Monday, January 1, 2018
Lester’s 40+ Anticipated Films For 2018
12 Strong - Tells the story of the first Special Forces team deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11; under the leadership of a new captain, the team must work with an Afghan warlord to take down the Taliban.
A Wrinkle in Time - With so few women being handed the reins of blockbuster franchise movies, there’s reason to celebrate the faith Disney put in director Ava DuVernay (“Selma”). and screenwriter Jennifer Lee (“Frozen”) to adapt Madeline L’Engle’s visionary fantasy novel Starring none other than Oprah! While the rest of Hollywood takes baby steps, Disney is making giant strides in the right direction, having also tapped Niki Caro to helm its live-action “Mulan” remake.
Alita: Battle Angel - An action-packed story of one young woman's journey to discover the truth of who she is and her fight to change the world.
Annihilation – Director Alex Garland follows his hit debut “Ex Machina” with a brainy horror movie about an all-female team of explorers who venture into a deadly environmental disaster zone. Based on Jeff Vander Meer’s award-winning trilogy, the nature thriller stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson and an iridescent mist that gives the air the sinister shimmer of an oil slick.
Backseat – Director Adam McKay (The Big Short) showcases actor Christian Bale as former VP Dick Cheney. Also, Amy Adams, Sam Rockwell and Bill Pullman.
Black Klansman – Drama – A fact-based drama with the incredible story of Ron Stallworth (played by Denzel’s son John David Washington), an African-American police detective who managed to infiltrate a Colorado Ku Klux Klan chapter even getting appointed its leader. Spike Lee is directing.
Black Panther - T'Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.
Bohemian Rhapsody - A musical drama about Queen and the tumultuous life and reckless passion of their lead singer, Freddie Mercury. But director Bryan Singer unleashed a rash of headlines by getting fired off the project, with just over two weeks of shooting to go, and he was then accused of rape. The film’s future suddenly looks murky: Will it see the light of day? And, if so, will Singer’s name be on the project? It’s too early to tell, but the movie could still prove to be an ecstatic rock biopic. The wild card is Rami Malek as Freddy (from “Mr. Robot”).
Boy Erased - Actor Joel Edgerton directs a story on the moral issue known as “conversion therapy.” Based on Garrard Conley’s 2016 memoir, the film stars Lucas Hedges, the great young actor from “Manchester by the Sea” and “Lady Bird,” as the gay son of a Baptist pastor (Russell Crowe) in small-town Arkansas. Nicole Kidman plays his mother, and Edgerton is the conversion therapist against whom Conley gradually goes to war.
Captive State - Set in a Chicago neighborhood nearly a decade after an occupation by an extra-terrestrial force, Captive State explores the lives on both sides of the conflict - the collaborators and dissidents. Vera Farmiga, John Goodman, Madeline Brewer and Alan Ruck.
Cloverfield Movie - 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. Stars Elizabeth Debicki, Daniel Brühl and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
Creed 2 – The Rocky Saga never dies as Creed battles the son of Ivan Drego one of Rocky’s old nemesis.
Deadpool 2 - After surviving a near fatal knee boarding accident , a disfigured guidance counselor (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfill his dream of becoming Poughkeepsie's most celebrated French Bulldog breeder while also learning to cope with an open relationship. Searching to regain his passion for life, as well as a new stuffed unicorn, Wade must battle ninjas, tight assed metal men, and babysit a group stereotypical side characters as he journeys around the world to discover the importance of family, friendship, and creative outlets for his very open-minded sex life. He manages to find a new lust for being a do-gooder, a sparkly Hello Kitty backpack, all while earning the coveted coffee mug title of World's Best 4th Wall Breaking Superhero.
Early Man - 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 a mighty enemy Lord Nooth and his Bronze Age City to save their home.
First Man - Damien Chazelle’s first feature after “La Land” is an epic docudrama, starring Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong that chronicles the entire history of the space race, starting in 1961 and culminating in Armstrong’s July 21, 1969, walk on the lunar surface. Timed to anticipate the 50th anniversary of that globe-altering event, the movie has the chance to be a stirring and visionary reminder of what America could once do.
Galveston - After escaping a set-up, a dying hitman returns to his hometown of Galveston where he plans his revenge. Ben Foster and Jeff Bridges.
Game Night - A comedy about a group of friends who meet regularly for game nights find themselves trying to solve a murder mystery.
Halloween – Laurie Strode comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago. Jamie Lee Curtis.
High Life - The irresistible combination of director Claire Denis and sci-fi in a story about a group of convicts on a no-return exploration into space is already exciting enough. Add an intriguing cast headed by Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche, plus Icelandic-Danish sculptor Olafur Eliasson’s designs for the black hole, and cinephile’s expectations for Denis’ first English-language film are literally sky-high.
Hotel Mumbai - Bringing the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai to the screen would be a huge challenge for any first-time director, though Aussie Anthony Maras (recently named one of Variety’s “10 Directors to Watch”) enlisted a starry cast that includes Dev Patel, Armie Hammer and Jason Isaacs for the project.
Isle of Dogs - Following a relatively mediocre year for big-studio animation, 2018 brings cause for hope: Aardman’s “Early Man,” Pixar’s “The Incredibles 2” and China’s beyond-gorgeous “Big Fish and Begonia” (already a record-setting phenomenon back home). The most eccentric of the lot will undoubtedly be Wes Anderson’s return to the world of stop-motion (following “Fantastic Mr. Fox”), in which talking canines are banished to their own island.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom - When the island's dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen and Claire mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event.
M: I 6 - Mission Impossible – Tom Cruise (again) in unknown and secretive plot.
Mary Queen of Scots - Mary Stuart's attempt to overthrow her cousin Elizabeth I, Queen of England, finds her condemned to years of imprisonment before facing execution. Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Joe Alwyn and David Tennant
Ready Player One - Until now, “Wreck-It Ralph” is the closest Hollywood has come to making a great video game movie. When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter egg, which will give the finder his fortune. Wade Watts finds the first clue and starts a race for the Egg – Steven Spielberg directs.
Red Sparrow - We’re entering the “try everything” phase of Jennifer Lawrence’s career, and it’s quite a ride. She’s flexing her artsy muscles with Darren Aronofsky and Luca Guadagnino, but is also expanding her multiplex range in this sleek, classily cast espionage thriller from her “Hunger Games” director (and expert hokum merchant) Francis Lawrence. Jude Law as a Russian ballerina turned undercover intelligence agent?
Roma - In his first film since “Gravity” (yes, four years ago), director Alfonso Cuarón tells the multi-stranded story of a middle-class family in Mexico City during the early 1970s. It’s the first film the director has set in his country of origin since “Y Tu Mamá También” (2001), and it promises to be a portrait at once intimate and teeming.
Scarface – Diego Luna stars in cult remake of an immigrant who rises to the top of the criminal underworld in the United States.
Shadow - Zhang Yimou’s upcoming costume epic depicts the relationship between an exiled king and his general, as they plot to take back their realm. Starring actor-director Deng Chao (“The Mermaid”), one of the most bankable actors in China, “Shadow” supposedly boasts an aesthetic inspired by Chinese ink wash painting, promising a return to more lyrical form after “The Great Wall.”
Sicario 2 – Soldado - The drug war on the US-Mexico border has escalated as the cartels have begun trafficking terrorists across the US border. To fight the war, federal agent Matt Graver re-teams with the mercurial Alejandro.
Solo: A Star Wars Story - Action, Sci-Fi - Han Solo and Chewbacca's adventures before joining the Rebellion, including their early encounters with Lando Calrissian. Director: Ron Howard - Stars: Emilia Clarke, Alden Ehrenreich, Paul Bettany, Joonas Suotamo.
Sunset - After galvanizing Cannes and going on to win the foreign language Oscar with his debut “Son Of Saul,” Hungarian director Laszló Nemes set a high bar for his second feature. Although not much is known about “Sunset,” the portents look promising. It’s another period piece, set in pre-WWI Budapest. And important “Saul” collaborators such as co-writer Clara Royer, DP Mátyás Erdély and producers Gábor Rajna and Gábor Sipos are on board.
The Black Hand - Police officer, Joe Petrosino, seeks justice against a ruthless Italian-American gang in New York. A feature adaptation of Stephan Talty's book 'The Black Hand' – Leonardo DiCaprio.
The Equalizer 2 – Denzel Washington sequel which is based on the TV series about a retired agent who's a hired gun for vengeance.
The House That Jack Built - The story follows Jack, a highly intelligent serial killer over the course of 12 years and depicts the murders that truly develop Jack as a serial killer. Starring Riley Keough, Uma Thurman, Matt Dillon and Ed Speleers.
The Irishman – Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro star in true story of a mob hitman who recalls his possible involvement with the slaying of Jimmy Hoffa.
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote - The setbacks that “Time Bandits” director Terry Gilliam has faced on this project are so epic, they spawned a feature-length documentary, “Lost in La Mancha.” Enter Amazon Studios, which saw the potential of applying cinema’s preeminent magical realist to this imaginative retelling of Cervantes’ novel. Barring any unforeseen complications, Gilliam’s fans will finally have a chance to see what promises to be the director’s magnum opus.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms - A young girl is transported into a magical world of gingerbread soldiers and an army of mice - Keira Knightley, Morgan Freeman, Mackenzie Foy and Helen Mirren.
The Outsider - Jared Leto is an epic set in post-WWII Japan and centered on an American former G.I. who joins the yakuza.
The Predator - A re-make of the 1987 sci-fi film "Predator".
The Sisters Brothers - For his first English-language feature, French director Jacques Audiard (Oscar nominated for “A Prophet”) attempts a darkly comical take on that most American of movie genres, the Western, in his adaptation of the novel by Canadian author Patrick deWitt. Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly star as gunmen ordered by their fearsome boss (Rutger Hauer) to kill a troublesome prospector (Jake Gyllenhaal) in 1850s San Francisco. Nothing goes according to plan.
Three Christs - Three Christs follows Dr. Alan Stone who is treating three paranoid schizophrenic patients at the Ypsilanti State Hospital in Michigan, each of whom believed they were Jesus Christ. What transpires is both comic and deeply moving. Richard Gere, Peter Dinklage, Walton Goggins and Bradley Whitford.
White Boy Rick – Matthew McConaughey stars in 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.
Widows - Ocean’s 8 isn’t the only female-led heist movie to look forward to. Boasting an equally impressive cast — plus an Oscar-winning director in Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”), who co-wrote with “Gone Girl” scribe Gillian Flynn — this update of the 1983 British TV miniseries about four women who choose to finish the heist that killed their husbands unites Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez and Cynthia Erivo.
Winchester - The true story of the eccentric heiress to the Winchester fire arms company who believes she is haunted by the souls of people killed by the Winchester repeating rifle. Helen Mirren stars.
POSSIBLE BEST PICTURE
Call Me by Your Name
Dunkirk $ $
Lady Bird $
The Big Sick
The Shape of Water
The Florida Project
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri $
The Florida Project
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri $
POSSIBLE BEST ACTRESS
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird $ $
Judi Dench, Victoria and Abdul
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water or for Maude
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri $ $ $
Carey Mulligan, Mudbound
Meryl Streep, The Post
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour $ $ $ $ (Lock to win)
Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger
Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger
Tom Hanks, The Post
James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Daniel Day Lewis, Phantom Thread
POSSIBLE BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird $ $ (close)
Allison Janney, I, Tonya $ (close)
Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Rosamund Pike, Hostiles
Michelle Williams, The Greatest Showman or All the Money in the World
Sarah Paulson, The Post
Kirsten Scott Thomas, Darkest Hour
Kirsten Scott Thomas, Darkest Hour
POSSIBLE BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project $ $ $ (Almost a lock)
Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name
Jason Mitchell, Mudbound
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Ben Mendelsohn, Darkest Hour
Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me by Your Name
Michael Shannon, The Shape of Water
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Idris Elba, Molly’s Game