Not unlike the Chinese New Year, which does not start on January 1st but follows its own calendar, everyone knows that the Cinematic New Year does not start until after the Oscars (this year: Feb. 26). Still, the date is approaching, and thus, we begin to look forward to the wonderful movies that will keep our spirits up and help us gain strength to resist while America slowly drifts into a fascistic dystopia. So let’s forget about orange-tinged dictators for a second, and focus instead on the possible bright spots of our future.
The Five Movies I’m Most Excited For:
Wonderstruck – If there is anything that is going to make me fight as hard as I can to outlive the apocalypse, it’s the reunion of Julianne Moore and director Todd Haynes. Haynes seems to be changing gears compared to his previous movies, choosing to tell a more family-friendly story from the point of view of two children. But lest you forget, this is the collaboration that gave us such classics as Safe and Far From Heaven. And I assume you don’t need a reminder that Haynes’s last movie suggests he might have reached miraculous levels as a filmmaker.
How to Talk to Girls at Parties – This movie was in my “most anticipated” list last year, but didn’t actually get released. It’s still undetermined when we will get to see this movie, but the release of the first official production photo (pictured above) gives me hope it will be sooner rather than later. I can’t wait to see what director John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) does with source material written by Neil Gaiman, especially with a cast that includes Nicole Kidman and the ever-more-impressive Elle Fanning
The Killing of a Sacred Deer – I named The Lobster as my favorite movie of last year, so it only makes sense I’d be looking forward to whatever director Yorgos Lanthimos does next. He continues his collaboration with Colin Farrell, in a movie that includes personal favorites such as Nicole Kidman, Raffey Cassidy (who was great in Tomorrowland) and wait for it… Alicia Silverstone! I’m so ready for the Aliciassance. Not sure when this will make its way to U.S. cinemas, but a premiere at the Cannes Film Festival is very likely.
The Trip to Spain – What do the Before movies, Three Colors, and Toy Story have in common? They’re some of the best cinematic trilogies ever made, and soon, dueling impressionists Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon will have the chance to join that golden pantheon as they take their third culinary trip around Europe. The only reason I wouldn’t want this to be a perfect trilogy is so the series keeps going. There is no country on Earth I wouldn’t like to see Coogan and Brydon travel to as long as they bring their Michael Caine impression along for the ride.
The Beguiled – I’m a sucker for revisionist Westerns, so I couldn’t be more excited for this remake of a Clint Eastwood vehicle of the seventies which will be directed by none other than Sofia Coppola. A peculiar choice for sure, but one that has me super excited. Colin Farrell stars as a Union Soldier trapped in a Confederate girls’ boarding school. He will be joined by -listen to this- Elle Fanning, Kirsten Dunst, Angourie Rice (from The Nice Guys), and sure-to-be-2017-MVP Nicole Kidman. The movie comes out June 30 in the U.S. And here’s the trailer!
Five Holdovers from 2016 (That Will Be Released in 2017 and I’m Most Excited For)
The Lost City of Z – James Gray’s period adventure about explorers who venture into the Amazon premiered as the closing film of last year’s New York Film Festival, and I’ve heard nothing but great things about it. I am a big fan of Gray’s work (at least what I’ve seen of it), so I will definitely be there when the movie is released April 14.
Nocturama – I’ve been intrigued by this movie ever since I heard it focused on a young group of terrorists trying to stage an attack in Paris. It’s the type of daring subject matter that could go horribly in the wrong hands, but director Bertrand Bonello has proven himself capable of good stuff in the past (and reviews have been very interesting). It’s also the tricky subject matter that has kept the movie from getting a U.S. theatrical release. The way things are going, I don’t know if it ever will.
Personal Shopper – I wasn’t a huge fan of Clouds of Sils Maria (the last collaboration between director Olivier Assayas and star Kristen Stewart), but I’ve been wanting to jump into the Kristen Stewart bandwagon for a while now. Most of the film critics I respect have grown enamored by her, and if any movie is going to make me join them, I figure it’s gonna be this one. We’ll find out March 10.
Free Fire – This new movie by Ben Wheatley has the kind of simple premise that gets me excited, as it focuses on a meeting between two gangs that goes horribly wrong and turns into a deadly shoot-out inside a deserted warehouse. Not the stuff of high drama, sure, but bound to be a hell of a lot of fun. It comes out April 21.
Call Me By Your Name – Ok, I’m kind of cheating because this is a 2017 movie, but since it already premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, I’ve read enough reviews to get a good idea of it and know that I’m probably going to love it. The fact that director Luca Guadagnino (A Bigger Splash) is behind the camera would be enough to get me to buy a ticket, but the glowing reviews from Sundance have me really excited.
Five Movies I Want to Be Good But I’m a Little Nervous About (You Know, Cautiously Optimistic)
Lady Bird – If the directorial debut of Greta Gerwig is anything like the movies she co-wrote with Noah Baumbach, then this will be one of the best movies of the year. This stars two great young actors in Saoirse Ronan and Lucas Hedges, but then again, I always get a little nervous when actors step behind the directing chair, even someone as talented and unique as Gerwig.
Coco – How could I not be excited by the fact that Pixar has finally decided to make a movie about my life? Ok, so it’s not really about me, but it’s an original story set in Mexico during Dia de los Muertos which should be a lot of fun. Pixar has been hit and miss lately, but the fact that this is an original story and not a sequel gives me a lot of hope. This comes out November 22.
Slice – The only reason this movie is not one of my five “most anticipated” is because it sounds too good to be true. From what I understand, this movie stars Chance the Rapper as a motorcycle-riding werewolf and is directed by Austin Vesely, who is responsible for “Sunday Candy“, one of the most beautiful music videos ever made. I’m trying to be cautious because if this isn’t the most awesome movie of the year, then I’ll be crushed.
Darkest Hour – I am a big fan of Joe Wright, even if Pan was a huge disappointment. He’s made some truly great movies in the past and I will defend them to death, but… I gotta be honest, this biopic about Winston Churchill doesn’t look too promising, especially based on that first picture of Gary Oldman covered in tons of makeup in order to look like Churchill. I’m still hoping for the best. It’s currently scheduled for November 24.
Get Out – Even if the directorial debut of Jordan Peele isn’t that great, it will surely be one of the most fascinating and ambitious movies of the year. A horror movie in which a black man is the tormented by the dark secrets of the (white) community of his girlfriend’s parents sounds like the kind of cinematic experiment that only comes once in a generation. It comes out on February 24.