What's worth watching on the big screen in 2018? The Herald's entertainment team makes their picks.
Black Panther (February 15)
Black Panther has to be top of my list because a cast like this simply cannot be ignored. I'm a huge Marvel fan, I have been my whole life, but I've always had a problem with the MCU's complete lack of diversity. Black Panther is a huge step toward fixing that, plus Kendrick Lamar is curating the soundtrack and it already includes SZA and Vince Staples.
Lady Bird (February 15)
When coming-of-age tale Lady Bird was released in the USA last year, it set the record for becoming the best-rated film on Rotten Tomatoes ever. Directed by Greta Gerwig – the talented powerhouse who wrote and starred in 2012's excellent Frances Ha – Lady Bird also recently won the Golden Globe for best musical or comedy, as well as best actress for its star Saoirse Ronan. Said to be hilarious, beautifully acted and incredibly moving, Lady Bird looks tailor-made to break our hearts.
Red Sparrow (March 1)
From bingeing on Lightbox's The Americans to devouring Netflix's Wormwood, the ongoing conflict between Russia and the US has infected my viewing habits lately. That's set to continue in theatres with Red Sparrow, which sees Jennifer Lawrence play Russian spy Dominika Egorova. Let's hope this skips past The Hunger Games (director Francis Lawrence helmed Mockingjay - Part 2) and heads more towards Charlize Theron's underrated Atomic Blonde or the awesome Saoirse Ronan thriller Hanna.
Death Wish (March 2)
In this era of reboots, remakes and reimaginations it's hard to get excited about new rehashes of old films. But Imma make an exception here. Charles Bronson's 1974 hardboiled vigilante action flick about a mild mannered architect out for his own brand of justice after his wife and daughter are assaulted in their apartment by a group of punks, is ripe for a gritty reboot.
One caveat: If star Bruce Willis doesn't sport a Bronson moustache at least once during the film, I'm out.
Alex Garland's follow-up to his directorial debut Ex Machina (2015), the sci-fi thriller Annihilation finds Natalie Portman leading a team into a mysterious and terrifying zone known as "The Shimmer". The film's unconventional premise means Kiwis may not get to see it on the big screen; after a producer was concerned the final cut was "too intellectual," a deal was made to skip a worldwide release -
- in order to keep the final edit intact. Netflix purchased the film instead, and is expected to release it in March.
A Wrinkle in Time (April 12)
Why Disney? Why A Wrinkle in Time? Because between Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Ava DuVernay and young up-and-comer Storm Reid, there are too many powerful and talented women – and women of colour – involved for it to be a let-down.
Isle of Dogs (April 19)
Doggone this looks great. Director Wes Anderson's next quirkily idiosyncratic film is a stop motion animated feature about a colony of dogs living on a trash island off the coast of Japan. The beautiful animation is matched with a star studded voice cast that includes Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Scarlett Johansson, Bryan Cranston and good old Jeff Goldblum. I canine wait for it.
Avengers: Infinity War (April 25)
It's taken a decade, three 'phases' and 18 films, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe is finally arriving at its hugest undertaking yet: Avengers: Infinity War. Said to unite no less than 67 characters from the MCU, Infinity War will likely be long, loud and spectacular. Guardians of the Galaxy fans will no doubt be excited to see their favourite intergalactic quartet meet up with Marvel's Earth-based heroes.
Solo: A Star Wars Story (May 25)
The trailer is rumoured to be dropping today, and other than one cast photo, we haven't seen too much from the stand-alone Han Solo movie. The production of the film has been plagued with setbacks, a change in director - now Ron Howard – and reshoots, but despite all that my hopes are high for Solo. It's natural for Star Wars fans to feel nervous when it comes to such a beloved character, and maybe I'm just an optimist, but I feel like they can pull it off. Plus, Donald Glover as a young Lando sounds perfect.
Ocean's 8 (June 8)
Although everyone seems to have a bitter taste in their mouths after the all-female Ghosbusters flopped, I'm actually really looking forward to seeing the lady-lead spinoff of the Ocean's franchise. Just like the original film, Ocean's 8 looks like a lot of fun - which is what it should and hopefully will be. I mean, who doesn't want to see Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham Carter, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina and Rihanna team up to pull off a jewel-heist at the Met Gala?
Incredibles 2 (June 28)
Forget Toy Story, Monsters, Inc or Finding Nemo. The Incredibles remains my favourite Pixar movie, and the sequel looks seven separate kinds of awesome. Why? Laser baby! Just watch the trailer ...