This Winter and Spring’s Top 10 Movies

Every Movie Season Includes Dozens Of New Titles, But These 10 Have Me More Excited Than All The Others

As far as I’m concerned, the movie calendar is broken up into three seasons. There’s Winter and Spring (January to April), Summer (May to August) and Fall and Christmas (usually full of holiday titles, awards contenders and family friendly tent pole fare). Each season comes with its own hits, misses and surprises, but right now these ten movies have me either really or really curious for the Winter and Spring of 2018.

10. Rampage (April 20th): This one falls into the curious category. Movies based on video games have a horrible track record and the first trailer for Rampage-an action movie based around animals mutated into havoc wreaking giants by some kind of alien power-doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. What I’m really curious to see is if Dwayne Johnson can still carry a movie, let alone an FX heavy one. A lot of people think last year’s surprisingly successful Jumanji resurrected his career, but my personal opinion is that Johnson was one piece in an ensemble cast that turned out to be greater than the sum of its parts. Rampage will go a long to revealing who is right.

9. Insidious: The Last Key (Jan. 5th): I have a complicated relationship with this franchise. I loved the first one back in 2010-finding it fresh and innovative-but I was disappointed by 2013’s sequel (which, while cleverly written was emotionally underwhelming). And I’ve done everything I can to forget about the last one in 2015. The Last Key promises not only to return to the original mythos but to wrap it up as well. While it would be foolish to believe that a horror movie released in early January would be as strong the first Insidious, I’m hoping that the franchise’s swan song is as . . . novel . . . as the first entry.

8. Cloverfield 3 (April 20th): What the hell is going on with this movie? Originally slated for release a year ago, it’s been pushed back three times now, recently being moved (again) from February 2nd of this year to April 20th. And Paramount has released absolutely zero promotional material for it (which is why there’s no pic or video to accompany its entry). It may not even be named Cloverfield 3 (no one seems to know for sure). Outside of the name recognition and the interesting premise (astronauts struggle for survival on board a space station after the entire planet disappears following a Hadron Collider malfunction), this movie is looking more and more like something I would normally avoid.

7. A Wrinkle In Time (Mar. 9th): This movie was nowhere on my radar until I saw the recent trailer. Based on Madelaine L’Engle’s 1962 sci-fi classic, A Wrinkle in Time looks like a contemoporary, high fantasy fairy tale adapted by the masters of the contemporary fairy tale, Walt Disney. This is actually Disney’s second kick at The Wrinkle in Time can, adapting it into a mini-series back in 2003. But it looks like they’re going all in this time around with a cast that includes the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Zach Galafainakis. And on top of that, it looks like those heavy hitting marquee names will be filling supporting roles. This has sleeper hit written all over it.

6. Ready Player One (Mar. 30th): Another science fiction adaptation, Ready Player One brings Ernest Cline’s bestselling novel to the big screen. And while I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, the fact that Steven Speilberg came out of retirement to direct this is more than enough to peak my interest. The fact that the entire movie seems to be a love letter to the geek culture of the 1980’s (see the trailer below) just makes this a home run waiting to be hit out of the park. Just imagine the soundtrack. If this movie turns out to be smart or clever or innovative, at this point that would just be a bonus.

5. Tomb Raider (Mar. 16th): I funny thing happened when I was compiling this list; Tomb Raider wound up being much higher than I expected. Which is weird, because I’m not a fan of the video game franchise (I was never much of a gamer), while I have nothing against Alicia Vikander I couldn’t be described as a fan and I could care less about original movies starring Angelina Jolie. But watching the trailer, I couldn’t help but feel Lara Croft may be about to have a moment. Not a cultural one like the one Wonder Woman enjoyed last summer, but a moment nonetheless. Could Croft become the non super-powered, female action hero we all deserve? Seeing Vikander race through the jungle, lay the smackdown on guys twice her size and fend off an entire army using just her wits and her willpower makes me think the answer could very well be yes.

4. New Mutants (April 13th): This one pretty much falls into the curious category as well. After Fox hit a home run with Logan last year-essentially combining comic book movies with modern westerns for Wolverine’s final stand alone flick-they’re taking the hybrid approach with another X comic property again this year. Though this time around, New Mutants is a comic book/horror mashup with a group of young mutants trapped inside a haunted asylum under the pretense of trying to control their powers (while you just know that whatever supernatural squatter is living their has other plans). But while this movie (starring a number of high profile TV actors but no real Hollywood heavy hitters) was completed before the sale, I’m curious to see what Fox had up its sleeve before Disney bought its movie divisions (with the intent of folding the X-Men and Fantastic Four properties into the Marvel Movie Universe).

3. Annihilation (Feb. 23rd): While this film was always on my list, it has shot way up recently. I loved Inception, Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, smart, stylish sci-fi thrillers all, and Annihilation looks like another movie in that vein. And with recent test screenings causing both Paramount and director Alex Garland to fear it may be too intellectual for mainstream audiences, my interest went through the roof. And as usual, if this is indeed an alien fist contact movie, I’ll be firmly E.T.’s side.

2. Pacific Rim Uprising (Mar. 23rd): Pacific Rim was probably my favourite movie from the summer of 2013. It was a raging nerd spectacle of giant robots fighting giant monsters with the fate of the human race hanging in the balance. One of the giant robots in question knocked one of the giant monsters in question into orbit using an oil freighter. How do you not love that? And now there’s a second helping to make our lives better. I am more than a little nervous that visionary creator Guillermo del Toro seems to have relinquished or been stripped of control, but I’m going to have a huge nerd candle burning for this movie until it gives me a reason to put it out.

1. Black Panther (Feb. 16th): Man oh man. The Black Panther has always been one of my favourite characters and I loved his cinematic debut in Captain America: Civil War. Chadwick Boseman looks like he was born to bring the regal king T’Challa to the silver screen and the trailer continues to blow me away. I can’t decide which I’m more eager to see on the big screen, Panther kicking all kinds of ass or what the technological Utopia Wakanda looks like in 3-d. It doesn’t look like Marvel is pulling any punches and is positioning Panther, not only to be a new successful movie franchise, but to be one of the biggest players in their Cinematic Universe once this summer’s Avengers: Infinity War brings Marvel’s current phase to an end. Is it February yet?