Chadwick Boseman stars as the ruler of Wakanda and its greatest hero in the Marvel superhero film ‘Black Panther.’
Another year, another “Star Wars” movie.
Another year, another “Justice League” movie.
Another year, another three Marvel movies.
The release schedule for 2018 is looking, well, a bit familiar, stacked with sequels and standalone features focused on recognizable characters. Oh, and a few other big ones based on books.
But if 2017 at the movies taught us anything, it showed us that new voices can revive a series with surprising imagination. (We are looking at you, “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”)
Here are the top releases on our radar for the coming year. Sorry, it only includes two of those three Marvel releases. (Better luck next time, Ant-Man.)
OK, we know it seems like the Marvel folks are just trying to squeeze in one more standalone film before “Avengers: Infinity War.” (More on that feature later.)
But what has us most excited about “Black Panther”? It’s the man behind the camera for the action flick, Ryan Coogler. He also directed “Creed,” the spectacular 2015 “Rocky” spinoff.
That wasn’t supposed to be good. “Creed” could have been as tired as, say, the 450th Marvel superhero movie or whatever the tally is now.
But it was fresh and moving and important. “Creed” was a “standalone” that truly stood on its own. (There’s a “Creed II” coming in November, with a new director, by the way.)
So our money is on “Black Panther” emerging as another bigtime winner in 2018.
There are some serious actresses and actors powering this new science fiction epic about a mysterious environmental disaster zone.
There’s Oscar winner Natalie Portman, Oscar nominee Jennifer Jason Leigh and a guy who will likely win an Oscar one day, Oscar Isaac.
But like so many of our picks this year, it’s another name on the poster that grabs our attention most: The director.
For “Annihilation,” director Alex Garland is also the writer and the guy who was also responsible for the words in “28 Days Later,” “Sunshine” and “Never Let Me Go,” some of the best science fiction films of this millennium.
He also wrote and directed the chilling “Ex Machina.”
His movies get under your skin. They move you and move with you. We can’t even shake the spooky trailer!
Speaking of disturbing, Jennifer Lawrence reunites with her “Hunger Games” director Francis Lawrence for this Russian spy saga.
But based on the intense trailer, there is nothing young adult about their latest film. It features some real violence, both physical and psychological. There are some definite “Atomic Blonde” plus “Black Swan” vibes in the quick clip.
We also hope JLaw can return to form after last year’s accidentally hilarious “Mother.”
This fine actress can certainly navigate complex, challenging characters. The story just has to be complex and challenging for a reason, right? So far, it looks like “Red Sparrow” fits the bill.
“A Wrinkle in Time” actress Storm Reid says co-star Oprah Winfrey taught her about focusing on positivity. (Aug. 16)
A Wrinkle in Time
Everyone’s favorite fourth-grade book report is coming to the big screen! Sure, it’s an adaptation of the fantasy adventure by Madeleine L’Engle. So we already know we love the story about a brave girl named Meg who fights evil to rescue her father.
But we are most excited about seeing this stunning cast embody those beloved characters.
Astral beings, who help Meg in her quest, are played by none other than Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling. (We aren’t the only ones excited. This powerful trio, as well as Storm Reid – she plays Meg – graced a recent cover of “Time.”)
And director Ava DuVernay is behind it all. With only a $20-million budget, she wowed with “Selma.” Now, she’s got 103 million Disney dollars to play with. We can’t wait to see what she does with that talent – and those funds.
Isle of Dogs
We kind of can’t believe that director Wes Anderson hasn’t already done a stop-motion animated film about talking dogs and that it’s set in dystopian Japan.
It’s the one thing that makes sense about “Isle of Dogs,” the fact that Anderson is at the helm.
It just fits right into his brand of dreamy brightly colored twee. (Think “The Royal Tenenbaums” or “Rushmore.”) And his biggest brand ambassador, Bill Murray, is invited to this party, too.
But we also love Anderson because of his sense of humor about himself and the rest of us. So we have a feeling that “Isle of Dogs” is in on the joke.
We could use a good laugh.
The ‘Ready Player One’ novel was jam-packed with pop culture references, with the film’s latest trailer offering a variety of different nods to icons of the ’80s and ’90s accordingly.
Ready Player One
Remember how Steven Spielberg made “The Post” in just months last year?
Well, he’s been working on “Ready Player One” for years. Like maybe since the Ernest Cline novel came out in 2011.
That’s because this movie about virtual reality dominating our future existence is basically built with digital special effects.
Spielberg’s been a special effects wiz since his “Jaws” days. But he’s never done a movie that’s so reliant on computers for storytelling. So it will be really interesting to see how he pulls it off. Or if he can, in fact, pull it off.
Avengers: Infinity War
The world’s been waiting for the third chapter of the “Avengers” since 2008’s “Iron Man.” It’s going to pull together all the characters and finally make sense of those after-credits scenes that have teased this showdown for years.
We are a bit concerned about balancing all of these charismatic characters and a potentially overstuffed story.
But this team has yet to make a major misstep. They’ve had a lot of practice making super superhero movies, after all.
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Speaking of concerns, trouble has plagued the next “Star Wars” for months. Disney fired the original directors for the film following the exploits of a young Han Solo months into filming, replacing them with legendary Ron Howard.
We also think the charming Alden Ehrenreich is an inspired choice for Solo.
And Donald Glover, too, as Lando Calrissian. (He keeps making stellar choices. Glover won two Emmys last year for his show, “Atlanta.” He’s also nominated for five Grammys because apparently, he is good at everything.)
This was the trailer 2017 desperately needed. It’s slick and smart, fun and female-driven. So if it is just half as good as its trailer, “Ocean’s 8” is going to be one of our favorite flicks of 2018.
This spinoff of the George Clooney-led “Ocean’s Trilogy” stars too many amazing actresses to list here. And that jewelry heist at the Met Ball plot? How fabulous. We hope this could be the beginning of something great.
Ryan Gosling as Ohio’s own Neil Armstrong, With Damien Chazelle of “La La Land” directing. Do we need to say more?
Jason Mamoa’s turn as “Aquaman” in last year’s “Justice League” was a much needed bright spot. Women swooned. Men wished they could swim.
Can he carry a movie on his own? We think he’s definitely strong enough. Just look at the pictures from the set!
Read or Share this story: http://cin.ci/2lXvrfd