70. Princess Cyd (Stephen Cone)
In following his carefully delineated, wisely formed Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, writer-director Stephen Cone returns to the coming-of-age-whilst-discovering-sexuality territory he’s covered so well in the past. How he finds something new remains to be seen, though I’m encouraged by the shift towards female perspective. Given his generosity as a screenwriter, the new direction shouldn’t be a hindrance; I imagine it’ll only allow room for growth and deeper exploration. – Nick N.
69. Where Is Kyra? (Andrew Dosnunmu)
We are there for any film shot by Bradford Young, doubly so when it’s a re-team with Restless City and Mother of George director Andrew Dosunmu. Their latest collaboration, Where is Kyra? (formerly titled Beat-Up Little Seagull), stars Michelle Pfeiffer as a woman dealing with the loss of her mother and finding another lost soul in Kiefer Sutherland‘s character. With a Sundance premiere set this month, hopefully this one picks up distribution quickly. – Jordan R.
68. Mary Magdalene (Garth Davis)
At first glance, a film about the story of Mary Magdalene isn’t one I’ll clamor for in any year. But when that film stars Rooney Mara as the title character and Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus, my interest is piqued to Biblical proportions. Aside from just a Her reunion, direction comes from Garth Davis who transitioned from Top of the Lake to Lion last year and also stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Peter and Tahar Rahim as Judas. Considering production only recently wrapped up, expect a late 2017 premiere for the drama. – Jordan R.
67. The Dinner (Oren Moverman; May 5)
After giving the space for Richard Gere to provide one of his best performances in Time Out of Mind, writer-director Oren Moverman has reteamed with the actor for more of an ensemble drama. The Dinner, which also stars Laura Linney, Steve Coogan, Rebecca Hall, and Chloë Sevigny, follows a heated conversation between two couples at restaurant. Set for a Berlinale premiere, check back for our review shortly ahead of an early summer release. – Jordan R.
66. The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (Xavier Dolan)
Even after making the Oscar shortlist for Best Foreign Film, it remains to be seen if Xavier Dolan’s It’s Only the End of the World will get U.S. distribution. We imagine that won’t be the case for his English-language debut, The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, which stars Kit Harrington, Jessica Chastain, Natalie Portman, Kathy Bates, and Susan Sarandon. Telling the story of an actor whose correspondence with an 11-year-old boy threatens his career, hopefully this is either a return to form for Dolan or successfully expands his cinematic voice. – Jordan R.
65. A Cure for Wellness (Gore Verbinski; Feb. 17)
Whatever you may think about the original Pirates of the Caribbean films, it cannot be denied that Gore Verbinski knows how to direct inventive, striking big-budget action. It was this visionary energy that made The Ring such a hit, and it appears that A Cure for Wellness intends to harness that same paranoid energy again. With trailers that have been increasingly imaginative and disturbing, this gothic oddity is one to look out for. – Brian R.
64. Untitled Woody Allen Film
You know the drill. A new year, a new Woody Allen movie. Most reviews will call it middle-tier for the director, while others may like it a bit more. With Kate Winslet taking the lead role in the film, Jim Belushi, Juno Temple, and Justin Timberlake are also part of the period drama set the late ’50s at Coney Island. Amazon Studios has the rights and we imagine a summer release is in the works. – Jordan R.
63. Jeanette (Bruno Dumont)
It was just about a year ago that we got word that Bruno Dumont would be directing a Joan of Arc musical entitled Jeanette. His Slack Bay follow-up — which will be produced for television overseas and hit domestic territories theatrically — takes inspiration from Charles Peguy‘s play Le Mystere de la charite de Jeanne d’Arc, specifically the section in which Joan begins “to embrace her sacred mission” between the ages of 8 and 12. Jeanette is not the Joan of Arc musical your mind might envision, what with its techno-rock compositions from Gautier Serre, a.k.a. Igorrr. (Listen to one of his albums if you want some sense of what Dumont, Peguy et al. are aiming for.) Philippe Decouflé will choreograph the production, which began shooting last summer. Another Cannes premiere in the works, perhaps? – Nick N.
62. Alien: Covenant (Ridley Scott; May 19)
In the Alien franchise, it’s difficult not to seem old hat. That even goes for creator Ridley Scott, who managed to bungle the long-awaited and subsequently frustrating Prometheus, a not-quite return to form for a series long overdue for one. While Covenant (which follows the crew of the titular ship bound for a planet in the far side of the galaxy, only to stumble upon a dark and dangerous world) has the potential to feel like more of the same, its initial trailers are boasting some serious creep factor (shower aliens, back bursting, eww) – something that Scott has proved he can still excel at. – Conor O.
61. Kings (Deniz Gamze Ergüven)
One of the most impressive directorial debuts of 2015, Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s Oscar-nominated Mustang was a heartfelt tale of rebellion. The director is now back with her follow-up this year, which finds her in a bigger scale, capturing the Los Angeles riots after the beating of Rodney King through a specific lens. Starring Halle Berry and Daniel Craig, it follows a mother whose child is caught in the violence, so her neighbor helps track him down. – Jordan R.
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