2017 is going to be a huge year for cinema. The Justice League is being brought to life on the big screen. Spider-Man is finally in Marvel’s hands. Wonder Woman is our first female led superhero film. Hugh Jackman is having his last hurrah as Wolverine. Baby-god-damn-Groot! And that’s just the superhero films…
Christopher Nolan is helming Dunkirk, a Second World War epic, the bread and butter of obvious yet brilliant combinations. Ridley Scott seems to be steering the Alien franchise back on course with Alien: Covenant. Disney is bringing Beauty and the Beast into the world of live action for better or worse. Blade Runner, perhaps the most divisive film of all time, is getting a sequel that Harrison Ford seems genuinely happy to be in!
If all that doesn’t give any film fan butterflies in their stomach then nothing will.
But we aren’t here to celebrate these films. It goes without saying that I’m anticipating all of them. It also goes without saying that I will no doubt be first in line when they premiere. But I thought I’d shed some light on a few films you may not have known were coming out that you should definitely check out this year.
The Belko Experiment
The first of two interesting horror flicks on this list, The Belko Experiment looks like a lot of bloody good fun. Emphasis on the “bloody”. On the surface it’s just Battle Royale meets Office Space, but in the hands of a writer like James Gunn, it has the potential to be great.
It’s kill or be killed in this horror-thriller, but Gunn’s humorous sensibilities are bound to bleed into the bloodletting. With a strong cast as its foundation, including John Gallagher Jr., Tony Goldwyn and John C. McGinley, this violent experiment is likely to be rife with cutting social commentary. How far would you go to survive?
John Wick: Chapter 2
The first John Wick has no right to be as good as it is: The plot is by the numbers. It’s directed by stuntmen. And Keanu Reeves hasn’t made a good action hero since the 90s. Yet against all odds, it became an instant cult classic and is one of the hidden gems of 2015.
What made John Wick so great was, in part, how expansive the world felt. Now that would is being explored in Chapter 2. Reeves plays the role with a wink and nod in a role he seems born to play. In a world of superheroes with moral codes, John Wick is a refreshing no nonsense bad-ass who shoots for the head and doesn’t miss. Great action and gloriously cheesy one-liners? How could I refuse?
If someone told me this was being made, I wouldn’t believe them. But please, stay with me here. Tommy Wiseau’s The Room is the gold standard for so-bad-its-good. In their quest to be ever more ridiculous, Seth Rogen and James Franco are making a film about the making of The Room.
Rogen and Franco’s brand of comedy is not for everyone. For me, it’s certainly hit or miss. But the subject matter alone is enough to get my ears prickling. It’s curiosity more than a strong belief this film will be great that has caught my interest. But who knows, perhaps The Masterpiece could live up to its name and be a comedic masterpiece.
The second, and distinctly more chilling, horror film on this list is written and directed by Jordan Peele (of Key & Peele fame). Peele may be a sketch comedy writer, but those who have read interviews with him know that he is a horror aficionado. And Get Out definitely shows that.
Beyond its apparent lack of tiresome jump scares, it feels like a very different kind of horror film. Peele is showcasing that racism is a far more terrifying force than any poltergeist or monster. The cultural relevance cannot be understated and it’s a refreshing take on a genre that often marginalizes people of color. Every year has a horror film that stands out as the best, in 2017 I guarantee it will be Get Out.
Edgar Wright is one of the best action-comedy directors of all time. Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead and the criminally underappreciated Scott Pilgrim Vs The World will attest to that. However instead of splitting sides, Wright’s Baby Driver will be shredding nerves.
The plot revolves around a getaway driver (played by Ansel Elgort) who is constantly listening to music, something that will color the style of the film. Alongside him is a truly impressive cast, including Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx and, the scenery-chewing extraordinaire, Kevin Spacey. I personally would watch a documentary about grass directed by Wright, but an action-crime thriller sounds a whole lot better.