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The 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2018

07 January 2018 | Features, Film Lists | by Conor Lochrie

2017, it’s fair to say, was a tumultuous year for cinema, or rather Hollywood cinema. Titans of the industry came crashing down under the force of a welcome sea change; Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, to name 2, should not feature in the cinematic landscape this coming year.

2018, then, will be a key year for cinema going forward, but judging by the upcoming releases we know about, there is much hope. It will be a banner year for blockbusters, with the Han Solo Star Wars spinoff arriving in May and the much-anticipated Avengers: Infinity War expected at the end of the year.

Outside the big box office hitters, there are welcome returns from many auteurs who have taken a few years out; other new filmmakers of recent note are not resting on their sudden success and are aiming to win acclaim and plaudits again.

The following list features 10 of the most exciting releases for cinema lovers, followed by a few honourable mentions. It’s certainly looking like a strong year.

 

10. Sunset

Laszlo Nemes created one of the most ambitious and assured debut features in 2015 with Son of Saul. It was a portrayal of the Holocaust in a new and unflinchingly raw way. This time round his focus has retreated to the First World War: set in Budapest a year before the outbreak of war, a young orphan finds out that she has a brother, which soon leads to dark, uncovered secrets.

Nemes has described the film as both a coming-of-age film and a thriller, and the mixing of these two genres should make for interesting viewing. That Nemes didn’t seek out opportunities abroad after the discovery of his singular vision in Son of Saul speaks to the director’s ideals.

Nemes feels like a filmmaker who knows what he wants to shoot and write about. Son of Saul won both the Grand Prix at Cannes and the Best Foreign Language Oscar so expectations will naturally be high for this film; that his co-writer and cinematographer from the Son of Saul are returning also gives hope that these can be matched.

 

9. If Beale Street Could Talk

It was a travesty that it took eight years for Barry Jenkins to be given the opportunity to follow up his debut feature, Medicine for Melancholy (2008), but when the poetic masterpiece Moonlight (2016) finally arrived, it was worth the wasted years.

Luckily, he hasn’t needed to wait quite as long to follow that film up: his long-discussed adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel of the same name received the necessary funding with no hesitation after the acclaim and awards lavished on Moonlight. It feels like the perfect combination of source material and director.

Jenkins has clearly long been a fan of Baldwin, and the great African-American writer has been prominent in cinema recently, with the excellent documentary I Am Not Your Negro released in 2016. The story of a pregnant woman in Harlem who desperately searches for the needed evidence to absolve the father of her unborn child of the rape he’s been falsely accused of, it’s another narrative like Moonlight’s replete with challenging and powerful details.

The cast doesn’t feature any star performers like that previous film, too, allowing hopefully for the discovery of more new acting talent. Perhaps most importantly, the man responsible for the haunting visions of sea and city in Moonlight, James Laxton, is returning for this film; his star firmly risen like his partner director. One hopes that Jenkins can prove that Moonlight wasn’t an isolated incident, that a new minority voice of note and power has been discovered; If Beale Street Could Talk may be the picture to do just that.

 

8. Widows

Steve McQueen has garnered a rightful reputation as an auteur of weighty arthouse pictures. His first 3 feature films looked at, in order: a hunger strike for political reasons in 1980’s Northern Ireland; alienating sex addiction; and the slave trade in 1840’s North America. His consistency in making such powerful films based on controversial subject matters is what makes the choice for his next piece quite surprising.

This year’s Widows is a heist thriller about the widows of 4 killed armed robbers who decide to finish the job their husbands couldn’t complete. It’s based on an obscure British television drama from 1983. It will be mightily interesting to see what McQueen gathers from this source material and what he moulds it into.

It’s notable that Gillian Flynn is co-writing the screenplay: her screenplay for Gone Girl (2014) based on her own novel was one of the strongest thriller films in recent memory. That time she worked with David Fincher, a master of suspense and thrillers; what McQueen’s art and style sensibilities bring to the narrative will decide its success. If nothing else, Widows finally presents the chance to see Viola Davis as an armed criminal.

 

7. Roma

Alfonso Cuarón has been at the forefront of Hollywood filmmaking during the 21st century, with films like Children of Men (2006) and Gravity (2013) earning high praise and high awards. It will be refreshing for audiences, and for him too, to return to his roots and his home country for his latest film. The last time he made such a move was in 2001 with the rejuvenating experience of Y Tu Mamá También (2001), the classic Mexican road trip drama.

Everything about the project feels like calculated to be a welcoming release for Cuarón. Focusing on a year in the life of a middle-class Mexican family in Mexico City in the 1970’s, it features a small, unknown cast and no discernable genre; it couldn’t be further from the grand spectacle of 2013’s Gravity.

That’s not to say that it’s merely an inconsequential indie film, however: it’s been shot on 70mm for one thing, and its story seems like it could be very personal for its creator. Expectations will be lowered for Roma, but director’s at Cuarón’s level are fully deserving of the opportunity to make personal projects like this. When the magnitude of Hollywood productions are removed, it gives us the chance, hopefully, to learn more about the people behind these films.

 

6. First Man

After the runaway success of 2016’s inescapable La La Land, Damien Chazelle, the youngest Academy Award Best Director Winner ever, at 32, would have had Hollywood at his feet. After the ambitiousness and size of his previous effort, a love letter to musicals and Hollywood, perhaps it’s less surprising that the director has ventured into space in search of new material.

First Man is a biographical drama, based on the book of the same name, about the life of astronaut Neil Armstrong. It will focus on the true story of NASA’s mission to land on the moon, and how Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the alien surface. Chazelle is reuniting with La La Land‘s Ryan Gosling, hoping this will yield similar results; perhaps also a sign that this won’t be a straight biopic with such a ubiquitous star appearing as Armstrong.

There are similarities here with Steve McQueen and his Widows project: in all his previous work, Chazelle has explored musicality, be it Hollywood’s love affair with musicals in La La Land, or drumming in contemporary jazz in 2014’s Whiplash. Shorn of this aspect, it will be interesting to see how far Chazelle’s directing talents extend.

 

 

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  • David

    Really??? Where’s “The Irishman”???? Scorsese, De Niro, Pacino, Pesci, Keitel, Cannavale, Romano, Paquin. How’s that film not on this list??????????????

    • Daniel Day-Lewis

      Wrong year. The Irishman will be released in 2019.

    • Kosta Jovanovic

      Next year

    • David

      BTW It’s early 2019 on Netflix and late 2018 as a theatrical release for awards consideration. Basically it’s still a 2018 film.

  • Zwei

    “the poetic masterpiece Moonlight”

  • Lucas Corsi

    You Were Never Really Here?

    • It’s technically a 2017 film.

      • Lucas Corsi

        But just release in French

  • Ricardo Correia

    Great 1st pick
    I would add Gus Van Sant’s Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foto and Birds of Passage

  • Wyatt W.B

    Cool list, I would also add “Backseat”, Adam McKay’s new Dick Cheney biopic starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Sam Rockwell and Steve Carrel. If it’s half as good as “The Big Short”, I’m in!

  • M. W.

    The 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2018 directed only by men.

    • grootrm

      Please refrain from making sexist comments on a site about the love of movie making and watching

      • Brandon Thompson

        We’ll stop calling out sexism once it’s a thing we can confidently put behind us.

        • Bergkamp

          This is not the place for this type of comments.
          This ain’t the golden globes.

          • Brandon Thompson

            Trying to silence people make you part of the problem.

          • lamarkeith

            Trying to alert against and ridicule others when they arbitrarily fail to include a demographic for inclusion’s sake — feeling as though other people should revise their personal favorite lists and general taste to include other demographics even if it means sacrificing choices they personally favor more compared to others — makes you part of the problem.

          • Brandon Thompson

            None of my favourite films of 2017 were directed by women and it upsets me that I didn’t have more opportunities to see films directed by women. I certainly tried to rewatch films by women but there are no where enough. I don’t want women in the conversation for inclusion sake. I want them in the conversation to help combat the ongoing abuse they suffer and get their voice heard.

          • lamarkeith

            That’s nice, but it also has nothing to do with implying a writer or their work is sexist simply because women did not make an appearance in a list of personal choices. Singling out individual film commentators and pointing to sexism everytime women go unmentioned is just ignoring countless different factors (both subjective and objective) in favor of making galactic leaps just to give your co-conspirators a big moral high five.

    • UltraModerate

      OK, I’ll bite: What movies directed only by women are you anticipating?

  • moss

    Suspiria’s been cancelled, according to Luca Guadanino

    • Clean Sanchez

      Good

    • UltraModerate

      Where are you getting that? I’m looking at an article from less than two weeks ago that says he’s still on board to make it.

  • CatKitten Amy

    High Life Claire Denis
    New Film by Maren Ade
    Widow – Neil Jordan
    Peterloo – Mike Leigh
    Parayste – Park Chan Wook
    Naomi Kawase New Film
    Ang Lee – Gemini
    Radegund – Malick

  • lamarkeith

    “It was a travesty that it took eight years for Barry Jenkins to be given the opportunity to follow up his debut feature […] it was worth the wasted years”

    I’m not sure what kind of sensational fantasy you’re trying to conjure up here, but none of this implies an iota of truth. Jenkins was given incredible opportunities between those two films — he was offered several huge multi-million dollar budget films to direct and turned them down because he wanted to focus on developing pet projects; he was later put on Focus’ payroll just to sit around and create his own ideas and work on personal scripts to try and get produced (along with dozens of others in his same position). The vast majority of smaller budget hopeful films (and most studios in general), including Jenkins’ in-progress proposals, never saw fruition due to the afterglow of the 2008 recession. (Given that climate, it’s even more miraculous that Jenkins was given those opportunities at the time.)

    And as for “wasted years”, Jenkins was working quite a bit in film and entertainment outside of developing his own work on the side. He actually dismisses the notion brought up by people like yourself: “People either ignore that those other things exists or they act like they don’t count, […] But I wasn’t just sitting the corner.”

  • lamarkeith

    Another needed correction in this article concerning the section on Barry Jenkins:

    “…his long-discussed adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel of the same name received the necessary funding with no hesitation after the acclaim and awards lavished on Moonlight.”

    He had the necessary funding back when he started the adaptation while working for Focus — what he didn’t have was the rights to the story. He couldn’t secure the rights because of his relatively unknown status at the time, especially since he was pushing to direct it himself. Even after being turned down for the rights, he continued drafting its script for over a year with colleagues and by himself. Once Moonlight broke through, the rights owners felt justified in handing the story over.

  • Bergkamp

    What would be the movies that you guys can recommend the most from James Ivory? I’ve only seen The remains of the day.