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Our 100 Most-Anticipated Films of 2018

Written by on January 10, 2018 

70. Bacurau (Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles)

Aquarius 2

While this one may not arrive until 2019 as it’s still in pre-production, we hope the filmmaking team may have it ready by the end of the year. Co-directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho, who gave us 2016’s gorgeously-realized, politically-minded drama Aquarius, his next film follows a documentary filmmaker who is depicting a Brazilian village. Seemingly imbuing genre elements, it’s revealed that the locals harbor dangerous secrets. – Jordan R.

69. Proxima (Alice Winocour)

eva-green

Her visually and aurally arresting drama Disorder went painfully overlooked a few years back, but we imagine Alice Winocour will reach a wider audience with her next film. Proxima, starring Eva Green and Lars Eidinger, follows an astronaut who is preparing to go on a journey and must deal with the pending separation from her daughter. With production kicking off this month, perhaps it’s wishful thinking it’ll be completed this year, but we’re crossing our fingers. – Jordan R.

68. Mute (Duncan Jones)

Mute

Funny as it is that a relatively young director with only three features to his name might have a “passion project,” the fact remains that Duncan Jones has been talking about Mute as far back as his first film, Moon, with which this has long been billed as a spiritual — and, in the case of Sam Rockwell’s many-times-cloned astronaut making an appearance, literal — successor. This noir-tinged, Blade Runner-homaging mystery film boasts a strong concept (a mute bartender searches for his girlfriend in futuristic Berlin), fine cast (along with Rockwell, Justin Theroux, Alexander Skarsgård, and Paul Rudd will star), and, yes, the passion of a young helmer who’s (probably) got the big-budget itch out of his system. Here’s hoping Netflix have given him proper resources to make something that lives up to its source. – Nick N.

67. Where Is Anne Frank? (Ari Folman)

where-is-anne-frank

Ari Folman, best known for his mature, intellectually stimulating forays into animation, has in his most recent works destabilized conventional notions of the relationship between images and reality in order to arrive at greater truths. Waltz with Bashir pointedly violated documentary’s conventional reliance on the photographic film image by using a hazy, hallucinatory animated aesthetic to capture the film’s exhumation of the director’s repressed traumatic past—in other words, the opposite of the “objective” documentary filmmaking that has historically been favored. Here, the “real” is refracted through the subjective experience of PTSD to evoke the emotional authenticity of what author Tim O’Brien called “story truth,” which emphasizes not how an event literally unfolded but how it felt. In The Congress, Folman cast Robin Wright as herself only to undercut the ostensible gesture toward realism by having the film turn into a psychedelic cartoon, a transition that cements the film’s commentary on the transformed nature of cinema in the digital age. Folman’s forthcoming project Where is Anne Frank seems to fit right in alongside these other two works: it explores the titular Dutch diarist and her legacy not only via the medium of animation but from the perspective of Frank’s imaginary friend Kitty, to whom the writer dedicated her diary. In true Folmanian fashion, the film sounds breathtakingly bizarre and seems intent on interrogating the distinction between subjectivity and history, the real and the imagined. – Jonah J.

66. Destroyer (Karyn Kusama)

The Invitation Karyn Kusama

It’s been a tumultuous journey for Karyn Kusama since her 2000 debut Girlfight, but after troubled studio productions and little work she’s made one hell of a comeback. Her 2015 film The Invitation is one of the decade’s best horror films, and now she’s working with Nicole Kidman on her next feature. Reteaming with Invitation screenwriters Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, Kusama’s Destroyer stars Kidman as a detective whose past as an undercover cop in a gang comes back to haunt her, prompting her to track down former gang members in order to make amends. To be honest, the plot is irrelevant in why Destroyer is one of our most anticipated titles of 2018; Kusama and Kidman are a dream team, and the pairing of these two talents could make for something major. – C.J. P.

65. Luxembourg (Myroslav Slaboshpytskyi)

myroslav-slaboshpytskyi

With his Haneke-esque drama The Tribe putting him on the radar, helmer Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy is back this year with Luxembourg, a Chernobyl-centered project that producer Anna Katchko describes as concerning “the lives of people living in the exclusion zone today.” The drama stems from citizens’ fears and risks of contamination, which has the makings of an even more horrific story than conjured in his last film. – Jordan R.

64. Wendy (Benh Zeitlin)

beasts_of_the_southern_wild

Beasts of the Southern Wild—a magical realist coming-of-age fable that evokes the socio-ecological milieu of the post-Katrina American south and showcases the extraordinary talent of a pint-sized Quvenzhané Wallis—is one of the most striking directorial debuts in recent memory, so any new film from director Benh Zeitlin warrants attention. Based on the filmmaker’s statements in a New York Times profile, his new film Wendy will be about “a young girl who gets kidnapped onto a hidden ecosystem where a tribal war is raging over a form of pollen that breaks the relationship between aging and time.” In other words, it sounds like Zeitlin’s forthcoming project will be mining similar, environmentally-minded material as Beasts while simultaneously taking the director’s thematic obsessions in bonkers new directions. – Jonah J.

63. Outlaw King (David Mckenzie)

the-outlaw-king

What do you get when you make a sleeper hit that sneaks into Best Picture line-up? Evidently, a $120 million check from Netflix to make a medieval epic, at least when it comes to David Mackenze, who reteams with his Hell or High Water stars Chris Pine and Ben Foster. Outlaw King will focus on Robert the Bruce (Pine), the king who led Scotland during the First War of Scottish Independence against England. The historical figure was previously featured in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, as played by Angus Macfadyen. Foster plays James Douglas, a knight who became the king’s chief adviser. Having began production last summer, expect it to be a major Netflix release come this summer. – Jordan R.

62. Wildlife (Paul Dano)

wildlife

In the span of just a decade, Paul Dano has worked with the likes of Paul Thomas Anderson, Spike Jonze, Ang Lee, Kelly Reichardt, Steve McQueen, Denis Villeneuve, Bong Joon-ho, Rian Johnson, and more. Presumably learning a thing or two from this batch of talented directors, he’s now making his debut behind the camera with Wildlife. The script, penned by Zoe Kazan and Dano himself, is adapted from the 1990 coming-of-age novel by Richard Ford, following a boy who watches his parents marriage unravel after a move and his mom falls in love with another man. Dano’s Prisoners and forthcoming Okja co-star Jake Gyllenhaal leads the film alongside Carey Mulligan, and it’s set for a Sundance premiere. The most intriguing aspect? It’s shot by Cemetery of Splendor and Neon Bull cinematographer Diego García. – Jordan R.

61. The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (Xavier Dolan)

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After an unceremonious drop on Netflix for Xavier Dolan’s It’s Only the End of the World, hopefully bigger things are in store for his English-language debut, The Death and Life of John F. Donovan. Starring Kit Harrington, Jessica Chastain, Natalie Portman, Kathy Bates, and Susan Sarandon, it tells the story of an actor whose correspondence with an 11-year-old boy threatens his career. Likely premiering at Cannes, hopefully this is either a return to form for Dolan or successfully expands his cinematic voice. – Jordan R.

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