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A bountiful bouquet of movies in 2018...

...Or is it? What to expect in the coming year on the big screen

2017 came and went in a jiffy and before you know it, 2018 is upon us. We will not begin the usual ‘where did the year go’ lament, or celebrate the films of the year past, because that’s so 2017. Instead, let us look forward to the riches on offer in the year to come. Given the cheery seasonal mood, let us confine ourselves to mainstream cinema and reserve the auteur driven mood pieces for another day.

Blade Runner 2049, Murder on the Orient Express and Dunkirk were my most-looked-forward-to mainstream films of 2017, and at least two of the three did not disappoint. Looking at the release list for 2018, I am straightaway removing the Marvels, the Justice Leagues, the Star Wars and the other franchises as reams will be written about them anyway. Having said that, looking at the list again, it is bursting with said franchise films, but we shall persevere and avoid.

For my most anticipated film of 2018, I will cheat and choose two. Ava DuVernay’s sci-fi fantasy, A Wrinkle in Time, based on Madeleine L’Engle’s novel; and Clint Eastwood’s thriller, The 15:17 to Paris, based on the book by Jeffrey E Stern, Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler and Alek Skarlatos.

I’m going to cheat again and include two franchise films, Pacific Rim Uprising, simply because the first Pacific Rim was such an underrated Kaiju movie, and Tomb Raider, because Alicia Vikander.

I look forward to anything from the stable of Alex Garland and hence fantasy thriller, Annihilation, is high on my must-watch list. It helps that the eye candy cast includes Natalie Portman and Oscar Isaac.

I can take or leave Wes Anderson’s twee sensibility depending on what day of the week it is, what beverage I’m consuming or which side of the bed I got out of on the day of the screening. Other things being equal, his Isle of Dogs will either enrapture or infuriate me. Let’s see.

Robert Rodriguez’s Alita: Battle Angel is adapted from a manga by James Cameron, so they can take my money already, with the plea that they don’t go all Valerian on us. Soldado is the sequel to Sicario, so the cheques practically write themselves.

It is going to be difficult to top Jon Favreau’s enormously satisfying 2016 The Jungle Book, but Andy Serkis’ Mowgli promises to be a darker take on the much-loved tale. Comic versions of the seer of Baker Street have not always been successful and it is therefore with much trepidation I will approach Etan Cohen’s Holmes and Watson, starring Will Ferrell and John C Reilly. 12 Strong is yet another take on the Afghan war and looks promising thus far.

Sadly, most of the big ticket releases of the year are franchise, franchise and more franchise. As long as fangirls and fanboys exist and continue handing over hard cash to watch the same old same old with not even a new wine bottle in most cases, the withering on the vine of the once plump Hollywood grape will continue. Meanwhile, hello again, Netflix and Amazon Prime.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 1:19:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/a-bountiful-bouquet-of-movies-in-2018/article22326140.ece

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