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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.

Steven Soderbergh

Rick Diamond/Getty Images

‘Unsane’ (Mar. 23)

Just when you think he’s left the game entirely, along comes the formerly retired Steven Soderbergh with a scrappy NASCAR heist flick, a new HBO series that’s also an app – and a “secret” new horror movie, made on the D.L and shot on his iPhone. The Crown‘s Claire Foy is a young woman who finds her sanity in peril when she’s institutionalized; June Temple and former SNL-er Jay Pharoah costar. The particulars of the plot are apparently on a need-to-know basis past that synopsis; Pharoah has described the movie as “reality-type horror – almost Get Out-ish, but different,” which sounds promising. Frankly, you had us at “Soderbergh.” DF 

50 Most Anticipated Movies of 2018

‘Ready Player One’ (Mar. 30)

Ernest Cline’s 2011 science-fiction novel floated a tantalizing fantasy: What if all the useless information you’ve accumulated through a lifetime of immersion of Eighties movies, music, video games and other cultural flotsam and jetsam could, in fact, make you the most important person on Earth? Having Steven Spielberg adapt this cult sci-fi book to the screen may count as a shameless act of self-homage for a director who ruled the decade, but he also legitimizes the fanboy enthusiasm that fuels Cline’s story. It may be set in a future dystopia of widespread poverty and overpopulation, but the film will largely take place in the virtual realm of OASIS, where players like Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) search for a $240 billion Easter Egg left by its late creator. Let the games, and the shameless Back to the Future references, begin! ST 

50 Most Anticipated Movies of 2018

‘You Were Never Really Here’ (Apr. 6)

“I hear you’re brutal,” a man says to Joe (a more-bearded-than-usual Joaquin Phoenix), a gentleman who can unleash violence and enact vengeance for the right price. Given that we’ve just seen wirled use the business end of a hammer for maximum damage in the above trailer, we’re apt to think those rumors aren’t unfounded. This psycho-for-hire’s latest gig, however, requires more steeliness than usual: Rescue a senator’s young daughter who’s been kidnapped by white traffickers by any means necessary. He takes the job. Then things go very wrong. We’ve been waiting to see what Lynne Ramsay was going to do to follow-up 2011’s We Need to Talk About Kevin, and the answer is apparently a revenge thriller that won her lead actor an award at last year’s Cannes and takes exactly zero prisoners. DF

50 Most Anticipated Movies of 2018

‘The Rider’ (Apr. 13)

After having been injured in a fall and stuck with a plate in his head, a Native American rodeo star (Brady Jandeau) is forced to put his ridin’ and ropin’ days behind him. As to what lays in his future, the young man knows he doesn’t want to end a drunk like his dad – or permanently injured like his best friend, a former bronco-busting hotshot confined to a wheelchair. Past that, it all seems to be an open-ended question. Part semi-documentary, part semi-fictional storytelling and an all-American chronicle of hardship and transcendental bliss, filmmaker Chloé Zhao has real-life circuit riders recreating scenes from their own life – the scene in which Jandeau actually horse-whispers an untamed animal is incredible – and reclaiming Western iconography. It’s a winner. DF

50 Most Anticipated Movies of 2018

‘The New Mutants’ (Apr. 13)

Last year’s superb superhero pic Logan used the X-Men movie universe as a jumping-off point for a futuristic western. Now The Fault in Our Stars director Josh Boone digs into his stack of Eighties New Mutants comics to make a film that he insists is just as inspired by Stephen King and John Hughes as by Marvel legends Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz. An ace young cast led by The Witch‘s Anya Taylor-Joy and Game of Thrones‘ Maisie Williams anchors this tale of powerful youngsters haunted by both supernatural evils and their own raging hormones. NM

50 Most Anticipated Movies of 2018

‘Overboard’ (Apr. 20)

In the 30 years since its release, the Goldie Hawn/Kurt Russell comedy Overboard has gone from an indifferently received amnesiac comedy to a beloved screwball classic. Suffice to say, ahem, there’s room for improvement in the gender-reversed remake, which now casts Hawn’s heir apparent, Anna Faris, as a blue-collar worker and Mexican star Eugenio Derbez in the role of a rich snob humbled by an accident that wipes his memory clean. Derbez’s comedy How to Be a Latin Lover was a quiet hit last year, and Faris has spent a career spinning gold from dross. And let’s face it: This material is drossy as hell. ST