10. “The Beguiled”
Director: Sofia Coppola (“Lost In Translation”)
Cast: Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst, Angourie Rice
Synopsis: During the Civil War, an injured Union soldier hides out in a girls’ boarding school in Mississippi.
What You Need To Know: After “Somewhere” and “The Bling Ring,” it definitely felt like Sofia Coppola was starting to ossify into studies of privilege and wealth, to increasingly diminishing returns. Which is why it’s so exciting that she’s taken such a left-turn with her latest film, a remake of Don Siegel’s 1971 Western melodrama. The female-heavy ensemble (including Coppola luminaries Fanning and Dunst) looks to play to the strengths of her debut “The Virgin Suicides,” and we’re fascinated to see what the director can do with material that’s more dramatic and dark than anything she’s tackled before.
Release Date: Focus will open on June 23rd, making a Cannes debut all but a certainty.
Director: Todd Haynes (“Carol”)
Cast: Millicent Simmons, Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, Tom Noonan, Oakes Fegley
Synopsis: In 1927, a young deaf girl sets out on a journey to find her idol, actress Lillian Mayhew, while fifty years later, a young boy runs away to New York to find his father.
What You Need To Know: The glorious “Carol” marked something of a new peak for Todd Haynes, and while he’d gone eight years between theatrical features before it, he’s coming roaring back in no time with his follow-up, which looks to push his formal playfulness to the fore again. Based on a book by “Hugo” author Brian Selznick, it’s a sort of coming-of-age fable told across two timelines, with the 1927 half reportedly being done as a silent movie. With backing from Amazon, and much of his “Carol” behind-the-scenes team coming along, this could see Haynes finding his widest audience yet.
Release Date: Shooting began in May, so look for this at Cannes ahead of a fall release.
8. “Untitled Detroit Riots Movie”
Director: Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”)
Cast: John Boyega, Jack Reynor, Will Poulter, Anthony Mackie, Kaitlyn Dever
Synopsis: Drama about the 12th street riot, where a police raid on a bar saw the arrest of 82 black men, sparking protests on police racism and five days of riots.
What You Need To Know: After “The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” Kathryn Bigelow (and writer/producer Mark Boal) take a look at more distant history, though the themes of racism and police brutality will undoubtedly make it feel just as of-the-moment as her last two movies. Expect the same kind of journalistic realism and visceral power, but here taking the side of ordinary people struggling against injustice. She’s assembled a killer cast, too, including one of John Boyega’s first post-“Star Wars” roles, and rising stars including Ben O’Toole, Hannah Murray, Jacob Latimore and Jason Mitchell.
Release Date: It still needs a distributor (Megan Ellison’s Annapurna financed it), but look for it in awards season, on past form.
Director: Bong Joon-Ho (“Snowpiercer”)
Cast: Ahn Seo-hyun, Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Lily Collins
Synopsis: A young Korean girl travels the world trying to protect her best friend, a giant creature called Okja, from a malevolent corporation.
What You Need To Know: We’re on record as calling Korean master Bong Joon-Ho one of the greatest filmmakers alive right now, and with work like “Memories Of Murder” and “The Host,” we can’t imagine that many would disagree. “Snowpiercer” was delayed and mistreated by its distributor and didn’t quite get the audience it deserved, but with Netflix financing his latest, “Okja” shouldn’t suffer the same fate. The exact tone of this remains unclear, but we’re imagining something somewhere between “The Host” and “E.T.” But any way around, it’s Bong, he’s got a great cast, and we’ll be there as soon as it’s available.
Release Date: Shooting wrapped in the summer, suggesting this could see Bong return to Cannes if Netflix want it there. Otherwise, we’d bet on a late summer release.
6. “Star Wars: Episode VIII”
Director: Rian Johnson (“Looper”)
Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Benicio Del Toro
Synopsis: The saga continues, as Rey teams with the long-lost Luke Skywalker to take on Kylo Ren, while getting closer to the secrets of her parents.
What You Need To Know: It leant a little too heavily on its predecessors, but on the whole, “The Force Awakens” was a very strong start to the new era of “Star Wars” movies, evoking the thrills of the original movies, while introducing a great new cast of characters and performers to the franchise. Now it’s been established, there’s hopefully the chance to do something new, and that’s one of the reasons we’re psyched for “Episode VIII.” The other being Rian Johnson, arguably as talented a filmmaker who’s ever made one of these films, and the first hot indie auteur to go to a galaxy far, far away since, well, George Lucas. Details still remain firmly under wraps, but we know that Laura Dern, Kelly Marie Tran and Benicio Del Toro have joined the cast, with Del Toro likely to play a new villain.
Release Date: December 15th
5. “Happy End”
Director: Michael Haneke (“Amour”)
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Mathieu Kassovitz, Loubna Abidar
Synopsis: Drama involving a bourgeois European family, set against the backdrop of the refugee crisis in Europe.
What You Need To Know: The idea of austere, provocative Austrian helmer Michael Haneke being an Oscar player seemed absurd, but that’s exactly what happened in 2012, when “Amour” (the film which also won him his second Palme D’Or in a row) got Best Picture, Actress and Director nominations, and won Best Foreign Language too. He’s taken his time with a follow-up (a movie called “Flashmob” was seemingly abandoned), but will return this year with an ensemble drama reuniting him with “Amour” stars Huppert and Trintignant. Details beyond that are slim, but we know that the film did partially shoot at the refugee camps in Calais, and that Huppert says it’s closer to “Code: Unknown” than “The Piano Teacher,” though still quite different from the former.
Release Date: Cannes, probably winning the Palme D’Or again.
4. Baby Driver
Director: Edgar Wright (“Hot Fuzz”)
Cast: Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey
Synopsis: A music-obsessed getaway driver for bank robbers must save his girlfriend when a job goes wrong.
What You Need To Know: Studio interference from Marvel that saw him walk off “Ant-Man” (the final film being a tepid disappointment without him) means that we’ve had a longer gap between Edgar Wright movies than we’d ever want: four years will pass between the release of “The World’s End” and his newest, “Baby Driver.” But we expect the wait to be more than worth it. A music-driven crime actioner with the starriest cast he’s worked with yet (including Oscar winners Foxx and Spacey), but led by rising stars Elgort and James, “Baby Driver” remains mostly under wraps at this point. Could a season of Wright-curated films screened in London this fall (including Walter Hill’s “The Driver,” “Raising Arizona” and “The Blues Brothers”) signify what to expect? Even if not, look forward to something thrilling and joyous that could mark Wright’s greatest filmmaking accomplishment to date.
Release Date: August 11th
3. “Blade Runner 2049”
Director: Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival”)
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Jared Leto
Synopsis: Sequel to Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic, picking up with an older Deckard thirty years on from the events of the original.
What You Need To Know: Though it wasn’t successful at the time, “Blade Runner” has become a cyberpunk classic over the years, endlessly influential and deeply beloved. The idea of a follow-up has been talked about consistently, but rarely felt plausible, until suddenly, it all came together, with Scott producing, original writer Hamilton Fancher co-writing the script with Michael Green, and the on-a-hot-streak Denis Villeneuve helming. Things remain tightly under wraps, but we know that Villeneuve’s bringing regular collaborators Roger Deakins and Johan Johansson, so it should look and sound amazing, and a fascinating ensemble cast, including the names above plus Dave Bautista, Ana De Arma, Sylvia Hoeks, Carla Juri, Barkhad Abdi, Hiam Abbass and Lennie James, has been assembled. Maybe it could actually be worthy of the original?…
Release Date: October 6th, 2017
Director: Christopher Nolan (“Inception”)
Cast: Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Jack Lowden, Cillian Murphy
Synopsis: The story of the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940, when civilian ships helped evacuate over 300,000 men from France as Allied forces withdrew.
What You Need To Know: Though his films have won plenty of awards and “Inception” was a Best Picture nominee, Christopher Nolan himself remains un-nominated by the Academy. But that could well change with “Dunkirk,” which sees Nolan step completely away from sci-fi or fantasy for the first time since “Insomnia” in 2002 to tell the story of one of the most extraordinary military moments of the Second World War. Though some familiar Nolan players like Hardy and Murphy are involved, this mostly sits on the back of newer performers (including, curiously, One Direction’s Harry Styles). The teaser suggested exactly the kind of meticulous, widescreen imagery we’ve come to expect, and this could well be Nolan’s David Lean-iest film to date.
Release Date: July 21st
1. “Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Fashion World Drama”
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson (“There Will Be Blood”)
Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis
Synopsis: Drama about a fashion designer in London in the 1950s.
What You Need To Know: Though his films are always unmistakably PTA-ish, Paul Thomas Anderson’s had a dizzying array of subjects for his movies — present day gamblers, 70s porn, contemporary San Fernando Valley, the late 1800s in the still expanding West, religion in the 1950s, and stoner noir in the 1970s. His next takes the director to London for the first time, for the story of a fashion designer in the 1950s who may or may not be based on real-life figure Charles James. Shooting starts early next year and details are still thin on the film, but we do know that it’ll mark a reteam with “There Will Be Blood” star Daniel Day-Lewis, in his first role since “Lincoln” five years ago, and that’s pretty exciting news.
Release Date: Late in the fall, apparently, through Focus.
Probably Not Til 2018, But You Never Know
There’s more than enough above to be getting on with, but there’s quite a few big-name projects that, while we’re confident that they probably won’t be hitting in the year to come, could yet make a 2017 date on an accelerated schedule. Among them: Wes Anderson‘s animated film about dogs, which is in production, though could still take a while to complete (“Fantastic Mr. Fox” took about two years to get in the can), Drake Doremus’ latest “Zoe” with Charlie Hunnam and Lea Seydoux, Richard Linklater’s “Last Detail” sequel “Last Flag Flying” with Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne, Xavier Dolan’s “The Death & Life Of John F. Donovan” (which started filming this year but took a hiatus and will resume in the late spring), Damian Szifron’s “The Six Billion Dollar Man,” still on the schedule for December but without much sign that it’ll film any time soon. One of our most cherished directors, it’s unclear if Alfonso Cuarón‘s “Roma,” an upcoming family drama will come out this year, so we ended up taking it off the main list. Going back to his smaller-scale roots with relatively unknown Spanish actors like Marina de Tavira, Marco Graf, Yalitza Aparicio and Daniela Demesa, the film chronicles a year in the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early 1970s. But it has been shot. Maybe a Cannes bow later this year? You can bet if it does land this year, we’ll be lamenting the fact we didn’t place it in our top five.
Similarly, “World War Z 2” remains on the schedule and is meant to come out in six months, but given that it still doesn’t have a director, look for it to get pushed. Though filming, Ava DuVernay’s eagerly-anticipated “A Wrinkle In Time” won’t arrive until April 6, 2018, while as far as we know Benh Zeitlin’s “Beasts Of The Southern Wild” follow-up “Wendy” still hasn’t filmed. Jacques Audiard’s “The Sisters Brothers” starring John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix, Steve McQueen’s “Widows,” and Claire Denis’ “High Life” haven’t started yet either, and Dan Gilroy’s “Nightcrawler” follow-up “Inner City” starring Denzel Washington doesn’t begin until March, so look for that in 2018 too.
And of course, there’s plenty more on the way in 2017, which either fell off the list when more enticing prospects arrived, or which we’re a little cautious of. Among them are Brad Anderson’s thriller “High Wire Act” starring Jon Hamm, from a script by the great Tony Gilroy, David Wain’s National Lampoon biopic “A Futile And Stupid Gesture” which Netflix will debut, Max Winkler’s follow-up to the underrated “Ceremony,” Scott Cooper’s western “Hostiles” with Christian Bale, real-life hijacking thriller “Entebbe” from “Elite Squad” director Jose Padilha and starring Vincent Cassel, Daniel Bruhl and Rosamund Pike, Amy Schumer teaming with Goldie Hawn for “Mother/Daughter,” and James Franco’s “The Masterpiece” about the making of “The Room” (Franco’s adaptation of “Zeroville” should be ready at some point too).
Warner Bros. will be releasing “Justice League” in November, but “The Lego Ninjago Movie,” with the voice of Jackie Chan, is probably a more appealing prospect (also a more appealing prospect than “Justice League”? A root canal). M. Night Shyamalan’s “Split” is reportedly something of a return to form, and while we’re bummed that Cary Fukunaga didn’t make Stephen King’s “It,” we’re intrigued to check out Andres Muschetti’s version nevertheless.
Matt Damon will defend “The Great Wall” for Zhang Yimou, Dane DeHaan searches for “A Cure For Wellness” in Gore Verbinski’s sci-fi, while Disney’s “Beauty & The Beast” will likely make a ton of money and we’re at least excited to see Luke Evans as Gaston. Jessica Chastain will bring some class to the spring with “The Zookeeper’s Wife” (and will be back in the fall with Susanna White’s “Woman Walks Ahead”). Vin and Dwayne will butt heads with Charlize Theron in “Fast 8,” Marc Webb makes a non-Spidey movie with Chris Evans in “Gifted,” and someone made a “Baywatch” movie for some reason, with Zac Efron and The Rock (who’s also starring in the “Jumanji” reboot at Christmas with Kevin Hart).
Blockbuster season brings a fifth “Pirates Of The Caribbean” (apparently something of a return to form for the franchise), Tom Cruise battling “The Mummy,” spy sequel “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” and Pixar’s “Cars 3.” “Tron: Legacy” director Joseph Kosinski tackles a forest fire with Jeff Bridges, Miles Teller and Josh Brolin in “Granite Mountain” and Tom Cruise and Doug Liman reteam for drug-runner drama “American Made” (Liman also has lower-budget sniper drama “The Wall” with Aaron Taylor Johnson coming as well). Denzel Washington will kick ass again in a sequel to “The Equalizer,” which has bafflingly not been called “The Sequelizer,” while Liam Neeson does his thing again in “The Commuter.” Neeson also plays the real-life Deep Throat (the Watergate one, not Linda Lovelace) in “Felt,” while Kenneth Branagh revamps “Murder On The Orient Express” with Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Penelope Cruz and more, and Hugh Jackman sings in circus musical “The Greatest Showman On Earth.”
The amazing Chance The Rapper is starring in A24’s horror movie “Slice,” and the upstart company are also backing the first feature by designers Kate & Laura Mulleavy, the Kirsten Dunst-starring “Woodshock.” “Belle” director Amma Asante turns to the suddenly topical subject of Nazi Germany with “Where Hands Touch,” and speaking of anti-Semitism, Mel Gibson stars in “The Professor And The Madman” with Sean Penn, about an insane man who helped to create the dictionary.
Adam Wingard remakes Manga “Death Note” for Netflix with Willem Dafoe, while Wim Wenders has a pretty hot duo of Alicia Vikander and James McAvoy headlining his latest, “Submergence.” “The Lunchbox” director Ritesh Batra has two movies due: “The Sense Of An Ending” with Jim Broadbent and Charlotte Rampling, and the Netflix-backed “Our Souls At Night,” which reteams “Barefoot In The Park” stars Robert Redford and Jane Fonda. Matthias Schoenaerts also features there, and will reteam with his “Bullhead” director for “The Racer & The Jailbird.”
Idris Elba and Kate Winslet topline Hany Abu-Assad’s survival romance “The Mountain Between Us,” Arnold Schwarzenegger and Darren Aronofsky are together at last (albeit with the latter only as producer) for airplane crash thriller “Aftermath,” Jack O’Connell and Jack Reynor try to kill Nazi Jason Clarke in “HHhH,” Jan Svankmajer could return with “The Insects,” Bruno Dumont has wrapped his Joan Of Arc musical “Jeanette,” and “Blue Ruin” star Macon Blair makes his directorial debut with “I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore,” starring Elijah Wood and Melanie Lynskey.
In a perfect storm of things that sound awful, “Suicide Squad” director David Ayer teams with Max Landis for Will Smith-starring Netflix fantasy cop movie “Bright,” while the streaming service are also backing Angelina Jolie’s latest directorial effort, “First They Killed My Father.” Stephen Frears and Judi Dench hope to recapture Philomania with “Victoria And Abdul,” Albert Hughes directs IMAX survival thriller “The Solutrean,” Domhnall Gleeson toplines A.A. Milne biopic “Goodbye Christopher Robin” with Margot Robbie, with the latter also starring in noir “Terminal” with Simon Pegg and Mike Myers. Anything else you’re looking forward to? Let us know in the comments.