By 26 January 2018 | Categories: feature articles


For cinema fans, 2018 is shaping up to be a big year for blockbusters, superheroes and colons in movie titles, with Avengers: Infinity War, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Aquaman, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Black Panther, Mission Impossible 6 and Ant-Man and the Wasp all coming.

We already know what to expect from this plethora of blockbuster titles, so for those film fanatics who aren’t caught up in the mainstream fantasy hype, Spling talks about some of the promising releases heading our way.

Incredibles 2

Director: Brad Bird

Release date: 15 June (RSA)

The Incredibles was a near-perfect release from Pixar under the guidance of Brad Bird, which took the brimming world of superheroes to the next level. Instead of centring on a team of caped avengers, the filmmakers played with the idea of family instead, bringing an added emotional dimension to the fore.

Amazing animation, a sharp-witted script, strong vocal performances, retro superhero comedy and great imagination turned this film into a classic. One thing that didn't quite work for it was the open-ended resolution, which teased at a possible sequel that never arrived.  Now, 14 years later it's time for us to rejoin Bob, Helen and the rest of the superhero fandamily for yet another adventure in The Incredibles 2.

The story picks up not long after the events of The Incredibles as Bob Parr (aka Mr Incredible) finds himself at home looking after Jack-Jack while his wife Helen (aka Elastigirl) is out saving the world. There's little doubt that Brad Bird will be trying to match and surpass what he achieved with the first installation. With his lofty ambitions, the prospect of returning to the world of The Incredibles is exciting and in such safe hands, seems like a sure-fire hit.

Ready Player One

Director: Steven Spielberg

Release date: 30 March (RSA)

Steven Spielberg has become synonymous with science fiction. The Hollywood tycoon has a fascination with aliens, which probably explains the strange thematic departure in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. An executive producer on three of the titles mentioned in this article, Spielberg has become one of the most influential film personalities of all time, which means that if anyone's earned the right to make the films they want to make, it's him.

His latest venture, Ready Player One, is based on the novel by Ernest Cline. When the billionaire creator of a virtual reality world passes away, he releases a video challenge to all the users of the platform known as OASIS to find an “Easter Egg”, which will give them his fortune.

Starring Olivia Cooke, Tye Sheridan, Mark Rylance, Ben Mendelsohn and TJ Miller, this action-adventure-sci-fi thriller looks very promising, tapping into the current fascination with virtual reality and exploring the dualities of the real and unreal. Let's just hope that it's more like The Matrix than Valerian and The City of a Thousand Planets.

Sicario 2: Soldado

Director: Stefano Sollima

Release date: 31 Aug (RSA)

Taylor Sheridan is one of today's best screenwriters, whose writing credits include Hell or High Water, Wind River and Sicario. Having demonstrated he can direct his own screenplays with Wind River, it seems surprising that Soldado was entrusted to Stefano Sollima instead of Sheridan or world class Sicario director, Denis Villeneuve. Best known for Gomorrah and Suburra, one would imagine that this will be an excellent opportunity for Sollima to prove himself as a fine director on the international stage.

Josh Brolin, Benicio del Toro and Catherine Keener reprise their roles in a follow-up that centres on the escalating war against drugs along the United States and Mexican border. At the time of the first film, there was heat but not as much tension around immigration law as there is with Trump's callous threats and declaration of building a wall.

Now with an added layer of contention, this dark drug-wars drama-thriller should be even more timely and prickly.


Director: Steve McQueen

Release date: 16 November 2018 (RSA)

While The Great Escape is still fixed in many of our memories, the name Steve McQueen is now shared between an actor known for his action movies and a director known for his drama films.

After directing Michael Fassbender in the bold film, Shame, McQueen turned his attention to Solomon Northup and the antebellum South with 12 Years A Slave, which won him acclaim after landing three Oscars from several nominations.

Now with the Best Picture winner in his rear-view mirror, McQueen has re-focussed on Widows, a remake of the 1985 British series. Set in modern day Chicago, Widows follows four women trying to take fate into their own hands in order to surmount the debt left behind by their dead husbands.

Written by Gillian Flynn, best known for Gone Girl and Dark Places, this crime drama thriller has a strong line-up including: Jon Bernthal, Elizabeth Debicki, Liam Neeson, Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Colin Farrell and Robert Duvall. Many avid film fans will be watching with great interest to see if Flynn can match Gone Girl's thrills and whether McQueen can continue to build on his strong collective of feature films. While he's not known for remakes, this effort will give us a clear indication of the man's immense talents if he can pull it off.


Director: Travis Knight

Release date: 21 Dec (RSA)

Bumblebee is a spin-off of the Transformers franchise.  While inferior sequels led to the Transformers films hitting a bit of a speed wobble in the last few years, the first film probably owed much of its knockout success to the slow build featuring Shia LeBeouf and the machine, Bumblebee.

This is why the Transformers universe spin-off, Bumblebee is worthy of your anticipation. They're essentially taking us back to the first half of the Transformers film. Except, the refresh is that it's set in the year 1987 and instead of centring on a boy and his first car, it's going to be about a girl and hers.

Kubo and the Two Strings director, Travis Knight, is behind this production, which ironically already sets this promising spin-off apart from Transformers: The Last Knight. The film picks up as a battle-scarred and broken Bumblebee takes refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town, where he is discovered by Charlie on the cusp of her 18th birthday. With Edge of Seventeen star, Hailee Steinfeld taking the lead this dark horse has the potential to be a runaway success.


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