debra-winger90. “The Lovers”
Director: Azazel Jacobs (“Terri”)
Cast: Debra Winger, Tracy Letts, Tyler Ross, Eric Satterberg
Synopsis: A married couple planning a divorce fall in love with each other again.
What You Need To Know: Having already established themselves as the hipster distributor of choice in the last few years, A24 moved into actually producing movies in 2016, and it couldn’t have gone much better — “Moonlight,” the first film they financed from the group up, was the best-reviewed movie of the year and looks to be on course for a heap of Oscar nominations, quite a feat given its lack of marquee names. It’s surely bolstered their confidence in terms of financing films themselves, and one of the beneficiaries of that is “The Lovers,” the latest from director Azazel Jacobs, who made the undervalued John C. Reilly-starring indie “Terri” a few years back. This looks to be their contribution to the late-in-life romance genre that’s been successful of late with films like “Hello My Name Is Doris,” but we’re expecting something with a little more edge. Especially given the two lead players — Tracy Letts, who’s become an in-demand character actor recently, and Debra Winger, who’s not been seen so much recently but is always superb when she does turn up (as in “Rachel Getting Married,” for instance).
Release Date: Wrapped in September, so should be ready for the fall festivals.

Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets89. “Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets”
Director: Luc Besson (“The Professional”)
Cast: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevigne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, John Goodman
Synopsis: Two space cops are sent to the universe’s biggest, most diverse city on a secret mission.
What You Need To Know: After nearly two decades in what felt like the directorial wilderness, instead seemingly focusing his energy on writing and producing movies where Liam Neeson punches people, Luc Besson made an impressive comeback to the blockbuster world with “Lucy,” a relatively modest, completely mad sci-fi film that shocked everyone by making half a billion dollars worldwide. But now Besson’s aiming even bigger, returning to grand-scale sci-fi for one of the most expensive independent movies ever made, an adaptation of a well-loved French sci-fi comic. It’s about as big a gamble as you could make, but the fun recent trailer suggests it could pay off, with an energy closer to a mash-up of “Avatar,” “Star Wars,” “Guardians Of The Galaxy” and Besson’s own “The Fifth Element” rather than, say, “Jupiter Ascending.” Could be a trainwreck, but we’re definitely rooting for Besson to come through with this one.
Release Date: July 21st

life88. “Life”
Director: Daniel Espinosa (“Safe House”)
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Olga Dihovichnaya, Ariyon Bakare
Synopsis: The crew of the International Space Station find a sample that might be the first proof of extra-terrestrial life.
What You Need To Know: After the success of “Gravity” and “The Martian,” the semi-realistic space movie has become a big draw again after years in the wilderness, and we’re starting to see the fruits of that this year, with at least two major movies in their vein (after “Passengers” at Christmas, too). “Life” is the bigger budgeted and the starriest of the two, reteaming Ryan Reynolds with his “Deadpool” writers, and Daniel Espinosa, dodging director’s jail mainly because not a single human being appeared to actually see “Child 44,” at the helm. Gyllenhaal and the fast-rising Ferguson join Reynolds in the cast, so we’re definitely interested, though we have to confess that we found the trailer awfully familiar. Hopefully there’s some inventiveness and thoughtfulness being held back at this stage of the marketing.
Release Date: March 24th

wonder-woman-gal-gadot87. “Wonder Woman”
Director: Patty Jenkins (“Monster”)
Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Danny Huston, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen
Synopsis: Amazonian princess Diana leaves the island of Themyscira in an attempt to end the First World War.
What You Need To Know: As with many things in life, it might have to be women that save the DC Movie Universe. “Man Of Steel” was a divisive start, but Warner Bros. really shit the bed with their superhero efforts in 2016, with “Batman V. Superman” and “Suicide Squad” being not just disappointing but actively toxic. Our hopes aren’t high for “Justice League” at this point (you won’t see it on this list), but we still have some faith that “Wonder Woman” could be a good’un. Yes, Zack Snyder co-wrote the script, but the talented Patty Jenkins is the woman in charge, and early footage, while having a bit of a whiff of an early 00s superhero pic, has at least been distinctive and impressive looking. The character’s an iconic hero who’s never had a great showcase on the big screen, but if Jenkins can pull it off, then a lot’ll be forgiven with the DC Movieverse.
Release Date: June 2nd

eva-green-womb86. “Based On A True Story”
Director: Roman Polanski (“Chinatown”)
Cast: Eva Green, Emmanuelle Seigner
Synopsis: A writer is put in danger by an obsessive woman
What You Need To Know: As well as once sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl, Roman Polanski is also a filmmaker, though it’s been a while since he made anything really good — “The Ghost Writer” was beloved by some but we found it pretty turgid, “Carnage” never escaped its stage roots, and “Venus In Fur” was pretty awful and disappeared basically without a trace. The director, who once sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl, has been away for four years, but he returns in 2017 with this adaptation of a novel by author Delphine de Vignan, which stars his partner Emmanuelle Seigner and the great Eva Green. It’s the kind of psychological thriller that Polanski, who once sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl, does best, and intriguingly he’s teamed up with non sex-criminal Olivier Assayas, who co-wrote the script with the convicted statutory rapist.
Release Date: Filmed in November, so probably not at Cannes

battle-of-the-sexes85. “Battle Of The Sexes”
Director: Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris (“Little Miss Sunshine”)
Cast: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough, Elisabeth Shue, Sarah Silverman
Synopsis: The true story of the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and sexist former tennis player Bobby Riggs.
What You Need To Know: The odd semi-exception aside (we’re especially fond of recent Andy Samberg/Kit Harington HBO mockumentary “Seven Days In Hell”), tennis is not a sport that’s usually worked especially well on the big screen for some reason. But the makers of “Battle Of The Sexes” hopes to change that in 2017 by documenting the legendary match/publicity stunt that came about when 1940s star Bobby Riggs claimed that women were so inferior at tennis that he could beat the best female player even at the age of 55, causing Billie Jean King to stand up and give him the spanking he deserved. A one-time Danny Boyle project (he’s still producing, with his “Slumdog Millionaire” scribe Simon Beaufoy penning the script), it’s now in the hands of Dayton & Faris, only the second film from the duo after breaking out with “Little Miss Sunshine” a decade ago. The theme should certainly resonate in Trump’s America: hopefully the execution will too.
Release Date: None yet, but likely in the summer or fall.

TRANSCENDENCE

84. “The Dinner”
Director: Oren Moverman (“The Messenger”)
Cast: Chloe Sevigny, Rebecca Hall, Laura Linney, Richard Gere, Steve Coogan
Synopsis: Two families meet for dinner to discuss what to do about their children, who have committed a horrific crime.
What You Need To Know: There are few filmmakers more unsung today than Oren Moverman. His three features to date, in “The Messenger,” “Rampart” and “Time Out Of Mind” have all been strikingly distinct and very good indeed, and his script work on films like “Love & Mercy” equally so, but outside of these walls, we feel like he’s not discussed that much in cinephile circles. Nevertheless, we’re always going to be receptive to his work, and his new one sounds positively facsinating. Based on a best-selling novel by Herman Koch, and originally scripted by Moverman for Cate Blanchett to direct until she fell away and he took over, it sounds a little like “Carnage” on the surface, but promises something much darker, examining wealth, privilege and justice with an extremely promising cast.
Release Date: Shot last January, so could well be headed for Sundance and/or Berlin.

storm-in-the-stars

83. “Mary Shelley”
Director: Haifaa al-Mansour (“Wadjda”)
Cast: Elle Fanning, Douglas Booth, Bel Powley, Tom Sturridge, Maisie Williams
Synopsis: The story of the love affair between Mary Shelley and Percy Bysse Shelley, and how it inspired her to write the classic “Frankenstein.”
What You Need To Know: Even if her first film had been awful, Haifaa al-Mansour would have made history as Saudi Arabia’s first female director. But her debut “Wadjda” wasn’t awful, it was tremendous, and put her on the map immediately as a serious talent to watch. Five years on, her follow-up will finally arrive, and it sees her stick with a female-centered story, albeit a British period drama about a couple of famous literary figures, and the creation of one of fiction’s most famous monsters. Penned by Australian writer Emma Jensen and Irish playwright Conor McPherson, this won out over a number of developing Mary Shelley biopics, and has a strong cast of young stars, led by the always terrific Elle Fanning in the lead role.
Release Date: Shot early in 2016, so Berlin could be a possibility.

Alicia Vikander Eva Green Euphoria82. “Euphoria”
Director: Lisa Langseth (“Pure” )
Cast: Alicia Vikander, Eva Green, Charles Dance, Charlotte Rampling, Adrian Lester
Synopsis: Two feuding sisters reunite to take a journey through Europe together
What You Need To Know: She’s now an Oscar-winner, blockbuster star and Lara Croft, but Alicia Vikander owes a huge debt in getting her start to director Lisa Langseth, whose 2009 debut “Pure” launched Vikander onto the international stage. The two later reteamed for the equally good “Hotel,” and now Vikander’s returning the favor, headlining Langseth’s English-language debut alongside Eva Green. It’s a family drama of a sort, but knowing Langseth’s previous work, it should be an uncommonly finely honed and sensitively directed one, and we’d basically walk through fire to see Vikander and Green on screen together, so this could be one of the gems of 2017.
Release Date: Filmed over the summer – Venice or TIFF could be a good bet.

danny-mcbride81. “Legacy Of A Whitetail Deer Hunter”
Director: Jody Hill (“Observe & Report”)
Cast: Josh Brolin, Danny McBride, Scoot McNairy, Rory Scovel, Montana Jordan
Synopsis: A father takes his son on a hunting trip hoping to bond with him, but his boy is completely uninterested.
What You Need To Know: They’re HBO staples thanks to “Eastbound & Down” and more recently “Vice Principals,” but director Jody Hill and Danny McBride haven’t teamed for a movie since their micro-budget breakthrough “The Foot Fist Way” (McBride had a brief cameo in Hill’s controversial and divisive “Observe & Report,” but Seth Rogen took the lead there). So the news that they’ve cowritten this new movie is good, though McBride will take a backseat to Josh Brolin, who has the lead role. It’s hard to get a read on the tone of the film — could this be a trip into more serious fare (Scott Rudin, who usually deals with upmarket Oscar-y fare, is producing) another taboo-busting, uneasy comedy, or something akin to a U.S. “Hunt For The Wilderpeople?” Any way around, we’re intrigued, even if we’re destined to spend the whole year mixing it up with Yorgos Lanthimos’s “The Killing Of A Sacred Deer” (see below).
Release Date: It wrapped early last year, so a Sundance bow might be in the cards.

  • rickyticki

    PTA’s TWBB was not set in the Depression-era, it was early the early 20th century, starting even before, in 1898, and ending before the Great Depression, in 1927. Any cinefile would know (though maybe not the specifics), and any idiot knows TGD was in the late 1920s through the 30s.

  • Dan

    It may not qualify for this film list, but it’s also worth remembering that Twin Peaks makes its return next year as well (and, if rumors are true, may see some form of theatrical release for selected episodes).

  • blake011

    Very much doubt the PTA film will be ready by 2017

  • Thor2013

    “Lady Bird” is NOT Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut. She previously directed “Nights and Weekends”, which is one of the greatest movies of the last decade (at least according to me).

    • Floyd Rock

      It’s her singular directorial debut though since Nights and Weekends was made with Joe Swanberg, and she’s even talked about it in an interview about how it was a new experience for her.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRtveFQxJC0

  • Manoutoftime

    You overlooked “The Salesman” by Asghar Farhadi, one of the greatest directors working today.

    • Floyd Rock

      I would guess that they covered it in their list for 2016. A lot of international films that are likely to get US release dates next year were probably covered there.

  • aidanf

    OK, the omission of Alfonso Cuaron’s next film is a HUGE mistake in so many ways. 1) It represents a hasty job of making this list 2) You guys had him at #12 in your 100 Best Director list, and said about his next film “going back to Mexico to shoot a smaller-scale Spanish-language drama, only makes us love him more”. ?????? 3) It’s freaking Alfonso Cuaron, and he’s making a Mexican-language film. How do you make a mistake like that?

    • SirKicks

      Definitely an oversight.

  • Carlos Andres

    The PTA movie is set in London not in New York.

  • rnlol

    ‘Woody Allen (“Scoop”)’

    wat

  • Olive

    You need an editor. For starters, where is The Lost City of Z? You’re not eager to see it next year? It was one of the best reviewed films at the NYFF just a few weeks ago (at 87% on RT right now), ten years in the making, and directed by James Gray. How do you explain an oversight like that? Especially when this list has some real junk. And in what universe is Olivier Assayas considered a “smart young filmmaker”? Bad editing. Pattinson is working with lots of smart, young filmmakers, and I’m far more excited about seeing Damsel, from the Zellner brothers than anything that Assayas might put out. Idol’s Eye is still a pipe dream, Assayas doesn’t know if he can even get it together (according to his latest interview out of a film festival in Argentina). I’d even rather see Harmony Korine’s The Trap than Idol’s Eye.

    • Jack

      Seeing as Olivier Assayas is a month away from turning 62, I would wholeheartedly agree he is not young! But the majority of his films have received acclaim (https://www.rottentomatoes.com/celebrity/olivier_assayas/). He’s obviously nothing to sneeze at. On a different note, agreed that Lost City of Z and Damsel (and also Alfonso Cuaron’s currently-in-production drama set in Mexico City) were unduly snubbed.

      • Lost City of Z we’ve already seen and reviewed so that goes on another list which you’ll see soon.. Harmony Korine’s The Trap is currently on hold, fyi and he may not even make it- certainly not in 2017. So it’s actually the trap that’s a pipe dream whereas Idol’s Eye is actually going forward and has money and backers, etc.. The Cuaron was an omission that we rectified.

  • cirkusfolk

    The Sicario sequel, Soldado, is actually filming right now and is expected in 2017.

  • Josh King

    So right about a Phoenix film always feeling like an event 🙂 The films don’t always come through for me, but he does. My favorite film of late is The Immigrant. His performance shook me to tears

    • Mortimer

      Phoenix is on the roll this decade – The Master, Her, The Immigrant, Inherent Vice. Even when the final result is a little bit underwhelming (Irrational Man) he makes the movie interesting. And I agree about ‘The Immigrant’, excellent film and very underrated. Can’t wait for ‘Mary Magdalene’.

  • Josh King

    I could not get on board with The Lobster. I guess it’s just the whole genre. I didn’t find it funny. But your right Farrell was great. He’s just gotten better and better these days. Raffey Cassidy is so adorable, little nervous about seeing her in a Yorgos film

    • blake011

      I loved the hotel section of The Lobster. I thought it got way less interesting once he escaped.

  • Josh King

    So appropriate to have a PTA/DDL reunion at #1. There Will Be Blood was brilliant and Day Lewis created one of the greatest characters ever, endlessly quotable. You look like a fffffool, dont you Tilford?

    • blake011

      I agree I can’t wait I just don’t see how it will be coming out in 2017. My prediction is that it hits Cannes 2018.

    • Mortimer

      “I AM THE THIRD REVELATION !!!” lol

      • Josh King

        hahaha yes

  • Jeremy Carrier

    This is always one of my favorite features of the year, I refer to it often. Thanks, ya’ll.

  • jh

    Thanks guys, great list. Ignore the morons.

  • Your opinions are insufferable. It seems like you hate pretty much everything, except the usual stuff internet geeks love (PTA etc.). You put Alien Covenant, the new Polanski and the new Allen movies on the list, but rip their recent work apart in the text. Makes no sense.

    • blake011

      Recent Ridley Scott isn’t that great. Hoping this is better.

  • Mortimer

    Rooney Mara certainly knows how to choose interesting projects. Her only mistake this decade was ‘Pan’.

  • Mortimer

    WEIGHTLESS should be in the Top 20 at least. I completely understand why people aren’t enthusiastic about this project anymore but it deserves much more for that glorious cast alone. Best ensemble of the decade ? I think so !

    • SirKicks

      We don’t know how many of them will even make the cut though and how many scenes they’ll get. Knight of Cups had a great cast too but some actors were basically a glorified cameo if you could even identify them to begin with.

      Really want a trailer already though.

      • Mortimer

        I hope that at least main six (Gosling, Mara, Fassbender, Portman, Bale, Blanchett) are in the final cut and with as much screen time as possible. If Weightless premieres in Berlin (and it’s likely) then we can expect trailer this month (that was the case with Knight of Cups). Seriously, I’m tired of waiting for this movie.

  • Sabrina

    I hope The Beguiled delivers, and make Elle Fanning earn her first Oscar nomination.

  • Gravitynaut

    Wait, why was “Loving Vincent” not mentioned? There’s no chance that film is going to be anything other than a mindblowing spectacle of animation. Is it still that relatively unknown?

  • Timmer917

    Are you serious with that Polanski write up? Why are you joking about him sexually assaulting a minor? Is that really not that big a deal to you, do you think it shouldn’t cloud peoples views of his films??

    • Ludwig

      Uh… what?

      I got the complete opposite reaction to that. It’s a joke, sure, but a very serious one. What possible reason would they have to mention it so many times if they felt it wasn’t a big deal or shouldn’t cloud peoples views of his films? I mean, I honestly can’t understand how you can have gotten that impression.

    • scarlet7

      I’m a fairly loud feminist and even I found it kind of needless. The only person who deserves to hate him is his victim and she has forgiven him and wants to move on with her life. You can see something close to a filmed apology with the way Polanski handles TESS and DEATH AND THE MAIDEN.

      • Nancy Arseneault-Heald

        I think an apology would have a greater impact if it wasn’t “assumed” but actually spoken.

  • Josh King

    I would put The Glass Castle higher. Short Term 12 was tremendous, should have been the film Larson won for.

  • Joshua Nathan Strong

    1. Episode 8
    2. Justice League
    3. Dunkirk
    4. PTA Fashion Drama
    5. Free Fire

  • ahnmin

    Nolan was nominated for an Oscar twice

  • Floyd Rock

    Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is easily Clooney’s best directorial effort, what are you guy’s talking about?

  • I’m actually really excited for Power Rangers!

  • yankeedoodledoggie

    {though the themes of racism and police brutality will undoubtedly make it feel just as of-the-moment}……
    Oliver Dear: You neglected to add In Obama’s America to the bracketed statement.

  • Ryan Callahan

    Alien Covenant at 91 is madness, for one I will never understand the Prometheus hate, that was an excellent movie and worthy prequel, the abortion scene is one of the best body horror scenes of all time, for another to get Scott back with the Xenomorphs is just about the most hype thing to happen in cinema for a while.

  • Dennis

    looking forward for the movie “Berlin Syndrome”

  • ED1404

    I’m a little bummed. Nothing from Leonardo Dicaprio this year??? No!! Would make an interesting awards season with Day/Dicaprio/Phoenix/Oldman…….

  • ReallyReallyBigMan

    I thought Prometheus was great. Don’t write like your opinion is fact.

    • bsmemorial

      Seriously. Didn’t even make it through this.

  • ReallyReallyBigMan

    So you just put Polanski’s next movie on here to remind people 38 times that he’s a convicted sex offender, right?

  • bsmemorial

    Woof that Godard biopic sounds fuckin dreadful.

  • bsmemorial

    Also, “Venus in Furs” was not “pretty awful.”

    Oy.

  • obscuremedia1

    Well gee, could you at least leave out the innuendo about Polanski? And you said the film stars his “partner”. Your journalistic skills are indeed lacking if you can’t IMDB him and find out Emmanuelle Seigner is not his partner, but his WIFE of 28 years. So please, next time do your actual research and find out that said “13 year-old” has been staunchly on his side for the past almost four decades. So again, you do yourself a great disservice when you don’t get the facts straight.