Synopsis: A world famous opera singer becomes trapped in a hostage situation when she’s invited to perform for a wealthy industrialist in South America.
Release Date: September 14, 2018
Thoughts: It’s been four years since Julianne Moore won her long overdue Oscar for Still Alice and she’s largely avoided the Best Actress curse popping up in interesting, if underperforming, films like Wonderstruck and Suburbicon. In 2018 she’s back with two interesting projects: Gloria, a US remake of a popular Chilean film and this adaptation of Ann Patchett’s bestseller which casts Moore as a opera singer who becomes a hostage and political chess piece in a South American uprising. Written for the screen and directed by Paul Weitz (Admission, Grandma, Being Flynn) and co-starring Ken Watanabe (Godzilla) I have to say this looks more important than entertaining. Also, while I’m glad they are being transparent that Moore’s singing voice is dubbed by the legendary Renee Fleming based on the few shots of her singing I’m a bit nervous it’s going to look too fake-y. In the end, it’s Moore that appeals to me so I’m always interested in her work…but Bel Canto feels like it has an uphill battle in front of it.
Synopsis: A priest is sent to Romania to investigate the mysterious death of a nun.
Release Date: September 7, 2019
Thoughts: Man, the suits at Warner Brothers and New Line Cinema are really going for this Conjuring Universe, aren’t they? After The Conjuring, there was the lackluster spin-off Annabelle which was followed by the enormously entertaining sequel, Annabelle: Creation. Now comes The Nun which focuses on that terrifying bride of Christ who kept popping up to scare Vera Farmiga (and this critic) in The Conjuring 2. There’s nothing particularly special about this early teaser trailer but it does give the summer movie audiences a jolt of a reminder that there’s another scary film coming up this autumn to look forward to…after Halloween, of course.
Synopsis: From Disney and visionary director Tim Burton, the all-new grand live-action adventure expands on the beloved classic story where differences are celebrated, family is cherished and dreams take flight.
Release Date: March 29, 2019
Thoughts: I must say when I heard Disney was making a live-action version of their classic 1941 animated film Dumbo to be directed by Tim Burton I was less than thrilled. Dumbo is a family favorite and one that seemed unlikely to lend itself to the kind of success other adaptations like Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and The Jungle Book enjoyed. Even more, was the dark whimsy of Burton (Dark Shadows) really the right choice to take this simple and lovely tale to the big screen? After watching this first look at the 2019 release, I’m relaxing into the notion that this marriage of Burton’s style and Disney’s chestnut might not be so strange after all. It looks downright charming. Starring Colin Farrell (Saving Mr. Banks), Michael Keaton (Spider Man: Homecoming), Danny DeVito (Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax), Eva Green (Cracks) and a big-eyed CGI elephant who is destined to fly to great heights, this just jumped up a few notches on my radar.
Synopsis: Laurie Strode comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.
Release Date: October 19, 2018
Thoughts: Michael Myers has sure been around the block. After the tremendous success of the 1978 original Halloween there were seven sequels of varying quality (#2, #4, and #7 are tops in my book) and then the icky remake and even ickier sequel from shock rocker Rob Zombie. There were rumors another movie was going to materialize but no one expected the franchise to do an about face and effectively wipe the slate clean – which is exactly what’s happening with 2018’s all new Halloween. Treating the sequels as if they never happened, director David Gordon Green (Our Brand is Crisis) directs a script he co-wrote with Danny McBride (This is the End) starring Jamie Lee Curtis (Terror Train) and has the blessing of original director John Carpenter. This first look is pretty creepy…but perhaps shows a tad too much for my taste – I’d have preferred it to show less so we expect more. Knowing the fates of several characters already lessens some of the impact – but I’m counting on all involved to have a few tricks ‘n treats up their sleeves.
Synopsis: Young computer hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist find themselves caught in a web of spies, cybercriminals and corrupt government officials.
Release Date: November 9, 2018
Thoughts: Though 2011’s American remake of the Swedish sensation The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was well received by critics (earning an Oscar nomination for star Rooney Mara in the process), it didn’t do the kind of box office numbers that inspired Sony Pictures to keep the franchise going. When a continuation of the original trilogy of novels was released, the interest in resurrecting the computer hacker heroine grew which is why we’re now getting an all-new take on Lisbeth Salander in The Girl in the Spider’s Web. With Claire Foy (Breathe) taking over for Mara and Fede Alvaraz (Don’t Breathe) assuming directing duties from David Fincher, this first look suggests the same dark vibe as the previous entry. Foy looks to have morphed nicely into the rough and tumble Salander and I’m excited for Blade Runner 2049 breakout Sylvia Hoeks to be featured briefly in this teaser.
Synopsis: A movie star helps a young singer and actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral
Release Date: October 5, 2018
Thoughts: A third remake of 1937’s A Star is Born has been in the works for a while. It was long thought Clint Eastwood would direct Beyoncé and Will Smith in the story of a fading rock icon mentoring and falling for a star on the rise but the A-listers couldn’t align their schedules and Eastwood lost interest. Cut to Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper (American Hustle) directing his first feature and snagging Lady Gaga, one of pop music’s most prominent celebrities, to costar alongside him. It’s a well known secret many people in Hollywood have already seen this – the notoriously fame-averse Sean Penn says its one of the best films he’s seen and calls Gaga “a miracle.” While Gaga earned a Golden Globe for her work on American Horror Story: Hotel her acting, well, didn’t quite sing in my book. After catching this first look at her work here, could Gaga be on the Cher route to Oscar gold?
Synopsis: Set in contemporary Chicago amidst a time of turmoil, four women with nothing in common except debts left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities take fate into their own hands and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.
Release Date: November 16, 2018
Thoughts: Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) had a fondness for Widows, a UK television series created by Lynda La Plante (Prime Suspect). In fact, McQueen liked it so much that he brought on Gone Girl’s Gillian Flynn to modernize the story and signed on top notch talent to bring it stateside. The result can be glimpsed in this trailer, an exciting first look at a hard-boiled crime drama that could be an award contender when all is said and done. The cast is made up of Oscar winners Viola Davis (Suicide Squad) and Robert Duvall (The Paper), Oscar nominees Liam Neeson (The Commuter), Daniel Kaluuya (Black Panther), and Jacki Weaver (Life of the Party), not to mention impressive names like Colin Farrell (Saving Mr. Banks), Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby), Michelle Rodriguez (Furious 7), and Cynthia Erivo. If the finished product is as impressively dynamite as this trailer, McQueen and company will have a very good fall.
Synopsis: A darkness swirls at the center of a world-renowned dance company, one that will engulf the troupe’s artistic director, an ambitious young dancer, and a grieving psychotherapist. Some will succumb to the nightmare. Others will finally wake up.
Release Date: November 2, 2018
Thoughts: Whoa, this remake of Dario Argento’s 1977 horror classic looks far better and way more terrifying than I was expecting. Coming off of 2017’s lauded coming of age drama Call Me by Your Name, director Luca Guadagnino makes a major shift in tone for this creepy tale of a European dance company ruthlessly run by a coven of witches. From this brief look, the feel of the film seems in line with Argento’s stylish masterpiece but also doesn’t come off like a carbon copy. With stars Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades Freed), Tilda Swinton (Only Lovers Left Alive), Chloë Grace Moretz (The 5th Wave), and original star Jessica Harper top lining and buzz steadily building based on early screenings of key intense scenes, Suspiria is one fall film to keep your eye out for…and then cover them in fear.
Synopsis: When a young boy accidentally triggers the universe’s most lethal hunters return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and a disgruntled science teacher can prevent the end of the human race.
Release Date: September 14, 2018
Thoughts: The original Predator celebrated its 30th birthday last year and remains a sci-fi genre classic. While the alien hunter has shown up in several sequels and a two crossovers with the Alien franchise, he hasn’t had a real strong showing since his first outing. This first look at 2018’s The Predator hints of a retro-tinged early Fall frolic and I’m all for it. Writer/director Shane Black (Iron Man 3) usually does well in balancing tone with large scale action sequence and there’s been good buzz building for The Predator during its long production phase. Featuring a strong cast including Jacob Tremblay (Room), Sterling K. Brown (Black Panther), Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse), Boyd Holbrook (Logan), and Keegan-Michael Key (Tomorrowland) this holds more than a little promise of being the fun sequel this franchise has been sorely needing.
Synopsis: When a submersible lies disabled at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, an expert deep sea diver is forced to confront his fears and risk everything on a single question: Could the Carcharadon Megalodon – the largest marine predator that ever existed – still be alive and on the hunt?
Release Date: August 10, 2018
Thoughts: This lover of all things (and movies) related to sharks has been waiting for The Meg for almost twenty years. Based on Steve Alten’s silly but entertaining beach read MEG, the film rights were snapped up right away but the movie took forever to get off the ground due to its sizable budget. Warner Brothers (the studio behind Deep Blue Sea, the last decent shark flick released theatrically) finally took the plunge, added a “The” to the title, reworked the plot, wisely partnered with an Asian studio to maximize international box office revenue, and in August we’ll see just how well it all paid off. This first look at The Meg has plenty of exciting images but also an unexpectedly comedic slant that I’m not quite sure about. Based on the tongue-in-cheek feel, Jason Statham (Spy) could be a good fit for the leading man but it’s clear that while this one has Jaws in its veins its not angling to take itself too seriously.