The 25 must-see films of 2018

From stop motion canines in Isle of Dogs to the 80s-obsessed future of Ready Player One via the curious girl meets fish-boy love story that is The Shape of Water, these are the films we're most looking forward to in 2018

Feature by Jamie Dunn | 04 Jan 2018
  • Isle of Dogs

After all that looking back over the last 12 months of cinema at the end of last year (see our 25 favourite films of 2017), now it’s crystal ball time. What films will be blowing our minds in 2018?

Unlike the blockbusters, which start their marketing campaigns months (sometimes years) in advance, many of the most exciting titles due to make their bow this year have an air of mystery around them. Take The Irishman, from Martin Scorsese. We’ve yet to see an on-set photo or a still from this Netflix project telling the story of union official and mobster Frank Sheeran, but the cast list is mouthwatering enough: as well as reuniting with old muckers Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel, the legendary director will be working with Al Pacino for the first time.

While we can guess the tone of The Irishman given Scorsese's history with the gangster genre, there’s no telling what to expect with High Life, which sees genius French filmmaker Claire Denis venture into sci-fi with a space movie bringing together the unlikely trio of Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche and André 3000. But at least we know it’s set in space: the only thing we're sure of with Chris Morris’s yet-to-be-titled second feature film, which is due for release sometime in 2018, is that we’re desperate to see it.

Other auteur directors likely to drop tantalising projects in 2018 include Mike Leigh, whose new film explores the Peterloo massacre of 1819; Alfonso Cuarón, who returns to Mexico for 70s family drama Roma; David Robert Mitchell, who follows up gorgeous horror It Follows with neo-noir Under Silver Lake; Duncan Jones, whose latest, Mute, is set in a future Berlin; Luca Guadagnino, remaking Dario Argento’s stylish horror Suspiria; and Turner Prize, BAFTA and Oscar-winner Steve McQueen, back with female-led heist thriller Widows. And we might finally see a complete Terry Gilliam Cervantes film with his intriguing-sounding The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.

None of the above have confirmed dates yet, but expect many of them to premiere at festivals like Belin, Cannes and Toronto over the next 12 months. As for the films that we know will be playing on UK screens in 2018, our 25 most anticipated are below.

Phantom Thread

Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson

Few filmmakers are on the current form of Paul Thomas Anderson. His latest idiosyncratic work sees him reunite with his There Will Be Blood star Daniel Day-Lewis, who plays a celebrated British fashion designer in the 1950s. Phantom Thread, Anderson’s first film made in Britain, is reportedly both elegant and witty, with our reviewer Phil Concannon describing it as “[Anderson’s] most disciplined and refined work to date, and among his very best.” Due for release on 2 Feb


Dir. Andrei Zvyagintsev

Russian master Andrei Zvyagintsev returns with a typically brutal and deeply political drama following a couple whose son vanishes while they're on the brink of divorce. 9 Feb

Black Panther

Dir. Ryan Coogler

Since its jaw-dropping first trailer we’ve been dying to see Ryan Coogler's entry into the Marvel universe. Set in the fictional African nation of Wakanda, Black Panther follows Chadwick Boseman who plays the title hero, also known as T'Challsa, who will be familiar to anyone who saw Captain America: Civil War. The cast also includes Michael B Jordan, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Lupita Nyong’o and Daniel Kaluuya, and judging from the clips we've seen, this could be the most gorgeous superhero movie yet. 13 Feb

The Shape of Water

Dir. Guillermo del Toro

This curious love story from Guillermo del Toro, which concerns the relationship that forms between a mute woman and an aquatic monster, has been proclaimed as the Mexican filmmaker’s finest work since Pan’s Labyrinth. Sally Hawkins is reportedly magnificent as the young woman with the hots for the fish-man. 14 Feb

Lady Bird

Dir. Greta Gerwig

For a decade Greta Gerwig has been the most vibrant presence on America’s lively indie film scene. As well as being an always interesting actor, she’s co-written several wonderful films with the likes of Joe Swanberg (Nights and Weekends, which she also co-directed; Hannah Takes the Stairs) and Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha, Mistress America). Lady Bird, a tender coming-of-age tale starring Saoirse Ronan, sees Gerwig writing and directing solo, and word is it’s her finest film to date. 16 Feb

I, Tonya

Dir. Craig Gillespie

The biopic of a figure skater doesn’t sound all that enticing, but when said skater is Tonya Harding – who allegedly had one of her chief competitors kneecapped – expect something a bit more juicy. Margot Robbie stars as the troubled skater while Allison Janney plays her maniacal mother. Look out for both come Oscar season. 20 Feb

A Fantastic Woman

Dir. Sebastián Lelio

We’re told there’s shades of Almodovar in this dynamic drama following a young transgender woman who’s accused of killing her older lover. The director is Chilean filmmaker Sebastián Lelio, who’s following up his knockout 2013 comedy Gloria. 2 Mar


Dir. Cory Finley

This is a delicious dark comedy about two teens bringing out the worst in each other. Anya Taylor-Joy plays a rich girl who isn’t as sweet as her exterior might suggest, while Olivia Cooke is the misfit weirdo who she’s being paid to hang out with. Told in four chapters, Cory Finley’s debut film is a brilliant showcase for his talented leads, who are sure to become household names sooner rather than later. 8 Mar

You Were Never Really Here

Dir. Lynne Ramsay

Lynne Ramsay trades in uncomfortably visceral films (Morvern Callar, We Need to Talk About Kevin), so the idea of her making a brutal revenge thriller is both bracing and mouthwatering. The Scottish director's latest follows the fragmented inner journey of a self-loathing vigilante for hire (Joaquin Phoenix) whose latest mission might be sending him over the edge. 9 Mar

Sweet Country

Dir. Warwick Thornton

We’ve heard great things about this Australian chase movie about an Aboriginal man who goes on the run after being accused of murder. The Outback has played host to its fair share of fine westerns, and it looks like Sweet Country might join the ranks of classics like The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Mad Dog Morgan and The Proposition. 9 Mar

The Square

Dir. Ruben Östlund

Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund takes on the art world in this satire about a gallery curator whose life goes into a tailspin after his phone is pickpocketed from him outside his museum. Pedro Almodóvar’s Cannes jury loved The Square, awarding it the Palme d’Or last summer. 16 Mar

A Wrinkle in Time

Dir. Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay is the main reason we’re excited to see this Disney adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s odyssey about a young girl who ventures into space – with her brother and best friend in tow – to find her father. The cast isn’t too shabby either, with Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon and Michael Pena featuring alongside global brand and sometimes actor Oprah Winfrey. 23 Mar

Isle of Dogs

Dir. Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson’s return to stop motion should delight everyone who loved his melancholic adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox. This animated adventure, set in a futuristic Japan, follows a young boy and a band of shaggy canines voiced by the likes of Ed Norton, Bill Murray and Bryan Cranston. Glasgow audiences get to see Isle of Dogs that bit earlier than the rest of the UK as Anderson's film opens Glasgow Film Festival this February. 30 Mar

Ready Player One

Dir. Steven Spielberg

With 80s nostalgia all the rage, there’s never been a better time to adapt Ernest Cline’s YA fantasy set in an overpopulated future where the only escape is a virtual reality world called the OASIS. Tye Sheridan plays the video game-nut who has to use his love of 80s pop-culture to save his beloved OASIS from a dastardly corporation intent on owning this VR universe. Steven Spielberg, who created much of the pop-culture Sheridan’s character adores, directs. 30 Mar

120 Beats Per Minute

Dir. Robin Campillo

Robin Campillo's blistering third feature centres on the people at the heart of the ACT UP advocacy group in 1990s Paris. As well as battling homophobia and the French government’s apathetic attitude to the AIDS epidemic, Campillo’s smart and sexy film also finds time to follow the romantic entanglements of the men involved in the movement. 6 Apr


Dir. Todd Haynes

The mighty Todd Haynes returns with Wonderstruck, which dovetails the stories of two 12-year-olds living 50 years apart. One section (in black in white) follows a young girl in the 20s, and the other follows a boy in the 70s. Early reviews suggest the title is an apt one. 6 Apr

Let the Sunshine In

Dir. Claire Denis

Claire Denis continues to be one of the most mercurial filmmakers working today, easily moving from existential thrillers, to vampiric horror, to tender family dramas; as mentioned above, her next project is a sci-fi movie starring Robert Pattinson. She’s ticking another genre off the list with Let the Sunshine In, a sophisticated romantic comedy with Juliette Binoche as a woman enjoying her single life. 20 Apr

Untitled Cloverfield Threequel

Dir. Julius Onah

Back in 2016, the world was blindsided by 10 Cloverfield Lane, the surprisingly solid sequel – of sorts – to Matt Reeves’ innovative monster movie Cloverfield. Initially titled God Particle, this mysterious third film in the series is reportedly set in a space station with a crew made up of Daniel Brühl, Elizabeth Debicki, Aksel Hennie, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris O'Dowd, John Ortiz, David Oyelowo and Zhang Ziyi. Colour us intrigued. 20 Apr

Avengers: Infinity War

Dirs. Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

While we’ve never been all that impressed with Avenger films, this third supergroup installment from the Russo Brothers (responsible for some of the finer Marvel movies) looks promising. The early trailer suggests a superhero epic, with pretty much every Marvel hero involved in a battle against Josh Brolin’s purple bad guy Thanos. Even if you’ve no time for superheroes, you might have fun trying to guess which scenes were shot in Edinburgh. 27 Apr

Lean on Pete

Dir. Andrew Haigh

Andrew Haigh brings his distinctive stripped-back style (no non-diegetic music, few camera moves, unadorned performances) to this coming-of-age film following a 15-year-old boy and his friendship with the horse of the title. Rising talent Charlie Plummer plays the lonely lad, while Steve Buscemi, Chloë Sevigny and an unrecognisable Travis Fimmel play the less than dependable adults in his life. 4 May

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Initially we’d have told you that we’re desperate to see Solo: A Star Wars Story because it features the endlessly charismatic Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, the most charismatic man in the Star Wars universe. Now we’re most keen to see Solo in a purely rubbernecking capacity to see if this troubled production – which saw its directors fired mid-shoot and its lead actor given an acting coach – will be Disney’s first out-and-out Star Wars misfire. 25 May

Ocean's 8

Dir. Gary Ross

Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna and Helena Bonham Carter are the octet of talented actors breathing life into the Ocean’s franchise, with Bullock playing Debbie Ocean, the estranged sister of Danny, George Clooney’s character in the Steven Soderbergh trilogy. 22 Jun

Incredibles 2

Dir. Brad Bird

Usually we frown upon Pixar’s recent reliance on sequels, but we’ll make an exception here as we return to the superhero family of Brad Bird’s 2004 film The Incredibles. Bird is back as director, and we expect to see a lot more from Jack-Jack, the infant child of the Parr family who was revealed to have multiple superpowers at the end of the first movie. 13 Jul

The Predator

Dir. Shane Black

The two sequels to Arnie’s original rumble in the jungle (Predator 2 and Predators) haven’t been much cop, but we’ve high hopes for this third effort from Shane Black. Not only did this writer-director (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Nice Guys) play one of the mercenaries being hunted by the eponymous alien in the first film, he also acted as Predator's script doctor, adding many of the most-quotable lines. 3 Aug

The Kid Who Would Be King

Dir. Joe Cornish

It’s been seven long years since Joe Cornish knocked our socks off with his breakneck sci-fi Attack the Block. He’s finally back with his second feature, which we hear blends Arthurian legend with the coming-of-age film. Tom Taylor plays the young lad who pulls the sword from the stone, with Patrick Stewart an inspired choice as his mentor Merlin. 28 Sep