Talk Film Society's Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Talk Film Society's Most Anticipated Films of 2017

With contributions from Aaron Hendrix, Alex Miller, James Barrett, Marcelo Pico, Marcus Irving, Matt Curione, Nick Isaac, Rob Trench, Ryan Horner, and Sarah Jane.

The start of a new year brings with it a whole host of new and upcoming films to look forward to, and 2017 is no different. Just from a quick glance, it would seem that there is a ton of great stuff on the way, in what will be another great twelve months of cinema. Here is some of the most anticipated films on our radars - ranging from mega blockbusters to arthouse fare:

Star Wars: Episode VIII

Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a great, enjoyable entry into furthering the adventures of both the new and original Star Wars characters. While plot details for Episode VIII have been completely hidden as of now, I’m eager to see what Rian Johnson (BrickThe Brothers BloomLooper) has to offer for the still untitled project, especially with regards to what Luke Skywalker has been doing for all these years. (Sarah Jane)

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2

This one was already an automatic watch from the moment the sequel was announced, and after seeing the trailer, it became a must-see. With the return of Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Yondu (Michael Rooker), and a baby Groot (Vin Diesel), Marvel is going to have yet another monster hit on their hands. (SJ)

Justice League

Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman were a shaky start to DC’s attempts at jumpstarting their franchise, but based on the early footage released at Comic Con this past summer, we’re in for a real treat, thanks to finally getting characters like Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and The Flash (Ezra Miller) finally getting the spotlight. (Rob Trench)

Blade Runner 2049

The original Blade Runner has a permanent spot in my top 5 films of all-time, so the news that after several years, Ridley Scott would be executive-producing a return to that world (realized by Arrival and Sicario director Denis Villeneuve) made me beyond ecstatic, especially with the cast that includes Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Robin Wright, and Ana de Armas. While the brief teaser recently released feels like a morsel compared to what the final product will bring, and the late casting addition of Jared Leto seems garish in the wake of Suicide Squad, it has my vested interest and I cannot wait to see how the story is picked up all these years later this October. (RT)

Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Film

Announced only a few months ago, PTA’s next feature will reteam him with Daniel Day-Lewis ten years after There Will Be Blood, for a story about the 1950s fashion scene. Not much else is known about the project, other than Focus Features has the distribution rights and the film is set to commence production in the start of 2017, but look out for it during awards season in the fall. (RT)


Christopher Nolan isn’t a perfect filmmaker, but I will say with the most certainty he’s always an interesting one, and if the headline reads “Christopher Nolan makes a World War II film”, I’m sold. The credited cast which includes Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, and Cillian Murphy only sweetens the deal. (Alex Miller)

Wonder Woman

It has taken decades for Wonder Woman to get her own movie after numerous setbacks, but finally it’s going to happen, with Gal Gadot in the lead and Patty Jenkins in the director’s chair. The first teaser released this summer was very promising, so fingers crossed it’s not another DC Extended Universe misfire. (RT)

Alien: Covenant

Ridley Scott returning to the the Alien universe is a cause for celebration; Prometheus may have been lackluster in some departments but all signs point to Covenant being what fans wanted in the first place. The first trailer was real doozy, showing off the cast of Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, and Danny McBride all being terrorized in various, very Alien ways. Plus, with the absence of Damon Lindelof, this just might be the return to form that the franchise so desperately needs. (Matt Curione)

Spider-Man: Homecoming

I’m one of the few who loved Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, but didn’t care for Tobey Maguire in the role (go figure). Anyway, I’m willing to give young Tom Holland a chance, based on how tremendous he was in Captain America: Civil War. Here's hoping that his version of the character becomes the best to date. (SJ)

Baby Driver

The new film by Edgar Wright. That should be enough right there, but if you need more convincing Baby Driver stars Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm and Kevin Spacey, all in an action crime thriller from the writer/director of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Still not sold? I don’t know what else I could possibly say. It should be right at the top of your must-see list in 2017. (Marcelo Pico)

War for the Planet of the Apes

The rebooted Apes films, starting with 2011’s Rise and followed by 2014’s Dawn, have no right being as fantastic as they currently are. Perfectly taking elements from the original film series, while also playing off real world themes, few franchises are as powerful and intelligent. With War for the Planet of the Apes, Andy Serkis returns Caesar, leader of the apes, who are battling against the humans, led by a colonel (Woody Harrelson). With Dawn director Matt Reeves back on board for War, it looks to be another solid entry in the franchise. (MP)


The power of Wolverine is undeniable. I am not much of an X-Men fan; in fact, I often worry that universe just isn’t meant for me. But, no matter what, I have always been enraptured by the story of Logan and his portrayal by Hugh Jackman. This looks like the film we have always deserved: apocalyptic, desperate, and aching with a sliver of hope. Come on, James Mangold, I need Logan to be the one. (Ryan Horner)

Thor: Ragnarok

Yeah, yeah, people hated the second one but, let’s be real, Marvel fans are going to watch this no matter what. But, c’mon, what’s not to love about this one? Thor (Chris Hemsworth) being sent to a Gladiator planet and fighting to the death alongside The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)! Plus an amazing cast including new additions Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Sam Neill, and directed by Taika Waititi (What We Do In The Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople)? Take my money, please! (SJ)


The overwhelming praise for Carol must have inspired Todd Haynes to hop back into the director’s chair, as he’s already finished his next feature Wonderstruck, an adaptation of the novel by Brian Selznick. Set between two time periods as a young boy and young girl seek the same mysterious connection, it boasts a unique ensemble including Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, Oakes Fegley, and Tom Noonan. Expect a Cannes premiere and theatrical release in late 2017. (RT)


Director Duncan Jones has only made three feature films, and with them he’s cemented himself as one of the best sci-fi/fantasy directors working today. Sure, Warcraft didn’t light the world on fire, but there’s no denying the sci-fi greatness in Moon and Source Code. Now Jones’ long-in-development Mute is set for release in 2017. Set 40 years in the future in a Berlin, the film looks to be a neo-noir thriller. Years of teasing the production with plot snippets and concept art, Jones will hopefully deliver another sci-fi stunner. (MP)

Kong: Skull Island

Jordan Vogt-Roberts get’s a lot of flack for being part of the ‘Underqualified White Boys Who Go From Sundance To Big Budget Movies’ club, but he’s got a lot of interesting experience, include stand up specials and the first few episodes of the FXX series You’re The Worst that make me hopeful for his world building vision. I look forward to a pulpy 70’s set flick of monsters and misfits, and a dynamite cast led by Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston, John Goodman, John C. Reilly, and Samuel L. Jackson. (Nick Isaac)

The Shape of Water

Guillermo del Toro is one of those names that should make your ears perk up no matter what project he’s releasing. But next year’s The Shape of Water is especially exciting given the cast: Sally Hawkins, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer, long-time del Toro collaborator Doug Jones, and the ever excellent Michael Shannon. The plot is a Cold War-era love story about an amphibious man attempting to escape captivity aided by a mute janitor; so yeah, very del Toro. (Aaron Hendrix)

The Beguiled

Sofia Coppola has come a long way from her unfairly maligned performance in The Godfather Part III, becoming an acclaimed director and Oscar winning screenwriter since then. Her latest reunites her with Marie Antoinette lead Kirsten Dunst and tells a Civil War era tale of a con artist trying to escape from Confederate girl’s boarding school turned prison. Also featuring Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, and Angourie Rice, The Beguiled could easily be another tour-de-force from the talented filmmaker. (MC)


2015’s Ex Machina was one of the great surprises of the year. It was a brilliant science fiction thriller with a tight cast and an even tighter script. So, any film by writer-director Alex Garland should pique your interest. The film is based on a book by Jeff VanderMeer and it details a biologist’s search for her husband in an environmental danger zone, and stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, and Oscar Isaac. (AH)


Darren Aronofsky returns with this drama about a couple whose relationship becomes tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home. Plot details have been kept under wraps, but with a stellar cast including Jennifer Lawrence, Domhnall Gleeson, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Ed Harris – expect it to be another outstanding piece of work from the director. (RT)

Untitled Detroit Riots Project

Kathryn Bigelow’s latest reteams her with her The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty scribe Mark Boal. Little is known of the film, other than it takes place in 1967 Detroit, telling the real life story of one of the biggest uprisings in American history. Bigelow and Boal have been researching this project for years, and with cast that includes John Boyega, Anthony Mackie and John Krasinski, it looks to be another essential film from Bigelow. (MP)

Logan Lucky

Steven Soderbergh never really stopped working since his self-imposed retirement in 2013, after the doubleheader of Behind the Candelabra and Side Effects. Since then, he’s served as director, editor, cinematographer, and executive producer of Cinemax’s The Knick, as well as working on Magic Mike XXL, but know he’s back in the feature film director’s chair with Logan Lucky, starring his new go-to Channing Tatum, plus Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Riley Keough, Hilary Swank, Katherine Waterston, and Sebastian Stan. It’s a heist film set at a NASCAR event, and the set photos already make it out to be an off-kilter affair; it’s so good the have Soderbergh back to his old tricks. (MP)

John Wick: Chapter 2

John Wick was one of the biggest surprises of 2014, a smart and expertly directed action movie that reminded us just how awesome Keanu Reeves is. If Chapter 2 is even half as good, we are in for something special. (Marcus Irving)


Disney-Pixar’s first original film since Inside Out comes from Lee Unkrich, director of Toy Story 3, and follows a 12 year old Mexican boy who is sent to the Land of the Dead during Dia de Muertos, where he communicates with his ancestors and learns about his family secrets. It’s a very interesting take for the animation studio, and should make for another compelling story in their overall oeuvre. (RT)

Untitled Cloverfield Project (formerly God Particle)

This is going to be the movie that really defines what J.J. Abrams is going for with the evolving “Cloverfield franchise”. I have no idea what to expect (other than it stars David Oyelowo and Gugu Mbatha-Raw), but ultimately I’m just praying for the faintest glimmer of hope that maybe someday I’ll get the genuine Cloverfield sequel I’ve been waiting almost nine years for. Most likely the connections will remain subtle and for diehard fans like those in 10 Cloverfield Lane, but a man without hope is a man without purpose. (James Barrett)

Beauty and the Beast

Bill Condon (Chicago, Dreamgirls) directs this live-action reimagining of the classic Disney animation, with a cast that includes Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast, and Luke Evans as Gaston. It’s the most recent Disney cartoon to get this treatment, and should appeal greatly to 90s kids,  and based on the trailer, should an enchanting experience. (RT)

T2 Trainspotting

The last time we saw Mark Renton, he had decided, once and for all, that his life would be different.  Now, twenty tears later, we get to catch up with Renton and the other rapscallions from Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting. Will he change? Well, he can tell us that he’s going to “choose life” all we wants, but he was born slippy and maybe that’s all he’ll ever be. (P.S. The trailer for T2 Trainspotting may be my new favorite movie.) (RH)


The Masterpiece

The classic bad film The Room gets a meta deconstruction based on Greg Sestero’s autobiography, The Disaster Artist. James Franco will lead an all star cast of friends and famous people taking on the oddball role of Tommy Wiseau, the egomaniacal Producer, Writer, Director and lead of the film. Franco will also serve as Executive Producer and Director. (NI)

Free Fire

Ben Wheatley’s next film Free Fire is exciting just from its principal cast alone: Brie Larson, Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, and Cillian Murphy. But its plot is perhaps even more exciting; a tense disagreement between arms dealers turns into a full-on shootout between the two gangs. It looks appropriately energetic and exciting given the director’s pedigree, and you won’t have to wait long until it releases March 17th. (AH)


Downsizing is Alexander Payne’s follow up to 2013’s Nebraska, and that’s all I really need to know I am completely excited for this. It has a great cast (Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Neil Patrick Harris just to name a few), but Nebraska is a phenomenal picture and I have very high hopes for Payne’s next. (JB)


Bong Joon-ho, the South Korean director behind The Host, Snowpiercer, and Memories of Murder, undertakes another sci-fi story about a young girl trying to prevent a multi-national corporation from seizing her friend, who happens to be a massive animal. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton, Lily Collins, Paul Dano, and Giancarlo Esposito, it looks very weird and wacky from Gyllenhaal's character alone, and I cannot wait. (RT)

Happy End

Michael Haneke has made some deeply unsettling features to the point where it’s considered a disappointment if he doesn’t shock or provoke you. His new film Happy End stars Isabelle Huppert and Mathieu Kassovitz, and uses the current European refugee crisis as the crux for its story. Expect a lot of controversy when this premieres. (RT)

The Fate of the Furious

The Fast and the Furious franchise is the most exciting and bonkers action series that exists. We should only hope to be so blessed as to have an opportunity once more to go to a theatre and watch Vin Diesel mumble his way through a monologue about the importance of family while simultaneously driving a car up the side of an exploding building or see the Rock toss a full grown man half his size the length of a football field. (MI)


George Clooney has had as many hits (Good Night and Good Luck, The Ides of March) as he’s had misses (Leatherheads, The Monuments Men) as a director, but hopefully his latest project will fall into the former category, given it comes from a script by the Coen Brothers. A 1950s crime mystery that revolves around a family who turn on each other in the wake of a home invasion, it’s sure to be something remarkable, especially with a cast that includes Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Josh Brolin, and Oscar Isaac. (RT)


First announced in 2011 shortly after The Tree of Life opened theatrically, this Terrence Malick project (formerly known as Untitled Terrence Malick Project) is set amidst a love triangle within the Austin music scene, and features an insane ensemble cast with the likes of Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Michael Fassbender, and a host of others who may or may not make the final cut. It’s been a long road for the development, but is expected to be released on March 17th. (RT)


Brawl in Cell Block 99

If you have spent any time with me in the last year, I have inevitably bombarded you with the praises of S. Craig Zahler’s Bone Tomahawk: a horror western about a clan of cannibalistic savages. This has some of the best writing horror has seen in a while and THAT SCENE; so, I can’t wait to see what kind of crooked poeticism Zahler is able to find in the prison yard. Plus, bald Vince Vaughn. (RH)


The Death and Life of John F. Donovan

Xavier Dolan has been on a roll, starting from his debut film I Killed My Mother, all the way to Mommy in 2014. Then, last year’s It's Only the End of the World managed to win Dolan the Grand Prix and the Ecumenical Jury Prize at Cannes last year, despite a polarizing response. Dolan’s next film, his English-language debut, will feature the likes of Kit Harington, Jessica Chastain, Natalie Portman, Bella Thorne, Thandie Newton, Kathy Bates and Susan Sarandon. No matter what you think of Dolan, the cast alone makes this one to not miss. (MP)

The LEGO Batman Movie

But, like, for a whole movie. #excited (NI)


M. Night Shyamalan, after his brilliant return to form in The Visit, is back with a new seemingly stripped-down thriller. Starring Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch) and James McAvoy as her captor with multiple personality disorder, Shyamalan’s latest looks taught, hilarious, and terrifying all at once. Hopefully it will be an early treat next year a la 10 Cloverfield Lane. (AH)

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Martin McDonagh certainly made a name for himself with hitman dramedy In Bruges, which over the years has become something of a cult classic. His latest feature follows a grieving mother (Frances McDormand) who, after no major developments in the case surrounding her daughter’s murder, sends a message to the town’s chief of police (Woody Harrelson) by painting overtop three billboards – in the process setting off a battle of wills. Also starring Sam Rockwell, Peter Dinklage, Lucas Hedges, Abbie Cornish, and John Hawkes, it’s bound to be a stellar return to form for McDonagh, especially after the somewhat-disappointing Seven Psychopaths. (RT)


Westerns are one of my favorite genres; 2015 gave us some truly great films of the genre from around the world (Slow West, The Hateful Eight, Jauja, Theeb, The Revenant) but 2016 hasn’t been a great year, depending on how you feel about Diablo, or Jane Got a Gun. Let’s hope 2017 is more like 2015 as this mightily scaled production takes shape. (AM)


Battle of the Sexes

The classic Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs story has had added depth over the last few years, with Riggs alleged connections to the mob and possible throwing of the match coming to light. The possibility of some madcap comedy from Steve Carell and Emma Stone, and cathartic politics of sexual revolution following the political slog of 2016 makes me really happy that this film is coming soon. (NI)

Pitch Perfect 3

The first Pitch Perfect was a welcome delight, and while the sequel may have been a slight misstep, the next film in the series should be a welcome respite from the testosterone-heavy, CGI-drenched blockbusters we’re bombarded with year-round. Produced by Elizabeth Banks, the latest sequel brings back  Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld and the rest of the female cast. Music video director Trish Sie steps in to helm the sequel that will without a doubt feature plenty of acapela and genuine fun. (MP)

The Dark Tower

I'm still not sure if this is supposed to be a sequel or re-imagining of the famous Stephen King series featuring Roland the Gunslinger (Idris Elba) and the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), but it looks to be one of the more curious blockbusters of 2017, and could really be something special. (RT)

Live by Night

Ben Affleck's latest, an adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel revolving around a gangster in the Prohibition era, is already being torn apart by critics, but I'm not going to let that deter me from giving it a chance considering Affleck's perfect (directorial) track record. (MI)

Get Out

Jordan Peele is well known as half of the subversive comedy duo Key & Peele and for that cute gangster kitten movie from 2016, but to look at his upcoming thriller Get Out, Peele might just blow our collective minds. Taking a Stepford Wife approach to race relations, Get Out concerns an interracial couple getting trapped in the whitest town that ever whited with terrifying results. Get Out arrives early in the year, so we don’t have to wait long for what might be one of the most relevant horror films in a while. (MC)

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Yorgos Lanthimos certainly divided audiences with The Lobster – his dystopic dramedy set in a world where being single is a death sentence. His follow-up reteams him with Colin Farrell, this time playing a surgeon who is taken into a teenager’s dysfunctional family. Co-starring Nicole Kidman and Alicia Silverstone, expect this one to make a debut at Cannes. (RT)


Lee Chang-dong might not be the most renowned name among the contemporary South Korean directors, but he’s one of the most consistent. So if Burning (first feature in seven years) is anything like Oasis, Peppermint Candy or Secret Sunshine chances are it’ll be another masterpiece.

The Discovery

Charlie McDowell made a splash in 2013 with the release of his relationship fantasy The One I Love, and he returns with another film in that subgenre albeit with largely different parameters. The story follows a group of a people a year after discovery that the afterlife exists, leading to millions around the world committing suicide to get there. With a cast that includes the likes of Rooney Mara, Jason Segel, Jesse Plemons, Riley Keough, and Robert Redford, it should make a significant splash at Sundance this January before being released on Netflix later in the year. (RT)

Saw: Legacy

The ultra-violent Saw series will have had a seven year break by the time of Legacy's release. Let's hope that all that time let them untangle the narrative and create some fresh and twisted new traps, because frankly, it was getting more than a little stale. 

The Lost City of Z

James Gray (The Yards, We Own the NightTwo LoversThe Immigrant) directs this true story of explorers who disappeared while searching for a mysterious Amazon city in the 1920s. Starring Charlie Hunnam and Robert Pattinson, the film drew rave reviews at the New York Film Festival, and should make for quite an adventurous tale when it releases this spring. (RT)

A Cure for Wellness

Gore Verbinski made a breakout horror phenomena with 2002’s The Ring and fans have been clamoring for him to return to the genre ever since. A Cure for Wellness seems to be that return, with insane production design and a cast that includes Dane DeHaan and Jason Isaacs, this looks like a bizarre experience all around. The latest trailer shows imagery that gives the impression of A Clockwork Orange crossed with Shutter Island, so sign me up. (MC)


The Trap

Harmony Korine had a major comeback in 2013 with Spring Breakers, and here he moves into decidedly more mainstream category, especially with a cast that includes Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, and Benicio del Toro. Centering around an ex-con out for revenge after a gangster rapper and former friend let him take the fall for a robbery they committed years earlier, it marks new territory for Korine, but should be subversive nonetheless. (RT)


I have no idea how this adaptation of my favorite Stephen King novel is going to turn out, but honestly I don’t really care.  I’m just very curious to see how they attempt to transform 1000+ pages of some pretty bizarre and occasionally truly obscene material into a mainstream horror film. (JB)

Personal Shopper

Prior to Clouds of Sils Maria I was sold on anything directed by Olivier Assayas; After Clouds of Sils Maria I didn’t know if Assayas would top himself. Now that there’s another collaboration with Kristen Stewart I think a certain director has found his muse, and I hope they make magic once again. (AM)

The Belko Experiment

A group of 80 corporate office workers are thrust into a deadly game of kill or be killed, in the latest film from Greg McLean (Wolf Creek). Based on the reactions it received at TIFF this year, it could very well be the new Battle Royale. (RT)


Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

The law of diminishing returns is in full effect with the Pirates films. The last entry, On Stranger Tides, was a sleep-inducing endeavor, a cry out to extinguish the dying flame of this once fun series. But, hey, the hiring of the directors behind the wonderful Kon-Tiki and the casting of Javier Bardem might turn this ship around and we might actually be pleased once again with a Johnny Depp-starring vehicle. (MP)


Gerald’s Game

Mike Flanagan crafts illusory horror tales that bend your perception of reality and reveal depraved monsters that reside in the back of your mind. Absentia, Oculus, Hush, Ouija: Origin of Evil - I can’t imagine a better modern filmmaker to tackle the supernatural side of Stephen King — especially a story as physically contained and psychologically vast as Gerald’s Game. (RH)

Ghost in the Shell

Mamoru Oshii, creator of the original manga and anime of Ghost in the Shell, executive produces this adaptation from director Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) that features Scarlett Johansson as The Major – a cyborg policewoman facing off against a major crime syndicate in mid 21st century Japan. The film has received a massive amount of backlash for whitewashing the lead character with ScarJo, so it remains to be seen how the final product is received, despite looking like an amazing effects-driven piece of blockbuster entertainment. 

The Boss Baby

Alec Baldwin voices Baby Boss Templeton, a CGI newborn who is also secretly some sort of highly professional businessman. It’s narrated by Tobey Maguire with Steve Buscemi as the film’s villain, some sort of heinous CEO, and I am so enamored with how bonkers all of this is, it has the potential to end up as 2017’s Nine Lives. (JB)


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Talk Film Society's Movie Resolutions for 2017

Talk Film Society's Movie Resolutions for 2017