When it comes down to it, 2018 might legitimately have a nuclear war started by a rogue tweet. And after millions are dead, the war would undoubtedly end with the fall of American exceptionalism, the destruction of nearly 80 years of American political dominance, and would probably result in the rise of a Chinese-led empire.
I, however, prefer to keep things light and fluffy. And I choose to do that by sticking my head in the sand and asking myself: “Hmmmm, I wonder what’s good at the cinema this year?”
What’s it about? : Set at the dawn of time, when prehistoric creatures and woolly mammoths roamed the earth, Early Man tells the story of Dug, along with sidekick Hognob as they unite his tribe against the mighty enemy, Lord Nooth and his Bronze Age City, to save their home.
A fun way to kick off the year will be the newest release from the minds that brought us Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run. Though critically and box office-wise, Aardman Animations have been hit or miss, I’ve always found them to be great storytellers and excellent purveyors of British comedy.
The God Particle
What’s it about? : After a scientific experiment aboard the space station involving a particle accelerator has unexpected results, the astronauts find themselves isolated. Following their horrible discovery, the space station crew must fight for survival.
A holdover from my 2017 list, The God Particle was revealed to be a secret Cloverfield 3. Even though the worldwide release is meant to be 30 days from now (Feb 2nd), there’s been no sign of a trailer, poster or any other form of advertising. I’m still not sure which title it’ll even be released under!
But with the insanely good cast of David Oyelowe, Daniel Brühl, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Elizabeth Debicki, I’m sure we’ll get a damn good sci-fi film.
[UPDATE 3/1/18: Slashfilm now report that the film has been pushed back to March]
The New Mutants
What’s it about? : Five young mutants, just discovering their abilities while held in a secret facility against their will, fight to escape their past sins and save themselves.
Across Hollywood there are arguably only four actual cinematic universes: Marvel, DC, Star Wars and X-men. While it’s indisputable that Marvel are the top dogs, there might be some debut as to who is second.
I, however, am of the opinion that second place belongs to Fox and their X-men universe. Mainly because of the risks they are willing to take. In Logan we recieved a haunting tale of an old, useless superhero in the old west; while Deadpool took that R-rating and ran with it like no other film before.
And in The New Mutants, the choice to take the horror approach is just as exciting and suggests there are plenty of new avenues for the X-men franchise to explore.
White Boy Rick
What’s it about? : The true story of teenager Richard Wershe Jr., who became an undercover informant for the FBI during the 1980s, and was ultimately arrested for drug-trafficking and sentenced to life in prison.
While stories about a normal individual becoming an undercover informant for the FBI have been somewhat done to death; what if said informant was only 14 years old?
That apparently is the true story of Richard Wershe Jr. (played by Richie Merritt, not Matthew McConaughey, despite the above photo!) A young boy caught up in events far beyond his control, this sounds like an amazing new approach to the crime/thriller genre.
What’s it about? : A story of survival and friendship between a young boy and a wild wolf set 20,000 years ago during the last Ice Age.
Here’s the thing. While I am looking forward to this movie, me buying a ticket depends entirely on the direction they take it. Will it be like Apocalypto? A stunning cinematic achievement, unafraid to ignore long-held assumputions of what would be paletable to a modern-day audience. Or will it be like 10,000 BC? In other words, yet another big budget blockbuster with a stunted excuse for a script?
What’s it about? : A shy teenager falls for someone who transforms into another person every day
Based on the novel of the same name by David Levithan, Every Day has the weird premise of a girl starting a relationship with a boy whose (soul?) jumps into multiple bodies.
Maybe it’ll be the next Fault in our Stars. Maybe it won’t. Either way, at least it’s a decent attempt at original(ish) sci-fi.
A Tale of Two Coreys
What’s it about? : The story of teen heartthrobs Corey Feldman and Corey Haim, whose lives were forever changed by the glitz, glamour, and the darker side of show business.
The world lost a great actor when Corey Haim tragically died of pneumonia at age 38 in 2010. While I am really looking forward to seeing what seems to be a very personal story, as it’s a technically a TV movie, I suppose the darker aspects of these two boys lives might be overlooked. Nonetheless, I’m sure it’ll be an interesting look at the rise and fall of two of Hollywood’s heartthrobs.
Born a King
What’s it about? : A true coming-of-age story about Faisal, a 14 year old teenage Arab prince, who is dispatched from Arabia to London by his father on a high stakes diplomatic mission to secure the formation of his country.
Like the above White Boy Rick, Born a King arguably has a story that has been done to death, but this time stars a 14 year old boy.
Not only that, but the film has a lot riding on it, being that it is (according to the producers) the first ever western film project to have shot in Saudi Arabia; and will also be the first film Saudi Arabian audiences will see after the 35-year cinema ban is lifted this March.
So no pressure guys.
What’s it about? : A look at the life of the astronaut, Neil Armstrong, and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969.
Fresh off La La Land, Damien Chazelle takes a hard left into biographical territory with a new film about Neil Armstrong. It’s difficult to say if there’s anything new to be told about the story of the first man on the moon. After nearly 50 years, surely all the stories have been told by now?
It’ll be interesting to see if Chazelle’s directing skill extends to the non-musical, but at least he’ll have the familiar face of Ryan Gosling in the lead role to help him out.
What’s it about? : The story of Dick Cheney, the most powerful Vice President in history, and how his policies changed the world as we know it.
You just know Christian Bale isn’t wearing a fat suit in that picture above, don’t you?
Say what you will about the man and being “done professionally” with his crew, Bale has never been one to shy away from throwing himself, body and mind, into whatever role he was playing. And as the face of the “War on Terror” for nearly the entire Bush Administration, Dick Cheney must be quite the role to get your teeth into.
What’s it about? : A scientist becomes obsessed with bringing back his family members who died in a traffic accident.
This might be the only film in my life that I want to see purely because the trailer was so utterly confusing! Yes, Keanu Reeves loses his family in a car crash, that much I got.
But the trailer suggests that he brings them back through cloning, then robotic implantation, and then VR interactions. Gotta give the filmmakers credit for throwing everything at the wall to see what would stick!
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
What’s it about? : An advertising executive jumps back and forth in time between 21st century London and 17th century La Mancha, where Don Quixote mistakes him for Sancho Panza.
Has any other film had such a prolonged journey to the silver screen? I mean, pre-production technically started in 1998, and over the next 17 years the production would collapse 8 times!
So it must have been a sigh of relief when director Terry Gilliam announced on 4th June 2017 that filming has finally been completed. I can’t wait to see what Gilliam has in store for us.
What’s it about? : A mute bartender goes up against his city’s gangsters in an effort to find out what happened to his missing partner.
The second holdover from my 2017 list, it’ll be good to see what Duncan Jones has up his sleeve in his first film after the disaster that was Warcraft (though, interestingly, it’s still the highest grossing video game movie of all time).
According to Jones himself, he sees this film as a spiritual sequel to 2009’s Moon. It’s only a shame that it’s now a Netflix exclusive, meaning getting to watch it on the big screen will be all the more difficult.
On the Basis of Sex
What’s it about? : The story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her struggles for equal rights and what she had to overcome in order to become a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
Felicity Jones absolutely deserves this chance at a high profile lead (Yes, I know she’s done Star Wars!). But since she usually plays wives, girlfriends and mothers; it’ll be good to see her take on such a strong role in American political history. Hopefully she’s got her American accent down!
The Professor and the Madman
What’s it about? : Professor James Murray begins work compiling words for the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary in the mid 19th century. However, he soon receives over 10,000 entries from a patient at Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, Dr William Minor.
While I am looking forward to this film, I don’t hold out much hope for it making an appearance on the big screen. Having been shot in 2016, the film has unfortunately been mired in legal trouble, preventing it from being released.
It’s all the more unfortunate because, in an interesting twist, the full script is available online due to it needing to be submitted as an exhibit in a legal case. Having read the screenplay (and assuming the final film sticks fairly close to it), I think The Professor and the Madman could be one of the most entertaining films of 2018.
A Quiet Place
What’s it about? : A family lives an isolated existence in utter silence, for fear of an unknown threat that follows and attacks at any sound.
I’m not really a huge fan of the horror genre, but this truly sounds exceptional. A film where a family must stay in utter silence because a supernatural evil is attracted to sound? And the mother is pregnant? Talk about a ticking time bomb! It’s like Speed if it was a horror film!
What’s it about? : A manic Roman Catholic family prepare for the death of their dying patriarch
Wow, now I haven’t seen Brian Dennehy on screen since I saw him in one episode of The West Wing. I honestly thought he was dead! Thank god he isn’t because this looks like a film that promises to bring out Dennehy’s sarcastic side. Add in strong support from Lesley Ann Warren and J.K. Simmons, and I can only imagine it’ll be fun for all the family!
What’s it about? : After boxer Matty Burton suffers a serious head injury during a fight, he must deal with the impact this has on his marriage, his life and and his family.
This wasn’t on my radar at first, but a friend of mine was lucky enough to see an early screening and, based on his raving, this might be the film to watch out for.
Paddy Considine is absolutely the main man here. His directorial debut back in 2011 was Tyrannosaur, a film that would go on to win the BAFTA and earn critical acclaim.
Now in Journeyman, he returns as writer, director and lead actor in what could give him his BAFTA hat-trick.
Avengers: Infinity War
What’s it about? : The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.
And we come to the daddy of 2018. Coming 10 years after Iron Man and with a confirmed cast of at least 30 main characters from across the previous 18 Marvel movies, Avengers: Infinity War might legitimately be the biggest film ever made. Brace yourselves people.