With 2017 nearing its close and another strong year in film with many memorable releases, let’s take a look at what films 2018 has to offer! As usual, there are a variety of sequels, franchise pieces and originals. Please note that I will be following the UK release date calendar and I will preview 2018 through each month.
Starting with January, there are obviously a lot of Awards Contenders. On New Year’s Day, writer Aaron Sorkin makes his directorial debut with Molly’s Game. Jessica Chastain in the lead role as the titular character, a true story of a woman who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker games in Los Angeles and New York for nearly a decade before being arrested by the FBI. I’ve always been a fan of Sorkin’s scripts, particularly The Social Network and Steve Jobs. Reviews so far are very positive and I’m very excited to see how Sorkin finds the leap up to the director’s chair.
January 5th sees both the releases of All The Money In The World and Hostiles. These are both films that look extremely interesting, the former the latest film by Ridley Scott who most famously replaced Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer in a key role extremely late into post-production. I’ll be interested to see how Plummer fares and with reviews positive so far, it’ll be refreshing to see Scott back to form after the middling Alien: Covenant. I’m also very excited for Hostiles as it’s the new film by Scott Cooper – firstly, I loved both Out of the Furnace and Black Mass which he has previously directed. Secondly, Cooper has assembled another winner of a cast with Christian Bale in the lead role and other greats such as Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi and Ben Foster. Finally, it is a Western, one of my favourite genres and with the genre being revitalised over the past decade, I hope Cooper can further join the bandwagon.
January 12th is an ever busier week with the Winston Churchill biopic, Darkest Hour which Gary Oldman’s performance has been highly commended. Moving away from Awards fare, Insidious: The Last Key is also scheduled for release and I really like the first three films and I hope a change in crew doesn’t impact this film for the worst. January is often infamous for beginning with some bad horror films and I hope this bucks the trend. The film that I am most looking forward to this week is Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, the latest by playwright Martin McDonagh, one of my favourite directors and I have loved both In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths. With reviews even better than these two criminally underrated films and Awards attention, I cannot wait to see this film.
January 19th sees the release of Coco, the latest Pixar effort which electrified the box office and audiences in the US and which will hopefully see a return for them after the disappointing Cars 3 last year. The Post is also due for release, the latest Steven Spielberg film which could be interesting – hopefully it will be more in the vein of Bridge of Spies than The BFG. Finally, The Commuter is the latest Liam Neeson action vehicle which should be good, throwaway fun.
The final week of January has Downsizing, the new Alexander Payne film on the schedule and Last Flag Flying, the new Richard Linklater film, both of which could be good.
Moving into February, the first week sees the release of Phantom Thread, Winchester and Roman J. Israel, Esq. Phanthom Thread looks the best out of the three, the new film directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and supposedly the final performance of Daniel Day-Lewis. Both have done great work together in the past with the electrifying There Will Be Blood so I’m excited to see what these two geniuses have in store for this final effort. Winchester is a horror film, directed by The Spierig Brothers who made Jigsaw last year. Whilst that film didn’t recieve the best reviews, I do find their work genuinely interesting and thoughtful so here’s hoping Winchester is more in the vein of some of their previous work. Roman J. Israel, Esq. is the follow-up film by Tony Gilroy to Nightcrawler, which I absolutely loved. This doesn’t look great from its marketing to be honest and I’m not a great fan of Denzel Washington, but let’s wait and see.
Moving on, whilst I’m not interested in it, the final part of E.L. Grey’s Fifty Shades of Grey film, Fifty Shades Freed will be released, I suspect to terrible reviews again. More positive however should be The 15:17 to Paris, the latest film by Clint Eastwood which is based on a true story and uses the real people to perform as themselves. Whilst currently untitled, a Cloverfield film is scheduled for release and hopefully like with the exemplary 10 Cloverfield Lane, we should begin to learn some details soon.
Other original films this month include The Mercy, a biopic of amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst and his disastrous attempt and subsequent cover-up of his failure to complete the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race in 1968. Annihilation is Alex Garland’s follow-up to Ex_Machina which I loved.
Greta Gerwig’s critically acclaimed Lady Bird will be released in February which has a rare 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes at this time of writing and the ever-reliable Guillermo Del Toro’s Awards-tipped The Shape of Water also sees release.
We also see the first comic-book film this month with Marvel’s Black Panther which will be particularly good for diversity as we follow Chadwick Boseman’s titular character after first being introduced in Captain America: Civil War. It is directed by Ryan Coogler, so we hopefully should be in for a treat.
With most of the Awards films out of the way, March looks to be quite a quiet month. I’m most looking forward to You Were Never Really Here, the latest film by Lynne Ramsay after really liking We Need To Talk About Kevin and a follow-up has been long overdue. It has recieved great reviews and has Joaquin Phoenix in the lead.
Red Sparrow could be good as it is directed by Francis Lawrence, who directed the majority of The Hunger Games films and stars Jennifer Lawrence, fresh off her turn from mother!. As could Mary Magdalene which is Garth Davis’ follow-up to Lion last year and stars Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix again and perhaps most excitedly, will be scored by the talented Johann Johannsson. Finally Isle of Dogs, which is directed by Wes Anderson, who I have been rather sniffy on in the past but really liked The Grand Budapest Hotel which saw Awards success. iIf you haven’t noticed already, the beginning of 2018 sees a trend of a lot of director-driven material, which is very exciting to see based on the strengths of their previous works.
Whilst Logan opened the big-budget fare in true style last year, I don’t think the same will be the case with Tomb Raider, which looks poor from its first trailer and Peter Rabbit looks even worse. We do get the sequel to Guillermo Del Toro’s underrated Pacific Rim though later in the month, however he doesn’t direct it. I hope it’s good but I’m a little trepidatious towards its first trailer so far. This is the same with Ready Player One, another film by Steven Spielberg who has clearly been busy with The Post back in January, but we’ll see.
From April and onwards, the films of 2018 seem a little more clouded as we don’t have much to judge them on so far in terms of trailers or marketing but two films that I am looking forward to are both comic-book fare.
First of all, The New Mutants which is the latest X-Men film and like Deadpool and Logan, this film also looks to be ambitious in terms of subverting the genre as the materials from the film so far seem to suggest this will be a horror film. This prospect seems very exciting and it’s good to see comic-book films continue to innovate the genre.
On the 27th, we get Avengers: Infinity War which is the culmination of all the Marvel films so far, which should be extremely exciting for obvious reasons. I have faith that Anthony and Joe Russo can do justice to these characters and the first trailer that was released earlier this year was certainly promising.
May looks to be an even quieter month so far, but it should see the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story. This is the second Anthology film after Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and follows the titular character so famously played by Harrison Ford in the past, a younger iteration by Hail Caesar!‘s Alden Ehrenreich. The film has experienced some turbulence behind-the-scenes with Phil Lord and Christopher Miller originally due to direct and they shot a lot of the film only to leave due to creative differences and be replaced by Ron Howard. We’ll have to wait and see the result but the similar issues behind-the-scenes with Rogue One were not to that film’s detriment.
June is where things pick up a bit and straight at the beginning of the month on the 1st, the highly anticipated Deadpool 2 will be released. The first Deadpool went down very strongly with critics and audiences. I was less warm on it and found it rather obnoxious, but I’m still eager to see it regardless, particularly with the hiring of director David Leitch who co-directed the first John Wick. The action sequences, bar the first extended one, were where the first film suffered, so this should help it in this respect at the very least.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is due for release the second week. Like with Deadpool, I was also a little disappointed with its predecessor but with J. A. Bayona replacing Colin Trevorrow as director, I’m hoping the film will be more ambitious. Bayona directed A Monster Calls last year which had some gorgeous visuals, so this also sounds promising for the sequel.
Ocean’s 8 comes out towards the end of the month, a reboot-cum-sequel that follows a group of women perform a heist as opposed to Steven Soderbergh’s male-driven predecessors.
But, my ultimate pick of the month is on the 29th June when Sicario 2: Soldado will be released. I loved Denis Villeneuve’s first film back in 2015 and whilst I never expected it would warrant another revisit, if done right, this could be great. Unfortunately, Villeneuve isn’t returning to direct, instead passing duties onto Italian director Stefano Sollima. Writer Taylor Sheridan is, however, and on the strengths of his previous works, most recently Wind River, I have faith in this.
Whilst July is normally the peak of the Summer season, at first glance, the only film that I’m really interested in is The Incredibles 2, the second Pixar film of 2018. I loved the 2004 original, so I’m really hoping this sequel can deliver.
Other films releasing this month include Alita: Battle Angel, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again and Mision Impossible 6 which all should do good business but I’m not particularly that interested in them myself.
August picks up from July with The Predator and Ant-Man and the Wasp. The Predator is the fourth installment in the franchise and whilst details are fairly scarce so far, I really think Shane Black as a director is good and it will be interesting to see what he does with the material. The cast is also strong so far, comprising of Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key and Jacob Tremblay. Fingers crossed it’s good.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is the sequel to Ant-Man and the first film after the deliriously anticipated Avengers: Infinity War releasing earlier in the year. It will be interesting to see how this film ties into the events of Infinity War and it will make a nice juxtaposition having this character on a smaller scale compared to the ensemble that Infinity War promises to have.
Christopher Robin also releases this month, and the central premise of an older Christopher Robin meeting his childhood friends should make for a nostalgic watch. Ewan McGregor and Hayley Atwell star.
Nothing is currently scheduled for release in September, but September is normally a good month where the preliminary Awards contenders emerge, so watch this space.
October picks things up again, firstly with Venom at the beginning of the month, a spin-off from Spider-Man starring Tom Hardy in the titular role. We then get Johnny English 3 which should be good on the strengths of how much I enjoyed the first two.
After making his directorial debut with Breathe last year, Andy Serkis’ long-overdue Jungle Book film, Mowgli, arrives on-screen. It will take a lot to beat Jon Favreau’s 2016 version but I’m confident Serkis will impress.
On Halloween, we get the tenth sequel to John Carpenter’s classic, Halloween. This sequel is said to ignore the nine other sequels and try to be the scariest of them all. We’ll see if that’s the case but at least they’re trying. In the final week, The Girl In The Spider’s Web will be released which is the 4th book in the series and will be directed by Fede Alvarez. I loved David Fincher’s 2011 film and whilst it’s a shame he didn’t make any of the sequels, at least we get to hopefully re-experience this authentic world again.
November picks up yet again with big-budget fare and the beginning of the month sees the third X-Men film of the year, X-Men: Dark Phoenix release. This is a sequel to the terrible X-Men: Apocalypse, so my expectations are currently low.
Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly reteam in Holmes and Watson, which I think they are perfectly casted. With Ralph Fiennes as Moriarty and Hugh Laurie as Mycroft, this should be a great comedy and subversion on Arthur Conan Doyle’s Detective.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is also scheduled for release which I am really looking forward to and was very impressed with Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them in 2016. November ends with the sequel to Wreck-It Ralph which I also enjoyed, Ralph Breaks The Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2.
This December is the first one in a while without a tentpole Star Wars film but there is a large selection of films to offer this month for example the Peter Jackson produced Mortal Engines and the animated Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse.
Most exciting is perhaps Aquaman, which I’m hoping will be a return to form for the DCEU after Justice League. James Wan is a brilliant director and I think he suits the material perfectly.
Mary Poppins Returns is also due for release and even more interestingly, Bohemian Rhapsody, the Queen biopic which has receieved a turbulent production thus far. With Dexter Fletcher recently announced to replace Bryan Singer, here’s hoping this long awaited film finally gets on the right track.
Unscheduled 2018 Films
As usual, there are a number of films that are due for release this year, but do not currently have a specific release date.
The Purge: The Island is due for release this year, as is a new Robin Hood film starring Taron Egerton. The Nun is the latest film in The Conjuring series. I really liked Annabelle: Creation this year and I think the series which has been spearheaded by James Wan, is going from strength to strength.
Joel Edgerton is back in the director’s chair with Boy Erased after directing The Gift in 2015, my second favourite film of that year. I’m hoping he can impress again.
S. Craig Zahler returns after seriously impressing with his first two films with Dragged Across Concrete. He reteams with his Brawl In Cell Block 99 star, Vince Vaughn who continues to reinvent his career and also Mel Gibson. Plot details are rather scarce at the moment but I’m sure this is a film that cannot be missed.
2018 looks like another strong year for film. As usual, the films that end up being my favourite of the year are ones that generally don’t tend to be on my horizon and often take me by surprise.
What are your thoughts? What are you looking forward to? Let me know in the comments or tweet @TheFilmMeister