2017 wasn’t a bad year for movies, I mean it was certainly better than 2016, but alas, I can’t know for sure, because as an Indian, I won’t get to watch Lady Bird, Call Me By Your Name, The Florida Project and so many more till at least February.
What I can say however is that 2018 will be terrific. Making this list, I tried to make sure to include only films I’m almost certain will deliver on their promise (so something like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse didn’t quite make the list, exciting as it is) and it was still very difficult to narrow it down to just 10. So inevitably, there will be many films you’re excited for that aren’t here.
Also, honourable mention goes to If Beale Street Could Talk, the upcoming Barry Jenkins movie that doesn’t have an official release date yet, though I believe it’s going to release near the end of 2018. Moonlight was incredibly well directed, and Jenkins is also involved with an upcoming TV adaptation of the brilliant novel The Underground Railroad, and I can’t wait to see where this hot streak takes him.
Now on to the main list:
The Little Stranger is based on a horror/thriller novel, so you wouldn’t expect to see it on my list, even considering the fact that it’s written by Sarah Waters. Even the premise isn’t exactly revolutionary. But the one thing it needs in order to be truly memorable is a sense of claustrophobia, which I’m sure Lenny Abrahamsson, director of Room, can bring to it. Domnhall Gleeson playing the lead is just icing on the cake.
Widows is Steve McQueen’s first film since 12 Years a Slave. Do you really need to know more? Yes you do, because it’s also written by Gillian Flynn and stars Viola Davis. And the fact that it’s about the widows of failed armed robbers only cements its position on this list.
Ready Player One is based on a novel that I haven’t gotten around to yet, in spite of how much it sounds like exactly my kind of thing. As annoying as nostalgia bombs can get, when done right, they hold the power to bring pop culture together. And who better to trust with this responsibility than Steven fricking Spielberg?
No franchise in my memory has had a resurgence as thrilling as Mission: Impossible. The last 2 in particular are 2 of the best action movies this decade, and much of their appeal comes from the effort to create a continuous narrative, one where characters and their relationships get to grow. The 6th instalment takes this continuity to another level, with the return of Rebecca Ferguson’s and, more significantly, Michelle Monaghan’s character from previous entries. It’s also the first time a director is repeating, Christopher McQuarrie of Rogue Nation. And come on, aren’t you curious to see Henry Cavill’s now infamous mustache?
Where’d You Go, Bernadette? is adapted from a novel about a woman trying to solve the mystery of another woman having gone missing. Basically, not a premise that screams Richard Linklater, and that’s half of what has me looking forward to it. The other half is the opportunity to hear Cate Blanchett spout Linklater dialogue. That hasn’t happened before, has it?
MORE HONOURABLE MENTIONS
Okay so here’s the deal. I know I said it was hard to narrow this down to 10, but if I’m being completely honest, that’s only really true for the 5 I’ve listed above. Those are 5 movies I could easily have replaced with 5 other equally exciting movies, you know, Deadpool 2 (which would’ve made it had Tim Miller stayed on) or Ant-Man and the Wasp or Isle of Dogs or Scarface or the Fantastic Beasts sequel.
The next 5 on the other hand, were really easy. There was never any question that they would top the list, or what their ranking would be. These are the 5 films that, if they turned out bad, I honestly don’t know how my frail heart would cope.
Black Panther is that MCU movie that holds the power to define the studio and what it means to the film industry for years to come. Not only does a mainstream superhero movie about an African nation that never got colonised, with a star cast almost entirely of black actors mean a lot to culture, but the fact that it’s directed by Ryan Coogler, who confronted racism head-on with Fruitvale Station, makes this even more significant. Also, have you seen the trailers for this thing?
Wreck-It Ralph earned a place in my heart the moment I saw it, but its now infamous Oscar loss to Brave only intensified my love for that imaginative little movie. Hot off his Zootopia success, director Rich Moore is back with the terribly titled Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2, which, yes, could easily end up as corny as its title, but could also one-up the original’s boundless imagination, building on the Toy Story but with video games concept and making something truly surprising out of it. Like, you know, Toy Story 2 but with online gaming.
The space program interests me anyway, and space movies are a joy to watch on the big screen, so a Neil Armstrong biopic starring Ryan Gosling would have me on board anyway, but the selling point here is that First Man is directed by Damien Chazelle, who with just 3 movies has risen to Tarantino/Fincher levels of “I don’t care what he’s doing I wanna watch!” for me. In space, no one can hear your jazz.
Few sequels in the history of cinema have been as intensely awaited as Incredibles 2. That might have something to do with the 14 years that have passed, or with its status as one of the greatest superhero movies as well as one of the greatest animated movies ever made. Honestly, just geeking out over Edna and Frozone is enough for me to leave the theater happy, but I trust Brad Bird (who by the way also voices Edna Mode) to give us something meaningful. He took this long, he better.
Isn’t it a satisfying feeling to see a trilogy end? After all, it’s an event being built up across 3 movies! And then there’s Avengers: Infinity War. After 10 years and 19 movies, we find ourselves at the beginning of the end of an era. Yes, Marvel movies will continue to exist, but it’ll never be the same again. This of course means that the movie has to satisfy insanely high expectations of scale and scope, and what with it being the first movie to be shot entirely in IMAX, it just might. Any fear of it feeling overcrowded, especially with the presence of the Guardians of the Galaxy, is exceeded by my confidence in Kevin Feige and the Russo brothers. How do you know if you’re as excited for this as I am? If you’re incapable of hearing that Alan Silvestri theme without thinking of the iconic circle shot from The Avengers, you know.
AND NOW, THIS
Before I close this post, I want to give a quick shout-out to Omerta, my most anticipated Hindi movie in 2018. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be director Hansal Mehta’s return to form after last year’s Simran.
Another shout-out goes to the TV series I’m most excited to see return this year, Young Justice. It’s rare that fan outcry succeeds in bringing back an unfairly cancelled show, and there’s no reason to believe this won’t live up to the quality of the previous seasons.
And I also want to mention how exciting a place the superhero genre is in right now. Not only do we have no less than 10 movies coming out in 2017, it’s also important to note how diverse they’re getting, with New Mutants being a horror movie and Into the Spider-Verse bringing in a beautiful, dynamic and unique animation style. It’s a good time to be a superhero nerd.
But enough about my list. What movies, TV shows and related things are you excited for? What do you feel got left out of my list? (Not Deadpool 2, I know you’re excited for that, everyone is.) Happy New Year! I hope you have a great one full of great movies and positive discussions around them.