But first! The year ahead! These are the fifteen titles that I'm most looking forward to in 2018...
release date: October 19th
dir: David Gordon Green
scr: Green/Danny McBride, based on characters created by John Carpenter & Debra Hill
David Gordon Green - a very solid director - has the direct blessing of John Carpenter himself, and Jamie Lee Curtis is back as Laurie Strode. Apparently this film is ignoring every Halloween film after the original, which is kind of a shame, but I guess there's no other way to bring Laurie back, considering the events of Halloween: Resurrection (I'm not apologizing if that's a spoiler for you - that movie is all about Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks). Yours truly owns every Halloween film on BluRay, so yeah, I'm here for it.
Musicals, dogs, klansmen and more, after the jump...
14. Black Klansman
dir: Spike Lee
scr: Lee/David Rabinowitz/Charlie Wachtel/Kevin Wilmott, based on the memoir by Sgt. Ron Stallworth
Follows the true story of a black man who not only infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan, but wound up leading one of its chapters. Anytime Spike Lee releases a movie, it's either one of the best of the year or one of the worst. He does not know middle ground, only extremes - the mark, I think, of a truly passionate, go-for-broke filmmaker. With that talent and this subject matter, I'm ready for a real humdinger.
13. Boy Erased
release date: September 28th
dir/scr: Joel Edgerton, based on the memoir by Garrard Conley
Gay conversion therapy, seen through the eyes of a baptist preacher's son. Lucas Hedges, who was Oscar-nominated for Manchester by the Sea but truly won hearts, including mine, with his performance in Lady Bird, takes the lead. Joel Edgerton directs and co-stars alongside fellow Aussies Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman, Kween. Queer filmmaker Xavier Dolan and Emperor Twink Troye Sivan also appear. Edgerton seems to know his audience, at least!
12. Isle of Dogs
release date: March 23rd
dir: Wes Anderson
scr: Anderson, story by Anderson/Roman Coppola/Kunichi Nomura/Jason Schwartzman
While at first wary of this Japanese-set animated tale, I'm kind of tickled by the execution fo the language barrier between animal and human. Helps, too, that actual Japanese actors are voicing the Japanese characters.
11. The Irishman
dir: Martin Scorsese
scr: Steven Zaillian, based on I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt
Including retrospectives, Martin Scorsese is the most-nominated director at the Hollmann Awards. So it doesn't really matter what he has coming out next, it's worth seeing.
10. Mary, Queen of Scots
release date: November 2nd
dir: Josie Rourke
scr: Beau Willimon
Partly because if there's any chance of it being as good as the 1971 film with Vanessa Redgrave, oh my goodness, what an experience that will be! House of Cards creator Beau Willimon wrote the screenplay; I'd say he's a man who knows from deadly political intrigue. And, of course, the stars: Lady Bird's Saoirse Ronan as Mary, I, Tonya's Margot Robbie as Elizabeth.
dir/scr: Adam McKay
I've been admiring McKay's increasingly overt political filmmaking for years. This biopic of Dick Cheney - starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Tyler Perry, and Sam Rockwell - has the benefit of distance that Oliver Stone's W. (which I loved!) did not.
8. If Beale Street Could Talk
dir/scr: Barry Jenkins, based on the novel by James Baldwin
Barry Jenkins' follow-up to the Oscar-winning Moonlight is an adaptation of the James Baldwin novel about a woman racing against the clock to prove her fiance innocent of a rape charge before she gives birth to their child. Jenkins was going to make this list no matter what - after Moonlight, anything by him is an event.
7. A Wrinkle in Time
release date: March 9th
dir: Ava DuVernay
scr: Jennifer Lee, based on the novel by Madeleine L'Engle
I've been waiting a long time for this book to become an epic cinematic experience - and many of you have been waiting longer.
dir: Luca Guadagnino
scr: David Kajganich
After seeing the recent restoration of the original on the big screen, I'm not sure what else one can do with this story. Guadagnino says it's not a remake, but an homage to the emotions he felt watching Argento's masterpiece - which sounds stupid and pretentious, sure, but damn if it doesn't pique my curiosity.
5. Paddington 2
release date: January 11th
dir: Paul King
scr: King and Simon Farnaby
Paddington Prime was perfect, and I hear Paddington 2 lives up to its predecessor.
4. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again!
release date: July 20th
dir/scr: Ol Parker
Proud fan of Mamma Mia!, so yes, I will go there again - especially since the director/writer is Ol Parker, the screenwriter behind The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and its sequel. Especially since Cher is in it and will apparently sing "Fernando". Especially since ABBA is my all-time favorite music group.
3. Valley Girl
release: June 29th
dir: Rachel Goldenberg
scr: Jenny Lumet/Amy Talkington
When I finally saw Valley Girl for the first time last year, I was appalled...that no one had before told me what a smart, surprisingly empathic look at high school friendships and romances it was. Ok, so why bother a remake? Because honey, this one is a musical, and as you can see, I dig musicals.
2. A Star is Born
release date: October 5th
dir: Bradley Cooper
scr: Cooper/Will Fetters/Eric Roth/Irene Mecchi/Stephen J. Rivele/Christopher Wilkinson
The fourth iteration of this story (washed-up industry vet discovers and falls for female ingenue whose career eclipses his), this one directly a remake of the Streisand-Kristofferson version that I love so well. Lady Gaga was a breath of fresh air on American Horror Story.
1. Crazy Rich Asians
release date: August 17th
dir: Jon M. Chu
scr: Peter Chiarelli/Adele Lim, based on the novel by Kevin Kwan
A studio film with an all Asian and Asian-American cast? Yes, yes, yes!