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MATTHEW LIEDKE ON FILM: What to watch for on the big screen in 2019

The year of 2018 is wrapping up and for movies it means it's time to look ahead. Sure, there are still some 2018 films making their way to more theaters and the gauntlet of award season is still being navigated, but there is also hype building for what's to be released in 2019. For me, the following are the films that I'm looking forward to.

10. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Advertised as the finale, audiences will get to see the conclusion of the "How to Train Your Dragon" series on Feb. 22, and I can't wait. I've been a fan of the series since the original was released in 2010 and despite a few issues, thought the second one was quite decent. Both pictures so far have dealt with interesting themes, well executed stories and characters who develop.

From the look of the trailer, the third installment for the series looks exciting and the animation appears gorgeous as expected. I'm looking very forward to seeing it on the big screen.

9. Pet Sematary

The original adaptation of the Stephen King novel is well liked enough. However, I'm so looking forward to this new take. Need convincing? Check out the amazing trailer, it won me over real quick. Scheduled for release April 5, this "Pet Sematary" looks creepy, atmospheric and frightening.

The film also boasts a respectable cast, including Jason Clarke.

8. Spider-Man: Far from Home

I had a great time watching the previous live action Spider-Man film, "Homecoming," so my hopes are high for the sequel. Scheduled for release on July 5, the film features Tom Holland as the titular superhero, along with Zendaya, Jake Gyllenhaal and Samuel L. Jackson.

This time around, the web-slinging hero, aka Peter Parker, is on a summer vacation in Europe with his friends. I'm not quite sure how the story of this one will go, especially since it ties into a cliffhanger in the "Avengers" franchise, so there's extra intrigue.

7. Captain Marvel

Here's a movie I'm anticipating more because of the talent in front of and behind the camera than what I've seen from the trailer. The tone of the trailer just didn't gel with me. However, I'm still looking forward to it considering the hands the project is in. For example, Academy Award winner Brie Larson is in the lead role. She proved herself as an amazing actress in "Room," and I figure she'll do well here.

Behind the camera, meanwhile, Marvel selected the directing duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who've previously worked on indie comedies, to helm the picture. Picking up directors who've had impressive filmographies, even if they haven't done superhero flicks before, has paid off for Marvel in the past, like in the case with Jon Favreau for "Iron Man" or Ryan Coogler for "Black Panther." "Captain Marvel" is scheduled for a March 9 release.

6. Frozen 2

Since the credits started rolling at the end of 2013's "Frozen," I've been waiting for a sequel. Finally, in 2019, that wait will be over. After all the merchandise and some short films, some have grown a little weary of the movie since its release. However, when looking at the original movie on its own, it's hard to discredit the film's quality.

I, for one, adored "Frozen" and am looking so forward to revisiting the world and characters featured in the first installment. Set for release on Nov. 22, "Frozen 2" returns the cast, directors and writers of the original.

5. It: Chapter Two

Unlike the 1990 miniseries, the newer adaptation of Stephen King's "It" was developed to be fully split into two parts. While the 2017 feature followed the lead characters in their youth, the sequel, "It: Chapter Two" will take place 27 years later with the protagonists as adults.

The first installment in the two-part series was quite well made, with some good scares and solid performances. I'm hoping the sequel, set for release Sept. 6, has the same quality.

4. Us

Jordan Peele, who absolutely knocked it out of the park with his directorial debut in "Get Out," is back in 2019 with another thriller. Along with directing, Peele also has writing credits for "Us," a good sign considering he won an Oscar for the "Get Out" screenplay.

Along with an interesting, mind bending premise, "Us" also has a nice cast including Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke and Elisabeth Moss. The film will hit theaters March 15.

3. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Writer and Director Quentin Tarantino's latest movie, "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" is scheduled for an Aug. 9 release and I'm already hyped. Any time there's a Tarantino flick on the calendar, it gets put on notice. Even though not all of his films have been perfect, one can't deny they've been consistent in quality and always feature strong writing.

Along with Tarantino helming the project, check out the cast: Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, Kurt Russell, Leonardo DiCaprio, Dakota Fanning, Al Pacino and Timothy Olyphant. That's a loaded roster, and I can't wait to see what they're up to in this.

2. The Laundromat

Very little is known about this movie, even a release date hasn't been confirmed. However, I'm still excited. I'm mostly looking forward to it based on all of the talent attached. The movie is directed by the always reliable Steven Soderbergh and the leads are Gary Oldman and Meryl Streep. Plus, the supporting cast is well rounded with Antonio Banderas, Robert Patrick, Melissa Rauch and David Schwimmer.

According to the Internet Movie Database, the picture follows a group of journalists who unearth documents linking powerful political figures to secret banking accounts.

1. Avengers: Endgame

There's no other movie I'm looking more forward to seeing than the follow up to "Avengers: Infinity War." That movie ended on a legendary cliffhanger and since the first viewing, I've been wanting to see what happens next.

"Infinity War" is one of my favorite movies from 2018 and I will be there opening night to see what happens next. "Endgame" opens April 29.

For more movie coverage, check out matthewliedkeonfilm.com for news and reviews.

Matthew Liedke

Matthew Liedke is the city, county and state government reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He also covers business, politics and financial news.

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