2017 looks poised to be another standout year in cinema, with a spectacularly diverse range of interesting films set for release over the course of the next twelve months. Here are just some of the highlights, (loosely) in order of UK release…
January and February
Silence – Martin Scorsese’s latest film is a religious epic starring Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver and Liam Neeson. What’s there not to like?
A Monster Calls – A critically well-received adaptation of the fantasy drama novel of the same name, with an all-star cast featuring Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones and Liam Neeson again.
La La Land – From the director of 2014’s Whiplash comes La La Land, another musically-centered film that’s an emerging awards contender, especially for its stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.
Manchester by the Sea – Another film gathering some awards buzz starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams. Manchester by the Sea is a deeply personal portrait of the highs and lows of family life.
Jackie – Natalie Portman stars as Jacqueline Kennedy, as she attempts to continue with her own life whilst defining the legacy of her recently assassinated husband, US President JFK.
Lion – Dev Patel, Rooney Mara and Nicole Kidman star in this heartfelt drama about a man tracking down his biological parents using Google Earth.
Goodfellas rerelease – as part of the Scorsese season at the BFI, the ultimate gangster flick is coming back to cinemas across the length and breadth of the UK, and expect Taxi Driver later in the year too. Oh, times are good.
Trainspotting rerelease – Another classic from the 90s gets a rerelease, so we have the benefit of knowing that even if the sequel is terrible, it at least gave us a chance to view Trainspotting in cinemas again.
T2 Trainspotting – Could be great, could be appalling. All of the original cast and crew are back, and seem to be aware of how much is riding on this. We’re counting on you, Boyle!
Hacksaw Ridge – The Mel Gibson directed war drama about Desmond Doss, an American pacifist medic who in WWII refused to ever carry or use a weapon on religious grounds. Starring Andrew Garfield.
Moonlight – A lowkey awards contender based on the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue.
The Handmaiden – If the critics are to be believed, a unique and interesting South Korean erotic psychological thriller worth watching.
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Logan – Believed to be both Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart’s final outing as their respective characters in the X-Men series, and boy it looks good.
Kong: Skull Island – It’s difficult to work out whether this will be good or not. It’s got a great cast and some of the trailer looked good, but then…then there were the other bits.
Alien: Covenant – This is another could-be-good-could-be-bad one. All the markings of a good film are there; a solid writer, director and cast, but something seems a little off. Hopefully they’re holding back the biggest treats.
Wonder Woman – Will the DCU finally get a solid hit? Time will tell, but it really needs one after the critical calamity of 2016. The trailer looks promising, but so did the trailers for the DCU’s previous offerings, and we all know how that turned out.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – The surprise hit of the MCU was a joyous departure from their ever-expanding universe that was free, to an extent, to be its own film. It was funny, entertaining and quite silly. Here’s to hoping that the sequel will work on the same levels.
War for the Planet of the Apes – The first two were solid blockbusters that breathed new life into a well-worn franchise, as well as showcasing Andy Serkis’ considerable talent, which is always good news. More of that, please.
Spider-Man: Homecoming – Practically universally loved since his brilliant introduction in last year’s Captain America: Civil War, Tom Holland reprises his role as the MCU’s SpiderHYPHENMan in this standalone adventure, alongside Robert Downey Jr., Donald Glover and Michael Keaton?! Bring it on.
Dunkirk – Christopher Nolan helms a war epic about the so-called Miracle of Dunkirk, starring Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance and Harry Styles. Definitely one to see on IMAX film, or failing that the biggest screen you can find.
The Lego Batman Movie – Do…do I need to explain this one? Everyone who saw The Lego Movie quite correctly loved it, and loved Batman in it. This is just more of that. Even the trailers are hilarious.
Autumn and Winter
Blade Runner 2049 – A lot of people, myself included, will feel quite personally offended if this steps a toe out of line. It all looks so good on paper; the cast, the director of Arrival, Sicario and Prisoners and Harrison Ford being Harrison Ford. The teaser certainly conveyed the right sort of atmosphere, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Fingers crossed.
Murder on the Orient Express – Directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh. This adaptation of the Agatha Christie classic features an all-star cast if there ever was one, and should be a great bit of theatrical melodrama, somewhat fittingly given that many of its cast members originate from the world of Theatreland.
Star Wars Episode VIII – Rounding things off is of course (and this will be the case for the next few years) the latest offering in the Star Wars franchise. There’s not much to say here, not least because so little is rightfully known about the film, even its title, besides the obvious joy that comes with the anticipation of a new Star Wars film, at least partly justified by the last two solid stories.
It’s fair to say that there’s a lot to look forward to over the coming months. Did we miss any films that you’re hotly anticipating? Let us know below if so!
By Oliver Rowe