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Joe Boden

60 films to look forward to in 2018 – part 1

Upcoming features to look out for, including new works from Wes Anderson, Ava DuVernay and Jennifer Kent.

With 2017 proving to be such a spectacular year for movies – conceptual horror breaking back into the mainstream, a bounty of stellar animation and a long overdue maturation of the humble comic book movie – 2018 has a lot to live up to. Although there’s definitely more to look forward to than we can reasonably include here, we’ve put together a handy list of 60 films we think are worth getting excited about. Once you’ve perused the full list, check out part two.

1. Isle of Dogs

Eta 30 March

Wes Anderson’s latest tracks the journey of Atari Kobayashi (Koyu Rankin) to the eponymous isle, a wasteland where dogs have been confined to prevent the spread of a canine flu, in order to find his kidnapped dog Spots (Liev Schreiber). The dogs of the island – led by Bryan Cranston’s Chief – assist him in tracking down his captured canine in a film that boasts the same tactile style as Anderson’s previous animated feature Fantastic Mr Fox, and the twee charm that permeates all his work is seemingly front and centre throughout.

2. Annihilation

Eta 23 February

As cerebral and esoteric as you would expect from Alex Garland, his follow up to 2014’s Ex Machina plays its cards characteristically close to its chest during its enigmatic trailer. Natalie Portman stars alongside Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tessa Thompson as the biologist sent on an expedition that turns seven-shades of strange after they encounter anthropomorphic tree-figures and an undulating wall of liquid colour.

3. A Wrinkle in Time

Eta 23 March

Five years after the disappearance of father Chris Pine, Meg Murray and her young brother are sent by three esoteric extraterrestrial beings, along with their classmate Calvin (Levi Miller), on a quest to save their absent parent. He’s located on a bizarre planet that serves as home to all of the universe’s evil energy. Storm Reid heads up proceedings as the tenacious Meg with support from Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon and Oprah Winfrey as the otherworldly Mrs Who, Mrs Whatsit and Mrs Which. After Selma, anything bearing Ava DuVernay’s name is a must-watch.

4. God Particle

Eta 9 February

A team of astronauts are engaged in scientific research aboard a space station when they make a discovery that leads to both their fight for survival and the catalysation of grand repercussions for Earth. It’s a familiar premise, but as the third instalment of the Cloverfield franchise that has only seen improvements since its 2008 inception, it’s one that is more than likely to throw a few joyous curve balls our way.

5. The Nightingale

Eta TBA

Set on the British colonial island of Tasmania in 1825, Jennifer Kent’s follow-up to The Babadook is a period drama about a young woman’s search for the soldier who murdered her family. Accompanied by an aboriginal man, relative newcomer Aisling Franciosi’s Clare must contend with the unexpected threats of the interior as well as coming to terms with what Kent calls the pointlessness of revenge. No UK release date has been set, but with shooting all wrapped up don’t be surprised to see this sometime in 2018.

6. Mary Magdalene

Eta 23 March

Constrained by the hierarchical limitations of her time, Mary Magdalene abandons her family in search of something better. In the process, she stumbles across a social uprising led by the compelling Jesus of Nazareth. Their lives converge on a journey that sets them on the path to Jerusalem. Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix realise the biblical twosome, with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tahar Rahim starring alongside as members of Christ’s evangelical entourage.

7. The Happytime Murders

Eta 17 August

Brian Henson’s return to pioneering puppeteering pictures after 1996’s The Muppet Christmas Carol, The Happytime Murders has revealed relatively little about its tale of marionete murder, in which the cast of an ’80s children show begin to wind up dead. Elizabeth Banks, Maya Rudolph and Joel McHale star, and given the departure from quaint Muppetry we’re more than happy to be strung along a little while longer waiting for more word.

8. The Other Side of the Wind

Eta TBA

There’s something oddly prophetic to the plot of Orson Welles’ The Other Side of the Wind regarding the fate of its similarly monikered bearer. Returning to Hollywood after years of exile in Europe, John Huston’s JJ. Jake Hannaford sets out to craft his magnum opus. Finally coming to screens after wrapping in 1976, Welles’ long delayed and last picture is guaranteed to titillate the palates of cinephiles everywhere. All that remains to be seen is whether it was worth the wait.

9. Mid ’90s

Eta TBA

Jonah Hill’s directorial debut follows Stevie (Sunny Suljic), a young boy growing up in ’90s Los Angeles amidst a group of skateboarders, who must contend with his dependant mother and the abuse suffered at the hands of his elder brother. Time will tell if Hill has the directing chops or not, but a reliable cast featuring Katherine Waterston and Lucas Hedges and the promise of a broader social commentary underlying Hill’s comedic predispositions bode well.

10. Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Eta TBA

Based on Maria Semple’s novel, Richard Linklater’s latest traces daughter Bee’s search for her missing mother and the revelations of her past life that occur during the search. A strong cast including Cate Blanchett, Laurence Fishburne, Kristen Wiig and Billy Crudup aid Linklater in his tackling of the novel’s unconventional piecemeal structure with a slew of capable hands hopefully accounting for the narrative divergences likely being taken. Linklater is a talented enough filmmaker to make a wholly different beast that still manages to pay credence to its written beginnings.

11. Lady Bird

Eta 16 February

Having already enamoured itself with critics and US cinemagoers, Greta Gerwig’s solo debut feature is set to arrive on UK shores in February. Saoirse Ronan puts in a beautifully honest performance as Lady Bird, a young girl growing up in early 2000’s California. After her father is laid off, her mother must work to keep the family afloat whilst her daughter looks to forge her own path away from her family and lacklustre contemporaries by applying for colleges in New York. The film curtails concerns of coming-of-age clichés and stands as a testament to Gerwig’s filmmaking talent.

12. First Man

Eta 2 November

Damien Chazelle directs this retelling of the 1969 mission that led to man setting foot on the moon. Ryan Gosling stars as Neil Armstrong, with Corey Stoll and Lukas Haas making up the remainder of the Apollo crew and Claire Foy adding support as Armstrong’s wife Janet in a film that promises to show us the real people behind this defining moment in human history.

13. If Beale Street Could Talk

Eta TBA

Following his historic Oscar win for Moonlight, writer/director Barry Jenkins is poised to return with an adaptation of James Baldwin’s fifth novel. It tells the story of a Harlem woman to fights to clear her fiancé’s name after he’s wrongly accused of rape. So far Pedro Pascal, Dave Franco and Ed Skrein are signed up, with Kiki Layne starring as Tish and Stephan James as the falsely imprisoned Fonny. Filming is due to wrap early 2018, so we could be looking at a Cannes bow.

14. The Women of Marwen

21 November

After becoming the victim of a visceral attack, Mark Hogancamp (Steve Carell) begins construction on a miniature replica of a World War Two-era town to serve as his therapeutic outlet. The strong supporting cast of Eiza González, Diane Kruger and Gwendoline Christie fill out the remainder of this Robert Zemeckis directed drama.

15. Sorry to Bother You

Eta TBA

Boots Riley directs this culturally relevant tale of a black telemarketer who manipulates his voice to sound white and bolster his rates of success. Featuring performances from veterans David Cross and Terry Crews to the comparably fresh-faced Tessa Thompson and Steven Yeun, and soundtracked by Riley’s own hip-hop veterans The Coup, this one has us excited.

16. Lean on Pete

Eta 16 February

Andrew Haigh’s latest sees the teenage Charley (Charlie Plummer) spending his summer working for a horse trainer, leading to a friendship blossoming between he and waning racehorse Pete. If the horse loses another race he’s to be sold to the slaughterhouse, so Charley sets him loose and the pair traverse the harsh landscape in search of Wyoming and the teen’s lost aunt. Plummer is joined by disillusioned jockey Chloë Sevigny and grizzled trainer Steve Buscemi in this tale of equestrian escape.

17. Foxtrot

Eta TBA

Following a family in Tel Aviv after the discovery that their son has been killed manning a military outpost, Samuel Maoz’s Foxtrot flitters between the turbulent lives of the grieving parents and that of the son they lost in the days before his death. No UK release as of yet, but having won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival and looking a sure-fire for the upcoming Oscars, safe money is on this getting a limited release some time in 2018.

18. Pacific Rim Uprising

Eta 23 March

Guillermo del Toro is on board. He’s producing. The trailer looks… fine. John Boyega is reliable. So that’s good. Rinko Kikuchi is back as Mako Mori. Charlie Day is here. So is Burn Gorman. They were good last time, right? Right. Watching wholly un-self-serious robot versus monster bouting is great. Ignore the fact that DeKnight’s last credit is for creative consultancy on Travel Boobs.

19. I, Tonya

Eta 23 February

I, Tonya centres on the turbulent figure-skating career of Tonya Harding, from her troubled beginnings struggling against a domineering mother, to her later issues with scandal after her husband involves himself in her work. Margot Robbie apparently gives a career-best performance, and whispers of a Goodfellas-esque feel float around the film. Whilst undoubtedly hyperbolas, any comparison to one of Scorsese’s finest is nothing to be sniffed at. Plus the juggalo from It’s Always Sunny plays her bodyguard. So there’s always that.

20. Bad Times at the El Royale

Eta 12 October

Jeff Bridges and Chris Hemsworth play a couple of seemingly suspicious men who arrive at the dilapidated El Royale Hotel on the shores of Lake Tahoe. Drew Goddard of Cabin in the Woods fame writes and directs. Okay, so we don’t have a lot more to go on other than the October release, but Goddard has long since proven his skill in penning an engaging story. Keep this one on the backburner until then decide to tease us out with a trailer.

21. Disobedience

Eta 4 May

Following the death of her estranged Rabbi father, Rachel McAdams’ Esti is compelled to return home to New York, where she develops feelings for a childhood friend. In the process she stirs up controversy amongst the Orthodox Jewish community who object to her desires. One of two films by Sebastián Lelio dropping in 2018 (the other being A Fantastic Woman on 2 March), it looks like being a great year for the Chilean writer/director.

22. The Kid Who Would Be King

Eta 28 September

Mixing Arthurian legend with his deft treatment of coming-of-age story telling, Joe Cornish’s The Kid Who Would be King sees the famed sword Excalibur fall into the hands of schoolboy Lance (Tom Taylor). In order to curtail the ending of the world, he must put it to use against Rebecca Ferguson’s Morgana, all the while receiving tutelage from Merlin. Merlin is played by Patrick Stewart. We’re in.

23. Boy Erased

Eta TBA

After being ‘outed’ to his conservative parents, 19-year-old Garrard (Lucas Hedges) is sent to a gay-conversion centre to mitigate the threat of social ostracisation – both for him and his family – in Joel Edgerton’s interpretation of Garrad Conley’s memoir. Garrard must endure the belittling effects of conversion therapy, as well as a contentious relationship with Edgerton’s camp counsellor. Edgerton demonstrated his directing chops with The Gift; here’s hoping for more of the same.

24.Outlaw King

Eta TBA

Chris Pine shows us his war face as Robert the Bruce, the titular Outlaw King who repelled the expansionist English forces of Edward I. Stephen Dillane is an obvious choice for the conquering King, having cut his teeth with the steely charm of Stannis Baratheon, with James Cosmo, Aaron-Taylor Johnson and Florence Pugh fleshing out the supporting cast. Coming out sometime next year for Netflix, David Mackenzie’s historical epic has enough acting-heft behind it to prevent this descending into schlocky sword-and-sandal fare if he executes is with enough panache.

25. Action Point

Eta 6 April

Written by and starring Johnny Knoxville, Tim Kirkby’s Action Point follows an entrepreneurial daredevil that decides to open a theme park with his friends. With Brigette Lundy-Paine and Dan Bakkedahl, and Jackass alumni Chris Pontius on board, you know just what to expect from this Dickhouse comedy. And that’s no bad thing.

26. Mary Shelley

Eta 6 July

The story of the story that inspired Frankenstein. Elle Fanning and Douglas Booth play the two star-crossed lovers, whose assignations inspired Shelley to start work on her seminal novel. In Wadjda, Haifaa Al-Mansour gave us an affecting drama that never fell overboard into the gooey waters of saccharinity. With Shelley herself such a watchable figure, and the strong supporting cast of Maisie Williams, Bel Powley and Stephen Dillane, it doesn’t look like this is going to be a problem for Al-Mansour.

27. Incredibles 2

Eta 13 July

Picking up from their confrontation with The Underminer, Pixar’s most demanded follow up reintroduces us to the Parr family as they contend with a new menace to the sanctity of their family and the burdens of day-to-day childcare. Holly Hunter, Craig T Nelson and Samuel L Jackson all reprise their roles as the charismatic leads of Brad Bird’s superhero sequel, while fan-favourite Edna Mode makes a welcome return to the Pixar pantheon.

28. Halloween

Eta 19 October

His first foray into horror, David Gordon Green’s… reboot? Conclusion? The upcoming whateveritmaybe to John Carpenter’s seminal slasher features a return from scream-queen stalwart Jamie Lee Curtis and a turn from series newcomer Judy Greer as daughter to Curtis’ Laurie Strode in their quest to finally vanquish Michael Myers. The Halloween sequels have been a mixed bag at best, but we’re cautiously optimistic about this one.

29. Ocean’s Eight

Eta 22 June

Wanting to pull off a daring robbery of the New York Met Gala, Lou (Cate Blanchett) assembles a crew of similarly minded crooks including Anne Hathaway, Sandra Bullock and Helena Bonham Carter to aid with the heist. Series veteran Matt Damon makes an appearance, hinting that others from the series may make their unexpected returns. With the wealth of talent on show, and the simple allure of a well-executed heist-movie, this reimagining looks poised for summer success.

30. Mute

Eta TBA

Alexander Skarsgård plays the mute Leo, a man on the search for his missing girlfriend in a neon-tinged future Berlin. Low on clues, two American surgeons – Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux – provide the only indications as to where to begin his journey. Duncan Jones has described Mute as his spiritual sequel to Moon, so you’ll understand why we’re more than a little bit excited.

Now read part two of our bumper 2018 preview.

Published 1 Jan 2018

Tags: David Gordon Green Greta Gerwig Jennifer Kent Richard Linklater Wes Anderson

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