Movies I Wanna See Most: 2018

With a new year we are brought many a new prospects for our entertainment and in looking forward to 2018 I decided there was more than enough I was looking forward to in order to compile a most anticipated list. Too much, probably. That said, even in counting down twenty-five titles there is still plenty else that I would have loved to include. While I adored writer/director Alex Garland's directorial debut in Ex Machina his follow-up that comes out next month, Annihilation, has seemingly been shifted around in ways that make it feel less of a prospect. While I'm curious I'm not as excited to see the movie as I thought I might be. Others that were close to making the cut were director John Curran's (The Painted Veil) Chappaquiddick about how Ted Kennedy's life and political career became derailed after his involvement in a fatal 1969 car accident that claimed the life of a young campaign strategist. The film received strong reviews out of Toronto last year and I'm anxious to see what all the buzz is about when the film opens in early April. And then, there are of course the obvious big tentpoles that I'll be more than happy to see including The Incredibles 2, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Ocean's 8, The Predator, Equalizer 2, Sicario 2: Soldado, and Mary Poppins Returns, but beyond being happy to see these come their opening weekends I'm not exactly looking forward to what they'll bring to the table. There is also supposed to be that live-action Mulan from director Niki Caro (McFarland USA) that is set to open this November, but I didn't include it here as I'm rather skeptical given we've heard little about it besides the casting of the lead and the main players in the creative team being in place. Time will tell and I'm looking forward to the film, but if we'll see it in 2018 I'm not sure. Finally, I would love to have highlighted lesser known upcoming titles such as The Diary of a Teenage Girl director Marielle Heller's new film, Can You Ever Forgive Me? Starring Melissa McCarthy as bestselling celebrity biographer, Lee Israel, or John Krasinski's latest directorial effort, A Quiet Place, that stars himself and wife Emily Blunt along with Wonderstruck breakout Millicent Simmonds in what looks to be a departure for the actor/filmmaker. Jim Henson's son, Brian, also returns to feature filmmaking with The Happytime Murders which sounds like a blast and then there is of course the likes of Red Sparrow, the new Steven Soderbergh flick, Unsane, Richard Linklater's Where'd You Go Bernadette? not to mention new efforts from both Adam McKay and Alfonso Cuaron that don't have set release dates yet, but that we can probably expect at some point this year. There just isn't enough space in the world for everything that sounds promising in 2018 and so, here are twenty-five I definitely can't wait to watch and know I'll see this calendar year. 

25. The New Mutants/X-Men: Dark Phoenix - Beginning the list are two super hero flicks I'm interested in, but not necessarily overly excited to see. The first of which is director Josh Boone's follow-up to The Fault in Our Stars that takes the X-Men universe in a whole new direction as The New Mutants chronicles five young mutants, just discovering their abilities, while being held in a secret facility against their will. Naturally, they must fight to escape their past sins and save themselves. I like the idea of expanding this universe past the convoluted storyline Bryan Singer and Simon Kinberg have concocted and the idea of making this more in the genre of horror is certainly intriguing as well. (4/13) Speaking of Kinberg, he will make his directorial debut continuing that convoluted storyline in the follow-up to the terrible X-Men: Apocalypse in X-Men: Dark Phoenix as he attempts to not only regain audiences trust after that misfire, but also re-write the worst reviewed entry in this franchise before Apocalypse came along and unseated it: The Last Stand. In Dark Phoenix, Sophie Turner's Jean Grey begins to develop incredible powers that corrupt and turn her guessed it...a Dark Phoenix. The X-Men, including the majority of the First Class cast returning for a surprise fourth go-around as well as Jessica Chastain's villain, will have to decide if the life of a team member is worth more than all the people living in the world. (11/2)

24. The Kid Who Would Be King - Writer/director Joe Cornish returns to the big screen this year with his first feature since 2011's Attack the Block (if you haven't seen, see it now) with The Kid Who Would Be King about a band of kids who embark on an epic quest to thwart a medieval menace. I don't know much more about the film other than the fact Cornish is writing and directing, the simple tagline as noted, and that it stars the likes of Rebecca Ferguson, Patrick Stewart, and The Dark Tower's Tom Taylor in what is presumably the lead role. Still, these credentials are more than enough to catch my attention as it's been too long since Cornish has blessed us with an action/comedy never mind the adventure/fantasy this is set to be. (9/28)

23. Bad Times at the El Royale - Here is another film from a director whose last film was universally praised, but who has yet to deliver another film in as much time. Drew Goddard made his directorial debut in 2012 with The Cabin in the Woods, but has been busy on TV with Netflix's Daredevil and The Good Place as of late. That will change this October when the filmmaker brings us Bad Times at the El Royale which he is also the sole screenwriter on. The film, which stars Chris Hemsworth, Dakota Johnson, Russell Crowe, Dakota Fanning, and Jeff Bridges, is said to be set in the 1960s in a dilapidated hotel in the Lake Tahoe region in California. (10/5)

22. Alita: Battle Angel - Another I'm more intrigued by than necessarily excited for, but there is no denying the visual majesty displayed in this trailer for Alita: Battle Angel as James Cameron was rumored to want to direct this for some time before taking on his Avatar projects. While Cameron didn't end up making the film he remains involved as a producer while Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Machete) directs. Rodriguez is an interesting choice in director as his projects are typically more low profile than this and though the filmmaker is certainly keen to push the boundaries of filmmaking Alita looks like a whole new level. Based on the graphic novel series Battle Angel Alita by Yukito Kishiro, the story takes place in the 26th century and revolves around an amnesiac female cyborg who is rescued from a scrapyard by a doctor, rebuilt, and then set on a path of hunting down vicious criminals. (7/20)

21. Halloween - What more is there to say? How can one not be excited for the return of Jamie Lee Curtis to the franchise that started it all-both in terms of her career and the modern slasher film as we know it today? Coming off one of his stronger (no pun intended) efforts over the course of his career director David Gordon Green (George Washington, Pineapple Express) has been enlisted to carry on the mantle of Michael Myers and Laurie Strode with a screenplay credited to Green and his Pineapple Express star Danny McBride. While not much is known about the sequel/reboot the film is said to be about Strode's final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago. There is not telling how this might turn out in terms of quality, but that won't dampen my excitement. (10/19)

20. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The second installment of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series follows the continuing adventures of Newt Scamander, but of course this time around there will be much stronger link to the Harry Potter mythology as we know it to be. Once more directed by David Yates from a screenplay by Jo Rowling herself this next chapter in what seems to be shaping up to be a prequel series of sorts is said to chronicle the rise of the evil wizard Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) who we were introduced to in the first film via Colin Farrell's character and who is said to have met Dumbledore (who will be played by Jude Law in this film) when he moved in with his great-aunt at Godric’s Hollow, where the Potters would later be buried. Dumbledore had moved home in Godric's Hollow to take care of his brother, Aberforth, and sister, Ariana, after their mother died, but it is during this time Dumbledore was said to have fallen in love with Grindelwald. This love supposedly blinded him from realizing the evil within the wizard as Dumbledore had finally met someone as brilliant as he. There is a whole backstory one could dig into and get lost in here, but needless to say, and as a massive Harry Potter fan, I can't wait to see where this new franchise takes us. (11/16)

19. Bohemian Rhapsody - Last month, 20th Century Fox has moved quickly to set a new director for the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody following the studio’s firing of Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men). After reports of Singer’s unexpected absences from the set, which required director of photography Newton Thomas Sigel to step in, and rising tensions between Singer and star Rami Malek, Fox let the director go in something of an unprecedented situation-at least, as far as such situations being made public. Still, it seems as if Singer had completed much of the principal photography on the film before the studio brought in Eddie the Eagle director, Dexter Fletcher, to finish the job. The film, which tells of the year's leading up to Queen's legendary appearance at the 1985 Live Aid concert is one that was in development for years with Sacha Baron Cohen in the lead and as much as I'd have loved to have seen that version of these events I'm a sucker for a good music biopic and hope this one is able to rank among the best despite the behind-the-scenes turmoil. (12/25)

18. Untitled Deadpool Sequel - I'm beginning to think that unofficial title is going to be the official title which, in many ways, is the perfect title for a film so meta and so aware of itself and the existence of its super hero tropes that it's a wonder they haven't already declared the title for Deadpool 2 to be Untitled Deadpool Sequel. Anyways, yeah-I'm excited for this thing. I was a big fan of what the first film was able to do both in terms of breaking every barrier it did, being legitimately funny, all the while still conveying a rather standard super hero fable it could poke fun at itself with. While John Wick director David Leitch takes the helm from Tim Miller this time and gets a bonkers budget boost in the process we're all really here to see Ryan Reynolds wax poetic about vulgar topics while wearing red spandex. The synopsis put out by 20th Century Fox is also pretty terrific and goes a little something like this: After surviving a near fatal knee boarding accident, a disfigured guidance counselor (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfill his dream of becoming Poughkeepsie's most celebrated French Bulldog breeder while also learning to cope with an open relationship. Searching to regain his passion for life, as well as a new stuffed unicorn, Wade must battle ninjas, tight-assed metal men, and babysit a group stereotypical side characters as he journeys around the world to discover the importance of family, friendship, and creative outlets for his very open-minded sex life. He manages to find a new lust for being a do-gooder, a sparkly Hello Kitty backpack, all while earning the coveted coffee mug title of World's Best 4th Wall Breaking Superhero. (6/1)

17. Holmes and Watson - Keeping things alive on the comedy train Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly are reuniting for the first time in a decade this year as they, along with writer/director Etan Cohen, will deliver their humorous take on Arthur Conan Doyle's classic mysteries featuring Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. While the partnership of Ferrell and Reilly is what gets this movie on the list I have to admit I'm still a little skeptical about how much the film will be able to deliver on its inherently funny premise given the two actors won't be guided by the hand of director Adam McKay (Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Step Brothers). Rather, Cohen is something of a frequent collaborator of Ferrell's who both wrote and directed 2015's disappointing Get Hard where Ferrell co-starred alongside Kevin Hart. That said, I'm optimistic Ferrell and Reilly's chemistry can shine through what might be a weaker screenplay that what Ferrell and McKay might have come up with. It also doesn't hurt the film co-stars Ralph Fiennes, Kelly Macdonald, Rebecca Hall, Hugh Laurie, and Rob Brydon either. (11/9)

16. Mary Magdalene - Director Garth Davis made his feature film debut in 2016 with the safe, but completely earnest Lion-a film that stayed with me much longer and in a much stronger fashion than I expected it to. And so, while I was anxious to see what the filmmaker might do as a follow-up I didn't anticipate him going for something as ambitious as creating a narrative around the life of Mary Magdalene. A revered saint, the embodiment of Christian devotion as defined by repentance, but only ever elusively identified in Scripture Magdalene has thus served as the cloth onto which a succession of fantasies have been projected. Her image has bee reinvented time and time again, from prostitute to sibyl to mystic to celibate nun to feminist icon to the matriarch of divinity’s secret dynasty. So many things helped shape the story of the woman who befriended Jesus of Nazareth and I can't wait to see what aspects of this mythic figure Davis decides to tackle. His cast is also aces with Rooney Mara in the titular role, Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus, and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Peter. (3/30)

15. M:I 6 - Mission Impossible - There is little to nothing known about the next Mission: Impossible film despite the slew of photos writer/director Christopher McQuarrie released over the course of production. Those stills tell us Henry Cavill is in the film and has a major mustache (I'm sure you've heard), that Michelle Monaghan will indeed return for this sixth installment, and that Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, and Ving Rhames return to their respective roles as well. IMDB will tell you Alec Baldwin and Sean Harris are also back from the previous installment and that Angela Bassett and Vanessa Kirby (The Crown) have been added to the cast while Jeremy Renner is nowhere to be found. It is interesting that McQuarrie is the first director in the franchise's history to direct more than a single installment, never mind back to back installments, but while I enjoyed Rogue Nation well enough I have always clung to the M:I franchise for its ever-changing approach to its very defined genre via a new director. While I'm still very much excited to see where the adventures of Ethan Hunt take us next I would be lying if I said I wasn't a bit fearful this one may begin a path of redundancy. (7/27)

14. Ant-Man and the Wasp - In what will be the third and final Marvel Cinematic Universe film of 2018 Ant-Man and the Wasp will premiere just  two months after Avengers: Infinity War, so it’s pretty obvious the films will have some connections, but just as Ant-Man came out in the wake of Age of Ultron and bridged the gap between the second and third phases of the MCU I imagine this sequel will do something of the same thing between these major stepping stones that are Infinity War and the second, currently untitled Avengers film set for May 2019. In Ant-Man and the Wasp Paul Rudd's Scott Lang continues to balance being both a super hero and a father, while Evangeline Lilly's Hope van Dyne and Michael Douglas's Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past. (7/6)

13. White Boy Rick - '71 director Yann Demange directs from a script by Logan and Noah Miller about teenager Richard Wershe Jr., who became an undercover informant for the FBI during the 1980s and was ultimately arrested for drug-trafficking and sentenced to life in prison. Though the McConaissance has been on something of a downward trend over the last few years (I rather liked both Free State of Jones and Gold) I am still eager to see the interesting choices Matthew McConaughey is making and White Boy Rick looks to be another fascinating character study in a line of solid and surprisingly various characters McConaughey has embodied since his turn towards the more dramatic material. I debated whether to include this or McConaughey's other feature that will seemingly debut this year, a thriller written and directed by Steven Knight (Locke) titled Serenity that co-stars Anne Hathaway, but White Boy Rick is definitely the more interesting choice based purely on surface details as I liked '71, but this is a polar opposite beast for Demange to tackle. As a late summer release I won't get overly optimistic, but I'm really anxious to see what this film could potentially turn out to be. (8/17)

12. Ready Player One - It seems as if Steven Spielberg has been working on an adaptation of Ernest Cline's 2011 novel, Ready Player One, since it was released, but now that work is turning into reward and reality as we're less than three month's away from a new Spielberg movie with his last film going wide this weekend. While I've yet to read Cline's novel on which this is based I will definitely be doing so over the next couple of months so as to get a sense of what to expect from the film. Having no expectations watching the trailer though, I was pleasantly surprised by the central idea the film and story seems to center around. At first, based simply on a plot description that told me that the creator of a massive multiplayer online game called Oasis dies and posthumously releases a video in which he challenges all Oasis users to find an Easter Egg that allows that player access to his fortune I thought it sounded very much like it would be akin to watching a video game play out on screen (which isn't always a bad thing-looking at you, Jumangi: Welcome to the Jungle), but Spielberg has seemingly focused in on the mystery aspect of the story and the relevant themes of how each individual possesses their own particular version of reality via the ever-popular virtual reality. Spielberg also made heavy use of motion-capture for the film and that has made for what look to be some breathtaking, if not overly CGI-reliant visuals. Tye Sheridan, Hannah John-Kamen, Simon Pegg, Ben Mendelsohn, Mark Rylance all star. (3/30)

11. Isle of Dogs - As someone who isn't necessarily a fan of the stop-motion aesthetic it is still hard to deny a Wes Anderson movie as whatever medium he chooses to tell his stories in they can't seem but to help to be delightful. And while this is technically an animated film, the story is so seemingly off-kilter and unique that it wouldn't be one you would inherently assume might benefit from being an animated feature. Using stop-motion for the first time since his twice Oscar-nominated 2009 effort, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Anderson has since made the equally fantastic Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel, each of which I've watched more times than I can count with the latter being a required viewing at least once a year. With that, I am anxiously awaiting the latest from Wes Anderson simply because it is the latest from Wes Anderson. Per usual Anderson's latest boats a cast of long time collaborators and new ones as the story of Isle of Dogs follows a young boy who ventures to an island in search of his own dog after an outbreak of dog attacks in a near-future Japan forcing all canines to be banished to live on a garbage-filled island hence, the title, the Isle of Dogs. Once on the island, the young boy comes across a pack of Alphas lead by Edward Norton‘s Rex. Adventures no doubt ensue. (3/23)

10. Solo: A Star Wars Story - If you're in the bag for this one then you've been in the bag for some time and no matter what went on behind the scenes you were going to see it. I sure was and still am; the directing drama maybe making the project all the more enticing. I know a lot of people think the de-mystifying of one of their great, childhood action heroes is a bad idea in the first place, but it was inevitable from the moment Disney purchased Lucasfilm so at this point just be thankful it ended up in the capable hands of filmmakers like Phil Lord and Chris Miller before being passed off to even more capable, if not the more traditional hands, of Ron Howard. It doesn't even stop there for, before he was cast as the young Solo, Alden Ehrenreich was everybody's favorite up and comer after brilliant turns in Beautiful Creatures and the Coen Brothers' Hail, Caesar! It doesn't stop there either as the film will feature everyone's favorite multi-hyphenate of the moment, Donald Glover, doing and no doubt nailing a Billy Dee Williams impression as well as Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Paul Bettany, and Thandie Newton in unspecified supporting roles. Say what you will, but I'll always be interested in a Star Wars story and Solo is no different. (5/25)

9. A Wrinkle in Time - Selma director Ava DuVernay adaptats Madeleine L’Engle's much beloved 1962 novel "A Wrinkle in Time" and Disney is selling this thing like it is the second coming of Christ. This is another book to film adaptation where I haven't read the source material, but need to prior to seeing the film as I enjoy gauging the difference and how skilled directors, such as DuVernay, navigate the necessary differences while still conveying the spirit of the text. In A Wrinkle in Time we follows Meg Murry (Storm Reid), her brilliant brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), and their friend Calvin (Levi Miller) on an unexpected journey into alternate dimensions on a mission to bring their father (Chris Pine) home. Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kailing, and Reese Witherspoon have been heavily emphasized in the marketing for the film as the three chimerical celestial beings who help Meg “wrinkle” time and space. This is simply one of those films where Disney knows how to get the hype train going early and remind us often of what is coming and I've completely bought into it despite knowing little to nothing about L’Engle's original work. All of that said, this looks breathtaking in a visual sense and I always love a big, bold, and original fantasy film meaning Disney didn't really have to do much to convince me to get in line and purchase a ticket. (3/9)

8. Widows - Elizabeth Debicki, Daniel Kaluuya, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall, Jon Bernthal, Michelle Rodriguez, Carrie Coon, André Holland, Jacki Weaver, Viola Davis, and Liam Neeson make-up what might be the best and biggest cast of the year in Steve McQueen's follow-up to his Oscar-winning 2013 film, 12 Years a Slave, in Widows. The film, which is based upon the 1983 ITV series of the same name, was written by McQueen and Gone Girl scribe Gillian Flynn. If that isn't enough to get you in the door know that this isn't another heavy drama by way of McQueen's previous features, but is more a crime/thriller about four armed robbers are killed in a failed heist attempt, only to have their widows step up to finish the job. (11/16)

7. Captive State - Say what you will about Matt Reeves and his two sequels in the latest Planet of the Apes trilogy, but my favorite of the bunch is still Rupert Wyatt's initial film. So much better than it had any right to be, Rise of the Planet of the Apes came on the heels of Wyatt's little seen, but insanely entertaining 2008 film, The Escapist. Hell, I even thought The Gambler was a solid genre exercise even if there wasn't necessarily a need for it to exist and Wyatt came up with nothing in the way of that purpose, but instead simply executed the beats in a fine fashion. This year though, the director is back with his first original effort since that 2008 prison break actioner in Captive State. Written with Project Greenlight alum Erica Beeney the film stars John Goodman, Ashton Sanders, Jonathan Majors, Colson Baker, Vera Farmiga, and is set nearly a decade after occupation by an extraterrestrial force, where it explores the lives on both sides of the conflict: the collaborators and dissidents. (8/17)

6. Aquaman - I was not a fan of Justice League, but I am still very much a fan of the DC stable of characters and if Wonder Woman proved anything last summer (and don't get it twisted, WW proved a lot) it was that these characters stand to be as endearing and epic as they've been purported to be for years in the comic books under the right guidance. Justice League was an amalgam of visions, with his first solo outing, Aquaman will come courtesy of Jason Mamoa's unique take on the character and James Wan's (Insidious, The Conjuring, Furious 7) singular vision. The film, written by Will Beall (Gangster Squad) follows Arthur Curry as he learns that he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, and must step forward to lead his people and to be a hero to the world. (12/21)

5. First Man - Damien Chazelle (Whiplash, La La Land) and Ryan Gosling reunite after their previous collaboration won all the awards to tell the story of the life of astronaut, Neil Armstrong, and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969. The film is based on a book by James R. Hansen, a Professor of History at Auburn University and the author of eight books on the history of aerospace including a study of the Apollo program's lunar landing method. So yeah, the guy has the credentials and certainly offers a perspective not like the structure film is accustomed to. Screenwriter Josh Singer (Spotlight, The Post) has adapted Hansen's work while the film has also enlisted the likes of Claire Foy, Jon Bernthal, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, and Corey Stoll along with countless other recognizable character actors to fill out the remainder of the cast. While First Man makes the list based on the fact it's Chazelle's next feature alone I look forward to seeing what the writer/director does with a story not set in the world of music and if he can somehow infuse this narrative with as much life and vitality as he did his first two films. (10/12)

4. Black Panther - This is obviously a pretty big deal as it is one of the few African-American led comic book movies and the first for Marvel Studios despite having included characters like Falcon in other films. In the wake of Wonder Woman last summer Black Panther continues to show the diversification of what the former status quo believed itself to be. It's frankly wonderful to see such big shifts taking place and being executed by major studios as it relays bigger cultural and social impacts than some might even realize, but all of this good is made even better when the film itself tends to seem promising. Of course, there was no reason to ever think Black Panther was risky given Marvel enlisted director Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed) to helm the project. This paired with the fact we already got our first look at Chadwick Boseman's titular character in 2016's Captain America: Civil War which in and of itself was pretty fantastic. Take all of this and add to the ever-growing promise of the film that Coogler also rounded-up frequent collaborator Michael B. Jordan to play the film's antagonist, Erik Killmonger, and you have what is more or less a guaranteed quality picture if not a guaranteed box office smash due to the fact it is another in a long line of Marvel behemoths. (2/16)

3. A Star is Born - If you looked at my top 10 of 2017 article then you'll know I'm a big Lady Gaga fan and so it goes without saying that I'm fairly excited to see her big screen debut in a feature especially when that film is the third remake of the 1937 film of the same name. A Star is Born was remade in 1954 starring Judy Garland and James Mason and then in 1976 starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. This latest incarnation of the story that deals in a movie star helping a young singer and actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral will not only be Gaga's feature debut in a starring role though, but it will also serve as Cooper's directorial debut. The screenplay has been reformatted for what I'm presuming is modern day by more than a handful of screenwriters, the latest of which includes Cooper himself and veteran Nicholas Sparks adapter Will Fetters (The Best of Me, The Lucky One), but fear not as there have also been drafts done by the likes of Eric Roth (Forrest Gump) and Christopher Wilkinson (Ali) that lend an optimistic hope to what was certainly a daunting project to make as a directorial debut. Still, if Cooper's particular brand of passion and commitment bleeds into this as it typically does his performance work I can only imagine the heights this one might reach. (10/5)

2. The House with a Clock in its Walls - I'm as surprised as you are that I have an Eli Roth-directed picture in my number two spot for my most anticipated of the year, but hey, it's 2018 and this is where we're at. If you're thinking this might be in reference to Roth's re-make of Death Wish you are both wrong and did not read the title at the beginning of this paragraph. No, this is in reference to Roth's adaptation of writer John Bellairs and illustrator Edward Gorey's 1973 novel of the same name about a young orphan named Lewis Barnavelt (Daddy's Home's Owen Vaccaro) who aids his magical uncle in locating a clock with the power to bring about the end of the world. Though not familiar with the source material, the fact this thing is labeled as a horror/fantasy/mystery and also stars Cate Blanchett, Kyle McLachlan, and Jack Black had me in the bag from the word go. It is also to Roth's credit that he has a knack for tone and that what we saw in both Cabin Fever and 2015's Knock Knock might translate really well to this gothic horror flick whose material was originally aimed at children. Whether Roth and screenwriter Eric Kripke (Boogeyman) are taking things to the extreme or keeping the content closer to kid-friendly remains to be seen, but either way it can't help but feel as if there is something special at play here and I can't wait to see it unfold on the big screen. (9/21)

1. Avengers: Infinity War - In what will be ten years to the weekend when Iron Man first arrived in theaters in May of 2008 we will see the (first part of the) culmination of the first three phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's hard to believe we've been living in this world for a decade now when, looking back, those beginnings were so humble. I clearly remember sitting in the theater not knowing what to expect from Iron Man, but mainly being excited that a new The Dark Knight trailer was playing before it. Bringing together all of Marvel's heroes has always been ambitious, but as the MCU-train has rolled on and the roster only continued to expand it has become more and more curious as to how Kevin Feige and the Russo brothers might bring this all together in a cohesive manner. The first trailer for the film that premiered late in November made more hairs on my arm stand up than do in that shot of Peter Parker experiencing his Spider sense. Spider-Man's suit looks amazing, Black Panther's line in regards to Captain America is fantastic, and that music...that music is really paying off for Marvel. Good for you, Alan Silvestri. The visual scope also looks to fit the number of characters which has been something of a shortcoming for Marvel in the past with many of their films feeling great, but looking flat. The location shots among the sprawling green planes of Wakanda lend a sense of true epicness and that final tag, that final tag is just perfect. I seriously can't wait and ten years of building deserves to be celebrated. Hopefully the film is worth celebrating. (5/4)

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