We’re just getting started with our look at the best in film and TV of 2017, but before we really got sucked into the retrospective, we wanted to take a minute to look forward to what’s to come in the next twelve months or so. Lord knows we need things to keep us going in the shitshow that has been the second half of the 2010s, and fortunately, cinema has provided.
After a slow start, 2017 turned out to be a pretty great year for movies, and 2018 looks to keep that up in a big way. Sure, there’s the usual parade of would-be franchise fare and second-tier superheroes, but there’s also an incredibly promising landscape of auteurist faves, rising talents, arthouse legends, and yes, even some blockbusters that look to be playing by some different rules to usual.
As is traditional, we’ve assembled a list of 100 movies likely to land in the course of 2018 that we’re absolutely psyched about. Not all of them will turn out well — shout out to “The Snowman,” which was in our Top 20 last year: it gave us all the clues etc etc. But they’re all promising in one way or another, and suggest that whatever else 2018 brings, the movie theater will be a great place to be.
If you notice a big hitter that isn’t here, it’s likely that it’s a movie that we’ve already seen on the festival circuit, which we tend to cover on a separate list of 2018 movies that we’ve already seen — that’s films like Lynne Ramsay‘s “You Were Never Really Here” with Joaquin Phoenix, Sebastián Lelio‘s “Disobedience,” “Throroughbreds,” Andrew Haigh‘s“Lean On Pete,” Lucretia Martel‘s “Zama,” Michael Haneke‘s “Happy End” and “Paddington 2,” as well as many more. But we’re sure we’ve forgotten plenty more too— let us know if you’re excited about something that didn’t crack the list. For more, you can bookmark all our Best Of 2017 coverage right here.
100. “Deadpool 2”
Director: David Leitch (“Atomic Blonde”)
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Josh Brolin, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller
Synopsis: The merc with a mouth returns, with a new villain, Black Tom Cassidy, to square off against, and new allies in time-travelling mutant Cable and luck-manipulating Domino.
What You Need To Know: We were sort of dreading the original “Deadpool,” but the finished product turned out to be sweeter and less obnoxious than we feared, and certainly felt like a breath of fresh air as far as the superhero genre goes. Its fast-tracked sequel has had a rockier road to production, with original director Tim Miller stepping out and “John Wick” co-creator David Leitch stepping in, plus two extended casting searches for fan-favorite characters Cable and Domino, eventually filled by Josh Brolin and “Atlanta” star Zazie Beetz. Can lightning be captured in a bottle a second time? The bizarro teaser-trailer suggests cause for optimism.
Release Date: June 1st, 2018
Director: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Cast: Damson Idris, Kate Beckinsale, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, John Dalgleish, Jaime Winstone
Synopsis: In 1980s Britain, a young Nigerian man is fostered by a white British family, only to become the leader of a racist skinhead gang.
What You Need To Know: Plenty of actors make their directorial debuts every year, but this indie project, helmed by veteran character actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (of “Oz,” “Lost” and, most recently, “Suicide Squad” fame), is more intriguing than most. It’s based on his own fascinating life story, with “Snowfall” actor Damson Idris playing a surrogate for the young Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Beckinsale his foster mother, and the always-welcome Mbatha-Raw a supportive teacher who helped him turn his life around. It’s a very good cast, and there’s some formidable behind-the-scenes talent too, including “Sideways” producer Michael London, and “Under The Shadow” DP Kit Fraser.
Release Date: The movie wrapped in October, so TIFF seems most likely.
98. “J.T. LeRoy”
Director: Justin Kelly (“King Cobra”)
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern, Diane Kruger, Jim Sturgess, Kelvin Harrison Jr.
Synopsis: A young fashion designer, Savannah Knoop, is asked by her sister-in-law to impersonate her (male) literary pseudonym.
What You Need To Know: The story of J.T. LeRoy, the fictional male figurehead for writer Laura Albert, was one of the strangest literary mysteries in recent years, so it’s not surprising that, just two years after the very good documentary about the case, we’re getting a full-on feature as well. Smartly, this uses the entry-point of Savannah Knoop, the young woman who spent six years pretending to be LeRoy, and is in fact based on her book “Girl Boy Girl,” with Stewart playing Knoop and Laura Dern as Albert. It’s a timely tale — looking at both gender identity and, in an internet age, the importance or otherwise of a public persona. And does Courtney Love have a cameo as herself? Of course she does.
Release Date: Wrapped in August – SXSW, Tribeca or TIFF seem most likely.
97. “Ant-Man & The Wasp”
Director: Peyton Reed (“Ant-Man”)
Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne
Synopsis: After a brush with The Avengers, Scott Lang returns home where he aids his similarly miniature-powered pal Hope Van Dyne and her father in an attempt to rescue her long-lost mother.
What You Need To Know: “Ant-Man” is far from our favorite Marvel movie – it has some decent moments, but it’s not especially suspenseful for a heist film, or funny for a comedy, and it’s always hard to compare it to what Edgar Wright could have done. But with a far less tumultuous behind-the-scenes story, maybe Peyton Reed can nail it the second time around? This movie – Marvel’s first, after a full decade, to have a named female superhero in the title – sees Lily’s Hope get to don the Wasp armor, Michelle Pfeiffer join the fun as her mom (along with Laurence Fishburne, Hannah John-Kamen and Randall Park). Walton Goggins plays the villain, and, most importantly, we get the return of Michael Pena’s hilarious character.
Release Date: July 6th, 2018
96. “The Long Dumb Road”
Director: Hannah Fidell (“A Teacher”)
Cast: Jason Mantzoukas, Tony Revolori, Taissa Farmiga, Grace Gummer, Ron Livingston
Synopsis: Two strangers, both in the midst of a personal crisis, take an spontaneous road trip together across the American Southwest.
What You Need To Know: The last few years have seen Hannah Fidell firmly establish herself as one of the most interesting young indie filmmakers we have, first with the deeply uncomfortable teacher-student relationship movie “A Teacher,” then the rather lovely, underrated first-love tale “6 Years.” Her new film seems like something of a change of pace: it’s a comedy, co-written with “Eastbound & Down” and “Silicon Valley” writer Carson D. Mell, with the omnipresent supporting comic talent Jason Mantzoukas and “Grand Budapest Hotel” star Tony Revolori getting well-deserved lead roles. Fidell’s not losing track of her roots: cast members from her earlier films like Farmiga, Ben Rosenfeld and Lindsay Burdge are along for the ride, as are DP Andrew Droz Palermo (“A Ghost Story”) and great composer Keegan DeWitt.
Release Date: SXSW or Tribeca?
95. “The Girl In The Spider’s Web”
Director: Fede Alvarez (“Don’t Breathe”)
Cast: Claire Foy, Sylvia Hoeks, Claes Bang, Cameron Britton
Synopsis: Swedish hacker Lisbeth Salander and her journalist friend Mikael Blomkvist, takes on a group of Russian criminals known as the Spider Society, who may be led by a woman she has a personal relationship with…
What You Need To Know: Though it was reasonably well-reviewed and successful, the sheer cost of David Fincher’s “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” meant that the promised sequels never materialized. Now, seven years on, Lisbeth is back with an all-new cast and crew, adapting the fourth book in the series (the first not written by her creator, Stieg Larsson). The script’s adapted by “Locke” and “Peaky Blinders” mastermind Steven Knight, with “Evil Dead” and “Don’t Breathe” director Fede Alvarez stepping into Fincher’s shoes, which is a decent combo (Alvarez directed the hell out of his movies so far). And “The Crown” star Claire Foy takes on the black pixie-cut as the heroine, with “Blade Runner” breakout Sylvia Hoeks as her sister, and “The Square” star Claes Bang as the villain (Blomkvist remains uncast at time of going to press). Can this get the franchise back on track?
Release Date: October 19th, 2018
94. “An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn”
Director: Jim Hosking (“The Greasy Strangler”)
Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Emile Hirsch, Craig Robinson, Jemaine Clement, Matt Berry
Synopsis: A woman named Lulu Danger begins to reconsider her marriage when a mysterious figure from her past comes to town to perform a one-man show.
What You Need To Know: You might have loved the aggressively provocative, deeply disgusting joys of “The Greasy Strangler” or you might have hated them, but either way it was clear that writer-director Jim Hosking was something of a singular-talent. His follow-up, once again produced by Ben Wheatley’s Rook Films, sounds on the surface, a little more conventional, in that it doesn’t have room in the synopsis for decapitation, eye-popping or, well, greasy strangling. But given Hosking’s previous movie, and the presence of unconventional comic performers like Plaza, Robinson, Clement, and Berry, don’t expect this to be “Garden State.” All this said, a sour note comes from the presence of convicted woman-assaulter Emile Hirsch in the cast…
Release Date: Premiering at Sundance
93. “Fast Color”
Director: Julia Hart (“Miss Stevens”)
Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Strathairn, Lorraine Roussaint, Christopher Denham, Saniyya Sidney
Synopsis: A young woman with supernatural powers is forced on the run, and returns home to her family to hide out.
What You Need To Know: It remains something of a puzzle that Gugu Mbatha-Raw isn’t one of the biggest stars in the world: the actress has been on the verge for a while thanks to “Belle” and “Beyond The Lights,” but isn’t yet a household name. Still, coming off her iconic “Black Mirror” performance and megahit “Beauty & The Beast,” 2018 might be her year: she’s got five movies lined up this year, including the aforementioned “Farming,” the latest “Cloverfield” picture, and Ava DuVernay’s “A Wrinkle In Time.” The one that might provide her biggest showcase, though, is the second feature from Julia Hart, writer-director of excellent early Timothee Chalamet showcase “Miss Stevens.” Co-written with her husband, “La La Land” producer/unlikely Oscars hero Jordan Horowitz, it’s an interesting-sounding genre mash-up that feels like the kind of role that could launch Mbatha-Raw even higher.
Release Date: Wasn’t at Sundance, so likely SXSW or TIFF.
92. “Sorry To Bother You”
Director: Boots Riley
Cast: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Armie Hammer, Steven Yeun, Terry Crews
Synopsis: A telemarketer discovers a magical fast route to the top, only to discover a dark secret of his bosses.
What You Need To Know: When we heard that iconic Oakland activist and hip-hop star Boots Riley of The Coup was making his directorial debut, we were certainly interested. When we heard the synopsis and the cast involved, we were fascinated. Riley’s first feature, produced by, among others, Forest Whitaker, looks to be a Charlie Kaufman-ish surreal satire, with an absolutely killer cast led by the great Lakeith Stanfield, and men and women of the moment Armie Hammer and Tessa Thompson, with Jermaine Fowler, Omari Hardwick, Danny Glover, David Cross, Patton Oswalt and Kate Berlant in support. It could be a mess, but our money’s that it might be a triumph.
Release Date: In the Sundance line-up.
91. “The Art Of Self-Defence”
Director: Riley Stearns (“Faults”)
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Imogen Poots, Alessandro Nivola
Synopsis: After being attacked in the street, a man enlists in a dojo to learn how to defend himself, only to find a strange and frightening world there.
What You Need To Know: Virtually no one seemed to see Riley Stearns’ directorial feature “Faults,” but it’s really worth tracking down: a slippery, unpredictable, darkly funny thriller with some really excellent performances. Four years on, Stearns is back with a more high-profile follow-up, and an A-list star in Jesse Eisenberg. The new project sounds a bit like a mix of “The Karate Kid” and “Fight Club,” which is a potent combo and one that seems well-suited to Stearns’ proven skillset, but we might be most excited about seeing a meaty role for Nivola, a brill character actor who too often doesn’t seem to get roles of the size he deserves.
Release Date: A return to SXSW, where “Faults” premiered, is possible, TIFF more likely. Bleecker Street already have the rights.