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Our 100 Most-Anticipated Films of 2018

Written by on January 10, 2018 

20. Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Bi Gan)

Palmarès 2015

One of the best debuts of 2016 — and one of the best films, period — was Bi Gan’s dreamlike odyssey Kaili Blues. The Chinese director finished shooting his follow-up, starring Tang Wei (Blackhat, Lust, Caution), Sylvia Chang (Mountains May Depart), Huang Jue (The Final Master), Lee Hong-chi (Thanatos, Drunk), and his Kaili Blues star Chen Yongzhong. Titled Long Day’s Journey Into Night, the detective story follows “a man who returns to his hometown to find a mysterious woman whom he spent an unforgettable summer with twelve years earlier. The woman never told him her name, or any details of her life, and the only thing he remembers is the name of a movie star she wrote on a cigarette packet.” – Jordan R.

19. The Old Man and the Gun (David Lowery; Oct. 5)

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On a streak like few other directors, David Lowery has proven more than adept at Badland homages (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints), big-budget entertainment (Pete’s Dragon), and audacious looks at human existence (A Ghost Story). His latest feature gives Robert Redford his supposed final role, starring alongside Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tika Sumpter, Tom Waits and Elisabeth Moss. Based on David Grann’s New Yorker article, and scripted by Lowery, it concerns Forrest Tucker, whose criminal career (including “18 successful prison breaks”) barely dwindles as he reaches an advanced age, as well as a detective who, of course, is “captivated with Forrest’s commitment to his craft.” – Jordan R.

18. Suspiria (Luca Guadagnino)

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On paper, this remake of Dario Argento’s horror classic sounds perfect. It’s directed by Luca Guadagnino, a director whose work emphasizes the kinds of sensorial pleasures that make him an ideal fit for the aesthetic insanity the original is well known for. It reunites Guadagnino with Call Me by Your Name cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom. It stars Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson. And Radiohead’s Thom Yorke composed the score, which makes this remake a perfect storm of insanely talented people. Whether or not Guadagnino’s sensual style will work within horror remains to be seen, but this will be one title that cinephiles will be clamoring for when it finally comes out. – C.J. P.

17. The Nightingale (Jennifer Kent)

Jennifer Kent

If one is still getting nightmares from Jennifer Kent’s impeccably-realized debut film The Babadook, start getting prepared for more frightful imagery as she’s finished her latest film. The Nightingale is a Tasmania-set feature that takes place in 1929 and follows a young convict woman named Claire who seeks revenge for the murder of her family. Aisling Franciosi (Jimmy’s Hall) and Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games) lead the film, alongside Damon Herriman, Ewen Leslie, Harry Greenwood, Baykali Ganambarr and Magnolia Maymuru. “It’s certainly not a horror film, but it’s a pretty horrific world,” she said, noting that the worst criminals in the British empire were sent to the locale. “It was a really crazy time for women. We only hear the sanitized version and I wanted to explore it for real.” – Jordan R.

16. Non Fiction (Olivier Assayas)

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At last year’s Cannes Film Festival, Juliette Binoche led a bit of a departure for Claire Denis with the romantic dramedy Let the Sunshine In (our review). It now looks like the actress will be doing the same with Olivier Assayas. Speaking to last summer, he confirmed his new feature will be the French-language Non Fiction, starring Juliette Binoche, Guillaume Canet, Vincent Macaigne, Christa Theret, and Pascal Gregory. Described as a “full-blown comedy set in a Parisian publishing world,” it sounds like another new avenue for Assayas to travel down, who has continually — and pleasantly — surprised audiences with each new film. “Clouds of Sils Maria was a kind of comedy. This is a step further in that direction,” Assayas said, which is “very much actor and dialogue-driven, part film, part narrative, part essay.” Diving deeper into the film’s themes, he says it will be about “How we adapt or don’t adapt to the way the world’s changing”, focusing on “a series of intimate conversations” with middle-aged characters heir affairs. – Jordan R.

15. Blessed Virgin (Paul Verhoeven)

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Nuns have a special place in Hollywood. Ingrid Bergman was nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards in 1946 for her portrayal of Sister Mary Benedict in Bells of St. Mary’s. Just last December, Rian Johnson introduced space nuns called “caretakers” in The Last Jedi. The tradition continues with Paul Verhoeven’s new film, Blessed Virgin. Virginie Efira from Verhoeven’s previous film Elle plays a 17th-century nun who suffers from disturbing religious and erotic visions. She develops a romantic love affair with a fellow nun assigned to help her through the visions. The film is based on a book by Judith C. Brown, “Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy” and with shooting not yet underway, we may not see it until the fall. – Josh E.

14. The Wild Pear Tree (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)

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Following up one of the best films of the decade so farOnce Upon a Time in Anatolia, Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan picked up the Palme d’Or for his drama Winter Sleep. A few years later, he will likely return to Cannes Film Festival with The Wild Pear Tree. The drama will follow Sinan, a man “who is passionate about literature and has always wanted to be a writer.” The story finds him “returning to the village where he was born” as “he pours his heart and soul into scraping together the money he needs to be published, but his father’s debts catch up with him.” Ceylan says, “Whether we like it or not, we can’t help but inherit certain defining features from our fathers, like a certain number of their weaknesses, their habits, their mannerisms and much, much more. The story of a son’s unavoidable slide towards a fate resembling that of his father is told here through a series of painful experiences.” – Jordan R.

13. BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee; August 10)

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Jordan Peele’s blank check meets Spike Lee’s new lease on life. Lee is following up his successes with Chi-Raq and his TV remake of She’s Gotta Have It by teaming up with Jordan Peele (in the producer’s chair.) His newest is an adaptation of the autobiography of Ron Stallworth, a black detective who went undercover to take down the local KKK in Colorado Springs. Stallworth will be played by John David Washington, with Adam Driver and Topher Grace slated to appear. Those who stuck with Lee through the rough years of crowd-funding and more workmanlike productions will be happy for the man to have such a platform again, and the more fair weather fans among us will appreciate a return to his heyday of feature films dominating the cultural conversation. – Nate F.

12. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)

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It was in 2010 that we last got a feature from South Korea’s Lee Chang-Dong, but he’ll finally be returning this year. Burning, adapted from Haruki Murakami’s short story “Barn Burning,” is a mystery thriller that follows two men and a woman that get involved in a mysterious incident. Starring Yoo Ah-in, Okja‘s Steven Yeun, and Jong-seo, not much else is known, but we’re ready for more cinematic poetry from the, ahem, Poetry and Secret Sunshine director. – Jordan R.

11. Everybody Knows (Asghar Farhadi)

everybody-knows

Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation is widely and rightly held to be one of the best films of the 21st century thus far in the way it uses a conflict between two families to expose the systemic ills that are responsible for placing the characters at a moral impasse. His other works largely fall short of that film’s propulsive dramatic momentum and trenchant social commentary, but they still exhibit a mastery of the chamber drama form and feature all-around powerful performances. In other words, even a minor Farhadi work tends to contain much worth sticking around for, and if the powerhouse leads of his forthcoming picture Everybody Knows are any indication, the newest Farhadi film will be anything but minor. Starring Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem, the film follows Cruz’s Carolina as she journeys with her family from Buenos Aires to her hometown in Spain and finds her trip unexpectedly disrupted by events that will completely change her and her family’s lives. – Jonah J.

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