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The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

on December 29, 2016, 12:00am
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Free Fire

free fire trailer The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: March 17th via A24

“Armed with guns, explosives, insults, and an endless array of improvised weapons and armor made from whatever refuse is lying around the warehouse, all of the players engage in a riotous and bloody battle for their lives – and the money, if they can get their hands on it.” So says our own Sarah Kurchak in her review of Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire, the English filmmaker’s spirited follow-up to 2016’s High-Rise. It’s essentially a feature-length shootout, and your propensity for raucous, boggling action will likely be an indicator of whether or not this one’s for you. Wheatley’s films are divisive to be sure, but like High Rise, Free Fire boasts a deep well of talent — Brie Larson, Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, and Cillian Murphy, among others — to entice the noobs. –Randall Colburn

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Ghost in the Shell

ghost shell The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: March 31st via Paramount

Ha, yeah, this thing’s already going through the ringer with its bad publicity. Did you hear that Paramount allegedly did secret CGI tests to make the film’s actors appear more Asian? Bad idea jeans, Ghost in the Shell. So yes, the white-washing of a nearly 30-year-old cyberpunk manga has left a sour taste in many mouths, but you know … that trailer? It looks kinda cool. Everybody’s been chasing that Blade Runner neo-Tokyo alley vibe for decades; it’s why we have Blade Runner 2049 coming out next October. Sometimes that aura has been presented successfully, with great stories, like in Akira or Batman Begins. Sometimes it’s been embarrassing and cheap-looking, like Highlander 2 or Johnny Mnemonic. Where Ghost in the Shell lands, we shall see. But the mix of high octane action and state-of-the-art visuals should provide an ample distraction for the sci-fi set. Scarlett Johansson looks bad to the bone, and the art direction seems ambitious enough. We can only hope that will be enough to offset the awkwardness of Caucasian actors in Asian roles. –Blake Goble

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The Fate of the Furious

fate furious The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: April 14th via Universal

Only a franchise as goddamn ludacris (pun intended) as the Fast and Furious series could name a movie The Fate of the Furious, but that kind of comically earnest grandstanding has been part and parcel of the series since it shifted its focus from drag racing to carjacking (and general heistin’) with Fast Five. It was the best reinvention of a franchise ever; with the help of a reinvigorated cast and a slew of glorious supporting players including Dwayne Johnson, Kurt Russell, and Jason Statham, the series’ fifth, sixth, and seventh entries achieved an absurd, extravagant, and giddy brand of action that’s also aggressively good-natured. The overriding themes are those of family and community.

So, when the trailer for The Fate of the Furious revealed that Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto had turned on his family and was working on behalf of a villain played by Charlize Theron, fans were understandably apoplectic. It wouldn’t be beyond the franchise to chalk up Dom’s betrayal to some loony kind of mind control, just as it isn’t too far a stretch to bring back Statham’s character as an ally to the gang (he killed Han, you idiots!). In a franchise where each entry has gotten bigger and battier, veteran director but first-time Fast-er F. Gary Gray has his work cut out for him. –Randall Colburn

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The Circle

screen shot 2016 12 23 at 10 59 16 am The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: April 28th via EuropaCorp

Over the past few years, James Ponsoldt has turned out a series of quiet gems, films as empathetic and humane as those by any director working today: The Spectacular NowSmashedThe End of the TourWhile his films have garnered no shortage of critical support, he’s still waiting for the breakthrough project that makes him a well-justified household name. Hopefully The Circle, based on Dave Eggers’ devastating novel about a tech company slowly rising to monolithic status, will be that breakthrough. And with Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, and a host of other notable performers emerging to tell Eggers’ eerie, too-close-to-real story, The Circle has the potential to be one of the more interesting sleeper features of 2017. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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The Trip to Spain

screen shot 2016 12 21 at 9 14 51 am The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: Summer 2017 via Sky Atlantic

Here’s a little piece of advice: Anytime there’s an opportunity to watch Steve Coogan do his thing, take it, hold it, hug it. That goes tenfold on the rare occasion he’s paired with Rob Brydon, which is exactly what’s going down with Michael Winterbottom’s forthcoming comedy, The Trip to Spain. The third fling between the two comics will showcase more of Europe’s finest restaurants and feature gaggles of glorious impersonations. Our first taste from the film surfaced recently and found Coogan and Brydon sharing anecdotes about The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger, which prompted their own twist on the iconic frontman. (Spoiler: It’s hilarious.) Sadly, we’ll have to wait until it first airs overseas, but if we’re judging from past jaunts, your first class ticket to Spain will arrive this Summer. Now, if only we knew who will be suffering from existential angst during this vacay. Come to think of it, probably us. –Michael Roffman

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

guardians groot rocket The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: May 6th via Disney

“I’m not going to predict that we’ve got another Avengers on our hands, but that’s certainly the goal.” That’s what Disney CEO Bob Iger had to say about Guardians of the Galaxy, three months ahead of the first film’s release in 2014, where it would go on to earn $773.3 million and become one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s biggest hits. But to call Guardians another Avengers is to shortchange the good thing that Star-Lord and his unlikely team of heroes has going. Instead of banking on the familiar, Guardians has turned a collection of largely unknown characters into a franchise full of swagger and identity. The trailer for the sequel portrays a film that knows exactly what it is: a loose, fun, and irreverent series that puts adventure at the same level of importance as it puts action. Plus, this time Groot is a baby. That’ll be neat. –Philip Cosores

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Alien: Covenant

screen shot 2016 12 23 at 11 02 22 am The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: May 19th via 20th Century Fox

Make no mistake, Ridley Scott shit the bed with 2012’s Prometheus.

But it wasn’t hit fault. After all, the film looked gorgeous, brimming with stunning visuals and inventive set pieces that gelled with everything he created back in 1979’s Alien. It was also different and unique enough to actually make a case for what prequels could and should be every time the medium’s employed. Unfortunately, Damon Lindelof’s screenplay was a fucking mess, indulging in stupidity over reason with some of the most asinine characters to ever pop up in a sci-fi film. Even worse, there were stitched-in scenes employed to expand the Alien mythology, only to make it more convoluted.

ANYWAYS, Alien: Covenant says to hell with all that and basically submits to being a standard prequel with all the obvious Easter egg shit, which, based on the reception to Rogue One, is all anyone really wants these days anyhow. The good news is that he’s roped in a great cast with Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, and James Franco to die at the hands of nubile xenomorphs — and die they will. The trailer hints that the alien can now impregnate the body through the ears and opt to burst out through the spinal column? Can’t wait. –Michael Roffman

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Life

screen shot 2016 12 23 at 11 04 20 am The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: May 26th via Columbia

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: a group of astronauts discover an extraterrestrial lifeform, which goes on to wreak havoc in the halls of their claustrophobic spacecraft. All we’ve seen of Life’s killer critter is a tiny, translucent thing, so the central hook of Daniel Espinosa’s movie seems to be how much it’ll end up resembling a Xenomorph. He’s got a great cast behind him, with Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds heading up a cast that also includes Rebecca Ferguson, Ariyon Bakare, and Hiroyuki Sanada. There’s ample buzz around Alien: Covenant and Blade Runner 2049, but hey, maybe it’ll be Life that cements 2017 as a watershed year for creepy sci-fi. –Randall Colburn

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Wonder Woman

wonder woman movie 2017 gal gadot images The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: June 2nd via Warner Bros.

You can’t judge a film by its trailer but holy crap, those Wonder Woman trailers are something else, no? Helmed by female-person Patty Jenkins—that qualifier being a first for both the DCEU and the MCU—the first solo outing for Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince looks promising as hell. It’s not just the sure-to-be tremendous actions sequences, including that shot of Diana climbing out of the trenches and that cliff dive into the sea to save Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). It’s not even that it seems like this one might be honest-to-god funny—after all, Dawn from the U.K. Office is involved (Lucy Davis). No, the thing that makes us so eager to see Wonder Woman is all that light! A sunny day or two in the DCEU? That’s something to celebrate. –Allison Shoemaker

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The Mummy

mummy trailer The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: June 9th via Universal

Last time we got Mummy films, they were campy adventure flicks you could take your parents to. Moms love Brendan Fraser, it’s a fact. And, they were largely successes that haven’t particularly aged with any sort of reverence. 20 years later and The Mummy is aiming to be something different. Moms love Tom Cruise, too, but Cruise here is looking to bring some credibility to the Egyptian monster institution. He’s tagging along Russell Crowe and Annabelle Wallis, too, while Sofia Boutella is playing the princess-turned-monster (she was memorable this year as Jaylah in Star Trek Beyond). The tone is straight-faced danger, with director Alex Kurtzman replacing the laughs with genuine thrills. If there’s anything to bank on, it’s Cruise’s remarkable success rate for his career. We could never have said the same about Fraser. –Philip Cosores

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