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Reasons To Be Cheerful: The Most Anticipated Movies Of 2017

By Petr Knava | Lists | December 29, 2016 |

By Petr Knava | Lists | December 29, 2016 |

Okay 2016, fuck off and die bye now.

Hey, everyone else, let’s take a moment to forget about the heinous shit that’s happened this year, the heinous shit that’s sure to follow, and instead let’s focus on that dark-room-big-screen-moving-pictures-look-good stuff we love so much!

Because there’s loads of it coming in 2017!

And I’ve split it into four categories!

Check it:

The Heavy Hitters:


Alien: Covenant
After the senseless barrage of ‘smart’ people doing stupid shit that was Prometheus Ridley Scott returns again to the universe that birthed one of the greatest horror/sci-fi movies of all time. The writers of Prometheus are not involved with Alien: Covenant. That’s the ‘I’ in the D.E.N.N.I.S. system, right there.

Blade Runner 2049
Denis Villeneuve takes the helm of the (still probably unnecessary) sequel to Ridley Scott’s other stone cold sci-fi classic. Roger Deakins is on board. That means you should be too, because even if it’s not a great overall movie, your eyes will still bleed from the visual splendor.

Star Wars: Episode VIII
Rian Johnson is directing the next numbered installment in the Star Wars saga. Rian Johnson of Looper and Brick fame. He’s also writing the damn thing. That’s a bloody exciting proposition.

Only a few days from release, Martin Scorsese’s long-gestating passion (tee-hee!) project has been creating quite a buzz. One of the most dynamic and effervescent (and greatest) American filmmakers spends decades bringing a picture to the screen, which then by most accounts ends being a contemplative, meditative mini-masterpiece — sign me the fuck up.

The Dark Tower
Speaking of long-gestating projects…

But, like — it’s actually happening? Shit, I think it actually is! There have been set photos and everything!

Directed by Dane Nikolaj Arcel (Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, A Royal Affair) and part-scripted by Akiva Goldsman, the adaptation of Stephen King’s classic is maybe the most intriguing movie coming in 2017 — just because, again: shit, it’s actually happening!

Christopher Nolan tackles WW2. BRB, hibernating until release day.

Ghost In The Shell
Shadowed by the whitewashing controversy over its casting of ScarJo as Major, this adaptation of the classic anime has a lot to prove. Early material has hinted at a gorgeous bit of work that nonetheless takes some Hollywood-ised liberties with the story. A cast featuring Michael Pitt, Juliette Binoche, Pilou Asbæk, Rila Fukushima, and Takeshi Kitano (!) is encouraging. The fact that it is Rupert Sanders directing (Snow White And The Huntsman), less so.

The Comic Book Corner:


Wonder Woman
Troubled tales from the set of Wonder Woman do not do wonders for hope, but audiences will finally get to witness a role for the most iconic female superhero of all time that isn’t her trying to rescue two angsty Snyderbros from a Martha circle jerk. Patty Jenkins (Monster) is directing, too, which is a good sign.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2
More of the same please. The follow-up to the dark horse/surprise smash of the Marvel Cinematic Universe now has the burden of expectation on it, but James Gunn is a clever enough sonofabitch that we might be pleasantly surprised yet again. Just, you know, give us an actual interesting villain this time. Unless that goes against Marvel’s terms and conditions.

Thor: Ragnarok
From the director’s AMA:

‘Hello Taika. In Making Thor 3, did you make efforts to make it similar or dissimilar to the previous Thor films? As in, did you try to maintain the same elements, or did you try to make it more unique? Thanks’

Taika: ‘I made an effort to ignore the fact there are other Thor films.’

‘How difficult was it to fit your vision for Thor: Ragnarok into the existing continuity of the MCU?’

Taika: ‘I didn’t bother trying.’

Taika Waititi, everyone.

Lets be honest: nothing’s probably gonna live up to that trailer. Johnny Cash’s ‘Hurt’ is weaponised raw emotion. It actually violates a few international rules of warfare marketing to use it in a trailer. But use it they did, and now we have an amazing story in our heads — a Last Of Us-esque swansong for the longest-serving, and arguably best, screen superhero. Even if the movie doesn’t live up to our expectations, saying goodbye to Hugh Jackman as Wolverine after 17 (17!) years will probably elicit a few ugly cries just by itself.

Spider-Man: Homecoming
The mere mention of the words ‘Spider-Man’ and ‘movie’ are usually enough to make one gag these days, but the hero’s recent outing in Captain America: Civil War was a beacon of hope for fans. Director Jon Watts hasn’t really got anything to his name yet, so perhaps cautious optimism is advised.

Justice League
Hunter S. Thompson once said:

‘Some people will say that words like ‘scum’ and ‘rotten’ are wrong for Objective Journalism — which is true, but they miss the point. It was the built-in blind spots of the Objective rules and dogma that allowed Nixon to slither into the White House in the first place.’

Well, replace the word ‘Nixon’ with the word ‘Snyder’, and the words ‘White House’ with ‘Hollywood upper echelon’ and you have my view on the matter.

The Beautiful Outsiders:


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Martin McDonagh is giving us another movie! Altogether now: HAAAAAAAALELUJAH!

The ultra-talented writer-director bastard behind In Bruges and Seven Psycopaths is bringing us a darkly comic drama, which — well, you know what? Here’s the official synopsis:

After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter’s murder case, Mildred Hayes (Academy Award winner Frances McDormand) makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby (Academy Award nominee Woody Harrelson), the town’s revered chief of police. When his second-in-command Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell), an immature mother’s boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing’s law enforcement is only exacerbated.

Also starring Peter Dinklage, Zeljko Ivanek, and John Hawkes.

American Made
Doug Liman is one of Hollywood’s most interesting filmmakers. He weaves in and out of genres, dances with all manner of budgets, and wrings great performances out of a wide variety of actors. This time he’s reuniting with Tom Cruise (who gave one of the best performances of his career in Liman’s wonderful Edge Of Tomorrow) and bringing along Domhnall Gleeson and Lola Kirke for the based-on-a-true-story of an American pilot/drug smuggler who tangles with the CIA.

The Beguiled
Sofia Coppola is another one of Hollywood’s most interesting filmmakers. This time she’s adapting a novel (which was actually already adapted into movie form in 1971) about a Confederate girls’ boarding school, an injured Union soldier who gets taken into it, and the mind games that follow. Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, and Kirsten Dunst feature.

Molly’s Game
Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut stars Jessica Chastain stars as Molly Bloom, a former Olympic skier who sets up a high-stakes international poker game and becomes the target of an FBI investigation. Based on the actual Bloom’s memoir, the screenplay is nevertheless Sorkin’s — and the sight of watching Aaron Sorkin write a whole movie about a woman, from the woman’s point of view, should make this a sight to behold in and of itself. Idris Elba also stars, which is probably so that Sorkin can have a man to give the best lines to.

Free Fire
Ben Wheatley, he of dark, twisted, and humorous horror-fantasies like Kill List and Sightseers, brings us a tale of two gangs and one warehouse in 1978 Boston. Paranoia and shootouts will occur. Enzo Cilenti, Sam Riley, Michael Smiley, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Armie Hammer, and Sharlto Copley will star.

The Founder
Michael Keaton stars in this origin tale for McDonald’s. Expect a fast food shared cinematic universe to follow.

The Death of Stalin
Steve Buscemi, Olga Kurylenko, Jeffrey Tambor, Jason Isaacs, and Paddy Considine are among the names starring in the fiendishly clever Armando Iannucci’s adaptation of a graphic novel of the same name that follows the death of the dictator and the chaos that followed.

Baby Driver
Edgar Wright brings us an original story (that he also wrote) about a young getaway driver and a failed heist. Lily James, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey, Jon Bernthal, Jon Hamm star. One of the most unique and witty visual stylists in the industry, any project that Wright attaches himself to should be a point of interest almost by default, but everything heard about Baby Driver thus far has positively made the mouth water.

The Shape Of Water
From one auteur to another. Stop what you’re doing because here comes Guillermo Del Toro with a fantasy adventure story set against the backdrop of Cold War-era America, 1963. Details are scant at the moment, but phrases like ‘mysterious and magical journey’ have been used, and with a cast featuring people like Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Octavia Spencer — well, I don’t think we need to know anymore.

The Book Of Henry
After Jurrasic World, Colin Trevorrow goes small again here, with Lee Pace, Naomi Watts, Jacob Tremblay, Dean Norris starring in his movie about a single mother raising a precocious child genius.

‘Untitled Detroit Project’
Kathryn Bigelow directs a movie written Mark Boal about one of the largest citizen uprisings in the history of the United States. The five-day uprising that followed a police raid on a bar in Detroit will be brought to life by John Krasinski, John Boyega, Will Poulter, Hannah Murray, and Anthony Mackie. Bigelow’s formal command will most likely make this a riveting watch, regardless of whether or not all of the pieces hold up.

Alex Garland writes and directs his follow-up to Ex Machina, also shot by that movie’s DP, Rob Hardy. Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, and Oscar Isaac star in an adapted story about a biologist who sets out for an expedition to a mysterious area cut-off from the rest of a post-apocalyptic civilization.

Luc Besson goes apeshit in space. Flings everything at the wall. Some of it will probably stick. Consume with alcohol.

The ‘But Let’s Be Honest Here, If We Could Only Get One Movie This Year’:



Petr Knava
lives in London and plays music

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Petr is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.