Lots to get excited about in the year ahead when it comes to the world of film. A new direction for the Transformers universe (Bumblebee). Years of investment will finally pay off in Infinity War while diversity will finally come to the Marvel universe in the very promising Black Panther, an exceptionally intriguing multi-verse and multi-ethnic take on Spiderman, and the release of not one, but two new X-Men films.
But the real story of this year I think will be the unusual anticipation of a slew of new (and prominent) sequels for Paddington , The Incredibles, Pacific Rim, Jurassic World, Fantastic Beasts, Wreck it Ralph Tomb Raider, Cloverfield, Mission Impossible, Sicario, Oceans, Predator, and The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo.
And as if all of that was not enough, we also get more Star Wars (Solo), some big name originals with franchise potential (Ready Player One, Red Sparrow, A Wrinkle In Time, B.O.D), tons of great indies and smaller productions, and a follow up to the live action Beauty and The Beast (Mulan) that I am actually quite excited about.
And lets not forget Sherlock Gnomes. I mean come on. Who didn’t enjoy the first one. I know I did.
So with all that said, and perhaps willingly granting my anticipation of Infinity War and Solo right off the hop, here are the films I am most anticipating seeing in 2018.
- Paddington 2
The original swept me off my feet. The sequel looks to be even better. And judging by early reactions (plenty of screenings have already happened for this one) it has a chance to be one of the best of 2018.
A killer trailer, memorable source material, an incredible cast and the director of Ex-Machina come together to make this a must see film this year.
- First Man
It’s hard not to consider this new film by Damien Chazelle to be in the running come next awards season. It is biography and it is distinctly American at a time when American seems desperate to find itself again. More than this though, the film harkens back to Apollo 13, one of the great space films of all time,
- Isle of Dogs
Wes Anderson follows the success (and brilliance) of Fantastic Mr. Fox with another animated feature set in Japan. Everything about this trailer looks and feels like Anderson, dripping with intrigue, creativity and charm. By far one of my most anticipated animated films, and in a year that will give us The Incredibles 2 and another Wreck It Ralph, this is no small feat.
- The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
A film 17 years in the making, the story behind this story is probably the thing that intrigues me the most about this (once upon a time) time travel narrative turned 17th century period piece. It has gone through multiple actors before settling on Adam Driver and Jonathan Pryce, and has been considered one of the most troubled productions in film history, even spawning a documentary to try and shed light on this intriguing sentiment. It is a movie about the ways movies (and movie production) can impact people, providing us with a potentially fascinating look into the world of film culture at large.
- Ready Player One
I could not put the book down. The trailer looks to bring all of the stuff that made it such a fun ride to life. It’s one big geek fest celebrating everything that made 80’s Hollywood so magical. And with Spielberg on board I can’t wait. This is going to be one heck of a ride.
I love Westerns. So much of American cinema owes much to the Western, and with this particular entry into the genre we get to watch an indie director and a stellar cast weaving the age old Western tropes (in the most positive sense possible) over 1000 miles of the rugged and notorious American landscape.
- Wrinkle In Time
A childhood favourite, I have been looking forward to A Wrinkle In Time ever since it was first announced. And now that they are promoting the heck out of it my anticipation just keeps growing.
With the subtitle “A New Hero”, this is a tale that jumps straight out of the pages of its ancient subtext. In terms of Biblical narratives I could easily note the long projected The Apostle Paul finally making headway, the epic looking Samson or the curiousity of the oddly marketed Mary Magdalene. But this is the one that really caught my eye. It lives and breathes as a Biblical epic, and inspired by the true story of one man standing against injustice is bound to be a larger than life big screen presence in 2018.
- Please Stand By
From the director of the emotionally rewarding The Sessions, this is a film that celebrates the wonders of geekdom and fandom while also managing to shed light on the challenges of living with autism. It looks to be an important film and a touching film, but even more than that a whole lot of fun.
- A Quiet Place
Three things elevate this film to my top must see list of films. First, I feel like I really want to see just how they handle the plot of this film. It would seem to me a real challenge to centre a film around a group of people who have to be completely silent. Second, I love horror and in a year that will also see Cloverfield: The God Particle, the fantastic looking Winchester and the next installment in the Conjuring universe, The Nun, this is the horror film that seems most unique to me. And lastly, it comes from the director of Away We God, and to say I loved that film is an understatement.
- Road Trip Movies
We don’t get one in 2018, we get two, and so I thought I would highlight both of them. The first is called The Long Dumb Road, a film about two people from different walks of life who happen across each others path and end up on a road trip across the American South. I have long been fascinated by the American South and its culture, so this was a huge buy for me. And it just feels and looks like it has the potential to really hit home on the whole question of equality in a time when this discussion continues to be prominent on the American stage.The second Road Trip movie is called American Folk. In a similar way it follows two strangers who are brought together (in this case from the both of them being stranded), only here theme is music and musicians and the backdrop is 9/11. Again, fascinated and a huge buy.
3 Honorable Mentions:
1. Fast Colour
Gugu Mbatha-Raw is a beast right now, as is bringing together the producer for La La Land and the producer for Jackie. In the case of Raw, following Beauty and the Beast, we can also see her in Cloverfield (can’t wait for that one) and a Wrinkle In time. That’s huge. But this is the film that will truly showcase her in a leading role, telling the story of a woman forced on the run when her superhuman abilities are discovered. It feels very X-Men in story, but decidedly unique and fresh in tone.
2. Maze Runner: The Death Cure
The Scorch Trials really caught me off guard and managed to work its way into being one of my favourite films of that year, or at least the biggest surprise. It is a film that our whole family can get behind which is great, and this final film in the trilogy looks to end on a high note.
3. My honourable mentions could just as easily be another top 12 list in its own right with many competing categories including most anticipated superhero film (Black Panther) and reboot (Oceans 8). But the one I have to include here is Pacific Rim Uprising. This one just looks to be bonkers good, and given how much I enjoyed the first one my expectations are sky high.