6. Polar (Jonas Åkerlund)
Everyone has the John Wick-itch these days. First it was Blonde Poison, now its Polar. Based on the action noir comics about an international hitman named Kaiser Black, it promises to be a bleak and eerie tale with lots of blood-splattering fun, all set in a cold Northern Landscape. Mads Mikkelsen, fresh off the similarly-titled, Arctic, is slated to star, alongside Vanessa Hudgens, Kathryn WInnick and Matt Lucas.
None other than Deadmau5 has been roped in to compose an original soundtrack, promising a truly trippy experience. Given the brilliance of the main star, who has been trading villain roles with Ben Mendelsohn for too long, it would be great to see him take on someone a little more morally conflicted. Whether or not it will ape the black, white and orange aesthetic of the original comic is yet to be seen. Released on January 25.
7. The Laundromat (Steven Soderbergh)
Since coming out of “retirement”, Steven Soderbergh has been busier than ever. Logan Lucky was a brilliant return to form while Unsane was one of the most underrated films of 2016. The Laundromat seeks to go back to his Erin Brockovich and Traffic days.
Based on the book Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite by Jake Bernstein, The Laundromat will depict the remarkable work by a group of journalists in order to unearth the 11.5 million files that rocked the financial world.
Will he return to the hyperlink style of Traffic and Contagion, or will a film such as Steven Spielberg’s The Post prove to be inspiration for the narrative? Adapted for the screen by Scott Z. Burns, writer of The Bourne Ultimatum, The Informant! and Contagion, promising a truly pulsating thriller about an international conspiracy. The amazing cast includes Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas, David Schwimmer and Matthias Schoenaerts.
8. The Perfection (Richard Shepard)
Acquired by Netflix after its premiere at Fantastic Fest last year, The Perfection is yet another high concept horror bought to match the hype of films such as A Quiet Place and Netflix’s own Bird Box.
Starring Allison Williams – so effective in Get Out – as a former cellist prodigy who goes back to the school that trained her only to find that another woman has taken her place, The Perfection promises a taught and twisty thriller that is being billed as Black Swan with musicians instead of ballerinas.
Richard Shepherd – behind films such as Dom Hemingway and The Hunting Party – directs, with a screenplay by TV writers Eric C. Charmelo and Nicole Snyder. It was highly reviewed out of its festival premiere, with a Rotten Tomato score of around 80%. If Netflix know how to market these chills correctly, they could have another monster hit on their hands.
9. The Highwaymen (John Lee Hancock)
The Highwaymen casts a new light on the Bonnie & Clyde myth, so excellently told in the classic Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway film, by telling the story from the perspective of the Texas rangers enlisted to chase them. Dream team Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson are roped in to star, with John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side and Saving Mr Banks) tasked to direct the story.
With a soundtrack by Thomas Newman and a screenplay by John Fusco and Scott Frank, The Highwaymen looks like a classic cat-and-mouse story. These are old-school detectives, who use traditional tactics to discover the criminals where the FBI and forensic technology failed.
Remarkably, this is the first time that Costner and Harrelson have co-starred in the same movie, also starring Kathy Bates, John Carroll Lynch, Kim Dickens, Thomas Mann and William Sadler. Scheduled to be released on March 29, it is rumoured that the film will even recreate the infamous murder of the two bandits.
10. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Chiwetel Ejiofor)
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind marks the directorial debut of Chiwetel Ejiofor. Based on the eponymous book by William Kamkwamba, it tells the story of a Malawian innovator who became famous in his home country by building a wind turbine to power his own home using gum trees, bicycle parts and other materials found in a scrapyard.
The source material is very strong here, promising a feel good story about the unique power of human innovation. Additionally, it promises an African tale told entirely without the need for a white saviour.
Following a premiere at Sundance Film Festival and an appearance at the Berlinale, it will appear on Netflix later this year. Chiwetel Ejiofor will directed himself as William Kankwamba’s father, as well as Maxwell Simba as the inventor and Noma Dumezweni, Joseph Marcell, Aïssa Maiga and Lemogang Tsipa.
Produced by BBC Films, it boasts cinematography by Peterloo cameraman Dick Pope and a soundtrack by City of God composer Antonio Pinto. Done right, this could even be Oscar material.