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The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

on December 29, 2016, 12:00am
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With the coming of a new year, it almost feels as though the moviegoing cycle gets a chance to reset. Yet, where the early months of the year have typically been a space for refuse, 2017 is filling every corner of the release calendar with interesting, big-ticket projects. And after a year marked by cynicism and skepticism and way, way too much debate about the remake of a movie about comedians battling ghosts, we’re looking forward to moving on and starting fresh and getting excited about the movies yet to come.

And on paper, 2017 is going to be quite a thing. We’ll get DC’s best attempt at The Avengers, an actual Blade Runner sequel, and the return of everyone’s favorite Guardians. We’ll get new films from Darren Aronofsky, Kathryn Bigelow, and Paul Thomas Anderson. Sure, things will continue on as they have; the year’s full of franchises and sequels again, and America will buy Michael Bay more houses and cars with a new Transformers. But it’s looking like 2017 will have a lot to offer for any kind of moviegoer, from the casual admirers to the thrillseekers to the snobs. That’s worth getting excited about.

Plus, come on. How bad can a year featuring xXx: the Return of Xander Cage really be? Dude’s riding a dirtbike through the ocean. If that’s not a great omen for 2017, we don’t know what is.
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Split

split The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: January 20th via Universal

Ever since M. Night Shyamalan decided to scale back on his storytelling, he’s been in better company. His 2015 feature film, The Visit, wasn’t without its share of faults — the found-footage angle was unnecessary and hampered his strengths, which has always been his shot selection behind the camera — but it was thrilling, cohesive, and digestible enough that it didn’t seem too silly or outlandish. Now, he’s back with another tiny thriller called Split. James McAvoy stars as a man with 23 different personalities who abducts three teenage girls, one of them being The Witch‘s breakout rookie Anya Taylor-Joy. Our own critic Marten Carlson caught the film during a surprise screening at last year’s Fantastic Fest, praising McAvoy for his range and ultimately dubbing the film “one further step for Shyamalan on the road to cinematic redemption.” We believe it. –Michael Roffman

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XX

xx poster The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Premieres at Sundance Film Festival 2017 via Magnet

Horror films scare much more when they play back to back, and that’s exactly what XX plans to do. It’s a powerhouse of a release that sees four tales strung together, each tackled by a different woman. Karyn Kusama directs Her Only Living Son, which we can only imagine will be as memorable as The Invitation, her most recent movie and one of the best films of 2016. Zombie-loving and creepy creature-creating Jovanka Vuckovic will direct The Box. Annie Clark, the total powerhouse otherwise known as St. Vincent, makes her directorial debut with The Birthday Party, a title that already sounds as haunting and distorted as “The Strangers”. Lastly, there’s Don’t Fall, a film by Roxanne Benjamin, the producer behind the original V/H/S, meaning she’s a pro in short-form horror filmmaking already. In short: This anthology is already priming our goosebumps. –Nina Corcoran
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Landline

Landline - Still 1

Premieres at Sundance Film Festival 2017

Distributor: TBA

Three years after Obvious Child was sent to Sundance on the strength of a Kickstarter campaign and ended up as one of the festival’s breakout hits of this year, writer/director Gillian Robespierre will return with Landline. The story of a teenager in 1995 Manhattan who discovers that her father is having an affair, the film looks to continue Robespierre’s emergence as a keenly observant filmmaker of notice. Landline will re-team her with Child‘s Jenny Slate, in addition to Edie Falco, John Turturro, and Finn Wittrock. Keep an eye on this one, because there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be hearing a lot about it soon enough. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer
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John Wick Chapter 2

wick The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: February 10th via Summit

John Wick arrived out of nowhere in 2014, and returned Keanu Reeves to prominence as the titular ex-assassin, who drops the “ex-” when a kingpin breaks into his house and ends up killing his dog. It’s a remarkably well-made action thriller, particularly given its goofy-on-paper premise, and it also took the time to do the kind of world-building that doesn’t figure prominently into enough action series in this day and age. That world, of secret assassin hotels and clubs and currencies and rules, will form the spine of Chapter 2, in which Wick finds himself the target of a worldwide contract that brings out the best of the criminal underworld to try and take him down for good. But they’re up against a lot, because shit, he’s John Wick. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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The LEGO Batman Movie

LEGO Batman

Release Date: February 10th via Warner Bros.

As DC Comic’s expanded universe continues to fall into darkness, there’s one superhero who may save them before it’s too late: LEGO Batman. On February 10th, The LEGO Batman Movie will hit theaters and save the box office, if not America, as we know it. Will Arnett once again voices the titular hero who is loved by the public but whose only family is Alfred the butler (Ralph Fiennes) and adopted orphan Robin (Michael Cera). This time around, The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) rallies up a group of Batman’s biggest enemies to threaten the city of Gotham and its police department, led by police commissioner Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson), who wants to aid Batman. If the film’s anything like its trailer or like the crowd-pleasing film before it, The LEGO Movie, then we’re due for a film that balances action, comedy, and pure fun with the ease of a director who has it all figured out. After all, the trailer jabs at Robin the way viewers — namely the fans who voted he should be killed off — inevitably will, it mocks The Joker’s lovesick phase, and it reminds us that children’s toys elevate satire to a whole new level, one building block at a time. –Nina Corcoran

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Get Out

get out The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: February 24th via Universal

While promoting his very funny cat movie Keanu earlier this year, Jordan Peele (of Key & Peele fame) mentioned in some interviews that he wanted his next project to be a horror movie. Few people took him very seriously at the time — he’s a comedian, after all — but lo and behold, in October we got the trailer for Get Out, Peele’s gleefully demented, racially charged take on Meet the Parents. The Jason Blum production seems to revel in uncomfortable truths, following what happens when Rose (Allison Williams) invites her boyfriend Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) to return to her white-bread hometown to meet her parents, who may or may not be racist demons. It’s an insane, exciting premise that’s bound to ruffle some feathers in the early days of Trump’s America, and we can’t wait to see how it all shakes out. –Collin Brennan

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Logan

logan 2017 The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: March 3rd via 20th Century Fox

After the disappointing experience that was X-Men: Apocalypse, the jury was pretty mixed on another go-around with Wolverine. Then came the trailer for Logan, complete with Johnny Cash’s somber cover of “Hurt” and all the tear-jerking speeches that could win over any cynic’s soul. Sure, we’ve been burned over the years by epic previews, but there’s no denying that director and screenwriter James Mangold has found a fresh spin on an old story. Based on Mark Millar and Steve McKiven’s outstanding eight-part series Old Man Logan, the film looks to pare down the worldwide scope of the last two X-Men films into a simpler and more palpable experience. If that weren’t enough, the film also marks Hugh Jackman’s last outing as the titular immortal bastard, which should only add to the drama and make for a poignant finale to arguably the most chiseled character in the on-screen X-Men universe. What do you say to that, bub? –Michael Roffman

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T2: Trainspotting

t2 The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: March 3rd via TriStar

A little over 20 years ago, now, Renton and Sick Boy and Begbie and Spud became icons of a certain era of alternative culture when Trainspotting turned Irvine Welsh’s tale of Scottish heroin addicts into one of the great, kinetic films of the 1990s. It also made a name for all of its stars and for Danny Boyle as a filmmaker of great talent, which might be why all of the film’s principal names have returned for T2: Trainspotting, which we’re so happy to see that we’ll stop wishing that it wasn’t named as such. Word has varied on how much the film will resemble Porno, Welsh’s literary sequel, but it’ll follow Renton (Ewan McGregor) as he returns home to reconnect with the friends he left behind so many years ago. After stealing all of their money. That second one will probably cause some trouble. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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Kong: Skull Island

kong The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: March 10th via Warner Bros.

Cinematic universes are all the rage, so of course the upcoming Kong: Skull Island is part of a bigger picture. 2014’s Godzilla reboot was the first in the series and we know they are building to an over-the-top, city-destroying battle royale between the two. For Kong’s part, he gets a stellar cast of humans (Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, John C. Reilly) and creatures (giant spiders, giant lizards, a giant yak), all just opening acts for the film’s true star: the chest-pounding gorilla that’s been enthralling audiences since the Great Depression. With every reboot, there’s the sense that we’ve never seen Kong like this, with another generation of special effects anchoring the production. But if Godzilla is any indicator, this film series isn’t skimping on story or characters, hopefully giving fans of Kong something to cheer for. –Philip Cosores

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Beauty and the Beast

beauty and the beast The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: March 17th via Disney

When you can’t make a new Disney princess, revive an old one in true 3D: live action. Beauty and the Beast invites you to be their guest once again, this time with Belle (Emma Watson), Beast (Dan Stevens), Gaston (Luke Evans), and the rest of the French folk taking literal human form. If your heart feels weary about a remake, watch the trailer and let the magic whisk you away. Ewan McGregor as Lumière? Ian McKellen as Cogsworth? Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts? Yes, we would like to play dress-up and slip into the village during Belle’s theme song. It seems we’re not the only ones. Disney’s trailer set a new record with 127.6 million views in its first 24 hours — beating out previous record-holders Fifty Shades Darker (114 million views) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (112 million views). –Nina Corcoran

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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

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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

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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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The Beguiled

beguiled The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: June 23rd via Focus

In this new world, even auteur filmmakers aren’t immune to the call of the remake. Case in point: Sofia Coppola’s update of The Beguiled, previously a 1971 drama starring Clint Eastwood. That said, we’re pretty sure that the filmmaker behind Somewhere and Marie Antoinette might have a slightly different approach to the Civil War-era story of an injured Union soldier who ends up causing a serious row when he’s taken in by an all-girls school in Mississippi. Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, and Colin Farrell will play out the drama, which returns Coppola to the broad social drama and keen insight for gender dynamics that helped her break out with The Virgin Suicides nearly 20 years ago. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer
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Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man Homecoming

Release Date: July 7th via Sony

Who didn’t love Tom Holland in last year’s Captain America: Civil War? He was so punchy, so youthful, and so promising! Looking back, that’s quite an accomplishment for the kid, especially considering he’s the third Peter Parker to hit the silver screen in the last decade. And given how apathetic audiences felt toward Marc Forster’s lousy The Amazing Spider-Man 2, there was reason to believe the ol’ webslinger might never become a blockbuster champ again. Not so: This summer, he’ll have an entire movie to himself with Sony’s (second) reboot, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and he’ll be surrounded by an A-list cast that includes Robert Downey, Jr., Jon Favreau, Marisa Tomei, Michael Keaton, Logan Marshall-Green, Bokeem Woodvine, Donald Glover, Martin Starr, Hannibal Buress, and Tony Revolori. Granted, Cop Car director Jon Watts is a far, far cry from Sam Raimi, but you can never doubt a hungry, young filmmaker. –Michael Roffman

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War For the Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes

Release Date: July 14th via 20th Century Fox

We’re all dead tired of sequels and reboots, but director Matt Reeves stumbled on a surprisingly great premise in 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and turned it into a surprisingly great film, one that transformed the scattershot sci-fi franchise into a deeply affecting meditation on humanity’s capacity for self-destruction. Oh, and there were apes with machine guns riding horseback, too. Reeves’ other massive achievement is both technological and narrative in nature. He (along with motion actor Andy Serkis) managed to create cinema’s first utterly convincing CGI protagonist in Caesar, the ape leader tasked with defending his newly intelligent brethren from humanity’s last, gasping breath. War for the Planet of the Apes looks to be the conclusion of Caesar’s epic journey, and he seems to have found an appropriately ruthless opponent in Woody Harrelson’s Colonel. Any film that can get us to root for a computer-generated chimp against our own kind is one we have to applaud. –Collin Brennan

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Dunkirk

dunkirk The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: July 21st via Warner Bros.

Hollywood doesn’t need to make another World War II epic. But, apparently every director has to scratch that itch at some point in their career and considering we just opened the history books this past fall with Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge, it only makes sense to keep them on the table for Christopher Nolan. Now, as someone who caught the film’s first seven minutes with Rogue One in IMAX 3D, I can assure you this is going to be an event and a spectacle to remember. When the rousing, nail-biting footage came to a painfully teasing end, my first thought was, Well, damn, why can’t we be watching that right now instead, and that was minutes away from a new Star Wars film. Yes, Nolan has once again pieced together another rollercoaster of a movie, and with Tom Hardy zipping around in a biplane and Kenneth Branagh chewing up the scenery with his dashing Irish looks … um, let’s just say you don’t have to be a total history buff to enjoy appreciate it. –Michael Roffman

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

valerian The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: July 21st via EuropaCorp

It’s amazing that Luc Besson gets the kind of money he does to make such singularly, wonderfully weird movies. But we couldn’t be happier to see that the success of Lucy has afforded Besson the opportunity to take on an even more ambitious project in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, an adaptation of the French comic series Valérian and Laureline. Active from the late ’60s until 2010, the series’ unique designs and breathtaking aesthetic choices have influenced everything from Star Wars to the real reason Besson gets a forever pass in Hollywood, The Fifth Element. Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevigne will step in as the time/space-jumping heroes, and we’ll try not to lock in continuously on how much they really do look like siblings. Also, every time a major summer movie comes out that isn’t part of an existing franchise, an angel gets its wings. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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The Dark Tower

Roland Deschain (Idris Elba) in Columbia Pictures' THE DARK TOWER.

Release Date: July 28th via Sony

It hasn’t been easy for fans of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. The film adaptation of the popular sci-fi fantasy novels had been in development hell for over a decade until Sony and MRC put things into rotation a couple of years ago. Of course, that rocky road carried over into post-production, forcing the studio to push its original February 17th release date all the way back to July 28th. As such, we haven’t seen a teaser or a trailer, only promotional stills, an Entertainment Weekly cover story, and some random viral marketing. Whatever the case, it should be worth the wait, what with Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey involved as Roland Deschain and The Man in Black, respectively. The next hurdle is going to be whether or not this $60 mil film makes a shiny penny, enough that its accompanying television series and future sequels go down. Because really, this story cannot and will not be contained to one film and it would be a downright tragedy if it stopped here. We must trust in ka. –Michael Roffman
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Baby Driver

Ansel Elgort;Jon Hamm;Jamie Foxx;Eiza Gonzalez

Release Date: August 11th via TriStar

This is a curious play, as Edgar Wright’s actually making his bid to veer away from straight comedy with this one. That’s right, the man behind some of the best comedies of the past decade or so (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) is going full Bay. Baby Driver’s an action film — a chase film to be exact — that sounds like a hip and contemporary take on The Driver. Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars) is the getaway boy, working the wheels with crooks like Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm while trying to make one last score so he can leave the game and be with his baby. How 1987.

But here’s the rub: Elgort has tinnitus, and as a result, he’s obsessed with music. The music apparently helps him concentrate, and according to an Entertainment Weekly interview with Wright, each chase will be soundtracked to eclectic tunes. Wright wouldn’t divulge what music’s going to be used just yet, but we hope and dream. Imagine a car chase set to Prince, or Beethoven, or uh, what about some UB40? You know what, we’ll leave it to the professional. This could be fun. Maybe it’s the burn from losing Ant-Man. Maybe he’s just branching out like a good director should. But if Wright’s knack for kinetics and editing a movie are any indication, Baby Driver has the potential to be the mixed-up thrill ride of 2017. –Blake Goble
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IT

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Release Date: September 8th via New Line 

Losing Cary Fukunaga was a major blow to the production of It. The creative genius behind True Detective and Beasts of No Nation would have certainly added a visceral touch to the Stephen King adaptation. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, but in his place we have Argentine filmmaker Andrés Muschietti. Judging from his lively Instagram account, the guy’s staying true to the book, as he’s been teasing several behind-the-scenes stills of places, items, or characters that are seemingly wrenched right out of King’s terrifying pages. That should be a relief to diehard fans who have been starving for a proper remake, or rather, an adaptation that doesn’t reek of a made-for-TV movie. We’re in for one scary story: Bill Skarsgård looks great as Pennywise and The Losers’ Club sports a who’s who of excellent young performers, from Stranger Things‘ Finn Wolfhard to St. Vincent‘s Jaeden Lieberher. We’ll all float together come September. –Michael Roffman
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Blade Runner 2049

blade runner 2049

Release Date: October 6th via Warner Bros.

Here are some fun facts: Denis Villeneuve is one of the sharpest filmmakers alive right now. Nobody has a better eye than cinematographer Roger Deakins. Ryan Gosling is the most versatile actor of his generation. Harrison Ford is Harrison Ford. Guess what? They’re all involved in Blade Runner 2049. The highly anticipated sequel to Ridley Scott’s iconic 1982 sci-fi classic has been gestating for decades and fans had all but ruled it out. So, when the English filmmaker started dusting off his old brands a few years back, our replicant hearts rebooted and started beating fast. Now, we’re less than a year away from the film and the excitement is overwhelming. Based on the film’s stunning teaser trailer, it’s quite clear that we’re in for another masterpiece, one that oozes with silky mystery, which should likely be attributed to the fact that original screenwriter Hampton Fancher was behind the typewriter. Toss in a few stellar names like Mackenzie Davis, Robin Wright, and Jared Leto, and you already have us working on our origami skills. –Michael Roffman

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle

kingsman The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: October 6th via 20th Century Fox

The first Kingsman was something of a surprise, a drum-tight spy thriller that combined pithy one-liners with violence and gore that bordered on ludicrous, all held together by director Matthew Vaughn and the simple fact that Colin Firth is an unexpectedly perfect action star. The Golden Circle will likely double down on this formula, and that alone would be enough to make it a bright spot on the horizon. Instead, we’ve got the hints of interaction with an American service agency, new cast members Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges, Halle Berry, and unstoppable charm factory Channing Tatum, and the promise of Pedro Pascal playing a character named Jack Daniels. Sold. –Allison Shoemaker
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Logan Lucky

logan lucky The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: October 13th via TBA

Didn’t Steven Soderbergh retire? Regardless, it’s good to see the super-powered auteur back behind the camera (literally and figuratively) with his star-studded NASCAR caper. You read that right, a NASCAR caper. No, Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise have nothing to do with this. Logan Lucky seeks to put the art-house auteur in a comic lane. Shot this past summer, the North Carolina-set flick assembled stars like Daniel Craig, Adam Driver, Hilary Swank, Katherine Waterston, Seth MacFarlane, and Soderbergh’s modern muse, Channing Tatum, among many others. The premise is some sort of brotherly robbery, and one can only guess what kind of minimalist photography, funky music, and character games the director of Ocean’s Eleven will gift us with next fall. For fun, go to the movie’s IMDB photo section. One could swear Daniel Craig’s wearing a padded gut under his old-timey prison garb, and that’s kind of hysterical. –Blake Goble
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God Particle

god particle The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: October 27th via Paramount

With major movie franchises like Star Wars now following the “one release every year” model, we’re at serious risk of being pummeled to death by sequels and reboots. At least J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot team have offered a new twist on that model, promising a new Cloverfield film each year but ensuring that each of those films stands on its own as a smart, unique sci-fi thriller in the vein of Dan Trachtenberg’s 10 Cloverfield Lane.

Next in line is Julius Onah’s God Particle, which follows a group of astronauts fighting for survival when they make a “terrifying discovery that challenges all they know about the fabric of reality.” Written by Oren Uziel and bolstered by a stellar cast led by David Oyelowo, God Particle looks to be another drastic variation on the Cloverfield premise, which doesn’t seem to have much of a through line besides “total destruction of humanity.” Considering how well that’s worked out for Bad Robot so far, we can’t wait to meet our horrific demise yet again. –Collin Brennan
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Thor: Ragnarok

thor 3 The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: November 3rd via Disney

Thor has never been the No. 1 stunner of the MCU, despite the indefatigable charms of Chris Hemsworth and the presence of the guy holding the top slot on our Marvel heroes and villains list. With Ragnarok, though, the Asgardian might just steal some thunder from the rest of the Avengers. While not much is known about the plot just yet, you can expect screentime for both the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), as well as some new faces—Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, and—most promisingly—Tessa Thompson of Creed as Valkyrie. Add in director Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) and damn, that seems like it might just be a hell of a movie. –Allison Shoemaker
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Justice League

dc films justice league

Release Date: November 17th via Warner Bros.

We won’t deny that Warner’s been ham-fisting this whole DC universe thing. They’ve sprinkled it with grit, and allowed David Ayer and Zack Snyder to treat beloved comics with the carelessness of toys because the global grosses will be fine no matter what. Who cares about quality when familiarity can clear $800 million globally? Supermen and Batmen and Wonder Women, oh my.

But that’s the thing. Deep down, you want to open this shiny new toy. We want to see the Flash, the fastest man alive, bust the Dark Knight’s chops. We’d love to root for the Amazonian demigoddess Wonder Woman, smiting baddies with her “god killer” sword. And we’d like to know how Superman comes back to life after Batman V Superman.

So gather round, kids, and revel in the chance to see aquamen and cyborgs and strange good guys alike, trying to do some good on screen for our entertainment. Get hyped now. Because dude, the Justice League is coming to the big screen, and that’s something to look forward to. (Because come November, it’s gonna be nothing but a bloodbath in the comment sections over “Marvel vs DC” and Zack Snyder’s “aesthetics.”) –Blake Goble

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Coco

coco The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: November 22nd via Disney/Pixar

We don’t know much about the premise of Coco just yet. There’s a 12-year-old boy, his name is Miguel, he (probably) plays the guitar, and there’s something about a generations-old mystery—that’s about it. And oh, yes, one last fact: we know it’s a Pixar movie. That final bit alone is worthy of some hype, but given that this is the first Pixar film where the lead is a person of color and that the voice cast includes Gael García Bernal and Benjamin Bratt, there’s no shortage of reasons to mark this one on the calendar. Then you’ll have two big events on the docket for Thanksgiving weekend. –Allison Shoemaker
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Murder on the Orient Express

murder on the orient express The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: November 22nd via 20th Century Fox

The bad news: Johnny Depp’s in this.

The great news: Penélope Cruz, Daisy Ridley, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Michael Peña, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Kenneth Branagh are in this.

The best news: Branagh’s directing Agatha Christie’s great mystery classic, and starring as one of the author’s greatest creations, detective Hercule Poirot. Splendid!

Did you hear that? That’s the collective sigh of relief among 8th-graders looking for an easy-to-watch film adaptation of Christie’s work that will save them some time on book reports. But jokes aside, this sounds like old-fashioned fun. Branagh’s in his element with vintage history and English literature. The helmer behind Henry V, Macbeth, Cinderella, Thor, and Much Ado About Nothing has a verve and wit for this kind of storytelling that could result in a sleeper holiday hit that’s free of explosions and heavy on exposition. My word. What a ride this could be. –Blake Goble
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Star Wars Episode VIII

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Release Date: December 15th via Disney

It doesn’t take much to hype up a new Star Wars film. It’s Star Wars for Christ’s sake! It could be a two-hour film featuring a lightsaber rolling around on a table during an off-screen sandstorm and still make a killing at the box office. But, here’s why this writer — who has been incredibly fickle about the latest offerings from Disney — is incredibly excited for Episode VIII: Rian Johnson. The writer and director of Looper and Brick is no slouch when it comes to creating something original and that’s what this franchise desperately needs right now.

With The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan carved out unbelievable characters in Rey, Finn, Poe, and Kylo Ren, leaving them with exciting opportunities ahead. However, they relied too much on old tropes and stupid MacGuffins — you know, like another goddamn Death Star. So, here’s hoping Johnson takes us to exciting new places like Rogue One did, only with legitimate stakes and fresh scenarios because of the great characters at hand. If anything, one has to hope it’ll be the brilliant sendoff for the late Carrie Fisher. –Michael Roffman
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Downsizing

downsizing The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: December 22nd via Paramount

Alexander Payne’s never been one for high concepts, which is part of what makes his forthcoming Downsizing such a curious prospect. In films like Nebraska and About Schmidt, Payne told simple stories about complex characters. In Downsizing, however, Payne will tell the story of a near-future where humans can shrink themselves to 1/8 of their size as a means to reduce consumption of the Earth’s dwindling resources. As a Nebraskan who undergoes the procedure, Matt Damon will star alongside a crackerjack cast that includes Reese Witherspoon, Alec Baldwin, Christoph Waltz, Neil Patrick Harris, and Hong Chau. It’s a longtime passion project of Payne’s, and should showcase an absurd side of the director that’s gone heretofore unexplored. –Randall Colburn
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Okja

okla The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: TBA via Netflix

Bong Joon-ho took American audiences by storm with Snowpiercer in 2013. Now he’s ready to grab their attention once more. The South Korean director and screenwriter returns with Okja, an equally intensive film, but this time leans deeper into drama than action-adventure. The film sees a young girl named Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun) risking elements of her personal life and health to prevent a multi-national company from kidnapping Okja, a massive animal who happens to be her best friend. Somewhere in the mix, a sea of American actors (Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Steven Yeun, Lily Collins, Devon Bostick, Giancarlo Esposito, etc.) come in to play. The multilingual monster movie has already seen film crews move from South Korea to Canada to New York, so it looks like Joon-ho is keen on representation not just for its human cast, but for the animal the film gets its name from, too. Consider us taken. –Nina Corcoran
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Mute

mute The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: TBA via Netflix

File this one under ‘reasons to be excited about science fiction films in 2017.’ A spiritual sequel of sorts to 2009’s Moon, this long-awaited passion project from Duncan Jones follows a mute bartender (Alexander Skarsgård) as he searches for his abducted partner in the underbelly of a dystopian Berlin. He’ll be joined in that underbelly by Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux, Florence Kasumba, Noel Clarke, and others—including a possible cameo from Moon’s Sam Rockwell. Jones has described the film as a sci-fi Casablanca, and if those words don’t make you want to see this movie immediately, then I can’t help you. Look for a joint Netflix and theatrical release in late 2017. –Allison Shoemaker
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The Masterpiece

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Release Date: TBA

The Room is one of those cult phenomena that can barely be called “cult” at this point; its roots are in the grand tradition of aggressively participatory midnight screenings, but the Adult Swim airings on April Fools’ Day introduced Tommy Wiseau’s weird, personal, technically incompetent, and completely insane 2003 melodrama to a much broader audience. But for a certain kind of die-hard fan, the appeal of The Room has always been as much about the oddity of its existence as the ironic laughs of “You are tearing me apart, Lisa!” Wiseau’s co-star Greg Sestero chronicled the fitting chaos of its conception and filming in his hilarious book The Disaster Artist, and wherever a book exists, James Franco will materialize to adapt it. With The Masterpiece, Franco will don Wiseau’s wiglike locks alongside Dave Franco as Sestero, and has the potential to function as both wild Hollywood satire and a weirdly touching glance at the independent filmmaking process. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer
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Annihilation

annihilation The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: TBA via Paramount

Oscar Isaac is on some kind of roll. When he’s not busy being the best damn thing about the new Star Wars trilogy, the stud actor is headlining projects like HBO’s Show Me a Hero and Alex Garland’s lean, thought-provoking sci-fi thriller Ex Machina. Isaac and Garland will once again team up on next year’s ecological sci-fi spectacle Annihilation, and this time they’re bringing some inspired source material along for the ride.

Based on the first book in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, Annihilation follows a biologist (Natalie Portman) trying to find answers behind her husband’s tragic disappearance. Her search eventually leads her to an area that’s been sealed off as an environmental disaster zone, but it’s actually something darker and more fantastical than that. Garland, who is proving to be just as deft a filmmaker as he is a novelist (he penned the acclaimed 1996 novel The Beach) adapted the story himself, and he’s certainly got the screen talent to make his vision come alive. –Collin Brennan
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Untitled Detroit Project

kathryn bigelow The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: TBA

Not much is known so far about Kathryn Bigelow’s latest project, but that name alone is worth getting plenty excited about. After winning Best Director in 2010 for The Hurt Locker and following it with one of the great modern war films in Zero Dark Thirty, Bigelow will return this coming year with a thriller set against the 1967 Detroit riots, 50 years after the city was rocked by what started as the forceful shutdown of an unlicensed bar and turned into several days of subsequent chaos. John Boyega, Jack Reynor, Will Poulter, and a litany of familiar faces will return to that shocking moment in American history, and with Bigelow at the helm, it’s likely that the film will offer more insight than the average historical reconstruction. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer
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Death Note

death note The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: TBA via Netflix

After Warner Bros. released the rights to Death Note earlier this year, Netflix was quick to jump on the adaptation of the wildly popular crossover manga about a teenager who happens upon a notebook that can kill anybody whose name is written in it. The project was promising even before then, with Adam Wingard (The GuestYou’re Next) directing Nat Wolff as the teenager, Light, and Willem Dafoe providing the voice of Ryuk the Shinigami, a god of death that actually looks just a bit like Dafoe if he became a member of Skinny Puppy or something. In keeping with the source material, Wingard has promised a hard-R rendering of the revenge tale, making it one of Netflix’s riskier projects to date (if risk still exists for Netflix at this point). But with the talent involved, we can’t help but be excited about Wingard cracking the code on quality live-action anime adaptations. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer
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Mother

 The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: TBA via Paramount

With shooting already completed and a title attached to the project, it seems Darren Aronofsky’s movie will be out sooner than we expected. Mother tells the tale of a couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home. A plot that vague sounds more like a horror film than a drama, but Aronofsky’s movie will use Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson and Ed Harris to create exactly that. The whole thing is soundtracked by composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, meaning this is the first film Aronofsky created without a score by Clint Mansell. When comparing the composers’ works (Requiem for a Dream vs. The Theory of Everything or Black Swan vs. Arrival, for instance), one thing becomes clear: Mother may see Aronofsky opting for a more subtly unnerving film than the traditionally dark climaxes of movies past. –Nina Corcoran
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Dick Cheney Biopic

dick cheney The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: TBA via Paramount

Having already skewered newscasters (Anchorman) and the folks behind the financial crisis (The Other Guys, The Big Short), it’s only natural for director Adam McKay to turn his attention toward the greatest political villain of the 21st century: Dick Cheney. In his next, as-yet-untitled feature, McKay will take on the backstory of the curmudgeonly Bush II puppetmaster, following his rise from CEO of Halliburton to Vice President of the United States. While at the White House, Cheney famously took on an outsized role for his post, leading the charge for the post-9/11 war on global terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq and championing such barbaric activities as waterboarding. Good guy, that one. We look forward to McKay giving him the fair and balanced treatment he deserves, though it seems we’ll have to wait until late 2017 to see how it all shakes out. –Collin Brennan
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Molly’s Game

sorkin The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: TBA via STX 

Aaron Sorkin’s creations aren’t just for watching. They’re for listening, and listening closely. The writer behind The West Wing, The Social Network, The Newsroom, and other rapid-fire dialogue portals is gearing up to make his directorial debut, Molly’s Game, next year, and by the sound of it, this will require attentive ears, too. After failing to make the Olympic team, Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) takes a year off before law school to waitress in Los Angeles and, though several bizarre happenings, winds up running the most exclusive, high-stakes poker game in the world … for eight years. It’s a plot ripe with millions and mischievousness. There to star beside her is Idris Elba and, according to rumors, Kevin Costner as well. Based on Bloom’s memoir, this one should be a quick, witty, and gripping film complete with all the walk-and-talks your Sorkin’d heart desires. –Nina Corcoran
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You Were Never Really Here

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Release Date: TBA via Amazon 

It’s been a good six years since Lynne Ramsay’s powerful, unsettling We Need To Talk About Kevin polarized critics and audiences alike with its unflinching tale of a school shooter’s mother trying to reassemble her life after a tragedy, but the filmmaker will return in 2017 with You Were Never Really Here, an adaptation of Jonathan Ames’ violent novella about an ex-Marine (Joaquin Phoenix) who stumbles onto a trail of corruption while attempting to rescue a young girl from a sex trafficking ring. Ramsay is an estimable filmmaker, and the feature (which Amazon won in a bidding war at Cannes this past year) looks to continue her rise as a notable voice in modern cinema. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer
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Under the Silver Lake

silver lake The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: TBA via A24

In 2015, David Robert Mitchell won us over with It Follows. It was simple, original horror that haunted us all the way down the hallway to our bedroom and beyond. That’s rare these days, which is why we’re at the very least intrigued by what he plans to do with the neo-noir genre for Los Angeles-set thriller Under the Silver Lake. Will he parody it like Rian Johnson did with Brick years and years ago? Or will he make a sordid thriller in the vein of David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive? Who knows. What we do know, however, is that he’s lined up one of the best alternative casts of the new year with Andrew “Hot Streak” Garfield, Callie Hernandez, Topher Grace, Zosia Mamet, Riley Keough, and the great Jimmi Simpson. Hot damn that’s a rogues gallery of fresh, young blood, one that should give any vampiric cinephile a reason to draw their fangs. Wait, wrong genre. –Michael Roffman
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Untitled PT Anderson film

pt anderson The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: TBA via Focus

Here’s what we know: Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis are together again, baby. Their upcoming film is supposedly set in the 1950s London fashion scene. Focus Features won the rights in a “tense” bidding war. The film will have a $35 million budget. It’s aiming for a 2017 release date.

Here’s why we’re excited: Duh, it’s a P.T.A. movie. He’s arguably our greatest living filmmaker (check out our exhaustive Dissected for a refresher). Duh, it’s Daniel Day-Lewis. He’s arguably our greatest living actor, and he hasn’t done a film since 2012’s Lincoln, which would’ve been a lot better if it were made by Anderson. Last time they worked together, on 2007’s There Will Be Blood, they made one of the greatest movies of the 21st century, and Day-Lewis won a well-deserved Oscar for his performance as viscous oil magnate Daniel Plainview.

Now, just imagine him holding some measuring tape and rocking some tweed. Seriously, just think about the costume design on this thing. –Randall Colburn

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