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 the majority might not have a set release — let alone any confirmed festival premiere — most have wrapped production and will likely debut at some point in 2018, 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.
Bonus: Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda)
Like clockwork, Hirokazu Kore-eda has just announced a new project after we locked this list, so we’ll include his next film as a bonus. The untitled family drama, which will get a June release in Japan, making it ideal for a Cannes slot, follows Lily Franky and Jyo Kairi, who “play a father and son from a poor family who take in a small girl (Miyu Sasaki) they find freezing on the streets after one of their shoplifting sessions together,” Screen Daily reports. “Ando plays the mother with Mayu Matsuoka as her sister and Kiki Kirin as the grandmother on whose pension the family is heavily dependent.” – Jordan R.
100. The Happytime Murders (Brian Henson; August 17)
After working closely with his father for many years, Brian Henson’s latest project keeps in the world of puppetry, this time going down a darker route. The Happytime Murders imagines a world where puppets and humans co-exist and a serial killer is on the loose. Led by Melissa McCarthy, Bill Barretta, Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, and Elizabeth Banks, the R-rated script was Black List-ranked, hopefully making for witty, adult-themed summer fare. – Jordan R.
99. First Man (Damien Chazelle; Oct. 12)
Like him or not, Damien Chazelle has become one of the most exciting new writers and directors working in Hollywood today, and his next film looks poised to follow La La Land’s footsteps in dominating next Oscar season. First Man reunites Chazelle with Ryan Gosling, who will play Neil Armstrong in a biopic about his life before he became the first man on the moon. With a stacked cast including Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, and Kyle Chandler, it should be interesting to see how Chazelle’s energetic style will work with a bigger ensemble and fact-based storytelling (this is also Chazelle’s first feature he hasn’t written). It’s a departure for Chazelle, but I’m certain he’ll find a way to do a whip pan on the moon. – C.J. P.
98. The Art of Self-Defence (Riley Stearns)
Riley Stearns’ debut Faults was a sly surprise – a baleful and laser-precise cult of personality comedy that also offered two great character actors – Leland Orser and Mary Elizabeth Winstead – the roles they’ve deserved their entire career. Bringing together an equally adept cast including Jesse Eisenberg, Imogen Poots, and Alessandro Nivola, Stearns’ second film follows a man who enlists in a mysterious dojo after being attacked on the street. Billed as a dark comedy set in the world of karate, it should be a pleasure to see Stearns plumb the nightmarish psychology of the martial arts underworld. – Michael S.
97. Underwater (William Eubank)
Following up career-best work in Olivier Assayas’ Personal Shopper, Kristen Stewart is going from ghosts to the depth of the ocean with her next film. She leads William Eubank’s The Signal follow-up Underwater, which also stars Vincent Cassel and T.J. Miller (there’s more than enough time for Christopher Plummer to step in, too). The 20th Century Fox tentpole, described as an “underwater Armageddon,” is scripted by Brian Duffield and follows Stewart’s Nora, part of a underwater scientific crew who endure an earthquake and must fight for survival. – Jordan R.
96. Fast Color (Julia Hart)
While Timothee Chalamet’s breakthrough role for many viewers was last year’s Call Me by Your Name, if one saw Julia Hart’s emotionally-charged debut Miss Stevens, then you were already fully aware of his talents. Hart is returning with her follow-up this year, Fast Color, in a genre switch-up that has her telling the story of a woman with superhuman abilities who returns home to her estranged family after going on the run. Starring the incredible Gugu Mbatha-Raw and co-written with La La Land’s Jordan Horowitz, this has the makings of an exciting step-up for Hart.” – Jordan R.
95. Backseat (Adam McKay; Dec. 14)
Billed as a historical drama, Adam McKay’s new film dives into the Bush Years, supported by the all-star-iest of casts. The Big Short‘s Christian Bale stars as Dick Cheney, Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush, Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney, Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld, among many, many others. It’s a film sure to fire up each side of the political aisle, for reasons good and ill. – Dan M.
94. The Widow (Neil Jordan)
It’s been over half-a-decade since Byzantium and Neil Jordan is finally set to return behind the camera. The Crying Game director has quite the trio leading his new featuring The Widow–Chloë Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe, and Isabelle Huppert–which follows a woman who befriends the titular character as sinister intentions soon become apparent. The New York-set film seems to mark a more grounded return for the filmmaker, though one hopes some B-movie elements still seep through with a likely juicy role for Huppert. – Jordan R.
93. The Little Stranger (Lenny Abrahamson; Aug. 31)
Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank was an oddity of comedy, heart, and an underlying darkness. His follow-up, Room, featured a great Brie Larson performance, but lacked in a certain directorial boldness, something that’s hopefully in store when it comes to his follow-up. The Little Stranger, starring Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, Will Poulter, and Charlotte Rampling, is a haunted house tale of sorts based on the novel by Sarah Waters (author of Fingersmith, which Park Chan-wook adapted for his glorious The Handmaiden.) Following a country doctor who returns to the place his mother worked, something ominous creeps up. – Jordan R.
92. Shadow (Zhang Yimou)
Between the controversy surrounding the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the poor reception of The Great Wall, it seems like Zhang Yimou has fallen somewhat out of favor in the eyes of the international film community. This is a shame, because the man has few peers when it comes to crafting cinematic spectacle. Even in The Great Wall, there is a lushness of color, largeness of scale, and overall gleeful maximalism that make most American blockbusters look tame in comparison. This take on Yimou’s latest may go against the grain, but most will agree that the director has a knack for mounting huge, epic entertainments and that this propensity peaked in the early 2000s with Hero and House of Flying Daggers, two VFX-inflected wuxia pian that painted gorgeous tapestries of color and movement amid melodramatic tales of romance and political scheming. Yimou’s upcoming Shadow, a period drama set during the Three Kingdoms era, is exciting because it returns to the hyper-stylized swords-and-sandals genre that has proven to be so aesthetically fruitful for the filmmaker. – Jonah J.
91. The Cloverfield Paradox (Julius Onah)
One of 2016’s most memorable marketing moments was the reveal of a stealth Cloverfield sequel less than two months before the premiere, a gambit that became even cooler when the film turned out to be genuinely great: a tense, claustrophobic thriller that featured a terrifying turn from John Goodman and navigated a wide range of genres. Paramount seems to be pursuing a similarly hush-hush marketing strategy for the third installment God Particle, and though the scant plot details we’ve received thus far portend a venture into all-too-familiar narrative territory (the tale of astronauts making a horrific discovery and then fighting for survival has been explored ad nauseum in everything from the Alien franchise to Sunshine and last year’s Life), the success of 10 Cloverfield Lane keeps us optimistic. Also, the synopsis, though hackneyed at first glance, is vague enough to allow room for ample curveballs, and the film’s stacked cast—which includes Ziyi Zhang, Elizabeth Debicki, Daniel Brühl, Chris O’Dowd, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and David Oyelowo—kindles hope by suggesting that these outsized talents saw something in the script worth committing to. – Jonah J.
90. Caravan (Sebastian Schipper)
After making waves with his one-shot thriller Victoria, director Sebastian Schipper is back to prove he can impress outside of a marketable gimmick. His new feature, Caravan, features Dunkirk star Fionn Whitehead who leaves his family’s holiday in Morocco to helm a Congolese man (Stéphane Bak), who is on the search for his brother. Set to be Schipper’s English-language debut, it wrapped later last fall, so we might not see it until fall festivals. – Jordan R.
89. La Quietud (Pablo Trapero)
After getting on our radar with The Clan a few years back, Pablo Trapero is back with his seemingly highest-profile film yet, the thriller La Quietud. Starring Martina Gusmán, Bérénice Bejo and Edgar Ramírez, it follows sisters who reunite to reflect on a haunted past and the ownership of their family estate in the backdrop of am Argentina dictatorship. With Trapero’s focused style, this could be a foreign film break-out later this year. – Jordan R.
88. The Season of the Devil (Lav Diaz)
Slow cinema master Lav Diaz returns this year with something even his most dedicated fans weren’t expecting: a musical (Lav Lav Land, anyone?). Or, as the only description of the film available states, “an anti-musical musical.” Like Diaz’s other works, we should expect something political, immersive, gorgeous to look at, and an example of cinema’s powers when pushed to its limits. And who knows, maybe his extreme approach to duration will apply to musical numbers as well. Either way, this is the kind of event that will have the most devoted cinephiles excited when it’s ready to premiere. – C.J. P.
87. Beautiful Boy (Felix Van Groeningen; Oct. 12)
Felix Van Groeningen found acclaim with his bleeding heart drama The Broken Circle Breakdown and for his new project, he’s teamed with some of Hollywood’s top producers. Coming from Brad Pitt’s Plan B (Moonlight, The Tree of Life), Beautiful Boy follows a parent (Steve Carell) as he copes with his son (Timothée Chalamet), who is struggling with a meth addiction. Distributed by Amazon Studios, it wouldn’t be a surprise if this was the talk of the season a year from now. – Jordan R.
86. Mary, Queen of Scots (Josie Rourke; Nov. 2)
This project was first announced six years ago and the fact lead star Saoirse Ronan remained attached, even after her adult career took off, can only be a good omen. Ronan will play the doomed monarch with Margot Robbie as her cousin and eventual enemy, Elizabeth. The film marks the cinematic directorial debut of Josie Rourke, whose work as the artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse has graced audiences with feminist takes on Shakespeare, as well as an explosive adaptation of Les Liaisons dangereuses that transferred to Broadway in 2016. What’s sure to be a handsome, lavish production will also most likely spark a different kind of discussion when it’s released during “prestige films season” as a powerful indictment of how throughout history society pits women against each other. – Jose S.
85. Lizzie (Craig Macneill)
Following the true story of a woman who committed ax-wielding murders in Massachusetts in the late 1800s, Lizzie has got quite the hook. With Chloë Sevigny taking the lead role and Kristen Stewart playing her live-in maid, this has the makings of a daring look an little-known black mark in history. Set for a Sundance debut, check back for our review soon. – Jordan R.
84. Apostle (Gareth Evans)
After the blistering, single-location action film The Raid and its sprawling, epic sequel, director Gareth Evans appears to be branching out with his next film. Details are scarce, but Apostle will star Dan Stevens as a man trying to rescue his sister after she’s kidnapped by a religious cult. Although the film has been described as an action/thriller, the synopsis suggests it won’t be as relentless as Evans’ previous works. But with the likes of Stevens (who already proved himself to be a great action star in The Guest) attached, along with what appears to be a much larger scale and budget, Apostle should be one of the more exciting genre titles to look forward to this year. – C.J. P.
83. Mary Magdalene (Garth Davis)
Once upon a time, Hollywood loved telling biblical stories, some of the resulting films are among the most beloved (Ben-Hur), the most homoerotic (The Robe), and the most extravagant (King of Kings). Some Christian-adjacent films like The Song of Bernadette remain among the purest exercises in trying to convey faith through art (even if David O. Selznick was behind it). As fresh blood overtook the studio system era, films about spirituality practically vanished and nowadays are relegated to B-class entertainment reserved for evangelical audiences, or auteur passion projects like The Passion of the Christ and Noah. What’s lost in the resistance of agnostic and atheist audiences to stories related to the Christ is that religion aside the Bible has some badass, bonkers narratives: virgin mothers, fratricide, plagues galore, larger than life heroes, sex! No biblical character has excited the imagination more than Mary Magdalene, Jesus’ companion/friend/wife/sex worker (depends on who you ask) who will be given the proper feature-length treatment courtesy of Garth Davis who cast Rooney Mara in the title role, and Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus. Based on what Davis did with Mara in Lion (she and co-star Nicole Kidman had never been as warm onscreen) this is at least guaranteed to be great in the acting department, and given Mary’s reputation throughout the centuries, it will surely spark a debate when it’s released in the aftermath of the sex scandals in the industry. – Jose S.
82. Halloween (David Gordon Green; Oct. 19)
After ten films (including a reboot and sequel that didn’t do so well with audiences), Halloween is back yet again, but this time there’s a lot more to be excited about. Rather than acknowledge the entire series, this version will ignore everything but Carpenter’s original classic, acting as a direct sequel. That means Jamie Lee Curtis will be back as Laurie Strode, along with Carpenter himself as the film’s composer. Directing duties will be handled by David Gordon Green, working with a script written by himself and Danny McBride (!), an interesting choice that really could go either way given their lack of experience with horror. With Jason Blum producing, Carpenter’s involvement, and the team of Green/McBride at the helm, consider this to be one of 2018’s true wild cards. – C.J. P.
81. Black Panther (Ryan Coogler; Feb. 16)
His Fruitvale Station follow-up Creed proved Ryan Coogler could effectively jump in the ring with Hollywood brass and breathe new life into a tired franchise. Now, it’s his turn to hopefully do the same for Marvel. With the incredible cast of Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Martin Freeman, and Andy Serkis–not to mention a soundtrack from Kendrick Lamar–Black Panther is shaping up to a truly special spectacle. – Jordan R.
80. The Second Wife (Ira Sachs)
If you Google “the second wife ira sachs” a funny thing pops up: Boris Torres, Sachs’ husband since 2012. But according to producer Saïd Ben Saïd, The Second Wife is the title of Sachs’ next movie. Saïd’s tweet was the first public word about The Second Wife but as we await more details, Sachs announced another project two years ago. Sachs and co-writer Mauricio Zacharias are turning Tim Murphy’s novel Christodora into a television mini-series produced by Cary Fukunaga. The story revolves around the Christodora, an East Village apartment building that was ground zero for the AIDS crisis. The project is said to be epic in scope with a “Dickensian narrative,” according to Sachs. There’s no word when either projects drop, but you can see Sachs every month at his NYC film program, Queer|Art|Film at the IFC Center. – Josh E.
79. Kursk (Thomas Vinterberg)
Switching things up after his period drama Far from the Madding Crowd and his familial feature The Commune, Thomas Vinterberg will plunge deep into the ocean for the submarine thriller Kursk. Starring Colin Firth, Léa Seydoux, Matthias Schoenaerts, and Max von Sydow, the Luc Besson-produced film tells the true story of the K-141 Kursk, “the pride of the Russian Navy” that sank in August of 2000, claiming 120 lives. – Jordan R.
78. The Favorite (Yorgos Lanthimos; Nov. 23)
After consecutive U.S. releases in 2016 and 2017, The Lobster and Sacred Deer director Yorgos Lanthimos is back this year with a period drama. With likely more going on behind the surface than what that descriptor usually offers, it stars Emma Stone, Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Nicholas Hoult and Joe Alwyn. Following the “political machinations behind the scenes during the reign of Queen Anne, the last monarch of the House of Stuarts,” I was quite disappointed in the lack of ideas and dark humor in his last feature, so hopefully this is a return to form for the Greek director. – Jordan R.
77. At Eternity’s Gate (Julian Schnabel)
After the wonderfully detailed Loving Vincent became a surprise hit at the box office this fall, it won’t be the only film featuring the artist coming to theaters. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly director Julian Schnabel’s next film follows Willem Dafoe as Vincent van Gogh and his friendship with fellow artist Paul Gaugin. Simply watching these two actors paint for two hours would be interesting, and we imagine Schnabel has much more in store. – Jordan R.
76. Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (Kim Ji-woon)
Back in fast fashion after The Age of Shadows, Kim Ji-woon’s next project finds him adapting the hit manga Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, which was previously made into a few features. This live-action version, which the director has been attached to for some time, tells the story of a dystopia in which a special police force attempts to main peace during civil uprising. Making for a more timely setting, the director has updated the original location of Japan to the Koreas, where the narrative concerns a plan for their unification. – Jordan R.
75. JT Leroy (Justin Kelly)
Following a recent documentary on JT Leroy, the story will get the narrative feature film treatment thanks to I Am Michael director Justin Kelly. Led by the Certain Women reunion of Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart, as well as Diane Kruger, it tells the true tale of an author who tricked the world by posing as the eponymous figure. With no shortage of stranger than fiction tidbits for Kelly to pull from, it has the makings of another complex lead performance by Stewart. – Jordan R.
74. Psychokinesis (Sang-ho Yeon; April 27)
After his zombie thriller Train to Busan earned over $135 million worldwide — and interest in a Hollywood remake — director Yeon Sang-ho’s next feature will debut soon in South Korea. Titled Psychokinesis, it’s intended to be an action-packed black comedy film, following Ryu Seung-ryong who plays an a man who discovers superpowers and intends to use them to save his daughter. – Jordan R.
73. The Kid Who Would Be King (Joe Cornish)
In the years since Joe Cornish’s thrilling debut Attack the Block, we’ve seen his break-out star John Boyega make not one, but two Star Wars films, and all the while we’ve been waiting the director’s next project. After being attached to a handful, he’ll finally release it this fall with The Kid Who Would Be King. A medieval fantasy adventure starring Rebecca Ferguson and Patrick Stewart, not a great deal is known about the story of a group of kids going to battle, but if it has the same wit and energy of his debut, it’ll be something special. – Jordan R.
72. Bad Times At The El Royale (Drew Goddard; Aug. 5)
It’s been a too long since Drew Goddard’s inventive debut The Cabin in the Woods, but thankfully the director is returning this year. Bad Times At The El Royale follows a group of shady characters–played by Chris Hemsworth Jeff Bridges, Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, and more–as they descend on a rundown hotel in a 1960s California. Not much more is known, and if it’s anything like this last film, that’s exactly how we want it. – Jordan R.
71. Mid-90s (Jonah Hill)
A Scott Rudin-produced solo directorial debut from an actor-turned-director that explores a coming-of-age story with shades of autobiography and a love for its location, also starring Lucas Hedges? No, Lady Bird isn’t getting a re-release this year. Rather, we’ll be getting Jonah Hill’s first feature work behind the camera with Mid-90s. Starring Hedges as a teen growing up in Los Angeles, and Katherine Waterston playing his mom, we’d expect a fall festival roll-out akin to Gerwig’s feature. – Jordan R.
70. Bacurau (Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles)
While this one may not arrive until 2019 as it’s still in pre-production, we hope the filmmaking team may have it ready by the end of the year. Co-directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho, who gave us 2016’s gorgeously-realized, politically-minded drama Aquarius, his next film follows a documentary filmmaker who is depicting a Brazilian village. Seemingly imbuing genre elements, it’s revealed that the locals harbor dangerous secrets. – Jordan R.
69. Proxima (Alice Winocour)
Her visually and aurally arresting drama Disorder went painfully overlooked a few years back, but we imagine Alice Winocour will reach a wider audience with her next film. Proxima, starring Eva Green and Lars Eidinger, follows an astronaut who is preparing to go on a journey and must deal with the pending separation from her daughter. With production kicking off this month, perhaps it’s wishful thinking it’ll be completed this year, but we’re crossing our fingers. – Jordan R.
68. Mute (Duncan Jones; Feb. 23)
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.
67. Where Is Anne Frank? (Ari Folman)
Ari Folman, best known for his mature, intellectually stimulating forays into animation, has in his most recent works destabilized conventional notions of the relationship between images and reality in order to arrive at greater truths. Waltz with Bashir pointedly violated documentary’s conventional reliance on the photographic film image by using a hazy, hallucinatory animated aesthetic to capture the film’s exhumation of the director’s repressed traumatic past—in other words, the opposite of the “objective” documentary filmmaking that has historically been favored. Here, the “real” is refracted through the subjective experience of PTSD to evoke the emotional authenticity of what author Tim O’Brien called “story truth,” which emphasizes not how an event literally unfolded but how it felt. In The Congress, Folman cast Robin Wright as herself only to undercut the ostensible gesture toward realism by having the film turn into a psychedelic cartoon, a transition that cements the film’s commentary on the transformed nature of cinema in the digital age. Folman’s forthcoming project Where is Anne Frank seems to fit right in alongside these other two works: it explores the titular Dutch diarist and her legacy not only via the medium of animation but from the perspective of Frank’s imaginary friend Kitty, to whom the writer dedicated her diary. In true Folmanian fashion, the film sounds breathtakingly bizarre and seems intent on interrogating the distinction between subjectivity and history, the real and the imagined. – Jonah J.
66. Destroyer (Karyn Kusama)
It’s been a tumultuous journey for Karyn Kusama since her 2000 debut Girlfight, but after troubled studio productions and little work she’s made one hell of a comeback. Her 2015 film The Invitation is one of the decade’s best horror films, and now she’s working with Nicole Kidman on her next feature. Reteaming with Invitation screenwriters Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, Kusama’s Destroyer stars Kidman as a detective whose past as an undercover cop in a gang comes back to haunt her, prompting her to track down former gang members in order to make amends. To be honest, the plot is irrelevant in why Destroyer is one of our most anticipated titles of 2018; Kusama and Kidman are a dream team, and the pairing of these two talents could make for something major. – C.J. P.
65. Luxembourg (Myroslav Slaboshpytskyi)
With his Haneke-esque drama The Tribe putting him on the radar, helmer Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy is back this year with Luxembourg, a Chernobyl-centered project that producer Anna Katchko describes as concerning “the lives of people living in the exclusion zone today.” The drama stems from citizens’ fears and risks of contamination, which has the makings of an even more horrific story than conjured in his last film. – Jordan R.
64. Wendy (Benh Zeitlin)
Beasts of the Southern Wild—a magical realist coming-of-age fable that evokes the socio-ecological milieu of the post-Katrina American south and showcases the extraordinary talent of a pint-sized Quvenzhané Wallis—is one of the most striking directorial debuts in recent memory, so any new film from director Benh Zeitlin warrants attention. Based on the filmmaker’s statements in a New York Times profile, his new film Wendy will be about “a young girl who gets kidnapped onto a hidden ecosystem where a tribal war is raging over a form of pollen that breaks the relationship between aging and time.” In other words, it sounds like Zeitlin’s forthcoming project will be mining similar, environmentally-minded material as Beasts while simultaneously taking the director’s thematic obsessions in bonkers new directions. – Jonah J.
63. Outlaw King (David Mckenzie)
What do you get when you make a sleeper hit that sneaks into Best Picture line-up? Evidently, a $120 million check from Netflix to make a medieval epic, at least when it comes to David Mackenze, who reteams with his Hell or High Water stars Chris Pine and Ben Foster. Outlaw King will focus on Robert the Bruce (Pine), the king who led Scotland during the First War of Scottish Independence against England. The historical figure was previously featured in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, as played by Angus Macfadyen. Foster plays James Douglas, a knight who became the king’s chief adviser. Having began production last summer, expect it to be a major Netflix release come this summer. – Jordan R.
62. 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 it’s set for a Sundance premiere. The most intriguing aspect? It’s shot by Cemetery of Splendor and Neon Bull cinematographer Diego García. – Jordan R.
61. The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (Xavier Dolan)
After an unceremonious drop on Netflix for Xavier Dolan’s It’s Only the End of the World, hopefully bigger things are in store for his English-language debut, The Death and Life of John F. Donovan. Starring Kit Harrington, Jessica Chastain, Natalie Portman, Kathy Bates, and Susan Sarandon, it tells the story of an actor whose correspondence with an 11-year-old boy threatens his career. Likely premiering at Cannes, hopefully this is either a return to form for Dolan or successfully expands his cinematic voice. – Jordan R.
60. Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski; Aug. 24)
After the lo-fi Computer Chess and helping to bring some variety to the rom-com with Results, one of independent filmmaking’s most distinct voices, director Andrew Bujalski, is returning with his next film. Haley Lu Richardson (recently fantastic in Edge of Seventeen and Columbus) stars alongside Regina Hall, James Le Gros, AJ Michalka, Dylan Gelula, Shayna McHayle, Lea DeLaria, Jana Kramer, and Results star Brooklyn Decker. The story follows a group of restaurant employees who band together to help with the legal bills after one of their co-workers wants to fight back against an abusive boyfriend. Surprisingly not part of the Sundance line-up, perhaps this will turn up at SXSW, which is the same locale where it was shot. – Jordan R.
59. 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.
58. The 15:17 to Paris (Clint Eastwood; Feb. 9)
Never one to slow down, Clint Eastwood is back in theaters next month with The 15:17 to Paris, the true story of three life-long friends turned heroes when they thwarted a terrorist attack on a train bound for Paris from Brussels. It hasn’t even been three years since the incident took place, but like Peter Berg’s Patriots Day, based on the 2013 terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon, Hollywood turned the story around with breakneck speed. However, Eastwood is going full Bresson with the project as he cast the actual heroes to play themselves. Anthony Sadler, Oregon National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, and U.S. Air Force Airman First Class Spencer Stone will try their hand at telling their own story, supported by an intriguing cast of traditionally comedic actors: Jenna Fischer, Judy Greer, Thomas Lennon, Tony Hale, and Jaleel White (yes, Steve Urkel). Eastwood clearly wants to upend critical expectations for himself, his leads, and supporting cast in what is one of 2018’s most intriguing films. – Josh E.
57. The Souvenir: Part One (Joanna Hogg)
Assembling a murderer’s row of talent, the Martin Scorsese-produced new two-part film by Joanna Hogg stars Robert Pattinson, Tom Burke, Ariane Labed, and Richard Ayoade. The first part, which shot last year, takes place across the 1980s as a film student embarks on a love affair that goes south. “I start from autobiography. When I investigate a story I realize what I don’t remember and the demands of fiction take over: that’s the fun part. Reality and fiction are so jumbled up. That blurring is partly what I’m exploring in this story,” the Archipelago director tells Screen Daily about her new project. While we imagine the first film will debut this year, Hogg will be back to work this summer shooting the second film. – Jordan R.
56. Galveston (Melanie Laurent)
True Detective is/was undeniably a mileage-may-vary situation, and The Magnificent Seven remake’s wan mythicism wasn’t exactly the big screen debut one would hope for from pulp scribe du jour Nic Pizzolato. But that doesn’t mean we’re not excited for Galveston, an adaptation of Pizzolato’s own hard-boiled novel about a dying hitman returning to his hometown to enact revenge. Directed by Mélanie Laurent, who’s already shown a keen understanding of how to elevate melodrama, and featuring a cast that includes Ben Foster, Elle Fanning, and Riverdale standout Lili Reinhart, Galveston looks to be a welcome throwback noir. – Michael S.
55. Fahrenheit 451 (Ramin Bahrani; May TBD)
Directed by Ramin Bahrani, who previously helmed Michael Shannon in the underseen 99 Homes, also recruited Michael B. Jordan for a new version of the 1953 Ray Bradbury novel Fahrenheit 451. A dystopian saga about “firemen” who don’t put out fires, but rather start them by burning books, which are outlawed in the bleak but probably now not-too-distant version of America the characters inhabit. Jordan will play Guy Montag, a fireman who comes to lose faith in his profession once his eyes are opened to the outlawed printed word. Shannon is Captain Beatty, Montag’s mentor. Bradbury’s novel was previously adapted as a 1966 film directed by François Truffaut, and served as the inspiration for countless other dystopian sci-fi titles, including the gun-fu extravaganza Equilibrium. Although it’s an HBO film, hopefully this will get wide theatrical attention. – Jordan R.
54. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Marielle Heller; Oct. 19)
Before the incredible female-directed and-led coming-of-age films Lady Bird and The Edge of Seventeen, we had The Diary of a Teenage Girl. This year, Marielle Heller is making her follow-up with this Melissa McCarthy starrer Can You Ever Forgive Me?, which follows the story of a once-famous entertainment writer who starts to forge letters from deceased celebrities. With hopefully a tinge of complex underlying darkness akin to her debut, this is one of our most-anticipated films of the fall. – Jordan R.
53. Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot (Gus Van Sant; July 13)
Is there a once-celebrated director in Hollywood that’s in need of some acclaim more than Gus Van Sant? After the forgotten Restless, the perfectly fine, but forgettable Promised Land, and infamously derided The Sea of Trees, it’s been a rough decade for the helmer. This Sundance, he’ll hopefully bring a return to form with Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot. Starring Joaquin Phoenix in the lead role, as well as Rooney Mara, Jonah Hill, and Jack Black, the biopic follows the life of John Callahan, a quadriplegic cartoonist. With this exquisite cast, hopefully Gus Van Sant gets his mojo back. – Jordan R.
52. Private Life (Tamara Jenkins)
Last year marked a decade since the release of The Savages, the second feature from Slums of Beverly Hills director Tamara Jenkins. Starring Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman, it was a powerfully-acted, perceptive look at familial struggle, and we’ve been waiting ever since for her follow-up. 10 years later, it is finally coming. Financed and distributed by Netflix, Private Life stars Paul Giamatti, Kathryn Hahn, Molly Shannon, and John Carroll Lynch. Jenkins’ script follows a married couple (Giamatti and Hahn) who are struggling with infertility and its damaging effect on their relationship, but when their niece offers up her eggs, things change. Shannon, who picked up an Indie Spirit award for Other People last year, will play the niece’s mother, while Lynch plays Giamatti’s brother and Shannon’s husband. Set for a Sundance debut, check back for our review soon. – Jordan R.
51. Annihilation (Alex Garland; Feb. 23)
Sometimes a movie can be anticipated for reasons other than assumed quality; Annihilation is one of those films. That’s not to say that the cinematic pedigree of the film is questionable—quite the opposite. Alex Garland’s last film was the heady and moody Ex Machina, and no one will argue that Natalie Portman isn’t a draw for any film that she is in. However, the greatest reason to be excited about this film is that it is adapting an enigmatic, seemingly unfilmable novel by Jeff VanderMeer. A mix of Tarkovsky’s Stalker and the works of H.P. Lovecraft, the novel is a big bold question mark of a story, and it should be interesting to see how Garland is able to turn that into a functional, satisfying film. – Brian R.
50. Boy Erased (Joel Edgerton; Sept. 28)
Following up his well-received thriller The Gift, multi-hyphenate Joel Edgerton examines the life of a young man (Lucas Hedges) forced to join a gay conversion program, sponsored by his church and his minister father (Russell Crowe). Also starring Nicole Kidman and Edgerton himself, the film is adapted from the memoir of the same name by Garrard Conley. Edgerton has proven his skills at wringing the tension out of any situation and he certainly has a strong foundation with this premise. – Dan M.
49. A Futile and Stupid Gesture (David Wain; Jan. 26)
After delivering one of the funniest, most tear-inducing parodies of all-time with They Came Together, David Wain gave us two Wet Hot American Summer TV seasons, and now he’s finally back to feature films with a look at the early days of National Lampoon with A Futile and Stupid Gesture, which premieres at Sundance and hits Netflix soon after. Led by Will Forte and also starring Domhnall Gleeson, Thomas Lennon, Joel McHale, Matt Walsh, Paul Scheer, and many more, if this is a 1/10th as funny as his last film, it’ll be the best comedy of the year. You can say that again. – Jordan R.
48. Cold War (Pawel Pawlikowski)
Following up his Oscar-winning hit Ida, which earned nearly $4 million at the box-office here in the U.S. alone, director Pawel Pawlikowski’s next feature is Cold War. After his gorgeous and haunting last film, the writer-director’s latest film is set in the 1950s during the titular era and traverses multiple countries (Poland, Berlin, Yugoslavia and Paris) as it follows an “impossible love story in impossible times.” The script is also penned by Pawlikowski, and stars Ida‘s Agata Kulesza, Tomasz Kot, and Joanna Kulig. Mike Goodridge. We’d expect this one to show up at Cannes after how much acclaim his last feature received. – Mike M.
47. Where’d You Go, Bernadette (Richard Linklater; Oct. 19)
After back-to-back features that went quite overlooked, Richard Linklater is back faster than ever with the Cate Blanchett-led adaptation of Maria Semple’s novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette. With a script adapted by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (The Spectacular Now, Fault in Our Stars) and a new draft by Holly Gent Palmo and Vince Palmo, the story is narrated by the 15-year-old-daughter of an agoraphobic architect and mother named Bernadette Branch who goes missing prior to a family trip to Antarctica. Also starring Kristen Wiig, I read the book last year and it’s an entertaining journey and perfect role for Blanchett, and a film that will likely have much more commercial appeal than his spiritual sequel to The Last Detail. – Jordan R.
46. The Sisters Brothers (Jacques Audiard)
Jacques Audiard’s Palme d’Or win for Dheepan has given him the clout to recruit his finest ensemble yet for The Sisters Brothers, a neo-noir western that’s an adaptation of the novel by the same name from Patrick DeWitt. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Joaquin Phoenix, Riz Ahmed, and John C. Reilly, the story follows two brothers (Phoenix and Reilly) who hunt down a gold prospector (Gyllenhaal) in 1850s Oregon. With the makings of a stranger tale than his last few films, hopefully Audiard steps up his scope in a big way here. – Jordan R.
45. Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter (Jody Hill; July 6)
Rough House Productions, the group of people that could be loosely and only semi-accurately referred to as the David Gordon Green school, have been on a real tear. There’s Green and Danny McBride’s Halloween remake, and then there’s McBride and director Jody Hill’s recent triumph with Vice Principals. Those two are key players in The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter, the story of which is said to revolve around a sixth grader on a hunting trip with his father. This will likely be in the group’s usual vein of Southern-inflected comedy that hides genuine humanism and sorrow beneath its swear-y exterior. What’s new here is Josh Brolin in a major role, whose capability in comedy is very well-documented. – Nate F.
44. The Miseducation Of Cameron Post (Desiree Akhavan; Aug. 10)
Based on the YA novel by Emily Danforth, The Miseducation of Cameron Post follows a high school student played by Chloë Grace Moretz who is forced into gay-conversion therapy when she is caught having sex with her best friend. It’s the second film by director Desiree Akhavan who took her time following-up her 2014 Sundance hit Appropriate Behavior. “I could have made a second feature much earlier, it just would have sucked and I wouldn’t have made a third one,” Akhavan told Indiewire. Miseducation is slated for a Sundance premiere, so check back for our review soon. – Josh E.
43. Hold the Dark (Jeremy Saulnier)
Green Room and Blue Ruin director Jeremy Saulnier is stepping away from colors for his next film and getting bleak(er), at least going by titles. Hold the Dark, which he’s making for Netflix, stars Riley Keough, Jeffrey Wright, Alexander Skarsgard, James Badge Dale, and James Bloor. The adventure thriller is based on William Giraldi’s novel, which follows a wolf expert (Wright) who comes to Alaska to investigate disappearing children with the prime suspect being — you guessed it — wolves. Keough plays the mother of a son who died, while her husband (Skarsgard) goes wild when he returns from Iraq, and is being tracked by a detective (Dale). Promising to be another dark, brutal thriller, the Macon Blair-scripted film shot last spring, so it’ll likely pop up soon. – Jordan R.
42. The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier)
The latest work from cinematic provocateur Lars von Trier is the very project which caused the controversial filmmaker to paraphrase Roger Murtaugh from Lethal Weapon, claiming the film may be his final feature: “I think I’m getting too old for this (shit).” Okay, so maybe he didn’t say ‘shit,’ but von Trier stated that this may indeed be his final film. The House that Jack Built, the director’s first release since his beautifully disturbing two-parter Nymphomaniac, follows a serial killer named Jack, played by Matt Dillon, as he executes a series of vicious murders. Von Trier described the film as his “most brutal,” which after Antichrist, Dancer in the Dark and Dogville, feels like an incredibly bold claim. With Uma Thurman and Riley Keough rounding out the cast, we couldn’t be more curious to see what von Trier has in store. – Tony H.
41. The Land of Steady Habits (Nicole Holofcener)
One of the most consistently intelligent and observant directors working today, we often have to wait longer than desired for a new film from Nicole Holofcener, but thankfully one will arrive this year. Following up Enough Said, which gave us one of James Gandolfini’s most charming, sadly final roles, she’s teamed with Netflix. The Land of Steady Habits follows Ben Mendelsohn as a father and husband who enters retirement and leaves his wife (Edie Falco) to embrace a newfound freedom. Of course, we imagine complications ensue, and we imagine coming from Holofcener they will be as witty as they are tender. – Jordan R.
40. 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, this may not get a release until 2019 stateside, but we’re looking forward to another formally audacious experience. – Jordan R.
39. Mission: Impossible 6 (Christopher McQuarrie; July 27)
Part of the fun of the Mission: Impossible series has always been the quick turnover rate of directors. Filmmakers never stayed on for more than one film, but in that one-movie stint, the auteur left his imprint on the series, a pattern that imbued the franchise with an exuberant aesthetic heterogeneity. Though 1 through 5 are all recognizably Mission: Impossible films, they are also, in order of release, a Brian De Palma B-grade thriller, a John Woo shoot ’em up, a lean-and-mean J.J. Abrams cat-and-mouse flick, a Brad Bird sci-fi romp with gadgets galore, and a Christopher McQuarrie 70s-action-cinema throwback. The fact that McQuarrie is breaking the trend by staying on for a second film is, on one level, a cause for disappointment. That said, our reservations are tempered significantly by the fact that his Rogue Nation is arguably the best in the series: a succession of jaw-dropping set-pieces strung together by deft plotting, clean cinematography, and Tom Cruise at peak charisma and physical prowess. No plot details have yet been released for M:I 6, but if McQuarrie can bring back the directorial finesse he displayed in the previous film, the series will be more than forgiven for deviating from its prior course. – Jonah J.
38. Leave No Trace (Debra Granik; June 29)
After her Sundance-winning drama Winter’s Bone, which also served as a break-out for Jennifer Lawrence, Debra Granik is returning to the festival eight years later with Leave No Trace. Starring Ben Foster and newcomer Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie who live off the grid in Portland, but when the government meddles in their peaceful existence, they must confront their way of life. With Foster’s intensity and the promise of another breakthrough performance, not to mention Granik’s authentic touch of location, this has the makings of one of the year’s best dramas. – Jordan R.
37. Birds of a Passage (Ciro Guerra)
A perfect double feature with this year’s Lost City of Z, Ciro Guerra’s Embrace of the Serpent was a visionary, transportive journey and now the director will return this year with his follow-up. Birds of a Passage follows an indigenous family who gets involved in the drug trade in 1970s Colombia as the marijuana business booms. Described as a film noir, western, and Greek tragedy, we can’t wait to see what one of international cinema’s most exciting directors has in store. – Jordan R.
36. Untitled Chris Morris Project
Anyone who’s seen Chris Morris’ work knows he’s a comedic genius. Shows like The Day Today and Brass Eye brilliantly satirized the news before The Daily Show even existed, his sketch comedy series Jam is a singular achievement, and his feature debut Four Lions somehow mined big laughs from suicide bombings. Now he’s back with a secret film he shot last summer with Anna Kendrick, and while there’s no other information on the production (save for an Instagram photo of Kendrick in an FBI uniform), this will be one title to keep an eye on this year. Morris has an incredible track record as a writer and director, and the fact that he has a star like Kendrick on board means this could be his long overdue breakthrough in North America. – C.J. P.
35. In Fabric (Peter Strickland)
Peter Strickland is a filmmaker who can singlehandedly turn sleaze into something transcendent. He used giallo films to portray a man going insane in Berberian Sound Studio, and then pulled from ‘70s erotica to make a beautiful love story in The Duke of Burgundy. This year, he returns with In Fabric, which follows a cursed dress as it goes from one customer to another. It sounds like a potential anthology film, and Strickland has lucked out with his cast this time around: Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Gwendoline Christie, Hayley Squires, and Duke of Burgundy star Sidse Babett Knudsen are just some of the names confirmed. It’s unknown where Strickland will get his stylistic influences from this time, but no matter how In Fabric turns out it should offer the same kind of intense, sensory experience as his previous films. – C.J. P.
34. Sunset (Laszlo Nemes)
As is to be expected of a director who makes waves right out of the gate, Son of Saul helmer Nemes has finished his sophomore feature, Sunset, a thriller which is perhaps in some ways a precursor to Saul. It follows a young woman in Budapest circa 1910 — a peak time for the nation’s cultural and emotional strength, and the dawn of World War I. Expect a return to Cannes Film Festival for the up-and-comer. – Nick N.
33. Untitled Noah Baumbach Project
Currently enjoying the widest distribution one of his films has ever seen, Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) is streaming on Netflix. The director is now set to reteam with the company for his next feature, and the cast has been confirmed for the project which begins shooting this spring. Adam Driver, who reteams with the director after While We’re Young and has a brief appearance alongside Ben Stiller in his latest film, will lead the new drama, which also stars Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern, Merritt Wever, and Azhy Robertson. Additional details are scarce as the only plot synopsis is that “the story follows an unfolding divorce that spans from New York City to Los Angeles.” – Jordan R.
32. The Beach Bum (Harmony Korine; Summer TBD)
After creating not just a hit, but a film that seeped into the culture with Spring Breakers, Harmony Korine has had a difficult time getting his next project off the ground. There was his ambitious-sounding crime drama The Trap that never materialized and he still seems to be working on adaptation of the controversial Tampa. He’s finally now in production on The Beach Bum, which stars Matthew McConaughey as Moondog, “a rebellious and lovable rogue who lives life large,” who gets into “hilarious misadventures.” Also shot by Benoît Debie (Enter the Void, Spring Breakers), expect a much needed revival of the The McConaissance when this likely debuts this fall. – Jordan R.
31. Mandy (Panos Cosmatos)
In 2010, Panos Cosmatos seemingly came out of nowhere when he unveiled his feature debut Beyond the Black Rainbow, a baffling homage to ‘80s genre titles that emphasized its surreal tone and striking visuals over narrative and plot. It’s a film that seared itself into the brains of almost everyone who saw it, and yet Cosmatos has taken eight years to finally make a new film. Taking place in 1983 (the same year Black Rainbow took place), Mandy stars Nicolas Cage as a man seeking vengeance against a biker gang that killed his true love (Andrea Riseborough). It sounds like Cosmatos doing his own version of Mad Max, and with an upcoming Sundance premiere we won’t have to wait too long to hear how this film stands up next to his promising debut. – C.J. P.
30. The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (Terry Gilliam)
We won’t actually believe this film exists until the credits are rolling, but it’s said that Terry Gilliam has actually finished production on The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, which he attempted to do at various times in the last two decades. This new iteration starring Adam Driver, Olga Kurylenko, Stellan Skarsgård, Jonathan Pryce, and Rossy de Palma is shaping up to be finished shortly. Perhaps a Cannes debut is in store for the long-cursed project? – Jordan R.
29. Under the Silver Lake (David Robert Mitchell; June 22)
Andrew Garfield is returning this year with 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.
28. Peterloo (Mike Leigh)
If there’s one sure bet for the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, it’s the latest film by Mike Leigh. Most recently, the director stopped by the festival with Another Year and Mr. Turner, and now he’s finishing up his new film, Peterloo. The story follows the British government facing off against 60,000 during a protest in which 15 died with more having numerous injuries. “There has never been a feature film about the Peterloo Massacre,” Leigh said. “Apart from the universal political significance of this historic event, the story has a particular personal resonance for me, as a native of Manchester and Salford.” Set to be released by Amazon Studios, the drama stars Rory Kinnear, Maxine Peake, Pearce Quigley, Philip Jackson, Karl Johnson, Tim McInnerny, and David Moorst. – Jordan R.
27. The Women of Marwen (Robert Zemeckis; Nov. 21)
From Flight onwards, Robert Zemeckis has been in some kind of super-energized mode, as alive to the wonders of ostensibly simple dialogue exchanges as he is keen to employ cutting-edge effects. Adapting the acclaimed, trauma-soaked Marwencol and, judging by early word, embracing that true story’s potential for flights of fancy, it’s something like a logical step; but the surprises of later Zemeckis lie in how “standard” material become fleshed out, turned into thrills. – Nick N.
26. Roma (Alfonso Cuaron)
Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity follow-up is a small-scale drama that chronicles a year in the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early 1970s. “[Guillermo del Toro] told me that certain movies are like a box of cereal with prize included, because when you’re a kid, you end it all up to know what you got,” the director recently said. “Gravity was for me that little toy and I made the decision to use it to go back to Mexico and make the film I had always dreamed of.” Shot by Galo Olivares, expect a Cannes debut. – Jordan R.
25. Damsel (David and Nathan Zellner; June 22)
The Zellner brothers’ gently melancholic stranger than fiction yarn, Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter, didn’t quite make them household names, but it was at least enough to attract the attention of Robert Pattinson, who in 2018 continues his world conquering tour in films from auteurs the world over. One of four roles this year, Damsel follows Pattinson as a businessman traveling west to join his fiancée played by Mia Wasikowska. Narrative details are scarce, but given the filmmaker’s distinctively quirky voice, one can expect an off-kilter and unique take on a time-worn story. – Michael S.
24. Unsane (Steven Soderbergh; March 23)
Steven Soderbergh’s experiments only falter when he turns serious (Che); but when he’s having a bit of a lark? That, above all else, is when he’s in a sweet spot, so an iPhone-shot horror picture produced in something like a long weekend is a huge must — exactly what I hoped he’d be doing after deciding upon a return. – Nick N.
23. Transit (Christian Petzold)
Christian Petzold, one of Germany’s great contemporary filmmakers, will follow Phoenix, one of our favorites of 2015, with Transit, based on Anna Seghers‘ World War II-era novel of the same name. Led by Franz Rogowski and Paula Beer, it seems like Petzold has updated the story to the modern day, with the original novel following refugees who flee through Marseille after the Nazis invaded France in 1940. Sadly, it seems like a similar themes are repeating themselves today, so Petzold currently has a wealth of current events to pull from. – Jordan R.
22. The Daughters of Fire (Pedro Costa)
Plot details have been scarce in the lead-up to the new Pedro Costa film, but then again, plot details have been scarce even after Pedro Costa films come out. It is rumored to involve a group of sisters, rumored to return to the Lisbon village of Fontainhas (though you would hardly go broke betting on that to be the case), and rumored to have been shot partly in Cape Verde. What we do know is this – with each passing Pedro Costa film, his ambition grows in equal measure to his command over the medium. 2014’s Horse Money saw Costa willing to try more (for lack of a better single word) expressionistic tricks to get at his characters’ psychologies. This is of course no knock on 2006’s Colossal Youth, stunning in its own right. What will another four years have brought? It would be ridiculous to say “expect a masterpiece,” but… – Nate F.
21. Dragged Across Concrete (S. Craig Zahler)
With only two films, S. Craig Zahler has already established himself as one of America’s most assured genre filmmakers working today. He likes a slow pace (both Bone Tomahawk and Brawl in Cell Block 99 run past the 2-hour mark), has a knack for writing great dialogue, and comes up some of the most gruesome violence to be put on screen in years. Dragged Over Concrete sees Zahler teaming up with Brawl star Vince Vaughn along with Mel Gibson, who play two dirty cops going to desperate measures once they lose their jobs. The casting of Gibson and the subject matter means this will be Zahler’s most political film yet, and it should be interesting to see if he can avoid backlash after how much critics and audiences enjoyed his last two films. – C.J. P.
20. Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Bi Gan)
One of the best debuts of 2016 — and one of the best films, period — was Bi Gan’s dreamlike odyssey Kaili Blues. The Chinese director finished shooting his follow-up, starring Tang Wei (Blackhat, Lust, Caution), Sylvia Chang (Mountains May Depart), Huang Jue (The Final Master), Lee Hong-chi (Thanatos, Drunk), and his Kaili Blues star Chen Yongzhong. Titled Long Day’s Journey Into Night, the detective story follows “a man who returns to his hometown to find a mysterious woman whom he spent an unforgettable summer with twelve years earlier. The woman never told him her name, or any details of her life, and the only thing he remembers is the name of a movie star she wrote on a cigarette packet.” – Jordan R.
19. The Old Man and the Gun (David Lowery; Oct. 5)
On a streak like few other directors, David Lowery has proven more than adept at Badland homages (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints), big-budget entertainment (Pete’s Dragon), and audacious looks at human existence (A Ghost Story). His latest feature gives Robert Redford his supposed final role, starring alongside Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tika Sumpter, Tom Waits and Elisabeth Moss. Based on David Grann’s New Yorker article, and scripted by Lowery, it concerns Forrest Tucker, whose criminal career (including “18 successful prison breaks”) barely dwindles as he reaches an advanced age, as well as a detective who, of course, is “captivated with Forrest’s commitment to his craft.” – Jordan R.
18. Suspiria (Luca Guadagnino)
On paper, this remake of Dario Argento’s horror classic sounds perfect. It’s directed by Luca Guadagnino, a director whose work emphasizes the kinds of sensorial pleasures that make him an ideal fit for the aesthetic insanity the original is well known for. It reunites Guadagnino with Call Me by Your Name cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom. It stars Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson. And Radiohead’s Thom Yorke composed the score, which makes this remake a perfect storm of insanely talented people. Whether or not Guadagnino’s sensual style will work within horror remains to be seen, but this will be one title that cinephiles will be clamoring for when it finally comes out. – C.J. P.
17. The Nightingale (Jennifer Kent)
If one is still getting nightmares from Jennifer Kent’s impeccably-realized debut film The Babadook, start getting prepared for more frightful imagery as she’s finished her latest film. The Nightingale is a Tasmania-set feature that takes place in 1929 and follows a young convict woman named Claire who seeks revenge for the murder of her family. Aisling Franciosi (Jimmy’s Hall) and Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games) lead the film, alongside Damon Herriman, Ewen Leslie, Harry Greenwood, Baykali Ganambarr and Magnolia Maymuru. “It’s certainly not a horror film, but it’s a pretty horrific world,” she said, noting that the worst criminals in the British empire were sent to the locale. “It was a really crazy time for women. We only hear the sanitized version and I wanted to explore it for real.” – Jordan R.
16. Non Fiction (Olivier Assayas)
At last year’s Cannes Film Festival, Juliette Binoche led a bit of a departure for Claire Denis with the romantic dramedy Let the Sunshine In (our review). It now looks like the actress will be doing the same with Olivier Assayas. Speaking to last summer, he confirmed his new feature will be the French-language Non Fiction, starring Juliette Binoche, Guillaume Canet, Vincent Macaigne, Christa Theret, and Pascal Gregory. Described as a “full-blown comedy set in a Parisian publishing world,” it sounds like another new avenue for Assayas to travel down, who has continually — and pleasantly — surprised audiences with each new film. “Clouds of Sils Maria was a kind of comedy. This is a step further in that direction,” Assayas said, which is “very much actor and dialogue-driven, part film, part narrative, part essay.” Diving deeper into the film’s themes, he says it will be about “How we adapt or don’t adapt to the way the world’s changing”, focusing on “a series of intimate conversations” with middle-aged characters heir affairs. – Jordan R.
15. Blessed Virgin (Paul Verhoeven)
Nuns have a special place in Hollywood. Ingrid Bergman was nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards in 1946 for her portrayal of Sister Mary Benedict in Bells of St. Mary’s. Just last December, Rian Johnson introduced space nuns called “caretakers” in The Last Jedi. The tradition continues with Paul Verhoeven’s new film, Blessed Virgin. Virginie Efira from Verhoeven’s previous film Elle plays a 17th-century nun who suffers from disturbing religious and erotic visions. She develops a romantic love affair with a fellow nun assigned to help her through the visions. The film is based on a book by Judith C. Brown, “Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy” and with shooting not yet underway, we may not see it until the fall. – Josh E.
14. The Wild Pear Tree (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
Following up one of the best films of the decade so far, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan picked up the Palme d’Or for his drama Winter Sleep. A few years later, he will likely return to Cannes Film Festival with The Wild Pear Tree. The drama will follow Sinan, a man “who is passionate about literature and has always wanted to be a writer.” The story finds him “returning to the village where he was born” as “he pours his heart and soul into scraping together the money he needs to be published, but his father’s debts catch up with him.” Ceylan says, “Whether we like it or not, we can’t help but inherit certain defining features from our fathers, like a certain number of their weaknesses, their habits, their mannerisms and much, much more. The story of a son’s unavoidable slide towards a fate resembling that of his father is told here through a series of painful experiences.” – Jordan R.
13. BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee; August 10)
Jordan Peele’s blank check meets Spike Lee’s new lease on life. Lee is following up his successes with Chi-Raq and his TV remake of She’s Gotta Have It by teaming up with Jordan Peele (in the producer’s chair.) His newest is an adaptation of the autobiography of Ron Stallworth, a black detective who went undercover to take down the local KKK in Colorado Springs. Stallworth will be played by John David Washington, with Adam Driver and Topher Grace slated to appear. Those who stuck with Lee through the rough years of crowd-funding and more workmanlike productions will be happy for the man to have such a platform again, and the more fair weather fans among us will appreciate a return to his heyday of feature films dominating the cultural conversation. – Nate F.
12. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
It was in 2010 that we last got a feature from South Korea’s Lee Chang-Dong, but he’ll finally be returning this year. Burning, adapted from Haruki Murakami’s short story “Barn Burning,” is a mystery thriller that follows two men and a woman that get involved in a mysterious incident. Starring Yoo Ah-in, Okja‘s Steven Yeun, and Jong-seo, not much else is known, but we’re ready for more cinematic poetry from the, ahem, Poetry and Secret Sunshine director. – Jordan R.
11. Everybody Knows (Asghar Farhadi)
Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation is widely and rightly held to be one of the best films of the 21st century thus far in the way it uses a conflict between two families to expose the systemic ills that are responsible for placing the characters at a moral impasse. His other works largely fall short of that film’s propulsive dramatic momentum and trenchant social commentary, but they still exhibit a mastery of the chamber drama form and feature all-around powerful performances. In other words, even a minor Farhadi work tends to contain much worth sticking around for, and if the powerhouse leads of his forthcoming picture Everybody Knows are any indication, the newest Farhadi film will be anything but minor. Starring Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem, the film follows Cruz’s Carolina as she journeys with her family from Buenos Aires to her hometown in Spain and finds her trip unexpectedly disrupted by events that will completely change her and her family’s lives. – Jonah J.
10. Ash is Purest White (Jia Zhangke)
Jia Zhangke is singular within contemporary cinema in the way his films keep both the vast and the intimate in sharp focus at all times. On the one hand, he has established himself as a chronicler of the Chinese nation at large, charting phenomena ranging from the local ramifications of globalization (The World) to the various displacements caused by the Three Gorges Dam construction project (Still Life) to the dissolving moral fabric of modern China (A Touch of Sin). And yet, in the process of painting these national portraits, the human face isn’t erased or abstracted. On the contrary, Jia insists on the urgency and beauty of individual stories, suggesting that the concept of nation shouldn’t be one of a monolithic entity but of a multitude of idiosyncratic lives that are irreducible to one ideology or narrative and yet nonetheless constitute greater patterns of national development that are identifiable. In his humane quest for national truth, Jia also reflects on the cinematic medium’s role in this project and plays around with genre, variously infusing his pictures with strains of melodrama, neorealism, sci-fi, and even the wuxia pian. All these tendencies seem poised to resurface in his newest project, Ash is Purest White, in bold and exciting ways. Per Variety, the film tells of “an epic love story set against the backdrop of China’s crime underworld” and stars Jia’s wife and onscreen regular Zhao Tao as well as Liao Fan of Black Coal, Thin Ice fame. – Jonah J.
9. Domino (Brian De Palma)
The long parabola of Brian De Palma’s career has seen him emerge from the art film fringes in the 60s and 70s, to the absolute forefront of American cinema in the 80s and 90s, to something of a marginal figure in the 00s and 10s. His acclaim is not doubted, yet Domino is only his second film in the last ten years. Still, the fact that a new De Palma is even on the way at all is cause for delight, and De Palma acolytes will be happy to know that his latest is a police thriller set in Scandinavia whose story incorporates elements of global terrorism. Appropriately weighty for a director accustomed to grandiose, sweeping films. Game of Thrones’s Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Carice Van Houten are the main cast members, so here’s to yet another instance of De Palma turning trash into art. – Nate F.
8. Widows (Steve McQueen; Nov. 16)
12 Years a Slave and Shame director Steve McQueen is making his long-awaited return this year and he’s going the genre route. Widows, his crime drama that has assembled the epic cast of Viola Davis, Cynthia Erivo, André Holland, Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez, Daniel Kaluuya, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, and Robert Duvall, follows the a quartet of woman who pick up the pieces of a robbery after their husbands are killed. It sounds like a thrilling new direction for the filmmaker after his Best Picture winner, and we expect it to dominate the conversation just under a year from now. – Jordan R.
7. Le livre d’image (Jean-Luc Godard)
All we know about Jean-Luc Godard’s next film comes from the synopsis: “Nothing but silence. Nothing but a revolutionary song. A story in five chapters like the five fingers of a hand.” The Cannes Film Festival co-awarded Godard and Xavier Dolan the Jury Prize in 2014 for Goodbye to Language and Mommy, respectively, so with both directors having the possibility to return this year, we can only await to see the response. One thing is for certain: a new project from the greatest living director brings anticipation of a rare variety. – Josh E.
6. Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson; March 23)
Wes Anderson’s newest marks a welcomed return to stop-motion animation for the first time since Fantastic Mr. Fox. The new film, titled Isle of Dogs, takes place in a world where dogs have been quarantined to a place called Garbage Island as a result of a dangerous canine flu. A 12-year-old boy named Atari (Koyu Rankin) journeys to the island in search of his dog, Spots. On the island, he encounters a pack of “alpha dogs” voiced by Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray and Bob Balaban, who join him on his search. From the outside, it seems as though the film’s teaser contains a few possible spoilers, only noticeable on repeat viewings, so if you’re looking to stay pure until its wide release in March (Anderson’s latest is scheduled to premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in February) steer clear of that trailer. But seriously, it’s a new Wes Anderson film. What more do you need to know? – Tony H.
5. The Irishman (Martin Scorsese)
Let us hope it is as long as his last two. With runtimes of 180 and 161 minutes, Martin Scorsese’s last two films, The Wolf of Wall Street and Silence, represented different but complete and unforgettable visions of the world. It looks as though the same grandiosity will come with The Irishman. Based on a book about the life and times of Jimmy Hoffa, with a story reported to span generations, we can expect Scorsese with his massive cast to return to his gangster milieu triumphantly. Shocking tidbits have already emerged, such as Netflix’s allotted $125 million budget, along with the on-set photos of Pacino and De Niro together in character. I would line my dorm room with posters of those alone. – Nate F.
4. Maya (Mia Hansen-Love)
What does it mean that Mia Hansen-Løve’s latest is perhaps her first step away from the autobiographical? How will her turn with Juliette Binoche compare to Isabelle Huppert’s career-topping work the last time around? I don’t know, of course, but let’s jump in — she’s as dependable as almost anyone doing this right now, and there’s no reason to think now’s the point things fall off. The film follows a 30-year-old man named Gabriel, a French war reporter who was taken to hostage in Syria and then heads to India after months in captivity. The story will mainly focus on his journey to Goa, the state in western India where his childhood home is, to reflect on his life after his harrowing experience. – Nick N.
3. Radegeund (Terrence Malick)
Another year, another promised Terrence Malick never actually made it to a festival. Although any fan of the director has come to expect this, hopefully 2018 is the year when we’ll see the director’s return to World War II. Radegund follows Austria’s Franz Jägerstätter (August Diehl), a conscientious objector who was put to death at the age of 36 for undermining military actions. Also starring Valerie Pachner, Michael Nyqvist, Matthias Schoenaerts, Jürgen Prochnow, and Bruno Ganz, Malick has said this returns to him more scripted territory. While I’ll miss his experimental phase, he closed it out with his latest, greatest entry, and I can imagine this project has the ability to win back his detractors of the last few years. – Jordan R.
2. If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
How do you follow-up an upset Best Picture win? With anything you want. Barry Jenkins and company surprised the world when Moonlight was revealed as The Academy’s top choice, and not just because of how it unfolded. It felt like a tectonic shift in Hollywood that an African American queer love story could win Best Picture, and Jenkins will follow-up his historic win with If Beale Street Could Talk, based on the 1974 novel by James Baldwin. The story follows Fonny and Tish, whose love shields them from their respective dysfunctional families, but Fonny is falsely accused of rape and sent to prison. The couple soon learn they are expecting a child and fight to release Fonny before the baby is born. With casting already set–Kiki Layne, Stephan James, Teyonah Parris, Regina King, and Colman Domingo–and shooting reportedly beginning last fall, expect it this fall. – Josh E.
1. High Life (Claire Denis)
Years in development, still mysterious as all hell with plot details made public, and a potential (potential!) case of the auteur’s disastrous step into a foreign language. But if Let the Sunshine In is surely one of the best films you’ll be able to see in theaters this year and Claire Denis really is as good as it gets, I would, in the interest of shirking proper critical discourse, like this injected into my eyeballs now. Starring Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Mia Goth, and Lars Eidinger, High Life, according to Pattinson, “will take place in the future, the character is an astronaut. He’s a criminal who volunteers for a mission toward a black hole, but he realizes along the way that a doctor on board wants to do sexual experiences with humans in space.” He added, “It’s a very strange film.” – Nick N.
There’s also a number of question marks, such as if Orson Welles’ now-in-post-production The Other Side of the Wind will actually debut this year (if so, you can make that our #1). One wonders if James Gray’s Brad Pitt-led sci-fi epic Ad Astra will get a December qualifying run before arriving in January. There’s also a pair of musical films, Leos Carax’s Annette and Brady Corbet’s Vox Lux, which seem to have trouble nailing down their main stars, but hopefully we’ll see at least go into production this year. On the TV side, there’s no new David Lynch magnum opus this year, but a few projects that have our attention, including Coens’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Cary Fukunaga’s Maniac, and Lana Wachowski’s final Sense8 outing–all Netflix releases.
In terms of honorable mentions, we sincerely hope a handful of studio offerings turn out to be of quality, including Solo: A Star Wars Story, Incredibles 2, Ready Player One, Ocean’s 8, Soldado, Predator, Red Sparrow, Wrinkle in Time, Holmes & Watson, Early Man, Mortal Engines, and, of course, the Jason Staham vs. a shark feature The Meg.
On the indie/foreign side, there’s Robert Greene’s new documentary Bisbee ’17, Rick Alverson’s Entertainment follow-up The Mountain, Chance the Rapper’s Slice, the Ruth Bader Ginsburg drama On the Basis of Sex starring Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer, two Jason Reitman films (Tully and The Front Runner), new features from Italy’s Paolo Sorrentino (Loro) and Matteo Garrone (Dogman), as well as Christoph Waltz’s directorial debut Georgetown. We also nearly put Johnnie To’s Election 3 on the list, but it may not arrive until next year, and the same goes for Jessica Hausner’s Amour Fou follow-up Little Joe.
What are you most looking forward to this year?