90. Death Note (Adam Wingard)
Regardless of what one thought of Blair Witch, it seems indisputable that director Adam Wingard knows how to orchestrate a scare, with a sharp eye for inducing fear. So when it was announced his follow-up to Blair Witch would be an adaptation of the beloved J-horror series Death Note, it was the rare instance where I felt excitement rather than skepticism. He has steadily built a catalogue of work that proves he knows how to manipulate the cinematic canvas, even if all of his efforts don’t hit the mark. – Mike M.
89. Mute (Duncan Jones)
Funny as it is that a relatively young director with only three features to his name might have a “passion project,” the fact remains that Duncan Jones has been talking about Mute as far back as his first film, Moon, with which this has long been billed as a spiritual — and, in the case of Sam Rockwell‘s many-times-cloned astronaut making an appearance, literal — successor. This noir-tinged, Blade Runner-homaging mystery film boasts a strong concept (a mute bartender searches for his girlfriend in futuristic Berlin), fine cast (along with Rockwell, Justin Theroux, Alexander Skarsgård, and Paul Rudd will star), and, yes, the passion of a young helmer who’s (probably) got the big-budget itch out of his system. Here’s hoping Netflix have given him proper resources to make something that lives up to its source. – Nick N.
88. Suburbicon (George Clooney)
George Clooney has had his hits and misses as a director, but with a script by the Coen brothers (dating back to the era of Blood Simple) and a cast including Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Josh Brolin and Oscar Isaac, one can only hope for the best from Suburbicon. The story, about a home invasion that turns deadly and the darkly comical aftermath, looks to be vintage Coen brothers. The very concept of Clooney attempting to adapt one of their screenplays has me intrigued no matter what. – John U.
87. Wind River (Taylor Sheridan)
After proving his screenwriting talents with Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan’s latest film finds him behind the camera. Set for a premiere at Sundance Film Festival next weekend, Wind River sets Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen’s characters in an unforgiving Wyoming as they attempt to discover the mystery behind a dead body. Unfortunately, The Weinstein Company has decided to drop the film ahead of its Sundance premiere, so hopefully that’s no indication of quality and another distributor steps up to the plate. – Jordan R.
86. When the Waves Are Gone (Lav Diaz)
Considering his last two films have failed to make their way stateside, chances are you won’t be seeing Lav Diaz‘s When the Waves are Gone, clocking in at a mere 225 minutes, for some time. However, we imagine a festival premiere is in the works for the film which has the following synopsis: Freed after 29 years in prison, Herminigildo Nono returns to his home island where he attempts to regain his wealth, land and love by killing the man who stole them from him, his best friend. – Jordan R.
85. Beach Rats (Eliza Hittman)
If you’ve seen her disarmingly intimate debut It Felt Like Love, then you already know why we are highly anticipating Eliza Hittman‘s follow-up Beach Rats. Set to premiere at Sundance Film Festival, the drama follows a Brooklyn teen who is confronted with his dying father and requests from this mother to get a girlfriend. To escape, he goes to a cruising beach as well as begin a relationship with a woman. We’re not entirely sure what to expect, which is why we’re so intrigued. – Jordan R.
84. Submergence (Wim Wenders)
The first post-awards season project Alicia Vikander took part in last year was Submergence, the latest film from Wim Wenders. An adaptation of J.M. Ledgard‘s novel, also starring James McAvoy, the story runs across the globe and shifts focus between James More, an English reporter, as he’s held captive by jiahdists in Somalia, and Danielle Flinders, a “biomathematician” exploring life on the ocean floor. As former lovers in their own perilous situations, they both remember better times spent at a French hotel on the Atlantic coast. While Wenders has been hot-and-cold lately, hopefully this caliber of actors provide a worthwhile drama. – Jordan R.
83. Lucky (John Carroll Lynch)
After working together on The Straight Story, Inland Empire, Wild at Heart, and the undervalued Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (as well as Showtime’s 2017-bound continuation), Harry Dean Stanton and David Lynch are reteaming for a new project. However, they’ll both be in front of the camera this time. They both star in Lucky, the directorial debut of John Carroll Lynch (Zodiac, The Invitation), which has also features Ed Begley Jr., Ron Livingston, Tom Skerritt, Barry Shabaka Henley, Beth Grant, Yvonne Huff Lee, Hugo Armstrong, and James Darren. The film follows Stanton as a 90-year-old atheist who embarks on a spiritual journey in his desert town. – Jordan R.
82. Gemini (Aaron Katz)
After his delightful dramedy Land Ho! writer-director Aaron Katz returns this year with the thriller Gemini. Featuring the promising trie of Lola Kirke, Zoë Kravitz, and John Cho. Following the relationship between a personal assistant and her actress boss, it was a bit surprising to not see this in the Sundance line-up, but we imagine it’ll arrive quite soon having been shot last June on location in Los Angeles. – Jordan R.
81. Coco (Lee Unkrich; Nov. 22)
Until at least 2020, we’ll only be getting a sole original film from Pixar and it’s arriving this year. Following up one of the company’s best sequels, Toy Story 3, director Lee Unkrich is back with Coco, a story about a boy who attempts to reverse a family curse through his passion for music. Featuring an all-Latino voice cast, including Gael García Bernal and Benjamin Bratt, this one doesn’t look to have the narrative inventiveness of something like Inside Out, but hopefully it’s well-told tale of underdog success. – Jordan R.
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