Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

It’s very difficult to deny that 2016 has been a terrible year for blockbusters. After critical and commercial failures in the form of Suicide Squad, Batman vs Superman,  X-Men ApocalypseWarcraftAlice Through the Looking GlassThe Legend of Tarzan, you name it, it should be of no surprise that there are no big-budget superhero flicks or mindless action films on this list. As the year has developed, more people are noting the creeping sensation of superhero fatigue. So why not turn to films that show originality, inventiveness, passion? This list intends to highlight the very notion, and to celebrate independent filmmaking.

I’ve seen both Manchester by the Sea, It’s Only the End of the World and The Handmaiden at the 2016 London Film Festival, so they won’t feature in this list, but I certainly recommend checking them out: they’re each fantastic in their own individual ways.

A few films just miss out on this list, but deserve a mention. War for the Planet of the Apes may be a blockbuster, but its predecessors, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planets of the Apes, are interesting and thought-provoking films. and War should be no different. With a very promising trailer and Woody Harrelson joining the project, the third film in this franchise is one to look out for. The Death of Stalin is a political comedy detailing the dictator’s final few moments and the aftermath of his death. It’s directed by Armando Iannucci, writer of The Thick of ItIn the Loop and Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, so expect plenty of sharp wit and foul-mouthed banter. Darkest Hour is Joe Wright’s follow-up to Pan. He’s, thankfully, on far more familiar ground, depicting WW2 through the eyes of Gary Oldman’s Churchill. With Ben Mendelsohn’s participation, superb acting and directorial flair may prove a winning combination.

Sci-Fi is making its mark in 2017, and a reason for that is Alex Garland’s Annihilation. His sophomoric effort after the intelligent and intriguing Ex Machina, not much is known about the project. It does, however, possess a terrific cast of Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Oscar Isaac. The final honourable mention goes to Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. It’s been noted that all great directors have a war film in their filmography, and Nolan may add himself to the list with his take on the infamous battle. Nolan hasn’t disappointed, so this film has the potential for greatness, even if its trailer doesn’t escape generic war-genre fare.  Now, on to the list.

10. MUTE

mute

Release Date: Unknown

Duncan Jones didn’t have a very good 2016. His father, David Bowie, passed away, and his Warcraft film was critically panned. His 2017, however, looks far more promising – returning to his sci-fi roots, he’s directing Mute, a film that would have been his directorial debut if not for complications leading him to direct Moon instead, an excellent sci-fi critical darling. Described as its ‘spiritual sequel’, the film takes place in Berlin forty years in the future, following a bartender on a hunt for a missing girl. There’s a caveat – as the title would suggest, he’s mute. It’s an intriguing, original premise, bolstered by Clint Mansell (High-Rise) as the composer and the inclusion of Paul Rudd in its cast.

9. MOTHER

darren-aronofsky

Release Date: Unknown

Darren Aronofsky is one of the great working directors today, and his new film will no doubt look to reach the heights of Black Swan and The Fountain after the mild shrug of Noah. Taking an interesting if familiar premise of a couple’s relationship threatened by unwanted visitors, there is almost certainly information being kept from us; Aronofsky is not one to direct small-scale. If his directorial prowess, along with the cast of Jennifer Lawrence, Domnhall Gleeson, Javier Bardem and Michelle Pfeiffer is anything to go by, Mother looks like it’ll be a cracking, crackling drama.

8. UNDER THE SILVER LAKE

download

Release Date: Unknown

It Follows may not have received the attention of a mainstream audience, but it certainly turned the heads of many critics, including mine. Heavily stylised and superbly tense, it also convinced a more starry cast, including Andrew Garfield and Dakota Johnson to join board with its director, David Robert Mitchell. Under the Silver Lake is a neo-noir crime thriller… and that’s all we know. However, with studio A24’s backing, there’s high hopes that the film will continue Mitchell’s critical success.

7. BABY DRIVER

baby-driver

Release Date: 18th August

Has Edgar Wright ever disappointed? His Cornetto trilogy, along with Scott Pilgrim are all beloved, and the director has garnered recognition for his snappy editing style and impressive combination of slapstick and wit. Baby Driver is his latest, a film more action than comedy, but judging by the fight sequences in Scott Pilgrim and Hot Fuzz’s final act, that won’t be too much of a problem. Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Lily James and Ansel Elgort all star, Elgort taking the titular role and bearing a condition that means he has to listen to music constantly. With a soundtrack reportedly containing over 35 songs, no-one’s complaining.

6. WILDLIFE

_DSC2825.NEF

Release Date: Unknown

Paul Dano has shown his acting chops, and now takes after Ryan Gosling by experimenting with a directorial debut. Unlike Gosling, however, his ambitions are a little more grounded: Wildlife has the simplistic plot of a boy witnessing his parent’s divorce. It’s a premise that has the potential for tears, and with the knowledge Dano has gained over the years in tear-jerking roles, the film may be 2017’s most emotional. The parents in question are, promisingly, Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan, so even if Dano flounders his directorial attempt, at least we can admire some fine acting.

5. T2: Trainspotting

Release Date: 27th January

The gang returns, along with Danny Boyle, for another drug-fueled melancholic go at choosing life. With a very, very promising trailer, fans of its predecessor will be hoping for the cutting sociopolitical commentary, crazed direction, shocking scenes, hilarious dialogue and complex characters that made Trainspotting so successful. With a release date of January, they won’t have to wait long to find out.

4. MOONLIGHT

Release Date: 17th February

One of the Oscar frontrunners, Moonlight is a film that gives insight into homosexuality in the black community, following a young man as he grows and develops into a mature adult, the plot split in a triad a la The Place Beyond the Pines. It’s touted as an affecting, miraculous piece of filmmaking, boasting incredible cinematography and superb acting. After sweeping a variety of award ceremonies, it’s difficult to anticipate this film without overly-high expectations.

3. BLADE RUNNER 2049

Release Date: 6th October

The announcement of a Blade Runner sequel was met with many groans; we’ve been disappointed with remakes or sequels long after the original before (Total RecallRobocop, to name a couple). There were also doubts surrounding whether a continuation of the original story was necessary or warranted. However, when it was revealed that Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Incendies) would helm the project, all doubts dissipated. Add to that Ryan Gosling, Jared Leto, Mackenzie Davis, the return of Harrison Ford, Ridley Scott as producer, Roger Deakins as cinematographer and Jóhann Jóhannsson scoring, Blade Runner 2049 has all the ingredients for success, despite not knowing anything about the sequel’s plot.

2. LA LA LAND

Release Date: 13th January

Another major Oscar contender, La La Land is Damien Chazelle’s follow-up to the acclaimed Whiplash. First a romance about Hollywood, and then a Hollywood film about romance, the film features Ryan Gosling as Emma Stone as they sing and dance their way through a glittering romance. It’s a feel-good film without being over-sentimental, and one that’s also been picking up awards continuously.

1. UNTITLED PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON FASHION PROJECT

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover Usage. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock (1640119a) There Will Be Blood (Onset) Paul Thomas Anderson, Daniel Day-Lewis Film and Television

Release Date: Unknown

Catchy title, huh? My most anticipated film of 2017 goes to PTA’s follow-up to Inherent Vice, which was my favourite film of 2015. He re-teams with Daniel Day-Lewis to give us a film about the fashion industry in the 1950s, no doubt complete with style, funk and spunk. Each of his films have a melancholic, yearning quality, and hopefully this film will be no different. PTA is one of the best working directors we have, and so every film of his should be met with eager anticipation. Bring on 2017.

-Gus Edgar