Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
You Were Never Really Here (Photo: Cannes), Black Panther (Photo: Disney/Marvel Studios), and Isle Of Dogs (Photo: Fox Searchlight). Graphic: Libby McGuire.

Wes Anderson returns to stop-motion. Claire Denis goes to space. Joaquin Phoenix gets immobile and intimidating, not necessarily in that order. When sitting down to compose a list of the year’s most enticing upcoming releases, The A.V. Club tried to keep it to a manageable 25 titles, we really did. But then we started digging in, really considering everything’s that’s on its way, and it became clear that only double that would do for the 12 months of movies to come. Some of these films have release dates, others don’t. Some we’ve already seen on the festival circuit, others we’ve only dreamt about. All are reasons to get excited in 2018—for cinema, at least. Staying stoked about everything else could be tougher.

The 15:17 To Paris

February 9

The Thalys train attack—in which a group of passengers, including two American servicemen on vacation, overpowered an armed attacker on a Paris-bound train—made headlines in 2015, but is there really enough in this story of split-second bravery to make a film? Of course, the same questions were raised about Clint Eastwood’s last movie, Sully, which spun the real-life emergency landing of a plane on the Hudson River into a terrific study of self-doubt and heroic professionalism. Bizarrely, the young Americans involved in the incident are playing themselves—a creative decision that will either make or break the film. We’ll see how well the three non-professional actors will fare under the direction of Eastwood, a filmmaker who’s never met a first take he didn’t think was good enough. [Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]

Black Panther

February 16

If its status as Fandango’s fastest-selling first-day presale is any indication, people are already plenty excited about Black Panther, the latest MCU offering and the first solo vehicle for Chadwick Boseman’s title hero, introduced in Captain America: Civil War. It’s clear that director Ryan Coogler (Creed) has put a distinctive stamp on the project, from the Run The Jewels- and Kendrick Lamar-set trailers to a visual style that looks more Guardians-imaginative than Avengers-straightforward. He’s also brought in a killer cast, from his regular muse Michael B. Jordan as the villain to fresh MCU faces like Danai Gurira and Lupita Nyong’o. With a promising creative team like that, there’s no reason to not give Black Panther a chance to claw its way into your heart. [Alex McLevy]


February 23

It may not have quite stuck the landing, but Alex Garland’s Ex Machina was still one of the more entertaining sci-fi films of recent years, full of heady ideas and indelible performances. (Paging Oscar Isaac’s dance routine.) So pairing the writer-director with equally audacious source material seems like a win-win combination, as Garland takes a budget nearly quadruple that of his last film to adapt Jeff VanderMeer’s head-trip novel of the same name, the first in his Southern Reach trilogy. The trailers, heavy on shots of Natalie Portman looking deeply concerned, suggest he hasn’t shied away from the story’s weirder elements, and the rest of the cast (Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez) is a murderers’ row of talent. [Alex McLevy]

A Wrinkle In Time

March 9

Ava DuVernay’s adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s kid-lit fantasy classic not only marks a step forward for diversity—with the film, DuVernay becomes the first woman of color to direct a $100 million blockbuster—but for DuVernay as an artist. Although she frequently expresses her love for sci-fi and fantasy in interviews, DuVernay, who rose to prominence with 2015’s Selma, has stuck to drama in her previous low-budget feature films. If her recent work on JAY-Z’s “Family Feud” video is any indication, though, her creativity and ability to create striking, symbolically resonant fantasy worlds is limited only by her budgets—and she’s got a big one to work with here. [Katie Rife]


March 9

Reunited after years of estrangement, Connecticut suburban teenager Lily (Split’s Anya Taylor-Joy) and her sociopathic childhood bestie Amanda (Olivia Cooke from Me And Earl And The Dying Girl) hatch a dangerous scheme. A well-received alum of last year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it went by just Thoroughbred, Cory Finley’s fiendishly clever debut has visual confidence, razor wit, and excellent performances (including one of the last turns by the late Anton Yelchin) to spare. It would pair well with Heathers on a twisted-teen-comedy double bill. [A.A. Dowd]

Isle Of Dogs

March 23

While “It’s a Wes Anderson movie” might suffice for this blurb, the bulletproof director’s ninth film rejiggers the template in a few important ways. Yes, it still features Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban, and many other beloved actors delivering wry, melancholy dialogue in center-framed compositions, but it also marks a return to the stop-motion animation style of Fantastic Mr. Fox, and features an alluring jump in setting to a dystopian future Japan—a shift which, if the trailer is to be believed, brings out the best in Anderson’s visual style. Don’t worry: It’s still got tender ’60s folk-pop. [Clayton Purdom]


March 23

The recently un-retired Steven Soderbergh is trying his hand at horror with this secretive, self-distributed project, which was shot entirely on an iPhone. Claire Foy stars as a young woman who is involuntarily committed to a mental institution; other than that, the only thing we know about the film is that Jay Pharoah and Juno Temple are in the cast. Though this is Soderbergh’s first foray into the genre, he’s always proven himself to be extremely adaptable, and his fondness for unreliable points-of-view (see: The Informant!, Side Effects, or the climaxes of heist flicks like Ocean’s Eleven and Logan Lucky) is a natural fit for psychological horror. [Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]

Ready Player One

March 30

Having gotten another earnest, Oscar-friendly examination of American values and institutions out of his system, Steven Spielberg cycles back to effects-heavy entertainment with this adaptation of Ernest Cline’s geek-candy bestseller. Set in a future where everyone plugs into a vast virtual-reality playground called The Oasis, Cline’s novel has been described as both a pandering pile-up of ’80s nostalgia triggers and a satirical critique of a generation hungry for the same. The trailers, with their Freddy Krueger and Ninja Turtle cameos, suggest that the movie may hew closer to the former than the latter, while also threatening to misplace the director’s craftsmanship in another green-screen uncanny valley, à la Tintin and The BFG. Still, it’s Spielberg we’re talking about here. When the godfather of summer blockbusters makes popcorn, we bring our appetite. [A.A. Dowd]

Lean On Pete

March 30

Leave it to the writer-director of 45 Years to turn “a boy and his horse” into a recipe for crushingly sad neorealism. Andrew Haigh’s adaptation of a novel by alt-country singer-songwriter Willy Vlautin concerns a teenage boy (All The Money In The World’s Charlie Plummer) who gets a summer job working for a grizzled race-horse trainer (Steve Buscemi) and ends up bonding with one of his new boss’ aging meal tickets. Haigh’s firm grasp on nuances of environment and behavior elevate this tough, unvarnished drama. Just don’t forget the Kleenex. [A.A. Dowd]

You Were Never Really Here

April 6

No one movie by the Scottish writer-director Lynne Ramsay (Morvern Callar, We Need To Talk About Kevin) is much like the other. She moves into uncharted territory again with this fragmentary Jonathan Ames adaptation, starring a bulked-up Joaquin Phoenix as a brutal, tortured mercenary who sets out to rescue a girl from a sex-trafficking ring. You Were Never Really Here may not have technically been finished when it premiered last summer in Cannes, where it won prizes for its screenplay and Phoenix’s spooky, urban-samurai performance. But given that it was one of The A.V. Club’s favorite films of the festival, here’s hoping that Ramsay doesn’t muck much with her fledgling neo-noir, which plays a bit like watching Taxi Driver through the haze of a really intense fever. [A.A. Dowd]


April 13

What happens when horror specialist Brad Anderson (Session 9, The Machinist) directs a political thriller script by A-list writer Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton, the Bourne films, Rogue One)? The A.V. Club, for one, is intrigued; Anderson’s last feature, Stonehearst Asylum, was an inspired but under-seen take-off of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic short story “The System Of Doctor Tarr And Professor Fether.” Here, he leaves behind his typically psychologically confined settings for Lebanon in the early 1980s, where an American diplomat (Jon Hamm) tries to negotiate the release of a hostage with the help of a CIA agent (Rosamund Pike). [Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]

First Reformed


Photo: A24

One of the unexpected surprises of last year’s festival season, Paul Schrader’s grotesque dual homage to Diary Of A Country Priest and Winter Light casts Ethan Hawke as an alcoholic upstate New York reverend who is asked to hide a suicide bomb vest found in the home of a disturbed local man. Though the style is rigorously sedate, the plot plays out like an outrageous update of Schrader’s classic Taxi Driver script for a world of LiveLeak and climate change, and Hawke gives one of the his finest performances of his career as a soft-spoken man consumed with depression and an “all-consuming knowledge of the emptiness of all things.” [Ignatiy Visnevetsky]

Sweet Country


With its sprawling desert vistas and violent frontier conflict, the Outback of old isn’t so far removed from the Wild West of American legend—which is why, of course, there’s a whole subgenre of Aussie oaters. Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country, which won deserved prizes at last year’s Venice and Toronto film festivals, carries on that tradition in eccentric, elegiac style, tackling the country’s history of colonial oppression with a Western about the manhunt for an aboriginal stockman (Hamilton Morris) who kills a white settler in self-defense. Gunslinging is in short supply, but expect plenty of Ozploitation poetry and flavor. [A.A. Dowd]

Avengers: Infinity War

May 4

Marvel’s 10-year plan reaches a penultimate crescendo with its biggest crossover event yet, as just about every major character from every solo franchise in the company’s shared universe drops in to take on scavenger-hunting intergalactic heavy Thanos (an unrecognizable Josh Brolin). MCU entries have buckled under the weight of much fewer characters, but if there’s anyone out there who can successfully manage a comic-book cast list of Tolstoy proportions, it’s the writing and directing team behind those last two Captain America movies, marvels of multitasking that they were. Hopefully, placing all three of the studio’s blonde-haired, headlining Chrises next to each other doesn’t tear a hole in the galaxy or something. [A.A. Dowd]

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot

May 11

After his surprisingly intimidating performance as a bulked-up thug in the new Lynne Ramsay (see above), Joaquin Phoenix undergoes another physical transformation, severely limiting his range of movement to play the late Portland-based cartoonist John Callahan, who was paralyzed in a car crash at 21. An inspirational biopic framework could bring out the more maudlin tendencies of writer-director Gus Van Sant, whose last movie, The Sea Of Trees, was a sentimental low point. But Van Sant has assembled some intriguing acting talent for his adaptation of Callahan’s sardonically titled memoir; besides Phoenix, the cast includes Rooney Mara, Jack Black, Jonah Hill, Udo Kier, Kim Gordon, and the Pacific Northwest’s own Carrie Brownstein. Look for our early thoughts on the film in a few days, when it premieres at Sundance. [A.A. Dowd]

Where’d You Go, Bernadette

May 11

Richard Linklater chases his underrated Last Detail sorta-sequel Last Flag Flying with another literary adaptation, this one based on Maria Semple’s novel about a 15-year-old investigating the disappearance of her agoraphobic mother (played here by Cate Blanchett). Moved from page to screen by several writers, including the hotshot duo that scripted The Disaster Artist, the source material sounds like a good fit for the filmmaker’s oddball-loving comic sensibilities, and the epistolary nature of the novel could provide another opportunity for the maker of Boyhood, Waking Life, and the Before trilogy to experiment with narrative. Or not—either way, even minor Linklater tends to carry major pleasures. [A.A. Dowd]

Deadpool 2

May 18

The irreverent juvenile humor of Deadpool meets the super-stylized decadence of director David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde) in this presumably neon-lit sequel to the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time. Ryan Reynolds returns as the manic, wise-cracking, fourth-wall-breaking mercenary Deadpool, while Josh Brolin—who’s playing a different Marvel character, Thanos, in Avengers: Infinity War—dons the strappy, pouch-adorned get-up of the fellow Rob Liefeld creation Cable. Expect gruesome cartoonish violence, salty language, and enough winks at the audience for a motor tic diagnosis. [Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]

Solo: A Star Wars Story

May 25

Photo: Dsney

Hoping to give “Star Wars prequel” a good name for once, this origin story looks back on the salad days of the most famous smuggler in the galaxy far, far away. But whatever trouble Han (Hail, Caesar! scene-stealer Alden Ehrenreich), fuzz-ball sidekick Chewbacca, and a young Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) get themselves into, it surely can’t compete with the behind-the-scenes woes weathered by Solo itself, which became the third new Star Wars project to lose its director(s) when Disney dumped Phil Lord and Chris Miller (21 Jump Street, The Lego Movie) over “creative differences.” Ron Howard has been brought in to finish the job—if anyone can somehow meet that impending Memorial Day release date, it’s good-old dependable Opie. Still, it remains to be seen if Star Wars die-hards who hated The Last Jedi will actually shell out… oh, who are we kidding? They’ll be there on opening weekend with the rest of us. [A.A. Dowd]

Incredibles 2

June 15

Toy stories aside, it’s been pretty disheartening watching Pixar expend its resources (monetary and creative) on a bunch of sequels to all its biggest hits. So why are we excited for Incredibles 2? For one, the first film, about a retired family of superheroes, was one of the few Pixar smashes that actually kind of demanded a second installment. For two, the movie marks Brad Bird’s return to these characters, to this animation house, and to the cartoon business in general. That this 14-years-later follow-up apparently takes place immediately after the events of part one, with Bob (Craig T. Nelson) and Helen (Holly Hunter) still struggling to balance city-saving work with super-powered parenting, feels apropos: In more ways than one, Bird is picking up where he left off. [A.A. Dowd]

Mission: Impossible 6

July 27

On the one hand, it’s a little disappointing that Tom Cruise has selected Christopher McQuarrie to helm another Mission: Impossible movie, given that one of the coolest things about this ongoing espionage series is how it’s continually passed the directorial baton, allowing a different big-name filmmaker to put their own distinctive stamp on the M:I brand with each new entry. On the other hand, McQuarrie’s Rogue Nation was a blast, and he’s brought back that film’s best addition to the franchise: Rebecca Ferguson’s ass-kicking double agent Ilsa Faust. Not much about the plot is known, but it seems safe to assume it will serve as elaborate pretext for a bunch of breathlessly cool daredevil stunts, many of them performed by the 55-year old Cruise. (He broke his ankle on set last August; we can’t wait to see the set-piece that caused the injury.) [A.A. Dowd]

The Predator

August 3

Writer-director Shane Black returns to his 1980s roots with The Predator, the latest film based off the Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring muscle-fest in which Black played a delightfully absurd supporting role. Billed as the fourth installment of the series (presumably as a way to pretend Alien Vs. Predator and AVP: Requiem never happened), this new iteration is set sometime between the events of Predator 2 and 2010's Predators. Co-written with fellow ’80s prodigy Fred Dekker (Night Of The Creeps, The Monster Squad), the film stars Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, Keegan-Michael Key, Sterling K. Brown, Yvonne Strahovski, and Jacob Tremblay in what we can only assume will be the Newt role. No idea if Black will be able to return the sense of mystery and excitement to the franchise, but he did stress that the film “doesn’t have to be 50 Predators riding motorcycles,” so that’s promising. [Alex McLevy]

The Meg

August 10

Photo: Warner Bros.

From the director of National Treasure and the screenwriter of Zodiac comes a 3-D horror film that pits Jason Statham against a giant fucking prehistoric shark. We here at The A.V. Club dimly remember the source material, a craptastic 1997 paperback that read like a middle-schooler’s impression of Michael Crichton and basically only existed to be sold to a Hollywood studio and made into a movie—a sort of Cowboys & Aliens avant la lettre. Who knows whether two decades of development hell have improved the plot. But come on, it’s Jason Statham fighting a shark. [Ignatiy Visnevetsky]

The Nightingale

August 10

Jennifer Kent seemed to come out of nowhere with The Babadook, a daring look at the dark side of motherhood that also happened to be a white-knuckle horror movie. Now, with Australian Academy Awards in hand, Kent is diving into period filmmaking with her sophomore feature. Set in Tasmania—then a penal colony—in 1825, The Nightingale combines historical drama and revenge thriller as an Aboriginal tracker and an Irish convict head into the Australian wilderness to get revenge on the soldiers who killed the latter’s husband and baby. [Katie Rife]

The Little Stranger

August 31

Irish director Lenny Abrahamson trades a cramped garden shed for a sprawling mansion in his follow-up to Room. Based on a novel by Sarah Waters, who wrote the book on which Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden is based, it’s a Gothic ghost story about a country doctor (Domhnall Gleeson, who starred in Abrahamson’s Frank) who gets involved with a supernaturally tormented aristocratic family in 1947 Warwickshire. The book, a supposed departure for Waters, has been compared to Shirley Jackson; reviving the old-fashioned, bump-in-the-night, is-it-real-or-all-in-their-minds horror of The Haunting would count as a departure for the Oscar-nominated director, too. [A.A. Dowd]

The Kid Who Would Be King

September 28

On paper, Joe Cornish’s follow-up to his smart and immensely likable debut sci-fi thriller Attack The Block doesn’t exactly stoke the fires of anticipation. Centering on a British schoolboy who stumbles upon the legendary sword Excalibur, and must use it to defeat the return of medieval villain Morgana, The Kid Who Would Be King sounds like a generically updated variant on A Kid In King Arthur’s Court, mixed with a little Once And Future King for good measure. But this is still the second film from a promising writer-director with a keen eye for new talent (hello, John Boyega), and it will offer the chance to see Patrick Stewart as Merlin, which is a pairing of actor and role that is frankly astounding for not having already happened. [Alex McLevy]

First Man

October 12

As in, first man on the moon. For his follow-up to La La Land, for which he became the youngest person to ever win the Oscar for Best Director, Damien Chazelle takes a break from music and looks to the stars, casting his La La leading man, Ryan Gosling, in an adaptation of the Neil Armstrong biography. It sounds like a change of pace, though NASA’s tireless efforts to get the Apollo 11 mission off the ground, which is reportedly the subject of Spotlight writer Josh Singer’s screenplay, could align well with Chazelle’s interest in obsession and single-minded pursuit of a goal. Remember, the guy made Whiplash, too. [A.A. Dowd]


October 19

Photo: Universal

For years, director David Gordon Green (Stronger) expressed interest in remaking Dario Argento’s Suspiria. With another director having realized that dream (keep reading...), Green has signed on for a new version of a different seminal, late-’70s horror movie. His Halloween is a direct sequel to John Carpenter’s original, arranging a “final” confrontation between the masked Michael Myers and a now 40-years-older Laurie Strode, played one more time by Jamie Lee Curtis—a reunion made possible by the fact that the script, by Green and Danny McBride, will retcon every other sequel. Whether it’s possible to squeeze even one more drop of terror out of this franchise remains to be seen, but hiring a real director like Green all about assures that it will have creative vision. Plus, Carpenter is handling the soundtrack, which is reason enough to be stoked. [A.A. Dowd]

The Girl In The Spider’s Web

October 19

David Fincher made about the best movie that possibly could be made from Stieg Larsson’s bestselling crime-thriller The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Continuing the series without him or the film’s two stars, Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig, seems like, well, playing with fire. But Sony is approaching this follow-up as more of a reboot than a sequel, recasting The Crown’s Claire Foy as hacker Lisbeth Salander and leaping ahead to the fourth book in the Millennium series (itself a kind of reboot, given that it was written by David Lagercrantz, who took over after Larsson died of a heart attack in 2004). The real point of enticement is the hiring of director Fede Alvarez—a natural, intuitive replacement for Fincher, given that his Don’t Breathe exhibited a real Panic Room influence. Also, the villain is played by Claes Bang, star of The Square. [A.A. Dowd]

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

October 19

Photo: Fox Searchlight

If the reviews for this film are bad, get ready for critics to have a lot of fun with that title. One of those stranger-than-fiction tales that would be written off as high-concept nonsense, were it not for the fact it really happened, Can You Ever Forgive Me? casts Melissa McCarthy as Lee Israel, a formerly best-selling celebrity biographer who turns in desperation to forgery, penning letters from famous people in an effort to resurrect her career. It’s unclear if McCarthy’s involvement means that Israel’s grim life story will be played for broad laughs, but given that the script was written by downbeat indie humorist Nicole Holofcener and directed by Diary Of A Teenage Girl’s Marielle Heller, there’s every chance this will be a far more grounded and dramatic performance than we’re used to getting from the comedy star. [Alex McLevy]


November 16

Even if Widows wasn’t being directed by Steve McQueen of 12 Years A Slave and Shame fame, it would still be an intriguing proposition thanks to its outstanding cast. Led by Viola Davis, the ensemble also includes Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya, Colin Farrell, Liam Neeson, Michelle Rodriguez, André Holland, Jon Bernthal, Carrie Coon, Robert Duvall, and Jacki Weaver, to name a few. The film, a heist thriller with a script by Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl), is also a bit of a departure for McQueen, who’s tended to take on very heavy thematic material in the past. [Katie Rife]

The Women Of Marwen

November 21

Like his last film, the under-appreciated and costly The Walk, Robert Zemeckis’ The Women Of Marwen is a true story about an eccentric artistic vision that’s already been told in an acclaimed documentary—in this case, 2010’s Marwencol. Steve Carell stars as the outsider artist Mark Hogancamp, who began building an elaborate miniature World War II fantasy world in his yard after narrowly surviving a beating outside of a bar. Given Zemeckis’ love of integrating special effects directly into his stories—this is the director who brought us Back To The Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Forrest Gump, after all—we’re going to guess that Hogancamp’s 1/6 scale tableaux of heroic pin-ups and dastardly Nazis will be more than just static props. [Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]

Black Klansman


The title of Spike Lee’s latest is irresistibly trashy, but the premise is even better: the strange-but-true case of Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), a black police officer who successfully infiltrated a Colorado chapter of the KKK (and even got to know the notorious David Duke) in the late 1970s by posing as a white supremacist. Stallworth’s story, which didn’t come to light until the mid-2000s, is incredible on its own; we’re hoping it awakens the edgier, more outré side of Lee’s style. Promisingly, the film is being produced by Jordan Peele and the prolific horror impresario Jason Blum, who worked together on last year’s Get Out. [Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]



Photo: IM Global

No, it’s not a remake of the late Tony Scott’s super-saturated, Richard Kelly-penned rapid-cut extravaganza, but the first new film from Brian De Palma since 2012’s Passion. An English-language crime thriller set in Denmark, Domino stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game Of Thrones) as a cop who goes rogue to avenge his partner’s murder and ends up uncovering a conspiracy that involves terrorist cells and the CIA. Petter Skavlan (Kon-Tiki) wrote the script, which will hopefully be just a series of excuses for De Palma to deploy split screens and elaborately choreographed Steadicam shots. [Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]



We here at The A.V. Club are pretty fond of Olivier Assayas, the French critic-turned-writer-director behind Irma Vep, Carlos, and too many other great movies to list here. But boy would we hate to ever make dinner plans with the guy. After teasing a number of different ambitious projects in 2017—including an adaptation of Fernando Morais’ nonfiction book The Last Soldiers Of The Cold War: The Story Of the Cuban Five and a slightly re-cast version of Idol’s Eye, his perpetually stalled Chicago mob thriller—Assayas ultimately went with a previously unannounced project about the French publishing industry as his next film. E-Book is being billed as Assayas’ first straight-up comedy; Juliette Binoche, who previously worked with the director on Summer Hours and Clouds Of Sils Maria, stars. [Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]

The Favourite


On paper, Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest seems to depart from the pitch-black humor of Dogtooth, The Lobster, and last year’s The Killing Of A Sacred Deer, exploring instead the 18th-century intrigue of Queen Anne’s court. But returning collaborator Rachel Weisz promises that, despite hewing to English history fairly closely, the film is another bleakly funny trip into a “Yorgosian dystopia,” a phrase so immediately evocative it proves the director is ready for the adjective treatment. (Although “Lanthimosian” has a nice ring to it, too, in our opinion.) [Clayton Purdom]

High Life


The great French filmmaker Claire Denis has never shied away from genre, be it noir (No Fear, No Die; Bastards), horror (Trouble Every Day), serial killer stories (I Can’t Sleep), or whatever was going on with that Russian organ-harvesting ring in The Intruder. Now she tackles sci-fi in a story about convicts sent into deep space as part of an experiment, with Robert Pattinson in the lead role. Denis has assembled an eclectic range of talents for the project, her first entirely English-language film: The script was co-written by novelist Zadie Smith, the spacecraft designs are being handled by artist Olafur Eliasson, and the supporting cast includes André 3000 and A Cure For WellnessMia Goth. While the production, which wrapped last year, hasn’t released as much as a still so far, the above video—shot in one of Eliasson’s installations by Denis and High Life cinematographer Yorick Le Saux, with music by her regular collaborator Stuart Staples—may represent rough sketches for the film. [Ignatiy Visnevetsky]

Hold The Dark


Ferocious dogs played a key role in Jeremy Saulnier’s last movie, the nightmarish (and nightmarishly prescient) punks-versus-Nazis thriller Green Room. Adapted from a William Giraldi novel by regular Saulnier collaborator/star Macon Blair, whose directorial debut won Sundance last year, Hold The Dark takes the canine terror to a new level with the story of a writer (Jeffrey Wright) hired to find and rescue a 6-year-old boy dragged into the Alaskan wilderness by wolves. Expect more breathless suspense and hideous violence from Saulnier, who’s poised to have a big couple years; he’s directing much of True Detective’s third season, too. [A.A. Dowd]

If Beale Street Could Talk


For his follow-up to the compellingly poetic, Best Picture-winning Moonlight, writer-director Barry Jenkins adapts James Baldwin’s Harlem-set 1974 novel about a young woman (newcomer Kiki Layne) trying to clear the name of her fiancée (Race’s Stephan James), an artist falsely accused of rape. Baldwin’s writing has experienced a resurgence of interest in the last few years, though, amazingly, this marks the first English-language attempt at adapting his fiction. (A 1998 French film called Where The Heart Is was a looser adaptation of the same novel.) And of course, we’re just eager to see what Jenkins does next. [Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]

Leave No Trace


Photo: Sundance

For her first narrative feature since Winter’s Bone (the Ozark-set documentary Stray Dog was made in the interim), writer-director Debra Granik adapts Guggenheim recipient Peter Rock’s 2009 novel My Abandonment, about a father (Ben Foster) and his 13-year-old daughter (newcomer Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie), homeless yet living in surprisingly peaceful fashion in empty urban wilderness on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon, until a small mistake derails their lives in shattering fashion. Based on true events, it’s a rare showcase vehicle for the intense and magnetic Foster, though another point of interest may be whether Granik has found another Jennifer Lawrence in McKenzie. We’ll know soon enough: The film premieres at Sundance this weekend. [Alex McLevy]

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote


Jonathan Pryce and Terry Gilliam on the set of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. (Photo: Tornasol Films)

Could it really be? Terry Gilliam’s fantasy riff on Miguel De Cervantes’ classic Don Quixote has become one of the film world’s most famous fiascoes. The 2002 documentary Lost In La Mancha chronicled a disastrous attempt to make the film with Johnny Depp and the late Jean Rochefort in the lead roles; Gilliam has taken several cracks at the project since, and finally wrapped production this past summer. Adam Driver stars as a time traveler from the present, while Jonathan Pryce plays Cervantes’ deluded 17th-century knight. This version hasn’t been without its setbacks (including a lawsuit from the producer of one of Gilliam’s half-dozen previous attempts), but for now, it looks like we’ll see Gilliam’s 20-years-in-the-making passion project sometime this year. [Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]



After spending months as a hostage in Syria, a photojournalist (Roman Kolinka) heads off on a trip to India in the latest from Mia Hansen-Løve (Things To Come, Eden, The Father Of My Children). The French writer-director, who has a gift for portraying meaningfully changing lives and turning minor incidents into major themes, has perfected her dramatic style over the last decade; we’ll see how she does with this globe-trotting premise, a change of pace from her usual, dependably low-key plotting. [Ignatiy Visnevetsky]

Old Man And The Gun


Most biopics would kill for a life story as eventful as that of bank robber Forrest Tucker, who’s said to have busted out of prison no less than 18 times, and mounted an additional dozen unsuccessful escape attempts over the years. For his follow-up to the bewitching A Ghost Story, writer-director David Lowery dramatizes the twilight years of this late criminal career, with screen legend Robert Redford cast as the infamous outlaw, Sissy Spacek as the woman who loved him, and Casey Affleck as the detective in hot pursuit. [A.A. Dowd]

Outlaw King


Photo: Netflix

A nimble, long under-appreciated stylist with a knack for mixing the savage and the humane, Scotland’s David Mackenzie made the unlikeliest of breakthroughs with Hell Or High Water, a terrific West Texas yarn about two bank-robbing brothers and the aging lawmen trying to catch them. Produced for Netflix, his first big-budget project is a medieval epic about Robert The Bruce (Chris Pine, who co-starred in Hell Or High Water), the 14th-century Scottish king who led his people against England during The Wars Of Scottish Independence. The first part of a proposed trilogy, the film reportedly focuses on the Battle Of Loudoun Hill, which took place in 1307. [Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]



After several years of improvisational tone poems cobbled together in post-production, Terrence Malick makes his triumphant return to genuinely scripted, more conventionally structured drama with Radegund, about the life and death of Austrian conscientious objector Franz Jägerstätter, who was executed by the Nazis in 1943. (Jägerstätter is played by August Diehl, who’s already made a few films about the Third Reich, from Inglourious Basterds to The Counterfeiters to Allied.) However the film stacks up to Malick’s earlier masterpieces, it sounds like a much-needed shakeup to his widely mimicked style, even as the subject matter— Jägerstätter has since been declared a martyr by the Catholic church—aligns pretty perfectly with his increasingly spiritual concerns. But will it actually make it to screens by the end of the year? [A.A. Dowd]



In the past decade and a half, Alfonso Cuaron has released three sci-fi/fantasy spectacles of increasing ambition, culminating with a Best Director win for 2013’s Gravity. His follow-up to the almost-VR scale of that film is a return to his home country of Mexico, where he’s been working on a ’70s-set family drama for years. Little is known about the film beyond those broad details, but it’ll be interesting to see how or even if his time in the world of titanic CGI spectacle informs the newer, presumably more personal work. [Clayton Purdom]



Never at risk of becoming staid, indie distributor of the moment A24 returns to the weirdo Swiss Army Man well for this pizza-delivery slasher movie, starring hip-hop artist and Chicago hometown hero Chance The Rapper. Little is known about the film beyond its basic premise—a cryptic summary also makes mention of ghosts, drug dealers, and “a disgraced werewolf”—and the fact that it co-stars Paul Scheer, Atlanta’s Zazie Beetz, and Stranger Things’ Joe Keery. Newcomer Austin Vesely, who also directed Chance’s charming “Angels” and “Sunday Candy” videos, directs. [Katie Rife]



Where do you go from a debut as audacious and emotionally overwhelming as the Auschwitz-set Son Of Saul? Béla Tarr protégé László Nemes has opted to follow that monumental, Oscar-winning first feature with a drama set right before the first world war, starring Juli Jakab as a budding 20-year-old seamstress who gets tangled in a web of secrets in 1913 Budapest. If that sounds more conventional (and less harrowing, certainly) than Saul, it probably won’t be any smaller in scope. “It’s a highly ambitious project, and it entails a vast reconstruction of Budapest at the time,” distributor Nicolas Brigaud-Robert told Variety last year. [A.A. Dowd]



Director Luca Guadagnino on the set of Suspiria (Photo: Amazon Studios)

The idea of remaking Dario Argento’s eye-candy horror classic Suspiria sounds terrible, but if anyone should do it, it’s Luca Guadagnino, the kaleidoscopic Italian director behind Call Me By Your Name, A Bigger Splash, and I Am Love. Guadagnino, for his part, prefers to refer to the project as a personal homage to Argento’s film, though the basic plot—about a young American ballerina who comes to study at a prestigious German dance school with a dark secret—remains the same. Dakota Johnson plays the role of the ballerina, while the supporting cast includes Chloë Grace Moretz, Mia Goth, and, of course, Tilda Swinton. [Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]



Photo: Revolver/Schrammfilm

Christian Petzold’s last film, the masterful Phoenix, drew complex undercurrents of suspicion, psychological unease, and suspense (not to mention one of the greatest endings in contemporary film) out of the noirish story of a disfigured Holocaust survivor who returns to post-war Berlin and is roped into a scheme by the husband who mistakes her for a stranger. The German writer-director’s latest is another thriller about stolen and mistaken identities, this time set in the French port city of Marseille. Franz Rogowski and Paula Beer star; Petzold’s usual leading lady and muse, Nina Hoss, reportedly plays a supporting role. [Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]

Under The Silver Lake


We don’t know much more about David Robert Mitchell’s new thriller, starring Andrew Garfield as a Los Angeles amateur detective named Sam, than we did a year ago, when we called it one of our most anticipated movies of 2017. But it hasn’t become any less tantalizing, the thought of the writer-director of It Follows applying his expert command of mood, composition, and environment to noir—especially now that we do know that Mitchell has commissioned another atmospheric score from Richard Vreeland, a.k.a. Disasterpeace. Will it premiere in Cannes, like It Follows did almost four years ago? [A.A. Dowd]

Share This Story

Get our newsletter