The Nouse team have already looked back to the mixed-bag that was 2016. Though many great films were released last year, there were some truly awful ones; the horrific Suicide Squad, some very white Egyptians in Gods of Egypt, and Kevin Spacey gets turned into his daughter’s cat (I wish I was kidding) in Nine Lives. There is still hope for 2017 however, and here are five of the films to keep an eye out for in the coming year.
Dunkirk (21st July) –
Christopher Nolan is one of the defining directors of our generation, garnering critical and commercial attention for the majority of his work. However, in my opinion, he peaked with his passion project Inception. Since then there has been The Dark Knight Rises which was the weakest of his Batman trilogy, and Interstellar, which despite being visually stunning felt too much style over substance for my liking. I still really like both those films but I’m hoping for a return to form with his take on a war epic with Dunkirk. Judging by set photos he’s working on location with hundreds of extras to try and recreate with some accuracy the events which took place. The great Hans Zimmer is returning to compose the score which is always a plus and it also boasts a star-studded cast including Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, James D’Arcy, and returning Nolan collaborators Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy. And for some odd reason Harry Styles. But then again, Nolan been known to have made strange casting choices which have worked out well. People rallied against Heath Ledger’s casting as the Joker, and boy were they wrong about that, so let’s hope that little One Direction tyke has some acting chops or at least gets killed off quickly.
Moonlight (17th February) –
Moonlight has already swept the golden globes, rivalled only by La La Land, and has received rave reviews in the states. Hopefully, this one won’t fly under the radar in the UK, since it seems to be an important film investigating identity in the 21st century, especially with the issues of race and sexuality. The film uses three actors to tell the story of a young black American growing up in a rough neighbourhood and trying to find his place in the world. Despite the cliché sounding premise, critics promise that this film offers something new and fresh in the already crowded market of coming of age dramas. Also, regardless of the premise, the film offers some gorgeous cinematography and despite having mostly a cast of unknowns does boast the talents of the great Naomi Harris, Mahershala Ali, and musician Janelle Monáe.
T2 Trainspotting (27th January)
Danny Boyle, in my opinion, is one of the greatest British directors working today. He’s produced many remarkable films including 28 Days Later, Sunshine, Steve Jobs and even directed the London 2012 opening ceremony. But more than this he is one of the few directors whose no two of his films feel the same, he’s skated around different genres, tones, and styles and seems confident with all. Doing biopics, dramas, horror films, science fiction, and family films; each skilfully. Trainspotting, however, is the film that put him on the map as a director, and is said to define a generation. Its tale of drug addiction, friendship, and crime is still as popular today as it was in 1996. This will be the first time that Boyle is returning to direct a sequel of one of his films so, despite being 21 years later, this seems like more than just a quick cash grab. With the cast returning as well as the same writer, hopefully they all agree that this is a sequel that deserves to be made. A success will it go on to define a generation as much as Trainspotting did on its original release.
Blade Runner 2049 (6th October)
Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi thriller about Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) hunting down replicants was set in 2019. So unless we get flying cars and androids in the next two years, Scott’s predictive powers are pretty poor. That said, he made a pretty great film. It’s up there with 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars in terms of seminal science fiction films and its legacy is still apparent in the recent Ex Machina and HBO’s Westworld. Now, 35 years later, we are getting the sequel that nobody asked for. The revival of classic science fiction films have occasionally been successful such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens but usually it’s a failure like all the Star Wars prequels, Prometheus, Terminator Salvation and many, many more. So though initially its chances seems poor, hope has been restored with the announcement of Denis Villeneuve as director. He has had a steady run of great films including Prisoners, Enemy, and Sicario, and seems a promising choice especially with the arrival of Arrival (ha ha) last year, which proved that he can direct thought-provoking and thrilling science fiction films. It has also been confirmed that old-man Harrison Ford is back as old-man Rick Deckard, supplanted as the protagonist by young man Ryan Gosling. There’s also a strong supporting cast including Jared Leto, in which will hopefully be his redemption for the truly atrocious Suicide Squad. So the general approach to this film is cautiously optimist, we can hope that it will live up to the original but it still may join the long list of awful sequels to good films.
Coco (8th December) –
Pixar has consistently made films ranging from good to truly great (except Cars 2, but I’ll forgive them that). After a couple of weaker movies like Brave and Monsters University, the studio has returned to form with the fantastic Inside Out and the worthy sequel to it’s early noughties counterpart Finding Dory. Not much is known about Coco as a trailer hasn’t even been released yet but the Pixar brand alone is enough to tempt me. The released synopsis basically says a young boy will embark on some kind of and adventure and mystery, so it could be anything. All we know is it’s something to do with Mexico’s Day of the Dead so hopefully will be a film introducing and educating families about the traditions of other countries like Moana did for the Polynesian Islanders. It will be Pixar’s first film with a person of colour as the lead – something long overdue. Pixar makes proper family films, not children’s films which are just bearable to parents, but pictures that anybody of any age can take something away from. Lee Unkrich is also returning as director, and had previously directed Toy Story 3 for Pixar, so hopefully this film will follow in the footsteps of the Pixar greats – especially as it will be fighting off Star Wars Episode VIII at the Christmas box office.