Monday, February 13, 2017

My 20 Most Anticipated Movies of 2017

It's fun to think about what's coming out and which movies I'm most interested in, then compare that at the end of the year to what I actually enjoyed. For example, last year, seven of my Top Ten Most Anticipated Movies for 2016 actually made it in into my Top Ten of the Year. That sounds pretty good, but I listed 20 Most Anticipated Movies last year and only half of them were in my Top Twenty.

Two of them (Underworld: Blood Wars and Guy Ritchie's King Arthur: Legend of the Sword) got pushed back to 2017, so they don't really count, but three I didn't even bother to see after learning more about them (Warcraft, Jason Bourne, and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back; though I'll likely decline its advice and go back for that last one at some point). The remaining five (Hail Caesar, Fantastic Beasts, Ghostbusters, TMNT 2, and X-Men: Apocalypse) were all over the map in terms of how much I enjoyed them.

Which goes to show that we need to underline the words "interested in" in describing this list. These aren't the movies that I'm predicting will be the best; just the ones that I most want to see. That could be out of genuine excitement, but it might just be irresistible curiosity. I'll try to specify which as I go.

Tell me what you're looking forward to in the comments!

20. The Beguiled



Sofia Coppolla directs this Western (I don't like calling them Southerns, but technically that's more accurate in this case) about an injured Union soldier (Colin Farrell) who's imprisoned in a Confederate boarding school for girls and tries to charm his way out. Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning, and Kirsten Dunst are the primary occupants of the school. I like all of those people, the setting, and the drama of the situation.

19. Ferdinand



One of my favorite children's books. I have way more in common with the character of Ferdinand than I should ever admit. I have no idea if this is doable as a feature length movie, but I generally like Blue Sky's stuff, so hooves are crossed.

18. Hostiles



Another Western; this one with Christian Bale as an Army captain escorting a Cheyenne chief (Wes Studi) and his family through hostile territory. I'm concerned that Studi gets like 12th billing right now on IMDb, because I'm most interested in seeing the relationship between his and Bale's characters. Hopefully that's not indicative of his actual importance to the story.

Lots of other great people in this thing, too. Rosamund Pike and Stephen Lang, for instance, but also Ben Foster in his second Western with Bale after 3:10 to Yuma ten years ago.

17. Jumanji



I'm not crazy about the original, but it had a cool concept, which means that it's ripe for a remake. And I couldn't be more excited about The Rock and Karen Gillan as the leads. Hoping it's more focused on high adventure and less schmaltzy than the earlier version.

16. The Dark Tower



Never read these books, but they've certainly captured a lot of imaginations and I usually like fantastical Westerns. I also like Stephen King, though movies based on his work are a mixed bag. I guess I'm pinning my hopes on Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey in this genre instead of on the source material.

15. Spider-Man: Homecoming



I like Spider-Man and boy that was pretty cool in Civil War. But I don't love Spider-Man and there are some things about this that just make me tired. Young Aunt May and the look of the Vulture aren't thrilling me, for two things. Another is that I already feel like I've seen all the Tony Stark/Peter Parker interaction I want to in Civil War. And as much as I trust in my heart that Marvel is going to make a good movie, this is still another Spider-Man reboot in too short a time.

On the other hand, I've learned not to bet against Marvel. If this is the fun, teen comedy that it looks to be, I expect to be much more excited coming out of it than going in.

14. Pitch Perfect 3



'Cause I love these movies. The humor is always pretty uneven, but there's always a good character arc and I do like me an a cappella mash-up.

13. Table 19



We've been rewatching Friends and I'm totally ready to see Lisa Kudrow do something more than a cameo in a movie again. And I always enjoy Anna Kendrick and Craig Robinson. The trailer made me laugh and I usually enjoy seeing outsiders push back against their oppressors, so this has a lot going for it.

12. Justice League



I have no idea if I'm going to like this or not and that lack of expectation is partly what's attracting me to it. But mostly, it gets my money because it's our first real look at Jason Mamoa's Aquaman.

11. Murder on the Orient Express



They don't really make straight-up murder mystery movies anymore, so this is cool. And it's cool that Kenneth Branagh is directing it. And it's cool that Daisy Ridley, Penélope Cruz, Josh Gad, Michelle Pfeiffer, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, and Derek Jacobi are all in it. I'm a bit more nervous about Johnny Depp and especially about Branagh's playing Herucle Poirot. Either (or both) of those could be goofy, caricatural performances that will ruin the movie for me. But I'm glad someone's adapting some Agatha Christie again.

10. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales



I love the opening trilogy (even At World's End), but On Stranger Tides needs making up for. This will either bring the series back in line or prove once and for all that we're done. Really hoping for the former, because there's so much potential for a lot of fun movies in the Pirates world.

9. The Mummy



As a huge fan of the Universal monster movies from the '30s and '40s (and '50s, when you add in Creature from the Black Lagoon), I'm all for the studio's trying to make a Marvel-style, connected universe with those characters. In fact, Universal was already doing that 70+ years ago. Marvel just revived the idea with superheroes.

I don't know if it's going to work this time, but they're starting in a pretty good place with a Tom Cruise action movie that's also trying to be legitimately scary. Working in Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll feels like a great idea, too, especially since they're not knocking people over the head with that fact in the trailer. Nowhere is this being billed as Mummy v Mr Hyde, which already puts it on a better track than Warner Bros.

8. Thor: Ragnarok



Speaking of Marvel, Thor is one of my favorite superheroes, Chris Hemsworth is one of my favorite actors, and I love the pitch of Ragnarok as a buddy road trip movie with Thor and Hulk. I've liked the other Thor movies, but they aren't as strong as the best Marvel films, so I'm not expecting to be blown away by this third one. I just want it to be a good time at the movies and don't see any reason to expect anything else.

7. Kong: Skull Island



I'm hoping that the trailers are leaving some surprises, because I've always thought it would be cool to have a movie completely focused on Skull Island. It's an awesome setting for adventure and Kong: Skull Island has a great cast to put in it. I just don't like feeling that I've already seen most of the film in ads.

6. Logan



I like Wolverine best when he's mentoring a young girl or woman. And I'm super excited by what I've seen of Patrick Stewart's portrayal of Charles Xavier in this. Logan appears to be a movie about relationships. That was the best thing about The Wolverine, too, so yes, more of that.

5. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2



"Obviously," indeed.

4. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets



Luc Besson and I don't always get along, but if we learned nothing else from my excitement about Jupiter Ascending, it's that I'm always on the lookout for the next, great space opera. See also: Guardians of the Galaxy. My excitement for Valerian edges out Guardians because it's new. It looks insane and amazing and both Cara Delevingne and Dane DeHaan are fascinating people whom I'll enjoy watching go through whatever lunacy Besson has planned.

3. War for the Planet of the Apes



I'll always have a special place in my heart for the Planet of the Apes movies of the '60s, but I don't think there's any denying that these new versions are way better films. (Except for maybe the original Planet of the Apes, which totally holds up.) There's still a part of me that can't believe I like these new ones as much as I do, but I've learned to shut that part up and just let myself be excited. This is gonna be great.

2. Wonder Woman



We've waited so long for a Wonder Woman movie and this one has the right ingredients - and the right trailer - to promise a good one. It's still concerning to me that the folks behind Man of Steel and Batman v Superman were allowed anywhere near this thing, but I have my fingers crossed and am holding my breath that their influence will be minimal and that we'll get the film we hope for.

1. The Last Jedi



Rey! Finn! Poe! Luke!

I have crazy high expectations for this, but I trust that Rian Johnson in the one to meet them.
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