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Our 100 Most-Anticipated Films of 2018

Written by on January 10, 2018 


After highlighting 50 films that we can guarantee are worth seeing this year, it’s time we venture into the unknown. Rather than regurgitating a list of dated-years-in-advance studio releases, we’ve set out to focus on 100 films we’re genuinely looking forward to, regardless of their marketing budgets. While the majority might not have a set release — let alone any confirmed festival premiere — most have wrapped production and will likely debut at some point in 2018, so make sure to check back for updates over the next twelve months and beyond. Be sure to keep the following one-hundred films on your radar (with release dates, where applicable). If you want to see how we did with our picks last year (potentially to shame us), head on over here.

Bonus: Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda)

Hirokazu Koreeda

Like clockwork, Hirokazu Kore-eda has just announced a new project after we locked this list, so we’ll include his next film as a bonus. The untitled family drama, which will get a June release in Japan, making it ideal for a Cannes slot, follows Lily Franky and Jyo Kairi, who “play a father and son from a poor family who take in a small girl (Miyu Sasaki) they find freezing on the streets after one of their shoplifting sessions together,” Screen Daily reports. “Ando plays the mother with Mayu Matsuoka as her sister and Kiki Kirin as the grandmother on whose pension the family is heavily dependent.” – Jordan R.

100. The Happytime Murders (Brian Henson; August 17)


After working closely with his father for many years, Brian Henson’s latest project keeps in the world of puppetry, this time going down a darker route. The Happytime Murders imagines a world where puppets and humans co-exist and a serial killer is on the loose. Led by Melissa McCarthy, Bill Barretta, Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, and Elizabeth Banks, the R-rated script was Black List-ranked, hopefully making for witty, adult-themed summer fare. – Jordan R.

99. First Man (Damien Chazelle; Oct. 12)


Like him or not, Damien Chazelle has become one of the most exciting new writers and directors working in Hollywood today, and his next film looks poised to follow La La Land’s footsteps in dominating next Oscar season. First Man reunites Chazelle with Ryan Gosling, who will play Neil Armstrong in a biopic about his life before he became the first man on the moon. With a stacked cast including Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, and Kyle Chandler, it should be interesting to see how Chazelle’s energetic style will work with a bigger ensemble and fact-based storytelling (this is also Chazelle’s first feature he hasn’t written). It’s a departure for Chazelle, but I’m certain he’ll find a way to do a whip pan on the moon. – C.J. P.

98. The Art of Self-Defence (Riley Stearns)


Riley Stearns’ debut Faults was a sly surprise – a baleful and laser-precise cult of personality comedy that also offered two great character actors – Leland Orser and Mary Elizabeth Winstead – the roles they’ve deserved their entire career. Bringing together an equally adept cast including Jesse Eisenberg, Imogen Poots, and Alessandro Nivola, Stearns’ second film follows a man who enlists in a mysterious dojo after being attacked on the street. Billed as a dark comedy set in the world of karate, it should be a pleasure to see Stearns plumb the nightmarish psychology of the martial arts underworld. – Michael S.

97. Underwater (William Eubank)

kristen stewart jt leroy

Following up career-best work in Olivier Assayas’ Personal Shopper, Kristen Stewart is going from ghosts to the depth of the ocean with her next film. She leads William Eubank’s The Signal follow-up Underwater, which also stars Vincent Cassel and T.J. Miller (there’s more than enough time for Christopher Plummer to step in, too). The 20th Century Fox tentpole, described as an “underwater Armageddon,” is scripted by Brian Duffield and follows Stewart’s Nora, part of a underwater scientific crew who endure an earthquake and must fight for survival. – Jordan R.

96. Fast Color (Julia Hart)


While Timothee Chalamet’s breakthrough role for many viewers was last year’s Call Me by Your Name, if one saw Julia Hart’s emotionally-charged debut Miss Stevens, then you were already fully aware of his talents. Hart is returning with her follow-up this year, Fast Color, in a genre switch-up that has her telling the story of a woman with superhuman abilities who returns home to her estranged family after going on the run. Starring the incredible Gugu Mbatha-Raw and co-written with La La Land’s Jordan Horowitz, this has the makings of an exciting step-up for Hart.” – Jordan R.

95. Backseat (Adam McKay; Dec. 14)

The Big Short 5

Billed as a historical drama, Adam McKay’s new film dives into the Bush Years, supported by the all-star-iest of casts. The Big Short‘s Christian Bale stars as Dick Cheney, Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush, Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney, Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld, among many, many others. It’s a film sure to fire up each side of the political aisle, for reasons good and ill. – Dan M.

94. The Widow (Neil Jordan)

Isabelle Huppert cannes 2015

It’s been over half-a-decade since Byzantium and Neil Jordan is finally set to return behind the camera. The Crying Game director has quite the trio leading his new featuring The Widow–Chloë Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe, and Isabelle Huppert–which follows a woman who befriends the titular character as sinister intentions soon become apparent. The New York-set film seems to mark a more grounded return for the filmmaker, though one hopes some B-movie elements still seep through with a likely juicy role for Huppert. – Jordan R.

93. The Little Stranger (Lenny Abrahamson; Aug. 31)


Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank was an oddity of comedy, heart, and an underlying darkness. His follow-up, Room, featured a great Brie Larson performance, but lacked in a certain directorial boldness, something that’s hopefully in store when it comes to his follow-up. The Little Stranger, starring Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, Will Poulter, and Charlotte Rampling, is a haunted house tale of sorts based on the novel by Sarah Waters (author of Fingersmith, which Park Chan-wook adapted for his glorious The Handmaiden.) Following a country doctor who returns to the place his mother worked, something ominous creeps up. – Jordan R.

92. Shadow (Zhang Yimou)

Zhang Yimou

Between the controversy surrounding the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the poor reception of The Great Wall, it seems like Zhang Yimou has fallen somewhat out of favor in the eyes of the international film community. This is a shame, because the man has few peers when it comes to crafting cinematic spectacle. Even in The Great Wall, there is a lushness of color, largeness of scale, and overall gleeful maximalism that make most American blockbusters look tame in comparison. This take on Yimou’s latest may go against the grain, but most will agree that the director has a knack for mounting huge, epic entertainments and that this propensity peaked in the early 2000s with Hero and House of Flying Daggers, two VFX-inflected wuxia pian that painted gorgeous tapestries of color and movement amid melodramatic tales of romance and political scheming. Yimou’s upcoming Shadow, a period drama set during the Three Kingdoms era, is exciting because it returns to the hyper-stylized swords-and-sandals genre that has proven to be so aesthetically fruitful for the filmmaker. – Jonah J.

91. The Cloverfield Paradox (Julius Onah)


One of 2016’s most memorable marketing moments was the reveal of a stealth Cloverfield sequel less than two months before the premiere, a gambit that became even cooler when the film turned out to be genuinely great: a tense, claustrophobic thriller that featured a terrifying turn from John Goodman and navigated a wide range of genres. Paramount seems to be pursuing a similarly hush-hush marketing strategy for the third installment God Particle, and though the scant plot details we’ve received thus far portend a venture into all-too-familiar narrative territory (the tale of astronauts making a horrific discovery and then fighting for survival has been explored ad nauseum in everything from the Alien franchise to Sunshine and last year’s Life), the success of 10 Cloverfield Lane keeps us optimistic. Also, the synopsis, though hackneyed at first glance, is vague enough to allow room for ample curveballs, and the film’s stacked cast—which includes Ziyi Zhang, Elizabeth Debicki, Daniel Brühl, Chris O’Dowd, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and David Oyelowo—kindles hope by suggesting that these outsized talents saw something in the script worth committing to. – Jonah J.

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