2018: More Superheroes, More Dinosaurs, More Sequels, More Reboots…

January 10, 2018
On paper, it looks like 2018 at the movies might be more of the same…but with a few new wrinkles to hopefully keep things interesting.

LOTS MORE SUPERHEROES…’NUFF SAID

It’s a sure thing, folks…Marvel Studios will continue to trample the box office in 2018 with three massive releases: the hotly buzzed Black Panther (February 15), the even more hotly buzzed Avengers: Infinity War (April 25), and the lukewarmly buzzed Ant-Man And The Wasp (July 5). With the first film a fresh new detour for Marvel, the second the culmination of everything that the comic-book-powerhouse-turned-cinematic-titan has crafted since 2008’s Iron Man, and the third the sequel to one of the studio’s least heralded but most surprisingly successful titles, this is a can’t-lose triumvirate of the first order.

Fox, meanwhile, will charge ahead with its X-Men universe, dropping a big, fat, juicy cinematic F-bomb with the much anticipated Deadpool 2 (May 31), which will be preceded by the YA-styled New Mutants (April 25) and then followed by X-Men: Dark Phoenix (November 1), which adapts one of the most essential stories in the X-Men comic-book canon.

A few lengths behind will be Sony, who will launch its Spider-Man-Universe-Not-Featuring-Spider-Man with Venom (October 4) – boasting Tom Hardy in the title role of one of the webslinger’s greatest nemeses-turned-anti-heroes – before getting animated with the very tasty looking big screen cartoon, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (November 29). And after the financial disappointment of 2017’s Justice League, The DC Extended Universe might maybe, hopefully bounce back with Aquaman (December 26), directed by talented Aussie, James Wan.

EQUAL SEQUELS? FINGERS CROSSED…

The list of films with numbers (and, um, silent numbers) in their titles in 2018 is nothing short of staggering. Pitch Perfect 3 (out now) has already inspired toes to tap (and many audience members to groan), and that’s just the beginning. With no further ado, here are the follow-ups (ranging from the highly anticipated and head-scratching to the flatly unwanted) heading optimistically into a cinema near you in 2018: The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature (January 11), Maze Runner: The Death Cure (January 18), Fifty Shades Freed (February 18), Insidious: The Last Key (February 18), Pacific Rim: Uprising (March 22), Incredibles 2 (June 14), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (June 21), Sicario 2: Soldado (June 28), Belle & Sebastian: Friends For Life (June 28), Hotel Transylvania 3 (July 5), Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (July 19), Mission Impossible 6 (August 2), The Equalizer 2 (August 9), Johnny English 3 (September 20), The Girl In The Spider’s Web (October 18) and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (November 15). Phew…

REBOOTS, RETREADS AND FAMILIAR TALES

We all want another retelling of the dog-eared Robin Hood story, don’t we? Well, where Ridley and Rusty failed, director, Otto Bathurst (Peaky Blinders) and leading man, Taron Egerton (Kingsman), might succeed with Robin Hood (September 20), which at least features a goofily inspired cast including Jamie Foxx (as Little John) and Aussies, Ben Mendelsohn (as The Sheriff Of Nottingham) and Tim Minchin (as Friar Tuck!).

And what about the King Arthur tale? We haven’t seen that enough, have we? Hot on the heels of Guy Ritchie’s 2017 bomb, King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword, comes The Kid Who Would Be King (September 27), from director, Joe Cornish (Attack The Block).

Jon Favreau’s magisterial 2016 take on The Jungle Book wasn’t enough for you? Well, Andy Serkis will also have a crack this year with Mowgli (October 18), featuring Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett. Michael Myers will return from the dead (again) in a new take on John Carpenter’s horror masterpiece, Halloween (October 18), courtesy of unlikely creative team, David Gordon Green and Danny McBride. The Yanks rob the French again with The Upside (March 15), a remake of The Intouchables starring Bryan Cranston, Nicole Kidman and Kevin Hart, while A Star Is Born (October 4) – headlined by writer/director/star Bradley Cooper and some absolute rank unknown nobody called Stefani Germanotta – takes a third run at the famous tale of the rigours of fame.

The greatest story ever told (you know, the one about Jesus Christ) will also get told again, but this time through the eyes of JC’s titular prostitute pal in Mary Magdalene (March 22), which comes from Aussie director, Garth Davis (Lion) and stars Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix in the central roles. Another of JC’s buddies will also topline his own movie (even The Bible is inspiring spin-off movies now!) with the decidedly less anticipated Paul, Apostle Of Christ (March 29).

Two still relatively fresh titles will get the reboot/remake treatment, as Oscar winner, Alicia Vikander, does a little big budget slumming as video game-born adventurer, Lara Croft, in Tomb Raider (March 15), and director, Shane Black (Iron Man 3) puts his own spin on The Predator (August 2). A mix of sequel and reboot, Ocean’s 8 (June 7) replaces George Clooney’s boys’ club of crooks with a team of lady lifters played by Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anna Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Awkwafina, Sarah Paulson and Helena Bonham-Carter.

And speaking of crime, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary detective will be back on the big screen via the animated comedy, (yes, it’s true) Sherlock Gnomes (April 5) and the sure-to-be-gut-busting Holmes And Watson (November 8), which reunites Step-Brothers’ laugh-masters, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, as the eponymous mystery solving duo.

Continuing criminally, Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave) finds surprising inspiration in the same named 1980s British TV series for his Boston-set thriller, Widows (November 15), which is scripted by Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl). The Commuter (January 18), meanwhile, sees Liam Neeson revisit every movie that he’s made in the last ten years…but this time on a train.

AWARDS SEASON FAVOURITES

All of the Oscar hopefuls and awards season darlings will be heading our way soon, including All The Money In The World (out now), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (out now), The Post (January 11), The Shape Of Water (January 18), Molly’s Game (February 1), Phantom Thread (February 1), Lady Bird (February 15), A Fantastic Woman (February 22), and The Meg (August 23)…. That last one is a joke, Jason Statham fans.

THE REEL DEAL: TRUE LIFE STORIES

Some of the best stories are true, as a host of biopics, historical dramas, and ripped-from-the-headlines stormers may very well prove in 2018: Gary Oldman is British wartime PM, Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour (January 11); Margot Robbie is figure-skating fruit loop, Tonya Harding, in I, Tonya (January 25); Jake Gyllenhaal is Boston bombing survivor, Jeff Bauman, in Stronger (February 8); Annette Bening is forties/fifties era movie star, Gloria Grahame in Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool (March 1); Ryan Gosling is moonwalker, Neil Armstrong, in First Man (October 11); Saoirse Ronan is Mary, Queen Of Scots (September 13), which also stars Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth 1; and Rami Malek (Mr. Robot) is rock superstar, Freddie Mercury, in Bohemian Rhapsody (December 26).

Speaking of music gods, Jack Lowden (Dunkirk) plays the youthful Steven Patrick Morrissey as he discovers his voice to become lead singer of iconic band The Smiths in England is Mine (March 15). John Curran’s Chappaquiddick (May 10) also delves into the history books with its telling of the titular controversy involving The Kennedy Family, as does LBJ (release date TBC) from director Rob Reiner, starring Woody Harrelson in the titular role of the divisive US President who took over after JFK’s assassination.

ORIGINAL VOICES

Fresh ideas from singular voices also have a place in 2018, and leading the charge is envelope pushing critical darling, Michael Haneke (Funny Games, White Ribbon), who takes on the European refugee crisis (god help us) with Happy End (February 8). Isabel Coixet deals with the hot topic (did anyone watch The Golden Globes???) of female empowerment and male oppression in The Bookshop (June 7), while Natalie Portman plays hero in Alex Garland’s allegorical thriller, Annihilation (February 22). There are edgy crime flicks in Gringo (May 10), directed by Aussie Nash Edgerton (The Square), and Proud Mary (February 1), which stars Taraji P. Henson as a hit-woman with a heart of gold. Three major players, meanwhile, take the sci-fi genre by the throat: Steven Spielberg dabbles in virtual reality, video games, and nostalgia with his adaptation of Ernest Cline’s (March 29); Robert Rodriguez inherits James Cameron’s long gestating manga adaptation script for Alita: Battle Angel (July 19); and writer/producer, Peter Jackson, creates a whole new world with the futuristic head trip, Mortal Engines (December 26).

AUSSIE, AUSSIE, AUSSIE!!!

Aaaah, Aussie cinema…it’s like a breath of fresh air! There’s not a sequel, remake, or reboot to be seen…because they’re all on TV instead! The most star laden local affair for 2018 is undoubtedly Stephan Elliott’s seventies-set comedy, Swinging Safari (January 18), which counts Asher Keddie, Guy Pearce, Julian McMahon, Jeremy Sims, Kylie Minogue, Radha Mitchell, and Jack Thompson above the title, but the smart money is on Warwick Thornton’s down under western, Sweet Country (January 25), to garner the most critical praise, and perhaps even the lion’s share of the box office.

There are a few obvious crowd pleasers in the broad comedy The BBQ (January 18), with Shane Jacobson, Magda Szubanski, and, um, Manu from My Kitchen Rules (don’t worry, there’s a food connection), and the locally created animated film, Peter Rabbit (March 22), while Simon Baker’s adaptation of Tim Winton’s much-loved novel, Breath (May 3), will surely warm the hearts of the author’s many fans. Even more heartwarming? Brothers, (actor) Shane and (director) Clayton Jacobson, have finally teamed up for a long-awaited follow-up to their iconic smash hit, Kenny, with the darkly comedic thriller, Sibling Rivalry (release TBC).

On the less warm-and-fuzzy side, there’s a welcome lineup of top-tier genre flicks with the emotional zombie horror of Cargo (release TBC), the haunting chills of The Spierig Brothers’ Winchester (February 22), the dystopic technological threat of Leigh Whannell’s Stem (release TBC), the unsettling thriller debut from Luke Shanahan, Rabbit  and Jennifer Kent’s highly anticipated period thriller The Nightingale (release TBC). The spectre of terrorism is bravely canvassed in Hotel Mumbai (November 22), One Less God (release TBC), and A Lion Returns (release TBC), while the rough-and-tumble world of outlaw motorcycle gangs provides the backdrop for the gritty drama, 1% (August 30), and a father (Pawno’s Damian Hill) has less than 24 hours to pay off a violent loan shark whilst looking after his son in Jason Raftopoulos’ Venice-playing West of Sunshine (release TBC).

THE BEST IDEA OF 2018, OR THE WORST IDEA OF 2018?

We’ll all find out on May 24 when Solo: A Star Wars Story hits cinemas…

Stay tuned for previews of 2018 Documentaries and Foreign Films in the coming weeks.

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