Unlike last year when I went insane and wrote an extremely long list detailing just about every film I aspired to watch (plus a few that have not even been released), this year I have miraculously managed to nick the list down by five films. Disregarding the myriad of honorable mentions I am also anxiously awaiting, I present to you the list of the films I am most looking forward to watching this year.
20. A Futile & Stupid Gesture – David Wain
Talk about an ensemble. Starring everyone from Domhnall Gleeson to Will Forte, David Wain’s portrayal of the intensity of the National Lampoon troupe during the 70’s and 80’s under Doug Kenney’s supervision will surely make for a comedy of wonders or a seriously sardonic drama. And let us not forget David Wain has been churning out comedic gold as of late with his latest ventures into the world of Wet Hot American Summer, prompting my excitement evermore.
19. Tyrel – Sebastián Silva
Sebastián Silva is one of the few remaining directors that is completely unafraid of doing anything and daring to push back on generally conceived restrictions. As his risqué filmography suggests, he is always up to something wild, whether that be an acid trip in Chile with an angsty Michael Cera or whatever the hell Nasty Baby was, the point is Silva is willing to go out there and the story he’s set up for Tyrel looks like it is going to give him plenty of room to adventure.
18. Boy Erased – Joel Edgerton
Joel Edgerton made a splash when he came out with The Gift out of nowhere. It was a clever film absolutely no one was expecting to enjoy as much as they ended up actually loving it and having pronounced himself a competent filmmaker with his directorial debut, Edgerton only has one direction to go in and that’s upwards. Looking to pack a much more emotional punch than before, Edgerton has not only secured an amazing story, but also a stellar cast. Amassing the talents of Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman, and most importantly Lucas Hedges who’s already been nominated for an Oscar after bursting onto the scene with Manchester by the Sea. Not to forget Edgerton himself will also be making an appearance in his own film, much like last time, and hopefully, like last time, delivering yet another wonderful performance. One could start pitching this for next year’s Oscar’s, but let’s not jump to conclusions or unnecessarily overhype ourselves and instead just wait for Edgerton to work his magic.
17. Damsel – Zellner Brothers
What’s funnier than this picture of Robert Pattinson dragging a tiny horse around? Well, a lot of things, including my use of the words “tiny horse,” nonetheless it is still a pretty funny image. Although I was not a particular fan of the Zellner’s last project, Kumiko, the way in which Pattinson has described this film’s goofiness is something that makes me look forward to it, not to mention my love of Mia Wasikowska as an indie darling. Now that Good Time has come out and everyone’s realized Pattinson’s absurd talent and willingness to work with true auteurs, I’m even more excited for his attachment to this project means he has identified a specific wonder in it that he wants to share before a wider audience that would usually ignore a film like Damsel.
16. Vox Lux – Brady Corbet
To be truthful, I don’t even know if this film will be released this year, but if so, if we’re so very lucky, we’ll be in for a treat. A musical composed by Mica Levi, directed by Brady Corbet, and starring Jude Law alongside Stacy Martin, what’s not to be excited about. Although it’s a tragedy Rooney Mara left the project, Stacy Martins involvement in Vox Lux will give her an even grander opportunity to shine. Jumping onto the scene out of nowhere with Nymphomaniac, Martin has begun to make a name for herself with roles in films like Redoubtable where she can challenge herself whilst demonstrating the extent of her talents. Landing her in an odd musical directed by Brady Corbet where she’ll play off the magnificent Jude Law spells out a singular greatness that I hope we get to see this year.
15. The Souvenir: Part I – Joanna Hogg
Joanna Hogg introduced the world to Tom Hiddleston and with Martin Scorsese backing her, she’s sure to deliver something wonderful. Despite my misleading picture, Hiddleston does not seem like he’ll make an appearance in this film, but we will be getting Robert Pattinson in yet another awesome indie-role. Even more interesting, Richard Ayoade, who I consider to be a hilarious comic is involved in this picture in someway, which might add some witty levity to the project as a whole.
14. Under the Silver Lake – David Robert Mitchell
This film made an apparition on this very list two years ago and seeing as it’s completed and A24 is listing it under a 2018 release it will hopefully come out this year. Taking place in the heart of L.A.’s hipster-ville and from what-I’ve-gathered, following a private detective’s quest to find a missing pug or the man behind its death, only David Robert Mitchell could channel such an absurd premise into original movie magic. But, besides starring an ever-charismatic Andrew Garfield, the film also stars a staple of my-most-anticipated lists in Riley Keough who is surely going to kill it in whatever Mitchell has conjured.
13. Lizzie – Craig William Macneill
If there’s anyone who can conjure creepy, unnerving experiences it is Craig William Macneill. Reinvigorating Syfy’s horror-cred with the first season of Channel Zero and delivering the cinematic equivalent of nails-on-a-chalkboard with The Boy, now he’s tackling the infamous Lizzie Borden story with Chloë Sevigny and Kristen Stewart leading the project. Not only am I a huge Chloë Sevigny fan, but Kristen Stewart’s involvement in a project like this one nowadays signifies wonders. Her recent filmography includes gems like Clouds of Sils Maria and Personal Shopper from her collaborations with Assayas plus films like Certain Women. It’s without a doubt such a thundering trio could produce such an amazing film, as even Robert Redford seemed to take notice, placing Lizzie at the forefront of the Sundance lineup.
12. The Beach Bum – Harmony Korine
With a love of Chloë Sevigny also comes a strange fascination with Harmony Korine who is secretly filming the perfect film to get stoned for. Starring Matthew McConaughey as a stoned drifter who just happens to hang out with Snoop Dogg and Bria Vinaite, with the addition of having some-sort of antagonistic relationship with another stoned frequenter of the beach named Flicker, played by none other than Zac Efron. Seriously, how did this come to be? But, when I mentioned Harmony Korine is making the perfect film to get stoned to, I was not joking, as he is literally designing the film to be played in marijuana-reeking odorama’s upon its release. And if that’s not enough for you somehow, McConaughey plays a character named Moondog, like that’s his literal name, Moondog, how could you not be the least bit intrigued by whatever the hell Korine is filming down in Key West.
11. Suspiria – Luca Guadagnino
Guadagnino’s is on a role as of late, having masterfully reworked Deray’s La Piscine and seemingly en route to the Oscar’s with Call Me By Your Name, he’s now on the eve of releasing his re-interpretation of Suspiria and there’s no stopping him now. This is a film I was initially opposed to, but after having witnessed the way in which Guadagnino transformed a classic into something refreshingly new and powerful with A Bigger Splash, I’m sure he will be able to pull of Suspiria off ravishingly well. Testifying in favor of Suspiria’s eventual success is the cast he’s collected thus far, having actresses like Mia Goth, Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson, and Chloë Grace Moretz light up the screen. Argento’s technicolor wonder will surely be difficult to recreate, but it seems Sayombhu Mukdeeprom’s eccentric work on films like Uncle Boonme Who Can Recall His Past Lives and the Arabian Nights Trilogy will aid him in pushing the classic-Suspiria-look in a wildly inventive new direction.
10. Mute – Duncan Jones
Why has this not been released yet? Seriously, it’s been on my most anticipated lists for so long that the only image I have left to show is this funny looking picture of Paul Rudd, which still gets me psyched. The mustache, the scrubs, the blood, and most importantly, the glass, it looks great. Not to mention the previously neon-drenched images Jones had been released and the brilliant synopsis that essentially described this film as Blade Runner meets Casablanca. If that does not sound eargasmic, I don’t know what does and after the misfire that was Warcraft, we need Duncan Jones to reclaim his grasp on the sci-fi genre he dominated once before. So, here I am, waiting, just waiting for Netflix to push the upload button and Duncan Jones to tweet in his delightfully British manner that Mute has been released so we can all watch it and be impressed be his talents as a director evermore.
9. I Think We’re Alone Now – Reed Morano
I am a sucker for films in which characters find themselves lonely in a post-apocalyptic setting and I’m a sucker for Reed Morano, Peter Dinklage, and Elle Fanning, meaning I’m naturally excited for this film. Although the film is sure to follow the same beats as other films in the same-niche category of the greater sci-fi umbrella, I trust Reed Morano abilities to juxtapose tenderness with brutality will make for an experience that will put Seeking a Friend for the End of the World to shame.
8. High Life – Claire Denis
A space adventure inspired by photographies of the cosmos involving sexual experimentation and directed by a female french director. Well, if that is not the most pretentious-sounding thing ever written, it’s definitely the coolest. Once again, Robert Pattinson resurfaces on my list alongside Mia Goth, but this time they’re joined by the always wonderful Juliette Binoche and André 3000. Now that this has gone from pretentious to utter wack, one has to intrigued; hence, why High Life has made it so high on my list. I mean, aside from the fact that Claire Denis is a cinematic goddess/genius and as far as I know, this is the first time she ventures off to space to direct a wholly singular experience which I am desperately anticipating to watch.
7. You Were Never Really Here – Lynne Ramsay
Lynne Ramsay has not made a film since she chilled us to the bones with We Need to Talk About Kevin and after all the marvelous buzz this film received upon premiering at Cannes last year, I cannot wait to see whatever Ramsay’s got in store for us. Then there’s Joaquin Phoenix who won the award for Best Actor at Cannes, meaning he’s delivered yet another wondrous performance. With the trailer already having been released and the film coming out in France, it’s odd that it wasn’t released last year, meaning it has to come out this one, because I cannot wait any longer for what is being described as a Taxi Driver-esque murder rampage directed by Lynne Ramsay.
6. Annihilation – Alex Garland
Annihilation is another one of those films that’s been on my list before, but with a trailer its arrival is imminent. Having read the book the film is based on and viewing the trailer that was released, I can tell Garland is taking his liberties and the film will probably result all the better for it. Boasting an amazing ensemble that includes the likes of Oscar Isaac, Tessa Thompson and Natalie Portman, Alex Garland is sure to deliver with Annihilation just like he did with Ex Machina.
5. The Irishman – Martin Scorsese
It’s a miracle that this reunion is finally happening, as director Martin Scorsese pulls some of the greatest acting talents that haver lived together. Pacino, De Niro, Pesci, and Keitel all stand together to tell the story of Jimmy Hoffa’s slaying and with Netflix funneling all the money to Scorsese, this is sure to be great. And apart from the acting legends that headline the film, there’s also Bobby Cannavale, Jesse Plemmons, Jack Huston, and Ray Romano. There’s also the fact that Scorsese hasn’t made a full-blown mobster film in a while, making this a return for him as a much as it for De Niro or Pacino. Seriously, if this goes wrong, I will forever question my love of Scorsese and everyone involved in this picture.
4. The House That Jack Built – Lars Von Trier
Say what you will about Lars Von Trier the man, he’s proven himself a true auteur ever since he developed the rules of Dogme 95 with The Idiots. He’s only continued to challenge his audience since then and created some of the most uniquely harrowing experiences any filmmaker has put to the screen since the beginning of the new millennium. Claiming this is probably the most vile and horrifying thing he’s ever written says a lot and looking at the stellar cast he has assembled thus far speaks volumes of The House That Jack Built’s potential. Then there’s that dreary image that he released that hearkens back to Vampyr, a film that perfectly foreshadows the beautiful yet brutal tone Von Trier is sure to deliver on.
3. Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot – Gus Van Sant
Apart from having one of the most delightfully dark titles of the year, the fact that Gus Van Sant and Joaquin Phoenix are teaming up to tell the story of quadriplegic cartoonist John Callahan is sure to make an impression. People are already calling the project downright offensive, but then again, the spirit of Callahan’s cartoons is downright offensively hilarious and what better man to convey that strange entanglement of tragedy, comedy, and the emotional spectrum between the two than Gus Van Sant, another true American artist.
2. Roma – Alfonso Cuarón
He’s back, he’s finally back! And what good timing. After having created the perfect Mexican movie back in the early 00’s, a more mature Cuarón is finally returning to Mexico to tell one of the most tragic events in our recent history. Taking on El Halconazo is ballsy, portraying its severity prior to our upcoming elections takes courage. Alfonso Cuarón’s return to Mexico has been long awaited and just like he did a decade before crafting Y Tu Mamá También as a perfect representation of Mexico’s personality at the time, now that he’s matured as a filmmaker he’s sure to deliver with an emotionally resonant film that will also serve as a political stance for an era where Mexico finds itself politically confused.
- Isle of Dogs – Wes Anderson
For anyone that knows me, did you really suspect anything else would hijack my first spot? Of course it’s Isle of Dogs, it’s Wes Anderson doing stop motion à la Kurosawa with what seems like the greatest ensemble of next year. Seriously, everyone from Bryan Cranston to Yoko Ono have a part in this film. Not to mention, the trailer looks fucking awesome, so if you haven’t watched it, do so right now and tell me this isn’t going to be the greatest film of the year.