We’re all pretty aware of the tentpole blockbusters coming in 2018, and there are a lot of them, but every year has a few surprise flicks that end up punching way above their weight and becoming fan favourites. We’re going to have a look at some of the movies that may not be on everyone’s radar but that could end up being breakout successes!
Alita: Battle Angel
This project has a slew of massive names attached to it, the biggest being Avatar director James Cameron, who’s been interested in adapting this film since the early 2000s, and is now onboard as executive producer. He’ll be adapting the original manga about a futuristic cyborg who has lost all her memories, and goes on a journey to uncover her past, while also trying to stay alive in a violent dystopia. If it sounds a lot like Ghost in the Shell, that’s because it basically is. Unfortunately Ghost in the Shell ended up being a bit of a disappointment which continues the trend of poorly adapted manga and anime projects. Having James Cameron at the helm, and a high-quality cast including Jennifer Connelly, Christoph Waltz, and Mahershala Ali, means that there’s an outside chance this is the stellar anime/manga adaptation we’ve all been waiting for.
Those who are familiar with the glitzy world of Hollywood award ceremonies will no doubt recognise Damien Chazelle’s name. The young director has recently received endless plaudits for his musically inspired films Whiplash and La La Land, the latter winning all seven of its Academy Award nominations. First Man leaves behind any musical cues though, and is instead an exploration of mankind’s first journey to the moon and the men and women who made it possible. He teams up once again with Ryan Gosling who plays Neil Armstrong, and covers a topic that hasn’t been all that well-explored in recent film history which gives this movie an opportunity to do something fresh. Is this one going to be another Oscar-magnet? It just might.
Director Alex Garland has been making waves for some time, having written screenplays for thriller/sci-fi standouts like 28 Days Later and Dredd, as well as knocking it out of the park with his directorial debut Ex Machina. He returns with Annihilation, featuring an all-star cast spear-headed by Natalie Portman. The plot is adapted from a novel, where Portman’s character is a biologist that must lead a team to a mysterious disaster zone in search for her husband. This is obviously only part of the tale, and things end up getting a lot more bizarre and sinister as the plot unfolds. As with Ex Machina, there’s likely to be a healthy dose of social commentary, and symbolism to interpret underneath the science-fiction veneer.
Holmes and Watson
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock character is as old as the hills and has been explored and re-explored countless times since the character’s inception – most recently being played (quite entertainingly) by Robert Downey Jr. Retreading old ground would seem a little pointless, but fortunately this iteration is going quite far off the reservation, so to speak. The titular detective will be played by Will Ferrell this time around, with John C. Reilly joining as his dutiful sidekick Watson in a script that flips popular tropes about the character on their heads – effectively asking the question: “What if Sherlock Holmes was actually a buffoon taking credit for all the hard work of his more talented assistant?”. Ferrell has been party to some disappointing movies of late, but the return of the Step Brothers duo fills us with some hope that he might return to his best form.
The Predator franchise used to be a pop culture juggernaut way back when, famously serving as a launchpad for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s surprisingly-prolific acting career. Unfortunately, after a few false starts in the 2000s, the franchise has lain dormant for quite a while, losing a lot of its cult relevance. Shane Black is the creative behind the resurrection of the dreadlocked alien, and he’s got quite the action pedigree – having served as a writer for the Lethal Weapon franchise, as well as directing Iron Man 3. Thomas Jane, Olivia Munn, and Logan‘s Boyd Holbrook will star, and from what the creative team has discussed, they’ll be going back to the sci-fi horror roots that made the first Predator outing such a hit, but we’ll have to wait a little longer before more news or footage of the project is released. With everything 80s and 90s making a roaring comeback we can hope for a thrilling return to the Predator universe.