Saturday 6 January 2018

My 11 Most Anticipated Films of 2018

January is upon us once again, and with the start of another calendar year comes the promise of another 12 months of exciting cinematic experiences to dive into.

2018 is set to be bigger and crazier than ever; more superheroes that you can swish a cape at are on the way with three Marvel, three X-Men and a DC film set to grace our screens throughout the year.

Don't worry, there's plenty of other movies to look forward to if lycra-clad men and mutants don't tickle your pickle; Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Pacific Rim, Tomb Raider, Predator, Mission Impossible and Fantastic Beasts are just some of the franchises with something on the way, as well as new movies from directors like Steven Spielberg, Ava DuVernay, Wes Anderson and Martin Scorsese. 

I always set myself the challenge of writing a quick list of what I'm looking forward to most, so detailed below is a set of 11 films I can't wait to see in 2018. Which films are you most excited to see in 2018? Let me know in the comments down below!

Other films to look out for in 2018: Deadpool 2, Molly's Game, Tomb Raider, The Post, Lady Bird, Pacific Rim: Uprising, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Soldado, Ready Player One, Aquaman, The Incredibles 2, A Wrinkle in Time, The Predator, Ocean's 8, Venom, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald, Alita: Battle Angel, Mary Poppins Returns, Wreck-It Ralph 2, Rampage, Maze Runner: The Death Cure.

11) Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (June 7)

The initial trailer for the sequel to Jurassic World didn't bowl me over, but I really enjoyed the first film and my fiancee is keen as baked bean for anything Jurassic Park, so naturally her eagerness rubs off on me. This sequel sees Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return to Isla Nublar to rescue the rampant dinosaurs from extinction after the island's dormant volcano erupts. With Colin Trevorrow no longer at the helm, director JA Bayona (A Monster Calls) has taken over the reins whilst series regular Jeff Goldblum returns to add a dash of ah, eh, er, ahem idiosyncratic dialogue delivery.

10) Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 5)

Peyton Reed's Ant-Man overcame a troubled production to be one of the biggest surprises of 2015; an entertaining and pleasingly personal heist caper, the dynamic between Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas was insatiable stuff, and the shrunken view of the world made the action fun and refreshing.

As a result, a sequel also helmed by Reed and with Lilly promoted to co-lead is tasty prospect. As the title suggests, Ant-Man and the Wasp, which is scheduled to open in July, sees Scott Lang join forces with Hope Van Dyne on what is being billed as a interdimensional adventure through the quantum realm that opens up a whole multiverse (described by Lilly as "a bit like Lost Season 4"). Colour me intrigued.

Also, joining the cast is Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet Van Dyne, Hope's mother, Hannah John-Kamen, Laurence Fishburne, Randall Park and Walton Goggins as the big bad (presumably, he plays a good baddie).

9) Red Sparrow (March 1)

She may have her legions of detractors but I'm onboard the Jennifer Lawrence train and shovelling coal into the engine with gusto – and the prospect of another Lawrence collaboration with director Francis Lawrence sounds intriguing to say the least.

Billed as a sexy spy thriller in Russia, Red Sparrow sounds like a less flashy take on Atomic Blonde with a dash of Black Widow on the side. A supporting cast with the likes of Joel Edgerton, Jeremy Irons, Mary-Louise Parker and Matthias Schoenaerts are set to add extra spice to proceedings.

8) The New Mutants (April 12)

I'm not sold on Fox's current approach to the X-Men franchise; a mindset which can only be described as 'throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks' has yielded some gems (Logan), some alright stuff (Deadpool) and some convoluted, chronologically-impaired guff (X-Men: Apocalypse). Three X-Men films (!) are set to grace our screens in 2018 – Deadpool 2, X-Men: Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants – and only the latter piques my interest enough to warrant a spot in this list.

Judging by the trailer, The New Mutants is best described as a full-fledged nightmarish horror set in the tight confines of an asylum for troubled mutants. Boasting a talented cast of young and marketable stars from geeky properties such as Maisie Williams (Arya Stark on Game of Thrones), Charlie Heaton (Jon on Stranger Things) and Anya Taylor-Joy (Split and Glass),

7) The Shape of Water (January 25)

Guillermo del Toro's latest is a mysterious Cold War thriller and a tragic love story between a woman and weird but also strangely alluring fish dude. At least, that's what I've garnered from the one trailer I watched once – I've been trying to steer clear of the specifics, which isn't easy when every blogger or Twitter critic has been raving about it for the past couple of months.

Like most awards season films, Australia has been made to wait and wait for The Shape of Water, and it finally hits theatres in a couple of weeks. Safe to say I'm frothing for a bit of GDT weirdness. It stars the likes of Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Michael Stuhlbarg, Octavia Spencer and Doug Jones.

6) I, Tonya (January 25)

Another Oscar frontrunner, I, Tonya sees Margot Robbie don the skates of disgraced Olympic figure-skater Tonya Harding. And, like most awards season films that grace the festival circuit, I, Tonya has been bumped to late January here in Australia.

Margot Robbie has quickly become one of Australia's most successful exports in Hollywood, and after muddled blockbusters like Suicide Squad and The Legend of Tarzan, it'll be exciting to see her back in more dramatic territory.

Told with comedic mockumentary pieces to camera, I, Tonya is receiving acclaim for Robbie's committed performance, as well as supporting performances from Alison Janney and Sebastian Stan. Of the crop of films notching up awards win and nominations, I, Tonya is the film that piques my interest the most.

5) Isle of Dogs (March)

Wes Anderson returns with the most Wes Anderson cast imaginable plus a bunch of adorable stop motion dogs. Think Fantastic Mr Fox meets Akira Kurosawa and Lord of the Flies but with dogs. The plot sees a scrum of scruffy pooches banished to a huge garbage island off the coast of Japan and a young boy's journey to find his lost pet. It sounds cute and whimsical as fuck, which I am 100% down for. Bring on the wisecracking puppers and intricate and obsessive adherence to symmetry.

The cast includes the likes of Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Ken Watanabe, Greta Gerwig, Scarlett Johansson, Leiv Schreiber, Frances McDormand, Courtney B. Vance, Harvey Keitel, Yoko Oko (?), Bob Balaban and Tilda Swinton. That's a lot of people and a lot of puppers. A whole isle of them, in fact.

4) Mission: Impossible 6 (July)

(L-R) Simon Pegg, Michelle Monaghan, Tom Cruise and Ving Rhames in
Mission: Impossible 6.
Christopher McQuarrie becomes the first returning filmmaker in the series this July when Mission: Impossible 6 hits cinemas. With Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation both taking the series to new heights (quite literally, when you consider the Burj Khalifa and cargo plane stunts), this new entry will no doubt feature a crazy headline-grabbing stunt that sees Tom Cruise placed in some kind of danger – will he be hanging from a space shuttle? Surfing on a submarine? Or running up the side of The Shard? Who knows. 

What we do know is this; Simon Pegg, Alec Baldwin, Michelle Monaghan, Rebecca Ferguson and Ving Rhames are all returning, whilst Angela Bassett and Vanessa Kirby are joining the mission in some form or another. Plus, best of all, we get to bear witness to Henry Cavill's delicious, controversial and much-discussed moustache. It will be glorious. 

3) Black Panther (February)

(L-R) Danai Gurira, Lupita N'yongo and
Florence Kasumba in Black Panther.
Before the intergalactic craziness of Avengers: Infinity War comes the dazzling Afrofuturism of Ryan Coogler's Black Panther, a solo outing centred around Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa, heir to throne of Wakanda and masked hero Black Panther.

Seeing as we didn't learn a huge amount about T'Challa in Captain America: Civil War and Wakanda has only been glimpsed in the past, I can't wait to see what Coogler has cooked up on this one. Much like Taika Waititi's approach on Thor: Ragnarok, it feels like Coogler is taking this in a very distinct and compelling direction that we haven't really seen in past superhero films.

The production design and sets are going to be gorgeous for starters, but then you take a look at the cast and realise we're in for a treat – joining Boseman is Michael B. Jordan, Lupita N'yongo, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, Martin Freeman, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis, Letitia Wright and Sterling K. Brown. That's a talented bunch right there. Plus, Kendrick Lamar is supposedly working on a track/music to soundtrack the film. What more could you want?

2) Solo: A Star Wars Story (May)

A behind-the-scenes snap shared by Ron Howard on Twitter.
Yes, I know, I know – after all the dramas behind the scenes, it will be something of a miracle if Solo (originally directed by Christopher Lord and Phil Miller, subsequently reshot essentially in its entirety by Ron Howard) is any good.

At this point, a behind-the-scenes documentary about the fallout between Lord, Miller and executive producer Kathleen Kennedy could be more interesting that the actual film itself. And yet, because I am who I am and I like what I like, I can't help but be excited and interested in a Star Wars movie.

Howard, for all his misfires (we're looking at you, Inferno), is still a really dependable and experienced filmmaker – that's the big reason he was hired to step in in the first place. Rush, his massively underrated 2013 biopic of James Hunt and Niki Lauda, is one of my favourite films, and the casting on Solo has piqued my interest too; whilst I haven't seen much of Alden Ehrenreich's filmography at this stage, the inclusion of Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton, Donald Glover and Paul Bettany is a tasty prospect. Plus, John Powell (How To Train Your Dragon) and Bradford Young (Arrival) are handling the score and cinematography respectively. All told, Solo has a lot going for it – but will the drama overshadow the adventure itself?

1) Avengers: Infinity War (April)

Some of the cast of Avengers: Infinity War.
I'm not going to bother naming them all.
Here it is, the big one. A decade of films and an array of colourful characters collide in the third Avengers crossover film, this time helmed by the Russo Brothers (Captain America: Civil War). In addition to the usual suspects (Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow), the Avengers will be joined with newer heroes such as Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, Spider-man and Black Panther in fighting Thanos, the giant purple dude who so far hasn't done all that much aside from grumbling in the background. Oh, I also forgot to mention that the Guardians of the Galaxy will be there too. So yeah, lots to look forward to.

I'd make some kind of point about how this many characters will inevitably sap the overall quality and cohesion of the film, but given Marvel's track record, it'll be a bigger shock if this film doesn't work. At the very worst, it'll be a messy but still fun and enjoyable romp akin to Age of Ultron. With a fourth Avengers film landing in 2019, where this film leaves things is currently the biggest question. Cliffhanger, anyone?

1 comment:

  1. 'Red Sparrow' seems promising. Always excited to see Jennifer Lawrence in an action movie.



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