What? Everyone else was doing it…
It’s that time of year again & this article is already long enough so I’m going to shut up so you can enjoy… it?
Wonder Woman – Oh man, I can’t wait for this to be great. Patty Jenkins seems to be the perfect woman for the job, and Gal Gadot impressed as the Amazon heroine during the third act of Batman v Superman. Just misses out.
Spider-Man: Homecoming – I was 100% on board with everything I heard about this film: the young, talented, diverse cast, the strong Breakfast Club vibe, even the out-of-left-field choice of director in Jon Watts. The trailer was pretty solid too – but it felt a little monotonous in the way that many MCU films do – particularly visually.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle – I thoroughly enjoyed most of Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman (before its third-act capitulation), and there are parts of it that are absolutely sublime – the church scene, the dog scene & Colin Firth in general, for starters. The addition of Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Pedro Pascal, Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore’s villain leave me convinced that the sequel will leave the first movie in the dust.
God Particle – Paramount pushing this inevitable third Cloverfield anthology flick back a few months to October may have been a bit of a red flag – but, after the brilliant 10 Cloverfield Lane, I’m thoroughly on board with whatever JJ Abrams & his next young directing talent Julius Onah have cooked up here.
Valerian – You have to admire Luc Besson’s ambition – even if it does look like 2017’s most likely big-budget flop candidate. Original sci-fi is always worth supporting – hoping this doesn’t go down the Jupiter Ascending route.
Murder On The Orient Express – Kenneth Branagh at the helm of this Agatha Christie adaptation is enough to get me into my local movie theatre, but the ensemble cast looks sublime. Except Johnny Depp. Fuck Johnny Depp.
Coco – The return of Toy Story 3‘s Lee Unkrich coupled with a fascinatingly original Día de los Muertos premise has me convinced this will be the Pixar we all adore. Ya know, the one that made Inside Out, not Cars 2.
The Glass Castle – This film sees the incredibly talented director of Short Term 12 (Destin Daniel Cretton) reunite with the incredibly talented star of Short Term 12 (Brie Larson). What’s not to adore?
War For The Planet Of The Apes – Apes on horses vs. Woody Harrelson with camouflage has the potential to be the best blockbuster of the year and I’m sure I’ll regret not including it in my Top 10 by December, 2017.
I could write about these forever but I’m not going to so here are a few more confirmed 2017 films that may or may not be great, don’t quote me on anything:
Logan Lucky | Downsizing | Justice League | The Lego Batman Movie | John Wick: Chapter 2
| A Cure For Wellness | Get Out | Beauty And The Beast | Power Rangers | The Circle |
The Dark Tower |
The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature | American Made | Free Fire | The Snowman
Director: Christopher Nolan | Studio: Warner Bros
No director generates buzz quite like Christopher Nolan. In an age of superhero-centric franchises, Nolan’s the one guy who studios can rely on bringing in the big bucks at box office, while snobby cinephiles can still refer to him as an auteur. In spite of the huge stakes at the heart of its premise, Dunkirk looks a lot less grandiose than the likes of Interstellar or even Inception – something I’m very much looking forward to seeing from Nolan.
One-To-Watch: It’s not Harry Styles, I can tell you that. When the cast was first announced, I assumed Tom Hardy would take the lead role. The fact this feels more like an ensemble piece intrigues me.
9) Alien: Covenant
Director: Ridley Scott | Studio: 20th Century Fox
I didn’t hate Prometheus, but it’s nice to see Ridley step away from Damon Lindelof’s confused narrative, and go back to his original classic’s simplistic sci-fi/horror roots. Unfortunately, there’s a chance he’s strayed a little too far in that direction. That somewhat revealing first trailer felt a tad derivative.
One-To-Watch: I’ve really enjoyed Katherine Waterston in both the high-profile projects I’ve seen her in (Steve Jobs & Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them). She has the capacity to carve out her own legacy as an action heroine – rather than directly repeat what made Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley so iconic.
Director: Bong Joon-Ho | Studio: Netflix
You only have to take a glimpse at the insanity that is Jake Gyllenhaal’s outfit to get hyped for this – but in case that doesn’t do it for you, it also sees the brilliant Bong Joon-Ho’s return. Teaming up with Netflix and an excellent cast, the talented director of Snowpiercer & The Host‘s latest sci-fi effort looks very worthy of your attention.
One-To-Watch: Tilda Swinton deserved an Oscar nomination for her supporting work in Snowpiercer. At this point, I have no reason to expect another phenomenal performance from the veteran thespian.
7) Baby Driver
Director: Edgar Wright | Studio: TriStar
Edgar Wright is a director whom I’ve come around a little on over the last year. After appreciating, but still never loving, Shaun Of The Dead for the incredibly inventive comedy it is, I’ve loved his last three films in their own weird little ways. He’s paired himself with an outstanding ensemble cast for his next venture – an action/crime/comedy caper that’s no doubt imbued with his signature blend of style and wit.
One-To-Watch: I’m fascinated by the pairing of Ansel Elgort & Lily James. Neither have made much of a splash lately, but both can be outstanding on their day (see: The Fault In Our Stars & Cinderella respectively).
6) Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol. 2
Director: James Gunn | Studio: Walt Disney/Marvel
I’d just like to give a narcissistic little shoutout to 2014-me, who listed the original Guardians Of The Galaxy as his most-anticipated film months before anyone knew it’d be great. I have similarly high hopes for the sequel, but harbour a few concerns that it may opt to regurgitate what made it so successful the first time around. The trailer made me very hopeful though – it was a wonderful blend of sci-fi, adventure and humour.
One-To-Watch: Any female character? Elizabeth Debicki’s addition is exciting, following her deliciously villainous turn in The Man From UNCLE – and please give Zoe Saldana’s Gamora more to work with this time.
Director: James Mangold | Studio: 20th Century Fox
That first trailer was nothing short of outstanding: the emotion, the fury, the Hurt (ay) – it was the perfect way to introduce Wolverine’s swansong to audiences. The choice of title too was inspired too – prompting me to write a mini love-letter on all its virtues. The only thing I’m yet to be sold on is the film’s visual style & cinematography (especially after all that stunning black & white photography Mangold kept teasing us with for months).
One-To-Watch: Dafne Keen’s X-23. If she’s a hit, she’ll carry Fox’s X-Men franchise into its next chapter.
4) Blade Runner 2049
Director: Denis Villeneuve | Studio: Warner Bros
I wasn’t as sold on the Blade Runner 2049 teaser as I was certain I would be, but at this point, there’s really no doubting director Denis Villeneuve. Coming off a string of no less than five cinematic hits, topped off by 2016 awards contender Arrival, this filmmaker is in the form of his like. His mastery of the visual and reunion with legendary DP Roger Deakins make him the perfect option to follow-up Ridley Scott’s masterpiece.
One-To-Watch: If Denis Villeneuve is the Hollywood’s in-form director, the Ryan Gosling is its acting equivalent. The former pretty face can seemingly do no wrong at the moment, following up last year’s knockout performances in La La Land & The Nice Guys, and some excellent collaborations with Refn & Cianfrance.
3) Kong: Skull Island
Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts | Studio: Warner Bros/Legendary
Everything we’ve seen from this film so far has been utterly glorious. The recent trailer was captivating, the posters have been divine and my word is that best ensemble cast you’ll see all year. If this disappoints me, I don’t know how I’ll take it. I’ve yet to see Jordan Vogt-Roberts Kings Of Summer, but the jump from indies to blockbusters has proven to be a fairly hit-and-miss process. That said, I’m leaning towards a hit on this one.
One-To-Watch: With such a phenomenal cast of characters, it’s very hard to pick out just one individual. If I had to, I’d give it to the incomparable Brie Larson – she really is one of Hollywood’s most talented young stars.
2) Thor: Ragnarok
Director: Taika Waititi | Studio: Walt Disney/Marvel
I cannot, for the life of me, understand the lack of buzz for this comic book-inspired adventure. It really has all the ingredients to be a classic: an outstanding cast, the addition of several brilliant new faces (led by Cate Blanchett & Tessa Thompson), a zany sci-fi/fantasy/buddy cop premise, a script hailed by Kevin Feige as ‘The Winter Soldier of Phase 3′ and one of the most talented comedic directors in the business: Hunt For The Wilderpeople‘s Taika Waititi. So tell me again why you aren’t excited about the next Thor movie?
One-To-Watch: If anyone can break Marvel’s widely debated mediocre villain curse it’s Cate Blanchett: a.k.a. the best actress working in Hollywood today. *sassy finger snapping ensues*
1) Star Wars: Episode VIII
Director: Rian Johnson | Studio: Walt Disney/Lucasfilm
This was the obvious choice, though not necessarily for the reasons you may have expected. I recently wrote about how I learned to love JJ Abrams’ The Force Awakens – but another film that slowly won me over time was Rian Johnson’s masterful Looper. Inventive, stylish, thought-provoking & bathed in small scale, sci-fi mythology, it proved beyond any doubt that Johnson is destined to elevate to make one hell of a Star Wars movie.
One-To-Watch: John Boyega’s Finn was my favourite character in TFA and I’m fascinated to see where his journey takes him this time around. Holy fucking shit I can’t wait for this movie.