I’ve covered the best and worst of 2017, so now it’s time to look ahead to my most anticipated films of the next year.
- Avengers: Infinity War
A decades’ worth of storytelling pays off when (supposedly) every hero from the Marvel Cinematic Universe gets together to give Thanos a right good talking to. I’m not really bothered about the superheroics, though (impressive as I’m sure they’ll be). No, I just want to finally see the Avengers meet the Guardians of the Galaxy. That’s all I’ve wanted for the last three years.
A man wakes up to find a bomb implanted in his neck, and he must perform a series of violent acts to stay alive. Sounds like the premise of an unremarkable torture porn flick, except this one has a killer hook: all the characters are played by life-size latex puppets. I’ve no idea if this’ll be any good, but “life-size latex puppets” is enough to get me into the cinema.
Alex Garland impressed back in 2014 with the thought-provoking Ex Machina. He returns for his second directing gig with Annihilation, a technicolor sci fi nightmare based on a novel by Jeff VanderMeer. It looks like Stalker meets Aliens, as a group of soldiers and scientists enter a mysterious zone full of weird animals and naughty nasties. Here’s hoping it’ll be just as cerebral as it is spectacular.
- The Incredibles 2
The Incredibles remains one of my favourite Pixar films, and the animation studio has yet to make a truly bad sequel (just mediocre ones – I’m looking at you, Cars sequels), so my hopes are high for this one. Brad Bird returns to write and direct a story that shifts the focus to Holly Hunter’s Elastigirl, while Craig T. Nelson’s Mr, Incredible plays the stay-at-home dad. Expect poignant family dysfunction with a dash of superhero antics, all to a groovy Michael Giacchino score.
- Boy Erased
Joel Edgerton made is directorial debut with the sinisterly brilliant thriller The Gift, and now he’s returned behind the camera for this story of a teenage boy forced into a gay conversion camp. The memoir in which it’s based (somehow) garners sympathy for the families who send their kids to these camps, while (justifiably) heaping scorn on the camps themselves. Just how critical Edgerton will be remains to be seen, but he’s already proven himself a consummate filmmaker, so this one should be good.
- The Happytime Murders
Brian Henson returns to directing (his last feature was 1996’s Muppets Treasure Island) for his long-awaited puppet noir thriller. Yes, you read that right: puppet noir thriller. Set in a world where puppets live with humans, and are second-class citizens, the cast of popular ‘80s show The Happytime Gang is being systematically bumped off, and it’s up to a puppet detective to find the culprit. It’s unclear just how dark and hardboiled this’ll be, but the prospect of “Muppets do Raymond Chandler” is just too good to pass up.
- The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
It’s taken Terry Gilliam nineteen years and eight attempts to make his adaptation of Don Quixote. Nineteen years! Eight attempts! Talk about life imitating art; in his pigheaded determination to bring the deluded dreamer to the screen, Gilliam has practically become Quixote. Principal photography finally wrapped in 2017, so unlike the man from La Mancha, Gilliam will see his deluded dream realised. Of course, protracted periods in development hell can take their toll on a film (see Warren Beatty’s Rules Don’t Apply for a bafflingly boring example) but Gilliam, while having made some mediocre films, hasn’t made an uninteresting one yet.
- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Martin McDonagh’s latest has already been released Stateside, but here in the UK we’re still awaiting Frances McDormand pissing off Ebbing’s cops with those titular billboards. McDonagh’s previous efforts were hilariously dark comedies, full of casual racism, casual violence, and whipcracking dialogue, and Three Billboards looks no different. The cast is fantastic (McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell), and with McDonagh behind the camera, this should be great.
- The Shape of Water
Guillermo del Toro is a master of genre, and a master of blending genres. In The Shape of Water he’s blending 1950’s Red paranoia, creature feature, and, most intriguing, a love story. Between Sally Hawkins and a fish man, no less. Reviews are already in from those lucky Americans who have already seen it, and they’re full of praise for what could be del Toro’s best film yet.
- Isle of Dogs
Wes Anderson is probably my favourite living director, so a new film from him would have always ranked high on this list. But wait, it gets better. Isle of Dogs is stop-motion. Anderson, my favourite living director, and stop-motion, my favourite form of animation. But there’s more. It’s about dogs. I love dogs! Anderson, stop-motion, and dogs: that’s quite a pedigree. I quite literally cannot wait for this one.
And there you have it: That Film Site’s most anticipated films of 2018.