Monday, March 5, 2018

2018 Films I'm Anticipating, Part 2

This is a continuation of my list of the 2018 films I'm anticipating most. This post is for the smaller films, many of which don't have distribution or release dates yet. There's a good chance that a few won't be released in 2017 at all. However, I remain an optimist, and I'm spotlighting all of them regardless. Films are listed in no particular order below.

You Were Never Really Here - Lynne Ramsay's thriller about a violent man doing a violent job won major prizes at Cannes last year, including a Best Actor laurel for Joaquin Phoenix. Amazon snagged the rights and will be releasing it in April. It has been far, far too long since we've had a film from Ramsay, though I'm certainly looking forward to more good work from Phoenix too. I find it a little odd that Amazon sat on this for nearly a whole year and sat out the awards race though.

The Little Stranger - Lenny Abrahamson is working on a Gothic ghost story next, based on a Sarah Waters novel. I'm interested in this one primarily for the cast, which includes Domhnall Gleeson, Charlotte Rampling, Ruth Wilson, and Will Poulter. Abrahamson's been hit-or-miss for me, but he certainly has a nose for good material and seems like a good fit for a supernatural thriller. This was picked up last year by Focus, and we can expect a release around Labor Day.

Psychokinesis - I don't know much about this movie except that it's some kind of superhero comedy and "Train to Busan" director Yeon Sang-ho is at the helm. The trailer makes it look like the South Korean answer to "Chronicle," which would be fantastic. Netflix picked up distribution rights, so when exactly we'll get to see this is unclear. There are several other Netflix releases I'm also keeping an eye on, including "Outlaw King," and the restored "The Other Side of the Wind."

Fahrenheit 451 - The last person I would expect to find directing an adaptation of "Fahrenheit 451" is Ramin Bahrani, who is best known for very small scale films about vulnerable people living on the lowest rungs of society. But why shouldn't he? The Bradbury story doesn't need to be some CGI-smothered epic, and it certainly has characters who exist on the fringes. The cast is lead by Michael B. Jordan, and we can also expect appearances by Michael Shannon and Sofia Boutella.

Peterloo - British director Mike Leigh has quietly become a powerhouse director of period films over the course of his career, notably "Mr. Turner" and "Topsy-Turvy." His next, the historical drama "Peterloo," looks to be one of his most ambitious projects yet. It revisits a notorious massacre that happened two hundred years ago during a political protest in in Manchester, England. Rory Kinnear, Christopher Eccleston, and Maxine Peake will lead the ensemble cast. Amazon will be distributing.

The House That Jack Built - It's strange to think that this is Lars von Trier's first film that is properly about a serial killer since the '80s, considering how violent and depraved his work usually is. Matt Dillon will star as the titular Jack, an American killer operating in the '70s, and Von Trier has already gone and described the film as celebrating "the idea that life is evil and soulless." He also wants to premiere it at Cannes this year despite being banned from the festival, of course.

Burning - Frankly, I'd watch the film no matter what it was about, since it's the first feature from the great Korean director Lee Chang-Dong in an unfathomable eight years. Hi last one, "Poetry," is still one of my favorite films of the last decade. However, what's really intriguing here is that "The Walking Dead" alum Steven Yeun will be playing one of the three leads, a character who is possibly an arsonist. Plus, the source material is a Haruki Murakami short story I'd never heard of.

The Nightingale - Jennifer Kent is following up "The Babadook" with a period revenge picture, set in Tasmania. Apparently this is also a female-led horror film of some stripe, though details are still scarce. I'm very heartened that Kent is staying in Australia and focused on making her own films for now, instead of answering Hollywood's call. Sony has the distribution rights for this one, and we should be seeing it Stateside toward the end of the year, in time for awards season.

Suspiria - Luca Guadagnino is tackling this remake of the classic Italian horror film, with Dakota Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Mia Goth, Tilda Swinton, and Jessica Harper - yes, Jessica Harper. Guadagnino hasn't done much genre work, but his deeply sensual style could translate very well to a horror picture. Also, while I appreciate some of the imagery, "Suspiria" was always a movie I found difficult to understand, and I'm hoping for a version with a more coherent story.

The Favourite - I'm not a fan of Yorgos Lanthimos's recent work, though the man clearly has talent. So I'm intrigued by his next project, which looks to be a possible break from form. He'll be directing a period drama, set in the court of Queen Anne during the 18th century. Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz will star as two rival noblewomen, jockeying for power. There's only so far Lanthimos can impose his usual nihilistic tendencies on something like this - though I may be wrong.


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