Look. I know, I know. My last post was almost 4 months ago - a post in which I said I'm still alive and was going to start writing again. I did not deliver on that promise. Now I will. We are creeping into this year's holiday and awards season already. 2018 is flying by. I figured it's time I talk about the blockbuster, family, and awards-chasing films coming out this Fall and Winter that I'm excited about. In alphabetical order, here are my most anticipated films of the remainder of 2018!
A Star is Born
I must confess that I already have a strange love-hate relationship with this film. I'm not a fan of country music or Lady Gaga's music, but I'm excited to hear the music in this film anyway. I hate when films are constantly remade, but this one has so much undeniable hype that I'm excited anyway. Finally, I despise this film's marketing strategy. The trailer has played in front of every film I've seen for the last couple months and, when I saw The Nun, they played FOUR separate clips from the film during the trailers. All that being said, I sound like I hate this film already, but I'm still really excited anyway.
Anna and the Apocalypse
Alright. Not much needs to be said here. I saw this film twice at Fantastic Fest 2017 and I've been impatiently awaiting its theatrical release ever since. The film is a blast, especially with a crowd, and I am dying to finally be able to play this film's wonderful soundtrack on repeat and sing along all throughout the Christmas season.
Admittedly, I do not know much at all about this film. It's playing this week at Fantastic Fest 2018 (I'm so brokenhearted that I wasn't able to go this year) and the reviews have all said it's extremely nasty and brutal, so it sounds like it's right up my alley. Plus, it's a Netflix original, so I can watch from the comfort of my own reclining chair at home!
Of all the films on this list, this is the one I'm seeing next since it just released yesterday, The trailers and reviews for this film have hyped me up ever since I first heard about the film. Like Apostle, it sounds absolutely brutal and fun, but it also seems like it has a very obvious political message that is going to piss off a lot of people and I'm all for controversial and offensive films.
Bad Times at the El Royale
Like the previous two films on this list, this film looks brutal, but it also looks like it's going to be a mind-bending mystery. I like when a film makes me think, but also allows me to have fun with its premise. I love the style and soundtrack that we've seen from the trailers so far and this film has an ensemble cast to die for. This is another film, though, that's breaking my heart because it's playing at Fantastic Fest this week and I can't be there.
We are living in the era of Timothée Chalamet and Lucas Hedges now. These two young and brilliant actors are going to be battling each other at the Academy Awards every year for the rest of their lives. This film is Chalamet's heavyweight awards season vehicle this year and, after his performance in last year's Call Me by Your Name, I cannot wait to see what he does in this film about addiction. This film has one other major factor in this year's awards season too - Steve Carell. What Michael Stuhlbarg did last year by appearing in a bazillion awards-season films, Carell is looking to do that this year with this film and two others that appear later in this list.
Ben is Back
Speaking of Lucas Hedges, he also appears in three films on this list, and this is the first. All we've seen from this film thus far is one very quick teaser trailer that did everything it needed to do to hook me. I love this teaser. What is Ben back from? We don't know, but I want to know. Combine this mystery with the guaranteed brilliant acting from Hedges and Julia Roberts and I'm sold.
I know what you're probably thinking here. I've already seen this film three times. Well, like Anna and the Apocalypse, it's been almost a full year since I've seen this wonderful film that currently sits atop my 2018 rankings, and I'm so glad it's about to get a theatrical release. This is a film that needs to be seen with a crowd. It's truly an event and a spectacle and this film is going to offend and piss off everyone that sees it in one way or another. Despite that, the film is still a crowd-pleaser that is very well-deserved of the standing ovations it received all three times I watched it last year.
I love Queen. I love Queen. I love Queen. I've been asking for a Queen biopic for several years now and I'm so glad we're finally getting one. Rami Malek looks incredible as Freddie Mercury, I am loving the trailers so far, and I can't wait to be sitting in the theater, watching this film, and enjoying Queen music all at the same time. I can't wait to see the story of Freddie Mercury unfold on the big screen.
Hey, remember that Lucas Hedges guy I mentioned earlier. He's pretty incredible and here he is again. This film is going to tell a story that needs to be heard by everyone. Hedges plays the gay son of Baptist parents (Nicole Kidman & Russell Crowe) that send him to gay conversion therapy. It's also directed by Joel Edgerton who stars in the film as a counselor at the gay conversion therapy program. This film is going to be dark and it's coming straight for everyone's emotions and all of the awards.
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
I can't explain just how excited I am to see Melissa McCarthy in a dramatic role where she doesn't have to rely on her husband directing her as some bumbling idiot. Many comedians/comedic actors have thrived in dramatic roles - Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, Kumail Nanjiani, Adam Sandler - the list goes on and on. Plus the film does have a story that I'm interested in and I want to see how it plays out.
Before you go naively Googling what this film is, let this be a trigger warning. This is going to be an extremely graphic and adult film that I cannot recommend to just anyone. That's just the norm for Gaspar Noé's films. This is described as a French horror musical about dancers that are tripping out after consuming psychedelics. Many are describing this film as insane, deranged, and uncomfortable and it's going to feature a style that many will hate, yet I'll probably love. I think this is going to be this year's mother!. Also, it's an A24 film, so there's that too.
I should probably finally watch all of the Rocky films before this one comes out, but I already saw Creed when it first came out and it sucked me in. That film did a great job of both telling Adonis Creed's story as well as continuing the story of Rocky Balboa in a way that recapped his story from the original Rocky films without spoiling them. I have one word for you though - Drago. Creed is a great film and it looks like Creed II is going to do a great job of continuing this franchise for the new generation.
Nicole Kidman shows up on this list again in this crime film from The Invitation's director, Karyn Kusama. She blew my mind with The Invitation and I expect no less here, especially with the ensemble cast that this film is sporting. This film features gangs, police, and what is sure to be an exciting and bad@$$ performance from Nicole Kidman.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
My excitement for this film has decreased over the course of 2018, but I can't deny that I still want to see it. It's a Wizarding World film after all, and I'm a huge fan of Harry Potter. What I'm not a fan of is Johnny Depp. I don't like him as an actor, I don't like him as a person, and I don't want to see him on screen anymore. However, I'm a proud Hufflepuff and Newt Scamander is my hero.
My favorite film of all-time is La La Land. What does that have to do with this film? Everything. These films share the same director, lead actor, cinematographer, composer, and editor. It's also written by the same guy who wrote another one of my all-time favorite films, Spotlight. Add in the fact that this is supposed to be an epic film about space shot on IMAX cameras and you've got a winning combination that should end up being one of my favorite films of all-time. I'll be disappointed if it isn't.
This film wasn't on my radar at all until TIFF put it on my radar when I learned it won the Audience Award. The trailer hasn't wowed me, but I'm glad it hasn't. I know this film is hiding something that warrants it being an Audience Award winner at TIFF and not just another typical awards season drama. Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali look incredible and I'm believing in the film's hype even though the trailer is nothing impressive.
My newly-discovered horror loving soul (thanks Dillon) has been excited for this film ever since it was first announced. Then I watched the original 1978 film for the first time and was underwhelmed. I don't think it's the film's fault though. I blame it on the fact that I had to watch it at home on Blu-ray. So, I really need the original to be paired with the new film in some sort of double-feature fan event so I can enjoy both in theaters. However, that score is iconic, Laurie Strode is iconic, and Michael Myers is iconic. The trailers for the new Halloween have given me chills every single time I've watched them and I cannot wait to see a slasher icon on the big screen.
I wouldn't be surprised if Perri Nemiroff and I are the only two people on Earth excited for this film's release, but I don't care. I live in Orlando. I'm surrounded by theme park culture thanks to Disney and Universal; part of that culture is Halloween Horror Nights, which I'm finally excited to attend sometime. This film basically looks like Horror Nights, but real. This film isn't going to be some brilliant film like others on this list might be, but that's ok. This just needs to be fun, even if it could very well be the worst film on this list. I just wish it hadn't come out the same year as Blood Fest; I'm naturally going to be comparing the two since they have the same exact premise.
If Beale Street Could Talk
I really know nothing about this film other than what I've seen from its trailer. What I do know, though, is that I need to see this film. It has rave reviews coming out of its festival runs and it's directed by Barry Jenkins, the director of the Best Picture winner Moonlight. We all remember how the Oscars went down that year - La La Land vs. Moonlight, Damien Chazelle vs. Barry Jenkins. Well, it looks like we could have that scenario again this year with First Man and If Beale Street Could Talk.
Mary Poppins Returns
When this film was first announced, I was a bit skeptical, but also cautiously optimistic considering what Disney did with their live-action retelling of Pete's Dragon. Mary Poppins is an all-time Disney classic and I know Disney wouldn't go forward with this sequel if they weren't extremely confident. Then the first trailer came out and I immediately fell in love with the film's visual aesthetic and charm. Emily Blunt looks like she's perfect for the role and I'm open to Lin-Manuel Miranda being in any film he wants to be in nowadays, especially if he's writing music for the film. But I was worried that it wouldn't feel like classic Poppins. Then the most recent trailer came out and eliminated any remaining skepticism I had. I just needed to see the 2D-animated segments again to know that this film is going to be brilliant, is a must-see, and could even be an awards contender.
As Eminem once asked, "Guess who's back, back again?" Well, Lucas Hedges is back, back again. This time he's back in the directorial debut of funny-man, Jonah Hill - another comedic actor who thrives in dramatic roles. Like what Sean Baker did with Tangerine for the trans community and The Florida Project for the homeless community in Orlando, Hill seems to be using mid90s as a way for audiences to view the true heart and life of skater culture in, you guessed it, the mid-1990s. Plus it's an A24 film, shot on 16mm film, and shot with a 4:3 aspect ratio like last year's A Ghost Story.
Ralph Breaks the Internet
I love Disney animation and I love the first Wreck-It Ralph, so there's no reason I shouldn't love his one too. I am beyond thrilled that Disney dropped "Wreck-It Ralph 2" from the title because the original title, Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2, was too long, clunky, and quite frankly, stupid. The sneak peeks from D23 and various film festivals and cons have excited a bunch of people and I trust Disney to do this one right. I know, to some, this film seems self-righteous as it also features Marvel, Star Wars, Disney Princesses, and more, but I believe in the House of Mouse to get it done well.
I love slice-of-life films and Roma is shaping up to be one of those films. It stars non-professional actors and actresses, though, and that's my biggest concern. I know this is going to be many levels of quality above films like The Rider and The 15:17 to Paris, but the non-professional actors ruined those films for me. What excites me about this film is Alfonso Cuarón. He has not made a bad film yet and likely never will. This seems like a very personal passion project for Cuarón and is surely set to earn Netflix their first Best Picture nomination. The Academy can no longer sleep on Netflix, even if 95% of their original films are junk.
Apparently 2018 is the year to remake iconic horror films from 40+ years ago since we have this and Halloween on the schedule for this Fall. The original Suspiria is a trip and I love it. This version of Suspiria, directed by Call Me by Your Name director, Luca Guadagnino, looks like some next-level stuff compared to the original. Like Climax, I'm certain this is going to be another graphic and disturbing film that I will not be able to recommend to everyone. I'll probably love it, but most casual moviegoers will not. People shouldn't sleep on Dakota Johnson just because she appeared is those awful Fifty Shades films; she is set to have an incredible end to 2018 thanks to this and Bad Times at the El Royale.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Netflix comes to play again with this Western anthology film from the legendary Coen Brothers. Now the Coen Bros are usually a hit or miss for me and it's weird. I'm not big on Westerns usually, but I love No Country for Old Men and True Grit. I'm not a fan of their comedies. However, there's something about this film that still excites me and I can't quite pinpoint what it is. Maybe it's the fact that it's a Coen Bros Western, which I usually love. Maybe it's the fact that it's an anthology film with a stellar cast. Maybe it's the fact that I get to see everyone's favorite counselor from Camp Green Lake, Dr. "Mom" Pendanski (Tim Blake Nelson, Holes).
Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster, The Killing of a Sacred Deer) is back again with this dark comedy period piece that features my favorite actress, Emma Stone. Of course I'm excited. Lanthimos' style is an acquired taste for sure. I was intrigued by The Lobster, but didn't love it. Then I fell in love with The Killing of a Sacred Deer when I saw it at last year's Fantastic Fest. I'm surprised Lanthimos is back so soon with another film, but I'm thrilled to see it's already in early talks as a Best Picture contender. This is going to be a highly-stylized film thanks to its director and I couldn't be more excited for it.
The Old Man & the Gun
I guess everyone must call it a career at some point in their life and this looks like it's going to be the swan song of Robert Redford, a true Hollywood legend. I love how this film's trailer is selling it as something lighthearted and fun when I know it must also be a great character study of a deeply troubled "old man". It also comes to us from David Lowery, the director of A Ghost Story and Pete's Dragon (2016), two films I've already slightly gushed about in this list.
The Other Side of the Wind
It's 2018 and Netflix is going to be debuting an original, never-before-seen, Orson Welles film. Yeah, that Orson Welles, the man who directed and stared in the legendary film, Citizen Kane. Welles shot this film in the early-mid 1970's, but never got to finish and release it. Well, thanks to Netflix, we will get to see this film. It's not so much the film and what it's about that's getting me excited, rather it's the story behind the film's release. It's a fascinating, once-in-a-lifetime story of a film's production and release. I do also love that it's a mockumentary film about the film industry in the 1970s; it'll be fun to watch and imagine what it would be like to see Orson Welles nominated for Best Director 33 years after passing away.
The Sisters Brothers
This film is billed as a western dark comedy and the trailers kind of give me a Coen Bros vibe even though they have nothing to do with this film. Like I mentioned earlier with The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, these are some muddy waters for me. Again, though, there is something about this film that has me sold on it and it's probably the cast. This film stars John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Riz Ahmed, so it's absolutely going to be well-acted. The trailer also highlights some funny slapstick comedy, so hopefully that's a staple throughout the film.
Under The Silver Lake
This film may not be getting the best reviews right now, but I remain optimistic. It's an A24 film directed by David Robert Mitchell, the man who directed the modern horror masterpiece, It Follows. It stars Andrew Garfield as a man on a quest to find a woman he met in a swimming pool and the trailer sells this film as an absolute trip and I can't wait to see the crazy depths to which this movie goes.
Originally titled Backseat, Vice is a biopic about Dick Cheney directed by The Big Short director, Adam McKay. The film stars Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Bill Pullman, and Sam Rockwell; that's a lot of great talent sharing one film and I could see this film being a contender for Best Ensemble at the SAG Awards. There's no trailer yet, but I'm mostly excited to see Sam Rockwell play George W. Bush; it's sure to be a hilarious film considering what McKay did with The Big Short.
Welcome to Marwen
Though most people will probably be talking about Steve Carell's performances in Beautiful Boy or Vice come awards season, I will probably be championing his performance in this film from legendary director, Robert Zemeckis. This film's trailer is the only trailer all year that brought me to tears. That's right. A trailer made me cry. This film stars Carell as a man who was brutally attacked and assaulted to the point of losing his memories and he builds a miniature WWII village in his backyard to cope and help him through recovery. Where this film is surely to be magical and elevated to the next level, other than with Carell's performance, is the integration of CGI animation to help tell the story. The dolls that Carell's character builds and designs come to life to help push forward the film's narrative and it blows my mind how the dolls are perfect replicas of the actors and actresses in the film. This is going to be a magical and extremely emotional film.
Finally, we come to Steve McQueen's Widows. This is the same man that directed Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave, so his name carries some clout. That, combined with this film's all-star ensemble cast led by Viola Davis, give me plenty of reason to know this will be a good film. I don't doubt that, but it's probably one of the films on this list I'm least excited for just because the trailer didn't wow me and the poster is atrocious. I know that poor marketing doesn't make a poor film, but it does set a certain level of expectations and my expectations for a McQueen film should be higher than they are right now
Please let me know what films you're excited for this fall and winter and let me know what you think of this list and this upcoming awards season!
*I do not own any images used in this article. They all belong to their respectful studios, distributors, producers, and directors.*