Tuesday, January 2, 2018

My Least Anticipated Films of 2018

The start of any cinematic year is a time of promise.  With every title yet unseen, there's not a confirmed stinker anywhere.  Alas, bad movies are inevitable and 2018 will have no shortage of them  So below, I'll discuss some of the most distressing titles that have somehow found their way to the slate of upcoming theatrical releases.  Please keep in mind that  I sincerely hope that I'm wrong about all of the movies in this post, and that they beat the odds and actually turn out to be decent cinema. But if past years are any indication, it's likely this will be the last time you see discussion of any of these titles on this blog.

Let's start with the horror films, which include another "Purge" movie, another "Insidious" movie, and a "Conjuring" spinoff called "The Nun."  There's also the very late sequel to 2008's "The Strangers," and a film based on the Slender Man internet creepypasta meme.  Eli Roth is also making a comeback next year with two films.  I'm trying to stay optimistic about the more kid-oriented "The House With a Clock in its Walls," but I can summon up no enthusiasm for his impending "Death Wish" remake starring Bruce Willis.  Good grief, I can't think of worse timing for the resurrection of the "Death Wish" franchise.

There are a lot of animated films from smaller studios hoping to break through next year.  I'm reserving judgment on most of these, because occasionally a no-name studio will put out something decent, but I'm writing off a few obvious bad eggs based on their credentials.  From the people that brought you "Space Chimps," we have "Gnome Alone."  From the people that brought you "Norm of the North," there's "Arctic Justice: Thunder Squad."  Compared to these, "Sherlock Gnomes," the sequel to "Gnomeo and Juliet," doesn't look that bad.  Oh, and while I'm happy that Genndy Tartakovsky is still getting work, do we really need a "Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation"?

Speaking of unwelcome sequels, brace yourselves for "Fifty Shades Freed," "Mama Mia! Here We Go Again" and "God's Not Dead 3."  I suppose I shouldn't begrudge the Madea fans "Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral," but really now.  I also have some very strong doubts about "The Girl in the Spider's Web," being billed as a sequel to "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," especially since the source material seems pretty shaky.  It really feels like the opportunity for this franchise to take off has come and gone.  I'm still holding out some hope (perhaps unwisely) for "X-men: The Dark Phoenix," and "Creed 2," even though Sylvester Stallone has way too much creative control here for comfort.

And now we come to the films from floundering talent that Hollywood may be willing to give more chances, but I'm not.  While I enjoy Melissa McCarthy on occasion, her collaborations with husband Ben Falcone have been reliably terrible.  So "Life of the Party" is getting a hard pass.  Illumination Entertainment has a lousy track record and made a mess of "The Lorax," so I have zero faith in their ability to adapt "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."  And then you have "The War With Grandpa," a kids' film from the director of "Alvin and the Chipmunks," "Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties," and "Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever." I don't know how Robert De Niro agreed to be in this thing, but his recent string of comedy roles hasn't exactly been inspiring either.

There are also a ton of iffy-looking remakes on the schedule (Did we really need another "Valley Girl"?), several long-gestating projects like "The Happytime Murders" and "The Meg" that I never thought would see the light of day, and three of my least anticipated superhero films of all time: "Ant-Man and the Wasp," "Aquaman," and "Venom."  However, there are enough talented people involved with all of these that I'll leave them as question marks for now.  

It's not all doom and gloom though.  Look out for my lists of my most anticipated  films of 2018 in a month or two, after Sundance.  And I'll have my list of my most anticipated web and television programs of 2018 up in a day or two.

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