By JACOB TRASK
Spring is the off-season of film. The summer months boast expensive blockbusters and sequel films, and fall marks the beginning of Oscar season, when the best films of the year begin to emerge. But last year, the trend seemed to break, and the early months produced a couple of the year’s best films: the Marvel Wolverine thriller Logan, and the Best Picture nominated Get Out. This year, the spring release schedule looks even more promising, with a handful of films slated to start 2018 off on a great foot.
Releasing on February 23, Annihilation is a science-fiction action thriller starring Natalie Portman, based on the first book of the Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer. The film is about a woman who ventures into a mysteriously hostile environment called Area X to find out what is killing her husband, a soldier, after he barely survived a trip inside.
The trailer is truly spooky and incredibly intense. I’m not typically one to fawn over the annual average science fiction films, but Annihilation looks like it could be one-of-a-kind. The film seems like it will showcase some true cinematic beauty past the shimmering, technicolor, sky-high walls of Area X. At the same time, it looks like an incredibly dark story and could possibly be considered a horror movie.
Annihilation is Natalie Portman’s first major film since her best-actress-nominated performance in 2016’s Jackie.
Jennifer Lawrence is in two confirmed films so far this year, including the new X-Men horror movie. The other is Red Sparrow, a film about a Russian ballerina forced to endure “Sparrow School,” a Russian intelligence service that turns her into the ultimate undercover weapon.
A trailer was released in early January, and as always, it looks like Lawrence is bringing her best stuff to this film. With a strong performance from Lawrence and Joel Edgerton co-starring, the film might have potential to surprise people in the early months. It releases March 2.
X-MEN: THE NEW MUTANTS
Marvel is taking an exciting chance this February with The New Mutants, the first ever Marvel horror film. The trailer made it evident that Marvel is trying something seriously new with this intriguing concept. The story follows five young mutants who are held against their will and studied for their abilities. Things seem to take a turn for the worse and the film breaks in an action horror, all in the world of our favorite heroes. A talented cast of young stars will lead the action, namely Anya Taylor-Joy (Split), Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things), and Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones).
While this film may not be a favorite for fans right away, it will definitely be interesting to see Marvel characters portrayed in a new horrific light. X-Men: The New Mutants should turn some heads when it comes out on February 22.
ISLE OF DOGS
Wes Anderson’s new film Isle of Dogs is the only film of those aforementioned that I think has a chance to potentially make an Oscar run. Wes Anderson’s last film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, had 11 Oscar nominations and four wins, so my expectations are high for Isle of Dogs.
The stop-motion animated film takes place in a dystopian futuristic Japan, when a canine flu spreads across the country and all dogs are quarantined to a remote trash island. There, a group of tough alpha males come across a young boy who has traveled to the island to search for his dog. The group agrees to help and the adventure ensues.
The film has a star-studded cast including Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand and Scarlett Johansson all providing voices for the dogs. Isle of Dogs will be released on March 23.
The first half of 2018 is looking like great for theaters. After these releases, the new Avengers film and a new Star Wars story will be released, followed by an exciting summer of movies. Get to the theaters on time, and don’t miss out on these promising early releases.
Jacob Trask can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org