5. Alien: Covenant (Ridley Scott)
Prometheus might be a divisive movie, but make no mistake: it’s also the return of the unifying and unique vision of Ridley Scott to the Alien franchise. That’s why when he announced he’d be directing Alien: Covenant, designed to bridge the gap between Prometheus and the first movie, I got excited – while it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, Ridley Scott’s Alien is always a more cohesive, interesting story than anyone else’s.
This one also has quite a cast: Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace, Katherine Waterston, James Franco, Callie Hernandez, Carmen Ejogo, Guy Pearce, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, Amy Seimetz and Jussie Smollett. It’s also supposedly creepier and bloodier than Prometheus, so that’s something to look forward to.
Look for Alien: Covenant to hit theaters on May 19.
4. Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan)
While his films are always divisive, Christopher Nolan might be the only filmmaker delivering big event movies that are also considered for big awards in this past decade – Dunkirk should bring more of that energy, while applying Nolan’s almost obsessive craft to a war story ripe with danger, acts of courage, and pure despair. If the trailers are any indication, you’ll be biting your nails for the whole movie.
Previous collaborators Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy are in this, and so are Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Harry Styles (yes, the guy from One Direction, apparently), James D’Arcy and Aneurin Barnard. The lead is played by newcomer Fionn Whitehead, as Nolan wished for a fresh face for the audience to connect with.
Dunkirk arrives on July 21.
3. Happy End (Michael Haneke)
German master Michael Haneke has been very quiet since his film Amour made a big splash in the awards season back in 2012, but he’ll be back in 2017 with a film that is poised to be another brilliant and daring drama touching on important issues. This time, it’s the European refugee crisis and how it affects a family living in Calais.
Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Mathieu Kassovitz are set as the main cast, so we’ll no doubt have plenty of great performances to feast on when the film comes along. Haneke’s unmistakable, unforgiving style should fit nicely with the theme and all the political and humanitarian resonances it might have.
Happy End doesn’t have a release date set.
2. Untitled Fashion Project (Paul Thomas Anderson)
This one is the biggest mystery of them all. Paul Thomas Anderson has remained quiet ever since his crime comedy Inherent Vice, back in 2012, and he’s apparently back with a tentatively mysterious project alongside his There Will Be Blood pal, Daniel Day-Lewis. Mr. Day-Lewis, in turn, hasn’t appeared in front of the camera since 2012’s Lincoln, so that’s two very welcome returns.
All we know about this is that it will take place in the London fashion scene of the 1950s, which frankly is enough to get us excited. Be sure this film will be a big Oscar contender in 2018, and expect it to be in theaters toward the end of the year.
1. Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve)
Another (very) belated sequel, Blade Runner 2049 is a trickier bet. Sure, the original had very little to do with the Philip K. Dick book it was adapted from, but this new one comes with absolutely no literary basis. And sure, Hampton Fancher came out of retirement to work on the script, but his screenwriting partner is Michael Green, the guy who wrote Green Lantern.
Denis Villeneuve is a mighty fine choice to replace Ridley Scott as the director, though, and Harrison Ford is back as an older version of Rick Deckard while an international cast surrounds him, including Jared Leto, Ana de Armas, Ryan Gosling, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Dave Bautista, Barkhad Abdi, Sylvia Hoeks, Lennie James, Carla Juri and Hiam Abbass.
Blade Runner 2049 arrives in theaters on October 6.