12 films we can’t wait to see in 2017

From a doc about an American literary master to the last film made by Carrie Fisher, here are the movies on our radar this year


Sure, you’re probably still catching up on all the big-buzz releases from 2016 in time for the Oscars. But here are a dozen movies we’re looking forward to for one reason or another. Note: we haven’t seen any of them. And the release dates – if there are any at all – are approximate. In Hollywood, nothing’s set in stone.


I Am Not Your Negro (opens February 17)

Among the 15 still in the running for Oscar’s documentary prize, this pic mines James Baldwin‘s last and unpublished manuscript, in which he assesses the impact of activists Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Director Raoul Peck adds archival footage of major historical events to paint a portrait of America’s anti-racist movement. Anything even remotely connected to lit giant Baldwin has to be thought-provoking.    SGC

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Get Out (February 24)

We saw band-aid solutions to #OscarsSoWhite like Hidden Figures and Fences coming a mile away. But who could have predicted we’d get something like Get Out (from Jordan Peele!), a bonkers-looking horror film about a mixed-race couple haunted by what twisted shit lurks between Black and white.     RS

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Kong: Skull Island (March 10)

Great casts in silly action thrillers crack me up. Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson and Brie Larson, doing what every actor dreams of after winning an Oscar (cashing a major paycheque), star in this tale featuring that famous big gorilla. Co-written by Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler), it may actually be more than just a cash grab.     SGC

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty And The Beast (March 17)

We don’t really need a live action version of one of the best Disney animated musicals ever. But if we’re going to get one, at least Bill Condon, who wrote Chicago and directed Dreamgirls, is at the helm. The role of the bookish and devoted daughter, Belle, was practically made for Emma Watson. And the rest of the cast – Kevin Kline as Belle’s dad, Dan Stevens as the Beast, Ewan McGregor, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Emma Thompson and Ian McKellen as anthropomorphized household items – is top notch. The music and lyrics, of course, are as old as time.    GS

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The Circle (April 28)

Dave Eggers‘s cautionary tale about an ambitious woman hired by a tech company looks at the ways the digital age has changed how we work and connect. The novel is pointedly critical of forced “social” engagement and takes a dystopic turn that could translate on film as either visionary or simply hokey. Tom Hanks and Emma Watson star.     SGC

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Alien: Covenant (May 19)

Yes, Ridley Scott‘s last Alien prequel, Prometheus, was a pretentious, bloated mess of a movie. But I’m still curious about this next film, which will hopefully bring us closer to the mystery discovered in 1979’s original.     GS

The Snowman (October 13)

I have faith that Scandinavian filmmaker Tomas Alfredson (Let The Right One In, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) will be able to translate Jo Nesbø‘s grisly crime novel onto the screen. And if anyone can capture the book series’ anti-hero – the brooding and brilliant detective Harry Hole – it’s Michael Fassbender. He’s surrounded by a terrific cast, including Rebecca Ferguson, J.K. Simmons, Toby Jones and Charlotte Gainsbourg.     GS

Star Wars: Episode VIII (December 15)

Having been burned on so many sequels, prequels and reboots, I was ambivalent about the relaunch of George Lucas’s great-then-terrible space opera – but then The Force Awakens and Rogue One came along to show us the franchise is in good hands and that Disney is open to interesting ideas. Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper) is a legitimate genius, and I cannot wait to see what he does in that particular toy box. December 15 can’t come soon enough – though it’ll be bittersweet to know I’m seeing Carrie Fisher onscreen for the last time.     NW


No release dates yet: 

Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Project

If you haven’t been following, I’m all over Paul Thomas Anderson‘s dick. The Boogie Nights director has only been getting better over time, and cemented his near-Kubrickian stature with The Master (2012) and Inherent Vice (2014), his best work and my favourite movies of the decade. I don’t know how he can top those, but we’ll find out with his upcoming film about the 1950s London fashion scene starring Daniel Day-Lewis in his first role since Lincoln.     RS

Mary Goes Round

Full disclosure: Molly McGlynn is a friend of a friend. But I was an admirer before I ever knew that, and her short films Given Your History and 3-Way (Not Calling) have had me looking forward to seeing what she does in her first feature. And then I found out that the Mary of the title is played by Aya Cash, whose work on the FXX series You’re The Worst has walked the very fine line between vicious comedy and profound sadness, so I want nothing more than to watch Mary Goes Round right goddamn now.     NW

The Death And Life Of John F. Donovan

I’ve made no secret of my low regard for Xavier Dolan as a filmmaker his self-indulgence cancels out any dramatic truth he might be chasing. But I’ll be there for his English-language debut – starring Kit Harington as an actor whose correspondence with an 11-year-old endangers his career – because Dolan has cast some of my favourite actors, including Jessica Chastain, Natalie Portman, Sarah Gadon, Thandie Newton, Emily Hampshire and Letterkenny’s Jared Keeso. Here’s hoping it’s worthy of their participation.     NW

Delta Venus 

Before Telefilm announced heartening new initiatives to produce more female-driven content in Canadian film, four local women joined forces on a collaborative, process-driven feature about challenging stereotypes surrounding millennials of the “fairer sex.” Sofia Banzhaf, Nicole Dorsey, Kristin LaPensee and Karen Harnisch (producer on The Oxbow Cure and Sleeping Giant), share writing, producing, directing and acting duties in a film about sex, drugs and mood disorders. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a changing landscape in Canadian film.    RS

Read Kevin Ritchie’s list of Canadian films to watch in 2017 here

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