Spider-Man: Far From Home
“Avengers: Endgame” transformed the Marvel Cinematic Universe, marking the end for one of the franchise’s central characters, Iron Man. Now, two-months later, Spider-Man (Tom Holland) returns to grapple with the loss and to try to fill his mentor’s shoes, however impossible that may be. While on a school trip with his closest friends MJ (Zendaya) and Ned (Jacob Batalon), Spider-Man is recruited by Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) to team up with a new hero from another dimension, Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), in order to take down elemental monsters that have been wreaking havoc across the globe. Balancing light-hearted teenage road-trip hijinks with big-budget CGI-filled action set pieces, “Far from Home” captures the same character-driven spirit as its acclaimed predecessor, “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”
While Egypt is not known for its historical war epics, “Al Mamar” (The Passage), has already become one of the most popular films of the year in its home country. The film looks back 50 years to a number of Egyptian special forces fighting in the War of Attrition, Egypt’s conflict with Israel that lasted from 1967 until a ceasefire in 1970. “Al Mamar” has been praised for its grit and realism, and features some of the top stars in Egypt, including Hend Sabry, Ahmed Ezz, Sherif Mounir and Eyad Nassar. Directed by Sherif Arafa, the film is a patriotic ode to Egypt’s past struggles in order to help define its national identity today.
The Lion King
Disney’s ongoing project of remaking its beloved animated films for a new generation continues with perhaps its most anticipated release yet, “The Lion King.” A quarter of a century after the original became the highest-grossing traditionally animated film of all time, the 2019 edition recounts the same story of a young cub who flees after his father, the king, is killed by his maniacal uncle, only to return as an adult to take back his throne, this time reimagined with photorealistic computer animation. Much like 2019’s hit “Aladdin” remake starring Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott, “The Lion King” will feature a more diverse cast than the original, boasting top stars from music and film including Beyoncé as Nala, Donald Glover as Simba, and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar. While director Jon Favreau, who also shepherded “The Jungle Book” remake in 2016, has promised there will be divergences from its source material, many irreplaceable aspects of the original will return, including reworked music from Elton John, and James Earl Jones reprising his role as the king himself, Mufasa.
Fast and Furious: Hobbs & Shaw
The “Fast and Furious” franchise gets its first spinoff with “Hobbes & Shaw,” starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Jason Statham. Johnson reinvigorated the main series when he appeared in 2011’s “Fast Five” as federal agent Luke Hobbs, while Statham who joined up for 2013’s “Fast & Furious 6” as the villainous assassin Deckard Shaw. While their team-up will feature less of a focus on car culture, the two will make use of their action credentials and penchant for comic relief as they try to prevent newcomer Idris Elba — who plays a cyber-genetically enhanced terrorist named Brixon Lore — from releasing a virus that could mark the end of the human race.
The Angry Birds Movie 2
Since Rovio Entertainment’s “Angry Birds” game took over mobile phones across the globe in 2009, the birds have never migrated far. “The Angry Birds Movie” was a success in 2016, and three years later their nemesis King Mudbeard is back to get his revenge against the foul-mood fowl that destroyed his island home. While the English cast includes comedy stars such as Jason Sudekis (“Horrible Bosses”), Josh Gad (“Frozen”) and Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”), the film will also be dubbed in Arabic exclusively for the region, with voice actors including “Arabs Got Talent” host Raya Abirached as Matilda.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Quentin Tarantino, the legendary director behind “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction,” is back for his penultimate film. Reuniting with Leonardo DiCaprio (“Django Unchained”) and Brad Pitt (“Inglorious Basterds”), Tarantino once again spins an alternate history, this time surrounding the infamous 1969 Manson Family murders that changed Los Angeles forever. Pitt and DiCaprio play an actor and his stunt double who are trying to make their mark in Hollywood, coming into contact with Sharon Tate, one of Manson’s victims. The film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival 25 years after “Pulp Fiction” won the top prize, and garnered near universal acclaim.
It: Chapter 2
Pennywise the Dancing Clown has awakened, and “It: Chapter 2” is nearly here. After the Loser’s Club — a group of seven children in a small town in Maine — failed to kill an ancient monster that had murdered their schoolmates, the Club must reunite as adults to finish the job and save their hometown. Based on the 1986 horror novel by Stephen King — a true doorstopper at 1138 pages — “It” (2017) became a phenomenon, grossing over $700 million worldwide and riding a cultural wave that began with Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” itself strongly influenced by the classic King tale. While Bill Skarsgård is back as the monster Pennywise, the grown-up gang will be played by major stars, with James McAvoy replacing Jaeden Lieberher, Jessica Chastian filling in for Sophia Lillis, and Bill Hader taking over for Finn Wolfhard, himself a star of “Stranger Things.”
Rambo: Last Blood
While the ongoing “Rocky” franchise has defined Sylvester Stallone’s career as both a star and a filmmaker, the “Rambo” series — which began in 1982 with “First Blood” — cemented him as an action hero. While the first film was a dark tale about a man grappling with the traumas of his military past, each subsequent film has turned John Rambo into a super-soldier who stalks jungles across East Asia to take out the latest fictional communist threat. In the fifth installment, “Last Blood,” the troubled Vietnam veteran returns, this time to save a young woman from a Mexican cartel. Despite the finality the title implies, “Last Blood” is not where Stallone would like to end the series, and he has promised it will continue if this latest film is a success.