(Featured image: still from Phantom Thread)
2018 boasts an impressive lineup of films, ranging from superhero epics to buzzed-about indies. We compiled a list of films worth watching below, ranging widely and with something for everyone. This list includes UK release dates.
Phantom Thread (UK release 2 February 2018)
Three-time Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis stars in his final film as Reynolds Woodcock, a renowned couturier who begins a relationship with a young waitress named Alma. Directed by the actor’s longtime collaborator Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood, The Master), this sensual feature explores the dark underbelly of dependent relationships, gender roles, and control. Garnering early critical acclaim, specifically for Day-Lewis’ performance, the film is sure to be a proper sendoff for the legendary actor.
Wildlife (Sundance premiere 20 January 2018; limited release expected late 2018)
Actor Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine, There Will Be Blood, Love & Mercy) makes his directorial debut with this family drama, set to debut at the Sundance Film Festival in late January. The film will follow a young boy who witnesses the dissolution of his parents’ (Jake Gyllenhaal and Carrie Mulligan) marriage after they move to Montana in the 1960s. Upon positive reception, the film is expected for be picked up for distribution and released at the end of the year. If you’ve ever dreamed of seeing Jake Gyllenhaal as a dad, now’s your chance.
Black Panther (UK release 13 February 2018) and Avengers: Infinity War (UK release 27 April 2018)
Marvel Studios’ next two films come out within two months of one another, the former tying up loose ends for the epic face-off to come in Infinity War. Black Panther will follow Wakandan prince T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) as he returns to his home country to ascend the throne after his father’s untimely death. Michael B. Jordan plays Killmonger, T’Challa’s challenger to the throne, with Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, and Angela Bassett starring as some of the prince’s closest body guards and confidants. It will be Marvel’s first film mainly comprised of actors of colour and has already broken the studio’s record for most pre-sale tickets sold. The film will introduce important characters into the MCU in time for Infinity War.
Infinity War will be set four years after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, when the villain Thanos (Josh Brolin) arrives on Earth to finish his collection of the Infinity Stones, allowing him to control reality and conquer the universe. In order to stop him, every major character introduced since the inception of the MCU – from Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) to Rocket (Bradley Cooper) to Falcon (Anthony Mackie) – will have to put aside their differences, band together, and fight. The film will feature the largest amount of superheroes on screen in cinematic history, and is sure to be an unforgettable ride.
Annihilation (Netflix UK release expected March 2018)
Based on the acclaimed novel of the same name, Natalie Portman leads this sci-fi action film surrounding a group of soldiers who enter an environmental disaster zone after her husband (Oscar Isaac) survives a foray in the territory and barely makes it out alive. As they venture deeper into the zone, their perceptions of time, nature, and each other are tested. Director Alex Garland (Ex Machina) continues to expand the sci-fi genre by examining the relationship between human beings, technology, and morality.
Isle of Dogs (UK release 30 March 2018)
Following the success of his first stop-motion animated film Fantastic Mr. Fox, Wes Anderson returns to the field with this film about canines. Set in a dystopian future, Japan has quarantined all dogs on an island due to “canine flu”. Five dogs agree to help a young boy named Atari to find his lost dog on the isle, and as Japanese forces try to capture him, Atari and the dogs race against time to reunite the boy and his best friend. The voice cast of the film nearly features every single actor who has ever starred in a Wes Anderson film, though Owen Wilson is notably absent. We hope everything is still okay between those two.
The Sisters Brothers (expected late 2018)
The story follows Eli and Charlie Sisters (John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix), two hitmen brothers on the trail of a prospector (Jake Gyllenhaal) who has stolen from their boss. The film is French director Jacques Audiard’s (A Prophet, Rust and Bone, Dheepan) first English-language film and will also star Rutger Hauer and Riz Ahmed in supporting roles. Many thanks to Jake Gyllenhaal for starring in so many films this year.
Boy Erased (USA release 28 September 2018; UK release expected late 2018/early 2019)
Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby, The Gift, Loving) writes, directs, and produces this coming-of-age drama surrounding a young boy (Lucas Hedges) who, after being outed to his parents (Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe), is forced into a gay conversion therapy program. There, he comes into conflict with his therapist and the rest of the patients. The film is based on Boy Erased: A Memoir and will feature Troye Sivan, Flea, and acclaimed director Xavier Dolan in its supporting cast.
Widows (UK release 16 November 2018)
Steve McQueen’s (Hunger, Shame, 12 Years a Slave) fourth film will center four widows (Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez, and Cynthia Erivo) who team up to finish the dangerous heist that killed their cousins. With a screenplay penned by McQueen and Gone Girl author/screenwriter Gillian Flynn, we can expect nuanced female characters, a gripping story, and (hopefully) Viola Davis kicking ass.
If Beale Street Could Talk (expected late 2018)
Oscar-winning director Barry Jenkins will follow his acclaimed film Moonlight with this adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel of the same name. The story follows Tish Rivers (Kiki Layne), a woman living in Harlem, whose fiancé Fonny (Stephan James) is falsely imprisoned for rape. When Tish finds out she is pregnant, she, her lawyer, and her family race to prove Fonny’s innocence. With police brutality happening daily and mass incarceration continuing to increase in the United States, the film could not be more relevant and timely.
Ocean’s 8 (UK release 22 June 2018)
Serving as both a sequel and an all-female soft reboot of the original Ocean’s Eleven film series, the film centers around Danny Ocean’s estranged sister Debbie (Sandra Bullock) as she organizes a team to pull off a massive heist at the Met Gala in New York City. Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, and Helena Bonham Carter round out the core eight, promising a star-studded and exciting ride. George Clooney is not expected to make any cameos, but we can only hope.
Other expected 2018 releases to keep an eye on:
A Wrinkle in Time (dir. Ava DuVernay)
Suspiria (dir. Luca Guadagnino)
First Man (dir. Damien Chazelle)
The Death & Life of John F. Donovan (dir. Xavier Dolan)
Solo: A Star Wars Story (dir. Ron Howard)
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (dir. David Yates)
Backseat (dir. Adam McKay)