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We’re now well into the new year, but my participation in the Season of Lists won’t be over until I release just one more: My most anticipated movies of the new year.
For this list, I only went with upcoming releases that have definitive release dates, a choice that excludes two films I cannot wait to see — one from director Terry Gilliam, “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” starring Adam Driver, and one from director Martin Scorsese, the Netflix-bound “The Irishman.”
I also avoided the pick that would be my most “nervously anticipated” film, the Han Solo standalone film that was taken from two of my favorite directors and given to Ron Howard. But after what I saw as the enormous creative success that was “The Last Jedi,” my faith that Lucasfilm has a good head on its shoulders in Kathleen Kennedy has been renewed, and I’m left trepidatiously excited.
The rest of these films on the list I have nothing but excitement for. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’ll actually be good, but I have every reason to hope they will be great.
10. ‘Mary Poppins Returns,’ Dec. 25
I was horrified by the bad excuse of a movie that was 2017’s holiday musical, “The Greatest Showman,” but I am itching to get back to a Hollywood that invests in big musicals, and even if this is a sequel (and a rather strange choice for one, if you ask me), I expect “Mary Poppins Returns” to be filled with the kind of musical joy I can’t get enough of. My biggest reasons to hope: The casting of Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
9. ‘Red Sparrow,’ March 2
I can’t wait for “Hunger Games” director Francis Lawrence to re-team with Jennifer Lawrence, who, after last year’s “mother!” can do no wrong in my eyes. This one is a spy thriller about some kind of special spy school blah, blah, something, something — the point is, I believe in the Lawrence/Lawrence team-up, and I’m excited to see it back on the big screen.
8. ‘God Particle,’ April 20
This latest entry in the J.J. Abrams-produced “Cloverfield” series has been rescheduled no less than three times — the latest just days ago, to April (from February). But such signs of trouble make me no less excited after the dazzling first sequel “10 Cloverfield Lane.” I fully expect to love this.
7. ‘Oceans 8,’ June 8
The trailer has already dropped for Gary Ross’ all-women entry in Steven Soderbergh’s “Oceans” heist series, and after seeing it, there’s no way it wouldn’t make my list. Soderbergh is returning as a producer here, but the cast is what is making me most anticipated. A heist comedy with Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham Carter and Rihanna? I am there.
6. ‘Mowgli,’ Oct. 19
Does the world need another remake of “The Jungle Book?” Well, how about one that is in no way tied to the Disney version? Motion capture genius Andy Serkis has been working on this project for years now — he’s in the director’s chair for this one — and I think that means there’s a vision behind this project worth getting excited about.
5. ‘Annihilation,’ Feb. 23
I loved Alex Garland’s indie sci-fi film “Ex Machina,” and I’m excited to see where he takes his next film, which stars Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson and Oscar Isaac. The director has a gift for visuals, and I’m excited to see what he comes up with next.
4. ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,’ Dec. 14
I’ve long loved the medium of animation and thought it was a missed opportunity that bigger animation houses were neglecting stories that generally attract an older audience — not that “Spider-Man” is necessarily the kind of serious, adult property I am looking for, but I’m hopeful that this animated adaptation — apparently divorced from the live-action version entangled in Marvel’s cinematic web — will feel like a big superhero film as it embraces the visual potential that animation affords.
3. ‘Incredibles 2,’ June 15
Speaking of animated superheroes, Brad Bird’s return to the world he created in 2004’s “The Incredibles” is extremely exciting. June 15 can’t come fast enough.
2. ‘Believer,’ Sundance premiere
I’ve already written about why I’m excited to see “Believer,” as it topped my list of most anticipated Sundance films.
1. ‘A Wrinkle in Time,’ March 9
Madeleine L’Engle’s original novel was a formative part of my forming imagination as a child, and from everything we’ve seen, director Ava DuVernay has realized it beautifully. I can’t wait to root for Meg Murry and her little brother, Charles Wallace, on the big screen.
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