Synopsis: Having taken her first steps into a larger world, Rey continues her epic journey with Finn, Poe and Luke Skywalker in the next chapter of the saga.
Release Date: December 15, 2017
Thoughts: Star Wars, Luke Skywalker, OMG, Amazing, Laura Dern, December Get Here Soon!, Why are you still reading my thoughts…watch the first teaser trailer now!
Synopsis: Thor must face the Hulk in a gladiator match and save his people from the ruthless Hela.
Release Date: November 3, 2017
Thoughts: At the end of this first teaser trailer for November’s third Thor film the only word I could think of was ‘finally’. Finally, after two solo films and appearances in several other Marvel releases, the God of Thunder might just get his own adventure that’s worth a second viewing. I wasn’t any kind of fan of the original Thor or its sequel Thor: The Dark World, finding them turgid treks through standard action franchise portals. This one, however, just feels like it has a pulse and personality to go with it. From the inspired casting of Oscar winner Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) to a genuinely exciting surprise finale right on down to the ‘80s reminiscent title cards…I’m actually looking forward to this one.
Synopsis: In a small town of Derry, Maine, seven children come face to face with life problems, bullies and a monster that takes the shape of a clown called Pennywise.
Release Date: September 8, 2017
Thoughts: Back in the day when adaptations of novels were all the rage on network television (RIP: The Mini-Series), I remember looking forward to the 1990 multi-night experience of watching Stephen King’s It. Quickly becoming a popular nightmare calling card for clowns everywhere, the series was a smash but hasn’t exactly held up on repeated viewings. Watching it just a few years ago, I was struck by just how far fond nostalgia can take you. It was just…not great.
Flash forward 27 years and after numerous false starts and various directors, a big screen version of King’s classic is floating into your local cinema. King’s novel bounces between the past and the present and rumor is that this film is only going to be focused on the story taking place in the past. I’d always found that the most interesting part of the tale anyway and appreciate the filmmakers not biting off more than they can chew.
We all know that any crap movie can be edited to look like a winner but I’m hoping that It is truly as scary good as it looks. Directed by Andy Muschietti (who helmed the nifty Mama), King has already given his blessing to the final product – an early stamp of approval from an important source.
Synopsis: A young Englishman plots revenge against his mysterious, beautiful cousin, believing that she murdered his guardian. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.
Release Date: June 9, 2017
Thoughts: You know what this critic loves? Gothic horror and Rachel Weisz. So you’ll understand why this first look at My Cousin Rachel hit all the right notes for The MN Movie Man. Adapted from Daphne du Maurier’s novel written in 1951, it has been brought to the screen before in 1952 and again in a BBC miniseries from 1983. It’s plum June release hints that Fox Searchlight has a sleeper hit on their hands or at the very least an interesting alternative to the bombastic effects driven blockbusters it will be sharing cinemas with. With The Birds and Rebecca we’ve seen that du Maurier’s tales of horror are slow burn affairs and this looks like another tightly wound exercise in restraint. And then there’s Weisz (Youth) who stars alongside rising star Sam Claflin (Me Before You). It’s sometimes hard to remember she’s an Oscar winner, even though she’s often the best thing about the films she’s in. Here’s hoping the end result is as effective as this trailer is…now I’m off to catch up on my reading.
Synopsis: The crew of the colony ship Covenant discover what they think is an uncharted paradise, but it is actually a dark, dangerous world, whose sole inhabitant is the synthetic David, survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition.
Release Date: May 19, 2017
Thoughts: Anticipation was high back in 2012 when director Ridley Scott’s mysterious Prometheus arrived veiled in secrecy. Was it a prequel to Alien or wasn’t it? Early previews gave few clues and neither Scott nor 20th Century Fox did much to fill in the blanks. Prometheus sharply divided audiences and critics, some appreciating that Scott reached further back than mere prequel territory while others loathed it with a vitriol usually reserved for a Transformers sequel. Personally, I loved it and saw it several times on the big screen; it’s cliffhanger ending only made me more curious about what would happen next. The answer comes next May with Alien: Covenant and this first look is a neat (if overly gory/spoiler-y) intro to a film that looks very different than its predecessor. Perhaps Scott (The Martian) and screenwriter John Logan (Skyfall, Spectre, Hugo) are trying to please the fans and detractors of Prometheus at the same time. Riding that fine line would be good, I just hope they don’t overcompensate and make a faded copy of the original entry. Aside from Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave) and Noomi Rapace (Dead Man Down) returning in their roles, star Katherine Waterston (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) certainly is going full-on Ellen Ripley and I’m interested (and a little nervous) to see how actors like Danny McBride (This Is the End) and the recently added James Franco (Sausage Party) figure into the mix. It’s worth noting that Alien: Covenant was originally intended for a release in October 2017. It was then moved up to August before settling into a prime summer release date in May. That’s a very good sign of a studio confident they have something big…let’s hope so.
Synopsis: A new blade runner unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. The discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard, a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.
Release Date: October 6, 2017
Thoughts: When Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner was first released in 1982 it was a little too ahead of its time. Though Alien, Scott’s previous effort, successfully transcended its era there was something too cool to the touch in this adaptation of a Philip K. Dick short story. Over time Blade Runner has become a respected classic, endlessly released in new edits that attempt to make the somewhat obtuse movie a bit more focused. Instead of tinkering again with the source movie, Scott (busy with his second Alien prequel) wisely handed over the reins to skilled auteur Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario, Arrival) and boy am I glad he did. As much as I love Scott’s work (I’m still ornery that he didn’t get an Oscar nomination for The Martian), Villeneuve is rising in the ranks of ‘can’t miss’ directors. Set thirty years after the original film, it introduces a new blade runner (Ryan Gosling…ever heard of him?) who tracks down Harrison Ford’s character for…well, we don’t know quite what for yet. All I know is that this is what a true teaser should be like and the hype growing around this one seems to be quite real and potent. What a cast too, joining Gosling (The Big Short) and Ford (Star Wars:The Force Awakens) are Robin Wright (Wonder Woman), Mackenzie Davis (That Awkward Moment), Lennie James (Lockout), Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy), and Jared Leto (Suicide Squad)
Synopsis: When her boyfriend dumps her, Emily persuades her ultra-cautious mom to accompany her on a vacation to Ecuador.
Release Date: May 12, 2017
Thoughts: 15 years. That’s how long it’s been since Goldie Hawn (Deceived) has been seen on the big screen (not counting midnight screenings of Death Becomes Her at revival houses) and for a Hawn fan like me, that’s far too long. The Goldie drought will end this Mother’s Day as the Oscar winning comedienne teams up with Amy Schumer (Trainwreck) in Snatched, a mother-daughter comedy directed by Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies). While the optimist in me is hoping for the best, Schumer’s ascent to bona-fide leading lady hasn’t been totally proven and I wasn’t a fan of screenwriter Katie Dippold’s previous buddy film The Heat. Also, remember the last time we were excited for a road-trip movie with a star that now makes infrequent appearances in movies? Yeah…we wound up with The Guilt Trip. The humor looks sophomoric and the production a bit on the cheap…but I’m interested to see what silly sparks Hawn and Schumer can make.
Synopsis: Two unlikely prospective lifeguards vie for jobs alongside the buff bodies who patrol a beach in California.
Release Date: May 19, 2017
Thoughts: Winter is definitely coming and if you need a way to stay warm until the summer months I can’t think of a better way to do it than to keep the new trailer for Baywatch on repeat. What started as a more serious show on network TV turned into an 11-season soapy sun and sand action show that featured a rotating roster of buff guys and beautiful women either before or after their Playboy debuts. Now comes a big screen take starring Dwayne Johnson (San Andreas) and Zac Efron (That Awkward Moment) and it looks like a whole lot of fun. I can already tell it’s been carefully made to gently lampoon its source material while giving its stars the maximum shirtless screentime. Fine by me and as the song goes…”I’ll be ready”. I doubt this one will need saving when it arrives in May.
Synopsis: While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her.
Release Date: February 10, 2017
Thoughts: Though 2015’s Fifty Shades of Grey was a sizable (if controversial) hit for Universal, even its most ardent supporters agreed there was something amiss in the big screen adaptation of the first book in author E.L. James’s trilogy. Perhaps it was the well-documented disagreements between James and director Sam Taylor-Johnson that left the the movie having no real voice. Or maybe it was the rumored mutual hatred stars Jamie Dornan (The 9th Life of Louis Drax) and Dakota Johnson (Need for Speed) had for eachother, leading to questionable chemistry and giving Dornan pause to reconsider coming back for the final two entries. The paycheck (or perhaps lawyers) prevailed and Dornan returns along with Johnson for Fifty Shades Darker which looks just as inscrutable and sudsy as its predecessor. Adding Kim Basinger (Final Analysis), Hugh Dancy, Tyler Hoechlin (Everybody Wants Some!), and Bella Heathcote (The Neon Demon) and bringing in James Foley to relieve Taylor-Johnson of her directing duties, it will be interesting to see if this sequel can win back its target audience. With the final movie almost completed, there’s no stopping this machine even if we wanted to.
Synopsis: An ancient princess is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia and terrors that defy human comprehension.
Release Date: June 9, 2017
Thoughts: If you didn’t know any better, the first few moments of this first look at Universal’s 2017 reboot of The Mummy may feel like you’ve fallen into another Mission: Impossible entry. There’s Tom Cruise looking quite Cruise-ish in a cargo plane carrying the remains of an ancient princess. Before they can even get through customs (or land the aircraft) trouble brews with Cruise (Jack Reacher: Never Go Back) winding up in a body bag. What’s so nice about this thrilling teaser is that is leaves you with more questions than answers. Where the 1932 original was a classic horror, its 1999 reboot owed more to Indiana Jones than to its source material. This new take on The Mummy, however, looks to blend the best of previous incarnations. With Russell Crowe (The Water Diviner) and Annabelle Wallis (Annabelle) along for the adventure under the direction of Alex Kurtzman (People Like Us), look for this one to be unwrapped in a prime summer slot.