A year ends and another begins. 2016 was a brutal year in some respects, a year that many would like to forget. But it did leave us with some great movies.
Now we can look forward to the future, and 2017 looks very, very promising. As always, we have tons of sequels, remakes, reboots, but there are also original movies thrown in the mix. Today I invite you to go through what I think could be the highlights of the new year, the films that are sure to become hits, or simply some that I believe show some promise. Let’s begin shall we?
Underworld: Blood Wars
JANUARY 6. The fifth film in the franchise sees Kate Beckinsale return for the fourth time in the role of vampire heroine Selene, and she must fight Lycan and the vampires who betrayed her, and at the same time attempt to bring an end to the war that has been raging for ages. Also starring Theo James, Tobias Menzies, Lara Pulver, Bradley James and Charles Dance with Michael Wandmacher doing the score. After the lackluster Underworld: Awakening, it should be very easy for director Anna Foerster to improve things, and perhaps bring back the world building mythology that was absent from the previous entry. As a fan, I truly hope she is able to do so. Also, no more CGI Lycans please, practical effects are the way to go.
JANUARY 20. M. Night Shyamalan’s new film tells the story of three girls kidnapped after a birthday party by a mysterious and unstable man (James McAvoy) who locks them up and proceeds to frighten and baffle them. This basic setup is perfect for Shyamalan, who after a slew of critical and financial failures, was redeemed to the public eye with his wonderful and twisted The Visit. I’m hoping this film will deliver the goods and confirms Shyamalan’s return. I never stopped being a fan of his work by the way. West Dylan Thordson is doing the score this time instead of Shyamalan’s regular James Newton Howard and I can’t hide my disappointment.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
JANUARY 27. In the sixth and publicly announced final film in the series, Alice (Mila Jovovich) is betrayed by Albert Wesker after what was supposed to be humanity’s last stand against Umbrella’s undead army. Alice now has to return where it all began in Raccoon City where Umbrella is gathering its forces for one last strike. The sole purpose of Resident Evil: Retribution seemed to be setup that final shot in Washington, but looks like we won’t be getting much of that. Still, I find it a clever idea for the series to end in Raccoon City. Well, Resident Evil: Extinction was supposed to be last one back in 2007, so who knows. Paul Haslinger is composer the score for this one.
John Wick: Chapter 2
FEBRUARY 10. Keanu Reeves is back in a role every action fan seems to love. John Wick is forced out of retirement after an international assassin’s guild puts a contract on his head, and now he has to kill his way through Rome to stop a former associate to seize control of the guild. The first John Wick was brutal and stylish at the same time, and Keanu Reeves was perfect in the role. The sequel looks like a lot of fun. This should be very good. Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard are also returning for the music score.
A Cure for Wellness
FEBRUARY 17. An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from a wellness center in the Swiss Alps. He soon discover the place is not what it seems and finds himself diagnosed with the same illness that keeps the other patients there. Gore Verbinski is directing this one, also based on a story by him and Justin Haythe who wrote the script. Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs and Mia Goth star. It’s nice to see Verbinski doing another psychological horror thriller, as his remake of The Ring is a highlight of his career in tone and execution. Benjamin Wallfisch is replacing Verbinski’s long time composer Hans Zimmer.
The Great Wall
FEBRUARY 17. When a mercenary warrior (Matt Damon) gets imprisoned in the Chinese Great Wall, he discovers a mystery and the real reason the Wall was built as he joins an army of elite warriors fighting wave after wave of beasts trying to bring it down. Directed by Zhang Yimou who has built an impressive career in his homeland, The Great Wall stars Matt Damon, Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe and Andy Lau with the current go-to guy for all things epic Ramin Djawadi providing the music. The trailer do look good, showcasing some spectacular shots and effects. Let’s hope the movie turns out to be more than pretty visual put together.
MARCH 3. In his third spin-off movie, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is living in a not-too-distant future, his healing ability starting to fail. He joins Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) to protect a young girl very similar to him, and who is being hunted by sinister forces. Logan has been publicized as the final appearance of Hugh Jackman in the role that made him a star. It seems 20th Century Fox and director James Mangold aren’t holding back for this special occasion, as this film is aiming for an R rating, meaning we’ll get to see Wolverine going berserk and more violent than he’s ever been. The trailer do looks amazing and the film appears to be going for deepness over spectacle, which is most welcome. Marco Beltrami is returning for his second Wolverine entry after replacing Cliff Martinez.
Kong: Skull Island
MARCH 10. Set in the 1970s, the movie follows a group of explorers and soldiers who venture into an uncharted island in the Pacific where they find a world inhabited for giant monsters from ancient times and their king, the mythic Kong. This movie will not only relaunch the giant ape character yet again, but it will serve as the second film in Legendary’s shared monster universe following Godzilla. The trailer does look good and the studio will be hoping audiences embrace this new version of Kong ahead of the already announced Godzilla vs King Kong in 2020. Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, the all-star cast includes Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Jing Tian, Toby Kebbell, John Ortiz and John C. Reilly, and Henry Jackman is writing the score for this one.
MARCH 24. The crew of the International Space Station is tasked with studying a sample from Mars that might be the first actual sign of extraterrestrial life. What they find is a life form more intelligent than they expect. Directed by Daniel Espinosa, the film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds. The score is being written by Jon Ekstrand.
MARCH 24. In this new film adaptation of the popular 90s TV show, a group of teenagers are given extraordinary powers (and huge machines) and tasked with defending the planet from the villainous Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) and her monsters, under the guidance of the wise and powerful Zordon (Bryan Cranston). Yes, the first trailer makes it look like Chronicle, but that isn’t a bad thing, and the more serious approach might work wonders to bring new life into the property. Brian Tyler is doing the score for this one, and that’s another big plus.
Ghost in the Shell
MARCH 31. A cyborg counter-terrorist agent (Scarlett Johansson) and her task force in Sector 9 face an unknown enemy trying to sabotage Hanka Robotic’s artificial intelligence technology. In the original Japanese manga and anime that very simple plot was the launchpad for a complex story and characters that have influenced modern sci-fi since their release (The Matrix, anyone?). It is strange that a movie set in Japan features a Caucasian lead and that has generated backlash but I hope the movie can overcome that issue and make this a worthy adaptation. Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) is directing, so at least visually it should be amazing and with Clint Mansell doing the score, our ears should also be delighted.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
MAY 5. Set just a couple of months after the first one, the gang is struggling to keep together, all the while Peter Quill (Christ Pratt) uncovers clue of his parentage. The first Guardians of the Galaxy was a success, and this movie is building on top of that with seemingly more out there stuff, like a living planet. Should be another fun ride, but looking at the first trailer I’m afraid they might be playing it safe. Hope I’m wrong. James Gunn returns to the director’s chair along with Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper and Michael Rooker, with Kurt Russell joining the ranks. Tyler Bates is also returning for the score, that I would presume, will once again be drowned out by pop songs.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
MAY 12. Guy Ritchie brings his own take on the King Arthur legend. After he draws the powerful Excalibur from the stone, Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) learns of his true lineage and embarks in a journey where he must fight his own demons, master the sword and unite the people against a powerful enemy. Jude Law, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou and Eric Bana are also starring.
MAY 19. In the sequel to the divisive Prometheus, the crew of the colonist ship Covenant discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise. What they find is a dark and dangerous place inhabited by David (Michael Fassbender), the sole survivor of the Prometheus expedition, and the monstrous creatures haunting them. Ridley Scott directs his third entry in the Alien franchise and continues to build the bridge between Prometheus and his original film, with the promise of answers and scares. People disappointed by the lack of the traditional creature should be pleased with what was shown in the trailer. The film also stars Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir and Noomi Rapace, with Jed Kurzel providing the score.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
MAY 26. In the fifth entry in the franchise Jack Sparrow, sorry, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is looking for the Trident of Poseidon which is said to give its owner total control of the seas, all the while he’s pursued by his old rival Captain Salazar and his crew of ghost pirates, who are looking to kill every pirate at sea. Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg are co-directors of this attempt to bring new life into the franchise after the failure that Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides was. Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush and Kevin McNally are returning to the cast with newcomers Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario. Geoff Zanelli who collaborated in all previous movies in the series is taking over from Hans Zimmer as the main composer.
JUNE 2. Set in the early 20th century, the film follows Amazon princess Diana (Gal Gadot), who after meeting American pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) begins her journey to stop the war raging on the mortals world. Even detractors had to admit that Gal Gadot made a huge impression as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Now she’s given the spotlight all to herself in the first live action film featuring the character and all the signs point to a great movie. Patty Jenkins (Monster) is directing the movie which also stars Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Lucy Davis and Lisa Loven Kongsli. Rupert Gregson-Williams is working on the score. Let’s hope he doesn’t forget to add that electric cello motif.
JUNE 9. In this new version of one of Universal’s classics, Tom Cruise finds himself fighting an ancient evil force when a mummified princess awakens from her long sleep bringing with her destruction and rage. This is Universal’s second attempt at start their shared monster universe after the failure of Dracula Untold. Famed screenwriter Alex Kurtzman is making his directorial debut with a script by Jon Spaihts and Christopher McQuarrie. The film also stars Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance and Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll. This is another film that Brian Tyler is scoring so 2017 is pretty much a busy year for him.
Transformers: The Last Knight
JUNE 23. At the end of Transformers: Age of Extinction, Optimus Prime left Earth in search of the creators of his race, but his quest leads him back to our planet, where an artifact that’s linked to the King Arthur legend is the center of conflict between human and robot species. Michael Bay is once again at the helm, for his fifth entry in the franchise, and his human cast includes Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci returning from Transformers: Age of Extinction, with Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson and John Turturro who missed that one. New to the cast are Isabela Moner, Santiago Cabrera, Laura Haddock, Anthony Hopkins and Mitch Pileggi. Steve Jablonsky is also returning for the music score.
JULY 7. After debuting on Captain America: Civil War, the third cinematic version of the web slinger gets his first solo movie… kinda. Following the events of that movie, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is trying to adapt to his new superhero life and balance it with his normal life, with the help of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). It is not long before a new villain, The Vulture (Michael Keaton) enters the scene. I know this Spider-Man is meant to be a part of the MCU, but Tony Stark’s inclusion might steal his thunder. On the plus side, Michael Keaton as a villain sounds too good. The film is directed by Jon Watts and the cast also includes
Zendaya, Donald Glover and Marisa Tomei. Michael Giacchino is doing the score, his second entry in the MCU, so at least that will be fun.
War for the Planet of the Apes
JULY 14. After the events of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the war between apes and humans is escalating. Soon Caesar (Andy Serkis) and human Colonel (Woody Harrelson) are enganged in a fight for survival and revenge, and ultimately supremacy over the planet. Matt Reeves returns as the director on the third entry of this new take on the property. By the looks of the trailer, everything we loved about Dawn it’s here, and things are making a tragic turn for our hero. I couldn’t be more excited about this movie. Oh, and Michael Giacchino is also doing the score.
JULY 21. This action thriller set during World War II chronicles the massive escape of thousands of Allied forces being surrounded by German soldiers on the beaches of Dunkirk. That premise alone is interesting, but then you add Christopher Nolan’s name and everything becomes bigger and hopefully better. The trailer does show some spectacular shots. The ensemble cast includes Kenneth Branagh, James D’Arcy, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy and Harry Styles among other, with Hans Zimmer providing the music.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
JULY 21. In Luc Besson’s adaptation of the French comic book series Valérian and Laureline, Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne play space and time-traveling agents from a futuristic Earth charged with maintaining order throughout the universe. They are sent on a mission to the intergalactic city of Alpha where thousands of species have gathered to share their knowledge for the betterment of all. But unseen forces are about to put our species in great danger. It’s been 20 years since Besson last stepped into space sci-fi with the magnificent The Fifth Element, and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets promises to be a very welcome return to the genre. And to make things even more epic, Alexandre Desplat is writing the music score, replacing Besson’s regular Eric Serra.
The Dark Tower
JULY 28. Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) is a young adventurer who finds himself transported to the Mid-World where he encounters lone knight Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), who is on a quest to the Dark Tower in the hopes to save his world from extinction. But a host of monsters and a evil sorcerer (Matthew McConaughey) will attempt from stopping them. An adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series of novels has been in development for many years, with many people and studios walking in and out of it such as J.J. Abrams and Ron Howard, and ultimately deemed to ambitious and costly to make. Nikolaj Arcel is the director that will finally make it happen, and the movie will be followed by a TV series in 2018. Junkie XL will write the music for the movie.
SEPTEMBER 8. One year after the death of a kid in a small town’s storm drain. his brother and friends begin their search for the killer, but what they found is an evil entity who uses phobias and fears of its victims to disguise itself. Andrés Muschietti (Mama) is directing the first big screen adaptation of this Stephen King novel, though it had already been adapted as a successful TV miniseries with Tim Curry on the role of the evil entity known Pennsywise. For this new version Bill Skarsgård is taking over the clown costume and here’s hoping this will be a worthy adaptation of that classic.
Blade Runner 2049
OCTOBER 6. K (Ryan Gosling) is a Blade Runner discovers a secret that risks put what’s left of society into chaos. This discovery leads him to Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former Blade Runner who’s been missing for 30 years. Making a sequel to a film that’s considered a classic, specially after so long has passed is a huge risk, but in this case, with Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Arrival) as the director, it is more than promising. The trailer alone is full of style and tone from the original film, so let’s hope that Villeneuve is up to the challenge, and that also goes for Jóhann Jóhannsson who is following on the footsteps of Vangelis.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
OCTOBER 6. After the Kingsman headquarters are destroyed Eggs (Taron Egerton), Merlin (Mark Strong) and Roxy (Sophie Cookson) travel the US to join forces with their equivalents in Statesman to defeat a nefarious villain (Julianne Moore). The first Kingsman was such a joy to watch, and it’s great to see Matthew Vaughn sticking around for another go. The cast now includes Halle Berry, Pedro Pascal, Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges. Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson are also returning with the music.
OCTOBER 27. The seemingly third film in the Cloverfield franchise tells the story of a group of astronauts who find themselves alone in space after a scientific experiment makes the Earth disappear. The have to fight for their lives when a mysterious space shuttle appears. The movie was originally scheduled for February, but what suddenly moved to October and that caused speculation as to whether another Cloverfield movie might take its place, but looks like that isn’t the case anymore. Julius Onah is directing.
OCTOBER 27. 10 years after the last film in the franchise, Lionsgate is hoping to breath new life into it. Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig are directing what it’s been said to be a reinvention of the series with new storyline with new characters. I don’t know how successful can this film be after so long and with the original Jigsaw totally out of the equation, but we’ll see.
NOVEMBER 3. Following the events of Captain America: Civil War, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) join forces to battle intergalactic forces. The film is being directed by Taika Waititi and also stars Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins, Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson, Jeff Goldblum and Karl Urban with Mark Mothersbaugh doing the score.
NOVEMBER 17. Following the death of Superman (Henry Cavill), Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) and Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) attempt to recruit a group of meta-humans in order to defend the planet from Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) and his army of Parademons who are hunting the Earth for the Mother Boxes. The newly formed team must learn to overcome their egos and work as a team. The fifth film in the DCEU sees the heroes finally come together, and along with Zack Snyder’s two previous entries, it should complete a character arc for Henry Cavill’s Superman. The ensemble cast includes Amy Adams, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Willem Dafoe, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen and J. K. Simmons. I sincerely hope the film stays very much true to Snyder’s vision and that audiences finally embrace it. So far, it lookslike Junkie XL will be composing the score without Hans Zimmer this time, a shame really, but if he can continue with the established motifs and bring his A game it should be ok.
Star Wars: Episode VIII
DECEMBER 15. No story details at all for this one, but we can assume that we’ll follow Rey (Daisy Ridley) train in the Jedi arts under her mentor Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), and we’ll also follow Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) doing more tantrums. Seriously, anything with Star Wars in the title is sure to be a hit. Rian Johnson (Looper) is the director this time, and J.J. Abrams is sticking around as producer. The film’s cast also includes Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Andy Serkis, Benicio del Toro and Laura Dern. Oh, and John Williams is back too. Hooray!
So there you go. Which of these films are you exited the most to see? Do you think I miss anything you’d dying to get a ticket for? Share your thoughts in the comments below!