As summer blockbuster season gets underway, you might be forgiven for thinking there’s a lack of imagination in cinema this year. But fear not. Between the 80s reboots and top auteurs at work, the rest of the year on the big screen looks thrilling. Here’s 15 of the best to watch out for.
Sofia Coppola’s much anticipated retelling of the 1971 Don Siegel film, reimagines the story from a female perspective. The Beguiled sees wounded civil war soldier (Colin Farrell) turn up at the door of a girls boarding school in the south, and con his way into each woman’s heart. Nicole Kidman is the headmistress while Elle Fanning and Kirsten Dunst co-star. They do not, it seems, take this lying down.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Luc Besson is back with a new, visually stunning, sci-fi epic. Based on a French graphic novel, Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne star as two human operatives sent to safeguard Alpha, an ever expanding metropolis where diverse species gather together. The director of The Fifth Element gets to run wild with his imagined future.
You Were Never Really Here
It’s been a long time since Lynne Ramsay’s last feature length outing, the psychotic child drama We Need to Talk about Kevin, but this adaptation of another novel (this time the work of Jonathan Ames) sees her in equally hard-hitting territory. In You Were Never Really Here, Joaquin Phoenix is an army vet who tries to save a young girl — played by Ekaterina Samsonov — from prostitution.
Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami
Originally titled Grace Jones — The Musical of My Life, this documentary from Sophie Fiennes began way back in 2005. Mixing personal footage with staged musical sequences, Fiennes says that for her biopic, Jones “made the bold decision to unmask.” If that’s the case, the results should be cracking.
In what may be the first film to tackle the perils of zero-hour contracts, Chance the Rapper stars as a local outlaw framed for killing off all the local pizza delivery boys. There’s also a werewolf element to this first feature by Austin Vesely, Chance’s video director and frequent collaborator. So expect more gore ‘n’ gags than socio political commentary.
God’s Own Country
This Yorkshire-set gay romance won a Special Jury award when it premiered at Sundance, and is set to be one of the most buzzed about British films of the year. Rightly so. Writer, director, and local Yorkshire lad, Francis Lee’s story about a young, gay farmer (Josh O’Connor) who forms a relationship with the hired help, a Romanian migrant worker (Alec Secareanu) is a raw, revelatory beauty.
If you cannot wait until Halloween for the second series of Stranger Things, the It remake should stave off your retro 80s scary cravings. This timely reimagining of the 1986 Stephen King novel about a dancing clown who haunts the kids of a small town in Maine, looks like a visually nostalgic treat, terrifying as hell, and even features Stranger Things alumni Finn Wolfhard as, you guessed it, an 80s kid investigating the local shapeshifter.
David Lynch: The Art Life
By the time this David Lynch doc arrives in cinemas, you should be well into his Twin Peaks revival; perfect timing then to hear from the man himself as he explains the events that helped shape his enigmatic art. Just don’t expect him to tell you what’s in the Mulholland Drive blue box.
The Death and Life of John F. Donovan
Xavier Dolan made his name at Cannes, but this drama — his 7th film — is only his second not to premiere at the French festival. Dolan announced that, between the trolling he received in 2016, and the fact The Death and Life of John F. Donovan wouldn’t be finished in time, the French-Canadian wunderkind wasn’t going to enter it for selection. Time will tell if Cannes has lost out on premiering another winner from Dolan, but the premise sounds strong: it’s about a pen-friend relationship between an adult TV star (Kit Harington) and a young actor (Room’s Jacob Tremblay) that spirals when publicly exposed.
Less of a remake and more of a sequel to the 1990 original, in which medical students experiment with near-death experiences. That one starred a young Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland. The latter returns in 2017, alongside Diego Luna, Kiersey Clemons, and Ellen Page.
Blade Runner 2049
Arrival director Denis Villeneuve has huge expectations to meet with this sequel to Ridley Scott’s much-loved sci-fi noir classic. It’s 30 years on from the original’s 2019 setting, but everything looks pretty similar in dystopian L.A. K (Ryan Gosling) is the man charged with hunting down replicants, while also searching for Rick Deckard, the original Blade Runner (Harrison Ford, reprising the role).
Duncan Jones’s Moon was one of the best sci-fi films of recent years and Mute, 12 years in the planning and set in Berlin 40 years in the future, is directly connected to his debut work. Alexander Skarsgård stars as a mute bartender who journeys into the underbelly of the city.
Little is known about Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky’s latest project, but the recently released first look at the artwork suggests an absolute creep show. The official blurb sounds earthbound enough, a story about a couple whose relationship is tested by uninvited guests. But the teaser poster, with Jennifer Lawrence’s character offering a bloody heart torn from her chest, suggests we might be in for something altogether more ghoulish.
Call Me by Your Name
A Bigger Splash director Luca Guadagnino finds romance in the mid-80s Italian summer. On a vacation of the most cultured kind with his professor dad and equally smart mother, 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet) falls in love with Oliver, his father’s 24-year-old teaching assistant (Armie Hammer). A grand, queer, sun-soaked romance follows that will steer the course of Elio’s life.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s first film with Daniel Day Lewis since There Will Be Blood in 2007 has a working title of Phantom Thread, and is currently being filmed in Whitby, North Yorkshire. The film will take place in the “couture world” and will follow a man commissioned to design for high society. Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood is on scoring duties. The film is due for a Christmas 2017 release, teeing it up nicely for Oscar glory in 2018. But that’s another year in cinema…