Doug's Cool Movies Picks of 2018

These are some of the science fiction and fantasy movies I'm looking forward to in 2018.

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January 2018
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January 18 (Thursday)  
Mary and The Witch's Flower

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This Japanese anime is directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and produced by Studio Ponoc. Yonebayashi formerly worked at Studio Ghibli where he contributed to titles such as Princess Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle, and Spirited Away.

The art style of this movie looks very similar to Studio Ghibli productions. The movie is based on a novel titled "The Little Broomstick" written by UK author Mary Stewart. I'm looking forward to checking this one out.

"Mary is an ordinary young girl stuck in the country with her Great-Aunt Charlotte and seemingly no adventures or friends in sight. She follows a mysterious cat into the nearby forest, where she discovers an old broomstick and the strange Fly-by-Night flower, a rare plant that blossoms only once every seven years and only in that forest. Together the flower and the broomstick whisk Mary above the clouds, and far away to Endor College – a school of magic run by headmistress Madam Mumblechook and the brilliant Doctor Dee. But there are terrible things happening at the school, and when Mary tells a lie, she must risk her life to try to set things right."

February 2018
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February 16 (Friday)  
Black Panther

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This is the next film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) featuring Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther. We first saw him in Captain America: Civil War and then Avengers: Age of Ultron. He will also be seen in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War movie in May. 

"After the events of Captain America: Civil War, King T'Challa returns home to the reclusive, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as his country's new leader. However, T'Challa soon finds that he is challenged for the throne from factions within his own country. When two foes conspire to destroy Wakanda, the hero known as Black Panther must team up with C.I.A. agent Everett K. Ross and members of the Dora Milaje, Wakandan special forces, to prevent Wakanda from being dragged into a world war."

March 2018
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March 9 (Friday)  
A Wrinkle in Time

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I don't know much about this movie yet other than the colorful and CGI filled trailer that has been released. My first memory of this story is my 6th grade teacher reading the book to us in class. I don't recall much of the story now, but do recall thinking the time travel was cool.

"Follows Meg Murry (Storm Reid), a young girl traumatized by the disappearance of her scientist father (Pine) years before. She finds herself on an interplanetary journey with a schoolmate and her younger brother to find her father. They are aided by a trio of supernatural beings: Mrs. Whatsit (Witherspoon), Mrs. Who (Kaling) and Mrs. Which (Winfrey)."

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March 16 (Friday)  
Tomb Raider

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The 2013 Tomb Raider game was a great reboot of the series. This movie looks to be following that new version of Lara and I hope it proves to be better than its cinematic predecessors. 

"Lara Croft is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished when she was scarcely a teen. Now a young woman of 21 without any real focus or purpose, Lara navigates the chaotic streets of trendy East London as a bike courier, barely making the rent, and takes college courses, rarely making it to class. Determined to forge her own path, she refuses to take the reins of her father’s global empire just as staunchly as she rejects the idea that he’s truly gone. Advised to face the facts and move forward after seven years without him, even Lara can’t understand what drives her to finally solve the puzzle of his mysterious death."

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March 23 (Friday)  
Isle of Dogs

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I don't know much about this movie but the stop action animation and art style in the trailer has me sold. In addition, it has voice acting by Bryan Cranston, Scarlett Johansson, Tida Swinton, Edward Norton, Bill Murry, Jeff Glodblum, Harvey Keitel, and Ken Watanabe. 

"Follows a young boy on an epic search for his lost canine companion in Japan."

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March 30 (Friday)  
Ready Player One

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Ready Player One was one of the most enjoyable books I read in 2011. I'm very into classic arcade games and retro gaming, so all the 80's references were speaking directly to me. Even though the trailers haven't exactly met my expectations, I'm still really looking forward to this movie:

"Film centers on a young outcast named Wade Watts. In the near future, Watts escapes from his daily drudgery by logging into an online game called ‘The Oasis’. When the game’s billionaire founder dies, he offers players his fortunes as the prize in the virtual treasure hunt. Watts gets in on the action, but soon finds himself facing off against corporate foes who will go to any lengths to get the money – in both the real world and in ‘The Oasis’."

April 2018
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April 20 (Friday)  
Rampage

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For those of you don't know, this movie is based on the 1986 classic arcade game "Rampage". You know, the game where you control movie monsters and destroy city buildings? Well, in the fine tradition of "Super Mario Bros" and "Wing Commander" we now have the "Rampage" movie starring Dwayne Johnson. It's likely going to be terrible, but I hope there might be a little bit of fun mixed in:

"Primatologist Davis Okoye (Johnson), a man who keeps people at a distance, shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent, silverback gorilla who has been in his care since birth. But a rogue genetic experiment gone awry transforms this gentle ape into a raging monster. To make matters worse, it’s soon discovered there are other similarly altered alpha predators. As these newly created monsters tear across North America, destroying everything in their path, Okoye teams with a discredited genetic engineer to secure an antidote, fighting his way through an ever-changing battlefield, not only to halt a global catastrophe but to save the fearsome creature that was once his friend."

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April 20 (Friday)  
Cloverfield God Particle

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People seem to love or hate the Cloverfield series. I thought the first two were reasonably good, each for different reasons. This is the third movie in the series and the premise sounds interesting. Not much else is known about the movie at this point.

"After a physics experiment with a large hadron accelerator causes the Earth to seemingly vanish completely, the terrified crew of an orbiting American space station is left floating in the middle of now-even-more-empty space. When a European spacecraft appears on their radar, the Americans must determine whether it’s their salvation, or a harbinger of doom. "

May 2018
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May 4 (Friday)  
Avengers: Infinity War

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This movie come after the events of Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). I'm looking forward to the continuation of the Avengers series, particularly because it will feature Doctor Strange. Also interested to see Guardians of the Galaxy brought into the fold.

"The Avengers and their Super Hero allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe."

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May 18 (Friday)  
Deadpool 2

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Apparently this movie still doesn't have an official title and little is known about the story. I couldn't even find a one paragraph summary of the movie from the publisher. All I can say is that the first Deadpool movie was a great mixture of R-rated action and humor and I'm hoping that we'll get the same in the sequel. 

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May 25 (Friday)  
Solo: A Star Wars Story

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This movie, directed by Ron Howard, takes place before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and features a young Han Solo. It will be weird seeing someone other than Harrison Ford playing Solo but I'm hoping Alden Ehrenreich is up to the role. Looking forward to this one. 

"Board the Millennium Falcon and journey to a galaxy far, far away in 'Solo: A Star Wars Story,' an adventure with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and encounters the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, in a journey that will set the course of one of the Star Wars saga's most unlikely heroes."

No movie trailer yet.

June 2018
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June 15 (Friday)  
The Incredibles 2

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The 2004 Pixar animated feature "The Incredibles" was a great movie. Looking forward to this overdue sequel in June:

"Everyone’s favorite family of superheroes is back in “Incredibles 2” – but this time Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is in the spotlight, leaving Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) at home with Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell) and Dash (voice of Huck Milner) to navigate the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life. It’s a tough transistion for everyone, made tougher by the fact that the family is still unaware of baby Jack-Jack’s emerging superpowers. When a new villain hatches a brilliant and dangerous plot, the family and Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) must find a way to work together again—which is easier said than done, even when they’re all Incredible."

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June 22 (Friday)  
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

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Not a lot is known yet about this fifth installment in the Jurassic Park series. I'm not expecting a lot, but it could be a fun summer movie. Apparently Jeff Goldblum makes a cameo, probably to comment on nature and chaos theory...

"With all of the wonder, adventure and thrills synonymous with one of the most popular and successful franchises in cinema history, this all-new motion-picture event sees the return of favorite characters and dinosaurs—along with new breeds more awe-inspiring and terrifying than ever before. Welcome to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom."


July 2018
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July 6 (Friday)  
Ant-Man and the Wasp

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The original 2015 Ant-Man movie was a welcome surprise with both great comedy and character depth. I'm hopeful that this July release will be a noteworthy follow up:

"In the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War, Scott Lang (Rudd) grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father. As he struggles to rebalance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne (Lilly) and Dr. Hank Pym (Douglas) with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from their past."

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July 20 (Friday)  
Alita: Battle Angel

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I'm not familiar with the source manga but this movie looks interesting from both a story and CGI perspective. 

"Alita: Battle Angel is an upcoming American cyberpunk action film, based on Yukito Kishiro's manga Battle Angel Alita, set to be released on July 20, 2018 in Theaters, Real D 3D and IMAX 3D. The film is produced by James Cameron and Jon Landau, and directed by Robert Rodriguez from a screenplay by Cameron, Rodriguez and Laeta Kalogridis."

"James Cameron has stated that he intends to adapt "the spine story" of Yukito Kishiro's original manga, with a specific focus on the first four books. He especially wants to include the fictional sport "Motorball" from the third and fourth volume"

September 2018
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September 28 (Friday)  
Smallfoot

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Here is an animated feature from the creator of Despicable Me that could be fun. 

"Smallfoot turns the Bigfoot legend upside down when a bright young Yeti finds something he thought didn’t exist—a human. News of this “smallfoot” brings him fame and a chance with the girl of his dreams. It also throws the simple Yeti community into an uproar over what else might be out there in the big world beyond their snowy village, in a rollicking story about friendship, courage and the joy of discovery."

October 2018
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October 26 (Friday)  
Overlord

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A secret movie being produced by Bad Robot and Warner. Could possibly be part of the Cloverfield universe. Apparently, the story is about two American paratroopers who are shot down over Normandy in the midst of the D-Day invasion. They soon discover that the Nazis are up to no good using supernatural forces to fight the war.  May contain Zombies.

November 2018
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November 2 (Friday)  
X-Men: Dark Phoenix

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Another movie in the X-Men franchise. This time it's a X-Men spinoff about Jean Grey and the Phoenix force. Given that Disney acquired 20th Century Fox this opens up the likelihood that X-Men will join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

"Jean Grey begins to develop incredible powers that corrupt and turn her into a Dark Phoenix. Now the X-Men will have to decide if the life of a team member is worth more than all the people living in the world."

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November 16 (Friday)  
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald

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This is the second installment in the Harry Potter spinoff "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" series. It was written by J.K. Rowling and stars again Johnny Depp, Eddie Redmayne, and Katherine Waterston in the previous roles.

I wasn't a huge fan of the first movie, but I'm willing to give this one a chance. From what I've read, this sounds like a faster paced movie and features Jude Law playing a younger Dumbledore. 

"Magizoologist Newt Scamander joins forces with young Albus Dumbledore to prevent the devious Gellert Grindelwald from raising pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings."

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

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When I first heard about the original Wreak-It Ralph movie and the classic arcade/gaming references I was pretty excited. The movie featured cameos from such classics as Pac-Man, Q-Bert, Quix, BurgerTime, Frogger, and Dig Dug. The actual Wreak-It Ralph game cabinet was obviously modeled after the early 80's Nintendo design used for Donkey Kong and Mario Bros. 

While I admire the attempt at making an arcade game themed movie, I felt a bit disappointed with the story and characters. I think they missed an opportunity to really embrace retro gaming culture and associated visual styles. The result was still a cute story that was both funny and entertaining. 

I'm looking forward to seeing what they do in the sequel:

“Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2” leaves Litwak’s video arcade behind, venturing into the uncharted, expansive and thrilling world of the internet – which may or may not survive Ralph’s wrecking. Video game bad Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) and fellow misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Sarah Silverman) must risk it all by traveling to the world wide web in search of a replacement part to save Vanellope’s video game, Sugar Rush. In way over their heads, Ralph and Vanellope rely on the citizens of the internet – the netizens – to help navigate their way, including a website entrepreneur named Yesss (voice of Taraji P. Henson), who is the head algorithm and the heart and soul of trend-making website “Buzztube.”


December 2018
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December 14 (Friday)  
Mortal Engines

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The early trailer for this movie by Peter Jackson looks fantastic. Check out the plot summary:

"Thousands of years after civilization was destroyed by a cataclysmic event, humankind has adapted and a new way of living has evolved. Gigantic moving cities now roam the Earth, ruthlessly preying upon smaller traction towns. Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan)—who hails from a Lower Tier of the great traction city of London—finds himself fighting for his own survival after he encounters the dangerous fugitive Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar). Two opposites, whose paths should never have crossed, forge an unlikely alliance that is destined to change the course of the future. ."

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December 21 (Friday)  
Aquaman

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Aquaman is the only movie this year set DC Extended Universe. Directed by James Wan, who is best known for the Saw movie series.

I had mixed feelings about the Justice League movie but did like the Aquaman character played by Jason Momoa. I am hopeful that this stand-alone Aquaman movie will have a decent story and will provide time for some needed character development.  

"Aquaman is the king of Atlantis, born half-human as Arthur Curry and half-Atlantean. The film will focus on a surface world constantly ravaging the sea and the undersea Atlanteans, who are ready to lash out in revolt."

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December 21 (Friday)  
Bumblebee

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I enjoyed the original 2007 transformers movie, but the subsequent sequels progressively lost their appeal. I'm not sure what to think about this movie. Apparently, it is set in 1987 which would predate the first Transformers movie. All I can think about is the 1968 Herbie the Love Bug movie about a sentient anthropomorphic 1962 Vilkswagen Beetle...

"On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug."



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