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December 30 2017

The Movies of 2018 – 1st Quarter

Welcome to the first of four parts of an analysis of every major film release of 2018.

Following up on last year’s project, I’m back with a look at the films of 2018. And as usual, I will be breaking it down by quarters and then an overall review. I prefer the new method of doing these quarterly, so here is how this year will break down:

There are some clear, “What in the world were they thinking?” projects coming out this year, and there are some that I think will surprise all of us.

Hopefully you enjoy this as it is a huge undertaking each year, but one I enjoy doing.

Please note that titles and release dates can change at any time, none of these are written in stone.

January

Insidious: The Last Key

Release Date: January 5, 2018

The creative minds behind the hit Insidious trilogy return for Insidious: The Last Key. In the supernatural thriller, which welcomes back franchise standout Lin Shaye as Dr. Elise Rainier, the brilliant parapsychologist faces her most fearsome and personal haunting yet: in her own family home.

Analysis: A Blumhouse horror film. It will print money. Not gigantic, but it will.

The Commuter

Release Date: January 12, 2018

In this action-packed thriller, Liam Neeson plays an insurance salesman, Michael, on his daily commute home, which quickly becomes anything but routine. After being contacted by a mysterious stranger, Michael is forced to uncover the identity of a hidden passenger on his train before the last stop. As he works against the clock to solve the puzzle, he realizes a deadly plan is unfolding and is unwittingly caught up in a criminal conspiracy. One that carries life and death stakes, for himself and his fellow passengers.

Analysis: Liam Neeson isn’t a huge box office draw anymore, don’t expect much from this.

Condorito: La Pelicula

Release Date: January 12, 2018

No clue

Analysis: An animated film in Spanish getting a wide release in the U.S. Well… more power to them. No clue how this will work.

Paddington 2

Release Date: January 12, 2018

The much-anticipated sequel to the worldwide hit family film finds Paddington happily settled with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens, where he has become a popular member of the community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes. While searching for the perfect present for his beloved Aunt Lucy’s hundredth birthday, Paddington spots a unique pop-up book in Mr. Gruber’s antique shop, and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it. But when the book is stolen, it’s up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the thief…

Analysis: It’s already out internationally and is doing well, so expect the same.

Proud Mary

Release Date: January 12, 2018

Working for the man every night and day.

Analysis: Well… no clue what it’s about. Guns! WOO!

12 Strong

Release Date: January 19, 2018

On September 11, 2001, the world watched in terror. On September 12, 2001, they volunteered to fight.

Analysis: Looks fine. Not my taste, but should do fine.

Den of Thieves

Release Date: January 19, 2018

DEN OF THIEVES is a gritty Los Angeles crime saga which follows the intersecting and often personally connected lives of an elite unit of the LA County Sheriff’s Dept. and the state’s most successful bank robbery crew as the outlaws plan a seemingly impossible heist on the Federal Reserve Bank of downtown Los Angeles.

Analysis: GERARD BUTLER ALERT! GERARD BUTLER ALERT! It won’t do well.

Forever My Girl

Release Date: January 19, 2018

A music superstar reunites with his first love and realizes the steep price he has paid for his success in Forever My Girl, an uplifting and emotional romance based on the novel by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heidi McLaughlin. Liam Page (Alex Roe) and his high-school sweetheart Josie Preston (Jessica Rothe) were the golden couple of Saint Augustine, Louisiana, until Liam left her at the altar for a shot at fame and fortune. Eight years later, Liam returns to his tiny hometown for the first time as a world-famous recording artist, but not even his own father is thrilled to see him. As he tries to rebuild the bridges he burned years earlier, Liam reconnects with his small-town roots, his close-knit community and Josie, the girl he left behind. As he attempts to reclaim everything he loved and lost, Josie does her best to keep him out of her heart, but life has one more surprise waiting for Liam, one that could change everything, in this heartwarming look at love, family and second chances.

Analysis: Well this looks absolutely horrible.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure

Release Date: January 26, 2018

Thomas leads some escaped Gladers on their final and most dangerous mission yet. To save their friends, they must break into the legendary Last City, a WCKD-controlled labyrinth that may turn out to be the deadliest maze of all. Anyone who makes it out alive will get answers to the questions that the Gladers have been asking since they arrived in the maze.

Analysis: The series hasn’t done well, and the extreme delay due to injuries that I feel like this is pretty much doomed.

February

2017 Cloverfield Movie

Release Date: February 2, 2018

No clue

Analysis: Due to secrecy, not a freakin’ clue.

Winchester: The House that Ghosts Built

Release Date: February 2, 2018

After the sudden death of her family, firearms heiress Sarah Winchester becomes convinced that she’s haunted by the souls of those killed by guns. Winchester then decides to build an enormous mansion that’s designed to keep the evil spirits at bay. When skeptical psychiatrist Eric Price visits the estate to evaluate her state of mind, he soon discovers that her obsession may not be so far-fetched after all.

Analysis: I have no idea how this will do, but it’s a story that has always fascinated me.

The 15:17 to Paris

Release Date: February 9, 2018

From Clint Eastwood comes “The 15:17 to Paris,” which tells the real-life story of three men whose brave act turned them into heroes during a high-speed railway ride. In the early evening of August 21, 2015, the world watched in stunned silence as the media reported a thwarted terrorist attack on Thalys train #9364 bound for Paris—an attempt prevented by three courageous young Americans traveling through Europe. The film follows the course of the friends’ lives, from the struggles of childhood through finding their footing in life, to the series of unlikely events leading up to the attack. Throughout the harrowing ordeal, their friendship never wavers, making it their greatest weapon and allowing them to save the lives of the more than 500 passengers on board. The heroic trio is comprised of Anthony Sadler, Oregon National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, and U.S. Air Force Airman First Class Spencer Stone, who play themselves in the film.

Analysis: The fact Eastwood decided to use the actual guys is super interesting. Who knows how it will play as a film, but it’s a bold move and one I support.

Fifty Shades Freed

Release Date: February 9, 2018

Believing they have left behind shadowy figures from their past, newlyweds Christian and Ana fully embrace an inextricable connection and shared life of luxury. But just as she steps into her role as Mrs. Grey and he relaxes into an unfamiliar stability, new threats could jeopardize their happy ending before it even begins.

Analysis: I feel like we’re all being freed with this series coming to an end. HUZZAH!

La Boda de Valentina

Release Date: February 9, 2018

I guess it’s a romantic comedy

Analysis: I have absolutely no clue how this will perform.

Peter Rabbit

Release Date: February 9, 2018

Peter Rabbit, the mischievous and adventurous hero who has captivated generations of readers, now takes on the starring role of his own irreverent, contemporary comedy with attitude. In the film, Peter’s feud with Mr. McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) escalates to greater heights than ever before as they rival for the affections of the warm-hearted animal lover who lives next door (Rose Byrne). James Corden voices the character of Peter with playful spirit and wild charm, with Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Daisy Ridley performing the voice roles of the triplets, Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail.

Analysis: Have to admit, I chuckled a couple times. Do I want to see a full movie of this? Not really.

Black Panther

Release Date: February 16, 2018

Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) springs into action when an old enemy threatens the fate of his nation and the world.

Analysis: … do I really even need to comment? It’s Marvel.

Early Man

Release Date: February 16, 2018

A plucky cave man named Dug and his sidekick Hognob must unite their tribe against a mighty enemy — the Bronze Age.

Analysis: Looks cute. Nothing I would race to the theater to see.

Samson

Release Date: February 16, 2018

When his youthful ambition leads to a tragic marriage, the all-powerful Samson embarks on a quest for vengeance that brings him into direct conflict with the Philistine army. As his brother mounts a tribal rebellion, Samson’s relationship with a Philistine temptress and his final surrender to God will help turn imprisonment into a final victory.

Analysis: It’s made by Pure Flix, so it was made for $12 and will make millions.

Annihilation

Release Date: February 23, 2018

Based on Jeff VanderMeer’s best-selling Southern Reach Trilogy, Annihilation stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny and Oscar Isaac. It was written and directed by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, 28 Days Later).

Analysis: It just doesn’t look that interesting to me. I might be wrong, I don’t know, but it just doesn’t invoke anything in me.

Game Night

Release Date: February 23, 2018

Max and Annie’s weekly game night gets kicked up a notch when Max’s brother Brooks arranges a murder mystery party — complete with fake thugs and federal agents. So when Brooks gets kidnapped, it’s all supposed to be part of the game. As the competitors set out to solve the case, they start to learn that neither the game nor Brooks are what they seem to be. The friends soon find themselves in over their heads as each twist leads to another unexpected turn over the course of one chaotic night.

Analysis: Looks mildly amusing. The squeaky toy did get me.

The War with Grandpa

Release Date: February 23, 2018

Forced to give up his room to his grandfather (Robert De Niro), a scheming boy devises a series of outrageous pranks in an attempt to make him move out.

Analysis: No trailer yet and a supposedly rough production. Not sure what will happen here.

March

Alpha

Release Date: March 2, 2018

While on his first hunt with his tribe’s most elite group, a young man is injured and left for dead. Awakening to find himself broken and alone – he must learn to survive and navigate the harsh and unforgiving wilderness. Reluctantly taming a lone wolf abandoned by its pack,he learns to rely on it, and they become unlikely allies, enduring countless dangers and overwhelming odds to find their way home before the deadly winter arrives.

Analysis: Eh, I’ll pass.

Death Wish

Release Date: March 2, 2018

Dr. Paul Kersey is an experienced trauma surgeon, a man who has spent his life saving the lives of people on the verge of death. But when his wife is killed and his daughter rendered comatose after a brutal home invasion, Kersey uses his unique skills to become the vigilante killer nicknamed “The Grim Reaper.”

Analysis: Delayed out of last year, those types of delays are never good.

Red Sparrow

Release Date: March 2, 2018

Prima ballerina Dominika Egorova faces a bleak and uncertain future after she suffers an injury that ends her career. She soon turns to Sparrow School, a secret intelligence service that trains exceptional young people to use their minds and bodies as weapons. Egorova emerges as the most dangerous Sparrow after completing the sadistic training process. As she comes to terms with her new abilities, Dominika meets a CIA agent who tries to convince her that he is the only person she can trust.

Analysis: While it’s great women are getting more starring roles, why does it seem to be such an onslaught of spy thrillers?

Gringo

Release Date: March 9, 2018

An exhilarating mix of dark comedy, white-knuckle action and dramatic intrigue, Gringo joyrides into Mexico, where mild-mannered businessman Harold Soyinka (David Oyelowo) finds himself at the mercy of his back-stabbing business colleagues back home, local drug lords and a morally conflicted black-ops mercenary. Crossing the line from law-abiding citizen to wanted criminal, Harold battles to survive his increasingly dangerous situation in ways that raise the question: Is he out of his depth – or two steps ahead?

Analysis: Not my cup of tea, but may do well.

The Hurricane Heist

Release Date: March 9, 2018

The rural town of New Hope, Ala., has a pair of super-sized problems heading its way: There’s a hurricane bearing down on the Gulf coastline, and there’s a team of 30 well-armed mercenaries intent on looting the local treasury facility.

Analysis: No trailer yet, so hard to judge.

Strangers: Prey at Night

Release Date: March 9, 2018

A road trip to visit relatives takes a dangerous turn when a family arrives at a secluded mobile home park that’s mysteriously deserted — until three masked psychopaths show up.

Analysis: Low-budget horror… listen to the machines printing money.

The Upside

Release Date: March 9, 2018

A friendship develops between a wealthy quadriplegic man and the ex-con who becomes his caregiver.

Analysis: No trailer yet, but Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart should be an interesting dynamic.

A Wrinkle in Time

Release Date: March 9, 2018

From visionary director Ava DuVernay comes Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” an epic adventure based on Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless classic which takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light and, ultimately, the triumph of love. Through one girl’s transformative journey led by three celestial guides, we discover that strength comes from embracing one’s individuality and that the best way to triumph over fear is to travel by one’s own light.

Analysis: This movie should be right up my alley, but I’m just not feeling it.

Love, Simon

Release Date: March 16, 2018

Everyone deserves a great love story, but for 17-year-old Simon Spier, it’s a little more complicated. He hasn’t told his family or friends that he’s gay, and he doesn’t know the identity of the anonymous classmate that he’s fallen for online. Resolving both issues proves hilarious, terrifying and life-changing.

Analysis: Nice twist on the usual coming of age story we got hit with so much int he 80s.

Tomb Raider

Release Date: March 16, 2018

Lara Croft is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished years earlier. Hoping to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance, Croft embarks on a perilous journey to his last-known destination — a fabled tomb on a mythical island that might be somewhere off the coast of Japan. The stakes couldn’t be higher as Lara must rely on her sharp mind, blind faith and stubborn spirit to venture into the unknown.

Analysis: The new games have been amazing and it looks like the new movie is borrowing heavily from them. Should be entertaining.

Untitled A24 Horror Movie I

Release Date: March 16, 2018

Nothing known

Analysis: oooo Scary! Money!

Midnight Sun

Release Date: March 23, 2018

MIDNIGHT SUN is a romantic tearjerker about 17-year-old Katie Price (Bella Thorne), sheltered at home since childhood with a rare genetic condition, a life-threatening sensitivity to sunlight. Having only her father Jack (Rob Riggle) for company, Katie’s world opens up after dark when she ventures outside to play her guitar. One night, her dreams come true when she’s noticed and asked out by her longtime crush Charlie (Patrick Schwarzenegger), whom she’s secretly watched from her bedroom window for years. As they embark on nightly summer excursions, Katie’s risk to sunlight grows and she’s presented with the gut-wrenching dilemma of whether she can live a normal life with her newfound soul mate.

Analysis: These have an audience… it isn’t me.

Pacific Rim Uprising

Release Date: March 23, 2018

Rebellious pilot Jake Pentecost and his estranged sister must lead a brave new generation of fighters against otherworldly monsters that want to destroy humanity.

Analysis: It just feels too much like a video game to me. I enjoyed the first one, and this one just isn’t appealing to me.

Sherlock Gnomes

Release Date: March 23, 2018

After a string of garden gnome disappearances in London, Gnomeo & Juliet look to legendary detective Sherlock Gnomes to solve the case of their missing friends and family.

Analysis: … no. Just, no.

Unsane

Release Date: March 23, 2018

A young woman is involuntarily committed to a mental institution where she faces her greatest fear — not knowing if it is real or part of her delusion.

Analysis: No trailer yet, so not sure.

Paul, Apostle of Christ

Release Date: March 28, 2018

Paul continues to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ while awaiting execution in Rome.

Analysis: Religious films are like horror films, they always make money.

Acrimony

Release Date: March 30, 2018

A woman becomes enraged after learning the truth about her philandering husband.

Analysis: Two from Taraji P. Henson in the first quarter. She’s busy.

God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness

Release Date: March 30, 2018

A pastor faces an unexpected setback when his church burns down and the local officials reject his plans to rebuild it. With nowhere else to turn, he seeks legal help from his estranged brother — an attorney and atheist.

Analysis: I think this is the third in the series so far. They always make money.

Ready Player One

Release Date: March 30, 2018

The film is set in 2045, with the world on the brink of chaos and collapse. But the people have found salvation in the OASIS, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance). When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world. When an unlikely young hero named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) decides to join the contest, he is hurled into a breakneck, reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical universe of mystery, discovery and danger.

Analysis: There was a time this film would have had me obsessed… and nope, not interested. It just looks like an excuse for pop culture jokes.



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