still haunted by his childhood memories, as he encounters others with his same psychic abilities – and a brutal cult out to harvest them. Nearly all of the flashback scenes from The Shining have been lovingly and painstakingly recreated here, and they look as terrifying as ever.

The Irishman (8 November)

What do you get when you combine director Martin Scorsese with actors Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci? Well, any mixture of two or three of them gets you a lot of flicks from over the years – and now all of them are together in The Irishman.

This Netflix-bankrolled epic spans three hours and tells the true-life tale of Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran, a mob hand who reportedly took out infamous boss Jimmy Hoffa. It looks like classic Scorsese fare, albeit with some VFX assists to de-age the actors for scenes when they were younger. The Irishman will get a limited theatrical release before it hits the streaming service.

Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution (Late 2019)

Wait, didn't we already get a Pokémon movie this year with Mewtwo in the mix? We did, but Detective Pikachu was hardly a traditional Pokémon flick. To some extent, neither is Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution.

It's the first CG animated film in the franchise, although the story and characters will be very familiar to fans: Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution is a remake of the very first Pokémon movie, albeit with a different kind of style and likely various changes in the mix. Don't expect any huge surprises, as the trailer suggests a pretty close adherence to the original tale, but this should still be a fun one for fans. The English dub is expected to hit cinemas later this year.

Brittany Runs a Marathon (1 November)

For many of us, running is no easy (or fun) feat – we've been there. And that's where Brittany is, as she attempts to correct for a life of bad choices and finds the momentum to try and catapult herself toward the finish line at a marathon.

All the while, there's themes of learning self-acceptance, dealing with society's expectations, and surely a bit of a love story, but early film festival reviews have been glowing and suggest that Brittany Runs a Marathon largely avoids typical rom-com clichés. Besides, the wonderful Jillian Bell from Workaholics leads this one.

Le Mans '66 (15 November)

Now this looks like it'll be seriously gripping. Le Mans '66, known as Ford v Ferrari in the States, tells the true story of Ford's quest to build a racing car from scratch to finally topple Ferrari at 1966's 24 Hours of Le Mans race.

That's an interesting enough hook on its own, but with Christian Bale and Matt Damon in key roles, not to mention Logan and Walk the Line director James Mangold behind the camera, we can't help but be super-optimistic about this one.

Frozen 2 (22 November)

Six years after we all pondered whether or not we ought to build a snowman (and then ultimately decided to let it go), Disney's Frozen is finally back for a sequel. And wow, the first trailer didn't have a bit of whimsy in sight.

True, the original film had plenty of drama and emotion packed in, but it also had breezy songs and comic relief. So far, we haven't seen any of that in Frozen 2 – but it promises to be a musical again plus Olaf is back in tow, so we'll probably get another well-balanced crowd-pleaser of a CG animated flick. Still, it's interesting that Disney led with the darker look, although this second trailer above shows a wider range of tone.

21 Bridges (22 November)

Black Panther himself Chadwick Boseman takes on a much different kind of role in 21 Bridges, as a New York City detective on the hunt for a pair of cop killers. To find them before they flee the city, the NYPD shuts down every bridge, train, and waterway out of Manhattan.

That's an interesting enough premise on its own, but as the trailer shows, things get twisty quick as the detective discovers a conspiracy within the NYPD's own ranks. Boseman is plenty captivating, plus Avengers directors The Russos lent their production talents here as well.

Knives Out (29 November)

Rian Johnson is now best known for directing the divisive Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but well before that, he was the breakout writer and director behind the brilliant indie mystery Brick – so we're excited to see him pen and helm another whodunit.

Knives Out is his latest original work, and it's loaded with notable actors like Chris Evans and Daniel Craig, the latter as a detective attempting to solve the mysterious death of a crime novelist while amidst the author's highly dysfunctional family. The trailer is fun, especially with Evans gleefully cursing out family members, and Johnson's pedigree is undeniable… even for those who griped about his take on the legendary sci-fi saga.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (6 December)

By all reports, Fred Rogers was a saint – and thankfully, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood isn't trying to debunk that belief. It tells the real-life tale of an Esquire journalist who went to profile Rogers, and was so charmed and won over by the children's TV show host that it changed his perception on life.

See? It's all good stuff. Better yet, the wonderful Tom Hanks is playing Rogers in the flick, lending his own winning appeal to the late icon. Prepare to be delighted come December.

Jumanji: The Next Level (13 December)

2017's Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was an unexpected smash, coming within shouting distance of $1 Billion worldwide – so of course, there's a sequel.

Luckily, Jumanji: The Next Level twists around the last film's premise with some entertaining-looking results. As before, it sees human characters sucked into a video game – but now, Danny DeVito and Danny Glover are in the mix, with different personalities now inhabiting the bodies of The Rock, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, and Kevin Hart. It'll be overshadowed by Star Wars, no doubt, but should be a fun one to watch this December.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (19 December)

The Episode IX trailer is finally here! As it's now officially named, Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker brings the core saga to an end, picking up some time after The Last Jedi and bringing back the new generation of Star Wars heroes along with some fresh faces – and Billy Dee Williams as Lando, thankfully.

We won't spoil the twist at the end here: just watch the trailer to get a sense of what's coming in this flick. Or don't watch, and actually try to save the surprise this time around. Choose your destiny.

Uncut Gems (25 December)

Every several years or so, between pumping out lazy comedies that showcase roughly zero of his at-this-prime genius, Adam Sandler drops a serious dramatic performance that's hailed by critics and makes us wonder why he doesn't do it more often. Uncut Gems is the latest example of this.

It looks like an incredibly tense and fraught tale of a jeweler caught up in too many debts, and early reviews are glowing – especially when it comes to Sandler's performance. The dude's a serious actor, but he doesn't seem to want to flex that muscle very often. That's a shame, but don't miss this apparent Gem.