Our Ten’s List: Most Anticipated Movies of 2017.
We’ve got ten movies due out in theaters this year that have us excited.
(OK, more than ten…)
Last week we covered ten movies coming to theaters in 2017 you couldn’t pay us to watch. Now that we’ve fasted, it is time to feast. We have so many exciting films coming out this year, I had to start a few new categories just to hold them all. First, we have the limited release films from last year that will finally be making their way to your neighborhood. Then we have ten films with firm release dates that we’re itching to see. Finally, we have a few speculative items that may or may not make it out in 2017, but have us crossing our fingers.
Looking over three years of Most Anticipated Lists, I can say we’ve been pretty lucky. (You can find our list for 2014, 2015, and 2016 here.) Some projects, like The Witch or the Robocop reboot didn’t quite pan out, but we’ve generally managed to find a good selection of films that were worth the asking price. Here’s hoping these ten (plus!) films all live up to our expectations.
2016 Hold Overs.
-I Am Not Your Negro (February)
First time director Raoul Peck creates a documentary that looks at American author, playwright and social critic James Baldwin and attempts to adapt his final unfinished work from notes by the author.
This film has been on fire with critics, and is on many short lists for the Best Documentary Oscar. Baldwin’s uncompromising depictions of race relations and civil rights in America manage to be both shocking and lyrically compelling. I can’t wait to see how Peck imagines his final book, about the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcom X, and Medgar Evers. Add in narration by Samuel L. Jackson, and I think this is a must see.
-Silence (Who knows, they’ve been dragging out the expansion on this movie for what feels like a decade!)
Two freshly ordained Jesuit priests (Adam Driver and James Garfield) head to Japan to discover the fate of their mentor (Liam Neeson,) a priest who has disappeared. Their journey is complicated by the fact that Japan has outlawed western religious practice, killing both the foreign priests who preach and the Japanese peasants who convert.
While critical response to this film has been mixed, I’m eager to see Martin Scorsese’s latest project. The cast is fascinating. I initial scoffed that Kylo Ren and Spider Man were going to be in a historical drama trying to rescue the pissed off dad from Taken, but Driver was impressive in Jim Jarmusch’s film Paterson this year, as was Garfield in Mel Gibson’s war drama, Hacksaw Ridge.
-The Red Turtle (January)
A man is cast away on a deserted island, and sees his initial efforts to flee thwarted by a mysterious red turtle. Making peace with his imprisonment, he starts a life of solitude, only to discover a lovely red haired woman also on the island. Together they raise a son, but despair of him ever having a life beyond their lonely island.
I’ve been dying to see this all year. A collaboration between Studio Ghibli and Michael Dudok de Wit, this film is aesthetically electric. Lushly gorgeous and lacking dialogue, it blends elements of both European and Japanese cinema into an intriguing amalgam.
A woman experiencing a mid life crisis discovers that her hard drinking social spiral may be causing a giant monster to rampage across South Korea.
Say what now?
This is an odd duck, no doubt about it. I just love the thought of blending such wildly different genres as giant monster disaster films with a boozy loss of idealism character study. Director Nacho Vigalondo, besides have a bad ass name, makes weird movies pretty regularly, but they’re almost always fun to watch. Anne Hathaway also seems to thrive in odd roles, so I’m looking forward to this finally coming to either a local theater or streaming services.
The Belko Experiment (March)
An office building full of Americans working in Colombia are suddenly sealed up tight inside the building. A voice on the intercom explains to them their situation: kill your coworkers before they kill you, and maybe you get to go home.
The poster says Office Space meets Battle Royale, and if this movie is even just one of those, this is going to be a ton of fun.
Most Anticipated Movies of 2017.
10. Resident Evil: the Final Chapter (January)
Alice (Milla Jovovich,) the vat-grown heroine of the franchise, is back to kick some butt in the final installment of the Resident Evil series. And probably show some butt. And chest. And pretty much everything else. Bonus creepy fact, her husband directs these movies she’s always naked in!
I’m glad January gets this guilty pleasure out of the way early in the year, and early on the list. This franchise is not amazing, and I know I will get flack for crapping on Underworld while enjoying Resident Evil… but every other movie in the series has managed to be entertaining. From the interesting original to the 3D laced third installment, right up the 5th film that was gloriously weird. The even numbered ones have, how to say it: sucked. A lot.
Even though this is the 6th film, it appears to be going back to the elements of the first film that were so intriguing, while keeping all the outrageous action and monsters from the later movies. I do love how this franchise flirts with the game series. Who knew that stealing the best moments of a game and saying fuck off to the rest could make a decent video game adaptation?
9. Alien: Covenant (May)
A colony ship called Covenant is headed to a garden world to set up a new home for humanity, but makes a dark discovery. The planet is crawling with hostile life, and the only friendly face is David, the manipulative android from the Prometheus expedition.
Please don’t suck, please don’t suck, please don’t suck…
Prometheus was the prettiest turd I’ve ever seen. In 3D, that movie was so awe inspiring you forgot how shitty the story and acting was. Then I saw it in regular format, and could never forget how crappy the story and acting was. Still…I wanted to see how Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender’s journey continued. So, I’m hoping James Cameron is back on track with this film. The trailer is definitely back to the more claustrophobic horror elements of Alien, so here’ hoping.
8. Wonder Woman (June)
This origin story shows us Princess Diana (Gal Gadot) before she was a world famous super hero. A fierce warrior from a culture led by women, she decides to venture into the world of men when an injured fighter pilot (Chris Pine) crashes on her shores and tells her about the horrors of World War I which are ravaging the planet.
Wonder Woman was the only part of Batman V Superman that was unapologetically awesome. Her character was cool and confident, and she was the only hero who seemed to actually like her job. Move over, brooding stubbly dudes, and let a Wonder Woman show you how to save the DC universe.
7. A Cure For Wellness (February)
A health obsessed business magnate heads to a remote health resort. When his board of trustees stop receiving communications from him, they send a young partner to check out the resort and get their boss back. It turns out that the clinic deals in rather harsh methods, and checking out is easier said than done.
Legendary director Gore Verbinsky has certainly packed this movie full of style and visually unsettling material. I’m not in love with the waif-ish cast of emo poppets, but I do love the setting and the way the film modernizes the health craze of the 1900’s, typified by the frightening regimens of John Harvey Kellogg.
6. Logan (March)
A grim take on Marvel’s six clawed mutant, we see Logan (Hugh Jackman) and Professor X (Patrick Stewart) trying to protect a young mutant in a world where very few mutants have survived a vicious culling.
This film finally gets the tone and scope correct for a really good Wolverine story. Despite having become the poster boy for the X-Men in the 90’s, Logan was always best served as a solo experience where the reader could ruminate on his bleak and self destructive tendencies away from the flashy kid friendly atmosphere of the other X-Men. Some are calling this Cormac McCarthy’s The Road plus claws, and that is just fine by me.
5. The Dark Tower (July)
Stephen King’s epic cycle about a mythical gunfighter on a quest to find the Dark Tower, the hub of all worlds where he may be able to stop his reality from unraveling and find redemption for all of the bodies he has stepped over on his long journey.
The first novel in the Dark Tower series, The Gunslinger, is perhaps one of the tightest and well paced books King has ever written. It is gritty, relentless, and filled with dark imagery. Having Idris Elba step into the spurs of King’s enigmatic killing machine is pure bliss. I think Matthew McConaughey has the chops to play a very cool villain in this film too. I love that they are eliding the books, as the later books became rather unfocused and bloated. I may have to edit my best Stephen King movies list after this July. Either that or add one more movie to my worst Stephen King list…
4. Split (January)
Three teens are abducted by a man suffering from multiple personalities (James McAvoy.) The sick man, Kevin, doesn’t quite understand his actions, and each personality treats the women in their own manner. Casey(Anya Taylor-Joy,) the girls leader, decides to attempt to use these personalities to her advantage, hoping to escape before the 24th personality manifests – a ruthless killer who is slowly driving Kevin’s actions towards tragedy.
I’ve been waiting for James McAvoy to really show me his acting skill. He’s had good roles, and he’s had bad roles, but I’ve never seen anything that really shows he can sink his teeth into a character. This is that role, I hope. It looks fantastic, gripping and terrifying. Anya Taylor-Joy is becoming quite a pro at horror films, and was the best part of The Witch last year. Here’s hoping director M. Night Shyamalan can keep his finger off the “twist ending” button.
3. Get Out (February)
A young black man in a relationship with a white girl has been avoiding an introduction to his girlfriend’s very traditional family. They live in a insulated community where most of the faces are rich and white. When he finally does relent and visits, he is initially surprised to receive a warm welcome. Soon, he discovers that the few other people of color in this town don’t appear to be there by choice…
Comedian Jordan Peele makes his directorial debut with a racially charged horror story, and it looks great. He’s drawn comparisons to The Stepford Wives, a social horror story about women being replaced by drones who uphold the 1950’s ideal for subservient housewives. I love the substitution of race for gender into that idea. Daniel Kaluuya (Sicario) looks pitch perfect here. This should get the year off to a scary good start.
2. John Wick 2 (February)
The hitman who loves dogs a tad too much is back. Wick (Keanu “my man crush” Reeves) is pulled out of retirement once again when an old friend becomes the target of an assassin who is looking to forcefully take control of the organization that formerly employed Wick. I’d imagine at some point he also spends time with his dog.
Despite a rather flimsy premise, the first John Wick was one of the slickest shoot-em ups in years. Reeves dedicates himself to performing his own stunts, and the no-cut away action sequences were a blessing. After all of the Jason Bourne-esque shacky cam bullshit, watching an uninterupted sequence of immaculately crafted carnage unfold was a gift to fans of action movies. With a stronger supporting cast (Ian McShane and John Leguizamo) this film looks to be fully loaded.
1. The God Particle [AKA Cloverfield 3] (October)
A space station filled with American scientists watches in horror as the Earth suddenly disappears. Desperate for an explanation, the mystery deepens when a European shuttle begins to approach them, yet refuses to state their intentions.
When this production was hinted at, I was excited. We’ve been blessed with some really great sci-fi thrillers in the recent past, such as Gravity, The Martian, and Arrival. A film that starts with the Large Hadron Collider winking Earth out of existence made the physics geek in me intrigued. Now we find out that this film will exist in the Cloverfield universe of films, which already delighted us with last years surprise hit 10 Cloverfield Lane. That film made our best films of 2016 list. I’m hoping The God Particle (or whatever they end up calling it…Space Station Cloverfield?) will end up on our list of best films of 2017.
To Be Announced
-The Happytime Murders
In a world where Muppets and humans co-exist, a string of murders drag a boozed-out old Muppet detective into a world of intrigue, aided by a human cop (Jamie Foxx.) Each victim is a Muppet who used to star in the variety show, The Happytime Gang. Add in the social element that Muppets are second class citizens and you have a warped and adult thriller that reflects back on our divided society.
This film has languished in development hell since 2008. That addition of Foxx, while tentative, hopefully means this project is starting to gain steam. Previous leaks had Dwayne Johnson, Paul Giamati, and Katherine Heigi all name dropped, but the film has since been moved from Lionsgate to STX, who seem to be eager to get this bird in the air. It was originally to be directed by Brian Henson, son of legendary puppeteer Jim Henson.
-Super Troopers 2
The brave troopers of the Vermont State Police are back on the road, messing with stoners, drinking maple syrup, and solving crime.
Broken Lizard crowd funded this film, and met their funding goal last year. It is slated for 2017, but there’s no hard date set. While revived comedy sequels are usually dubious, hopes are high for this project. Meow.