Synopsis: A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.
Release Date: September 15, 2017
Thoughts: Oh let’s just face facts, they had me at Michelle Pfeiffer. It’s always a special joy to see Pfeiffer (Grease 2) onscreen at any time and we’re fortunate that she’s popping up in so many places in 2017. Before she boards Murder on the Orient Express in November, she’s going to be seen in Darren Aronofsky’s strange little thriller mother! (no capital letters for this guy!) this September. This looks like it’s either going to be a nasty little nightmare that Aronofsky is so good at or a total mess which would be pretty unfortunate considering the stellar cast assembled. I wince a bit at 27 year old Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle) married to 48 year old Javier Bardem (Skyfall) but let’s hope Aronofsky offers an explanation within the first reel. Ed Harris (The Abyss) also stars but it’s Pfeiffer looking snazzy and sinister that seals this deal for me.
Synopsis: Summer of 1983, Northern Italy. An American-Italian is enamored by an American student who comes to study and live with his family. Together they share an unforgettable summer full of music, food, and romance that will forever change them.
Release Date: November 24, 2017
Thoughts: With a screenplay from James Ivory (The Remains of the Day, Howard’s End, A Room with a View) and directed by Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love), Call Me by Your Name is a title that could be one to keep your eye on as we transition from the summer slate to the Oscar hopeful season. Based on the 2007 novel by André Aciman and taking place over one gauzy summer in Italy, there are some strong themes of love and self-discovery clearly present in this first trailer. It’s always interesting to see how a tender story like this will play out for audiences in the wide-release arena, but then again movies like Call My by Your Name aren’t exactly made for mass consumption. Starring Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger), Michael Stuhlbarg (Doctor Strange), and Timothée Chalamet (Love the Coopers), call me very intrigued with this one.
Synopsis: This is a tale of very flawed people making very bad choices. This is Suburbicon.
Release Date: October 27, 2017
Thoughts: Oh goodness, what to say about this weird little trailer? Though it boasts an appealing array of stars in front of and behind the camera, I’m just not sold on moving to Suburbicon at first glance. As is the case with most previews lately, too much is given away in the trailer, apparently leaving very little to entice audiences to want to know more. Director George Clooney (Tomorrowland) and writers Joel and Ethan Coen (Hail, Caesar!) are going to have to bank on more than just fans of Matt Damon (Promised Land), Julianne Moore (Still Alice), and Oscar Isaac (A Most Violent Year) to get the word out about this tough sell. To me, it looks too much like it will feature the worst of the Cohen’s back of tricks and Clooney’s strange directorial missteps. While I’m always intrigued about films set in this era, it already feels like it’s going to be a chore to sit through this one.
Synopsis: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.
Release Date: November 17, 2017
Thoughts: With Wonder Woman becoming the top-earning movie at the summer box office, the producers behind the DC Comics franchise are riding a wave of positivity right now. Let’s hope they can keep that goodwill going strong as the November release of Justice League draws near. I didn’t mind Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice nearly as much as my colleagues did but the unrelenting darkness of this franchise has kept it from truly taking off. Wonder Woman was a nice reminder of what these films could be while director Zac Snyder deals with a family tragedy, Avengers mastermind Joss Whedon was brought in to oversee postproduction so I’m hoping Whedon can bring a little Marvel spark to the DC Universe. This extended look at Justice League gives a few more clues for audiences to decipher and one cliffhanger that already has the internet abuzz.
Synopsis: in Texas, years before the events of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, in the early days of the infamous Sawyer family, the youngest child is sentenced to a mental hospital after a suspicious incident leaves the sheriff’s daughter dead.
Release Date: October 20, 2017
Thoughts: At this point, I don’t know where the hell we are in the vast landscape of the sequels, prequels, sequels to prequels, and reboots of sequels and their prequels as they relate to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Last time Leatherface was seen on screen was back in 2013 with Texas Chainsaw 3D and while that was an enjoyable watch it didn’t seem to make a dent in the box office. It’s rumored that Leatherface will swing by a few theaters before going to DirectTV On Demand but with interesting character actors like Lili Taylor (The Conjuring) and Stephen Dorff (The Iceman) taking roles in this I have to say I’m a bit intrigued. Couple that with direction from Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo who delivered the stomach churning but impressive Inside and my intrigue turns into full blown curiosity.
Synopsis: Bodies are turning up around the city, each having met a uniquely gruesome demise. As the investigation proceeds, evidence points to one man: John Kramer. But how can this be? The man known as Jigsaw has been dead for over a decade.
Release Date: October 27, 2017
Thoughts: We’ve been lied to! After seven films, the Saw series was said to be over and done with back in 2010. Well, it’s not the first time we’ve been told that a franchise was ending only to have greedy studio execs drum up another sequel…but why do I get the nagging feeling that Jigsaw might represent a neat little surprise for all the naysayers? It’s probably my willingness to give any horror sequel a shot in the hopes it won’t be another cheaply made retread of previous entries. I’m hopeful already seeing that Jigsaw is being directed by The Spierig Brothers who haven’t helmed any blockbusters but have made some vastly underrated pics. If you don’t believe me, do yourself a solid and seek out Predestination.
Synopsis: An other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1963.
Release Date: December 8, 2017
Thoughts: This just shows you how much I’ve been paying attention. I mean, I had no idea that The Shape of Water was even a thing much less that Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim) was behind the whole affair. That being said, now that I’m aware of it I’m looking forward to it. As usual, del Toro’s stories feel like dark fairy tales that push back at pre-conceived notions of darkness and light. So as fans of the auteur we know it will be different and we know it will look great…but will audiences take a chance on a hard-to-pin-down flick like this? I know I will, but del Toro’s track record has been spotty with attracting a crowd…which is too bad because he’s one of the very best filmmakers working today. Starring Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), Octavia Spencer (Fruitvale Station), Michael Shannon (Midnight Special), and Michael Stuhlbarg (Doctor Strange), The Shape of Water surfaces just in time for the holidays.
Synopsis: Detective Harry Hole investigates the disappearance of a woman whose pink scarf is found wrapped around an ominous-looking snowman
Release Date: October 20, 2017
Thoughts: With the popularity of Norwegian author Jo Nesbø’s series of novels following Detective Harry Hole (yikes, a most unfortunate name), it was merely a matter of time before the hardened investigator appeared onscreen. I’m intrigued to see Michael Fassbender (Prometheus) signed on to what could be yet another lucrative franchise, lately he’s seemed to be making a lot of interesting indie choices. What could have attracted him to such commercial fare? Probably it’s the money but maybe there’s promise in this mystery which also stars Rebecca Ferguson (Life), J.K. Simmons (The Accountant), and Chloë Sevigny (Lovelace). A big screen adaptation of Nesbø’s novel Headhunters made for fun fare a few years back and with these procedural serial killer flick on the decline, let’s hope The Snowman doesn’t melt at the box office.
Synopsis: After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him.
Release Date: March 9, 2018
Thoughts: Madeleine L’Engle’s celebrated 1963 novel has been on my bookshelf for years and holds a special place in my heart. I’ve seen high school productions of it (and been in one myself) and made it through most of a 2003 made for television film that couldn’t capture the energy of its source material. Now comes a new adaptation from one of the writers of Frozen directed by one of the most exciting filmmakers working today. Ava DuVernay (Selma) has assembled a dynamite A-List cast and, from the look of things in this first teaser, a damn fine film. Starring Oprah Winfrey (Lee Daniels’ The Butler), Reese Witherspoon (This Means War), Mindy Kaling (This is the End), Chris Pine (Into the Woods), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Beauty & the Beast), newcomer Storm Reid, and Zach Galifianakis (Keeping Up with the Joneses) as The Happy Medium, this is one page to screen adaptation I’m welcoming with open arms.
Synopsis: Teen must relive the same day over and over again until she figures out who is trying to kill her and why.
Release Date: October 13, 2017
Thoughts: As the old saying goes: Into every theater, a little cheese must fall (or something like that). Look, I have no aspirations that Happy Death Day is going to be a top-tier horror entry or even a mediocre curiosity either…but is it too wrong to hope this provides some silly diversion entertainment this fall? Given a prime release date of Friday the 13th in October, this is another low-budget entry from Blumhouse Pictures (The Visit, The Purge, Split, Insidious) who has shown a knack for raking in some serious dough with their features. Directed by Christopher Landon (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse & Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones) and with visions of Groundhog Day dancing in my head, this trailer for Happy Death Day gave me a good chuckle…but can it prove to be more original than it looks?