2016 was a great year of film. Honest to God, our Top 20 was the strongest it’s ever been. And we’re not too bad at predicting the frontrunners either. Captain America: Civil War, Everybody Wants Some!!, The Nice GuysRogue One: A Star Wars Story and our eventual No. 1, Arrival, all featured on last year’s Top 30 to be excited for list. So get those diaries open, and those hopes up high, as Features Ed Phil W. Bayles and I take you through the Top 30 films we’re excited for in 2017. Bring it on.

N.B. In chronological order, and based on UK release dates.

1. T2: Trainspotting

SYNOPSIS: A continuation of the Trainspotting saga reuniting the original characters.

THOUGHTS: Choose life. Choose a job. Choose all the other things in that monologue we’ve totally forgotten. 20 years after the classic adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s equally classic novel, the cast of Trainspotting are back.

Legacy sequels don’t always go well – see the likes of Independence Day: Resurgence for an example of just how bad they can get – but with Danny Boyle back at the helm and a returning cast including Ewan McGregor, Kelly Macdonald and Robert Carlyle, this one has everything going for it. Shame about the title, though (but then, try googling “Porno” – the book’s sequel – and see where that gets you).

CAST & CREW: Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kelly Macdonald; Danny Boyle (Dir) and John Hodge (Wri)

RELEASE DATE: 27 January 2017


2. Loving

SYNOPSIS: The true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, whose challenging of their anti-miscegenation arrest for their marriage in Virginia led to a legal battle that would end at the US Supreme Court.

THOUGHTS: Jeff Nichols is on a roll. For a man with just four films to his name, Nichols is now a household name in independent cinema. Our Eddie even called him the next American Auteur. His work shows a director adept at any genre with style and substance. From sci-fi with Midnight Special to apocalyptic drama in Take Shelter, Nichols has got “It”.

So it’s no surprise that his latest endeavour, Loving, has already attracted tremendous buzz in award circles. The adaptation of the true story of Richard (Edgerton) and Mildred (Negga) Loving would sound like pure Oscar-bait, yet in the hands of Nichols, we have faith.

CAST & CREW: Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton, Will Dalton; Jeff Nichols (Dir & Wri)

RELEASE DATE: 3 February 2017


3. The Founder

SYNOPSIS: Struggling salesman Ray Kroc meets Mac and Dick McDonald, co-operators of a burger restaurant in 1950s Southern California.

THOUGHTS: Now in a rather awkward shuffle, we must sheepishly admit that The Founder was on our 2016 list. We predicted that The Founder would be a potential award-laden cherry atop of Michael Keaton’s career renaissance in 2016. Yet here in 2017, with the film’s awkward release schedule, it’s clear that this pigeon ain’t gonna fly. Even so, there’s still room to be heavily intrigued by this one come its release on these shores in February.

Directed by Saving Mr. Banks’s John Lee Hancock, it’s certainly framed to be a simple satire on commercialisation and American greed. There’s a good cast here too: Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Linda Cardellini, B. J. Novak, and Laura Dern. Supersize us.

CAST & CREW: Michael Keaton, Laura Dern, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Linda Cardellini, B. J. Novak; John Lee Hancock (Dir) and Robert D. Siegel (Wri)

RELEASE DATE: 17 February 2017


4. John Wick: Chapter 2

John Wick 2

Courtesy of: Lionsgate

SYNOPSIS: The continuing adventures of former hitman, John Wick.

THOUGHTS: If you saw the original John Wick, we don’t need to tell you why the prospect of a sequel is very exciting indeed. It had some of the best fight scenes since The Raid, Keanu Reeves kicked all kinds of ass as the eponymous assassin, and the simple story was given unexpected depth by some subtle but meticulous world-building.

David Leitch is off directing some arthouse film called Deadpool 2, but co-director Chad Stahelski returns for a European adventure that promises to dive deeper into the assassin underworld, and sees Reeves reuniting with Laurence Fishburne for the first time since they learned kung fu together.

CAST & CREW: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Ian McShane, Ruby Rose, Common; Chad Stahelski (Dir) and Derek Kolstad (Wri)

RELEASE DATE: 17 February 2017


5. Logan

SYNOPSIS: In the near future, an ageing Wolverine and Professor X must protect a young female clone of Wolverine from an evil organization led by Nathaniel Essex.

THOUGHTS: Here’s something that’ll make you feel old: Hugh Jackman has been playing Wolverine for 17 years now. The X-Men films have ranged in quality from pretty great to downright unwatchable, but Jackman’s presence has been constant. Until now.

Logan will be the last time that Jackman gets his claws out, and if the film’s haunting trailer – set to Johnny Cash’s amazing cover of ‘Hurt’ – is anything to go by, it’ll be one hell of a final bow. Jackman even reportedly took a sizeable pay cut to make sure the film got an R-rating in the US. Let’s hope he gets the worthy sendoff he deserves.

CAST & CREW: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Stephen Merchant, Boyd Holbrook; James Mangold (Dir) and Michael Green and Scott Frank & James Mangold (Wri)

RELEASE DATE: 3 March 2017


6. Elle

SYNOPSIS: A successful businesswoman gets caught up in a game of cat-and-mouse as she tracks down the unknown man who raped her.

THOUGHTS: Paul Verhoeven’s first film in a decade was always going to have us champing at the bit, but a Paul Verhoeven film that also stars legendary French actress Isabelle Huppert is like all our Christmases have come at once.

Described by some as a “light-hearted rape revenge story” (a genre that only Verhoeven could pull off), the film stars Huppert as a businesswoman who is assaulted in her own home and decides to take the law into her own hands. She’s already gotten a Golden Globe nomination for the role; expect Elle to pick up plenty more accolades as award season continues.

CAST & CREW: Isabelle Huppert, Laurent Lafitte, Anne Consigny, Charles Berling; Paul Verhoeven (Wri/Dir) and David Birke (Wri)

RELEASE DATE: 10 March 2017


7. Kong: Skull Island

Kong Skull Island

Courtesy of: Universal

SYNOPSIS: In the 1970s, a team of explorers and soldiers travel to an uncharted island in the Pacific, unaware that they are crossing into the domain of monsters, as well as the mythic Kong, the “king” of the island.

THOUGHTS: While Peter Jackson’s 2005 King Kong gets an unfair rap, this latest revamp has got us very interested. If you missed the criminally underseen The Kings of Summer – rectify that immediately. After that, you’ll understand why director Jordan Vogt-Roberts is such an exciting pick.

If he can bring an inch of that vibrancy to the 80-foot ape, this could finally be the film that kickstarts Universal’s monster franchise. The cast too makes our jaw hit the floor with Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Toby Kebbell, Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Reilly and the ever-brilliant John Goodman. Pack your bags, we’re going to Skull Island.

CAST & CREW: Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston, John Goodman, Toby Kebbell, Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Reilly; Jordan Vogt-Roberts (Dir) and Dan Gilroy and Max Borenstein (Wri)

RELEASE DATE: 10 March 2017


8. Get Out

SYNOPSIS: A young African-American man (Daniel Kaluuya) visits his Caucasian girlfriend’s (Allison Williams) cursed family estate.

THOUGHTS: Now where did this come from? Get Out should be right at the top of your must-see list for 2017. This black horror movie, written and directed by comedic wunderkind Jordan Peele, has a killer concept akin to a darker version of The Stepford Wives. The story follows Chris (Kaluuya), an African-American man as he visits his girlfriend’s crazed and cursed family estate. Beautifully simple, yet so full of opportunity.

The horror genre has recently provided the arena for so much creativity – see Adam Wingard’s The Guest and David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows – and we truly hope Jordan Peele offers us another slice of innovative cinema.

CAST & CREW: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Keith Stansfield, Catherine Keener; Jordan Peele (Dir and Wri)

RELEASE DATE: 17 March 2017


9. Free Fire

SYNOPSIS: Set in Boston in 1978, a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two gangs turns into a shootout and a game of survival.

THOUGHTS: After the sprawling surrealism of High-Rise, Ben Wheatley and co-writer Amy Jump are going back to basics with Free Fire: take a bunch of hotheaded arms dealers, put them in a confined space with a lot of guns, and wait for the fireworks. That’s a premise almost any director could make into good film. Put it in the hands of one of the most exciting British filmmakers working today, and you could get something spectacular.

Comparisons to Reservoir Dogs have already been made, but considering Wheatley and Jump are the minds behind Sightseers and A Field in England, this promises to be a very different beast.

CAST & CREW: Brie Larson, Michael Smiley, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley, Cillian Murphy; Ben Wheatley (Dir/Wri) and Amy Jump (Wri)

RELEASE DATE: 31 March 2017


10. Ghost in the Shell

Ghost In The Shell

Courtesy of: Paramount Pictures

SYNOPSIS: A cyborg policewoman (Johansson) attempts to bring down a nefarious computer hacker.

THOUGHTS: Now, let’s not beat about the bush here: Ghost in the Shell has a whitewashing problem. We appreciate studios have got to make their money back on these projects, but it’s odd when watching the first trailer to see Scarlett Johansson surrounded by all this beautiful manga-inspired scenery. Yet who are we to judge a book by its cover? Especially when Mamoru Oshii (director of the original films) stated that Johansson exceeded all his expectations for the role.

From the footage we’ve seen, Rupert Sanders (of Snow White and the Huntsman fame) will offer something easy on the eye in terms of visuals. As for the rest, we’ll see in March.

CAST & CREW: Scarlett Johansson, Michael Wincott, Michael Pitt, Juliette Binoche; Rupert Sanders (Dir) and Jonathan Herman and Jamie Moss (Wri)

RELEASE DATE: 31 March 2017


11. Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2

SYNOPSIS: Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.

THOUGHTS: “Showtime, A-holes!”

Guardians of the Galaxy could easily have been the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first really big flop. But thanks to James Gunn and Nicole Perlman’s genuinely funny script, a cracking cast and a killer soundtrack, it turned out to be a breath of fresh air: a bright, irreverent space opera in a world of increasingly dour superhero movies.

Of course, the problem with surprises is that they tend to be less effective the second time around. Still, while the trailer feels like déjà vu all over again (with ‘Fox on the Run’ replacing ‘Hooked on a Feeling’), we’d be lying if we said we weren’t stoked all the same. Plus, Baby Groot!

CAST & CREW: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper; James Gunn (Dir/Wri)

RELEASE DATE: 28 April 2017


12. Alien: Covenant

SYNOPSIS: The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discover what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world.

THOUGHTS: “Questions will be answered,” promised the tagline of Prometheus. But Ridley Scott’s long-awaited return to the Alien universe only posed more questions. Were we on the same planet from the original Alien? What was that weird-looking unfinished xenomorph in the final moments of the film?

Neill Blomkamp is getting Ripley and co. back together in 2018, but before that we’ll hopefully get some real answers from Alien: Covenant. The incoming cast – including Katherine Waterston, Danny McBride and Billy Crudup – all look promising, and there looks to be body horror aplenty. Just as it should be.

CAST & CREW: Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Michael Fassbender; Ridley Scott (Dir), Michael Green and John Logan (Wri)

RELEASE DATE: 19 May 2017


13. Wonder Woman


Courtesy of: Warner Bros.

SYNOPSIS: An Amazon princess leaves her island home to explore the world and, in doing so, becomes one of the world’s greatest heroes.

THOUGHTS: It’s easy to make jokey comparisons to Captain America: The First Avenger, and even easier to simply point to the disappointing Batman V Superman. But the truth is, there’s a lot riding on this one.

The fact that Wonder Woman has had to wait 75 years for her own live-action film (and that, in 2017, Patty Jenkins is the first woman to direct a superhero movie) is all kinds of depressing. Add into that the dubious quality of DC’s own cinematic universe thus far, and the Amazon Princess has one hell of an uphill struggle ahead of her. Please, please let this one be good.

CAST & CREW: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, David Thewlis, Lucy Davis; Patty Jenkins (Dir), Allan Heinberg and Geoff Johns (Wri)

RELEASE DATE: 2 June 2017


14. Rock That Body

Lucia Aniella

Courtesy of: Splitsiders

SYNOPSIS: A male stripper ends up dead at a Miami beach house during a bachelorette party weekend.

THOUGHTS: A female-led comedy, with big budget backing, co-scripted by a woman, and directed by a woman? Rock That Body, you have our attention. We were fans of the female-led Bad Moms and Ghostbusters last year, so we’re keen to see more of the same in 2017.

In her directorial debut, Lucia Aniello (Broad City) will helm a phenomenal cast in the form of Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Zoe Kravitz, and Ilana Glazer, as they handle a bachelorette party gone wrong. This 2015 Black List script will make a fine entry into 2017 cinemas.

CAST & CREW: Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Zoe Kravitz, Ilana Glazer; Lucia Aniello (Dir/Wri), Paul W. Downs (Wri)

RELEASE DATE: 16 June 2017


15. War for the Planet of the Apes

SYNOPSIS: A nation of genetically-evolved apes led by Caesar (Andy Serkis) become embroiled in a battle with an army of humans.

THOUGHTS: The third Planet of the Apes film in recent years is the most exciting blockbuster prospect of the year. Why? It’s a franchise that treats its audience and subject matter with intelligence, features blistering, next-level CGI, and makes for thrilling spectacles. Matt Reeves returns to helm the all-out war between man and ape promised at the end of the excellent Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Andy Serkis returns as ape leader Caesar, while Woody Harrelson will take the role of chief human. If there’s any justice, and quality, in the film, this’ll be another smart box office triumph for the most pleasing, and surprising, blockbuster trilogy in the past decade.

CAST & CREW: Andy Serkis, Judy Greer, Woody Harrelson, Ty Olsson, Max Lloyd-Jones; Matt Reeves (Dir/Wri), Mark Bomback (Wri)

RELEASE DATE: 14 July 2017


16. Dunkirk


Courtesy of: Warner Bros.

SYNOPSIS: Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.

THOUGHTS: Prepare the boats and box office, Christopher Nolan is back. Armed with a cast of Britain’s acting elites, Nolan looks to stick to his strengths, as he takes on the Miracle of Dunkirk. His last outing Interstellar split audiences, with some impressed by the bold visuals and others left cold by the absence of heart in the emptiness of space.

But if the evacuation of over 338,000 Allied officers cannot offer Nolan material to tug on the heartstrings, there is truly no hope for any of us. At the very least, it’s going to be beautiful, with Hoyte van Hoytema (Her, Interstellar, Spectre) running the show as director of photography.

CAST & CREW: Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Harry Styles; Christopher Nolan (Dir/Wri)

RELEASE DATE: 21 July 2016


17. The Dark Tower

Idris Elba

Courtesy of: Columbia Pictures

SYNOPSIS: Gunslinger Roland Deschain roams an Old West-like landscape in search of the Dark Tower, in the hopes that reaching it will preserve his dying world.

THOUGHTS: Many people have adapted the works of Stephen King for the big screen (including King himself), but none have yet dared to tackle The Dark Tower, the epic fantasy series he’s often described as his magnum opus. Will Nikolaj Arcel, the Danish director behind A Royal Affair, be up to the task?

The story’s opening line – “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed” – is one of the most well-known in all of literature. Considering he’s cast Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba respectively to play the parts, Arcel is off to a pretty decent start.

CAST & CREW: Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor; Nikolaj Arcel (Dir/Wri), Akiva Goldsman (Wri)

RELEASE DATE: 28 July 2017


18. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

SYNOPSIS: Time-traveling agent Valerian is sent to investigate a galactic empire, along with his partner Laureline.

THOUGHTS: Fans of The Fifth Element rejoice: Luc Besson is back with another epic space opera, and this one looks insane. Based on a series of cult French graphic novels and boasting a budget of €197 million (the largest budget of any French film), Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets looks like Galaxy Quest crossed with Jupiter Ascending and oh my God why isn’t this out already?

Cara Delevingne and Dane DeHaan (who could both do with starring in a decent film) head up the cast, but Rihanna looks set to steal the show as a “shapeshifting entertainer.” Could a duet with DJ Ruby Rhod be on the cards?

CAST & CREW: Cara Delevingne, Dane DeHaan, Clive Owen, Ethan Hawke, Rihanna; Luc Besson (Dir/Wri)

RELEASE DATE: 4 August 2017


19. Baby Driver

Baby Driver

Courtesy of: Entertainment Weekly

SYNOPSIS: After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.

THOUGHTS: Since the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy ended back in 2013, Edgar Wright has been sadly absent from our lives. Fans were delighted when he was confirmed to be writing the script for Ant-Man, then dismayed when he left the film due to “creative differences.” Thankfully, the long wait is over with the release of Baby Driver this year.

The plot – in which Ansel Elgort stars as a getaway driver with tinnitus who relies on music for his prowess behind the wheel – sounds brilliantly bonkers. We’re expecting a feature-length version of this old music video from Wright. Here’s hoping he brings the same visual pizzazz that made Scott Pilgrim such a joy to watch.

CAST & CREW: Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jon Bernthal; Edgar Wright (Dir/Wri)

RELEASE DATE: 11 August 2017


20. Blade Runner 2049

SYNOPSIS: 30 years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for three decades.

THOUGHTS: “I did your job once.”

“Things were simpler then.”

And with just nine words of that teaser trailer, we’re in. Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival may have topped our Top 20 of 2016 – an accolade hard to match or better – but the French-Canadian director is about to hit the big leagues. Tasked with the unenviable mission of matching much-heralded classic Blade Runner, Villeneuve can truly show that his mid-budget success can transfer to the A-list.

We’re fans of Villeneueve. Prisoners, Sicario, Incendies, and Arrival are all good to very good films, but this is something else. With Sir Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford’s express blessings, our nerves have been transformed into fanboy excitement. We’ve got Ryan Gosling as the lead, Roger Deakins framing the shots, and the writer of the original script, Hampton Fancher. Please let it be good.

CAST & CREW: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Robin Wright, Jared Leto; Denis Villeneuve (Dir), Hampton Fancher and Michael Green (Wri)

RELEASE DATE: 6 October 2017


21. Thor: Ragnarok

SYNOPSIS: Thor, the Hulk and Doctor Strange come together to face off against intergalactic enemies both familiar and new.

THOUGHTS: The Thor movies have always been the redheaded stepchildren of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – perhaps because they’re just a little too “out there” to gel with the rest of the series. And from the sound of it, Ragnarok is going to lean into that strangeness with gusto.

Tom Hiddleston returns as Loki and Mark Ruffalo will appear as the Hulk in what’s being described as an “intergalactic road movie”, while newcomers include Cate Blanchett and the legendary Jeff Goldblum. And since it’s being directed by Taika Waititi, the man behind What We Do in the Shadows and last year’s brilliant Hunt for the Wilderpeople, expect jokes aplenty. This one could be pretty majestical.

CAST & CREW: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Anthony Hopkins, Jeff Goldblum; Taika Waititi (Dir), Stephany Folsom, Craig Kyle, Eric Pearson and Christopher Yost (Wri)

RELEASE DATE: 27 October 2017


22. Murder on the Orient Express


Courtesy of: Paramount Pictures

SYNOPSIS: Renowned Belgian detective Hercule Poirot investigates the murder of a wealthy American traveling on the Orient Express, the most famous train in the world.

THOUGHTS: Fill a train with some of the best talents your mind can imagine, helmed by one of the masters of big casts, Kenneth Branagh, and you’ve got a place on our longlist for 2017. Agatha Christie would be proud of the ensemble brought together for this latest adaptation. In fact, let’s do this the lazy way and let the cast speak for itself. With Johnny Depp the victim, the cast features Daisy Ridley, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench, Lucy Boynton, Josh Gad, Michael Peña, Hamilton’s Leslie Odom Jr., and Kenneth Branagh himself as the mustachioed Hercule Poirot. It doesn’t get better than this.

CAST & CREW: Daisy Ridley, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench, Lucy Boynton, Josh Gad, Michael Peña, Hamilton’s Leslie Odom Jr.; Kenneth Branagh (Dir), Michael Green (Wri)

RELEASE DATE: 24 November 2017


23. Coco


Courtesy of: Pixar

SYNOPSIS: Coco follows a 12-year-old boy named Miguel who sets off a chain of events relating to a century-old mystery, leading to an extraordinary family reunion.

THOUGHTS: Pixar has not one but two films coming out in 2017. June sees the release of Cars 3, but it’s Coco that really has our attention. Inspired by the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead), the film boasts an all-Latino voice cast, including Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt and Renée Victor.

Between this and the release of Moana last year it seems like Disney is making a real effort to diversify – something we can definitely get behind. And with Inside Out director Lee Unkrich taking the reins, the studio could be onto yet another winner with Coco.

CAST & CREW: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Renée Victor; Lee Unkrick (Dir), Adrian Molina (Dir/Wri)

RELEASE DATE: 8 December 2017


24. Star Wars: Episode VIII

Episode VIII

Courtesy of: Disney

SYNOPSIS: It’s two-for-two for Team Disney since their $4 billion purchase of the Star Wars rights back in 2012. Thanks to JJ Abrams’ successful relaunch, we enter the next entry into the Star Wars canon with hope rather than trepidation. The baton holder this time is director Rian Johnson, whose work on Looper, The Brothers Bloom, and Brick suggests a fresh and unique take on the galaxy far, far away.

With all cast members returning, plus the strong additions of Benicio Del Toro and Laura Dern, we’re excited to see whether Johnson and co. can continue the wild ride JJ started.

CAST & CREW: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac; Rian Johnson (Dir/Wri)

RELEASE DATE: 15 December 2017


25. The Beguiled

Sofia Coppola

Courtesy of: The Talks

SYNOPSIS: While imprisoned in a Confederate girls’ boarding school, an injured Union soldier cons his way into several lonely women’s hearts, causing them to turn on each other, and, eventually, on him.

THOUGHTS: 2017 is clearly going to be a better year than 2016 as we have a Sofia Coppola film heading our way. Teaming up again with Kirsten Dunst (from Marie Antoinette), The Beguiled stars Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell and the best thing in Shane Black’s The Nice Guys, Angourie Rice.

This is actually a remake of the 1971 Clint Eastwood-led Western, which sees a Union soldier shacking up at an all-girls school during the Civil War. Romance and betrayal predictably follow. We’re not betting men, but we’ll put the entire house on the fact that these two films will not be alike.

CAST & CREW: Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Angourie Rice; Sofia Coppola (Dir/Wri)



26. God Particle

JJ Abrams

Courtesy of: Variety

SYNOPSIS: A shocking discovery forces a team of astronauts aboard a space station to fight for survival while their reality has been altered.

THOUGHTS: One of the nicest surprises of last year was 10 Cloverfield Lane, the spiritual sequel to JJ Abrams’ viral marketing phenomenon, which was announced with little fanfare just a month before it hit screens. Now it seems that we’re diving back into the Mystery Box once again as JJ revealed that God Particle, which he produced, was part of the same universe back in October.

We can’t tell you much about this one since the plot’s still fairly under wraps, but with a cast including Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo and Daniel Brühl, we’re very intrigued. Here’s hoping we don’t see much in the way of trailers before the opening weekend.

CAST & CREW: David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Daniel Brühl, Chris O’Dowd, Elizabeth Debicki; Julius Onah (Dir), Oren Uziel and Doug Jung (Wri)



27. Logan Lucky

Logan Lucky

Courtesy of: FilmNation Entertainment

SYNOPSIS: Two brothers attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina.

THOUGHTS: Reports of Steven Soderbergh’s self-proclaimed death have been greatly exaggerated. Following his headline-grabbing “retirement” in 2012, Soderbergh’s dabbled in non-theatrical affairs such as “TV movie” Behind the Candelabra and series The Knick. Luckily for us, he’s been inspired back onto the silver screen by Rebecca Blunt’s first-time script for a NASCAR heist comedy.

Soderbergh and silly fun are a match made in heaven, and this has all the hallmarks of being a cobweb-shaking gem. With a bleach-blonde Daniel Craig, long-term Soderbergh partner-in-crime Channing Tatum, actor-of-the-moment Adam Driver, and two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank, this could be a wintry gem to warm our cockles on these shores.

CAST & CREW: Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Channing Tatum, Hilary Swank, Katherine Waterston, Katie Holmes, Sebastian Stan; Steven Soderbergh (Dir), Rebecca Blunt (Wri)



28. Song to Song

Song To Song

Courtesy of: The Film Stage

SYNOPSIS: Two intersecting love triangles. Obsession and betrayal set against the music scene in Austin, Texas.

THOUGHTS: The ‘prolific’ Terrence Malick is at it again in 2017 with his fifth film in the last 10 years with Song to Song. The formerly titled Weightless takes place in the Austin, Texas music scene focusing on two couples – Rooney Mara & Ryan Gosling, and Michael Fassbender & Natalie Portman – and their troubles. Now this film has been in the can and on the editing board since 2011, and to be honest Malick’s been on a bit of a ‘meh’ streak, so there’s an intriguing prospect ahead of us.

It’s unlikely Malick will emulate Linkater’s nostalgic take on the music of your childhood in Everybody Wants Some!! but it’s the definition of promising. You see, Malick was born in Austin, so he knows the scene, and he could pull the rug from underneath us once again.

CAST & CREW: Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, Benicio Del Toro, Val Kilmer; Terrence Malick (Dir/Wri)



29. The Lost City of Z

SYNOPSIS: The true-life drama of British explorer Col. Percival Fawcett, who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon in the 1920s.

THOUGHTS: Based on the book by David Grann, The Lost City of Z first drew attention when it closed the New York Film Festival back in October. It stars Charlie Hunnam and Robert Pattinson as a pair of explorers searching for a lost city deep in the Amazon.

Like his Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart, Pattinson has been trying his hardest to atone for past sins for a few years now, and we really like Charlie Hunnam because we really like Pacific Rim. Besides, Z has the feel of Heart of Darkness, and last year’s excellent Embrace of the Serpent, so colour us intrigued.

CAST & CREW: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland; James Gray (Dir/Wri)



30. Wilson

SYNOPSIS: A lonely, neurotic and hilariously honest middle-aged man reunites with his estranged wife and meets his teenage daughter for the first time.

THOUGHTS: We save the oddest til last. Also it’s likely the least-known on this list. Now, while another comic-book-based film may cause your eyes to roll, hold your tongue for this one. Adapted from Daniel Clowes’ 2010 graphic novella of the same name, the story goes that Woody Harrelson plays an overly chatty individual who revisits his past through a meeting with his estranged wife (the superb Laura Dern) and their daughter (Spider-Man: Homecoming’s Isabella Amara). If you have any knowledge of the comics, you’ll know this has the promise of being 2017’s Swiss Army Man. And Clowes himself has film form – he netted an Adapted Screenplay Oscar nomination some 15 years ago for adapting his iconic Ghost World.

Fox Searchlight, the distributor, are feeling pretty confident though as they’ve booked into Sundance for its premiere. Especially bold when you consider director Craig Johnson only has two small features to his name, but it’s a new year and we’re here to offer new opportunities. Bring on 2017.

CAST & CREW: Judy Greer, Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern, Margo Martindale, Isabella Amara; Craig Johnson (Dir), Daniel Clowes (Wri)