No more ink need be spilled on the collective dumpster fire that was 2016. There were plenty of good movies to be found, but the anticipation factor felt relatively lacking as the year went on. That is likely to change in 2017 given the amount of projects coming from some of cinema’s most talented artists. We’re at the right time in the cycle of production for a serendipitously large amount of directors, and thank goodness for that.
I usually do a few honorable mentions just given the likelihood of many of these films not theatrically releasing in the current calendar year. So here are a few: “Okja,” Bong Joon-Ho’s follow-up to “Snowpiercer,” has Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal in wacky costumes, so I’m in. After “Sicario,” I am very much down for Denis Villeneuve to do anything, including “Blade Runner 2049.” Edgar Wright is such a bonkers and brilliant stylist that “Baby Driver” is sure to get me excited. Sequels to “Star Wars” (especially after Carrie Fisher’s passing), “Planet of the Apes,” “Prometheus” (known as “Alien: Covenant”) and “10 Cloverfield Lane” (still untitled) will pack me in.
But now, on with the top 10! (NOTE: I’m tired on New Year’s Day and will add in more underneath each title on the morning of the 2nd. Sorry, folks, only human.)
“Happy End” (TBD)
Written and directed by Michael Haneke
Starring Isabelle Huppert, Mathieu Kassovitz and Jean-Louis Trintignant
Michael Haneke’s cinema of cruelty feels like the kind of thing we deserve in 2017 – especially in regards to the migrant crisis in Europe, the backdrop of this film.
“Wilson” (March 24)
Directed by Craig Johnson
Written by Daniel Clowes
Starring Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern and Judy Greer
Somewhat showing my bias here since the director, Craig Johnson, is someone I know – but darn if this movie doesn’t look hilarious and awesome.
“Downsizing” (December 22)
Directed by Alexander Payne
Written by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor
Starring Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig and Christoph Waltz
Even though I wasn’t a huge fan of “Nebraska,” I will always be excited for a new Alexander Payne movie. The fact that his latest is a high-concept satire only has me more intrigued.
“Molly’s Game” (TBD)
Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin
Starring Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba and Kevin Costner
Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut. Incredible cast. Need I say more?
“The Killing of a Sacred Deer” (TBD)
Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
Written by Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou
Starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell and Alicia Silverstone
More English-language fun with the director of “The Lobster” is very much what the doctor ordered. Hopefully this is a surreal movie perfectly timed for our surreal times.
Written and directed by Darren Aronofsky
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Domnhall Gleeson and Javier Bardem
I am glad Darren Aronofsky got “Noah” out of his system so now he can return to thrillers like “Black Swan.” Hopefully Jennifer Lawrence’s supposed romance/showmance with him does not cast a cloud over the film.
Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson/Daniel Day-Lewis Fashion Project (TBD)
Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring Daniel Day-Lewis
There is literally no other information about this film other than the fact that PTA is writing/directing it, DDL is starring and it somehow involves fashion. That’s all I need.
Directed by Jason Reitman
Written by Diablo Cody
Starring Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis and Mark Duplass
The dream team of Jason Reitman, Diablo Cody and Charlize Theron is reuniting. Prepare for my pieces claiming that “Young Adult” is a forgotten gem of the decade.
Untitled Katherine Bigelow Detroit Project (TBD)
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
Written by Mark Boal
Starring John Krasinski, John Boyega and Anthony Mackie
Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal have made two great movies about recent history and the American character, so I’m very curious to see what they’ll find when they venture back a half-century to Detroit’s race riots. They’ve assembled an all-star cast to help them, too.
“Dunkirk” (July 21)
Written and directed by Christopher Nolan
Starring Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy and Mark Rylance
Chris Ryan at The Ringer said it best: “I Hope ‘Dunkirk’ Is Four Years Long.” Bring it on, Christopher Nolan. I am ready for your war movie. Reach into my chest, pull out my heart, and make it beat at your desired frequency.