Saturday, 13 January 2018

My Most Anticipated 18 of 2018

With the Golden Globes now behind us, the BAFTA nominations just announced and the Oscars heading our way, it is safe to say that we are firmly in the grip of Awards season in the cinematic calendar.
But what about when the dust settles and the last award is handed out... *whispers* to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. What then? What do we all have to look forward to in 2018 at the cinema? Or indeed at home with original content on Netflix et all?
I have looked through the 2018 film slate on Launching Films UK, a great website for anyone looking for confirmed release dates for films getting a cinema release in the UK, and kept tabs on Netflix Originals and have come up with 18 films to tantalise your cinematic tastebuds this year.
(The only stipulation is that they cannot have been nominated for a Golden Globe, BAFTA or Oscar as the majority of them are released in January or early February. Hence why Three Billboards and The Shape Of Water are not on the list).
NB: The list is in chronological order of UK release date.

Black Panther (13/2/18) 

The MCU is always taking risks. Remember the time when they had a space adventure headlined by a talking raccoon and tree monster soundtracked to the hits of the seventies? Marvel Studios have now done Action, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Political Thriller, Heist Movie and Comedy. True, they still haven’t done a female led movie but now it is Blaxploitation time with Black Panther.
When the first trailer hit, you could split the audience demographic into two groups: the ones who saw a LOTR reunion of Bilbo and Gollum (aka white people) and everyone else!
The risk has paid off with Panther selling more advance tickets than Civil War. 2018 is the year of #BlackMoviesMatter.

Annihilation (23/2/18)

There is still some confusion over the UK release of Annihilation as to whether it will be on Netflix or a cinematic release through Paramount but Alex Garland’s follow up to his Oscar-winning Ex_Machina looks like it should be experienced on the big screen if possible.
Assembling an all-star cast with Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson and Natalie
Portman as the biologist who signs up for a exploration mission to discover what happened to her
husband. Anyone who has ever watched a sci-fi film with this premise will know that when it comes to
describing how the mission goes, the likely answer is: not well. Not well for the characters but great for
the audience.

Mute (23/2/18)

This film was actually on my most anticipated list of 2017 but it finally looks as if though Netflix are ready to screen Duncan Jones’s spiritual sequel to Moon and loving ode to films like Blade Runner and
Casablanca to the masses.
Duncan recently announced on Twitter that after 14 years of trying to get it made, audiences will finally get to see his vision realised on the big screen (well I say "big", it really depends on the size of your TV screen to be honest) on the 23rd February.

The Meg (2/3/18)

Definitely the most ridiculous film on this list, The Meg’s inclusion here can be summed up in five words: The Stath versus Giant Shark! Cue Futurama Shut Up And Take My Money meme!

Thoroughbreds (9/3/18)

Anya Taylor-Joy is a star on the rise and this film has a great Millenial Heathers vibe to it with the added bonus of the opportunity to see Anton Yelchin’s last on-screen performance following his tragic death in 2016.

You Were Never Really Here (9/3/18)

Joaquin Phoenix as a New York-set action hero in the vein of Taken and John Wick but directed by Lynne Ramsay and scored by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood? Say no more.

Isle Of Dogs (30/3/18)

A new Wes Anderson film is always reason for excitement but when it is another stop motion animation in the vein of the wonderful adaptation of The Fantastic Mr. Fox and it’s announced that it will open the Glasgow Film Festival on 21st February, excitement levels reach a huge Ca-Nine out of Ten.

Journeyman (30/3/18)

When it comes to this sports drama, it certainly won’t be the British Rocky but more akin to the Southpaw or Warrior in terms of the effect that the sport can have on a family.
Paddy Considine directs and stars in this film which has apparently had critics weeping in the aisles during the credits and it is no real surprise given the talent shown with his equally hard-hitting directorial debut Tyrannosaur.

Ready Player One (30/3/18)

As a child of the Eighties, the novel Ready Player One was tailor-made to appeal to me and I loved the story which was the “Holy Grail of Pop Culture references” so I’m interested in seeing how it translates to the big screen. It has the most iconic film director of the Eighties at the helm in the form of Steven Spielberg but given he has taken out all the references to his own films (and there were many) it is likely to differ quite heavily from the source material and that could be a ultimately be a good thing when it comes to making a VR quest more cinematic.

A Quiet Place (6/4/18) 

A Quiet Place is a film, ironically enough, that I had heard nothing about until a trailer dropped at the end of last year. A wonderfully atmospheric teaser of a family living in a cabin in the woods and forced to live in silence for fear of an unseen terror. It is a fantastic concept along the lines of 2016’s Don’t Breathe but the real draw of this is the pairing of real-life husband and wife team of John Krasinski and Emily Blunt. Plus the added shock at the end of the trailer to find it has been written and directed by Krasinski himself.
As Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained would say “You had my curiosity. Now you have my attention!”

Ghost Stories (20/4/18)

A great horror movie experienced in a cinema with a receptive crowd that responds to the will of the filmmaker and jump, scream and shout as intended is a marvellous thing to be a part of.
So if the film adaptation of Ghost Stories plays anywhere as near as well as it does on stage, then this could be THE breakout British horror film of the year.
Expecting that certain elements of the storytelling will change for the medium of cinema but very, very excited to see this play at the Glasgow Film Festival in February.

Avengers: Infinity War (27/4/18) 

In a year with no shortage of superhero films (The New Mutants, Deadpool 2, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Ant-Man & The Wasp and Aquaman), the daddy of them all is Infinity War.
This is the film that the MCU has been building too ever since Nick Fury told Tony Stark about the Avengers Initiative back in the post-credit sting of Iron Man in 2008.
Also excited to see the Scarlet Witch/Vision storyline set in Edinburgh on the big screen having visited the city during filming and witnessed some of the action being shot on the Royal Mile and Waverley Railway Station.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (8/6/18)

Yes, the first trailer which features the team returning to the island to round up the dinosaurs to take them back to the mainland makes it seem very similar to The Lost World but the director has made assurances that everything in the trailer takes place in the first 50 minutes and it will go to places you won’t expect.
I for one really enjoyed Jurassic World and the real excitement for the film for me, is the director J.A. Bayona who has made the incredible The Orphanage and The Impossible. I will be running in high heels to the cinema to see this one.

Ocean's 8 (22/6/18) 

This is going to be one of the most interesting film releases of 2018 without a doubt. With the current movement in Hollywood towards equality for women in terms of opportunity and pay, there will be a lot of focus on how this all-female sequel/reboot of Ocean’s Eleven will do at the box office.
For there is the spectre of the female Ghostbusters reboot hanging over the film (however I don’t think the male fanbase for Ocean’s Eleven is as vocal or as nasty and mysogynistic). On the flip side, Sandra Bullock is a proven box office draw and despite what Hollywood claims about what audiences want to watch, the Top 3 films at the US Box Office in 2017 had female leads (Star Wars, Beauty & The Beast and Wonder Woman).

Sicario 2: Soldado (29/6/18)

The original Sicario is a film that stands alone as a five star classic (I will continue to say that Denis Villeuneuve, from Prisoners to Blade Runner 2049, has never delivered anything less than a 5 star classic. With streak of 5 films and counting that no other director can currently match).
At the end of the film, I don’t think anyone came out of it saying “I need the sequel now”.
The real drugs war in America however is still continuing and may never be truly over and so the studio have decided to continue the Sicario universe. Emily Blunt was the main character and entry into this world in the original but the sequel focuses on the supporting characters of Josh Brolin’s CIA agent and Benicio Del Toro’s Oscar nominated assassin and with Taylor Sheridan (Hell And High Water, Wind River) returning to script detail, anticipation is as high as the people on the drugs they are trying to eliminate.

The Predator (3/8/18) 

I am going to come out and say it. There has not been a good Alien or Predator film since 1992. In fact, there has not been a great Predator film since 1987. Even more specifically, the only great Predator film starred Shane Black. And the fact that Shane Black has written and directed The Predator does give me hope for this sequel because I absolutely loved Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and The Nice Guys. If he can generate the same level of camaraderie and dialogue from his films and put that into the Predator universe along with some terrific action sequences, we might have reason to shout “RUN, GO. GET TO THE CINEMA!”

Halloween (19/10/18)

I didn’t expect to have a reboot/remake on this list, especially a remake of one of the most greatest and most influential horror films of all time but this one has me rather intrigued.
When David Gordon Green and Danny McBride (the people behind Your Highness) announced they were making a sequel/reboot of Halloween was announced, there was much eye-rolling and snobbery on Twitter.
However when it was announced that this would be a sequel to Halloween II and would forget the other films, eyebrows were raised. Then they announced Jamie Lee Curtis was returning as Laurie Strode and John Carpenter himself would score the film, this suddenly peaked my interest and am genuinely looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

Holmes & Watson (9/11/18)

Full disclaimer: I am a HUGE fan of Step Brothers, so any opportunity to see Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly play off each other on screen is an immediate date in my diary, even if the world isn't screaming out for another adaptation of Sherlock Holmes. But add in support from Ralph Fiennes and Hugh Laurie (who can both do comedy), then this could be one of the surprises of 2018… or it could be another Anchorman 2. The game is afoot!

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