And so it’s that time of the year again, where every film blogger is all about the lists. My top ten best and worst films of 2016 will be released over the next few weeks, but as always, lets begin by taking a look ahead at my most anticipated films of 2017.
10: It (Released 8th September)
Having recently finished reading Stephen King’s classic 1986 novel, my excitement levels for this latest adaptation have skyrocketed. The first images of Bill Skarsgard’s Pennywise suggest a much darker take than Tim Curry’s brilliant version of the character in the famous 1990 mini-series. But the change of actor is just the first of many changes to the story, with the action moving from the original 1950’s setting of the book to the 1980’s, in what is surely a bid to create some nostalgia for a whole new generation of audience.
With all signs pointing towards this adaptation only focusing on one half of King’s epic novel, it looks like the film makers are already planning a sequel. Fingers crossed this first part is good enough to warrant one.
9: Hacksaw Ridge (Released 27th January)
Already cited as a return to form for Mel Gibson, an actor and director I have always admired in spite of his fall from grace over the last decade, his latest directorial effort, Hacksaw Ridge, looks like it’s going to be something special. Having opened to a slew of positive reviews in places it has already been released, this telling of a true story about a WWII medic who refuses to kill looks like set to perfectly balance the harrowing horrors of war with a positive and emotional message about pacifism.
If it’s half as good as people have been saying, this could be a new beginning Gibson who, whether you love him or hate him, has certainly proven himself an interesting director.
8: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Released 28th April)
Of all the superhero films that are due for release over the next twelve months, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the only one that I’m really looking forward to. Considering the original film is one of Marvel’s best to date, it may be a tall order to expect anything quite as fresh, funny or original. However, the small amount of footage we’ve seen so far suggests that the returning cast and crew have managed to recapture that spark which made the first film so memorable. Plus, Baby Groot!
7: Beauty and the Beast (Released 17th March)
There would have been a time when a remake of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast would have made me extremely concerned, but after Jon Favreau’s remake of The Jungle Book proved to be one of this year’s best films, my confidence has grown considerably in this live-action re-telling of one of Disney’s most beloved films.The characters look perfectly cast, the visuals look stunning and, frankly, as long as the story sticks close to that of the original, this can’t go far wrong.
6: Kong: Skull Island (Released 10th March)
After Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla proved that big blockbusting monster movies could be visually remarkable and intelligent at the same time, Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ remake of King Kong, entitled Kong: Skull Island for potential franchise purposes, looks like it’ll do the same thing. The latest instalment in a ‘shared universe’ with other monsters such as Godzilla, this is the next step toward the giant lizard-giant ape showdown that every film fan has been waiting for.
Recent trailers for the film have showcased stunning imagery and a big a-lister cast that includes Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston and Samuel L. Jackson amongst others. But for all of the film’s visual promise, ‘Skull Island‘ looks like it’ll be a lot of fun first and foremost.
5: Blade Runner 2049 (Released 6th October)
It has been thirty-five-years since Ridley Scott’s much-heralded Blade Runner, and after the director’s many different cuts of the film which have been released over the last couple of decades, next year finally sees the release of its sequel. That in itself is something worth getting excited about, but the fact that Harrison Ford is returning as Rick Deckard, who will be joined by a younger cast which includes Ryan Gosling, Jared Leto and Mackenzie Davis, means the long-awaited sequel could be something special.
And when you add Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Sicario, Prisoners) to the mix, one of the best directors working today, who will be taking over the reigns from Ridley Scott, Blade Runner 2049 could prove to be a sequel that’s been well worth the wait.
4: War for the Planet of the Apes (Released 14th July)
The recent revival of the Planet of the Apes franchise has gone from strength to strength since Rupert Wyatt’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes in 2011. The film’s sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes wasn’t just the best summer blockbuster of 2014, but one of the best films of that year in general.
Much like the aforementioned Godzilla, DOTPLOTA proved a perfect balance of incredible visual-effects, blockbuster thrills and intelligent, thoughtful themes. This latest instalment, which is set to bring the events of the previous two films to a head, will hopefully carry on the success of its predecessor by once again finding intelligence within the spectacle of the world-ending-war that promises to feature.
3: Paddington 2 (Released 10th November)
It feels like I’ve been waiting for a sequel to Paul King’s Paddington for forever, but next year the wait will finally be over. In what’s sure to be a wonderful early Christmas present, the titular bear from Peru, who has a somewhat worrying marmalade habit, will finally return to the big screen.
The original team, both behind and in front of the camera, return and are this time joined by Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson (playing the brilliantly named ‘Knuckles’ McGinty). Little is known about the plot other than it involves some kind of crime caper, but the fact that the same team from the first film are back again means that this should be just as magical as its predecessor. Plus, just look at that cute face.
2: Dunkirk (Released 21st July)
One of my favourite film makers working today, I’ll always be excited for a new Christopher Nolan film. I’m extra excited for his latest however, because it sees the director tackling something we’ve never seen him do before – a war picture. Based on the battle of Dunkirk, this could end up being Nolan’s equivalent to Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan which, in turn, could mean plenty of awards come 2018.
It’s with this in mind that I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw this pushed back from its July date to a more award-friendly November. Hopefully we won’t have to wait that long, because I can’t wait to see what Nolan brings to this genre.
1: La La Land (13th January)
One film we won’t have to wait too long for is Damien Chazelle’s La La Land – and thank God for that! After playing at the London Film Festival and having generated a lot of buzz, there’s a lot of Oscar-talk that’s already surrounding the picture. Combine that with the incredibly positive reviews from bloggers who have already had the pleasure of seeing this and it’s safe to say that its release couldn’t come around quick enough.
Chazelle’s previous effort, Whiplash was my favourite film of last year – and quite possibly my favourite of the last few years – so to see him at the helm of a big MGM-type musical – Singin’ In The Rain is one of my favourite films ever made – has got me counting down the days until I get to see it.
So there you have it; those are the films I’m most looking forward to next year, but what are you excited for? What have I missed? Make sure to comment below and come back next week, when I’ll be counting down my ten worst films of 2016.