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50 Most Anticipated Movies of 2018

From a solo Black Panther to a young Han Solo, Spielberg going retro to Barry Jenkins doing James Baldwin – the films we can’t wait to see this year

Another year, another batch of superhero blockbusters, brand-name sequels and big-name movie stars/directors vying for your attention. When you look over the lineup of what’s hitting theaters near you over the next year, however, it’s hard not to get excited. We’re finally getting to feast our eyes on Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther movie and Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time! And witness the all-star Marvel Team-Up that is Avengers: Infinity War! And see how this Muppet-baby chronicle of Han Solo and friends plays out! And being gifted new projects from no less than Clint Eastwood, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Steve McQueen, Wes Anderson, Barry Jenkins and Spike Lee! Do you notice how many exclamation points are in the introduction?!? We’re pumped!

We’ve managed to whittle down the massive list of upcoming films to the 50 we’re most anxious to check out – from an all-ladies version of the Oceans movies to Lady Gaga’s country-flavored A Star Is Born, a long-awaited Freddie Mercury biopic to some classic horror remakes and a documentary on Stanley Kubrick’s right-hand man. Start marking your calendar now (dates are, of course, subject to change). Welcome to what looks like a bang-up year at the movies.

'Can You Ever Forgive Me?' (Oct. 19)

Mary Cybulski/20th Century Fox

‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ (Oct. 19)

Director Marielle Heller follows up her coming-of-age hit The Diary of a Teenage Girl with this stranger-and-much-more-fucked-up-than-fiction story about Lee Israel, a biographer who found that her books weren’t quite the bestselling page-turners they once were. So she does what any author would do, i.e. begins forging letters from famous people and selling them to the highest bidders. And we all know that’s just a gateway crime, right? Melissa McCarthy plays Israel; Withnail himself, Richard E. Grant, plays her accomplice. This bio-comedy looks crazy lit, by which we mean “literary.” DF

halloween

Alamy

‘Halloween’ (Oct. 19)

The Halloween franchise has been rebooted so often that many hardcore horror fans would rather jab butcher knives through their skulls than watch another. But what if we told you that John Carpenter is back as a producer, and is bringing back original star Jamie Lee Curtis? And what would you say if you heard that Eastside & Down collaborators Danny McBride and David Gordon Green are writing and directing the new one? Story details are under wraps, but McBride has said that this is a direct sequel to the first film, so you won’t even have to sit through H20 or Resurrection again. NM

suspiria

Jason LaVeris/Getty

‘Suspiria’ (Fall 2018)

Dario Argento’s 1977 Italian horror classic – about an American ballerina attending a prestigious German academy – has devotees from David Lynch to Nicolas Winding Refn to Edgar Wright. The latest acolyte is Call Me By Your Name filmmaker Luca Guadagnino, who’s crafted an English-language remake that stars Dakota Johnson as the American who uncovers the dance troupe’s dangerous secrets. This new Suspiria not only features Johnson, who was a summery temptress in Guadagnino’s A Bigger Splash, but also Chloe Grace Moretz and longtime Guadagnino collaborator Tilda Swinton. And take note, fans: Jessica Harper, the star of the original, is part of this remake in a new role. TG

if beale street could talk

Bobby Bank/Getty Images

‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ (Fall 2018)

For his follow-up to Moonlight, Barry Jenkins turns to a James Baldwin novel about a love that persists through oppression and racial injustice. For the lead roles of Fonny and Tish, he’s cast Stephan James – who’s already played John Lewis (Selma) and Jesse Owens (Race) in his young career – and newcomer Kiki Layne, who won the part over 300 other women who auditioned. After the couple fall in love, get engaged and expect their first child, Fonny is framed for rape, leading Tish and her dysfunctional family to take up the cause of liberating him from a corrupt system. It may sound like a change of pace for Jenkins, but the romantic spirit that illuminates Baldwin’s book isn’t far removed from the world of his Oscar-winning breakthrough. ST 

x men dark phoenix

Doane Gregory/Twentieth Century Fox

‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ (Nov. 2)

Logan rousingly ended Wolverine’s saga, but his fellow X-Men still have plenty of life left in them. Dark Phoenix reunites the crew that was last seen in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, focusing on Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey – who’s now been exposed to dark powers while in outer space that make her a danger to the rest of the team. James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence are all back, but it’s the new names that are the most intriguing: Jessica Chastain will be playing a mysterious alien, while Simon Kinberg makes his directorial debut. A producer and screenwriter on many of the X-Men films, starting with co-writing 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, he’s been almost as integral to the franchise as Hugh Jackman himself. TG

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‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ (Nov. 16)

The Potterverse prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them set the stage for a new chapter in J.K. Rowling’s saga of magic and muggles, and this follow-up hopes to build on that promise, pitting the timid Newt Scamander (Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne) against the fearsome wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp). For those that carped that the first Fantastic Beasts was too slow, remember: The original Harry Potter cinematic universe didn’t get cooking until the second installment, either. And for those thirsting for a little more Hogwarts-ian connection to this new franchise, Jude Law is on board to play a much-younger Dumbledore – a role made iconic by the late Richard Harris and Michael Gambon in the Potter films. TG

widows

James Veysey/Camera Press/Redux

‘Widows’ (Nov. 19)

You may not have seen the 1980s British TV series Widows, in which a group of professional criminals are murdered during an armed robbery and their wives step in to complete the job. Oscar-winner Steve McQueen has, however, and along with his co-writer/Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn, the 12 Years a Slave director is turning the drama into the starriest heist movies this side of Ocean’s 8. Seriously, this is a to-die-for cast: Viola Davis, Liam Neeson, Michelle Rodriguez, Colin Farrell, Get Out‘s Daniel Kaluuya, Carrie Coon, Jon Bernthal, Robert Duvall, Moonlight‘s André Holland, Elizabeth Debicki, Jacki Weaver. All this, and the notion that one of the single best filmmakers working today is tackling a pulpy crime drama. We’re so there. DF

the irishman Martin Scorsese

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‘The Irishman’ (Fall 2018)

Now 75, Martin Scorsese has devoted the past several years to moving forward on long-gestating projects – and now he’s back with a film that’s taken about 10 years to get off the ground. Based on the life of Frank Sheeran, a mob hitman who may have been involved in Jimmy Hoffa’s death, The Irishman has a dream cast filled with plenty of Scorsese regulars: Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel and Robert De Niro as Sheeran. But, remarkably, the movie also features the first pairing of Scorsese with Al Pacino, leading to hopes that the legendary actor will find the comeback role he’s been missing for years. Netflix is bankrolling The Irishman, which would be the streaming service’s most prestigious project to date – so fingers crossed the movie will be ready in time for an awards run late this year. TG

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‘Mortal Engines’ (Dec. 14)

Those jonesing for their next hit of Fury Road-style post-apocalyptic action spectacle have been mainlining the teaser for this stunning-looking piece of steampunk in which large, motorized cities attack one another for domination of a resource-scarce Earth. Presented by Peter Jackson, who adapted Philip Reeve’s novel with his frequent screenwriting collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, the movie stars Hugo Weaving, Hera Hilmar and Robert Sheehan. And although the Lord of the Rings helmer didn’t direct it, the movie is in good hands: Christian Rivers, who won an Oscar for King Kong‘s visual effects, makes his feature debut. TG

aquaman

Warner Bros. Pictures

‘Aquaman’ (Dec. 21)

After the debacle of Justice League, maybe it’s better if our superfriends spend some quality time apart. That’s one of the reasons to be optimistic about Aquaman, which gives Jason Momoa’s underwater hero a chance to be his own fishman away from the rest of his DC cohorts. Also exciting is that this standalone adventure is directed by James Wan, one of Hollywood’s most inventive genre filmmakers (Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring, Furious 7). He’s assembled a murderers’ row of character actors, Oscar-winners and inspired oddities for this ensemble: Everyone from Willem Dafoe to Nicole Kidman to Dolph Lundgren will be joining in on the fun. TG

mary poppins

Jay Maidment/Disney

‘Mary Poppins Returns’ (Dec. 21)

Never got tickets to Hamilton during its original Broadway run? Well, this Christmas you’ll have another opportunity to see Lin-Manuel Miranda sing and dance, thanks to Walt Disney’s sequel to the 1964 live-action musical classic. Set decades after the original – with the Banks kids now adults – the movie has Miranda playing an apprentice to Dick Van Dyke’s chimney sweep from the first film, while Emily Blunt grabs an umbrella and slips into Julie Andrews’ hat as the super-nanny who’s practically perfect in every way. NM

bohemian rhapsody

Nick Delaney/Twentieth Century Fox

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ (Dec. 25)

The saga of making a movie about Freddie Mercury and Queen has been nearly as dramatic and electric as the music the group recorded during their heyday. For years, Sacha Baron Cohen was slated to play the late singer, who died in 1991, eventually leaving the project over creative differences with the band and being replaced by Mr. Robot‘s Rami Malek. Then late last year, director Bryan Singer was fired partway through production, with Eddie the Eagle filmmaker Dexter Fletcher brought in to complete the movie. Reportedly spanning Queen’s early years to their triumphant performance at 1985’s Live Aid, this biopic was always destined to be a salute to a flamboyant, excessive, brilliant group who never did things the easy or conventional way. Why should Queen’s journey to the screen be any less high-wire? TG

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