20. Inner City (Dan Gilroy)
After crafting one of the best directorial debuts of its respective year, writer-director Dan Gilroy will next direct and write the legal drama Inner City with Denzel Washington set to lead the film. Described as “a character study in the vein of Paul Newman’s 1982 classic The Verdict,” we thought the Robert Elswit-shot wouldn’t be ready until 2018, but Washington recently revealed on a podcast that the plan is to finish it in time for a likely December release and they are currently assembling the cast, which may include Colin Farrell. – Jordan R.
19. Okja (Bong Joon-ho; Summer TBD)
After providing thrills solely on a train with Snowpiercer, Bong Joon-ho‘s is expanding his scope with the monster movie Okja. Starring Ahn Seo-hyun, Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Steven Yeun, Lily Collins, Devon Bostick, Byun Hee-bong, and Shirley Henderson, we shouldn’t expect another creature a la The Host, rather something more shy. The Netflix-produced and distributed feature tracks the struggle to stop a multinational corporation from kidnapping the titular monster; it certainly has the makings of the most entertaining film of the summer. – Jordan R.
18. Zama (Lucrecia Martel)
Lucrecia Martel has not given us a feature in nearly ten years, and the build-up to her fourth, Zama, has been distended enough as is. (After beginning production in the first half of 2015, it was pushed back from expected 2016 showings and, we can presume, awaits an unveiling this year.) At least it has the potential to be something of an epic, adapting Antonio di Benedetto widely lauded novel about an 18th-century Spanish officer in search of a bandit. Will the long development make way for a major work, or something of a fumbling through the terrain? We’ll know soon enough. – Nick N.
17. How to Talk to Girls at Parties (John Cameron Mitchell)
One film we were surprised didn’t show up as part of the Sundance line-up was John Cameron Mitchell‘s adaptation of the Neil Gaman short story How To Talk To Girls At Parties. Led by Elle Fanning and Alex Sharp, the cast also includes Nicole Kidman, Ruth Wilson, and Matt Lucas as we follow an alien who breaks away from her group to head to a London suburb. Coming from A24, who are on a streak like few other production companies, it’s been a seven-year-wait for Mitchell’s return behind the camera and we can’t wait to see the results. – Jordan R.
16. The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro)
After the glorious one-two punch of Pacific Rim and Crimson Peak, fanboy appetites for the work of Guillermo del Toro have become insatiable. While we lamented the fact that we’ll likely never see del Toro’s adaptation of In the Mountains of Madness, a new project emerged, titled The Shape of Water. The project remained utterly shrouded in secrecy, until Collider chatted with star Doug Jones. The piece revealed that the plot follows a fishman (Jones) captured and tested on by the U.S. government at the height of the Cold War in 1963. Despite the narrative, Jones teases that the film is neither sci-fi, nor a genre film: “There’s a love story that brews out of it, and that would be the cleaning lady played by Sally Hawkins. She comes and finds me, has sympathy on me, and then that’s the story that you’re really gonna follow with this whole backdrop.” – Tony H.
15. Untitled Kathryn Bigelow Film (Aug. 4)
Not a whole lot is known about Kathryn Bigelow’s next project, other than the fact that it is based upon the 1967 Detroit riots. The cast is promising: John Boyega, Jack Reynor, Will Poulter, Anthony Mackie and John Krasinski, to name a few; not to mention the fact that the script is being written by Zero Dark Thirty and Hurt Locker collaborator Mark Boal. Bigelow has taken her time choosing a follow-up to the awards season glory of Zero Dark Thirty, and this project already sounds like it is a perfect fit. – John U.
14. Lean on Pete (Andrew Haigh)
For Andrew Haigh‘s follow-up to his emotionally devastating 45 Years (not counting Looking: The Movie) he’s going back a few generations, age-wise, for his lead. Lean on Pete stars up-and-comer Charlie Plummer as Charley Thompson, who is neglected by his mother and embarks on a journey with the titular racehorse in a tale of “lost Americana.” Also starring Travis Fimmel, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Steve Zahn, Thomas Mann, and Amy Seimetz, this has the makings of another piece of cinematic beauty from Haigh. Set to be distributed by A24, we wouldn’t be surprised if this makes the Cannes line-up. – Jordan R.
13. Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
It’s not only that the disappointment of Gravity — a weightless, falsified version of Alfonso Cuarón‘s technical dazzlement — has passed; it’s also that he’s gone in what may be the absolute opposite direction, scale-wise, and (literally) gone to territory much more kin with Y Tu Mamá También. Combine his prowess, a story that supposedly means a great deal to the helmer, and yet another Emmanuel Lubezki collaboration, and you have high prospects. – Nick N.
12. Under the Silver Lake (David Robert Mitchell)
After the one-two punch of Hacksaw Ridge and Silence this past fall, Andrew Garfield is once again leading one of our most-anticipated films of the year. He recently wrapped production on David Robert Mitchell‘s follow-up to It Follows, the modern-day noir thriller Under the Silver Lake. Also starring Riley Keough, Topher Grace, Zosia Mamet, and Jimmi Simpson, not a great deal is known about the plot — and just like my experience with It Follows, I hope it stays that way until I’m sitting in the theaters. – Jordan R.
11. Baby Driver (Edgar Wright; Aug. 11)
Its scenario sounds like the sort a director would invent for themselves so as to indulge their basest desires for sound and image: a getaway driver who powers his daring escapes with music gets involved in a heist that’s destined to go badly. When that director happens to be Edgar Wright, though, that likely indulgence is a gateway to our excitement and, we assume, pleasure. And if the 2003 music video that supposedly served as Baby Driver‘s springboard actually indicates what we’re getting — or, rather, even scratches its surface, since that whole work is essentially stationary — this will be one to remember. – Nick N.
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