s
s
Sections
Sections
Subscribe
You've read 3 of 10 free articles this month.
Get unlimited access to Petaluma360.com, the Argus-Courier e-edition and our mobile app starting at just 99 cents per month!
Already a subscriber?
You've read 6 of 10 free articles this month.
Get unlimited access to Petaluma360.com, the Argus-Courier e-edition and our mobile app starting at just 99 cents per month!
Already a subscriber?
We hope you've enjoyed reading your 10 free articles this month.
Continue reading with unlimited access to Petaluma360.com, the Argus-Courier e-edition and our mobile app starting at just 99 cents per month!
Already a subscriber?
We've got a special deal for readers like you!
Get unlimited access to Petaluma360.com, the Argus-Courier e-edition and our mobile app starting at just 99 cents per month, and support community journalism!
Already a subscriber?
Thanks for your interest in award-winning community journalism! To get more of it, why not subscribe?
Get unlimited access to Petaluma360.com, the Argus-Courier e-edition and our mobile app starting at just 99 cents per month, and support community journalism!
Already a subscriber?
Want to keep reading? Take the next step by subscribing today!
Starting at just 99 cents per month, you can keep reading Petaluma360.com, the Argus-Courier e-edition and our mobile app, and support local journalism!
Already a subscriber?

STEPPING OUT: Big screen anticipation

X

The "Follow This Story" feature will notify you when any articles related to this story are posted.

When you follow a story, the next time a related article is published — it could be days, weeks or months — you'll receive an email informing you of the update.

If you no longer want to follow a story, click the "Unfollow" link on that story. There's also an "Unfollow" link in every email notification we send you.

This tool is available only to subscribers; please make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

X

Please note: This feature is available only to subscribers; make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

Release month Title Cinematic Universe

Feb.   “God Particle”  Cloverfield 

March  “Pacific Rim: Uprising” Pacific Rim

April  New Mutants”  X-Men 

May  “Avengers: Infinity War” * Marvel

  June “Jurassic World”   Jurassic Park

July  “Ant Man and the Wasp” Marvel

If you liked the movies you saw this year, you are going to love 2018.

That’s because almost all of the films from the major studios are prequels, sequels, or remakes of popular franchises. The suits at Marvel (owned by Disney, of course) have picked mid-February to reveal the lessons they learned from their DC competitor’s $821.9 million box office smash “Wonder Woman.” They figure that if a woman-directed female superhero “origins movie” made so much money, shouldn’t an African-American-directed film about a superhero named “Black Panther”* have the same results?

I hope so.

And I’m looking forward to it.

(See note below about asterisks)

I’m especially anticipating “Black Panther” since “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed” director Ryan Coogler is on board with a cast that includes Chadwick Boseman — as Wakanda’s new ruler, T’Challa — Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker and Andy Serkis.

And so a year of remakes and reboots begins.

The “oldest” remake of the year is mid-May’s “A Star Is Born.”

Bradley Cooper sits in the director’s chair for his first time, and the unknown actress Steffani Germanotta has been cast in the talented ingénue role previously played by Janet Gaynor (in 1937), Judy Garland (1954), and Barbra Streisand (1976).

(FYI: You may know Germanotta by her stage name — Lady Gaga.)

Characters with familiar names, but played by different actors, will be everywhere in 2018.

Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander adroitly propels Lara Croft into the 21st Century in mid-March’s “Tomb Raider.”

In the Star Wars prequel “Solo,” the young Han is played by Alden Ehrenreich, Chewbacca by Joonas Suotamo and Lando Calrissian by Donald Glover.

With four changes of directors so far, expectations are muted on this one, and the release date keeps changing.

In the June release “Ocean’s Eight,” the famous gang of robbers are now females led by Danny Ocean’s estranged sister (Sandra Bullock). The other “molls” include Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina and Dakota Fanning.

Continuing in the theme of new actors in older roles, it seems that pretty much everyone wants to play Sherlock Holmes these days.

In March, Johnny Depp gets his chance. In “Sherlock Hnomes,” Depps contributes the voice of a famous garden gnome detective helping his buddies Gnomeo (voiced by James McAvoy) and Juliet (voiced by Emily Blunt) to track down the whereabouts of kidnapped London garden ornaments.

In November, Will Farrell plays the same famous detective as a simpleton, while John C. Reilly is a very clever and very smart Dr. Watson in (what else?) “Holmes and Watson.”

It appears that popular dystopian novels continue to inspire filmmakers this year.

Ava DuVerney (“Selma”) directs March’s movie version of Madeline L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle In Time.” The classic set-up involves three children searching for their missing scientist father (Chris Pine) by utilizing wormholes for inter-dimensional time traveling. Along the way, they have close encounters with strange beings played by Reese Witherspoon, Zach Galifianakis and Oprah Winfrey.

Steven Spielberg is a perfect match for Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One,” a fan favorite crammed with ’80s nostalgia. Arriving at the end of March, Tye Sheridan plays a boy living in a garbage heap, who competes for the golden key allowing him to visit a dead inventor’s carefully-constructed virtual reality kingdom.

Release month Title Cinematic Universe

Feb.   “God Particle”  Cloverfield 

March  “Pacific Rim: Uprising” Pacific Rim

April  New Mutants”  X-Men 

May  “Avengers: Infinity War” * Marvel

  June “Jurassic World”   Jurassic Park

July  “Ant Man and the Wasp” Marvel

Jeff Vandermeer’s novel “Annihilation”* comes to a theater near you in February.

Directed by Alex Garland (“Ex Machina”), the film stars Natalie Portman as a biologist who takes an expedition to an “environmental disaster zone” in search of her missing husband (Oscar Isaac). Her team includes Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, and Tessa Thompson.

To bring Jason Matthews’ novel “Red Sparrow”* to the screen, director Francis Lawrence selected his “Hunger Games” star Jennifer Lawrence to play a Cold War ballerina, who was kidnapped as a child and forced to attend Russia’s Sparrow School, where she has learned to use her sexuality as a deadly weapon. Set to appear in March, the studio’s ploy to lure aged-up “Hunger Games” fans to an R-rated film will probably be very successful.

James Cameron has been working on his adaption of Yukito Kishiro’s Manga series “Battle Angel Alita”* since the dawn of the new millennium, and the current plan is for a July release. Directed by Robert Rodriguez, the film stars Rosa Salazar as the humanoid robot Alita, and Cameron’s CG artists have given her huge, Anime-style eyes which - based on feedback about the previews posted online - are wildly distracting to fans of the original source material.

Great animated films will also abound.

In January, Nick Park’s stop-motion movie “Early Man”* tells a tale from long, long, ago, as a caveman (voiced by Eddie Redmayne) pals around with wooly mammoths while trying to get his tribe to resist the encroachment by a Bronze Age modernist named Lord Nooth (voiced by Tom Hiddleston).

In March, Wes Anderson directs his stop-motion film “Isle of Dogs”* set in a future Japan where all dogs are banned. Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Greta Gerwig and Jeff Goldblum add their voices.

The summer will start with the return of America’s favorite superhero family in “The Incredibles 2,”* from Pixar. Director Brad Bird has reunited the original voice cast including Holly Hunter and Craig T. Nelson, while the new supervillain is voiced by the omnipresent John Ratzenberger.

In August, the late Jim Henson’s son Brian directs “The Happytime Murders,” a comic, film-noir murder mystery set in a parallel universe, where humans and wooden puppets populate the planet. When the cast members of a hit TV show are murdered, a pair of detectives - one a human (Melissa McCarthy), the other a puppet (puppeteer Bill Baretta), are challenged by working together as a team.

Finally, one of the last releases of 2018 will be December’s 54-years-in-the-making sequel to Disney’s 1964 Oscar-winning musical-fantasy, entitled either “Mary Poppins Returns” or “Mary Poppins 2.” The Banks children are grown, with children of their own, who need a proper nanny after a family tragedy. Directed by Rob Marshall, the sequel stars Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins, Lin-Manuel Miranda as Mary’s street-lamp-lighter friend, Jack, Ben Whishaw as the grown-up Michael Banks, and Emily Mortimer as his sister, Jane Banks. Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, and Meryl Streep all have cameos.

(FYI, in the above run-down, I have marked the films I really want to see with an asterisk.)

(Contact Gil at gilmansergh@comcast.net)