Welcome to 2018 folks!
Now that we’ve got through another year, it’s time to look ahead at all the big films that will be released over the next twelve months. From Solo: A Star Wars Story and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom to Incredibles 2, Mary Poppins Returns and of course, Avengers: Infinity War.
Believe me, there is plenty to look forward to!
What better way to start 2018 than to watch my favourite actress Jessica Chastain in action as she stars in the biopic drama MOLLY’S GAME.
Written and directed by The West Wing’s Aaron Sorkin, the film sees Jessica portray former Olympic athlete-turned-poker queen Molly Bloom alongside Idris Elba as her lawyer.
Despite its production being hampered by recent controversy, the crime drama ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD hits cinemas with veteran Oscar-winner Christopher Plummer stepping into the role of billionaire J. Paul Getty following the axing of original actor Kevin Spacey. Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg also star in the Ridley Scott flick.
Christian Bale heads to the Old West for his new film HOSTILES in which he plays an Army captain alongside the lovely Rosamund Pike.
Awards season is already upon us and one of the big contenders sees Gary Oldman targetting Oscar glory with his acclaimed performance as iconic British prime minister Winston Churchill in the historical biopic DARKEST HOUR. Oldman is currently the favourite to land the Best Actor accolade in a film that also stars Kristen Scott Thomas and Lily James.
Another major awards contender that makes its bow in the UK is the comic-drama THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI. The film stars Frances McDormand as a scornful mother who challenges the authorities of her town over their failure to solve her daughter’s murder. The support cast includes reliable names like Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell and Game of Thrones’s Peter Dinklage.
The legendary Steven Spielberg directs the historical biopic THE POST which stars Oscar-winning heavyweights Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks as two Washington Post journalists who confronted the American government over the Pentagon Papers in the early 1970s. The support cast in this one is also rather impressive!
A busy year for Pixar sees them release two animated productions, one of them being the Mexican-themed adventure COCO. The story centres on a boy who gets trapped in the land of the dead and must seek help from his ancestors to guide him home.
Another big animation to keep families happy is Aardman’s latest effort EARLY MAN which is set during the prehistoic era and features the voices of Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston and Game of Thrones’s Maisie Williams.
Elsewhere in a busy January, Matt Damon gets shrunk down to five inches in the indie-comedy DOWNSIZING, Liam Neeson kicks ass again in THE COMMUTER, Chris Hemsworth swaps his hammer for armed weapons in the war drama 12 STRONG and THE MAZE RUNNER becomes a trilogy with its third installment THE DEATH CURE.
Three-time Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis brings the curtain down on a very successful career as he plays a renowned dressmaker who falls for his muse in the Paul Thomas Anderson drama PHANTOM THREAD. The film also features Vicky Krieps and Lesley Manville.
Dame Helen Mirren adds the horror genre to her impressive CV as she stars in WINCHESTER while Colin Firth sails out to sea in the real-life survival drama THE MERCY.
The erotic Fifty Shades series finally ends as Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) come to terms with married life in the concluding film FIFTY SHADES FREED.
Before we get to the epicness that is Avengers: Infinity War, there is one more Marvel film to look forward to as new Avenger T’Challa gets his own standalone outing in BLACK PANTHER. Chadwick Boseman dons the claws again and is supported by Michael B Jordon and Oscar winners Lupita Nyong’o and Forest Whitaker.
There are some more Oscar contenders receiving late releases over here with the biggest being the fantasy drama THE SHAPE OF WATER. Helmed by Guillermo del Toro, the film stars Sally Hawkins as a mute cleaner who falls in love with an Amphibian man and tries to protect him from being experimented on. Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer and Richard Jenkins lend their support to the film which is coincidentally out in cinemas on Valentine’s Day!
Family issues dominate the next two key releases in February with all the female stars looking to make the cut at the Oscars. Firstly, Saoirse Ronan plays a rebellious teenager who clashes with her domineering mother (Supporting Actress frontrunner Laurie Metcalf) in Greta Gerwig’s indie-comedy LADY BIRD.
The second film sees Australian beauty Margot Robbie portray controversial ice-skater Tonya Harding whose career was overshadowed by a shocking incident in the sports biopic I, TONYA. Co-star Allison Janney is said to be on venomous form in the film as Harding’s abusive mother.
The month ends with Natalie Portman returning to the sci-fi genre as she stars in the tense thriller ANNIHILATION.
The talented Jennifer Lawrence is back on our screens as she plays a Russian seductress who is drafted against her will in the thriller RED SPARROW. J-Law reunites with her former director Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games) with the support cast including Joel Egerton and Jeremy Irons.
A game night goes badly wrong for the likes of Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams as they star in the action comedy GAME NIGHT while bored housewife Kate Winslet falls for lifeguard Justin Timberlake in Woody Allen’s latest romantic drama WONDER WHEEL.
Oscar-winning actress Alicia Vikander steps into the iconic role of adventurer Lara Croft in the latest big-screen adaption of the hit computer game TOMB RAIDER. The action-adventure explores the origins of Lara who was previously played on screen by Angelina Jolie.
Elsewhere, James Corden continues to pop up everywhere as he lends his voice to the role of the furry Peter Rabbit in a live-action outing simply entitled….PETER RABBIT. The film sees Peter clash with his human nemesis (Domhnall Gleeson) over the affections of their new neighbour (Rose Byrne).
Rooney Mara portrays Biblical legend Mary Magdalene alongside Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus of Nazareth in the religious drama MARY MAGDALENE which is directed by Lion’s Garth Davis.
Disney make history with their newest film A WRINKLE IN TIME which is the first live-action feature to be directed by a woman of colour. Ava DuVernay (Selma, 13th) helms the sci-fi adventre which centres on three children who find themselves on a perilous journey that takes them to a planet possessed by all the evil in the universe. Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine are amongst the big name stars involved.
The battle between mankind and monsterous sea creatures continues as Star Wars’s John Boyega takes on the lead role in the action sequel PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING.
Acclaimed director Wes Anderson is back with a new film that relies on stop-motion animation in the form of ISLE OF DOGS. The quirky story centres on a young boy who tries to find his dog and ends up rescuing a group of outcasted canines. An all-star voice cast includes Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson.
March concludes with the great Steven Spielberg returning to the sci-fi genre again via the futuristic action-adventre READY PLAYER ONE. Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke lead the film which promises plenty of thrills and 1980s / 90s nostalgia.
Real-life couple Emily Blunt and John Krasinski find themselves terrorised by an unknown threat in the spooky horror A QUIET PLACE. Meanwhile, the U.S Treasury comes under threat from both a team of thieves and a deadly hurricane in the disaster-thriller THE HURRICANE HEIST.
Bruce Willis is once again in action mode as he turns vigilante in the upcoming remake of the Charles Bronson thriller DEATH WISH while breakthrough actresses Anya Taylor Joy and Olivia Cooke have a bizarre and dangerous friendship in the dark comedy THOROUGHBREADS
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson goes up against a group of giant apes who cause havoc across America in the action-packed sci-fi RAMPAGE. Thandie Newton and The Walking Dead’s Jeffrey Dean Morgan are amongst the supporting players.
However there’s only one film that is set to dominate not just April but the entire year. Yes we’re talking about AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR!
After ten years and multiple films, all our favourite Marvel heroes (including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Spider-Man, the Guardians, etc) come together to try and prevent the sinister Thanos (Josh Brolin) from destroying Earth.
Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is set to mark the beginning of the end for some heroes but we can expect the film to make HUGE money at the box-office.
The fifth month of 2018 sees gnome couple Gnomeo and Juliet seek help from Sherlock Gnomes to track down their missing friends in the animated sequel SHERLOCK GNOMES. James McAvoy and Emily Blunt reprise their vocal roles with Johnny Depp voicing Sherlock.
One of the more bizarre films of this year sees Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning star in the romantic fantasy HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES. The story centres on a teenager in 1970s Croydon who falls for a foreign exchange student only to discover that she is an alien.
The Merc with a Mouth returns to the big-screen as Ryan Reynolds reprises his popular role as Deadpool in the adult-themed superhero sequel DEADPOOL 2. Josh Brolin plays his second comic-book villain of the year (after Thanos in Infinity War) as he tackles the part of the sinister Cable.
The month ends with the origins of cocky smuggler Han Solo being explored in the Star Wars spin-off SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY.
Alden Ehrenreich takes on the much-loved role made famous by Harrison Ford with Donald Glover playing a young Lando Calrissian. Away from her commitments with the final series of Game of Thrones, the beautiful Emilia Clarke also features alongside Woody Harrelson and Thandie Newton.
The start of the summer sees Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard face a race against time to help save the dinosaurs from an erupting volcano in the Jurassic World follow-up FALLEN KINGDOM. Expect plenty more genetic dinosaurs as well as the return of Jeff Goldblum as Jurassic Park favourite Dr. Ian Malcolm.
Meanwhile, Toni Collette and her family are tormented by terrifying secrets about their ancestry in the supernatural horror HEREDITARY.
The gals take over from the boys in the female-dominated heist flick OCEAN’S 8 which features a strong cast including Oscar winners Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett and Anne Hathaway plus Helena Bonham Carter and Rhianna.
With two comic-book villain roles under his belt this year, Josh Brolin returns to normality as he reprises his portrayal of federal agent Matt Garver in the crime drama sequel SICARIO 2: SOLDADO. Though Emily Blunt is absent this time around, Benicio Del Toro is back as Alejandro as he and Garver try to stop the Mexican cartels from trafficking terrorists across the US border.
The month ends with Disney releasing their British comedy PATRICK which centres on a female teacher who is bequeathed a cute yet naughty pug dog who she struggles to look after.
Sounds like a ruff outing!
Elle Fanning takes on the role of real-life Frankenstein writer Mary Shelley in the romantic biopic MARY SHELLEY. The film focuses on her first relationship and also stars Douglas Booth, Maisie Williams (again!) and Bel Powley.
Not long after fighting giant monsters in Rampage, Dwayne Johnson finds himself up a skyscraper having to rescue his family from terrorists in the action thriller SKYSCRAPER. Die Hard remake anyone?
Fourteen years after the release of its predessessor, INCREDIBLES 2 finally hits cinemas in what many will consider to be a long time coming.
The plot sees Mr Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) having to take care of his three children while Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) goes out to save the world. Other popular characters of the original like Violet (Sarah Vowell) and Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) are back for the latest offering from Pixar.
Another animated sequel out in July is HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3 which sees Dracula (Adam Sandler) goes on a cruise holiday where he finds love with the descendant of nemesis Abraham Van Helsing. Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Steve Buscemi and Mel Brooks are also back to lend their voices.
Having achieved recent success with the likes of Sunset Song and A Quiet Passion, the Liverpool-based film company Hurricane Films are back with their newest production A PRAYER BEFORE DAWN. Peaky Blinders star Joe Cole takes on the role of Liverpudlian Billy Moore who managed to survive the hostility of life in a Thai prison by becoming a boxing champion.
Meanwhile, Tom Cruise returns as heroic spy Ethan Hunt for a SIXTH time in the upcoming action-sequel M:I 6 – MISSION IMPOSSIBLE. Although the plot is not yet known, franchise veterans Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Michelle Monaghan and Alec Baldwin are also back alongside newcomers Henry Cavill, Angela Bassett and The Crown’s Vanessa Kirby.
On the subject of “Here we go again”, the Dancing Queens are back to belt out the tunes for the second ABBA-based outing MAMMA MIA: HERE WE GO AGAIN!.
The plot sees Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) finding out more about her mother’s past whilst also coping with being pregnant. Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Julie Walters are all back with Lily James playing the younger version of Donna and Cher popping up too.
The first film of post-Infinity War sees Paul Rudd return as micro-hero Scott Lang / Ant-Man for a new mission in ANT-MAN AND THE WASP. This time around, he is joined by Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lily) as she dons the Wasp outfit that was presented to her in the previous film. Michael Douglas, Michael Pena and Judy Greer are back too along with newcomers Michelle Pfieffer, Hannah John-Kamen and Laurence Fishburne.
Meanwhile, Jason Statham has a Jaws-like encounter with a 70-foot shark in the bizarrely-named action-horror THE MEG.
There will be nostalgia aplenty for Disney fans in the upcoming family adventure CHRISTOPHER ROBIN. The plot sees Ewan McGregors play an adult Christopher Robin as he agrees to help his old friend Winnie the Pooh find his companions in the Hundred Acre Wood. Hayley Atwell and Mark Gatiss co-star in the film which has vibes of Hook about it.
August is a popular one for the Washington household as Denzel and his son John David take centre stage in two separate films. Firstly, Denzel is back in bad-ass mode as he reprises his role as retired agent Robert McCall in the action-thriller sequel THE EQUALIZER 2.
As for John David, he plays a real-life detective who bravely tries to infiltrate the KKK with the help of Adam Driver in the Spike Lee-directed drama BLACKKKLANSMAN.
The month ends with Melissa McCarthy teaming up with foul-mouthed muppets as they investigate a series of murders in the comedy THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS.
Over thirty years after its release, Predator gets a 2018 update in the upcoming action-thriller THE PREDATOR. Boyd Holbrook and Moonlight’s Trevante Rhodes headline the film alongside Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown, Alfie Allen and talented youngster Jacob Tremblay.
Asian characters finally take centre stage in the upcoming rom-com CRAZY RICH ASIANS which has already become an unlikely hit in 2018.
Elsewhere, veteran British actors Michael Caine, Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent and Ray Winstone team up for the real-life crime drama KING OF THIEVES while Anna Kendrick tries to investigate the disappearance of Blake Lively in the Gone Girl-style thriller A SIMPLE FAVOUR.
Eli Roth will be hoping for better success from his underwhelming directional career as he helms the fantasy mystery THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS. The story centres on a young orphan who aids his magical uncle (Jack Black) in locating a clock with the power to bring about the end of the world.
After an underwhelming appearance in Spider-Man 3 (2007), the slimey Venom gets his own stand-alone outing in the form of VENOM. British superstar Tom Hardy takes on the role of Eddie Brock and his alter-ego with support coming from Michelle Williams, Woody Harrelson and Riz Ahmed.
Elsewhere, Bradley Cooper directs AND stars in the much-delayed remake of the musical A STAR IS BORN. Lady Gaga plays the role of an unknown yet talented singer who is supported by a country music star (Cooper) which leads to potential stardom. The film has also received rave reviews and is being touted as an Oscar contender next year.
Rowan Atkinson is back as bumbling spy Johnny English for a third time in the upcoming sequel JOHNNY ENGLISH 3 which also features Olga Kurylenko.
Meanwhile, Ryan Gosling portray real-life astronaut Neil Armstrong in the biopic drama FIRST MAN. Helmed by La La Land’s Damian Chazelle, the film also stars Claire Foy as Armstrong’s wife Janet with additional support coming from Corey Stoll, Jason Clarke and Kyle Chandler.
Forty years after being spooked by the psychotic Michael Myers, Jamie Lee Curtis returns to the role of Laurie Strode as she confronts her nemesis one last time in the concluding horror sequel HALLOWEEN.
The month ends with Mr Robot star Rami Malek taking on the role of legendary singer Freddie Mercury in the Queen biopic BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY.
The film chronicles the band’s rise to success and finishes with their landmark performance at the Live Aid concert in 1985. Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy and Joseph Mazzello portray the rest of the band members with Lucy Boynton, Aidan Gillen and Mike Myers rounding off the cast.
The penultimate month of 2018 sees Mike Leigh tackle the Peterloo massacre in the biopic drama PETERLOO which stars Rory Kinnear and Maxine Peake.
The Nutcracker is immortalised onto the big-screen by Disney (who else?) in the form of THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS. Youngster Mackenzie Foy leads the fantasy alongside more experienced names like Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman.
British director Steve McQueen follows on from his Oscar-winning triumph with 12 Years a Slave (2014) as he helms the crime drama WIDOWS. The film stars Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez and Cynthia Erivo as a group of women who take fate into their own hands after they owe debts left behind by their dead husbands to crime bosses. Colin Farrell, Liam Neeson, Robert Duvall and Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya also star in the film which should deliver more success for McQueen.
Meanwhile Benedict Cumberbatch provides the voice of the grumpy Grinch in Universial Pictures’s animated adaptation of THE GRINCH.
The Harry Potter spin-off universe continues in FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDLEWALD which follows on from its 2016 predessessor. Though Eddie Redmayne is back as Newt Scamander, the plot focuses more on the conflict between a young Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and his rival Gellert Grindlewald (Johnny Depp).
Having concluded her involvement in the Fifty Shades series, Dakota Johnson finds herself tormented by a mysterious darkness in the brutal remake of the classic 70s horror SUSPIRIA.
Elsewhere, Kingsman’s Taron Egerton continues his promising career so far as he becomes the latest star to ‘steal from the rich and give to the poor’ in another adaptation of ROBIN HOOD. The film is a gritty take on the classic story about the heroic outlaw with support coming from Eve Hewson as Maid Marian, Jamie Dornan as Will Scarlet, Jamie Foxx as Little John, Ben Mendelsohn as the Sheriff of Nottingham and Peaky Blinders’s Paul Anderson as Guy of Gisborne.
Golden Globe winner Claire Foy moves away from her beloved portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown as she takes on the much, gritter role of punk hacker Lisbeth Salander in the Dragon Tattoo reboot THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB.
Disney have another animated sequel out at the end of the month as computer game character Ralph returns for a new outing in WRECK-IT-RALPH 2: RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET. John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman reprise their roles from the original film with the sequel featuring a host of cameos from Disney princesses including Ariel (The Little Mermaid), Belle (Beauty and the Beast), Jasmine (Aladdin), Mulan (Mulan), Rapunzel (Tangled), Merida (Brave), Anna and Elsa (Frozen) and Moana (Moana).
The month ends with Michael B. Jordon stepping back into the ring as he and Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa go up against Ivan Drago and his son in the boxing drama sequel CREED 2.
The build-up to Christmas sees Jason Momoa reprise his role as DC superhero Arthur Curry / Aquaman in the comic-book blockbuster AQUAMAN. Amber Heard is back as Mera with strong support also coming from Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren and Willem Dafoe.
Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie square off as Mary Stuart and Queen Elizabeth I respectively in the historical drama MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS. The film also stars David Tennant, Guy Pearce and Line of Duty’s Martin Compston.
However the biggest film of the Christmas period looks certain to be the long-awaited Disney sequel MARY POPPINS RETURNS. Set years after the events of the beloved 1964 original, the story sees Mary Poppins return to London to comfort the Banks children following the death of their father. Through her unique magical skills, and with the aid of her friend Jack, she helps the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives.
Emily Blunt takes on the iconic role of Mary with Emily Mortimer and Ben Whishaw playing the adult Jane and Michael Banks. Additionally, there are roles for Broadway performer Lin-Manuel Miranda, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep, Julie Walters and Angela Lansbury while original star Dick Van Dyke features as Mr Dawes Jnr.
Fans of the Transformers series can look forward to a spinoff film focusing on the yellow robot Bumblebee as he forges a bond with a teenage girl. Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena and Pamela Adlon have roles in BUMBLEBEE which is set before the events of Transformers.
Not a bad year for film eh?
BEST OF THE REST
There are some more films that have yet to confirm a UK release date but should be hitting cinemas at some point this year.
Away from bonking her ‘nephew’ on Game of Thrones and teaming up with a young Han Solo, the ridiculously-stunning Emilia Clarke takes on a more grittier role in her next screen outing ABOVE SUSPICION.
The drama depicts the chilling true story of how an FBI agent (Jack Huston) became drawn into an affair with a trashy young woman (Emilia) who also became his star informant which would later lead to devastating consequences. Thora Birch, Johnny Knoxville and Kevin Dunn also star in the film.
Emilia’s Thrones co-star Kit Harington also has a bleak time of it in his new film THE DEATH AND LIFE OF JOHN F. DONOVAN. The drama focuses on a young actor who reminisces about the written correspondence he shared with an American TV star (Harington) who died years earlier. A talented cast includes Oscar winners Natalie Portman, Kathy Bates and Susan Sarandon plus starlets Jacob Tremblay and Bella Thorne.
Jessica Chastain can be seen in the biopic drama WOMAN WALKS AHEAD which centres on the true story of an artist who travelled to Dakota to paint a portrait of Sitting Bull and became embroiled in the Lakota peoples’ struggle over the rights to their land.
Meanwhile, Mel Gibson continues his acting comeback as he stars in the mystery drama THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN. The plot centres on Professor James Murray as he begins work on the first ever Oxford Dictionary and receives over 10,000 entries from a patient at Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum. Oscar winner Sean Pell co-stars alongside Jennifer Ehle, Ioan Gruffudd and Game of Thrones’s Natalie Dormer.
Following on from his terrific work on Hell or High Water, David McKenzie’s next production is the historical drama OUTLAW KING which sees him reunite with Chris Pine.
The story focuses on how the great Scottish ‘Outlaw King’ Robert The Bruce used cunning and bravery to defeat and repel the much larger and better equipped occupying English army. Pine plays the role of Bruce alongside Stephen Dillane, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and rising actress Florence Pugh.
The tragic story of the 2000 K-141 Kursk submarine disaster is covered in the real-life drama KURSK. Oscar winner Colin Firth headlines the film alongside Matthias Schoenaearts, Lea Seydoux and Max Von Sydow.
Yet another upcoming biopic in 2018 is VITA AND VIRGINIA which focuses on the love affair between socialite and popular author Vita Sackville-West and literary icon Virginia Woolf. Elizabeth Debicki and Gemma Arterton portray the two lovers.
Finally, the lovely Daisy Ridley takes time away from the Star Wars series as she plays the tragic Ophelia in the historical drama OPHELIA.
The film is a re-imagining of the Hamlet story which focuses on her perspective as she finds herself drawn to Hamlet. George MacKay, Naomi Watts and Clive Owen are Daisy’s co-stars in the Shakespearean production.