After what feels like a year made up of roughly 5 million weeks (fun fact: the film “Black Panther” was released in 2018! It’s true!), December has rolled around and the light at the end of the 2018 tunnel is in sight. And around these parts, that means that it’s time to roll out the annual smorgasbord of year-end features, looking at the best, and sometimes worst, of the year in film and TV.
But before we do that, we tend to kick off this season not by looking back, but by looking forward, by rounding up the movies that we’re most excited about in 2018. Spoiler: there’s a lot of them. The past year was another great year in what’s felt like a string of great years for film, and 2019 looks to continue the run, with big-name auteurs returning, major blockbuster franchises reaching a conclusion (of sorts), and all sorts of exciting new voices looking to break through.
To take a look at the hundred movies that we’re most amped about, you can keep reading below. And let us know what you’re excited, or cautious, about, in the comments.
100. “The Glorias: A Life On The Road”
Director: Julie Taymor (“Frida”)
Cast: Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander, Lulu Wilson, Bette Midler
Synopsis: A biopic of the legendary feminist writer and thinker Gloria Steinem.
What You Need To Know: At a time in history like this one, it’s encouraging that filmmakers are starting to explore the women’s movement from a period that pre-dates Taylor Swift identifying as a feminist. This script, by playwright Sarah Ruhl, will examine the life of the legendary, epoch-shifting Gloria Steinem through three different actresses – Oscar-winners Julianne Moore and Alicia Vikander, and “Haunting Of Hill House” standout Lulu Wilson. This being Julie Taymor (her first film in nearly a decade) expect some stunning visuals, and it sounds like it’ll give us more to chew on than “Across The Universe” or “The Tempest” too.
Release Date: Hasn’t yet begun filming, so TIFF seems the most likely home.
— The Playlist ???? (@ThePlaylist) November 13, 2018
99. “Always Be My Maybe”
Director: Nahnatchka Khan (“Fresh Off The Boat”)
Cast: Ali Wong, Randall Park, Keanu Reeves, Daniel Dae Kim, Karan Soni
Synopsis: Childhood sweethearts, one a celebrity chef, the other a struggling musician, reunite after 15 years.
What You Need To Know: A great rom-com needs a great title, and “Always Be My Maybe” certainly has one of those. It also has a happy accident of timing in that it’s the first romantic comedy with Asian-American leads since “Crazy Rich Asians” upended the genre (and proved its biggest hit in years) last summer. It might not be the boundary-breaker, then, but it’s got the pedigree on its side to possibly be even better: Nahnatchka Khan, showrunner of the immensely likable “Fresh Off The Boat,” directs, while it’s written by and stars stand-up Ali Wong and practiced scene-stealer Randall Park, both getting long-deserved lead roles here. Also: Keanu. This feels like it could be one of Netflix’s secret weapons for 2019.
Release Date: Unclear: we’d guess the spring or summer.
98. “The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind”
Director Chiwetel Ejiofor
Cast: Maxwell Samba, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Noma Dumezweni, Lily Banda
Synopsis: A 13-year-old boy in Malawi attempts to build a windmill to save his village from famine.
What You Need To Know: If it feels like Chiwetel Ejiofor’s been absent from your screens for a while, there are reasons for that. Some are that you probably didn’t see him voice Dr. Watson in “Sherlock Gnomes.” Some are that “Mary Magdalene” is stuck in post-Weinstein limbo in the U.S. And some of it is because he’s been off making his directorial debut with this inspirational true-life tale, which Netflix snapped up last month. Ejiofor’s an actor of rare taste and distinction, and he’s worked with some of the best filmmakers around (Stephen Frears, Spike Lee, Alfonso Cuaron, Ridley Scott, Steve McQueen), so this could be something special.
Release Date: Premiering at Sundance.
— The Playlist ???? (@ThePlaylist) November 28, 2018
97. “Charlie’s Angels”
Director: Elizabeth Banks (“Pitch Perfect 2”)
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska, Djimon Hounsou, Patrick Stewart.
Synopsis: Three young women fight crime under the guidance of their mysterious, unseen boss.
What You Need To Know: Despite the fact that neither its target audience, nor its young leads, were alive for decades until after the show was on in the 1970s, Sony has been pursuing a “Charlie’s Angels” reboot pretty much ever since ‘Full Throttle‘ ran the previous, McG-led iteration into the ground fifteen years ago. But there’s reason to hope that this’ll be less ill-fated than, say, “CHiPS” – Banks’ brand of fizzy fun seems a good match for the franchise, and it’s a rare outing in franchise fare for the picky K-Stew.
Release Date: November 1st
Kristen Stewart Says New ‘Charlie’s Angels’ Will Be “Super-Woke” And Feature “No Objectification Whatsoever” https://t.co/ndD3HHJVBf #CharliesAngels #KristenStewart #MostAnticipatedMovies2019 pic.twitter.com/6c5QJITp70
— Rodrigo Perez ???????????? (@YrOnlyHope) December 3, 2018
Director: Jonathan Levine (“50/50”)
Cast: Seth Rosen, Charlize Theron, O’Shea Jackson Jr, Alexander Skarsgard, Andy Serkis
Synopsis: An unemployed journalist attempts to pursue his childhood babysitter and crush, who’s now running for president.
What You Need To Know: Sometimes, the worst thing that can happen to a comedy star is overexposure, so it’s notable that aside from small supporting roles in “The Disaster Artist” and Netflix rom-com “Like Father,” we haven’t seen Seth Rogen on screen in nearly three years. Pairing him up with Charlize Theron is one of those teamings that’s funny just on its own, and while the premise might risk seeming a bit… creepy, it’s apparently been test-screening through the roof, causing Lionsgate to move it to a prime summer date. Hopefully, director Levine will be more on the form of his underrated last film with Rogen, “The Night Before,” and less of the more recent “Stranded.”
Release Date: June 7th
95. “Late Night”
Director: Nisha Ganatra (“Transparent”)
Cast: Emma Thompson, Mindy Kaling, John Lithgow, Hugh Dancy, Amy Ryan
Synopsis: A long-running late night talk show host hires a female head writer to revitalize her fading show.
What You Need To Know: After feeling absent from our screens for a lot of the ’00s, outside of ‘Harry Potter‘ movies, and the occasional cameo, it’s been heartening to see Emma Thompson working a lot more often in recent years. And her comeback could be capped with this, which appealingly casts her as a sort of Letterman-ish figure in a mainstream comedy that pairs her with Mindy Kaling, who also wrote the script. “Transparent” veteran Nisha Ganatra took over the director’s chair from Paul Feig, and while Kaling’s work is sometimes frothy to a fault, the chance to look at the male-dominated late night world from a different angle could bring out the best in her work.
Release Date: Screening at Sundance in January.
— The Playlist ???? (@ThePlaylist) November 3, 2016
Director: Josh Trank (“Chronicle”)
Cast: Tom Hardy, Linda Cardellini, Jack Lowden, Matt Dillon, Kyle MacLachlan
Synopsis: The legendary gangster Al Capone reflects on his life after his release from prison, as he begins to suffer from dementia.
What You Need To Know: It’s only a few years Josh Trank was on top of the world. His found-footage superhero tale “Chronicle” had been a sleeper hit and rocketed him to the A-list before he was out of his twenties, with a high-profile superhero reboot in production, and a “Star Wars” prequel coming up next. But then, “Fantastic Four” hit, or rather didn’t, and with it some, uh, colorful stories about Trank’s behavior on set, including that his dogs apparently caused $100,000 worth of damage in a house in Baton Rouge. This led to him losing the “Star Wars” gig (on a movie which is now canceled altogether), and one wondered if Trank had burnt out too fast. But he’s back this year, with this independent biopic of Al Capone, penned by Trank himself. It should be a real showcase for star Hardy — but will the two work in sync, or bring out the worst in each other? (if nothing else, a score by Run The Jewels’ El-P should be fun).
Release Date: Filmed last spring, so could be any day now, but TIFF seems the most likely.
— The Playlist ???? (@ThePlaylist) August 9, 2018
93. “Sound Of Metal”
Director: Darius Marder
Cast: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Mathieu Amalric
Synopsis: A drummer in a metal band has his relationship with his girlfriend tested when he starts to lose his hearing.
What You Need To Know: We’re avowed fans of Derek Cianfrance here at The Playlist, and while we wait for his HBO series with Mark Ruffalo to arrive in 2020, “Sound Of Metal” should provide some useful methadone, and hopefully much more. Director Darius Marder was Cianfrance’s co-writer on “The Place Beyond The Pines,” and this actually appears to be a version of an old Cianfrance project called “Metalhead.” It’s attracted some big names in the past (Matthias Schoenaerts and Dakota Johnson were previously attached), but it’s landed on a tantalizing cast, with Ahmed and Cooke being two of the brightest rising stars of recent years.
Release Date: Not at Sundance, so could be a good bet for Critics Week or Quinzaine at Cannes.
92. “Little Joe”
Director: Jessica Hausner (“Lourdes”)
Cast: Ben Whishaw, Emily Beecham, Kerry Fox, David Wilmot
Synopsis: A genetically engineered plant causes strange behavior in those around it.
What You Need To Know: Although she’s now five features into her career and has plenty of acclaim, Jessica Hausner hasn’t quite become the arthouse equivalent of a household name, but that could change. After the remarkable religious drama “Lourdes” and curious, but terrific, period piece “Amour Fou,” Hausner makes what looks to be her English-language drama with a film with a strange premise that makes it sound a bit like “Little Shop Of Horrors.” It sounds bonkers, but we can’t wait to see it, especially with a cast led by Ben Whishaw and “Daphne” breakout Emily Beecham.
Release Date: Apparently targeting a Spring completion date, so could see Hausner return to Cannes – hopefully, graduation to Official Competition for the first time.
— Rodrigo Perez ???????????? (@YrOnlyHope) December 3, 2018
Director: Jonathan Jakubowicz (“Hands Of Stone”)
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Ed Harris, Clemence Poesy, Edgar Ramirez
Synopsis: The story of how famous mime Marcel Marceau helped save a group of Jewish orphans in Nazi-occupied Paris.
What You Need To Know: Credit to Jesse Eisenberg: he has no intention of being typecast. The actor has such a particular persona, but one of his three 2019 projects sees him take on a part that’s completely different from anything he’s done before, in the shape of history’s most famous mime, Marcel Marceau. This is a story about Marceau before his clowning training, but a remarkable one nevertheless, and Venezuelan writer-director Jonathan Jakubowicz is the one who’ll be unearthing it. Will it mean much to an audience who might not be aware of Marceau, though?…
Release Date: Filmed late this year: TIFF seems the best bet.
— #blogCinemaNews (@BlogCinemaNews) November 2, 2018