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Our critics look ahead to 2019

From "Toy Story 4" to the final season of "Game of Thrones," 2019 should be a great year in entertainment.

In "Toy Story 4," everyone's favorite pull-string cowboy

In "Toy Story 4," everyone's favorite pull-string cowboy sheriff Woody, along with his best friends Buzz Lightyear and Jessie, are happy taking care of their kid, Bonnie, until a new toy called "Forky" arrives in her room.  Photo Credit: Disney/Pixar/Pixar

MOVIES

"Us" Oscar-winner Jordan Peele follows “Get Out,” his horror-satire about a black man meeting his white girlfriend’s parents, with what sounds like a home-invasion story: At a beach house, a black couple (Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke, both of “Black Panther”) and a white friend (Elisabeth Moss) encounter some “shocking visitors.” That’s all Universal Pictures will tell us, though we’ll surely learn more from trailers as we approach the March 15 release date.. "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" In Quentin Tarantino’s latest, a television actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double (Brad Pitt) try to break into the movies just as the Manson Family begins its reign of terror. This movie remains a fascinating question-mark for now, with potential for cool outfits, hip music and great acting (Margot Robbie plays murder victim Sharon Tate), though the ghastly subject matter could be a tough sell. It’s due in theaters July 26.

 "Toy Story 4" Dependable cowboy Woody (the voice of Tom Hanks), now the property of young Bonnie, encounters a reluctant new “toy” named Forky — apparently just a plastic utensil with pipe-cleaner arms. After the emotional gut-punches of “Toy Story 3” (2010), this new Disney-Pixar chapter could be aiming for a more lighthearted feel. Josh Cooley, a writer on “Inside Out,” directs. The release date is June 21.

 "Avengers: Endgame" After the cliffhanger ending of “Avengers: Infinity War,” this follow-up will be one of 2019’s must-watch movies. One reason is because the internet is rife with speculation that any number of stars – including Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr. – will make this their last Avengers film. When “Endgame” premieres April 26, those screams of anguish you hear could be coming from the audience.

"The Irishman" Will this movie, which includes many scenes filmed on Long Island, be Martin Scorsese’s latest masterpiece, or an expensive misfire? The story of labor leader Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) and the mysteriously vanished Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) initially had backing from STX Entertainment and Paramount, until rising costs led Netflix to step in. The budget reportedly ballooned to more than $140 million due to the digital de-aging of its stars for certain scenes; by comparison, Scorsese’s “Hugo” cost roughly $150 million. Release date has not yet been announced.  — RAFER GUZMAN

POP MUSIC

Winnetka Bowling League Seaford native Matthew Koma may have made his name in the EDM world, with his Grammy-winning collaboration with Zedd and a string of club hits. But his dream was always to be in a rock band and he has a good one now, with his brother drummer Kris Mazzarisi, in Winnetka Bowling League, who will release their debut album in 2019.

Normani If 2018 belong to former Fifth Harmony star Camila Cabello, 2019 may go to former Fifth Harmony star Normani. Following her breakout hit “Love Lies” with Khalid, she is set to release her debut album and hit the road opening for Ariana Grande.

Mark Ronson The British songwriter-producer is set to follow-up his “Uptown Funk” success with another powerful album of collaborations. He teams with Miley Cyrus on the first single “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart,” and there are also future songs with The xx’s Romy Madley-Croft and Lykke Li.

Blackpink Following BTS’ unprecedented success in 2018, this K-pop girl group seems poised to make their own waves in America. Their bilingual collaboration “Kiss and Make Up” with Grammy nominee Dua Lipa is already getting airplay and plans are underway for a major American push in 2019.

Taking Back Sunday The newly minted Long Island Music Hall of Famers plan to celebrate their 20th anniversary in 2019 with a new greatest hits album “Twenty” and a global tour that so far includes five continents. No hometown show has been announced yet for the Long Beach-based band, but they promise they have something big in mind. — GLENN GAMBOA

TV

Disney enters the streaming age. Disney's answer to Netflix and Amazon Prime arrives in the fall of 2019, but at this point that "answer" is more of a question (or three). What will be on this service? How will Netflix react? If this is a bigger corporate priority for Disney than the ABC TV network — undoubtedly it is — than how will that impact the ABC TV network, reeling from the loss of top supplier Shonda Rhimes to Netflix? Disney's online service will probably have some classic, Disney content, but Netflix has established that what you and I want is original new content. To that end, a number of films will be made for the service (like "Lady and the Tramp") and expect some series spinoffs from "High School Musical" and "Monsters Inc."  Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm are also expected to contribute films and series. The biggest project: A ten-episode "Star Wars" series produced by Jon Favreau. Meanwhile, Apple's new streaming service could well arrive in 2019, too. If streaming primacy was a skirmish between Netflix and Amazon in 2018, the war should get underway in 2019.

The Disney-fication of Fox. 2019 should shape up as the year of Disney in another big way — the Behemoth that Walt Built will absorb 21st Century Fox's vast film and TV production resources. Disney has promised to pour resources into Nat Geo, Fox Searchlight and FX. Meanwhile, Disney will also assume a commanding share of Hulu, so we can expect (hopefully) a nice burst of Hulu originals in the new year, too. 

The end of "Game of Thrones" "GoT" wraps in April, and so let the hyperventilating begin. Already we've been promised that the battle scenes will be greater...the surprises more surprising...the spectacle more spectacular than anything we've ever seen anywhere (ever) before. This is starting to feel anticlimactic already, or a little exhausting. But we — along with the rest of the globe — will watch anyway, and we'll be watching the end of a few other classics and favorites too. The list: "Homeland," "Veep," "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," "The Big Bang Theory," "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," "Jane the Virgin," "Broad City," "Transparent" and "Orange Is the New Black."
The start (or in two instances, return) of something new. Here's that partial list: The third season of "True Detective" (with Mahershala Ali, launching Jan. 13 on HBO); the return of "Deadwood," or at least the movie (HBO); "Watchmen" (Damon Lindelof's adaptation of the DC Comic franchise, HBO); "The Gilded Age" (Julian Fellowes' post-"Downton Abbey" miniseries project, coming to NBC); Ava Duvernay's "Central Park 5" (Netflix), "Chernobyl" (HBO), "Fosse/Verdon" (FX mini about Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon) and "The Twilight Zone" (Jordan Peele's re-imagining on CBS All Access). Also, star showrunners Rhimes and Ryan Murphy will hop aboard the Netflix express in 2019. What will they come up with?
The outlook for reboots. Is the most persistent TV trend of the last five years heading into an ice age of its own making or will the networks find some other fossilized chestnut worth exhuming? There is some evidence the network revival appetite — unstoppable until this point — may have reached a threshold. (Exhibit A: Soft ratings for "Magnum P.I.") But here's the fun part of this guessing game: What if the networks have just begun? "Murphy Brown" was hardly the smash CBS had hoped for, or dreamed of, but an audience still tuned in. What other series are awaiting their rebirth and how absurd will this trend become in 2019 — as if it's not already absurd enough?  — VERNE GAY

THEATER

"Moulin Rouge" (Al Hirschfeld Theatre, previews start June 28, opens July 25) A friend who saw the tryout in Boston last summer was making “Hamilton” comparisons after seeing this stage version of Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 film. Aaron Tveit, Karen Olivo and Danny Burstein are set to star in the story about a group of performers at a nightclub in the Montmartre district of Paris.

"King Lear" (Golden Theatre, previews start Feb. 28, opens April 4) Glenda Jackson, who won a best actress Tony for “Three Tall Women” this year, goes for a repeat as she takes on the fearsome title role in one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies. She’ll be joined by Jayne Houdyshell and Ruth Wilson.

"Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus" (Booth Theatre, previews start March 5, opens April 11) What could be bad when you’ve got Nathan Lane and Andrea Martin playing lowly servants who have to clean up after battles that took place during the fall of the Roman Empire? George C. Wolfe directs the Taylor Mac comedy.

"Hadestown" (Walter Kerr Theatre, previews start March 22, opens April 17) A re-imagining of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth from singer-songwriter Anais Mitchell got raves when it ran Off-Broadway in 2016. The cast hasn’t been announced, but Patrick Page, Eva Noblezada and Andre De Shields are in the current London production, directed by Rachel Chavkin, who will also helm the show on Broadway.

"Ink" (Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, previews start April 2, opens April 24) No journalist will be able to resist a play about the early days of Rupert Murdoch’s career. Rupert Goold directs the James Graham play that examines how the Australian media mogul took over and transformed the British tabloid The Sun.

BARBARA SCHULER

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