The Most Anticipated Films…
…in alphabetical order. Sorry; ranking these by excitement is too difficult. I don’t usually go about listing my anticipated films until the Oscars for the previous year have happened, but some news excited me so much, I just couldn’t wait this year!
Blade Runner 2049
Why it’s anticipated: I’m immediately wary anytime some studio announces a sequel to a stylistic masterpiece. But Denis Villeneuve has, over much of the past half-decade, become one of my very favourite working directors. From 2010’s Incendies onward, he’s never not made a truly great film—maybe even a masterpiece or two. Arrival is one of those that may be a masterpiece, and shows he’s dynamite at crafting philosophical, introspective science fiction. Throw in Master of Subtlety Ryan Gosling (Half-Nelson, Blue Valentine) and a 15 / R rating, and I’ll happily throw all my chips into this pile. Villeneuve has the chops to make something even better than the original film—but I’m tempering my expectations, just in case.
Call Me By Your Name
Michael Landon: Hey G Clark!
G Clark: Oh, hey Michael Landon; what’s up?
Michael Landon: Did you hear that Luca Guadagnino just completed a romantic movie with Armie—
G Clark: What? Stop talking! You’ve sold me.
Michael Landon: Already? Wow.
G Clark: Hey, after I Am Love and A Bigger Splash, I’ll go anywhere Luca Guadagnino goes. He’s earned my complete trust.
Michael Landon: Damn, I hadn’t even mentioned that it’ll do for peaches what American Pie did for apple pie.
G Clark: Stop it, Michael Landon! You’re saying too much! I like being surprised a little bit!
Michael Landon: Hahaha… fine I’ll keep quiet for now. It better open soon, then!
Why it’s anticipated: Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor are masters of the underplayed, naturalistic drama (Sideways, About Schmidt, The Descendants). Even when doing broad comedy like Election, they keep the emotional content well-grounded. Here, they go a little sci-fi; not too much is known about the plot, but it involves a husband and wife who agree to have themselves shrunk down, Rick Moranis-style. With a cast including Matt Damon, Kristin Wiig, Alec Baldwin, Neil Patrick Harris and Christoph Waltz, it should definitely be on your radar.
Why it’s anticipated: Two words: Michael Haneke. He is quite simply one of the single greatest directors of the 21st Century. The Piano Teacher, Caché, Funny Games US, The White Ribbon, and Amour all made my Top Ten list in their respective years. Not only is he a brilliant director, he’s an enormously gifted scenarist, exploring the many manifestations of evil in the world. In Happy End, he returns to one of his pet themes: the treatment of immigrants, beautifully explored in such earlier films as 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance and Code Unknown: Incomplete Tales of Several Journeys. He’s also one of the few filmmakers to win two Palmes d’Or!
If you didn’t understand any of the last paragraph, you’ve just got to trust me on this.
It Comes at Night
Why it’s anticipated: Trey Edward Shults provided one of 2016’s most impressive debut efforts with Krisha, a kind of psychological horror drama. (Think of a verrrrrrrrry low-key Requiem for a Dream, with no amputations or dildos.) Now he’s making an actual horror flick, with Joel Edgerton. Plot details are sketchy, but A24 will distribute it. Okay, okay, I know I’m a big huge dork for being excited about a film distribution company, for Chrissakes, but they gave us Enemy, Under the Skin, Locke, A Most Violent Year, The Witch, The Lobster, Morris from America, Moonlight, The End of the Tour, Ex Machina…
Okay, they also released Sea of Trees, but let’s ignore that. A24 is fearless and a great help to up-and-coming directors, and that makes me excited not only for this, but the other films on their 2017 roster.
Mektoub is Mektoub
Why it’s anticipated: Abdellatif Kechiche directed the masterpiece Blue is the Warmest Color, which won the 2013 Palme d’Or and probably should have topped my list of 2013’s best. Let’s pretend it did. He’s known for going to great lengths to get a heavy, documentary feel for his films—and largely succeeds. Watching Kechiche, I sometimes forget a film is playing in front of me. It feels like real life.
Some people express extreme distaste with his directorial methods. Eh, whatever. I don’t find those discussions particularly illuminating. Those people should avoid Mektoub is Mektoub, which I think involves a romance set in the Mediterranean.
Why it’s anticipated: After developing a hyperkinetic style begun with π and perfected with Requiem for a Dream, Darren Aronofsky kinda became a Prince of the Psychological Drama with The Wrestler and Black Swan. And maybe even Noah, which I bizarrely liked. Details of the film are not readily available, though I do know it stars Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem. And Michelle Pfeiffer (!). And Ed Harris. And the Gleesons Domhnall and Brian. And it’s lensed by Matthew Libatique. Wikipedia provides this synopsis: ‘A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.’
Why it’s anticipated: Bong Joon-ho is batshit crazy. I say this after having seen Snowpiercer, The Host, and Mother. He returns to science fiction in Okja, which stars Tilda Swinton (!), Jake Gyllenhaal (!), Paul Dano (!), and others. Okay, let’s move on—my legs are shaking with oh too much anticipation.
Song to Song
G Clark: Oh, hey, Michael Landon. I’ve got one for you, now.
Michael Landon: Oooo! Go on…
G Clark: The new Terrence Malick flick, Song to Song, is set to be released this year! I’ve been waiting for this for over five years, back when it was called Weightless!
Michael Landon: …Eh.
G Clark: WHAT‽‽‽‽‽‽‽‽‽‽‽‽‽‽‽‽‽‽‽‽ Ryan Gosling! Michael Fassbinder! Rooney Mara! Natalie Portman! Cate Blanchett! Trevante Rhodes! A shitton of bands like Iron & Wine, Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes!
Michael Landon: Stop listing things! Don’t get me wrong. I loved The Thin Red Line and The Tree of Life. But, now, Malick’s head is up his own ass.
G Clark: Look, I’m going to get quite cross in a minute.
Michael Landon: C’mon. To the Wonder and Knight of Cups were just plotless collages of pretty people in pristine landscapes. They’re like Baraka without the deep themes or emotional heft. Or jaw-dropping wonder.
G Clark: Screw you, Michael Landon! Aren’t you supposed to be dead?
War for the Planet of the Apes
Why it’s anticipated: I’m actually not excited for this one based on the director or anyone in the cast. For entries in a tentpole sci-fi/action franchise, both Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes are uncommonly sophisticated, cerebral, and exciting. If this third movie can keep it up, I’m there.
Where Life is Born
Why it’s anticipated: Carlos Reygadas made one of the best films so far this century with Silent Light, third on my list of Best Films of 2009. Then, he went completely crazy for Post Tenebras Lux, which, with its bizarre nudity, random snippets of football matches, and cameo by Satan, was incoherent on an exoteric level. (Keep in mind, these are all big plusses for me, not debits!) Not everyone’s cup of tea, to be sure, but enough to get my radar beeping. It has to be, as I can’t find plot details or a cast list yet!
Why it’s anticipated: If you’ve been initiated into the cult of Lucrecia Martel, you know that she hasn’t released a film for nine freaking years, since her masterpiece The Headless Woman shocked and beguiled me. If you haven’t been initiated, you’re probably saying to yourself right now, ‘Damn, this is just a list of artsy-fartsy bullcrap!’
Well, if you did just say that to yourself, it makes me very sad. I don’t even want to type anymore. I’ll just leave this here:
I dig. Looks very Jauja-like. What? You’ve never heard of Jauja either? Smh.