I don’t know that 2017 was the best year for movies, but there were some pearlers. Disney continued to dominate the box office – five of the highest-grossing films came from their stable of superheroes, Jedi and pirate franchises. Disney’s assault continues in 2018, but there are a ton of other gems to keep an eye out for too.
Here’s what we’re excited about.
The status quo looks to be maintained from the Hollywood blockbusters with a raft of sequels and big franchises adding films to their offerings (Disney, we’re looking at you). On the other hand, there are some real interesting fresh IPs that look to bring the goods too.
MARY AND THE WITCH’S FLOWER [January 18]
The first film by Studio Ponoc, which is staffed by a number of ex-Studio Ghibli talent, looks to be a cracker. It’s about Mary, a girl, who finds a witch’s flower, a flower, and then goes to Witch School. Okay, it’s a lot more adventurous than I make it sound and the animation is as captivating as any Studio Ghibli output so put it on the list.
THE SHAPE OF WATER [January 18]
When he’s not smuggling small babies away for Hideo Kojima, Guillermo del Toro is all about the creature features. The Shape of Water has received a lot of early critical praise and looks like a solid return to form for the master storyteller. Also, Pissed Off Old-School Michael Shannon is Best Michael Shannon.
THE COMMUTER [JANUARY 18]
TAKEN. ON A TRAIN. No, that's unfair - this one looks a little more psychological than Neeson's previous efforts but it is still classic Neeson - it's just this time he's pitted against the chillingly cool Vera Farmiga.
BLACK PANTHER [February 15]
In a world saturated with superhero films, somehow Black Panther feels remarkably fresh and different. Whether it’s the props and costumes, the sci-fi jungle aesthetic or the depth of talent in the cast I can’t really tell, because they’re all so engrossing that I feel this could be something special.
ANNIHILATION [February 22]
Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation is a trippy, unnerving tour by an expenditionary team through an abandoned land known as Area X. It’s a good book. In 2018, an adaptation is coming to the big screen via Alex Garland. You might remember Garland as the director behind the sublime Ex Machina and that alone is enough to get me excited, but bringing Natalie Portman and Oscar Isaac in dials up the hype all the way.
RED SPARROW [March 1]
Joel Edgerton may be copping it for Netflix’s Bright but he’s a bloody Aussie icon and can put in a star turn. In Red Sparrow he’s alongside Jennifer Lawrence, a ballerina-turned-spy, that uses her body to seduce and manipulate. Looks to be an unnerving thriller.
A WRINKLE IN TIME [March 9]
This Ava DuVernay helmed adaptation of the 1962 novel of the same name. That novel has had a controversial history – consistently banned in the US since publication – but is considered a sci-fi/fantasy classic with elements of time travel, space exploration and religion. It’s star-studded cast includes Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Oprah Winfrey.
TOMB RAIDER [March 15]
Don’t tell me video game movies are always terrible.
ISLE OF DOGS [March 23]
Doggos. Signature Wes Anderson style. Incredible animation and puppeteering. How can you watch the trailer and not be ready to see this?
EARLY MAN [March 29]
It’s been a while between drinks for Aardman and Nick Park (not counting Shaun The Sheep here guys) so I am real interested in seeing how Early Man stacks up against the classic Wallace & Gromit films. This one is about cavemen, soccer and like most Nick Park films, just having a good old chuckle.
THE NEW MUTANTS [April 13]
Will The New Mutants be Marvel’s (and Fox’s) first superhero horror flick? It’s hard not to think so judging by the trailers. This one kind of bobbed up out of nowhere, but looks to steer the X-Men universe in a different direction. I say Good Luck.
AVENGERS INFINITY WAR [April 25]
The culmination of years worth of world-building, character-building and money-building from the Marvel Cinematic Universe drops in April. With so much talent, it’s hard to see how it can be bad but the trailer isn’t exactly life-changing. It could be very by the numbers – which is all it needs to be to make money, anyway.
SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY [May 24]
Oh god. I had to include this in here because it’s a new Star Wars and I definitely want to see it but I am so worried about this. Had one of the most tumultuous production phases and eventually Ron Howard came in to finish it off. Could be an absolute bomb and five months out from release, we don’t even have a teaser trailer? Trouble. Might be pushed back, especially considering Disney have the expectedly-huge Infinity War only a month before.
DEADPOOL 2 [May 31]
Find someone who hated Deadpool. Like really hated it. Like feel it in the depths of their soul hated it. You can’t.
THE INCREDIBLES 2 [June 14]
JURASSIC PARK: FALLEN KINGDOM [June 22]
Fallen Kingdom, at least from the look of the trailer, can’t wait to remind you that Jurassic Park was a really good movie in the 90’s and you should still care about Jurassic Park today, too. I’ll line up to see it because dinosaurs but man, the trailers give a lot away don’t they? Hoping to still be surprised by it.
THE PREDATOR [August 3]
Shane Black is very good at directing movies. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is one of my all-time favourites and Iron Man 3 – while not universally beloved – did something different for Tony Stark that Marvel were craving at the time. After having been killed off as an actor in the original Predator, Black returns to direct this sorta-sequel. Not a lot of information has trickled out about it, but on pedigree alone this should return the Predator to the upper echelon of movie monsters.
MORTAL ENGINES [December 14]
Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings team unites to take on Reeves’ steampunk series about cities roaming a ravaged Earth. You know it will look great, you know it will be Jackson-epic and you’ll probably have to come back for the next three Christmases just to see how it all ends.