Although it's early days yet, 2018 is shaping up to be another bumper year for film fans of every stripe.

Paul Thomas Anderson rounds out Daniel Day-Lewis' illustrious career with Phantom Thread, Guillermo del Toro's The Shape Of Water is already winning huge praise from critics and is a shoo-in for the Oscars, and you've also got the likes of Deadpool 2, Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War still to come.

Here's our breakdown of ten essential films to see in 2018.


10. THE PREDATOR (August 3rd)

There's been very little in the way of promotion for this and not a sign of a trailer, but let's look at the cast and crew behind it - Shane Black of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang directing and co-writing with Monster Squad's Fred Dekker, an altogether interesting cast that includes Keegan Michael-Key (sans Peele), Boyd Holbrook, the little fellow from Room Jacob Tremblay, Olivia Munn, Thomas Jane and Jake Busey playing the son of Gary Busey's character from Predator 2. It's all so weird and off-kilter that it could be brilliant. Don't forget also that Shane Black was in the first one as Hawkins, the guy with the glasses who kept telling awful jokes.


9. MICHAEL INSIDE (Early 2018)

Starring Moe Dunford, Dafhyd Flynn, Lalor Roddy and directed by I Used To Live Here's Frank Berry, Michael Inside tells the story of a young Dublin man who is imprisoned after holding a bag of drugs for his older brother's friend. Whilst in prison, the pressure begins to mount when he comes under the influence of a violent, long-term prisoner. It's not exactly pretty, but Michael Inside is likely to go down as one of the most provocative Irish films in years.


8. COCO (January 19th)

As if you had to wonder, Pixar's latest offering Coco is a gorgeous, heartwarming tale of family, music and the power of both over life and death - all told through the story of a young Mexican boy who yearns to become a musician, but instead finds himself transported to the Land of the Dead. The sheer level of design and imagination that's on show in Coco is breathtaking, but you've also got a great story and an important message as well - everything you'd expect from a Pixar movie.


7. DEADPOOL 2 (June 1st)

Whether you liked it or not, Deadpool was a box-office smash in a year which saw a number of far more likely franchise offerings fail miserably - so it's of absolutely no surprise to anyone that a sequel was kicked into production lickity-split. Drafting in John Wick co-director David Leitch to replace Tim Miller, there hasn't been much in the way of actual footage - however this Bob Ross parodying trailer is more than enough to wet the appetite.


6. ISLE OF DOGS (March 30th)

As always, Wes Anderson is an acquired taste - and people either love or hate his aesthetic. Going by the trailer, Isle Of Dogs looks like peak Anderson. Set twenty years in the future, Japan has banished all dogs to Trash Island following an outbreak of a disease which has been attributed to dogs. However, one scrappy young boy decides to fly a plane to the island to find his dog Spot. Featuring an all-star cast that includes (deep breath) Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Yoko Ono, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Greta Gerwig, F. Murray Abraham, Ken Watanabe, Scarlett Johansson, Bob Balaban - and that's just the ones we know about.


5. BLACK PANTHER / AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (February 16th / April 27th)

If you thought that the Marvel Cinematic Universe was going to finish up with Infinity War, you couldn't be more wrong. What with Disney's purchase of Fox and the confirmation that X-Men will now be added to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it's more likely that it won't look the same after Black Panther and Infinity War. It does look like Black Panther will be closely linked with Infinity War, considering that he features prominently in the Infinity War trailer, too, but what's more interesting is the fact that Infinity War might actually come with something Marvel films have been sorely missing - a villain that can actually pose a serious, credible threat.


4. LADY BIRD (February 16th)

Although they haven't yet been announced, these next two entries are going to go head-to-head for Best Actress in their lead roles. Saoirse Ronan plays the titular character in Greta Gerwig's directorial and semi-autobiographical debut about a teenager growing up in suburban Sacremento in the early '00s who battles relentlessly with her mother, Laurie Metcalf. Lady Bird now has the honour of being one of the best-reviewed films on Rotten Tomatoes, and it's absolutely deserved too.


3. THE SHAPE OF WATER (February 14th)

A sweeping romance about a mute cleaner (Sally Hawkins) and a fish creature (Doug Jones) shouldn't nearly be as good as this, but here we are. The Shape Of Water ranks as Guillermo del Toro's best work in years, filled with a sweetness and yearning to it that fits beautifully with his fairytale motifs. It's not just Sally Hawkins' show, however. The supporting cast includes Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer and probably the best musical score you'll hear in 2018. Just listen to this.



If for no other reason, Solo: A Star Wars Story is going to be an interesting watch purely on the basis of what's left of Phil Lord and Chris Miller's version and what did Ron Howard make with what was left over. By all accounts, Solo: A Star Wars Story has been the rockiest production since Disney took over Lucasfilm and probably since George Lucas completed his prequel trilogy. The fact that it's now five months out and there's been no sign of a trailer yet speaks volumes, but nevertheless, there's an air of morbid fascination around this one.



1. PHANTOM THREAD (February 2nd)

It's hard to know if Daniel Day-Lewis is going to make good on his promise to retire following Phantom Thread, but according to a recent interview, he's serious about it - and what's more, Phantom Thread was the reason he decided to quit. As you'd expect from Paul Thomas Anderson, there's much more going on underneath the surface than can be readily explained. Day-Lewis plays a successful dressmaker in '50s London who finds a muse in Vicky Krieps, but the relationship begins to deteriorate when his jealousy begins to get the better of him. Anderson himself has compared it to Hitchcock's Rebecca, so expect this to be something special.