Last year offered a film worth running out to see every month. I’m hoping 2018 does the same. Here’s a movie for each month I’m anticipating:

January

Phantom Thread

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Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson       Starring Daniel Day-Lewis

Daniel Day-Lewis is promoting this as his last performance. He plays Reynolds Woodcock, a goliath fashion designer in the 1950s, slowly unraveling as he falls in love with a young woman. Nothing about the synopsis sounds very exciting, and the trailer didn’t do much for me either, but a Paul Thomas Anderson film is an event. The man makes masterpieces. -January 12-

February

Black Panther

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Directed by Ryan Coogler      Starring Chadwick Boseman

Opening night. I’ll be there. The first cut is apparently 4 hours. It will be cut, of course, but I’m expecting the ambition and epicness to remain. T’Challa, Avengers recruit and prince of Wakanda, an African country under attack, fights to defend his kingdom. One of the few Marvel productions I eagerly look forward too. They tend to be fine but too manufactured and soulless. Need Black Panther to be more. -February 16-

March

Ready Player One

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Directed by Steven Spielberg     Starring Tye Sheridan

Wasn’t on board with this film early. I am now. The second trailer they issued was much more compelling. The story follows Wade Owen Watts as he enters the OASIS, a virtual world where a billionaire’s hidden an enormous fortune. A tribute to escapism that will also function as a diverting afternoon at the movies. -March 30-

April

The New Mutants

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Directed by Josh Boone       Starring Maisie Williams

I love X-Men for some reason. Most of the X-Men offerings have been either mediocre or worse, and yet I still look forward to the next entry. This one centers around a fresh cast of characters as they come to terms with their abilities. -April 13-

May

Solo: A Star Wars Movie

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Directed by Ron Howard         Starring Alden Ehrenreich

It’s a big month for films. The obvious choice for most would be the first part of Avengers: Infinity War, but I’m just not interested. Solo, this year’s Star Wars entry, and the latest spinoff at least has me somewhat curious. The project changed directors, and I’m waiting to see if that hurt the film. In general, these spinoffs feel like cash grabs and that doesn’t translate to quality movie, but Rogue One was okay, and I do love Star Wars. Plus, it’s being described as a western. I’ll take any kind of western at this point.-May 25-

June

The Incredibles 2

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Directed by Brad Bird       Voice of Holly Hunter

In a month that sees the release of a new Jurassic Park, Deadpool, Ocean’s movie and Sicario, nothing beats my anticipation of The Incredibles 2. It will be 14 years between the release of the first Incredibles (best superhero film of all time; or tied with Unbreakable) and its sequel, but Incredibles 2 is said to be picking up right where it left off in terms of story, with the Parr family taking on the Underminer. -June 15-

July

Ant-Man and the Wasp

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Directed by Peyton Reed      Starring Paul Rudd

I’m less enthusiastic about the sequels coming out in this month. Mamma Mia 2? Hotel Transylvania 3? Even Mission Impossible 6 seems like overkill, though somehow they keep getting better. Ant Man and the Wasp is getting my pick for this month simply because it has a colorful title. There’s not much information about the plot available yet except that “The Wasp” is a good guy and not the film’s villain as I assumed. The Wasp will be a new suit created for Evangeline Lilly. I’m not actually very happy about this. -July 6-

August

The Happytime Murders

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Directed by Brian Henson     Starring Melissa McCarthy

There’s nothing that sounds good coming out this month. A Scarface remake. Yet another Predator reboot. Dirty Women, another gender reversed remake of a classic (in a year that already features Ocean’s 8 and Overboard), starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson in their version of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. I’m picking The Happytime Murders by virtue of being original and sounding kind of fun. It takes place in a world where puppets live with humans, and follows a hard-boiled puppet detective as he pursues his brother’s killer. Melissa McCarthy costars as the puppet protagonist’s partner. Oh, and the Jim Henson company is  handling the puppets. -August 17-

September

Robin Hood

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Directed by Otto Bathurst       Starring Taran Egerton

A reboot of Robin Hood with Taran Egerton on paper sounds good. I like Taran Egerton, and think he’s perfect for the role. As for the surrounding elements-Jamie Foxx as Little John for example- I’ll have to wait and see.-September 21-

October

Mowgli

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Directed by Andy Serkis        Starring Rohan Chand

There’s a solo Venom film starring Tom Hardy. There’s a Halloween reboot with Jamie Lee Curtis returning. But I’m looking at Mowgli. Directed by Andy Serkis (a terrific actor famed for his motion capture performances), this is basically another Jungle Book. Unfortunately for the filmmakers here, Disney beat them to the punch and released their The Jungle Book in 2016. Warner Bros. responded by pushing this back, and retitling it Mowgli so people won’t think of it as a retread. Personally, I love every single version I’ve seen of Rudyard Kipling’s classic material. I love the Sabu version, the animated 1967 version, Disney’s live action foray in the early ’90s, and Jon Favreau’s adaptation two years ago. This one features the voices of Serkis himself (Baloo), Christian Bale (Bagheera), and most notably Benedict Cumberbatch (Shere Khan).-October 19-

November

Holmes and Watson

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Directed by Etan Cohen       Starring Will Ferrell

A big month of films: Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) returns with Widows starring Viola Davis. A new telling of the Grinch with Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice. Wreck-it-Ralph 2, Creed 2, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Fantastic Beasts 2, and Robert Zemeckis’ intriguing new fantasy adventure starring Steve Carrell all sound worth a trip to the theater, but I’m most curious about Holmes and Watson. Reteaming Ferrell and John C. Reilly who have insane comedic chemistry, but for some reason haven’t made a film together since 2008’s Step Brothers. The title pretty much says it all. Ferrell will play Sherlock Holmes and John C. Reilly plays Dr. Watson. Ferrell has been on a cold streak critically, so maybe this will help turn things around.-November 9-

December

Mortal Engines

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Directed by Peter Jackson      Starring Robert Sheehan

Lord, this lineup of December movies appears dreadful. Aquaman, last time I checked is a DC film, which means it’s not going to be any good. Mary Poppins Returns is unnecessary though I’d bet on it to be decent. I’ll pick Mortal Engines, despite it’s horrible title, and wholly underwhelming teaser. Peter Jackson, simply deserves some respect after his Lord of The Rings and King Kong spectacles. This one is a futuristic, Howl’s Moving Castle-esque tale of two unlikely friends fighting for good in a post-apocalyptic society. -December 14-

-Walter Howard-

 

 

 

 

 

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