Thursday, February 1, 2018

Eight for '18: Year in film preview

I'm changing things up this year by presenting a truncated year in film preview, rather than the comprehensive one I usually do. I'm doing this for a couple of reasons:
  • I'm busy as sh*t.
  • There are literally six million 2018 movie previews out there, and I'd rather do my own thing than join the content farm lemmings.
So I present "Eight for '18" -- the eight films I'm most anticipating this year. Please note, these are the flicks I am looking forward to, not necessarily what would come up under a "most anticipated" poll. So don't be shocked because you don't see "Avengers: Infinity War" or some of the other big titles out there.

(Also, please note I left "Black Panther" off because it's coming out in just a couple of weeks, and I wanted to give readers more of a look further down the road. Suffice it to say I'm also stoked about that one. The early word on it has been nigh-orgiastic fervor, which is exciting but also... disturbing.)

In chronological order:

Isle of Dogs

March 23

I've been very up and down on the films of Wes Anderson -- you would literally have to threaten me with the removal of a key body part to get me to watch "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" again -- but I absolutely adored his foray into stop-motion animation, "Fantastic Mr. Fox." He's back with this Japanese-inspired tale of a boy searching for his dog in the secret land of exiled canines that includes voices by W.A. regular Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton as well as Scarlett Johansson and Bryan Cranston.

Pacific Rim Uprising

March 23

What?? Two of my favorite picks debuting on the same day?!? Hopefully they won't cancel each other out at the box office. Guillermo del Toro isn't at the helm, which is concerning. But John Boyega -- using his actual British accent! -- stars as the son of Stacker Pentecost, who teams up with Mako Mori to lead a new generation of pilots of skyscraper-sized robots to take on a new threat of Kaiju monsters.

Ready Player One

March 30

Steven Spielberg tackles the dense, page-turning sci-fi novel about a dystopian future in which everyone is connected (and imprisoned) by technology, existing mostly in a Matrix-like video game universe called the Oasis. It's like World of Warcraft, but, f'reals. It's sure to be visually stunning, as well as an amusement ride of '80s pop culture references for tickle Gen X erogenous zones. I'll just be curious to see how they locked down the intellectual property rights to all the stuff in the book. If I don't get to see Ultraman blasting spaceships out of the sky...

Solo: A Star Wars Story

May 25

The production on this Star Wars prequel looking at the pre-Rebellion life of Han Solo got off to a famously rough start, with the original directors departing the project in favor of Ron Howard. Can Alden Ehrenreich pull off a Harrison Ford impression? He was the best thing about the underwhelming "Hail, Caesar!" as a dimwitted cowboy star, so fingers crossed. Also excited about Donald Glover a s a young Lando Calrissian. I personally am holding out for the big-screen adaptation of "Lando Calrissian and the StarCave of ThonBoka."

The Incredibles 

June 15

It's interesting that for yours Pixar Animation held off on making any sequels outside the "Toy Story" universe, even though one -- the story of an entire family of super-heroes -- seemed most primed for sequelization. Writer/director Brad Bird is back in the hot seat, and the story is very hush-hush, other than Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) is off saving the world while Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) is left to babysit pint-sized firecracker Jack-Jack. No word on who the new villain(s) is/are, but I'd guess either Bob Odenkirk or Jonathan Banks will provide the cackle.


Oct. 5

Isn't about time we got an entire film devoted to a super-villain instead of just another do-gooder? Venom made an appearance in the (awful) "Spider-Man 3," a strange alien symbiote that bonded with the web-slinger before turning evil. Again, the plot is very secret, but reportedly new Spidey Tom Holland turns up. Most exciting: Tom Hardy hisself plays Eddie Brock, the scummy dude who gets turned into Venom.

First Man

Oct. 12

One of America's quietest heroes, astronaut pioneer Neil Armstrong, gets his own biopic starring Ryan Gosling. Not much information available beyond that -- or even a production still -- but here's all I need to know: it's directed by Damien Chazelle ("Whiplash," "La La Land.")

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

Nov. 2

Years ago I interviewed original Jean Grey actress Famke Janssen, and she expressed her regret that they were pulling the plug on the first generation of X-Men movies before they got to explore what many consider one of the greatest story arcs in comics history, the Dark Phoenix saga. Now the franchise is finally going in that direction with Sophie Turner in the lead role, as the psychic/telepath is transformed into the most malevolent force in the universe. Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult and James McAvoy reprise their roles, with Jessica Chastain taking on a mystery part known only as "Smith."

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