Jan 042017

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Every year I look ahead and pick 10 films from the upcoming slate that I am interested in seeing. Some years I pick well, other years, not so much. Let’s see how the scorecard looks from last year’s picks and look ahead to 10 films I think (and hope) will be great.

2016 scorecard

Hail, Caesar!  – It’s a decent film, but I certainly didn’t love it.

Stories of Your Life – This film became Arrival and it made my honourable mentions for 2016.

Certain Women – An excellent pick! I absolutely adored this film. It made in into my Favourite 20 films for 2016.

The Light Between Oceans – I haven’t actually seen this one. Reviews have been mixed, but I do intend to watch it on home release sometime this year.

Midnight Special – This was the best pick I made. Scifi + Jeff Nichols + Michael Shannon – I had a feeling that this would be my sort of film, and I was right. It was my 5th favourite film of 2016.

Silence – I havent had the opportunity to see this yet. It’s set for a February release in Australia.

It’s Only the End of the World – Not my favourite Dolan, but by no means the dog that some have exclaimed it to be. This film has made the short-list for an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language FIlm.

A United Kingdom – I really enjoyed this film. It was sweet and uplifting, without being bogged down in sentimentality. David Oyelowo is superb here.

Everybody Wants Some!! – I wasn’t a big fan of this film. It’s an extremely well made dude-bro film, but it’s still a dude-bro film. There just wasn’t much new here.

The BFG – I liked this more than many people. Mark Rylance was just wonderful as the giant, and the film really captured the magic of the book.

Hey, not bad! I certainly did better with those picks than I did with those in 2015. Even though I picked one of my favourite 5 films, its exciting to realise that my favourite 4 films were not even on my radar. There’s a great chance the film I’ll love the most hasn’t even been announced yet, or it’s yet to play at Cannes/Berlin/Sundance and emerge as a must-see for the year.

Below are the 2017 titles I am excited for. As well as those listed below, I am also very much looking forward to seeing some 2016 titles which are yet to be released in Australia – Silence, Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea, Fences, Hidden Figures, Lion, My Life as a Courgette, etc,.


2017 Picks

The Beguilded (dir. Sofia Coppola)

Sofia Coppola is my favourite director, so it’s no surprise that her new film (her first since 2013’s The Bling Ring) is my most anticipated film of 2017. The war drama is adapted from the novel A Painted Devil by Thomas P. Cullinan and its 1971 film adaptation, which was directed by Don Sigel and starred Clint Eastwood. Coppola’s adaptation stars Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst and Angourie Rice. It’s set for a June release in the US.


Song to Song (dir. Terrence Malick)

I’m a big Malick fan (I even liked the much-maligned Knight of Cups), so I was looking forward to this film before the first image was released. Then I saw the image (above), and my excitement levels went sky-high. I’m sorry, but look at how much hotness is in one photo. Oh, and talent, so much talent. The film is about two intersecting love triangles, set against the country music scene in Austin, Texas. Let’s hope the three stars pictured above all make the final cut.


Blade Runner 2049 (dir. Denis Villeneuve)

Have you seen the teaser? Watch the teaser. Damn, it’s beautiful. They really shouldn’t release any further trailers for this film, because that completely sells it without giving much away. Villeneuve is one of the greatest working directors (he hasn’t made a bad film), and after seeing both Enemy and Arrival, I don’t think we could ask for a better filmmaker to re-enter the Blade Runner world. The film has an October release date.


Annihilation (dir. Alex Garland)

Garland’s directorial début Ex Machina was one of my favourite films of 2015, so I’m pumped that he’s coming back with another science-fiction tale. This one is adapted from the Jeff VanderMeer novel of the same name, and stars Natalie Portman who joins an expedition into an environmental disaster zone looking for her lost husband, and finds some rather unexpected things. Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, and Oscar Isaac also star.


The Snowman (dir. Tomas Alfredson)

As far as I am concerned, aTomas Alfredson (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Let the Right One In) film is something to get very excited about. The film is based on Scandi crime writer Jo Nesbø’s book of the same name, and stars Michael Fassbender as a detective who investigates the disappearance of a woman whose scarf is found wrapped around a creepy-looking snowman. The cast is absolutely stacked, with Rebecca Ferguson, Toby Jones, and Val Kilmer among them. The film currently has an October release in the US.


Murder on the Orient Express (dir. Kenneth Branagh)

As an unashamed Agatha Christie fan I am rather looking forward to Branagh’s take on one of her most popular stories. Let me just list the cast for you: Branagh (as the master detective, Hercule Poirot), Tom Bateman, Lucy Boynton, Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Marwan Kenzari, Leslie Odom Jr., Michael Peña, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sergei Polunin, and Daisy Ridley. This should be fun! The film is scheduled for release in November.


Paddington 2 (dir. Paul King)

Paddington was one of the most delightful films to come out over the last couple of years, so I am genuinely happy that a sequel is on the way. The film finds Paddington enjoying life in London, that is until something very special is stolen from him, and he (and the Brown family) must track the thief down.

Downsizing (dir. Alexander Payne)

The premise of this film doesn’t quite sound like the average Payne drama, and that has me both excited and a little wary. In Downsizing, a man and his wife decide to voluntarily have themselves shrunk down. Unfortunately for the man, his wife backs out at the last-minute. How weird does that sound?!? The film stars  Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Alec Baldwin, and more. The film is listed as a 2017 release, but it does have a 2018 US theatrical release date – we’ll see if we get the chance to see it this year.


You Were Never Really Here (dir. Lynne Ramsey)

Lynne Ramsey and Jonathan Ames are two creatives whose work I immensely enjoy, so when I heard that Ramey’s next project was an adapation of an Ames novella, I was extremely happy. The film stars Joaquin Phoenix and is centered around a war veteran’s attempt to save a young girl from a sex trafficking ring, which goes horribly wrong.


The Circle (dir. James Ponsoldt)

I found Dave Eggers’ Novel The Circle a rather addictive read, so I was very excited when I heard that the extremely talented James Ponsoldt  (The End of the TourThe Spectacular Now) was writing and directing the adaptation for the screen. The adaptation which stars Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, and John Boyega already has a trailer and an April release date.


Other upcoming highlights (they’re insane – it’s going to be one heck of a year): Baby Driver (dir. Edgar Wright), The Party (dir. Sally Potter), Wonderstruck (dir. Todd Haynes), Metalhead (dir. Derek Cianfrance), Berlin Syndrome (dir. Cate Shortland), Suburbicon (dir. George Clooney), War for the Planet of the Apes (dir. Matt Reeves), Jasper Jones (dir. Rachel Perkins), The Dark Tower (dir. Nikolaj Arcel), Lean on Pete (dir. Andrew Haigh), The Dinner (dir. Oren Moverman), The Killing of a Sacred Deer (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos), The Death and Life of John F Donovan (dir. Xavier Dolan), The Mountain Between Us (dir. Hany Abu-Assad), The Mummy (dir. Alex Kurtzman), It (dir. Andrés Muschietti), Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan), Under Silver Lake (dir. David Robert Mitchell), Based on a True Story (dir Roman Polanski), Yeh Din Ka Kissa (dir. Noah Baumbach), Kong: Skull Island (dir. Jordan Vogt-Roberts), Thor: Ragnarok (dir. Taika Waititi), The Sisters Brothers (dir. Jacques Audiard), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (dir. Martin McDonagh). Maybe for 2017: Untitled Detroit Project (dir. Kathryn Bigelow), Untitled Fashion Project (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson).

What are you looking forward to in 2017? Let me know!