I currently have a soft spot for the smaller films and indies but you can’t ignore the big franchises, comic book heroes and juggernauts coming your way in 2018, including:
1. “Black Panter.” Estimated release: February 9. This is list in chronological order but when I saw the trailer drop—it looks like Marvel’s going to hit this out of the ballpark again. Great cast—including some serious female badasses like Danai Gurira (Michonne from “The Walking Dead”), Angela Basset and Lupita Nyong’o. Directed by Ryan Coogler of the award winning Fruitvale Station.
2. “Annihilation.” February 22. Starring two “Star Wars” alum Natalie Portman and Oscar Isaac, this science fiction film reminds me of a combination of the female “Ghostbusters” team, “Predator” and “Alien.” Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tessa Thompson (“Thor’s” Valkyrie) join the cast. This is directed and written by “Ex Machina’s” Alex Garland.
3. “Ready Player One.” March 29. Lovers of 80’s pop culture, rejoice. Ernest Cline’s book is now a movie directed by Steven Speilberg with Tye Sheridan (“Cyclops”) and Ben Mendelsohn (“Krennic”).
4. “Avengers: Infinity War.” April 25. Probably the biggest release of the year overshadowing “Star Wars—the Avengers” assembled to deal with the threat that is Thanos. For starters, I’m waiting to see how Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy get to know each other.
5. “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” May 25. There have been script changes and director changes—Ron Howard has taken over from Chris Miller and Phil Lord. Will they make the release date on time? Alden Ehrenreich stars as Han and Donald Glover is Lando Calrissian with bonus Emilia Clarke.
6. “Deadpool 2.” June 1. Expect more irreverence as Ryan Reynolds returns as Wade Wilson aka Deadpool. Josh Brolin who already has a cush gig as Thanos plays Cable. Dopinder the cab driver also returns.
7. “Ocean’s 8.” June 8. Not to be left behind are Natalie Portman and team—Sandra Bullock assembles Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter and Rihanna among others to pull of a heist during New York’s Fashion Week.
8. “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.” November 16. Johnny Depp joining the Harry Potter Universe has upset a few fans but he does have the blessing and approval of JK Rowling. Jude Law joins the cast as young Dumbledore and Zoe Kravitz is on board as Leta LeStrange.
Others worth mentioning: “X-Men: Dark Phoenix,” “Jurrasic World: Fallen Kingdom,” “Mission Impossible 6 (the movie responsible for Henry Cavill’s moustache),” “The Incredibles,” “The Predator,” “Crazy Rich Asians,” “Aquaman,” and “Isle of Dogs.”
In the interesting biopic department, “Mary Queen of Scots” with indie maven and acting powerhouse Soirse Ronan will be out as well as “Bohemian Rhapsody” with Rami Malik as Freddie Mercury.