It’s a new year and a whole lot of films on the horizon in 2017. Here I’ll be going through twenty films that I’m looking forward to seeing the most in the coming year and a little reminder that these are UK/Ireland releases.
Release Date: 20th January
Lion tells the story of Saroo Brierley, an Indian-born Australian man who was lost from his family at the age of five that was adopted by an Australian couple. Over twenty years later, Saroo went on the search for his long-lost family. Dev Patel is in the starring role and the supporting cast includes Rooney Mara, David Wenham and Nicole Kidman. The film also marks the directorial feature debut of Garth Davis, well known commercials director that has also directed a few episodes of Top of the Lake. The story intrigues me in how it will tell this true story of Saroo’s search for his family and with the film already having its cinematic release in the US, it’s generating some buzz this awards season and has received four Golden Globe nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor/Actress and Original Score.
19. Kong: Skull Island
Release Date: 20th March
This year we’ll see the resurrection of the King Kong franchise after Peter Jackson’s 2005 attempt with Kong: Skull Island. From the trailer that we seen towards the end of last year, the cinematography work from Larry Fong has been a personal highlight so far and the look of this particular version of Kong looks set to be terrifying in terms of the size of the beast. While the character of John C. Reilly looks oddly out of place from watching the trailer and what I’m particularly looking forward to in the film, the special effects and the all-star cast that includes Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John Goodman and Samuel L. Jackson, will definitely have me hitting the cinema on opening night. It’s a nice setup before we get the superfight of King Kong vs Godzilla in the future.
18. Spider-Man: Homecoming
Release Date: 7th July
Thirteen years. Once Spider-Man: Homecoming is released, it’ll be exactly thirteen years since I’ve last really enjoyed a Spider-Man film (Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2). We were given a brief and memorable impression of Tom Holland’s version of Peter Parker introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s instalment of Captain America: Civil War. With the trailer dropping towards the end of last year, we’re given a vibe of John Hughes and the introduction of Michael Keaton’s villainous turn in a comic book film has this film as a must-see for me in the summetime.
17. John Wick: Chapter 2
Release Date: 17th February
John Wick was a surprise hit back in 2015 and judging from the trailers for Chapter 2, it’s more of the same in the sequel which is certainly not a bad thing. Chad Stahelski returns to directing duties while original co-director David Leitch will be taking on a Producing role here. Keanu Reeves in full-on action mode is always fun to watch and the reunion of Neo and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) here will be a welcome nod. Now I just hope they explore the world further of the assassin world through the Continental Hotel.
16. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2
Release Date: 28th April
2017 sees the return of the biggest bunch of A-Holes in the Galaxy, which is set to be a major box office hit for Disney/Marvel this year. Everyone, from the director (James Gunn) to the main cast (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bautista, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper), returns to the fold with a host of newcomers (Kurt Russell, Pom Klementieff and Elizabeth Debicki) set to have pivotal roles in the sequel. Plot details have been kept underwraps for the time being and with no official trailer having released yet, but with the two teaser trailers that have been released last year, the tone and banter between the group looks set to be as comical as it was in the original.
Release Date: 27th January
Christine is a biographical drama retelling the last days of news reporter Christine Chubbuck as she battles depression and and professional frustrations in trying to advance her career before she tragically committed suicide live on air. The film has already had its cinematic release in the US and Rebecca Hall’s performance has been generating some buzz that she could be in contention for an Oscar nomination this coming year for Best Actress. Granted the film could potentially be too dark for some considering the topic it’s tackling, but amongst all the big budget films coming out this year, it’s nice to find a small budget film that is tackling some hard-hitting/true stories that need to be viewed to begin a discussion on what lead to Chubbuck’s death.
14. Manchester By The Sea
Release Date: 13th January
Manchester By The Sea has us following Lee Chandler, an uncle that is obliged to return home to care for his nephew after his brother dies. The film then recounts past memories of why Lee left Manchester as he struggles with the decision in the present that he’s now the guardian of his nephew. Kenneth Lonergan is on directing duties here (also well known for his screenplays that include Analyze This, You Can Count On Me and Gangs of New York) with a cast that includes Casey Affleck, Kyle Chandler, Michelle Williams and Lucas Hedges. The film has received huge critical acclaim over in the US and has already racked up five Golden Globe nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor/Actress, Best Director and Best Screenplay.
13. Justice League
Release Date: 17th November
If it hadn’t have been for what I thought of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad last year, Justice League may have been higher up on my anticipated list. Still I’m looking forward to seeing DC’s big hitters forming up as the Justice League. With only a comic-con trailer to go by, visually a few shots look impressive and hopefully everyone in the group gets their time to shine (Cyborg in particular will need it more than most). I’ll firmly be interested in what they’ll do with Jason Momoa’s take on Arthur Curry/Aquaman here and one wonders if Zack Snyder will be able to knock it out of the park and get critics and general viewing audiences more on the same page positively.
12. Stephen King’s The Dark Tower
Release Date: 28th July
Film adaptations of Stephen King’s material can go one of two ways. Either it’s a good time cinematic experience (Shawshank Redemption) it’s just absolutely godawful you wonder how people got involved in the first place (Dreamcatcher). Stephen King’s The Dark Tower has been a long in development film that still hasn’t released a teaser yet but it’s the cast involved (Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Jackie Earle Haley and Katheryn Winnick) that has me excited for this big screen version of The Dark Tower books.
11. Wonder Woman
Release Date: 2nd June
It’s been over seventy-five years since Wonder Woman was introduced to the world in comic book form and now finally we get their first cinematic solo film outing with Gal Gadot reprising the role after the Diana was introduced to us last year in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. BVS may have divided opinions with the overall take of the film, but what most of us could agree on was that Gadot’s introduction as Wonder Woman was one of the bright sparks of the film. While I’m skeptical on Justice League with Snyder’s directorial involvement, the footage we’ve seen so far of Patty Jenkin’s take on Wonder Woman actually has me positive that DC Films/Warner Bros. will hit it third time lucky once this film drops in June to get audiences back on side with the DCEU. The battle scenes involving Themyscira and the trench in World War I setting looks set to be the films key highlights.
10. Hacksaw Ridge
Release Date: 27th January
It’s been ten years since we’ve last seen a Mel Gibson directed film on the big screen (Apocalypto) and now we see him returning as he tells the true story of Desmond Doss, a combat medic that refused to carry or use a firearm or weapons of any kind during World War II. Andrew Garfield has been generating Oscar buzz for his performance here in the lead role, while Gibson is also being seen a major contender for not just being nominated in the Best Director category, but actually win it. Though I’m sure Gibson’s well documented history may hurt his chances on that front (even though Hollywood loves a comeback angle), I’m still very much looking forward to seeing Gibson’s vision of the brutality
09. T2: Trainspotting
Release Date: 27th January
On paper, I really shouldn’t be looking forward to T2: Trainspotting as much as I am. The sequel is coming out over twenty years after the original. The trailer pretty much shows us that the sequel looks set to be more of the same of what happened in the original. History, particularly last year (in the vein of comedy sequels) show that a lengthy gap between the original and its sequel can be a bad thing. Yet the fact that the original team, director Danny Boyle and main cast members Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, Ewen Bremner and Robert Carlyle, have returned has be bloody excited to see what’s happened to the characters since we last seen them.
Release Date: 3rd March
Once Logan hits on March, it’ll mark Hugh Jackman’s 17th year playing Wolverine over the course of eight films (Logan will be the ninth). There is alot of anticipation on awaiting Logan’s release, not just because FOX have decided to give director James Mangold and his team creative freedom to tell the story that they want and make hand it an R-Rating, but because this will be the last time that Hugh Jackman will be rocking those claws of death on the big screen (so we’re led to believe). The Wolverine spinoff films have progressively gotten better with each instalment (Origins: Wolverine = terrible, The Wolverine = good film/bad final act) and with this final outing also bringing in Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier and Dafne Keen potentially cast as X-23. The trailer makes it look like Wolverine will be getting an emotional send off and he possibly might not be the only one.
Release Date: 21st July
Dunkirk see’s director Christopher Nolan now telling the story of the Dunkirk evacuation, an operation designed to evacuate Allied soldiers from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, France, after they were cut off and surrounded by the German army during the Battle of France during World War II. So far the trailer for the film doesn’t give much away in terms of battle sequences or exactly who we should consider a lead to follow in the film as it feels like it could be an ensemble piece with a cast that includes Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, James D’Arcy and Harry Styles. I know a few people found the first trailer for the film to be underwhelming, still it’s Christopher Nolan telling a World War II story….I hope it will be good.
06. Blade Runner 2049
Release Date: 6th October
We didn’t think the day will ever come that we’d be getting a Blade Runner sequel but now we’re nine months out from exploring that world further. The dream team of director Denis Villeneuve and cinematographer Roger Deakins help hype the film up for me moreso than the cast personally, with some beautiful shots being shown in the teaser trailer that dropped towards the end of last year. Ryan Gosling is the new Blade Runner that goes on a quest to find Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard after he unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. The secret in question? We’ll have to find out in October. The rest of the cast includes Robin Wright, Dave Bautista, Sylvia Hoeks, Carla Juri, Mackenzie Davis, Ana de Armas, Barkhad Abdi, David Dastmalchian, Hiam Abbass, Lennie James and Jared Leto.
Release Date: 1st January
Silence sees the return of a Martin Scorsese film to the big screen since The Wolf Of Wall Street, taking us back to the seventeenth century telling the story of two Jesuit priests face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor, who had committed apostasy after being tortured. The film has been a passion project of Scorsese’s since the 90’s and now finally we’ll see that project on the big screen this year. Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver are cast as the Two Jesuit Priests whilst Liam Neeson is the mentor they’re trying to locate.
Release Date: 17th February
Fences is a well known stage play by August Wilson that first opened to audiences in 1983. Now Fences gets the cinematic treatment with Denzel Washington and Viola Davis cast as Troy and Rose Mason. What’s the most interesting about this film is that Denzel was on directing duties here. The trailer makes it known that audiences are in for some emotional/family drama, particularly as we see that the Mason family come to verbal blows with each other, especially Troy and his son Cory.
Release Date: 17th February
Moonlight tells the story of a young man’s struggle to find himself, told across three defining chapters in his life as he experiences the ecstasy, pain, and beauty of falling in love, while grappling with his own sexuality. This film has been a critical smash over in the US, appearing in alot of top five lists, let alone being a few critics choice of number one film of the year and has racked up six Golden Globe nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor/Actress, Best Screenplay and Best Original Score. It’s believed it’ll rack up a number of Oscar nominations too and I for one can’t wait to FINALLY see this film next month.
02. War For The Planet Of The Apes
Release Date: 14th July
It’s the third instalment of the Planet of the Apes prequel series we’ve been getting since Rise of the Planet of the Apes came out in 2011 and we’re finally getting the war between apes and humans here as Caesar and company take on an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel. Andy Serkis’s portrayal of Caesar has been one of the most memorable cinematic characters we’ve witnessed this decade and the first trailer that dropped at the end of last year showed that we could be set for an epic conclusion to Caesar’s story. Woody Harrelson looks set to be a formidable foe to Caesar and the rest of the apes as the Colonel.
01. La La Land
Release Date: 12th January
Was their any doubt that this wouldn’t be top of my list? While big screen musicals aren’t necessarily my jam, I can’t help but get excited to see this film on the big screen as it feels like a throwback to Hollywood of old and my excitement is primarily down to the fact that Damien Chazelle has written as well as directed this film. Whiplash was my favourite film of 2015 and definitely near the top of my favourite films of the decade and using talents such as Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, who share organic chemistry after appearing on screen in a few films in recent years, has me excited to see this film and see it now.