The 16 Most Anticipated Movies of 2017
2017 is a year that beckons greatness in cinema. We have your usual popcorn fare, as well as returning masters of the indie landscape.
Not all of these will attract every reader, but they will be circuited around the movie-sphere in the year to come. In addition, this list is neither exhaustive nor complete and above all, be sure to follow film festivals in your own time. This year, like all years, will feature new directors with debut features, and could have the next Damien Chazelle or Ana Lily Amirpour.
Already Released: Logan, The LEGO Batman Movie, Split, A Cure For Wellness, Get Out, I Am Not Your Negro, John Wick: Chapter 2, Song To Song
Charlie McDowell’s second feature, after the inscrutable The One I Love, is The Discovery. A Netflix Original starring Jason Segel Rooney Mara, and Robert Redford. McDowell with a huge production studio and a higher budget will garner interesting results.
Charlize Theron re-enters the action scene in this female John Wick. Atomic Blonde potentially has more to say than John Wick, with potentially more interesting and stylized action and a female protagonist.
Christopher Nolan is clearly aiming to bring back the war epic. Reminiscent of classics such as The Longest Day and A Bridge Too Far, Dunkirk will obviously look and sound great, but the real intrigue for this film will be the writing and characters. Nolan has floundered in the past with creating genuine emotion. Dunkirk will need emotion in vast amounts in order to imbue these soldiers with relatable motivations. It needs a reason for the audience to want these guys to live on. Whatever happens, this film will be a guarranteed spectacle.
Luc Besson, creator of Leon: The Professional and The Fifth Element, finally realizes his dream project with this sci-fi adventure, starring Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevigne. This project is an adaption of a 50 year old French comic book, and can either herald a return to form for Besson, after the disastrous Lucy, or be the next Jupiter Ascending. Either way, it’s better to see this grand experiment rather than the paint-by-numbers, lazy remake, such as Beauty And The Beast.
Apes is the little franchise that could. Nobody expected the reboot of the ‘60s film, that spawned countless crap sequels, to be this successful. However, with each new film, the franchise has only gotten better. Judging from the trailer, this film is likely the final chapter in Caesar’s arc, something that audiences have been looking for since 2011. Wonderful cinematography and direction from Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) aside, the performances are what really enhance these films. Andy Serkis practically creates a new form of acting with his motion-capture monkey, and is the heart and soul to this franchise. Don’t miss out on the grande finale to the apes we have gotten to know and love.
We’ve got Spider-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Wonder Woman, Kingsman 2, and freakin’ Justice League movies coming out this year. So why is Thor my most anticipated? Isn’t Thor bland, boring, un-inventive, and the most forgettable Marvel franchise? Well, the answer comes in two words: Taika Waititi. Waititi comes straight off of the massive New Zealand successes of Boy, What We Do In The Shadows, and last year’s Hunt For The Wilderpeople. He is definitely an out-of-the-box choice to helm Thor’s next movie, and that ensures a superhero film that we haven’t seen before. Adding in a pinch of Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, and Karl Urban, this film will at least be soaked in wonderfully hammy performances. Ragnarok will be a movie that embraces in colorful origins, something that is well-needed in the myriad of Dark Knight imitators that have bogged the superhero genre in the last decade. Waititi also describes this movie as a road trip, with the Hulk taking shotgun, and Doctor Strange in the backseat. Thor drives, of course.
After decades in cobwebs, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner franchise finally returns, and is looking better than ever. With a stacked cast, including Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, and Oscar-nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins and director Denis Villeneuve, 2049 looks to be the thinking man’s blockbuster. Another one of Scott’s creations returns in 2017 with Alien: Covenant, however 2049 looks to be a continuation of the franchise, engaging with the themes established in the original, rather than a retread and blatant remake of its original (looking at you Covenant).
A24 has been knocking it out of the sky in recent years. Last year alone, they produced Green Room, 20th Century Women, The Lobster, and Best Picture Winner, Moonlight. So, rather than these films taking up half the list, I’ve placed them all in this subcategory.
Free Fire is an inventive, one-room, action film from Ben Wheatley and is packed with guns, laughter, and ‘70s mustaches.
The trailer for It Comes At Night presents a film that is ripe with tension and pressure. Watch the film for the bottle breaking and a sickening scream.
A Ghost Story will be the most unconventional film you see this year. Rooney Mara plays a widow who is haunted by the ghost of Casey Affleck, who takes form in the classic bedsheet with eyeholes cut in it. No jokes, this is a prestige drama from director David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints).
Finally, The Killing Of A Sacred Deer. Yorgos Lanthimos’ next film, starring Colin Farrell, about, well, I’m not sure if anybody really knows. Just take it from me, watch this film. You will love it and feel awful about yourself at the end.
Return Of The Auteurs
Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven), Darren Aronofsky (Requiem For A Dream), Alexander Payne (Nebraska), Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood). These are some of the best auteurs born from the ‘90s and these names guarantee success and quality. I really shouldn’t have to say anything more.
A sneaky remake of a 1971 film, Sofia Coppola re-enters the film scene with this semi-horror about Colin Farrell (again) as a Confederate soldier who takes refuge in a house full of seductresses. This looks to be a great stray from the norm for Coppola, who specializes in low stakes, near slice-of-reality films. The Beguiled oozes with sex, intensity, horror, and a new film for Tumblr to fawn over. That is, until Todd Haynes releases something new.
Hot off Academy Award Nominations for Best Writing and Best Directing for Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan wastes no time in getting his second feature out onto screens. Starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen (not as Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch). This film is a thriller, mystery centered around a murder on a Native American reservation. Keep this one on your radar, as it is likely to be a surefire Oscar hit. Taylor Sheridan is only getting started, and his best days are ahead of him.
Similar to Sheridan, Garth Davis (director of Lion) hits the iron while it’s hot. Again teaming up with Rooney Mara in this flick about the religious icon Mary Magdalene. Chiwetel Ejiofor (!) and Joaquin Phoenix (!!) jump on board as well, as Peter and JESUS, respectively. In light of the Christian-centered family dramas of recent years, this film looks to follow in Martin Scorsese's footsteps with his religious masterpiece, The Last Temptation of Christ, and last year’s Silence. With a cast like this, one can expect performances to last until Rapture.
Armando Iannucci (In The Loop, Veep) returns to film, after many years in television, with this biopic. In The Loop is (in my opinion) the best comedy of the 2000’s, and Veep is one of HBO’s best, so Iannucci’s track record more than speaks for itself. Expectations for this one are high, and is my own personal most anticipated film for the year. One can expect witty writing, a barrage of curse words, and jokes, of course. If we’re lucky, Iannucci will bring us the smartest comedy of the 2010’s.
This is Guillermo Del Toro’s next feature, and is a fantasy set against the Cold War. The Shape Of Water sounds like a companion piece to the fantastic and ethereal Pan’s Labyrinth. In addition, Doug Jones and Sally Hawkins lead, two great and underrated actors who deserve more attention. Alexandre Desplat is scoring the film, the master behind The Grand Budapest Hotel and Philomena. Del Toro has been on something of a slump recently, after dropping out of the Hobbit films and Pacific Rim becoming something of a disappointment, financially. Hopefully The Shape Of Water is a return to form for the master of fantasy. If nothing else, see this movie in order to fund Hellboy 3. Please. Pretty Please. I need this.
Alex Garland and Oscar Isaac return, hot off the heels of breakout success, Ex Machina. They come back to the sci-fi playground, bringing with them Natalie Portman and Jennifer Jason Leigh, both recently earning Oscar nominations. The film is a rescue mission, looking for Natalie Portman’s husband in an environmental disaster zone. If you’re someone who enjoys being challenged by plot, and looking for subtle character arcs that hold true depth, this will surely be the film for you. Garland is a master of pure sci-fi, using the genre as a way to reflect some aspect of humanity that is often ignored.
Hailing from South Korea, the legendary Bong Joon Ho has created yet another monster movie. The Host cemented Ho as a modern monster movie master, and Snowpiercer established him as a director who can wrestle with human drama and tragedy. Okja, hopefully, will wield these two elements to full effect. The film is about a young girl trying to save her best friend (who just happens to be a monster) from the clutches of a nefarious corporation. Think of this as the art-house King Kong. Also including, Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, and Steven Yeun. Fine performances are guaranteed and are needed to attach the more mythical elements to real-life emotion.
Martin McDonagh, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell.
The master of dark comedy comes back in another murder-centric film. Martin McDonagh, who I like to call the American Yorgos Lanthimos, is able to deftly navigate the tragedy of life with laugh-out-loud, politically incorrect, characters. One needs to look no further than his debut film, In Bruges, to figure out what McDonagh is all about. Oh, and he's also a successful playwright in his spare time. Expect big things for this film.
This brings us on the end of our wild journey, but just to the beginning of 2017. Plenty of amazing films have left their imprint on the year already, but there’s so much more yet to come. Be sure to be on the look out for all these films, and keep a steady eye for anything not on the list.
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