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JoBlo.com's Preview of 50 Movies we want to see in 2018

2017 was a damn good year for film, both in terms of tent-poles and the more sophisticated art house fare that's in the process of finding an audience as we go into awards season. With all of our top 10's done, now's the time to look ahead to what 2018 has in store for us, and the lineup is eclectic, diverse, bold, and sure to pay off in another exciting year of film going. Think of it - we've got a Spielberg sci-if adventure movie, three Marvel movies, stuff from DC, plus a whole bunch of auteur-led genre entries to keep us on the edge of our seats all year long. - Chris Bumbray

Black Panther (February 16th)

Since his introduction in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, the character of BLACK PANTHER has been at the forefront of popularity in the MCU and now he gets his due with a solo film from director Ryan Coogler (CREED). Chadwick Boseman returns to the titular role of King T'Challa/BLACK PANTHER, along with an excellent cast that includes Michael B. Jordan as the villain Erik Killmonger, Andy Serkis as Claw, Lupita Nyong'o as Naka, Danai Gurira as Okoye and veteran stars Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker joining the fray. Ever since that first trailer, BLACK PANTHER has proven to have attitude, style and a much-needed shake up to the MCU proper, giving us new locales, characters, themes and visuals. It's a welcome change and the right time to spotlight one of Marvel's most prominent long-standing characters. - Paul Shirey

Annihilation (February 23rd)

It's a drag to hear that Paramount has so little faith in the commercial viability of Alex Garland's follow-up to EX MACHINA that they sold off the overseas rights to Netflix, but it's gratifying to also hear that producer Scott Rudin apparently went to bat for him and that however the release goes down, it'll be his director's cut. That's a good thing as Garland is the real-deal, and I've been a fan of his ever since reading "The Beach". Pair him up with Natalie Portman, and you've got a movie that piques my interest in a big way. - Chris Bumbray

12 Strong (January 19th)

The true story about a group of Special Forces Soldiers who were the first to respond to the terrorist attacks on 9/11 in Afghanistan is one that's almost like an urban legend. However, the "myth" of the Horse Soldiers is very real and is brought to life via producer Jerry Bruckheimer and a strong cast made up of Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, Michael Pena, Trevante Rhodes and William Fichtner. Modern war films have had a decent run of late, with hits like LONE SURVIVOR and AMERICAN SNIPER making good headway with real-life stories, but it's not exactly a surefire market. As a Vet, I'm happy to see these films continue to be made regardless and have high hopes that they can be told in an engaging, entertaining and, most importantly, accurate way. Hopefully, 12 STRONG can hit those marks and deliver a hit for the otherwise dead month of January. - Paul Shirey

The 15:17 To Paris (February 9th)

When I heard that Clint Eastwood was casting the real-life heroes from the 2015 Thalys train attack, I was more than a little skeptical. Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler and Alek Skarlatos deserve a lot of credit, but would them playing themselves in a biopic really work? The fact that this is a February release rather than Eastwood's customary Q4 makes me wonder if Warner Bros is trying to bury it a bit, although I'll say this - that first trailer really worked. If the three guys really nail their parts and Eastwood is as engaged with the material as he was with SULLY, this might be a winner. - Chris Bumbray

Death Wish (March 2nd)

When you think of Eli Roth, you typically think of shock, gore and over-the-top sex and violence. When you think of the original DEATH WISH you think of shock, gore and over-the-top sex and violence...hey, wait a minute! Is this a match made in Heaven (or maybe hell?) Roth takes on the classic Charles Bronson actioner, this time putting the chrome-domed Bruce Willis in the lead and making what appears to be an almost formulaic action film. However, knowing Roth, we're surely in for more of his bloody good shenanigans tossed in for good measure. And wouldn't it be nice to see Willis back in an entertaining film that didn't go straight to video again? Here's to hoping for a fun, bloody action romp. - Paul Shirey

Red Sparrow (March 2nd)

I'm cautiously optimistic about this one. RED SPARROW is based on a well-reviewed piece of spy-fiction, but the trailer makes it look like this was given the ATOMIC BLONDE treatment and turned into more of a hardcore actioner. Jennifer Lawrence is hit and miss for me, but she was definitely hit in her HUNGER GAMES movies with Francis Lawrence, who's in the director's chair here. Here's hoping this keeps the smarts of the book intact and gives us something more than non-stop carnage, which to be sure takes a steady hand to do right (and Francis Lawrence's filmography is uneven). - Chris Bumbray

A Wrinkle in Time (March 9th)

Now here's an interesting one. Based on the classic novel by Madeleine L'Engle, A WRINKLE IN TIME is Ava DuVernay's follow-up to SELMA, and a mega-budget Disney adaptation with a star-studded cast including Chris Pine, Zach Galifianakis, Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and oh yeah, Oprah friggin' Winfrey! DuVernay seems to have brought a really nice angle to this adaptation, and it's among the most eagerly anticipated movies of the year. - Chris Bumbray

Tomb Raider (March 16th)

After Angelina Jolie swung out of the Lara Croft series it seemed like we'd never have a big-breasted, gun-toting adventurer in short shorts to fight evil statue thieves again. But, fear not, Alicia Vikander is here to save the day, complete with a genuine British accent and a Lara Croft makeover in TOMB RAIDER, which looks to borrow the appearance of the newer games, giving the character a more realistic and less cartoony (re: less sexualized) appearance (but don't worry, there's still some skin if that's a genuine concern). Although it looks more adventurous than action-y at this point (fitting, as it's directed by The Wave's Roar Uthaug), there's certainly room for a new TOMB RAIDER franchise if they can manage to make something that isn't a contrived mess. Videogame adaptation are a tricky business and rarely make the grade, but perhaps Vikander and Roar are up to task. - Paul Shirey

Pacific Rim: Uprising (March 23rd)

People gave me so much crap for my 10/10 review of the original PACIFIC RIM, but I flipped for Guillermo Del Toro's original, which to me ranked as one of the great studio sci-fi epics of the decade. So it's a drag that he's not back for what seems to be a lower-budget sequel, with Steven S. DeKnight taking the helm. The cast, which includes Scott Eastwood and a returning Charlie Day also seems low-voltage, but hopefully John Boyega's charisma will be enough to give this some real gravitas. Fingers crossed this will be good. - Chris Bumbray

Isle of Dogs (March 23rd)

Excuse me did you say Wes Anderson and stop-motion animation? That's what I thought. I'm in. After proving that he can more than handle the genre with the outstanding FANTASTIC MR. FOX, Anderson has created an original story that's set in the near future of Japan where dogs have been exiled to an island and a young boy sets out to find his missing pup there. It's got a whopper of a cast, including Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton, Scarlett Johansson, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray (deep breath), Courtney B. Vance, Fisher Stevens, Yoko Ono, Tilda Swinton, F. Murray Abraham, Kan Watanabe, Bob Balaban, Harvey Keitel, Liev Schreiber and many more! I mean, that's more than reason enough to go right there, but coupled with the stellar use of stop-motion animation and clever, aloof Anderson-isms that will be swimming in this film, it's absolutely one of the must-see's of the year. - Paul Shirey

Ready Player One (March 30th)

Honestly, I have no idea how a faithful adaption of Ernie Cline's novel could ever be made. The rights issues alone will be a nightmare, but if anyone could navigate this, it's Steven Spielberg. Fact is, what Steven wants, Steven gets, and a whole lot of the bits and pieces Cline pulled from come from his own Amblin' Entertainment, so this may be faithful after all, but will it be more than an eighties greatest hits movie? Still, if any movie on this list has the potential to go down as a classic, this is the one. - Chris Bumbray

A Quiet Place (April 6th)

This one snuck up on us with an outstanding debut trailer that served up a healthy dose of mystery/horror/suspense and even a little post-apocalyptic charm. John Krasinski directs and stars in A QUIET PLACE alongside his real-life spouse, Emily Blunt, which follows a family living in isolation from a mysterious threat that attacks at any loud noise. It's a great concept and rings of an M. Night Shyamalan film in that regard. Ultimately, the suspense and the ultimate twists/reveal will tell if this is a thriller as good as the trailer. If it is, then we could potentially have a new classic on our hands and a new talent in Krasinski as a filmmaker. - Paul Shirey

The New Mutants (April 13th)

I have a feeling that if the Disney/Fox merger had gone through a few months earlier, THE NEW MUTANTS wouldn't have gotten made. Clearly an attempt to spin-out the X-MEN franchise, if Disney was involved with all their Marvel properties, they wouldn't have needed to make it. All that said, Josh Boone's film looks like an interesting, horror-tinged teen spin on the franchise. - Chris Bumbray

2018 Cloverfield aka God Particle (April 20th)

So little is known of this next installment of the CLOVERFIELD franchise, other than it revolves around a team of scientists on a space station around Earth's orbit that discover a "particle" (aka God Particle) that kicks off a series of terrible events. How that ties into the events of the other two CLOVERFIELD films is unknown, but if it's any bit as entertaining and terrifying as the others, then we're surely in for a good time. A solid cast, including Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Daniel Bruhl, Elizabeth Debicki, David Oyelowo, Chris O'Dowd and Zhang Ziyi, will certainly help keep things interesting and there better be some kind of monster by the end or I'm asking for my money back. - Paul Shirey

Rampage (April 20th)

A few weeks ago, RAMPAGE was probably considered a modest studio offering, with the hope being that Dwayne Johnson and director Brad Peyton would pull in the same type of audience that made their SAN ANDREAS a solid performer. But, now that JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE has become this massive hit, The Rock's star power is at an all-time high, and RAMPAGE, in which he stars as a primatologist trying to rescue his massive, mutated primate best pal in the midst of an animal uprising, stands a chance at being a mega hit that will further establish his stardom. - Chris Bumbray

Super Troopers 2 (April 20th)

Add this to the list of comedy sequels that are coming along way too late in the game (17 years to be exact), so you just never know if it's gonna be worth the wait. Granted the whole cast is back, including some new players with Robe Lowe, Emmanuelle Chriqui and Lynda Carter. The first film is the very definition of a cult classic and has inspired an entire generation to run quotes, cosplay and hold drunken/stoned screenings and the cry for a sequel has been loud and long. Can they recapture the magic or is this another DUMB AND DUMBER TO? - Paul Shirey

Avengers: Infinity War (May 4th)

The Avengers are back, but this time they've got loads of company, with Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther, Brie Larson's Captain Marvel, The Guardians of the Galaxy, and Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange entering the fray. It'll be interesting to see how the conflict between Tony Stark and Captain America plays up in the first installment of this two part saga, which is apparently meant to partially reboot the universe, or at least set up the next incarnation of the Avengers. Who will live? Who will die? Find out in May! - Chris Bumbray

Solo: A Star Wars Story (May 25th)

Man, talk about a mess of a situation for this one. First, there's the fact that they're even making a Han Solo origin film, which is just about as random as you can get. Then, they cast a relative unknown (Alden Ehrenreich) to play the lead, while hiring comedy directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller to direct, only to fire them when the majority of the film was already shot because it was apparently "too funny." Disney then brought in veteran filmmaker Ron Howard to clean up the mess and get this sucker ready for the masses, which certainly took a few parsecs to knock out. The film is still slated for May, but up to now we've only seen a handful of BTS pics and a logo, so who knows if this will be another Star Wars slam dunk or their first underperforming flop? Either way, having the word "Star Wars" in the title certainly helps its chances... - Paul Shirey

Deadpool 2 (June 1st)

Now that DEADPOOL grossed close to a billion dollars, I guess he's no longer the underdog superhero anymore, right? No more February release, this thing is a huge summer release, and clearly meant to spin off it's own R-rated universe, with Josh Brolin's Cable and Zazie Beetz's Domino joining The Merc With a Mouth in this David Leitch-directed sequel. - Chris Bumbray

Ocean's 8 (June 8th)

The last time we saw Danny Ocean and his crew was in 2007's OCEAN'S THIRTEEN, which was seemingly the last of their heist films after milking it for all it was worth. However, the horse is ready to be beaten again, this time with an all-female cast that includes Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Helena Bonham-Carter, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Katie Holmes, Mindy Kaling, Olivia Munn and someone calling themselves Awkwafina. Heisting is sure to ensue, but whether or not this is an all-female gimmick or a surefire ensemble is yet to be seen. The trailer has all the pizazz of the OCEAN'S 11 films, sure, but it's got a lot of work to do to convince us we need to go down this road again. - Paul Shirey

Incredibles 2 (June 18th)

It took fourteen years, but Pixar and Brad Bird are finally back with an INCREDIBLES sequel, an amazing thing considering how beloved the original is, and the fact that we've gotten TWO CARS SEQUELS since then. It'll be great to see the gang back together, but I must admit - I'm scared. The original is so great, I'm tempted to just say leave it alone but I have faith in both Pixar and Bird. - Chris Bumbray

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (June 22nd)

We have to go back to the island! Is this JURASSIC WORLD or Lost? Anyway, the follow-up to JURASSIC WORLD is stomping into theaters this summer, this time without director Colin Trevorrow (although Trevorrow is one of the writers on the film), who is instead being replaced with J.A. Bayona (A MONSTER CALLS, THE IMPOSSIBLE), a filmmaker who has made me cry twice with his work. Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ted Levine, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, BD Wong and Jeff Goldblum are in on the madness, which finds a crew returning to the island to attempt to save the dinosaurs, rather than let them get swallowed up in a volcano about to erupt (Guys, is this REALLY the best idea?). While JURASSIC WORLD felt underwhelming to me, I'm hoping Bayona can instill some of the magic and heart that's been missing since Spielberg first set on Isla Nublar back in '93. - Paul Shirey

Sicario 2: Soldado (June 29th)

I'm stunned this movie has gotten made. Don't get me wrong, SICARIO is one of my favorite movies of the last few years, and writer Taylor Sheridan can do no wrong, but a sequel to this always sounded like something that would never come to fruition, but here it is - from director Stefano Sollima - with Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin back to fight a drug war shot through horrifying shades of gray. I doubt it'll be as great as the original, but I'm damn psyched to see it. - Chris Bumbray

Ant-Man & The Wasp (July 6th)

One of the lesser-known Marvel heroes made a splash debut in 2015 and became a household name. Now, ANT-MAN is back, but this time he's teaming up with his counterpart, THE WASP in ANT-MAN AND THE WASP, the first officially-titled team-up movie from Marvel Studios. Paul Rudd returns as Scott Lang/Ant-Man and Evangeline Lilly is back as Hope van Dyne/The Wasp, as well as Michael Douglas as Hank Pym and new addition Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet van Dyne. Toss in Walton Goggins as the baddie, Randall Park as a SHIELD agent, Laurence Fishburne as Goliath and Michael Pena's scene-stealing Luis and you've got a winning cast in returning director Peyton Reed's follow-up to the MCU heist pic. Since this will be following on the heels of INFINITY WAR, it'll be interesting to see how they find that balance. Either way, it'll probably be a nice breather between the heaviness of those films. - Paul Shirey

Skyscraper (July 13th)

It's a big year for The Rock. Last year was a game-changer for him, with THE F8 OF THE FURIOUS another big hit, but his follow-up, BAYWATCH, tanked, only for his third film of the year, JUMANJI, to be one of his biggest domestic grossers ever. SKYSCRAPER is him going in full-on DIE HARD mode, with his BAYWATCH director, Rawson Marshall Thurber switching up his game big time by digging into hardcore action. It'll be interesting to see how this one does. - Chris Bumbray

Alita: Battle Angel (July 20th)

Having visited the set for this last year, I can tell you that...nothing. I can't tell you anything. Not yet, anyway. But, what I can say is that I'm extremely intrigued to see director Robert Rodriguez's take on James Cameron's long-gestating script for this Manga-inspired adventure that stars Rosa Salazar (in mo-cap) as the titular Alita, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Jackie Earle Haley, Ed Skrein, Lana Condor, Eiza González and Michelle Rodriguez. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where bionic enhancements are a way of life, Alita embarks on a journey to discover her true identity and destiny. Some were put off by the "big anime eyes" that Alita is rocking, but as it's meant to replicate the original Manga version, it's hard to say if that's a problem or not. Either way, it's cool that this is finally making it to the big screen and I'm hopeful that Rodriguez can deliver a fun, cool ride. - Paul Shirey

Mission Impossible 6 (July 27th)

Tom Cruise is the best! I should just leave it at that, right? I mean, who isn't gonna go see this one after ROGUE NATION. Christopher McQuarrie returns for what's primed to be a strong installment, with Cruise pushing himself so much in the deadly stunt game that after an injury he wound-up out of commission for six months. I'm especially interested in the fact that Michelle Monaghan is coming back in her MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE: III role as Ethan Hunt's estranged wife. - Chris Bumbray

The Predator (August 3rd)

Hey, another one I visited the set of! Aaaand, I can't say a thing just yet. However, there's one key thing involved in this project that makes it stand out above all others; Shane Black. Black is writing and directing this latest installment in THE PREDATOR franchise, which finds a group of unstable vets squaring off against the ultimate hunter. Toss in a cute, talented kid with Jacob Tremblay and a bang-up cast of crazy/cool cats including Thomas Jane, Keegan-Michael Key, Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, Jake Busey, Sterling K. Brown, Trevante Rhodes and Edward James Olmos and I'm thinking we've got something to work with here. Oh, and an unapologetic R-rating is sure to help things along. - Paul Shirey

The Equalizer 2 (August 10th)

I was a big fan of Antoine Fuqua's THE EQUALIZER, which was a reboot of the eighties TV show, with Denzel Washington as ex-spy Robert McCall, who works as a kind-of good-hearted vigilante, championing the oppressed. In this sequel, he goes up against "Narcos's" Pedro Pascal. Hopefully Fuqua keeps this unapologetically R-rated like the original. - Chris Bumbray

The Meg (August 10th)

I read Steve Alten's book, Meg, back when I was in college and instantly loved it, quickly devouring the rest in the series. Alten has been trying to get this off the ground for years, with numerous directors and studios playing hot potato with it. Now, THE MEG gets to swim at WB with Jason Statham taking the lead as Jonas Taylor, a disgraced former Naval Captain who is tasked with saving a group of people, including his wife, from a sunken submersible while a Carcharadon Megeladon is believed to be on the hunt. The book is a pure Hollywood read, so the material is all there to adapt. We'll see if John Turteltaub (NATIONAL TREASURE) is up to task and if folks are willing to go back in the water for yet another killer shark movie. - Paul Shirey

Alpha (September 14th)

OR - as my girlfriend calls this one, "First Dog". I've long been a giant fan of The Hughes Bros., who directed one of the best films of the nineties, DEAD PRESIDENTS, as well as THE BOOK OF ELI and FROM HELL - both solid - and the classic MENACE 2 SOCIETY. Sadly, they've split up, with Allen going on to direct the underrated BROKEN CITY, and Albert shooting this IMAX epic, ALPHA, about the Ice Age. Kodi Smit McPhee stars as a man separated from his tribe and forced to try and domesticate a wolf in order to survive. - Chris Bumbray

Robin Hood (September 21st)

Labeled as a "gritty take" on the famed ROBIN HOOD tale, this new version stars Taron Egerton (KINGSMAN) as the titular character with Jamie Foxx as Little John, Jamie Dornan as Will Scarlett, Eve Hewson as Maid Marion and Ben Mendelsohn as The Sheriff of Nottingham. Based on the stills, I'm getting a post-apocalyptic vibe from the film and it definitely has a distinctness to it that's not quite "just-another-remake". That said, last year's KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD had it's own take as well and that wasn't enough to pull the sword from the box office stone, so ROBIN HOOD will need to prove it's got way more to offer than just a "gritty take" to make it worthwhile. The cast is great, though, and a trailer is sure to tell us what it's selling and if it's worth buying. - Paul Shirey

Venom (October 5th)

Now here's an interesting one. With SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING such a huge hit, one would assume Sony's plan to spin the franchise-off would be back-burnered, as that was a leftover from the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN days. That's why it was a surprise when the studio announced Ruben Fleischer would be making a VENOM solo film, with a hard-hitting cast that includes Woody Harrelson, Jenny Slate, Michelle Williams and none other than Tom Hardy in the lead. It's a major undertaking for them, and the talent involved is staggering, even if Fleischer's GANGSTER SQUAD gives slight pause (although I think too many cooks in the editing room doomed that one). - Chris Bumbray

A Star is Born (October 5th)

Yet another remake of this classic tale about a talented singer who finds fame with the help of an aging actor on his way down due to alcoholism, this time with Lady Gaga as the singer and Bradley Cooper as the alcoholic actor. Cooper also serves as director, stepping in for Clint Eastwood after he stepped away from the project. Whether or not we need another retelling of this tale is irrelevant, as fans are sure to flock to this one with the star power of Gaga and Cooper at the forefront. - Paul Shirey

Mowgli (October 19th)

I've been looking forward to seeing Andy Serkis's dark take on THE JUNGLE BOOK ever since it was announced years ago, with it being delayed by the unexpected mega-success of the Disney live-action version. One can see why they wanted distance, and no matter how good it is, I can't help but think it'll be something of a flop, as it's just gonna confuse people. That said, Serkis is great, and I also really liked his directorial debut, BREATHE. - Chris Bumbray

The Girl In The Spider’s Web (October 19th)

After David Fincher's THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO failed to make the splash they had hoped, the potential for a sequel grew dim and Fincher eventually moved on, leaving any chance of seeing the continuing saga of Lisbeth Salander in the air. Enter Fede Alvarez (DON'T BREATHE), who is taking the reins on the franchise and jumping ahead to THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB, adding a new Salander (Claire Foy) and a new Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason), taking over for Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig, respectively. Alvarez is an outstanding choice to take on this material, having proven that he can deliver the thrills and visuals to go along with it. Coming on the heels of DON'T BREATHE, I'm very excited to see what he's got up his sleeve for a bigger franchise film and with Foy on fire from her turn in The Crown, this is sure to be one to watch. - Paul Shirey

Halloween (October 19th)

This is gonna be nuts. Who would have thought, a few years ago,, that we'd be getting an alternate reality HALLOWEEN sequel directed by the great David Gordon Green, with Danny McBride as the writer, and Jamie Lee Curtis back as the one and only Laurie Strode (with Nick Castle also back as Michael Myers). Word has it, John Carpenter may even do the score. Hell yeah. - Chris Bumbray

X-Men: Dark Phoenix (November 2nd)

Sometimes we all need a second chance and that's exactly what first-time director Simon Kinberg is getting with X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX. After co-writing X-MEN: THE LAST STAND, which half-attempted a retelling of the classic comics saga with diminishing effect, Kinberg is going all in with DARK PHOENIX, bringing back Sansa Stark herself, Sophie Turner, to play the titular role. Will it be the dark and powerful saga it was in the comics or is this going to be another half-baked X-Men film like APOCALYPSE? Kinberg has something to prove, for sure, but perhaps having Bryan Singer out of the mix will prove to improve his odds. Toss in Jessica Chastain as a villain and almost all the fan favorites from the past few films and you've got potential for a saving grace to the series...until Disney gets it. - Paul Shirey

Mary Queen of Scots (November 2nd)

Most of the 2018 prestige titles are undated, as they tend to either be acquisitions or first get festival play then dates depending on how they're received. Here's an early exception, with Focus Features already planning a big roll out for this historical biopic starring Saorise Ronan in the titular role, and Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth I. Should be prime TIFF fare. - Chris Bumbray

The Grinch (November 9th)

After a book, a cartoon and a live-action film, THE GRINCH is coming back, this time in CGI-animated form and voiced by the incomparable Benedict Cumberbatch. Do I need to go on? Little is known about HOW this story will be (re)told, but one can only hope it will be in a cool and creative way that honors Dr. Suess's original tale and not some abomination with bathroom humor, awful dance numbers and muddled down brain fireworks to distract from having any kind of heart or style. I'll give the benefit of the doubt, as I do love The Grinch and Cumberbatch. Ball's in your court Illumination. - Paul Shirey

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (November 16th)

David Yates's FANTASTIC BEASTS & WHERE TO FIND THEM wasn't quite Harry Potter-level, but it was a solid enough was to expand the franchise, with a likable cast led by Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston, with Jude Law now joining the fray as the young Dumbledore. However, Johnny Depp as Grindelwald gives me pause, as he's been on a bad roll lately, and the performance teased at the end of the first film seemed a little too familiar. - Chris Bumbray

Creed II (November 21st)

CREED came out swinging in 2015 with a tale that matched the spirit and heart of Stallone's ROCKY films, focusing on Apollo Creed's son, Adonis, as played by Michael B. Jordan. Now, a sequel is on the books with a psuedo-revenge story being cooked up as Adonis trains to fight the son of his father's killer; Ivan Drago. Dolph Lundgren is said to return, as well as Stallone (of course) and I just can't help but to hope for a really fun, cheesy ROCKY IV-esque romp with this one. Also, can we please bring back Paulie's robot? Why can't someone start a petition for THAT instead of trying to get Star Wars movies removed? - Paul Shirey

Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 (November 21st)

It's surprised it's taken us this long to get another WRECK-IT-RALPH, with the eighties-nineties nostalgia wave still in full force and the first making so much cash. It'll be nice to see John C. Reilly back in the title role, with Ralph going viral in this sequel. Should be fun. - Chris Bumbray

Mortal Engines (December 14th)

Based on the novel by Philip Reeve with a screenplay by Peter Jackson, MORTAL ENGINES follows a post-apocalyptic Earth where cities now survive by being mobilized and taking over smaller cities to replenish resources. The steampunk series went on to be a quartet of books with this being the first and has a healthy following around the world. Jackson's involvement is certainly a draw and the trailer looks intriguing enough, but will that be enough to draw in your average moviegoer? Surely a deeper look into the film will tell that tale, but thus far it's certainly a notable title moving in on the box office this year. - Paul Shirey

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (December 14th)

Phil Lord and Chris Miller may have been fired from SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY, but they still managed to keep their names on SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, a CGI-animated Spider-Man film from Sony that focuses on the Ultimate universe version of Spidey, Miles Morales (as voiced her by Shameik Moore). Although no official synopsis has been released, the film appears to tackle the origin of Morales, as well as the actual Spider-Verse, a place in the comics where multiple Spider-Men (and women) exist in alternate dimensions. Seeing as Peter Parker makes an appearance in the trailer we'll see where that goes as well, but overall it looks to be a fun, unique flick. It's unknown if it will tie into the MCU at all, but that shouldn't stop anyone from enjoying some webhead fun, right? - Paul Shirey

Aquaman (December 21st)

I'm curious as to how this one will do now that JUSTICE LEAGUE is seen as such a disappointment. One would assume it'll flop, but then again, WONDER WOMAN proved that even if fans aren't keen on the ensemble DC movies, the solo films can still be hits if they're made right. And with James Wan at the helm, this could make the Jason Momoa character really work. Or not. We'll see. - Chris Bumbray

Bumblebee (December 21st)

Ah, TRANSFORMERS. You started off promising and then got Bay-i-fied into absolute nonsense. Then, Paramount went and threatened us with not only more of these films, but spinoffs and a cinematic universe to boot. Yikes. Then, they said the first solo venture would be BUMBLEBEE and star Hailee Steinfeld and John Cena. Huh. Then, we find out it's to be directed by Travis Knight (KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS). Wait, hold up? For real? Okay, tell me more. The film takes place in 1987 and finds Bumblebee on the run and bonding with Steinfeld's character. Okay, an '80's set Transformers movie with Bumblebee back in his VW Bug form. So, MAYBE it's not such a bad idea. MAYBE it'll be fun. I'm not holding my breath here, but...we'll see. - Paul Shirey

Bohemian Rhapsody (December 25th)

Oh dear. Just when it finally looked like the long-awaited Queen biopic was finally gonna get made - right- Bryan Singer went up in flames, with Fox firing him at the eleventh hour. The movie's in purgatory now with EDDIE THE EAGLE's Dexter Fletcher working hard to salvage it, but one would assume he'll have to reshoot most of it to escape the Singer stain, as his reputation should be even worse off by next X-mas. Too bad, because it looks like Rami Malek is knocking it out of the park. Queen is one of my favorite bands, so I hope somehow Fletcher is able to rescue this one. - Chris Bumbray

Mary Poppins Returns (December 25th)

Disney must have high hopes for this MARY POPPINS sequel, with Emily Blunt in the title role and Lin Manuel Miranda supplying the tunes. After all, it's getting the time frame they usually devote to STAR WARS movies, with SOLO bowing Memorial Day instead. Clearly they think this will be a huge hit, plus an awards play. This is another case of let's wait and see. - Chris Bumbray

Dragged Across Concrete (TBD)

Around these JoBlo parts we loved us a little movie called BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99 a whole bunch last year. So much so that we put it on a bunch of those end-of-year lists for being super awesome and badass. Thanks to a great performance by Vince Vaughn and the absolute bone-crunching direction by S. Craig Zahler we were entranced. No, Zahler is reteaming with most of his CELL BLOCK cast and adding...Mel Gibson?? Holy shit, people. Vaughn and Gibson will play two cops that get suspended and must go into the criminal underground to "get their just due." I don't know what the hell that means, but last time someone got their just due in a Zahler film, a guy got his face peeled off, a guy got his jaw shattered and another one got his head literally kicked off, so yeah, you just tell me where to buy a ticket for this bad boy and I'll hand over the dough. I'm not missing this one for anything. - Paul Shirey

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