ALTHOUGH 2018 promises to be a year full of film releases telling a variety of stories, two big trens are already apparent: superheroes and female stories.
There are commercial and sociological reasons for a resurgence in the popularity of superheros, but the fact that these films have been aimed at adult audiences and there have been little content of this kind dircected to children, is a telling trend.
This year screens will be full of caped heroes flying around with the release of films such as Avengers : Infinity War, a Deapool sequel still untitled, Ant-Man and The Wasp, Black Panther and Aquaman, just to name a few.
Stories with female lead characters have always existed in Hollywood, but these days the main actors, the producer, writers and directors all offer female voices, producing a new type of storytelling that is not just compelling, but it makes sense from a commercial point of view. Cruella, Disenchanted and Ocean's Eight are good examples of this trend.
These are only ten of the films being set for release in 2018:
1. Breath: Filmed in Albany, WA, Breath is Based on Tim Winton's award-winning and international bestselling novel set in mid-70s coastal Australia. Two teenage boys, hungry for discovery, form an unlikely friendship with a mysterious older adventurer who pushes them to take risks that will have a lasting and profound impact on their lives. Simon Baker co-wrote the screenplay, makes his directorial debut and acts in the film. It also features new Australian superstar Elizabeth Debicki.
2. 12 Strong: Byron Bay's power couple Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky star in this film as husband and wife. The film tells the true story of the Army's Special Forces 'Green Berets', who within weeks responded to the 9/11 attack. Green Berets and AFSOC took over the country and allowed other Special Forces and the rest of the conventional military to begin the real war. The movie is based on Doug Stanton's non-fiction book Horse Soldiers.
3. Aquaman: Jason Momoa and Amber Heard, who by now we consider almost locals, star in this superheroes-under-the-sea story filmed in the Gold Coast. In this film, Arthur Curry learns that he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, and must step forward to lead his people and to be a hero to the world. The film also stars Nicole Kidman, Willem Defoe and Dolph Lundgren.
4. Mary Queen of Scots: Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Gemma Chan and Vanessa Redgrave star in this film directed by Josie Rourke. David tennat and Guy Pearce also also part of the cast. Mary Stuart's attempt to overthrow her cousin Elizabeth I, Queen of England, finds her condemned to years of imprisonment before facing execution. This will be the second time that Saoirse Ronan and Vanessa Redgrave are cast as the same characters on screen.
5. Annihilation: Tessa Thompson and Natalie Portman star in this film about a biologist who signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don't apply. It is based on a 2014 novel of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer. The book describes a team of four women (a biologist, an anthropologist, a psychologist, and a surveyor) who set out into an area known as Area X. The area is abandoned and cut off from the rest of civilisation.
6. Mary Magdalene: Rooney Mara, Joaquin Phoenix, Chiwetel Ejiofor are the main stars in this film that also features Australia's Ryan Corr (Holding The Man) as Joseph. This film is not only interesting because of the way possible controversy over the subject and its religious implications, but also about the fact that it's a Harvey Weinstein production.
7. Black Panther: 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, Wakanadan special forces, to prevent Wakanda from being dragged into a world war.
8. Oceans' Eight: Danny Ocean's estranged sister Debbie attempts to pull off the heist of the century at New York City's star-studded annual Met Gala. Her first stop is to assemble the perfect crew: Lou, Rose, Daphne Kluger, Nine Ball, Tammy, Amita, and Constance. Stars Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham-Carter, Anne Hathaway, Dakota Fanning and Olivia Munn plus Matt Damnon probably as the token love interest and Richard Armitage possibly as the token seductive villain.
9. Mary Poppins Returns: If Batman, Superman and The Mummy have returned, why not Mary Poppins? In Depression-era London, a now-grown Jane and Michael Banks, along with Michael's three children, are visited by the enigmatic Mary Poppins following a personal loss. Through her unique magical skills, and with the aid of her friend Jack, she helps the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives. With Emily Blunt as the world's quirkiest nanny, plus Angela Lansbury, Meryl Streep, Colin Firth and Dick Van Dyke.
10. Peter Rabbit: Starring Australia's Margot Robbie and Elizabeth Debicki plus Sia as Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, this animated adaptation of Beatrix Potter's classic tale of a rebellious rabbit trying to sneak into a farmer's vegetable garden is poised to be a popular family release this year.