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Our 100 Most-Anticipated Films of 2018

Written by on January 10, 2018 

40. Where Life is Born (Carlos Reygadas)

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Less speedy in his production than some of his contemporaries, but no less attention-catching, Carlos Reygadas is to next give us Where Life Is Born. Shot last year, according to producer Katrin Pors, “is a simple but powerful story of love and loss of love in open couple relationships set in the context of Mexico’s bull-breeding ranches.” The story follows Ester, who falls in love with another man and her husband Juan seems unable to meet the expectations he has of himself. Seeming like a lock for Cannes, this may not get a release until 2019 stateside, but we’re looking forward to another formally audacious experience. – Jordan R.

39. Mission: Impossible 6 (Christopher McQuarrie; July 27)

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Part of the fun of the Mission: Impossible series has always been the quick turnover rate of directors. Filmmakers never stayed on for more than one film, but in that one-movie stint, the auteur left his imprint on the series, a pattern that imbued the franchise with an exuberant aesthetic heterogeneity. Though 1 through 5 are all recognizably Mission: Impossible films, they are also, in order of release, a Brian De Palma B-grade thriller, a John Woo shoot ’em up, a lean-and-mean J.J. Abrams cat-and-mouse flick, a Brad Bird sci-fi romp with gadgets galore, and a Christopher McQuarrie 70s-action-cinema throwback. The fact that McQuarrie is breaking the trend by staying on for a second film is, on one level, a cause for disappointment. That said, our reservations are tempered significantly by the fact that his Rogue Nation is arguably the best in the series: a succession of jaw-dropping set-pieces strung together by deft plotting, clean cinematography, and Tom Cruise at peak charisma and physical prowess. No plot details have yet been released for M:I 6, but if McQuarrie can bring back the directorial finesse he displayed in the previous film, the series will be more than forgiven for deviating from its prior course. – Jonah J.

38. Leave No Trace (Debra Granik)

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After her Sundance-winning drama Winter’s Bone, which also served as a break-out for Jennifer Lawrence, Debra Granik is returning to the festival eight years later with Leave No Trace. Starring Ben Foster and newcomer Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie who live off the grid in Portland, but when the government meddles in their peaceful existence, they must confront their way of life. With Foster’s intensity and the promise of another breakthrough performance, not to mention Granik’s authentic touch of location, this has the makings of one of the year’s best dramas. – Jordan R.

37. Birds of a Passage (Ciro Guerra)

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A perfect double feature with this year’s Lost City of Z, Ciro Guerra’s Embrace of the Serpent was a visionary, transportive journey and now the director will return this year with his follow-up. Birds of a Passage follows an indigenous family who gets involved in the drug trade in 1970s Colombia as the marijuana business booms. Described as a film noir, western, and Greek tragedy, we can’t wait to see what one of international cinema’s most exciting directors has in store. – Jordan R.

36. Untitled Chris Morris Project

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Anyone who’s seen Chris Morris’ work knows he’s a comedic genius. Shows like The Day Today and Brass Eye brilliantly satirized the news before The Daily Show even existed, his sketch comedy series Jam is a singular achievement, and his feature debut Four Lions somehow mined big laughs from suicide bombings. Now he’s back with a secret film he shot last summer with Anna Kendrick, and while there’s no other information on the production (save for an Instagram photo of Kendrick in an FBI uniform), this will be one title to keep an eye on this year. Morris has an incredible track record as a writer and director, and the fact that he has a star like Kendrick on board means this could be his long overdue breakthrough in North America. – C.J. P.

35. In Fabric (Peter Strickland)

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Peter Strickland is a filmmaker who can singlehandedly turn sleaze into something transcendent. He used giallo films to portray a man going insane in Berberian Sound Studio, and then pulled from ‘70s erotica to make a beautiful love story in The Duke of Burgundy. This year, he returns with In Fabric, which follows a cursed dress as it goes from one customer to another. It sounds like a potential anthology film, and Strickland has lucked out with his cast this time around: Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Gwendoline Christie, Hayley Squires, and Duke of Burgundy star Sidse Babett Knudsen are just some of the names confirmed. It’s unknown where Strickland will get his stylistic influences from this time, but no matter how In Fabric turns out it should offer the same kind of intense, sensory experience as his previous films. – C.J. P.

34. Sunset (Laszlo Nemes)

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As is to be expected of a director who makes waves right out of the gate, Son of Saul helmer Nemes has finished his sophomore feature, Sunset, a thriller which is perhaps in some ways a precursor to Saul. It follows a young woman in Budapest circa 1910 — a peak time for the nation’s cultural and emotional strength, and the dawn of World War I. Expect a return to Cannes Film Festival for the up-and-comer. – Nick N.

33. Untitled Noah Baumbach Project

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Currently enjoying the widest distribution one of his films has ever seen, Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) is streaming on Netflix. The director is now set to reteam with the company for his next feature, and the cast has been confirmed for the project which begins shooting this spring. Adam Driver, who reteams with the director after While We’re Young and has a brief appearance alongside Ben Stiller in his latest film, will lead the new drama, which also stars Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern, Merritt Wever, and Azhy Robertson. Additional details are scarce as the only plot synopsis is that “the story follows an unfolding divorce that spans from New York City to Los Angeles.” – Jordan R.

32. The Beach Bum (Harmony Korine)

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After creating not just a hit, but a film that seeped into the culture with Spring Breakers, Harmony Korine has had a difficult time getting his next project off the ground. There was his ambitious-sounding crime drama The Trap that never materialized and he still seems to be working on adaptation of the controversial Tampa. He’s finally now in production on The Beach Bum, which stars Matthew McConaughey as Moondog, “a rebellious and lovable rogue who lives life large,” who gets into “hilarious misadventures.” Also shot by Benoît Debie (Enter the Void, Spring Breakers), expect a much needed revival of the The McConaissance when this likely debuts this fall. – Jordan R.

31. Mandy (Panos Cosmatos)

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In 2010, Panos Cosmatos seemingly came out of nowhere when he unveiled his feature debut Beyond the Black Rainbow, a baffling homage to ‘80s genre titles that emphasized its surreal tone and striking visuals over narrative and plot. It’s a film that seared itself into the brains of almost everyone who saw it, and yet Cosmatos has taken eight years to finally make a new film. Taking place in 1983 (the same year Black Rainbow took place), Mandy stars Nicolas Cage as a man seeking vengeance against a biker gang that killed his true love (Andrea Riseborough). It sounds like Cosmatos doing his own version of Mad Max, and with an upcoming Sundance premiere we won’t have to wait too long to hear how this film stands up next to his promising debut. – C.J. P.

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