Arts

Films for 2018: Three to see at the cinema next year

Liam Neeson (centre) is The Commuter, AKA 'Taken on A Train'

THE New Year is almost upon us, so here's three films coming to a cinema near you in 2018 that you can start getting excited about.

THE COMMUTER

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Starring: Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Jonathan Banks, Elizabeth McGovern, Sam Neill

Release date: January 19

IT'S another Liam Neeson 'geriactioner', so, in the wake of Unknown ('Taken with Amnesia'), Non-Stop ('Taken on a Plane') and Run All Night ('Taken on The Booze') – all of which were also helmed by Jaume Collet-Serra – this upcoming New York Subway-set thriller can lazily be dubbed 'Taken on a Train'.

Co-starring Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel), Patrick Wilson (Fargo), Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad) and Sam Neill, the plot involves Neeson's average Joe being co-opted into a crazy train-bound plot with a potentially deadly outcome.

Will the bus pass-wielding Ballymena hardnut be able to employ 'a very particular set of skills' to keep everyone onboard – except the bad guys, naturally – alive?

Well, of course he will, not that it will put us off going along for the ride regardless.

READY PLAYER ONE

Director: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, T J Miller, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance

Release date: March 30

SPIELBERG'S imminent adaptation of the best-selling sci-fi novel by Ernest Cline about a future dominated by an elaborate virtual reality called OASIS is already one of the most anticipated cinema releases of 2018.

It stars Tye Sheridan (X-Men: Apocalypse, Joe) as Wade, a young gamer determined to beat out the competition in a virtual race to claim ownership/control of the OASIS.

The impressive pop culture reference-packed trailers make this look like a top-drawer feast of CGI-enhanced sci-fi, so hopefully the human elements involved – which include Olivia Cooke (Bates Motel), Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Kingdom, Starred Up), T J Miller (Silicon Valley), Simon Pegg (Star Trek, Spaced) and Mark Rylance (Dunkirk) – are able to hold up their end of things.

ISLE OF DOGS

Director: Wes Anderson

Starring the voices of: Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Ed Norton, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Bob Balaban, Koyu Rankin

Release date: March 23

THIS stop-motion animated feature from Wes Anderson is set in a dystopian future Japan in which man's best friend has been exiled to the remote island which gives the film its title.

Isle of Dogs features five mutts – Chief (Cranston), Rex (Norton), Boss (Murray), Duke (Goldblum) and King (Balaban) – who are under quarantine following a catastrophic canine flu.

One day, they encounter Atari Kobayashi (Rankin), a boy who has made a secret journey to the island in search of his pet dog, Spots. Boy and beasts then team up to track down the missing mongrel while evading the corrupt authorities attempting to bring Atari back to civilisation against his will.

Judging by the trailers, Isle of Dogs looks like a quirky, family-friendly film featuring an exceptional voice cast and some seriously cool old-fashioned special effects.

Perfect post-winter fare.

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