Release Date: December 1st via Amazon Studios
Despite all the controversy that follows Woody Allen, the guy still knows how to nail down an exceptional cast. His latest feature, Wonder Wheel, is no exception: Kate Winslet, Justin Timberlake, Juno Temple, Jim Belushi, and Debi Mazar all star in another nostalgic drama from the auteur, this time set around Coney Island in the late 1950s. Given the time period and the New York setting, one would expect this film to be something of a spiritual memoir to Allen’s past. Then again, maybe not. Either way, we’ve been enjoying his more recent forays into the magical past — from 2011’s Midnight in Paris to 2015’s Irrational Man to 2016’s Café Society — so we expect to have a pleasant time on this go-around, too. –Michael Roffman
Release Date: October 20th via Universal
Hey hey, Mr. Police Man. Jo Nesbø’s chilly bestseller finally slashes the silver screen this October. The Snowman’s only a few years late to the Scandinavian Explosion of 2011 (read: Stieg Larsson novels), but we’re anticipating this Norwegian nerve-rattler all the same. The too-cool Michael Fassbender is Nesbø’s famed gumshoe, detective Harry Hole. By all means, giggle at his name. Now, understand that he’s an Oslo officer whose name is pronounced “Harry HOO-LEH”. Hole is tasked with looking into an elusive serial killer that seemingly strikes on the first snow of winter, preying on women, and The Snowman is an odyssey into memory, obsessions, scandal, and brutal violence. Sounds positively like a 1995 thriller. Or 2004, when the novel’s set.
The unsung Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) is at the helm after Martin Scorsese walked away, and if The Snowman is anything like his past works, expect an assured, mature, and dense film. Of course, there are trappings with any sort of film like this – violence against women, the devolution of a whodunit developed as a slasher. But we’re very willing to give Alfredson and Fassbender the benefit of the doubt on this one. Bonus: the trailer’s use of Massive Attack was amazing, if you haven’t caught it yet. –Blake Goble
Murder on the Orient Express
Release Date: November 10th via 20th Century Fox
Agatha Christie’s most famous story has not only seen three different adaptations in film and television already, but it’s practically become a genre unto itself. The tale of an American businessman found dead aboard the infamous Orient Express en route to London and detective Hercule Poirot’s quest to find the killer, Murder on the Orient Express remains a seminal work of mystery fiction. Given its reputation, one can forgive being skeptical about Kenneth Branagh’s latest attempt to bring the story to the screen (particularly since he has offered the Poirot role to himself).
That said, there’s a certain appeal to such an old-fashioned movie making its way to mainstream audiences in 2017. Branagh has an eye for thrillers (see: his remake of Sleuth), and the cast is a healthy mix of eclectic newcomers (Daisy Ridley, Leslie Odom Jr., Josh Gad) and Hollywood veterans (Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Michelle Pfeiffer). We haven’t really seen this kind of big, ensemble-focused potboiler since the days of ’70s disaster flicks and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
If nothing else, see it for Branagh’s amazing handlebar mustache, which somehow puts the exotic facial tapestry he sported in Wild Wild West to shame. –Clint Worthington
Battle of the Sexes
Release Date: September 22nd via Fox Searchlight Pictures
The words “based on a true story” can strike fear into the heart of many a film lover — after all, for every Hidden Figures, there’s a handful of 13 Hours-es. But who the fuck cares about that right now? Battle of the Sexes looks great. Directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine) find their based-on story in the 1973 tennis match between world champion Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and former champ and Taylor Swift-level PR fiend Bobby Riggs (Steve Carrell). If nothing else, this looks like a hell of a chance to see two of Hollywood’s most reliably charming personalities do battle on the field of charisma-based warfare, and that alone is reason enough to buy a ticket.
But Dayton and Faris are smart enough to dig deep. Expect them to soar past the nice vibes and famous faces and era-specific eyewear and explore something real. We’d be looking forward to this one in any year, but good gracious, this film seems to be arriving right on time. Just imagine Bobby Riggs with a Twitter account. —Allison Shoemaker
Release Date: December 22nd via 20th Century Fox
Last year, Steven Spielberg proved he’s pretty much lost his mojo when it comes to movies like The B.F.G.. But that’s okay because he can still knock out a solid drama like Bridge of Spies, even if that film tended to beep beep around Snoozeville. With The Post, it would appear that Spielberg has a real political firecracker on his hands — a true-life drama about the Washington Post’s coverage of the Pentagon Papers in 1971 — one that involves arguably this year’s greatest cast. Joining leading stars Tom Hanks and Meryl Steep is a who’s who of A-listers, specifically: Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Matthew Rhys, Bradley Whitford, Carrie Coon, Jesse Plemons, David Cross, Alison Brie, Bruce Greenwood, Tracy Letts, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Zach Woods. Here’s hoping that’ll get America to buy some truth for once this year. –Michael Roffman