I’m going to be honest with you guys, this started out as a very ambitious, expansive look at the entire upcoming year in film & TV. Upon realizing the amount of hard work that would require it quickly devolved into ten shows/movies/weird Soderbergh hybrid projects that I like the look of and are due for release over the next 3 months.
With so much content available now, the choices we make about what we watch matter more than ever. What films are worth the trip to the cinema? Which series should I get hopelessly invested in next? Should I drink far too much and rewatch F.R.I.E.N.D.S. for the 37th time because I have no self-respect and just want somebody to love me? Choices are very important, you see.
So I thought I’d throw out a few recommendations for early 2018…
The Chi (Season 1) | Jan 7 (Showtime)
Mere months after winning her first Emmy for Master Of None, Lena Waithe’s now show-running her own series. An ensemble drama set in the South Side of Chicago, The Chi seeks to tell the stories of a group of people too often stereotyped with broad strokes.
It sounds like she’s created something very special here, with the help of a talented cast headlined by Jason Mitchell & Moonlight’s very own ‘Little’, Alex Hibbert – as well as Rick Famuyiwa, who directed the pilot (available on YouTube in the US now)
Mosaic (Season 1) | Jan 22 (HBO)
Steven Soderbergh’s commitment to doing whatever the hell he wants is nothing short of inspiring. The one-time “retiree”, full-time liar continues to find new ways to tell stories, playing with and expanding the mediums of both film and television.
His latest venture is an HBO mini-series, developed in conjunction with an interactive app (which actually released in November, if you’re keen). The show contains the same storyline as the mobile game, minus the audience’s ability to ‘research the case’, and is the first of three such projects this man has up his sleeve because he actually never stops working holy shit.
A Fantastic Woman | Feb 2 (US) / March 2 (UK)
I’ve tried to steer clear of including any 2017 Oscar Contenders here (mainly because I couldn’t shut up about them the last time I wrote for GoC), but the foreign language field could always use some more love. A Fantastic Woman tells the story of Marina, a Chilean waitress whose life is thrown into turmoil when she loses her support system.
It’s one of the most well-reviewed films of 2017, with Daniela Vega’s performance drawing significant praise. There’s even some speculation she could sneak into Best Actress contention – making her the first transgender performer to get nominated in Academy history.
Black Panther | Feb 16 (US) / Feb 12 (UK)
Boasting eye-popping futuristic sci-fi imagery, a reverence for traditional African culture and a plot built around a Shakespearean power struggle, Black Panther feels like a dynamic, wholly unique entry into the MCU. The fact it was brought to life by Creed director Ryan Coogler and one of the most impressive ensemble casts ever assembled only makes it more enticing.
With barely a month to go the hype around this has reached a fever pitch. It’s rare to see a film come along that means so much to so many, but after years of sidelining heroes of colour, Marvel has bounced back in a big way. We’re witnessing history here.
Seven Seconds (Season 1) | Feb 23 (Netflix)
Netflix’s quest for global (TV) domination continues with their next potential breakout hit – a crime anthology series that “explores the human stories behind the headlines“. The 15-second trailer they released was very revealing, in that it revealed absolutely nothing – and I was instead forced to pilfer a quote off Wikipedia & act like I know what I’m talking about.
But there’s lots to love here, even without the finer details. The Killing‘s Veena Sud is at the helm of this dark mystery that looks to explore media sensationalism, racial tensions and good ol’ fashioned murder, with Regina King headlining a cast of underrated talents.
Annihilation | Feb 23 (US) / ??? (UK)
So. Word on the street is this film’s production was a complete mess. That came as a blow for the many eagerly anticipating Alex Garland’s follow-up to the brilliant Ex Machina – featuring a fantastic cast led by Natalie Portman & Tessa Thompson. But Paramount’s decision to dump its international release straight-to-Netflix raises more than a few red flags.
I almost didn’t include this, but then I remembered the man who directed Oscar Isaac & Sonoya Mizuno tearing up the fucking dance floor couldn’t possibly make anything bad. Probably.
Atlanta Robbin’ Season (Season 2) | March 1 (FX)
Wondering why this is a list of 11, as opposed to a nice, round, even 10? FX had the audacity to announce the date of the long-awaited return of one of television’s best shows after I’d finished writing this article. Personally, I blame Donald Glover. We get it. You’re unpredictable, and cool, and talented, and hilarious and I want to be your best friend.
In an effort to distinguish itself from that truly incredible freshman run, Robbin Season will switch up the show’s structure, looking to tell a more cohesive arc in smaller parts. The change represents what Atlanta‘s always been about: playing around and experimenting with the way we tell stories – blurring the line between cinema & TV.
Jessica Jones (Season 2) | March 8 (Netflix)
The bitch is back. She’d probably kick my ass just for saying that. And I’d like i– Nvm. Season 1 of Jessica Jones sits alongside Daredevil‘s two chapters as some of Marvel and Netflix’s finest work. It’s been downhill ever since – though I can’t speak for The Punisher, Iron Fist & The Defenders were enough to make me give up on these street-level heroes for a while.
An endearingly grouchy Krysten Ritter is set to reunite with showrunner Melissa Rosenberg and her lovable supporting crew. If the show’s sophomore season can go to similarly dark – and important – places as its predecessor without losing its beating heart, then job done. Bonus points for retaining that ultra cool hard-boiled/neo-noir tone and aesthetic.
Sweet Country | TBC (US) / March 16 (UK)
A very small film that made a fairly large amount of noise on the festival circuit last year. Sweet Country has been described as a dark drama set in the Australian outback that harkens back to classic studio westerns in style, and is prone to moments of unsettling violence.
The film’s secured an early 2018 release in multiple territories, while a US distributor is in place (but no official date has been set). It won’t receive the same exposure as other films on this list, but it seems to be one worth seeking out (either theatrically or on VOD).
A Wrinkle In Time | March 9 (US) / March 23 (UK)
“Imagine Alice In Wonderland, but good,” is how I’ve been describing this to my friends, hoping – praying – they don’t realize I haven’t actually read the book and just made that link based on visuals alone. It does look gorgeous; A wonderful explosion of colour, light, whimsy & magic.
This film made Ava DuVernay the first woman of colour to helm a $100M+ live-action film, and while I know she won’t be the last, I’d hate for her effort to be tainted by a bad run at the box office. This is the kind of exciting, inventive big budget cinema we ought to be supporting. If you’re interested, don’t wait to stream it. See it on the big screen it was made for.
Side-note: if you aren’t convinced about this movie’s importance, allow me to refer you to Mikey’s excellent write-up from last month.
Isle Of Dogs | March 23 (US) / March 30 (UK)
Few things in life bring me greater joy than watching the characters in one of Wes Anderson’s perfectly framed, beautifully coloured & delicately composed films whiz around the screen in a semi-hyperactive, semi-somber way. It’s my kink.
The American auteur has been on a fantastic run of form lately, producing my two favourites of his work back-to-back in Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Returning to the stop-motion format he excelled in with Fantastic Mr Fox with a staggering voice cast in tow, Wes could be about to release one of the best films of 2018.
Also worth noting (US dates): Freeform’s Black-ish spin-off Grown-ish (Jan 3); action vehicle Proud Mary (Jan 12) – for Taraji P. Henson kicking ass, and Taraji P. Henson alone; The CW’s Black Lightning (Jan 16); Studio Ghibli-vet Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s next anime feature Mary & The Witch’s Flower (Jan 18); the Rachel McAdams/Jason Bateman-led comedy Game Night (Feb 23) – which looks surprisingly funny; Anton Yelchin’s final performance in the very intriguing Thoroughbreds (March 9); Greg Berlanti’s coming-of-age/out dramedy Love, Simon (March 16) and Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One (March 30).
And that’s it! You are not allowed to be excited about anything else. But just in case you are and you want to tell me what, leave a comment below – or find me on Twitter, @mintsanity!