Ten Movies to Look Forward to in Early 2018

Chadwick Boseman (left), in the title role in Marvel's Black Panther, mixes it up with Michael B. Jordan.EXPAND
Chadwick Boseman (left), in the title role in Marvel's Black Panther, mixes it up with Michael B. Jordan.
Marvel Studios
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Although 2017’s holiday movies will be sticking around theaters for a while (see: Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread, the new Star Wars and Steven Spielberg’s The Post), it’s never too soon to look forward to what’s next. The first few months of the year are notorious for being a period of drought at the movies, but the January-March 2018 release calendar offers a surprising deluge of highly anticipated films. From Marvel’s Black Panther to Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, here are ten films to look forward to at the top of next year.

The Commuter (January 12)
Liam Neeson and director Jaume Collet-Serra have basically become the John Wayne and John Ford of 2010s late-winter action thrillers. Following 2011’s Unknown, 2014’s Non-Stop and 2015’s Run All Night, the actor and director have teamed up again for the ticking-time-bomb thriller The Commuter, in which Neeson’s insurance-salesman character must identify a train passenger who does not belong. While solving this odd puzzle, he gets caught up in a dangerous criminal conspiracy. Let’s hope this is far from the last stop on the Neeson and Collet-Serra train.

Proud Mary (January 12)
Though we’ll see Taraji P. Henson in another starring role a couple of months later (in Tyler Perry’s betrayal drama Acrimony), she’ll kick off the year with guns a-blazin’ in Proud Mary, from London Has Fallen director Babak Najafi. Henson plays leather-clad, ass-kicking hitwoman Mary, who has drawers full of guns, a closet full of wigs, and steady business from an organized-crime family. But the cold-hearted killer in her starts to melt when she meets a young boy on one of her jobs.

Black Panther (February 16)
Even if you’re not a Marvel movie diehard, there’s a lot to be excited about with Black Panther, notably that most of the leads are black: Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther, along with Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker. It’s also helmed by Creed director Ryan Coogler. Wow, what a lineup! Marvel, like the rest of Hollywood, has struggled with diversity, so this is a monumental entry to the comic-book powerhouse (especially following the success of Thor 3, directed by another person of color, Taika Waititi). In Black Panther, our hero, who’s a king in his native home of Wakanda, must team up and fight the enemies who threaten to destroy his kingdom and set off a world war. Could it be the best Marvel movie yet?

In Annihilation, Natalie Portman stars as a biologist who goes on an expedition to a quarantined wilderness and is joined on the mission by a group that includes a surveyor (Tessa Thompson).EXPAND
In Annihilation, Natalie Portman stars as a biologist who goes on an expedition to a quarantined wilderness and is joined on the mission by a group that includes a surveyor (Tessa Thompson).
Peter Mountain/Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Annihilation (February 23)
Director Alex Garland follows up his debut, the indie sci-fi thriller Ex Machina, with an adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s terrifying novel Annihilation. Natalie Portman stars as a biologist who goes on an expedition to a quarantined wilderness called Area X, where, to put it lightly, biology makes little sense. On the mission, she’s joined by a psychologist (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a surveyor (Tessa Thompson) and an anthropologist (Gina Rodriguez) — quite the dream cast. As the days pass, the four women face the horrifying mysteries of this environmental disaster zone. Annihilation is the first book of VanderMeer’s “Southern Reach Trilogy,” which includes Authority and Acceptance — likely to become film adaptations soon.

A Wrinkle in Time (March 9)
Oscar-nominated Selma director Ava DuVernay brings a children’s classic to life with her live-action Disney adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. The story centers around a young girl named Meg Murry, who’s on a quest with her brother and friends to save her father, who’s being held captive on a faraway planet. Chris Pine plays the father, and — here’s proof of how beloved DuVernay has become — Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling turn up as astral travelers.

Tomb Raider (March 16)
Although reboots and video-game adaptations tend not to be promising, we honestly can’t wait to see The Danish Girl Oscar winner Alicia Vikander change up her Oscar-drama speed and step into the iconic role of Lara Croft, a role that Angelina Jolie first played in 2001. The actress has buffed up and really sunk her teeth into this muscular part ever since she was announced to play Croft in early 2016. If done right (and we’re staying optimistic), a Vikander-led action flick could do more than redeem the cheesy Jolie versions.

Isle of Dogs (March 23)
After the charming Fantastic Mr. Fox, Wes Anderson is back on his stop-motion-animation game with Isle of Dogs, the story of a Japanese boy who, in order to find his pet Spots, ventures to just what the title promises, a quarantined island of dogs. We have a feeling things will probably go better for him than for the explorers in Annihilation. The list of voice actors is enough to gawk over; Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Bob Balaban, Greta Gerwig and Yoko Ono are just some of the famous (furry) friends who star. That’s impressive, but it is an overwhelmingly white cast for a movie set in Japan....

Unsane (March 23)
Filmed discreetly and kept under wraps, Unsane is a horror movie that the now-unretired Steven Soderbergh shot entirely on an iPhone. There still aren't a lot of details out about the film, but we’re hearing it called “reality horror” and compared to Get Out. It involves a woman who was involuntarily committed to a mental hospital. Whatever he’s cooked up, any new project with Soderbergh attached is good enough to pique our interest. Claire Foy, Juno Temple and Jay Pharoah star.

Lean on Pete (March 30)
Andrew Haigh, the rising director behind 2015’s 45 Years, is returning with a tender coming-of-age drama distributed by A24, the studio that put out some of the best indie films of the past few years, including this year’s Oscar winner, Moonlight. The adaptation of Willy Vlautin’s novel follows a teen boy named Charley (Charlie Plummer) who befriends a racehorse named Lean on Pete while working a summer job and figuring out his life. This one might require some tissues. Steve Buscemi and Chloe Sevigny also star.

Mary Magdalene (March 30)
Will this film inspire Christian boycotting? The Mary Magdalene storyline in Martin Scorsese’s 1988 film The Last Temptation of Christ surely did, for its vision of Magdalene and Jesus consummating their relationship. The latest from Lion director Garth Davis puts the focus on the New Testament’s most controversial woman, but Davis seems to be taking on a more traditional narrative. Rooney Mara takes on the title role and is reunited with her Her co-star and now real-life beau, Joaquin Phoenix, who portrays Jesus.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.