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A 2018 calendar and watch list for Black moviegoers and film buffs

Nearing the end of each year, I like to compile a list of upcoming films that look intriguing to me or that I have been anticipating for months, or even years. This year, I tailored my list to be extensive and hella Black, just for y’all.

Each of these feature a predominantly Black cast, Black performers in the main role(s), Black performers as a significant part of the supporting cast, and/or Black creatives behind the camera and behind the scenes.

On this list, you will find stories about Blackness, told by Black people. Stories about life, told through Black creativity. Futuristic, fantastical, dramatic, melancholic, joyous. Narratives about victory, rebellion, science, spirituality, grace, vengeance, redemption, and everything in between. Here we go!

RELATED: ‘Detroit’ and 10 other films about race that completely fail by centering the white gaze

JANUARY 

Originally posted at:

A 2018 calendar and watch list for Black moviegoers and film buffs – The Black Youth Project

Nearing the end of each year, I like to compile a list of upcoming films that look intriguing to me or that I have been anticipating for months, or even years. This year, I tailored my list to be extensive and hella Black, just for y’all.

#1 A Boy. A Girl. A Dream: Love on Election Night (Romance)

On election night in 2016 (aka the night white people elected a megalomaniacal, narcissistic, pathological liar and unrepentant sexual predator supported by literal Nazis into the nation’s highest office because white supremacy is a helluva drug), two people meet, discuss their dreams, and fall in love. I hate the title and the premise, but some of you romantics might enjoy it.

(Director: Qasim Basir; Writers: Qasim Basir and Samantha Tanner; Cast: Dijon Talton, Meagan Good, Omari Hardwick, Jay Ellis, Dominique Perry)

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#2 Blindspotting (Dramatic Comedy)

Described as “a buddy comedy in a world that won’t let it be one,” the film is loosely based on the experiences of its two writers, Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) and Rafael Casal (The Break Up). A pair of movers must watch as Oakland becomes more and more gentrified with each passing day and each passing job.

(Director: Carlos López Estrada; Writers: Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs; Cast: Daveed Diggs, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Janina Gavankar, Tisha Campbell-Martin)

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#3 Come Sunday (Drama)

Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave) portrays a preacher whose congregation becomes extremely displeased with him when, one Sunday, he brings a controversial thought into the pulpit: There is no Hell. I’m sold.

(Director: Joshua Marsten; Writer: Marcus Hinchey; Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lakeith Stanfield, Danny Glover, Condola Rashad, Jason Segel, Martin Sheen)

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#4 Monster (Crime, Drama, Coming of Age)

Based on the best-selling and award-winning novel by Walter Dean Myers, Monster follows  seventeen-year-old honors student and aspiring filmmaker, Steve Harmon. After being connected to a robbery and a related murder, he must fight to prove his innocence in court.

(Director: Anthony Mandler; Writers: Walter Dean Myers, Janece Shaffer, and Colen C. Wiley; Cast: Kevin Harrison, Jr., Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Hudson, John David Washington, Lovie Simone, ASAP Rocky, Nas, Jennifer Ehle)

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#5 Monsters and Men (Crime Drama)

“The aftermath of a police killing of a Black man, told through the eyes of the bystander who filmed the act, an African-American police officer and a high-school baseball phenom [are] inspired to take a stand.” Personally, I’m exasperated with police violence as a plot device, but some people aren’t. This one is for you.

(Director: Reinaldo Marcus Green; Writer: Reinaldo Marcus Green; Cast: Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Chanté Adams, Christopher Jordan Wallace, John David Washington,  Giuseppe Ardizzone, J. W. Cortez, Aaron Costa Ganis)

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#6 Night Comes On (Drama, Coming of Age)

After being released from a juvenile detention center just before turning eighteen, Angel ends up caring for her ten year-old sister during an ordeal that could put them both in danger and negatively impact their futures.

(Director: Jordano Spiro; Writers: Angelica Nwandu and Jordano Spiro; Cast: Dominique Fishback, Tatum Marilyn Hall, James McDaniel, Journee Brown, Antu Yacob)

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#7 Proud Mary (Action, Thriller)

Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures) gives her all to every role, and I expect no less from her as a wig-switching, quick-drawing assassin who unexpectedly develops an unlikely friendship with a young boy, sending her work life into upheaval.

(Director: Babak Najafi; Writer: Steve Antin, John Stuart Newman, and Christian Swegal; Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Danny Glover, Billy Brown, Jahi Di’Allo Winston)

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#8 Sorry to Bother You (Dark Comedy)

A fantastical and absurdist comedy about the power of code-switching, in which a Black telemarketer becomes successful when he discovers a way to make his voice sound like it has been dubbed by a white person.

(Director: Boots Riley; Writer: Boots Riley; Cast: Tessa Thompson, Terry Crews, Lakeith Stanfield, Omari Hardwick, Danny Glover, Steven Yeun, Armie Hammer, Patton Oswald)

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#9 Yardie (Crime Drama)

An adaptation of the 1993 novel of the same name. Directed by Idris Elba (Luther), it details the story of a young Jamaican immigrant’s rise to become a drug kingpin on the streets of London.

(Director: Idris Elba; Writers: Brock Norman and Martin Stellman; Cast: Aml Ameen, Fraser James, Mark Rhino Smith, Akin Gazi, Naomi Ackie, Philips Nortey, Shantol Jackson)

FEBRUARY 

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#10 Black Panther (Action, Adventure)

You already know what it is. This is the most highly anticipated film on this entire list, and we fully expect it to be Black as fuck. T’Challa returns after his initial appearance in Captain America: Civil War (2016). The cast list alone is more impressive than anything else in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Black History Month 2018 will be too lit and my body is beyond ready.

(Director: Ryan Coogler; Writers: Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole; Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Winston Duke, Florence Kasumba, Andy Serkis, Martin Freeman)

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#11 Cloverfield Movie (Horror, Mystery, Science Fiction)

The third installment of the Cloverfield trilogy, preceded by Cloverfield (2008) and 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016). Scientists aboard a space station make a shocking discovery during an experiment involving a particle accelerator. What happens next is a desperate fight for survival. We can probably expect to see the alien beings from the first two Cloverfield movies again. The plot sounds dangerously close to the premise of Life (2017), but I think that it will still be worth the watch.

(Director: Julius Onah; Writers: Oren Uziel and Doug Yung; Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, Roger Davies, Elizabeth Debicki, Daniel Brühl, Ziyi Zhang, Chris O’Dowd, John Ortiz)

MARCH 

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#12 A Wrinkle In Time (Adventure, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Coming of Age)

Ava DuVernay (Selma13th) directs this adaptation of a beloved sci-fi novel. After Meg’s father disappears, she is sent on a journey through space and time by three otherworldly beings in order to find him. With a Black girl who not only has an interest in math and science, but also uses her knowledge and #BlackGirlMagic to save the universe at the center of the story, A Wrinkle In Time is equally as important for Blackness on film as Black Panther. And it drops on my birthday. What a gift.

(Director: Ava DuVernay; Writers: Jennifer Lee and Madeleine L’Engle; Cast: Storm Reid, Rowan Blanchard, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, Zach Galifianakis)

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#13 Acrimony (Dramatic Comedy)

This one just barely made the list because of my own personal feelings about Tyler Perry and his body of work (Diary of a Mad Black Woman, all things Madea). But I have too much respect for Taraji to leave it off. In her second appearance on this list, Henson plays a woman who is fed up with her husband’s treachery. I just hope HIV isn’t exploited as a plot device.

(Director: Tyler Perry; Writer: Tyler Perry; Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Lyriq Bent, Tika Sumpter, Danielle Nicolet, Jazmyn Simon, Jay Hunter)

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#14 Pacific Rim: Uprising (Action, Adventure)

I’ll be honest. This is really only on my list because John Boyega (Star Wars, Attack the Block) plays the son of Idris Elba’s character from 2013’s Pacific Rim, meaning there’s the potential for more Idris in flashbacks. Also, folks got really upset that Pacific Rim didn’t star a white woman, and I look forward to the racists getting salty again this time around.

(Director: Steven S. DeKnight; Writers: Travis Beachem, Steven S. DeKnight, T.S. Nowlin, Kira Snyder, and Emily Carmichael; Cast: Tian Jing, Scott Eastwood, John Boyega, Adria Arjona, Charlie Day, Rinko Kikuchi)

APRIL 

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#15 The Burial of Kojo (Drama, Suspense)

Kojo carelessly causes a car accident that kills his brother Kwabena’s bride on their fucking wedding day. Seven years later, Kwabena returns to seek vengeance against his brother. I love revenge narratives and I’m definitely looking forward to this one. Plus, the still images look amazing and its creator has spoken passionately about self-funding and crafting a Ghana-based film with a plot that does not revolve around “war and disease.” This is sure to be an intense and beautiful film, and I cannot wait for its arrival. 

(Director: Sam Blitz Bazawule; Writer: Sam Blitz Bazawule; Cast: Joseph Ostiman, Kobina Amissah-Sam, Ama K. Amebrese, Anima Misa, Henry Adofo, Joe Addo, Mamley Djangmah)

MAY

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#16 Avengers: Infinity War (Action, Adventure, Science Fiction)

T’Challa and many other players from the aforementioned Black Panther will make another appearance in this massive MCU installment, and I know that I will be overjoyed to see them again. Also, Tessa Thompson reprises her role as Valkyrie that she initially played in Thor: Ragnarok (2017), along with Idris Elba as Heimdall, aka the Harriet Tubman of Asgard.

(Directors: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo; Writers: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely; Cast: Every Damn Body)

JUNE

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#17 Untitled Deadpool Sequel (Action, Adventure, Comedy)

This is the description Twentieth Century Fox submitted to IMDb: “After surviving a near fatal bovine attack, a disfigured cafeteria chef (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfill his dream of becoming Mayberry’s hottest bartender while also learning to cope with his lost sense of taste. Searching to regain his spice for life, as well as a flux capacitor, Wade must battle ninjas, the yakuza, and a pack of sexually aggressive canines, as he journeys around the world to discover the importance of family, friendship, and flavor – finding a new taste for adventure and earning the coveted coffee mug title of World’s Best Lover.” So… yeah… At least we know that Domino will be portrayed by Atlanta’s Zazie Beetz.

(Director: David Leitch; Writer: Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick; Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Zazie Beetz, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Brianna Hildebrand, Stefan Kapicic, T.J. Miller)

SEPTEMBER 

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#18 MBER Night School (Comedy)

A group of ne’er do wells and class clowns attend night school to get their GEDs and get up to a bunch of shenanigans in the process.

(Director: Malcolm D. Lee; Writers: Kevin Hart, Matthew Kellard, Harry Ratchford, Glenda L. Richardson, Nicholas Stoller, and Joey Wells; Cast: Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Keith David, Romany Malco, Yvonne Orji, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Bresha Webb, Ben Schwartz, Rob Riggle)

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#19 Smallfoot (Animated Family Comedy)

It has a simple and compelling premise: a curious yeti sets out to prove that humans really do exist. Sign me the fuck up.

(Director: Karey Kirkpatrick and Jason Reisig; Writers: Glenn Ficara, Karey Kirkpatrick, Sergio Pablos, John Requa; Cast: Zendaya Coleman, Yara Shahidi, Common, LeBron James, Gina Rodriguez, Channing Tatum, Danny DeVito, James Corden)

NOVEMBER  

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#20 Creed II (Action, Drama, Sport)

Michael Bae Jordan is back at it! In the next chapter of his story, Adonis Creed seeks revenge against Ivan Drago, the man who killed his father, going up against him in the ring with Rocky at his side. Tessa Thompson also returns to reprise her role as Bianca, sure to be another supporting presence for Adonis. Ryan Coogler’s Creed(2015) was phenomenal and I have high hopes that this installment, though helmed by a different director, will be just as good.

(Director: Steven Caple, Jr.; Writers: Sylvester Stallone and Cheo Hodari Coker; Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Dolph Lundgren)

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