After highlighting 50 films that we can guarantee are worth seeing this year, it’s time we venture into the unknown. Rather than regurgitating a list of dated-years-in-advance studio releases, we’ve set out to focus on 100 films we’re genuinely looking forward to, regardless of their marketing budgets. While some might not have a set release — let alone any confirmed festival premiere — most have wrapped production and will likely debut at some point in 2017, so make sure to check back for updates over the next twelve months and beyond. Be sure to keep the following one-hundred films on your radar (with release dates, where applicable). If you want to see how we did with our picks last year (potentially to shame us), head on over here.
100. The Discovery (Charlie McDowell; March 31)
One of the primary pleasures of Charlie McDowell‘s directorial debut The One I Love was his ability to realistically inject a dose of science-fiction into a relatable romantic drama. The director, along with writer Justin Lader, have now re-teamed for a follow-up in the same vein. The Discovery, which stars Jason Segel, Rooney Mara, Robert Redford, Jesse Plemons, and Riley Keough is a love story set one year after the existence of the afterlife is scientifically verified. That hook is all I need to make sure it’s on my must-see list at Sundance. For everyone else, Netflix will release it this spring. – Jordan R.
99. Euphoria (Lisa Langseth)
Following her Oscar win last year, Alicia Vikander not only picked up a major tentpole role in Tomb Raider, but also launched her own production company, the aptly named Vikarious Productions. It also hasn’t taken long for her to start their first feature as Euphoria will arrive this year. Vikander’s Pure and Hotell collaborator Lisa Langseth is writing and directing the English-language picture, which teams Vikander and Eva Green as “sisters in conflict traveling through Europe towards a mystery destination,” creating a project that the actor-producer calls “full of suffering but also full of joy, and squaring up to very important subject matter.” – Jordan R.
98. Woman Walks Ahead (Susanna White)
Along with new films from Xavier Dolan, Aaron Sorkin, and Niki Caro this year, Jessica Chastain is leading a 19th-century period drama titled Woman Walks Ahead. Directed by Susanna White (who last helmed this summer’s John le Carré adaptation Our Kind of Traitor), the script by Steven Knight (Eastern Promises, Locke) follows Chastain’s character as she leaves Brooklyn and heads to the Standing Rock Reservation in the Dakotas to helped the plight of a Sioux chieftain (Michael Greyeyes) to fight for his land. With Chastain continually giving great performances regardless of a film’s overall quality, this one is shaping up to be one to watch. – Jordan R.
97. God Particle aka Cloverfield 3 (Julius Onah; Oct. 27)
After the surprise announcement of 10 Cloverfield Lane this past year, it didn’t take long for attention to turn to J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot’s next mystery project, tentatively titled God Particle. Indeed, after some noncommittal answers from Abrams, it was eventually revealed in October that the movie would, in fact, be the third chapter of a loosely-connected series. That alone makes it an exciting offer – hopefully the filmmakers will continue in the steps of Cloverfield Lane and reveal as little as possible about the storyline, to keep it as mysterious as possible, although we do at least know that it takes place on a space station and involves an enigmatic “discovery” of some kind. (Which, perhaps, begs an alternate title: Cloverfield! In Space!) – John U.
96. Movie No. 1 (Josephine Decker)
Earning acclaim a few years back for Thou Wast Mild and Lovely and Butter on the Latch, indie director Josephine Decker is returning this year with Movie No. 1, a drama which stars House of Cards stars Molly Parker and Julee Cerda, as well as Miranda July. Following a young star who takes her theater director’s latest project too seriously, not much else is known about the film, but it’s safe to say a festival premiere is in the works for this year. – Jordan R.
95. Wildlife (Paul Dano)
In the span of just a decade, Paul Dano has worked with the likes of Paul Thomas Anderson, Spike Jonze, Ang Lee, Kelly Reichardt, Steve McQueen, Denis Villeneuve, Bong Joon-ho, Rian Johnson, and more. Presumably learning a thing or two from this batch of talented directors, he’s now making his debut behind the camera with Wildlife. The script, penned by Zoe Kazan and Dano himself, is adapted from the 1990 coming-of-age novel by Richard Ford, following a boy who watches his parents marriage unravel after a move and his mom falls in love with another man. Dano’s Prisoners and forthcoming Okja co-star Jake Gyllenhaal leads the film alongside Carey Mulligan, and we imagine it will pop up at fall film festivals. – Jordan R.
94. Slice (Austin Vesely; Fall TBD)
Not only did he have one of the most entertaining albums of last year, Chance the Rapper found time to lead an entire feature film. Coming from A24 and likely arriving in the fall, aside from a brief teaser and plot details, not much is known about the Chicago-set film following a werewolf pizza driver, but rest assured, it’ll be unlike anything else this year. Also, Chance’s character is named Dax Lycander if you needed any other reason to see it. – Jordan R.
93. Lizzie (Craig William Macneill)
While we imagine there will certainly be some announced this year, as of now, the only Kristen Stewart-starring film yet to premiere is the dark biopic Lizzie. Following the true story of a woman who committed ax-wielding murders in Massachusetts in the late 1800s, it’s got quite the hook. With Chloë Sevigny taking the lead role and Stewart playing her live-in maid, this has the makings of a daring look an little-known black mark in history. – Jordan R.
92. Small Crimes (E.L. Katz; April)
Cheap Thrills director E.L. Katz assembled quite the cast for his follow-up Small Crimes with Robert Forster, Jacki Weaver, Green Room‘s Macon Blair, Gary Cole, Larry Fessenden, Molly Parker, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau taking part in the thriller. Co-penned (along with Katz) by Blair, the Game of Thrones star plays the lead, a former cop who gets out of prison and returns to his hometown to start fresh, only to get entangled in the same hullabaloo he originally left behind. Having been shot over the summer, we imagine this one will get a bow at a midnight sidebar — perhaps SXSW, Fantastic Fest, or TIFF? – Mike M.
91. Unicorn Store (Brie Larson)
After working with Edgar Wright, Lenny Abrahamson, Destin Daniel Cretton, James Ponsoldt, and more, Brie Larson segued from her Oscar win to her directorial debut. Unicorn Store, which the first-time director also stars in and produce,s follows Kit (Larson), who moves back in with her parents and receives an out-of-the-blue invitation to the titular store that “test[s] her ideas of what it really means to grow up.” Also starring Samuel L. Jackson, Joan Cusack, and Bradley Whitford, Larson certainly has a knack for choosing projects, so we’re eager to see her directorial style. – Jordan R.
90. Death Note (Adam Wingard; August)
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; Aug. 4)
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; Aug. 25)
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; September)
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.
80. Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig)
Given her evident strengths as a writer and performer, it should (should) only follow that Greta Gerwig has a knack for directing — or, worst comes to worst, writing a strong role for her performers (Saoirse Ronan and Tracy Letts among them) and directing them with an eye for their talents. Lady Bird’s description is as generic as it gets (“[the] adventures of a young woman living in Northern California for a year”), which is fine: I’m not expecting some plot-heavy work here, but rather a bit of character work that befits the helmer’s talents. If we get that, well, great. – Nick N.
79. Loving Vincent (Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman)
Loving Vincent, a Vincent Van Gogh biopic, caught our eye for telling its story entirely through interviews with those depicted in his art. The ambitious-sounding effort becomes only more amazing when you understand that it required around 100 artists to create more than 56,000 paintings that then formed “the world’s first fully painted film.” With a trailer that impresses in visual scale, depth, and pure beauty, there exists the possibility that this will have yielded no more than eye candy, but even so it should be some of the sweetest in recent memory. With the likes of Saoirse Ronan, Aidan Turner, and Helen McCrory in its cast and Clint Mansell on scoring duties, though, an extra something will almost surely break through. – Nick N.
78. The Other Side of Hope (Aki Kaurismäki)
Finnish cinema is back in a major this year as Aki Kaurismäki will soon debut his first feature since 2001’s Le Havre. Set for a world premiere at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival in early February, we’ve been anticipating The Other Side of Hope for some time now. Starring Sakari Kuosmanen and Sherwan Haji, the story follows a poker-playing restauranteur and former traveling salesman who befriends a group of refugees newly arrived from Finland. The first trailer sells the same dry humor and impeccable design the director is known for, and hopefully it’ll get a release by the end of the year. – Jordan R.
77. American Made and The Wall (Doug Liman; Sept. 29 and March 10)
Doug Liman is a very busy man. The eccentric director, fresh off the heels of the sleeper hit Edge of Tomorrow, is releasing two films in 2017. The first is The Wall, an Iraqi War film about two American soldiers (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and, in an interesting casting choice, John Cena) who get pinned down by a sniper. Sounding a bit like Hurt Locker-meets-Phone Booth on paper, it will be interesting to see how scaled-down this movie ends up being compared to some of Liman’s recent work, which has veered much more into the sprawling, mega-budget blockbuster territory. Then there’s American Made, a reunion of director and star Tom Cruise, based upon the true story of a pilot named Barry Seal, who became a drug smuggler in the 1980s before being tasked with providing intelligence for the DEA. The movie is exciting for two reasons, but I can’t make up my mind on which is more noteworthy: the fact that Cruise and Liman’s last film together was exhilarating and this is a potential recapturing of that chemistry — or the realization that this may be the blockbuster-friendly Cruise’s first dramatic role in years. – John U.
76. Marjorie Prime (Michael Almereyda; Aug. 18)
After last coming to Sundance Film Festival with Experimenter — a formally daring drama which unfortunately went overlooked — Michael Almereyda is back with quite the intriguing prospect: a sci-fi film starring Jon Hamm and scored by Mica Levi (Under the Skin, Jackie). Marjorie Prime, adapted from Jordan Harrison‘s Pulitzer Prize-nominated play, follows Lois Smith‘s character as she utilizes a service to create a hologram of her deceased husband, played by Hamm. If that doesn’t sound like one of the most compelling prospects of the year, I can’t help you with that. – Jordan R.
75. Atomic Blonde (David Leitch; July 28)
After co-directing John Wick, David Leitch is helming his own film — one with quite the impressive background. Set in Berlin during the Cold War, a female agent (Charlize Theron) is sent to investigate the murder of a fellow MI6 agent and find a list of double agents he was helping. Written by Kurt Johnstad, the film is based on a graphic novel of the same name by Antony Johnston that released in 2012. While details remain slim, James McAvoy and John Goodman will fill out the cast alongside hot commodity Sophia Boutella (Kingsman: The Secret Service and Star Trek Beyond). Theron alone makes this a film to keep an eye on and I look forward to seeing what Leitch can achieve on his own. – Bill G.
74. Darkest Hour (Joe Wright; Nov. 24)
One of two big-budget British filmmakers tackling British World War II stories, Joe Wright moves the battle from the coast of France to the halls of power. With Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill and Ben Mendelsohn as King George VI, it is an actors’ powerhouse. Wright has previously show an aptitude for both period dramas (Pride and Prejudice) and strong character pieces (Anna Karenina), and his visual style is constantly evolving. God only knows what Darkest Hour will end up looking or feeling like, but I can’t wait to find out. – Brian R.
73. Mektoub is Mektoub (Abdellatif Kechiche)
It’s been over three years since Abdellatif Kechiche’s romantic drama Blue is the Warmest Color premiered at Cannes, where the Palme d’Or was not only awarded to the director, but, for the first time ever, shared between its actors, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux. Last fall it was revealed he was secretly shooting a new drama going by the title Mektoub is Mektoub. It’s based on La blessure, la vraie, a novel from François Bégaudeau, an author who’s already earned some cinematic cachet for penning The Class, the main source for 2008’s Palme d’Or winner. Could Kechiche have another winner in his hands? We’ll likely find out at Cannes. – Jordan R.
72. Molly’s Game (Aaron Sorkin; Nov. 22)
Achieving the rare mark of a screenwriter whose attachment to a project is enough to invite anticipation, this year we’ll see if Aaron Sorkin can translate his command of language behind the camera with his directorial debut. Led by Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game tells the true story of the woman who ran underground poker games for Hollywood elite. We’d be there just to see The Tree of Life actor exclaim the words of Sorkin, but considering Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, and Michael Cera are all doing so as well, consider us intrigued. – Jordan R.
71. The Racer and the Jailbird (Michaël R. Roskam)
Even though I seemed to be in the minority when it comes to being disappointed by his Bullhead follow-up The Drop, I still remain curious for Michaël R. Roskam‘s next project, The Racer and the Jailbird. Once again starring Matthias Schoenaerts, the drama finds his character as part of a gang in Brussels who falls for a racing driver (Adele Exarchopoulos). With the film in post-production, expect to see at fall festivals or perhaps Cannes. – Jordan R.
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. Wonder Wheel (Woody Allen; December)
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.
60. Mary and the Witch’s Flower (Hiromasa Yonebayashi)
With their work finished on the forthcoming The Red Turtle, Studio Ghibli currently aren’t active (at least until Hayao Miyazaki’s next film gets the green light), but it hasn’t stopped some of the team from working. Former producer at the animation company, Yoshiaki Nishimura, founded Studio Ponoc last year and recruited many of his past co-workers to join him on their first feature-length project, Mary and the Witch’s Flower. Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi (The Secret World of Arrietty and When Marnie Was There), the film is an adaptation of Mary Stewart‘s The Little Broomstick, as scripted by the director and Riko Sakaguchi (The Tale of the Princess Kaguya), which follows a girl who goes an an enchanting adventure after being exiled to her great aunt’s house. It’s delightful to see Ghibli is back, albeit in a different form, and hopefully this one makes it to the U.S. soon after a summer debut in Japan. – Jordan R.
59. Mother (Darren Aronofsky; October)
The Wrestler and Black Swan saw Darren Aronofsky operating on a grittier level than his previous work. Noah was a return to the weird, epic scope of The Fountain. Now, on the heels of that commercial misfire and creative gambit, we have Mother, which, aside from its stellar cast, represents an unknown quantity from a filmmaker who has proven himself capable of anything. Domhnall Gleeson, Jennifer Lawrence, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Javier Bardem all feature prominently in the cast list, and each is a recommendation unto themselves. – Brian R.
58. Get Out (Jordan Peele; Feb. 24)
It’s always a thrill for an excellent preview to bring about our learning of a film’s existence. After Key & Peele hit the big screen with last year’s Keanu, one-half of the duo is back with his directorial debut and it looks to be unlike anything we would’ve expected. With the first trailer for Get Out, Jordan Peele seems to be taking his comedic insights on race relations and turning them into a horror satire the likes of which Spike Lee would be proud of. Hopefully the film follows through on its promise. – Jordan R.
57. Based on a True Story (Roman Polanski)
Roman Polanski‘s last few films are as well-organized on a shot-by-shot level as anything in his filmography, and Olivier Assayas’ recent foray into thriller territory, Personal Shopper, is one of 2017’s best films – so one can understand the excitement that surrounds Based on a True Story, in which a novelist (Emmanuelle Seigner) is stalked by an obsessive fan (Eva Green). It doesn’t hurt that Assayas’ recent Clouds of Sils Maria was a well-wrought portrait of female-female relationships. Nothing about this seems to have any bad omens surrounding it, which is all the more opportunity for it to be a disappointment – but the cards really are in its favor. – Nick N.
56. A Futile and Stupid Gesture (David Wain)
For those wondering how a comedic voice can stay remarkably funny after many years, look no further than David Wain. Coming off perhaps the funniest film of his career, They Came Together, he’s back this year with two more projects for Netflix. One is the TV sequel Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later and the other is a feature film, A Futile and Stupid Gesture, which depicts the rise and fall of National Lampoon. Led by Will Forte and also starring Domhnall Gleeson, Thomas Lennon, Joel McHale, Matt Walsh, Paul Scheer, and many more, Wain certainly knows this history well and we’re immensely curious about his portrayal of Billy Murray, John Belushi, Christopher Guest, Chevy Chase, Ivan Reitman, Gilda Radner, Lorne Michaels, and more. – Jordan R.
55. Lover for a Day (Phillipe Garrel)
If his supreme In the Shadow of Women is a signal of what’s to come, bring on as many of Philippe Garrel‘s wispy, mysterious, sad, and (most likely) black-and-white dramas as we can get. Know even a bit of his work, and Lover for a Day‘s set-up (“the story of a father and his 23-year-old daughter – who comes home one day because she has just been jilted – and the father’s new partner, who is also 23 years old and lives with him”) sounds like ideal territory for the writer-director. – Nick N.
54. The Trip to Spain (Michael Winterbottom; August 11)
Having grown up in the U.K., I have been a fan of Steve Coogan since the days of Alan Partridge, and Rob Brydon was one of those prevalent faces recognized from various programs (err, programmes). One of the great delights of the streaming era is how easy it is for movies like The Trip (which was edited into a film for U.S. audiences, but had originally been broadcast as a series in the U.K.) to find an audience abroad, and how much exposure international audiences now have to films and series like these that typically wouldn’t have made an easy transition across the pond even a decade ago via traditional distribution. The Trip to Spain will ostensibly pick up exactly where the previous two adventures left off, with the two actors (playing grossly-exaggerated versions of themselves) doing their best impressions of Michael Caine or Tom Hardy while exploring what Spain has to offer them. It is a testament to the fact that the two actors’ chemistry is so effortless and inherently funny that I’d be happy for them to continue making these every couple years for the rest of their lives. – John U.
53. Dark River (Clio Barnard)
After a three-year gap, director Clio Barnard (behind the excellent dramas The Arbor and The Selfish Giant) recently completed work on Dark River. The story follows Alice (Ruth Wilson) who, after 15-years, returns to her home village to claim tenancy over her now-passed father’s home. However, her brother (Mark Stanley), rugged from years of tending their farm, isn’t so keen on the idea. Their clash causes old trauma to surface for Alice, threatening both their lives in the process. Along with Sean Bean taking part, Barnard is re-teaming with multiple behind-the-scenes collaborators including production designer Helen Scott, who worked on both of Barnard’s previous features, and editor Nick Fenton (The Double, Submarine). – Mike M.
52. Untitled Hirokazu Kore-eda Film
He already directed one of the best films of 2017 with After the Storm and now Hirokazu Kore-eda will continue his prolific streak, preparing to shoot a currently untitled drama that will be ready for a Japanese release by September. Starring Masaharu Fukuyama and Koji Yakusho, Cinema Today reports (via a not-so-great Google translation) that the film will center on a crime trial about a homicide 30 years ago in which a president of a factory was killed, but now a lawyer has doubts about his client. While this most certainly won’t get a U.S. release this year, fingers crossed we see it early in 2018. – Jordan R.
51. Star Wars: Episode VIII (Rian Johnson; Dec. 15)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a rare contemporary blockbuster whose pleasures don’t wholly diminish upon considerations and revisits, especially as it inevitably becomes a cable staple, but the thing is rather problematic in its attempts to balance the old and the new. With that film’s intriguing ending (presumably) this next installment’s launching point, Star Wars: Episode VIII – [Title Pending] is in prime position to be the series’ best — also thanks in large to the presence of writer-director Rian Johnson, who’s all the more intriguing because I can’t quite match his oeuvre’s sensibilities with the franchise’s well-worn (and I do mean well-worn) fabric. That could, of course, lead to his being swallowed by the machine and delivering some watered-down product with so many fingerprints that it can’t rightfully be called the work of any single person… but I’ll wait, and with great anticipation as to how this comes together. And, yes, I guess there’ll be twists and turns, but the movie’s cinematographer doesn’t think we should focus on that too much for now. – Nick N.
50. The Florida Project (Sean Baker)
While it wasn’t his directorial debut, Sean Baker’s crackling, bold drama Tangerine certainly served as his break-out, offering much more than its initial shot-solely-on-an-iPhone selling point. He’s now returning this year and while it wasn’t finished in time for Sundance, we can expect The Florida Project to arrive by the year’s end. Following a group of kids who grow up around Orlando (including Willem Dafoe as one of the parents), Baker has a keen awareness of setting and personalities, which we expect to be on full display here. – Jordan R.
49. The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter (Jody Hill)
After delivering one of the best dark comedies of the last decade with Observe & Report, we’ve been waiting for many years to see when Jody Hill would finally make another film. Keeping busy on Eastbound & Down and his latest HBO show Vice Principals, he’s now finally in production on his next feature. The Legacy Of A Whitetail Deer Hunter. Scripted by John Carcieri and Danny McBride, who’ll co-star alongside Josh Brolin in the film, it’s said to father a father and a son who forge a bond through outdoorsmanship. Although no release date has been set yet, hopefully it’ll arrive later this year. – Jordan R.
48. Downsizing (Alexander Payne; Dec. 22)
Following his lo-fi, black-and-white Nebraska, Alexander Payne will be going big for his next film…by going small. Led by Matt Damon, Downsizing takes place in a future where humans have the ability to downsize themselves, and in doing so, require much less resources. Damon’s down-and-out character decides to do this with his wife so they can make their money go further, but problems when arise when they aren’t on the same page, so to speak. Also starring Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Alec Baldwin, Neil Patrick Harris, and Jason Sudeikis, it’s the sort of concept that may be better on the script than on screen, but we trust Payne to make something special out of it. – Jordan R.
47. Friday’s Child (A.J. Edwards)
After working closely with Terrence Malick in the editing room of his last few films, A.J. Edwards used this experience to great lengths with his directorial debut, the Abraham Lincoln biopic The Better Angels. He quietly finished production on his follow-up, Friday’s Child, which follows “young drifter who ages out of foster care at 18 and discovers the perils and temptations of a life apart.” Starring past Malick collaborators Tye Sheridan and Imogen Poots, hopefully it’s further proof that a protege of a legendary director can forge their own path. – Jordan R.
46. It Comes at Night (Trey Edward Shults; June 9)
After crafting one of the most overlooked films of last year, Krisha, writer-director Trey Edwards Shults is sticking with A24 for his next feature. His upcoming thriller It Comes at Night stars Joel Edgerton as a father who will stop at nothing to protect his wife and son from a malevolent, mysterious presence terrorizing them right outside their doorstep. With Edgerton recently impressing in two Jeff Nichols films, to see him collaborate with Shults on a horror film sounds downright incredible. – Jordan R.
45. Brawl in Cell Block 99 (S. Craig Zahler)
After his viciously gripping Bone Tomahawk largely snuck under the radar two years back, writer/director S. Craig Zahler will deliver his sophomore feature in Brawl in Cell Block 99. Vince Vaughn stars as ex-boxer whose current gig as a drug-runner lands him prison, where he must perform grisly acts to stay alive. With Zahler’s propensity toward realistic violence and memorable characters, the word “prison” already conjures gut churning images that he will surely bring to fruition, and Brawl in Cell Block 99 will hopefully put him on the map as one to continually watch out for. – Mike M.
44. Thelma (Joachim Trier)
There are few more astute up-and-coming directors working today than Joachim Trier. Following up his overlooked Louder Than Bombs, Trier finished production last year on the supernatural thriller Thelma, the Eili Harboe-led story of “a young woman unaware of the fact that she has been blessed with terrifying powers.” It sounds like a fascinating left-turn for the director and something we can’t wait to see. – Jordan R.
43. Where Life is Born (Carlos Reygadas)
Less speedy in his production than some of his contemporaries, but no less attention-catching, Carlos Reygadas is to next give us Where Life Is Born. Shot last year, according to producer Katrin Pors, “is a simple but powerful story of love and loss of love in open couple relationships set in the context of Mexico’s bull-breeding ranches.” The story follows Ester, who falls in love with another man and her husband Juan seems unable to meet the expectations he has of himself. Seeming like a lock for Cannes 2017, this may not get a release until 2018 stateside, but we’re looking forward to another formally audacious experience. – Jordan R.
42. Vox Lux (Brady Corbet)
After working with Olivier Assayas, Ruben Ostlund, Noah Baumbach, Michael Haneke, the Borderline Films directors, and more, Brady Corbet delivered his own directorial voice with last year’s harrowing, formally impeccable The Childhood of a Leader. His recently announced ambitious follow-up will be Vox Lux, a 15-year-spanning drama about the life of a pop star (Rooney Mara) with original music by Sia and shot in 65mm. With all these enticing elements coming together for a shoot in a few months, hopefully it’ll be ready in time for a premiere before the end of the year. – Jordan R.
41. Call Me By Your Name and Suspiria (Luca Guadagnino)
After waiting years for his follow-up to I Am Love — this past summer’s eclectic A Bigger Splash — Luca Guadagnino certainly isn’t taking as long with his next two films. The first is Call Me By Your Name, a romantic drama about a boy’s connection with his father’s friend, which is set to premiere at Sundance followed by a release from Sony Pictures Classics. Then on a bigger scale there’s his remake of Suspiria, which reunites him with Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton. Aiming for a fall premiere, we’re not entirely sure what to expect, but considering Guadagnino’s expressive style, it could very well be one of the few remakes of the year that doesn’t disappoint. – Jordan R.
40. Yeh Din Ka Kissa/The Meyerowitz Stories (Noah Baumbach)
It was early last year we got the surprise news that Noah Baumbach was already shooting his next feature. Without a confirmed title yet, the film stars Adam Sandler and Baumbach’s Greenberg and While We’re Young star Ben Stiller as we follow “the story of an estranged New York family coming together in preparation of artist & patriarch Harold’s career retrospective.” Also starring Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, and Grace Van Patten, it’s certainly an arena that Baumbach has previously succeeded in, so hopefully we get to see the results sooner than later. – Jordan R.
39. The Glass Castle (Destin Daniel Cretton)
Brie Larson won the Best Actress Oscar last year for Room, but for our money, her best performance thus far remains Short Term 12. After a few years, director Destin Cretton is finally returning with the actress for the Lionsgate project The Glass Castle. Based on Jeannette Walls‘ 2005 memoir, the film starring Naomi Watts, Max Greenfield, Woody Harrelson, and Sarah Snook follows Larson as a woman who must deal with her dysfunctional family — including a mother who is obsessed with her art and a father stricken with alcoholism — through her own imagination. – Jordan R.
38. The Death of Stalin (Armando Ianucci)
Many were disappointed when Armando Iannucci left Veep last season, but it looks like we got the best of both worlds. The show continued its comedic streak while the In the Loop director now had time to make his next feature film. The Death of Stalin, starring Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, Toby Kebbel, Andrea Riseborough, Paddy Considine, Olga Kurylenko, and Timothy Dalton, is based on Fabien Nury‘s graphic novel, which depicts a Soviet dictator’s last days and the chaos of the regime after his death.” Once again, politics and comedy meet, and with this cast and director, it’s shaping up to be one of 2017’s best films. – Jordan R.
37. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Yorgos Lanthimos)
With The Lobster, Yorgos Lanthimos scored a stellar domestic hit for himself. Now the Dogtooth director is coming back with Colin Farrell leading the charge once again. Nicole Kidman, who has been enjoying a resurgence in recent years, also joins the cast. Telling a story involving a family on the edge and the promise of unexpected turns aplenty, those who were a fan of The Lobster‘s bizarre energy have a lot to be excited for with this one. – Brian R.
36. John Wick: Chapter Two (Chad Stahelski; Feb. 10)
Following the sleeper success of 2014’s tongue-in-cheek gunplay extravaganza, John Wick: Chapter Two finds Keanu Reeves out of retirement and heading to Rome with an international contract on his head. Promising wall to wall action, Chapter Two’s first looks also show us some trademark bloody target practice and a cartoonishly fun car chase. Not to mention a Matrix (and Street Kings, if that’s your thing) reunion and a decent amount of the winking that made the first installment so surprisingly delightful. – Conor O.
35. On the Beach at Night Alone and Claire’s Camera (Hong Sang-soo)
What will Hong Sang-soo‘s next two films involve? Isabelle Huppert told me Claire’s Camera was shot near Cannes and features her as a sales agent. Otherwise, I’ll guess: mind-twisting structures used to both conceal and elucidate an emotional core; soju consumption; two-shots of men and women talking; men and women not getting along; and zooms. They will, most likely, also be excellent, with On the Beach at Night Alone recently announced as a Berlinale premiere. – Nick N.
34. The Commuter (Jaume-Collet Serra; Oct 13)
Jaume Collet-Serra has become one of the most dependable and inventive directors of purely entertaining thrillers in recent years. From Unknown to Non-Stop to The Shallows, any film by the director has served as a reason to get excited. The Commuter, which brings back former Serra muse Liam Neeson, involves a predictably high-concept plot. A businessman simply getting through his daily commute ends up tangled up in a criminal enterprise. Add in Patrick Wilson (who is one of the most underrated actors working), Vera Farmiga, and Jonathan Banks, and you have a recipe for the kind of whiz-bang cinema we don’t get enough of anymore. – Brian R.
33. Damsel (David Zellner)
A romantic western dramedy starring Robert Pattinson and Mia Wasikowska? Consider this Maps to the Stars enthusiast intrigued regardless of all else; make this the Zellner brothers’ (producer / co-writer Nathan and co-writer / director David) follow-up to the unclassifiable Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter and I’m seeking the release date rather heavily. Little else is known, and I hope it remains that way until the thing plays before my eyes. – Nick N.
32. Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan; July 21)
Any new film from Christopher Nolan is a reason to celebrate. Among the top tier of Hollywood blockbuster directors, no one has a visual sense or narrative mind quite like Nolan. Almost all of his films since Insomnia have involved some fantastical element, but with Dunkirk he turns his eye to history, telling the story of the British retreat from France in the opening years of World War II. With an immense cast and a sweeping canvas, time will tell what the primary story and arc of this film is, but with the evocative trailers we’ve seen so far, it’s certain that the aesthetic pedigree of this film is unparalleled. – Brian R.
31. Golden Exits (Alex Ross Perry)
The story of a young foreign woman who disrupts the lives of two Brooklyn families is, on paper, a perfect starting point for Alex Ross Perry, a writer-director at his best when locating the pettiness and anger — as well as its humor, sometimes latent and sometimes rather pronounced — that drives so many of us. Gifted an outstanding ensemble (including a Listen Up Philip reunion with Jason Schwartzman) and the return of DP Sean Price Williams and editor Robert Greene, he’s primed for something big. Discovering what that is should be a pleasure all its own. – Nick N.
30. Ex Libris: New York Public Library (Frederick Wiseman)
Is there a more consistent, inquisitive long-standing voice in cinema than Frederick Wiseman? After his many decades of landmark work in the documentary field, the director’s follow-up to the sprawling yet deeply focused In Jackson Heights takes a look at a more specific locale in New York City: its public library. Aiming to premiere this year, it will no doubt be another spectacularly exhaustive, sympathetic exploration of an iconic resource. – Jordan R.
29. A Ghost Story and The Old Man With a Gun (David Lowery)
David Lowery proved he could navigate the prickly big-budget waters of Hollywood with his touching, sincere adaptation of Pete’s Dragon — one of the few tentpoles of last year that didn’t disappointment. His next two features will find him back in the independent realm and on two different ends of the spectrum therein. First up, at Sundance will be the premiere of A Ghost Story, a peculiar-sounding existential drama starring Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck, which was shot in secret last summer and just acquired by A24. Then there’s another reunion with Casey Affleck for The Old Man With the Gun, which may mark the last acting role from Robert Redford. With the latter set to shoot this spring, it may just squeak into the 2017 release calendar. – Jordan R.
28. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh)
I’d be more excited about Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri if it were Martin McDonagh‘s follow-up to the wise, witty, melancholic, understated, beautifully photographed In Bruges, and not Seven Psychopaths — short story: take all the adjectives applied to the former, find their antonyms, and apply those to the latter — but sophomore slumps are an awfully common thing that aren’t any easier to avoid when you veer into the self-reflexive-critique-of-Hol
27. Loveless (Andrey Zvyagintsev)
While we could easily see Andrey Zvyagintsev holding this one off for a premiere at Cannes 2018, thanks to the success of Leviathan there, we hope it sneaks in this calendar year. His follow-up to the acclaimed 2014 drama is Loveless, co-written with creative partner Oleg Negin (also of Elena and The Banishment), and it concerns “Zhenya and Boris, an estranged couple in the midst of a nasty divorce who have both found new partners and are eager to start again, even if it means abandoning their 12-year-old son Alyosha.” With that dramatically compelling set-up, leave the kids at home, and don’t miss this one. – Jordan R.
26. Ismaël’s Ghosts (Arnaud Desplechin)
Arnaud Desplechin has twice told me his new feature will mark something of a cross between the mystery of Vertigo and emotional desolation of Sabbath’s Theater, a combination that, done right, should require some sort of emotional conditioning before it can even be experienced. As one who admired My Golden Days but found its reflective tone a bit too comfortable — and, at the same time, especially relished those times when Desplechin went into more mysterious, melancholic territory — the prospect of Ismaël’s Ghosts isn’t so much a great director doing what he does best; it’s more an opportunity to be discomfited. (And, supposedly, hear a Kendrick Lamar song or two.) Rarely have I so welcomed that. – Nick N.
25. Annihilation (Alex Garland)
For years, Alex Garland was one of the best science fiction writers working in film. Then, with Ex Machina, he suddenly became one of its most exciting new directorial voices. On the heels of that film, news came out that he was adapting an acclaimed science fiction novel for his next feature, with Natalie Portman in the lead. Having read the book, I can say that the story is at once bafflingly obtuse, deceptively simple, and also filled with the kind of inventive imagery that Garland could deploy to stunning effect. – Brian R.
24. Good Time (Joshua and Ben Safdie; August 11)
Few recent films have had the vision and energy found within Josh and Benny Safdie‘s Heaven Knows What. They are back this year with Robert Pattinson in the thriller Good Time. Described as an “indie neo-grindhouse caper,” it follows a “bankrobber’s flailing efforts to evade the dragnet closing in on him.” Although no additional details are made available yet, we assume we’ll see this either at Cannes or the fall festival slate. – Jordan R.
23. The Square (Ruben Östlund)
After Force Majeure proved to be a major break-out for Ruben Östlund quickly prepped his next feature, The Square, which follows an ambitious museum director (Claes Bang), who is preparing to make a major impact with a new exhibit. Elisabeth Moss is also on board as reporter who is on the beat of the exhibit, meant to provide people with “a symbolic space where only good things can happen.” Things escalate and get wildly out of hand (it is an Östlund film, after all) when the PR firm in charge come up with some far-reaching publicity plans. Also starring Dominic West, we imagine this is a likely bet for Cannes. – Jordan R.
22. Last Flag Flying (Richard Linklater)
We feel rather spoiled to be getting four Richard Linklater films in the span of five years (and the three thus far being among the best of his career). His next feature came out of nowhere, Last Flag Flying, which is adaptation of Darryl Ponsican’s sequel to his famed novel The Last Detail, itself the source for Hal Ashby’s beloved Jack Nicholson-starrer. The film features Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell, and Laurence Fishburne, with former Naval Petty Officers Billy “Badass” Budusky and Richard “Mule” Mulhall once again partnered with Larry Meadows, the man they’d taken to a Naval prison decades prior. Meadows now needs to return the body of his son from Iraq, which “sends them back retracing their journey from Norfolk, Virginia, to Portsmouth, New Hampshire.” Production quietly kicked off last November under Amazon Studios, so we can certainly expect this one to arrive by the end of the year. – Jordan R.
21. Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve; Oct. 6)
Picking up 30 years after the original, Blade Runner 2049 follows Ryan Gosling’s Officer K – a blade runner for the LAPD – who must track down Rick Deckard after uncovering a secret that could throw the remains of society into chaos. It all sounds as vague and ominous as the film’s beautifully bleak first trailer. It’s not quite a sequel anyone was clamoring for, but it’s a sequel we’re getting nonetheless. Mercifully, it’s coming to us by way of Denis Villeneuve, fresh off Arrival, one of 2016’s best films, let alone sci-fi features. Additionally, Hampton Fancher and Ridley Scott also returning to the fray, there’s certainly hope for this one yet. – Conor O.
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; June 28)
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. Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow; 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; June 28)
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.
10. You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay)
It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since the last feature from Lynne Ramsay, the haunting We Need to Talk About Kevin. After departing Jane Got a Gun, we’ve been waiting to hear what the director would take on next, and, today, the answer has finally arrived. She recently shot her new thriller, You Were Never Really Here, which follows Joaquin Phoenix as a tormented war veteran with a troubled past who now takes it upon himself to rescue women trafficked into the sex trade. However, “when the extraction of a girl from a Manhattan brothel goes wrong, a storm of violence and corrupt power is unleashed against him, stirring a vengeance that may be his awakening.” Based on Jonathan Ames‘ novel, we imagine this one — which sounds like Ramsay’s take on Taxi Driver — will show up at Cannes. – Jordan R.
9. Widows (Steven McQueen)
HBO was struggling last year in the wake of Vinyl failing to catch on with viewers and Westworld going dangerously over-budget. In the wake of these failures and in an attempt to cut costs, the premium cable outlet canceled a promising series by director Steve McQueen called Codes of Conduct. Hopefully the pilot he directed will one day be released, but the good news for fans of the gifted director, especially those who may have been disappointed by this news, is that 2017 will feature another full-length effort: the aptly titled Widows, about a group of widows (makes sense!) who attempt to complete a previously botched heist that resulted in the deaths of their husbands. From the plot synopsis, this sounds like relatively lighter fare for McQueen than his last few motion pictures; but with a script by Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) and its story rooted in a 1983 UK miniseries, plus Viola Davis cast in one of the lead roles, this is one of the more intriguing projects likely coming out before year’s end. – John U.
8. Logan Lucky (Steven Soderbergh; Aug. 18)
When Steven Soderbergh announced his retirement from filmmaking just a few years ago, it seemed about as likely to stick as when Jay-Z claimed The Black Album was going to be his swan song. As it turns out, it took Soderbergh even less time to work on new projects than it did for Jay-Z to begin new material – he was soon directing an entire season of a premium cable series (The Knick), editing and handling cinematography on a Magic Mike sequel, editing a new version of 2001: A Space Odyssey, etc. So the fact that Logan Lucky — which depicts a heist at a NASCAR race, with a cast including Adam Driver, Channing Tatum, Seth MacFarlane, Daniel Craig, Katherine Heigl, Hilary Swank, Katherine Waterston, and Sebastian Stan — is his first film back in the director’s seat since 2013 might not exactly inspire Terrence Malick levels of hype, but it will be interesting to see what it was about this story that convinced him to abandon his quasi-retirement. – John U.
7. The Snowman (Tomas Alfredson; Oct. 13)
It was in 2011 when Tomas Alfredson debuted his stellar follow-up to Let the Right One In, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. He’ll finally return this year with The Snowman, an adaptation of Jo Nesbø‘s novel. It’s led by Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, and Charlotte Gainsbourg, featuring a detective’s investigation into tracking down a resurfacing serial killer. It’s also said to have some dark comedy, and the combination of Alfredson and Fassbender is almost too enticing to bear. – Jordan R.
6. Let the Sunshine In (Claire Denis)
It’s not the Claire Denis movie we hoped for, but still a Claire Denis movie we absolutely can’t wait to see. As movement on her Robert Pattinson-led sci-fi feature High Life hits pause, and hopefully not for long, one of our greatest filmmakers will handle something presumably much smaller and, by virtue of her involvement, no less interesting. The pairing of Denis, Juliette Binoche, Gerard Depardieu, and material from Roland Barthes is, of course, enough for now, though notice that the source text, A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments, “deconstructs the language of love” is head-turning in its own way. How does a master visual storyteller bring that into a cinematic fold? Well, two great actors in front of the camera is a good start. Better yet that it should be before (festival-attending) eyes by year’s end. – Nick N.
5. The Beguiled (Sofia Coppola; June 23)
Beyond the immensely intriguing notion of director Sofia Coppola helming a western-of-sorts, albeit a remake of a lesser-known Don Siegel / Clint Eastwood picture, The Beguiled contains a plethora of reasons to entice curious audiences. As per usual, Coppola has assembled a stellar cast, including Elle Fanning, Kirsten Dunst, Nicole Kidman, and Angourie Rice, who we recently saw as Ryan Gosling’s daughter in The Nice Guys. On the opposite side of the gender scale, Colin Farrell is taking on the Eastwood role: a wounded Union soldier imprisoned at a Confederate girls’ boarding school. This marks Coppola’s first big-scale directorial effort since The Bling Ring, unless you count A Very Murray Christmas. Thankfully, we’ve only got to wait until June to see it. – Tony H.
4. Happy End (Michael Haneke)
Michael Haneke could accurately be described as a provocateur were it not for the fact that his films, dark and twisted as they may be, contain a deep vein of humanism. Of course, that humanism is often focused on the worst possible tendencies of human behavior. With a cast that involves the incomparable Isabelle Huppert and Jean-Louis Trintignant, there is every reason to believe that this will be another devastating, maddening feature from one of cinema’s masters. – Brian R.
3. Wonderstruck (Todd Haynes)
Being that he usually takes as much as five years in between projects, it seems like we don’t deserve another film from Todd Haynes this soon. However, after making perhaps the best work of his career with Carol, he quickly segued to Wonderstruck, an adaptation by Hugo author Brian Selznick, which tells a story that oscillates between two deaf children: Ben, a boy in Minnesota, circa 1977, dealing with the death of his mother; and Rose, a girl in New Jersey, circa 1927, who ventures to New York to meet her idol, an actress named Lillian Mayhew. An ambitious undertaking, as half of the movie plays out like a silent film, we imagine Amazon Studios will return to Cannes with this one, which features the cast of Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, as well as newcomers Millicent Simmonds and Jaden Michael. — Jordan R.
2. Song to Song (Terrence Malick; March 17)
Asking whether or not we’re excited about a new Terrence Malick film is precisely the sort of question that would elicit something along the lines of “you must be new here.” Assuming you’re not a newcomer (but if you are: hello!), let’s just say the promise of a break from his still-arresting late-career style – per producer Ken Kao, “Knight of Cups is more of a stream-of-consciousness type of film, where I think that our upcoming film is very much ingrained in the zeitgeist. It’s going to be very edgy. [It’s] not a musical, but a film grounded in the Austin music scene” – is only one atop many, and the fact that it’s about two months away doesn’t dilute the prospect, but heightens our itch to see the thing, oh, now. – Nick N.
1. Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Film (December 25)
We learned late last year that Focus Features had picked up the distribution rights to Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis’ first collaboration in the decade since There Will Be Blood. Since then, we’ve also learned that the film we once thought was set in the ‘50s New York fashion scene is, in fact, primarily set in London. Plot details remain elusive, despite a piece suggesting the film could be inspired by the storied life of fashion designer Charles James. Without confirmation, all we do is speculate and hope that we actually see the film before 2018, as Focus has stated. Regardless, any collaboration between these two towering figures will make for the most essential cinematic experience of the year. – Tony H.
Even with this list at one-hundred films, there are many more selections that could have made the cut. They include Jan Svankmajer‘s Insects (which was on last year’s list, but no release date is confirmed), a handful of Sundance films — Mudbound, Landline, The Big Sick, Wilson, and Manifesto come to mind — as well as David Michôd‘s War Machine, James Ponsoldt‘s The Circle, Gloria director Sebastián Lelio‘s A Fantastic Woman, Battle of the Sexes starring Steve Carrell and Emma Stone, Haifaa al-Mansour‘s A Storm in the Stars, and Paddy Considine‘s boxing drama Journeyman.
There’s also longtime stunt man Nash Edgerton‘s untitled feature starring his brother Joel Edgerton, as well as Charlize Theron, Thandie Newton, and Amanda Seyfried, Scott Cooper‘s Hostiles with Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike, Fatih Akin‘s In the Fade starring Diane Kruger, the Chekhov adaptation The Seagull starring Saoirse Ronan, Annette Bening, and Elisabeth Moss, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead‘s Spring follow-up The Endless, John Sayles‘ Franco Nero-led Django Lives!, and the sure-to-be-adorable Paddington 2.
As for films that we imagine won’t be ready for 2017, they include Damien Chazelle‘s recently announced First Man, Terry Gilliam‘s long-gestating The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, which never did go into production as planned recently, Claire Denis‘ High Life, which she delayed to focus on the film on the actual list, Leos Carax‘s musical Annette starring Adam Driver and Rooney Mara, and Steven Spielberg‘s The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara (which is rumored for late 2017, but we’ll be surprised if it makes that date).
Also unlikely to make a 2017 premiere include Jacques Audiard‘s The Sisters Brothers, Abel Ferrara‘s Siberia, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Le Poirier sauvage, Luxembourg, from The Tribe‘s Myroslav Slaboshpytskyi, Shane Carruth‘s The Modern Ocean, which still never got off the ground, Olivier Assayas‘ resurrected Idol’s Eye, which begins shooting this spring, Andrew Dominik‘s delayed Blonde, Kirsten Dunst‘s ambitious first feature The Bell Jar, Asghar Farhadi’s Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem-led new drama, which may not start production until this summer, and lastly, we may finally see Orson Welles‘ The Other Side of the Wind, but we won’t believe it until we are sitting in the theater.
Lastly: there may be one thing we’re looking forward to more than any single film mentioned above, and that is this summer’s Twin Peaks revival. While David Lynch sees it as a film, there’s no announcement that a theater is screening all of it, and so we’ve decided not include it on the official list but still let it have the final word of this feature.
Listen to our discussion of our most-anticipated films below or here.
What are your most-anticipated films of 2017?
Read More: The 50 Best 2017 Films We’ve Already Seen