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The 2017 Film Release Calendar: Films Without Release Dates (M-Z)

Every January, I preview all the films that are scheduled to come out for the year. I go through the existing release calendar, month by month, and guess how much or how little I’m going to like each of the films.

The major benefit is that it allows me, come the end of the year, to see which movies ended up surprising me for better or for worse, or which ones I had wildly disproportionate expectations for. It also gives me a chance to know what’s coming out and what to look forward to.

I also take all the films that are filming or in post and theoretically able to come out that year and preview those too, along with all the films from the previous year(s) that have yet to come out that I’ve been tracking. In all, I end up previewing more films than pretty much anyone else, I’ve been told.

Mad Families

Three families compete for a camping spot during a busy Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Starring Charlie Sheen.

Oh, right! This came out on Crackle! I remember seeing this. This is out already. Well, I guess I’ll be seeing it soon then.

Directed by the guy who did The House Bunny and Joe Dirt 2 and the guy who wrote Joe Dirt, Dickie Roberts, Without a Paddle, Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2.

2 stars.

This looks awful. I can’t wait.

Mad to Be Normal

Mad To Be Normal tells the story of world-renowned Scottish psychiatrist RD Laing and his unique community at Kingsley Hall, East London, during the 1960’s.

LSD movie. Cool, cool.

3 stars.

Manhunt

Accused of heinous crimes he didn’t commit, a prosecutor sets out on a mission to clear his name.

John Woo, exclusively making movies in China now. He’s on my Directors List, so I gotta track it. Not that I’m particularly interested in today’s John Woo.

3 stars.

Manifesto

Cate Blanchett performs manifestos as a series of striking monologues.

She plays 13 characters. That’ll make it somewhat interesting for me.

3 stars. I’m sure the performance is good, but otherwise this seems like pretentious film school dreck that I can’t stand.

The Man Who Invented Christmas

After a series his books have been flops, Charles Dickens decides to write and self-publish A Christmas Carol.

This either needed to be about cocaine or Charles Dickens. So good job there.

Christopher Plummer plays Scrooge. Dan Stevens plays Dickens. I’m down.

The director did Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, which I really liked.

3.5 stars.

Marjorie Prime

A service that provides holographic recreations of deceased loved ones and allows a man (Robbins) to come face-to-face with the younger version of his late father-in-law (Hamm).

Why father-in-law? Why not father? This seems like an odd choice, but sure.

The director did Experimenter, Cymbeline, and the Hamlet modern day version with Ethan Hawke.

3 stars.

Marshall

About a young Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court Justice, as he battles through one of his career-defining cases.

Aww yeah.

Chadwick Boseman plays Thurgood Marshall, since apparently he’s the only black actor that can play famous people. Jackie Robinson, James Brown… he’s great, don’t get me wrong, but why is it always him?

3.5 stars. I think this can be good. The writers can be solid. Reggie Hudlin hasn’t directed a feature in 15 years and the last one wasn’t good, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say this can be solid. Not seeing great, but hey, you never know.

Mary Magdalene

Garth Davis coming off Lion goes to Mary Magdalene. This will be interesting if nothing else.

Joaquin Phoenix is Jesus and Rooney Mara is Mary Magdalene. And Chiwetel Ejiofor is Peter for good measure.

3.5 stars. Seems easy enough.

Menashe

Within Brooklyn’s ultra-orthodox Jewish community, a widower battles for custody of his son. A tender drama performed entirely in Yiddish, the film intimately explores the nature of faith and the price of parenthood.

I like that it’s in Yiddish. That makes me more interested. Reminds me of Hester Street from the 70s, which was really good.

Let’s call it 3.5 stars.

 

Mercy

The daughter of a man on death row falls in love with a woman on the opposing side of her family’s political cause.

Kate Mara and Ellen Page star. Directed by a woman. I like these things.

3 stars.

The Mercy

Yachtsman Donald Crowhurst’s disastrous attempt to win the 1968 Golden Globe Race ends up with him creating an outrageous account of traveling the world alone by sea.

Directed by the guy who did The Theory of Everything. Starring Colin Firth, Rachel Weisz, David Thewlis.

3.5 stars. Seems easy enough.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

A young girl is forced into a gay conversion therapy center.

Starring Chloe Moretz, Sasha Lane, Jennifer Ehle.

3 stars. Hope it’s good.

Mobile Homes

A young mother looks to make a new life for her and her son in a mobile home community.

Imogen Poots stars. I like her in everything I’ve seen her in.

3 stars.

Molly’s Game

Molly Bloom, a young skier and former Olympic hopeful becomes a successful entrepreneur (and a target of an FBI investigation) when she establishes a high-stakes, international poker game.

Aaron Sorkin wrote and directs. I’m slightly worried because he’s never directed before. Not even an episode of The Newsroom or West Wing.

Jessica Chastain stars, with Kevin Costner, Idris Elba, Michael Cera, Chris O’Dowd, Graham Greene and Brian ‘dArcy James.

I mean, it’s Sorkin, so minimum 4 stars. But I’m not gonna go higher because him directing could make this one of those movies that isn’t as good as it could have been with a visionary behind it. But who knows. Maybe he’ll be great. I want him to be great. I want this to be a top ten movie for me.

Monster

A teenager finds himself incarcerated at a New York juvenile detention center and charged with robbery and felony murder.

Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Hudson, Jennifer Ehle. And Nas, apparently.

3 stars.

Mom and Dad

A teenage girl and her little brother must survive a wild 24 hours during which a mass hysteria of unknown origins causes parents to turn violently on their own kids.

Starring Nicolas Cage.

Done.

3 stars.

Most Hated Woman in America

A true story of the much debated rise and demise of a woman, named Madalyn Murray O’Hair, who was known as the head atheist activist of America. She founded the organization, American Atheist, and held the position of president within the organization for 13 years. Quickly this woman became the most loathed person in the country.

Starring Melissa Leo, Adam Scott, Peter Fonda, Juno Temple, Vincent Kartheiser, Josh Lucas and directed by the guy who did Ella Enchanted.

So yeah.

3 stars.

Mudbound

Two men return home from World War II to work on a farm in rural Mississippi where they struggle to deal with racism and adjusting to life after war.

Starring Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke. Directed by the woman who made Pariah.

Sounds good.

3.5 stars.

Mute

A mute bartender goes up against his city’s gangsters in an effort to find out what happened to his missing partner.

Written and directed by Duncan Jones. Hopefully he’s back to his roots after the Warcraft… whatever that was.

3.5 stars.

Stars Sam Rockwell, Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux, Alexander Skarsgard. As if I needed to hear anything past Duncan Jones.

Naked

Nervous about finally getting married a guy is forced to relive the same nerve-wracking hours over and over again until he gets things right on his wedding day.

Great. Another Groundhog Day ripoff.

Starring Marlon Wayans.

2.5 stars.

Please no.

Newness

In contemporary Los Angeles, two millennials navigating a social media-driven hookup culture begin a relationship that pushes both emotional and physical boundaries.

Drake Doremus directs. It played Sundance. Nicholas Hoult, Danny Huston. Sure.

3 stars.

Nine Eleven

A group of 5 people find themselves trapped in an elevator in the World Trade Center’s North Tower on 9/11. They work together, never giving up hope, to try to escape before the unthinkable happens.

Wait for it, though. You know who the people are? Charlie Sheen, Whoopi Goldberg, Gina Gerson, Luis Guzman and Wood Harris. Yeah. Maybe it’s someone else, like Jacqueline Bisset or Bruce Davison, but you give me Sheen and Whoopi right off the top and I’m wondering what the fuck this movie is.

2.5 stars. I mean, I’m just fascinated by this more than anything.

Novitiate

Set in the early 1960s and during the era of Vatican II, a young woman in training to become a nun struggles with issues of faith, the changing church and sexuality.

Written and directed by a woman. Starring Margaret Qualley, Morgan Saylor (from White Girl), Dianna Agron, Melissa Leo and Julianne Nicholson. Solid cast.

3.5 stars. Hope it’s great.

Okja

A young girl named Mija risks everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend – a massive animal named Okja.

Joon-ho Bong’s new movie. He’s the guy who did Snowpiercer.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Lily Collins, Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Giancarlo Esposito, Shirley Henderson are in it.

I’m sold.

3.5 stars.

The Old Man and the Gun

An elderly bank robber, who had managed to escape from prison over a dozen times in his life before moving to a retirement community, looks to spice things up with another heist.

David Lowery’s next movie. He does Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, which is great, then does Pete’s Dragon, which is a disappointment, but not that bad a movie. Then he quietly makes A Ghost Story and now is gonna do this. While Pete’s Dragon could be considered a misstep, I don’t think it’s a failure or a disaster. I think he’s giving himself a nice mix of big and small. Though his next movie is allegedly a Peter Pan remake, which… kinda worried about that. But that’s something we’ll deal with next year, if it comes to fruition.

This is Robert Redford starring, basically making it his The Shootist. The Sundance Kid going out for one last heist. I trust Lowery to not make this campy.

We also have Sissy Spacek and Casey Affleck. I’m so down.

4 stars.

O Matador

A Brazilian western about Cabeleira, a feared killer living in the countryside of Pernambuco State in the 40’s.

I heard western and I was sold. It’s in Portuguese? Okay. It’s gonna be on Netflix too.

3 stars. Not gonna assume bump, but I hope it’s decent.

On Chesil Beach

A drama set in the early 1960s and centered on a young couple on their honeymoon.

Based on Ian McEwan, starring Saoirse Ronan, Samuel West, Emily Watson, Anne-Marie Duff.

McEwan wrote Atonement, which turned into a great movie. So let’s assume this’ll be good. Saoirse Ronan being in it helps too.

3.5 stars.

The Only Living Boy in New York

Adrift in New York City, a recent college graduate’s life is upended by his father’s mistress.

Marc Webb directing, trying to take the stink of Amazing Spider-Man off himself. Written by the guy who did Collateral Beauty, Rock of Ages, Just Go With It, Here Comes the Boom, The Dilemma and The Switch. Holy shit, did one guy write just about every movie I hate? My god.

That left a terrible taste in my mouth. Knowing who the writer is.

Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, Kate Beckinsale, Kiersey Clemons.

3 stars. I’ll give the cast the benefit of the doubt for 3, but not anything more.

The Switch… I should deduct points for that. And Collateral Beauty? Did you guys see that? Holy fucking shit.

Our Souls at Night

Fonda and Redford will star as Addie Moore and Louis Waters, a widow and widower who’ve lived next to each other for years. The pair have almost no relationship, but that all changes when Addie tries to make a connection with her neighbor.

It’s Fonda and Redford, I was in yesterday.

3.5 stars.

The Outsider

An epic set in post-WWII Japan and centered on an American former G.I. who joins the yakuza.

Okay.

Director of Land of Mine, which was good.

Jared Leto stars.

3 stars.

It’ll be interesting, I can bet that much.

Paddington 2

Paddington, now happily settled with the Brown family and a popular member of the local community, picks up a series of odd jobs to buy the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, only for the gift to be stolen.

Because that’s what we needed.

Any evil taxidermists in this one?

Brendan Gleeson plays a guy named “Knuckles” McGinty. And for that alone — 2.5 stars.

It’ll be fine, I wager, but I won’t care.

Papillon

A prisoner detained on a remote island plots his escape. A remake of the 1973 film ‘Papillon’.

Not sure we needed this, but here we are.

The director is not Franklin Schaffner, but that’s fine. The key is the cast. Whoever they cast is undoubtedly going to be compared to Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. So who do we have?

Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek.

So yeah.

3 stars.

Here’s hoping.

Patti Cake$

Straight out of Jersey comes Patricia Dombrowski, a.k.a. Killa P, a.k.a. Patti Cake$, an aspiring rapper fighting through a world of strip malls and strip clubs on an unlikely quest for glory.

Oh, this sounds like it’s gonna be lovely.

3.5 stars.

The Party

The Party is a comedy wrapped around a tragedy. It starts as a celebration and ends with blood on the floor.

Okay.

Female writer-director. Stars Cillian Murphy, Emily Mortimer, Kristin Scott Thomas, Timothy Spall, Patricia Clarkson, Cherry Jones and Bruno Ganz.

We have nothing else on this one. So, 3 stars. Have to. Don’t know anything more.

Person to Person

Follows a variety of New York characters as they navigate personal relationships and unexpected problems over the course of one day.

Oh boy, another one of these. Hello, Sundance. Hello, Tribeca.

3 stars. Blanket rating for these movies. They never transcend and are never truly awful unless they’re centered around a holiday.

Pilgrimage

In 13th century Ireland a group of monks must escort a sacred relic across an Irish landscape fraught with peril.

Remember that movie where Nicolas Cage is transporting the witch in a cage and he fights a CGI turd demon in the third act?

This has nothing to do with that, but I needed something to say about this, and this sounded a bit like that.

3 stars.

The Polka King

Local Pennsylvania polka legend Jan Lewan develops a plan to get rich that shocks his fans and lands him in jail.

Jack Black plays the titular polka king. The directors are Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky, who are married. She’s coming off Infinitely Polar Bear, which I liked quite a bit.

Also in this are Jenny Slate, Jason Schwartzman, Vanessa Bayer, Willie Garson, Jacki Weaver and J.B. Smoove.

Honestly, I can’t see this not being 3.5 stars. Maybe if it’s generic, 3 stars, but Jack Black makes some really off the wall, great indies when he’s not playing comic relief in generic family movie fare. The D Train, Bernie — he puts in good work when he goes indie. So let’s think this is a continuation in that part of the oeuvre.

Poor Boy

Two misfit brothers hustle cash and chase dreams in the desert. When a mysterious woman threatens to repo their beloved houseboat the brothers cook up an epic con to finally leave their dusty town and sail off on a beam of sunshine to California.

This played Tribeca last year and never came out. I’m only tracking it because Michael Shannon is in it, and I’ll watch literally anything he is in. Even this:

anigif_original-grid-image-2649-1388512663-30

Prevenge

Widow Ruth is seven months pregnant when, believing herself to be guided by her unborn baby, she embarks on a homicidal rampage, dispatching anyone who stands in her way.

Honestly I saw that synopsis and went, “Yes, please.”

Coming out February 10th in the UK. Which means by end of summer we should be able to see it here.

Very excited to see this.

3 stars.

The Professor and the Madman

A professor begins work compiling words for the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary in the mid 19th century and receives over 10,000 entries from a doctor at an insane asylum.

Starring Mel Gibson and Sean Penn. And if you thought Mel Gibson was the madman, you were incorrect. Sean Penn is the madman, because he’s all about the “actorly” roles that are borderline Oscar bait every time.

Quick, what’s the last Sean Penn movie you can name? Been a while, right? No one saw The Gunman, Walter Mitty was a cameo, and Gangster Squad was a disaster. This Must Be the Place and Tree of Life were the last two, and even Tree of Life people forget he was even in it, because his part was the boring one. He’s one of those guys who’s like, three or four “what is this” movies and then he comes back with an Oscar-worthy one. Maybe this is one of those.

I like that Mel is also in this. I want him in more movies. The writer of Apocalypto is directing this. He also created Boss, the TV show. John Boorman wrote a draft of this script. I guess he was gonna do it years ago.

Super excited for this movie. Sounds awesome.

4 stars. Probably should go 3 stars, but whatever. I like these two.

Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman

detail the unconventional life of Dr. William Marston, the Harvard psychologist and inventor who helped invent the modern lie detector test and created Wonder Woman in 1941. Marston was in a polyamorous relationship with his wife Elizabeth, a psychologist and inventor in her own right, and Olive Byrne, a former student who became an academic. This relationship was key to the creation of Wonder Woman, as Elizabeth and Olive’s feminist ideals were ingrained in the character from her creation. Marston died of skin cancer in 1947, but Elizabeth and Olive remained a couple and raised their and Marston’s children together. The film is said to focus on how Marston dealt with the controversy surrounding Wonder Woman’s creation.

He created the lie detector and Wonder Woman. Surprisingly, I can see the connection. Oh, and polyamorous. Okay, then.

Female writer/director. She did D.E.B.S and Herbie Fully Loaded.

Stars Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall and Bella Heathcoate.

You’d think it would be a bigger film than this, but I’m interested in the material. 3 stars.

#RealityHigh

Netflix movie coming out in July. No synopsis, but based on the title alone, 2 stars.

No. No. No.

I said no.

Radegund

The Austrian Franz Jägerstätter, a conscientious objector, refuses to fight for the Nazis in World War II and is executed by them in 1943.

Terrence Malick again. Supposedly this is gonna come out in 2017. We’ll see.

Malick gets automatic 3.5 stars. I hope this is more… not his style.

His style’s starting to get real played out and lose its meaning. Hopefully he does something different with this and keeps it feeling fresh. Because the last two of his movies were a real chose.

(Re)Assignment

Following an ace assassin who is double crossed by gangsters and falls into the hands of rogue surgeon known as The Doctor who turns him into a woman. The hitman now a hitwoman sets out for revenge, aided by a nurse named Johnnie who also has secrets.

Yes, that’s the synopsis. That’s what this movie is about.

Michelle Rodriguez plays the assassin.

Walter Hill directed this. The man who wrote Alien. Who directed The Warriors, 48 Hrs, Brewster’s Millions.

Just saying.

2.5 stars.

Rebel in the Rye

The life of celebrated but reclusive author, J.D. Salinger, who gained worldwide fame with the publication of his novel, The Catcher in the Rye.

Written and directed by Danny Strong, who wrote Game Change, The Butler, Mockingjay and created Empire.

Stars Nicholas Hoult, Kevin Spacey, Sarah Paulson, Zoey Deutch, Lucy Boynton, Hope Davis.

Good cast.

3.5 stars. I might regret this, but I’m going for it.

Redoubtable

During the making of one of his films, French film director Jean-Luc Godard falls in love with 17-year old actress Anne Wiazemsky and later get married.

Oh, word? That’s what this is? And it’s directed by Michel Hazanavicius?

Louis Garrel plays Godard and Stacy Martin plays Wiazemsky.

Wonder what to do with this — loved the OSS movies, loved The Artist. The Search was a disappointment. He’s going back to what seems to be a tried and true fall back.

Let’s say 3.5 stars. No reason to think that’s not the baseline, with a possible half-star swing in either direction.

Replicas

A daring synthetic biologist who, after a car accident kills his family, will stop at nothing to bring them back, even if it means pitting himself against a government-controlled laboratory, a police task force and the physical laws of science.

This is that Keanu Reeves movie. He’s been attached to this for like, two years.

3 stars. Seems generic, but fun.

Rock’n Roll

Guillaume Canet is told by a young co-star that he’s no longer Rock’n’ Roll and can’t sell films anymore. He then tries to prove her wrong and gets help from his girlfriend, Marion Cotillard.

I mean, sure. They are together in real life, so that’s either a good thing or a bad thing. This could seem like them fucking around with no real purpose.

But he did write and direct Blood Ties, which I liked a lot.

And Marion Cotillard hasn’t really done anything awful in the past decade. (Well… Assassin’s Creed…that was just not good. I wouldn’t say it was truly awful. Disappointing is the word with that.) So you have to assume a baseline of decency here.

3 stars. Let’s wait and see on this.

Roma

A story that chronicles a year in the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early 1970s.

Alfonso Cuaron’s next movie. Seems like a small, personal drama and not something meant for American audiences. Palate cleanser.

This is tough for me, since — Y Tu Mama Tambien, Azkaban, Children of Men, Gravity — nothing less than 4 stars there. Kinda have to go 4 stars with this. 3.5 seems like the obvious choice, but I have to go 4. It’s Cuaron.

Roxanne Roxanne

In the early 1980s, the most feared battle MC in Queens, New York, was a fierce teenage girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders. At the age of 14, Lolita “Roxanne Shanté” Gooden was well on her way to becoming a hip-hop legend as she hustled to provide for her family while defending herself from the dangers of the streets of the Queensbridge Projects in NYC.

Oh damn, I’m excited for this.

4 stars.

This sounds fucking great.

Sadie

Sadie, a budding erotic novelist who, along with an enigmatic woman named Francesca, are enticed by an ex-lover to join him at an Italian villa. Once there, Sadie is confronted by the demons of her past as she becomes embroiled in a surreal game of murder and betrayal.

Uhh… 2.5 stars? No clue.

Salty

An aging rock star is kidnapped while vacationing in Thailand.

Directed by Simon West, starring Antonio Banderas.

3 stars. I’m sure it’ll be a Simon West special.

Sandy Wexler

Sandy Wexler (Adam Sandler) is a talent manager working in Los Angeles in the 1990s, diligently representing a group of eccentric clients on the fringes of show business. His single minded devotion is put to the test when he falls in love with his newest client, Courtney Clarke, a tremendously talented singer who he discovers at an amusement park. Over the course of a decade, the two of them play out a star-crossed love story.

I just assumed this would be Melissa McCarthy, because all her movies seem to just be her character’s name. But instead it’s Adam Sandler. Somehow that was worse.

2 stars.

The Sense of an Ending

A man becomes haunted by his past and is presented with a mysterious legacy that causes him to re-think his current situation in life.

It’s coming out March 10th.

I saw a trailer for this in a theater. I forget what in front of. Probably Jackie or something like that. Either way, didn’t look great.

Michelle Dockery, Emily Mortimer, Jim Broadbent, Charlotte Rampling.

I’ll give it 2.5 stars. Could be 3, won’t be more than that.

The Shadow Within

A private investigator must unravel the murder of her uncle while keeping the secret that she is a descendant from a line of werewolves.

Starring Lindsay Lohan.

Gotta see how bad this is.

2 stars.

Tell me this isn’t the movie we can’t wait to tear into when it’s a piece of shit.

The Shape of Water

An other-worldly story, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1963.

Supposedly it’s a Cold War movie about a fish monster that’s captured and then Sally Hawkins as an office worker that starts a relationship with said fish monster. That’s according to Doug Jones, who plays the fish monster, so I’d believe him.

Also stars Michael Shannon, Michael Stuhlbarg, Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins.

4 stars. GDT gets an automatic 4 stars out of me every time.

It’s Guillermo, so we’re assuming an October release date, right? Isn’t that what they do with him? Or will they give him the late November roll out, right before Thanksgiving and Oscar push? I feel like it’ll be one or the other.

Shimmer Lake

An inventive crime thriller told backwards — reversing day by day through a week — following a local sheriff’s quest to unlock the mystery of three small town criminals and a bank heist gone wrong.

Sure.

3.5 stars. Concept gives it a bump. Like Too Late last year.

Shock and Awe

A group of journalists covering George Bush’s planned invasion of Iraq in 2003 are skeptical of the presidents claim that Saddam Hussein has “weapons of mass destruction.”

Rob Reiner on a roll. First Being Charlie, which I liked, then LBJ, which still hasn’t come out, and now this.

Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, Milla Jovovich, Jessica Biel, James Marsden, and Reiner himself.

3.5 stars. Gotta assume good things with this cast.

Sidney Hall

Sidney Hall finds accidental success and unexpected love at an early age, then disappears without a trace.

This is by the guy who did Curfew/Before I Disappear. Which were both very good.

Stars Logan Lerman, Elle Fanning, Michelle Monaghan, Kyle Chandler, Margaret Qualley, Blake Jenner, Nathan Lane and Tim Blake Nelson.

3.5 stars.

Good cast and the director made a good one last time out. His stock is up.

Slice

When a pizza delivery driver is murdered on the job, the city searches for someone to blame: ghosts? drug dealers? a disgraced werewolf?

All I know is that it stars Chance the Rapper and the poster makes it look B movie as fuck.

3.5 stars.

Let’s wait and see. They’re keeping this one under wraps. Hope it’s as good as they’re promising.

Small Town Crime

An alcoholic ex-cop finds the body of a young woman and, through an act of self-redemption, becomes hell-bent on finding the killer but unwittingly puts his family in danger and gets caught up with several dark characters along the way.

John Hawkes doing another mystery/thriller. Also stars Anthony Anderson, Clifton Collins, Robert Forster and Octavia Spencer. Cool, cool.

3 stars. Can’t assume more, but hoping for more.

Smartass

A 15-year-old runaway’s ambitions are revealed to her after being arrested, gamed and hustled; but will she follow them or be lost in a world of dodgy characters and chaos? Based on true events (mostly), Freddie, a 15-year-old runaway becomes intimately acquainted with California’s “Murder City” after being released from jail, just shy of midnight. Absurdly self-reliant, completely broke and 120 miles away from her friends she has nothing to depend on but her wit and youthful charm.

Sure.

3 stars.

Soldado

A follow-up to the 2015 film, ‘Sicario’, which centers around the escalating war against drugs along the border of the United States and Mexico.

Taylor Sheridan wrote this one too, but it does not have Denis Villeneuve and Roger Deakins. It has Stefano Sollima, who Gomorrah, the TV show (not the original movie), and Dariusz Wolski, who shot Pirates, Prometheus and the Martian. Not that bad a trade off, but not those other two.

Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro are back, as is Jeffrey Donovan. We add Matthew Modine and Catherine Keener.

3.5 stars.

I’m not thinking it’ll be that big a drop off, but I’m also assuming this won’t be as good as Sicario.

The good thing about this is, if it’s not good, we can just ignore it and think about how good Sicario is.

The Square

People gather to city square, where there are no rules and you can do whatever you want.

Directed and written by the guy who did Force Majeure.

Stars Elisabeth Moss and Dominic West.

3.5 stars. Premise sounds interesting and the director has at least one really good film under his belt. Until he steers me wrong, no reason to think this won’t be good. This could be like The Lobster following up Dogtooth.

State Like Sleep

State Like Sleep is a film about the basic need for human connection and love. The title refers not only to a doctor’s inadequate yet poetic description of what it’s like to be in a coma, but also to the psychological state one can enter when dealing with trauma; emotionally closed off but acutely conscious, a blank exterior housing a rich interior life. The story enables this surreal state by pairing spiritual damage with awkward humor, thrill with mystery, and sexual spectacle with the sublime. State Like Sleep finds love and hope in unexpected places as it travels through the ups and downs of mourning and loss.

Not a great synopsis. But it stars Katherine Waterston and Michael Shannon and was written and directed by a woman. So I like that. But not really knowing what this is and only having a synopsis that sounds like it was written by someone who worked on the film, I can only say 3 stars.

Stephanie

An orphaned young girl with unworldly powers is taken in by a man and woman who claim to be her parents.

Directed by Akiva Goldsman. Because Winter’s Tale worked out so well.

2.5 stars.

A Storm in the Stars

The love affair between poet Percy Shelley and 18 year old Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, which resulted in Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein.

By the director of Wadjda too. I liked that movie.

Douglas Booth, Elle FAnning, Bel Powley, Maisie Williams — okay.

3 stars.

It’s no Shakespeare in Love, but I’ll take it.

Stratton

A British Special Boat Service commando tracks down an international terrorist cell.

Another Simon West thriller.

3 stars.

Do we even need to see who’s in it?

Dominic Cooper, Tyler Hoechlin, Tom Felton, Connie Nielson, Derek Jacobi.

Yeah, that’s enough to keep it at 3.

Submergence

In a room with no windows on the eastern coast of Africa, an Englishman, James More, is held captive by jihadist fighters. Thousands of miles away on the Greenland Sea, Danielle Flinders prepares to dive in a submersive to the ocean floor. In their confines they are drawn back to the Christmas of the previous year, where a chance encounter on a beach in France led to an intense and enduring romance.

Wim Wenders.

James McAvoy and Alicia Vikander.

I like them. I do not like that synopsis. So, she’s gonna go and look under the ocean. He’s in a prison cell. They think back to when they fucked last year. That’s the movie?

3.5 stars. Vikander’s been making really good choices lately. Let’s hope this isn’t a bad one.

Suburbicon

A crime mystery set in the quiet family town of Suburbicon during the 1950s, where the best and worst of humanity is hilariously reflected through the deeds of seemingly ordinary people. When a home invasion turns deadly, a picture-perfect family turns to blackmail, revenge and betrayal.

Written by the Coen brothers and given to Clooney instead.

Stars Matt Damon, Oscar Isaa, Josh Brolin, Julianne Moore.

4.5 stars.

I can’t not, with the people involved. Anything less than 4 stars is utter disappointment. I need this to be a top ten. It’s got so many great pieces to it. Please don’t let this turn out like Monuments Men.

Sun Dogs

Following his third failed attempt to join the military, courage-obsessed misfit, Ned Chipley, takes a Marine Officer’s advice to “protect the home front” a little too seriously. Determined to find his purpose in life, Ned Chipley zeroes in on a casino manager, who may or may not be an Al Qaeda mastermind. Chipley enlists the help of a young runaway named Tally Petersen; together they form the most unlikely anti-terrorism unit of post-9/11 America in SUN DOGS, a tale of love, friendship and homeland security.

I assume this is a comedy?

It’s being directed by Jennifer Morrison, from House and that fairy tale show with all the Disney characters. It stars Michael Angarano, Melissa Benoist, Allison Janney, Ed O’Neill and Xzibit.

Sure.

3 stars.

Anything with Ed O’Neill in it is all right by me.

Suspiria

A young ballet dancer travels to a prestigious dance academy in Berlin in 1977, only to discover it is a front for something far more sinister and supernatural amidst a series of increasingly grisly murders.

When they said this was being remade by David Gordon Green, I said, “No!” and “Why?!” And especially, “Why him?” I didn’t necessarily think they shouldn’t have remade it, but I could only see how they’d screw it up. You need a particular kind of vision to pull off a remake of that movie.

Enter Luca Guadagnino. Off I Am Love and A Bigger Splash, and now Call Me by Your Name, which we talked about yesterday and is getting all the hype at Sundance.

He cast Dakota Johnson as Susie Bannion. Check. Chloe Moretz as I’m assuming either the friend or one of the girls from the… opening. Cool. Tilda Swinton as the teacher. Perfect. Mia Goth as one of the other kids. And Jessica Harper comes back. Even better.

4 stars. Bring it the fuck on.

Honestly the only thing that could make me happier about all of this is if they announced that Goblin was coming back to do the soundtrack.

Because that’s what makes the original, more than anything, is that soundtrack. That’s gonna be real tough to pull off.

If you don’t know anything about the original, here’s the opening scene of the movie. It’s literally just a woman arriving off a plane, leaving the airport and getting into a cab. But the music and the shot choices, and the color — it’s terrifying.

If this version comes anywhere near what the original accomplishes, I will be very happy.

Sweet Virginia

A former rodeo champ befriends a young man with a propensity for violence.

Uhh, okay.

Jon Bernthal, Imogen Poots and Rosemarie DeWitt star. Okay, this was better than I expected after that synopsis.

3 stars.

I’m down for anything Imogen Poots wants to make.

The Tale

Centers on Jennifer, a successful, globetrotting journalist whose mother finds a story she wrote at age 13 describing a sexual triangle with two adult coaches. Jennifer sets out to find the coaches, now 40 years later, but as she delves deeper into her own mystery, the voice of her 13-year-old “Jenny” begins to surface and tell her side of the story. What Jenny reveals shatters everything Jennifer thought she knew about herself.

Female writer/director, based on her own experiences, apparently.

Stars Laura Dern, Ellen Burstyn, Elizabeth Debicki, Common, John Heard, Frances Conroy.

3 stars.

Thank You for Your Service

A look at how Post Traumatic Stress Disorder affects American servicemen and women returning home from war.

Directed and written by the guy who wrote American Sniper. Stars Miles Teller, Haley Bennett, Amy Schumer, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Kate Lyn Sheil.

3.5 stars.

Miles Teller typically is best when his characters have to go through some shit. I think this’ll be good.

The Third Wave

A disease that turned people into zombies has been cured. The once-infected zombies are discriminated against by society and their own families, which causes social issues to arise. This leads to militant government interference.

That premise sounds awesome. You can see the parallels to other issues there.

Stars Ellen Page.

3 stars.

Thoroughbred

Two teenage girls in suburban Connecticut rekindle their unlikely friendship after years of growing apart. In the process, they learn that neither is what she seems to be, and that a murder might solve both of their problems.

Stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Olivia Cooke and Anton Yelchin.

3 stars.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter’s murder case, Mildred Hayes makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby, the town’s revered chief of police. When his second-in-command Officer Dixon, an immature mother’s boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing’s law enforcement is only exacerbated.

Martin McDonagh. That’s all I needed. Oh, but the cast… Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Peter Dinklage, Abbie Cornish, Lucas Hedges, John Hawkes.

4 stars. McDonagh automatically gets that much. In Bruges is a perfect film and Seven Psychopaths is amazing. No reason to think this won’t also be fantastic.

To the Bone

A young woman is dealing with anorexia. She meets an unconventional doctor who challenges her to face her condition and embrace life.

Female writer/director. stars Lilly Collins and Keanu Reeves.

Feel like I’ve tracked this before. Maybe not. Either way, 3 stars. Feels like a standard indie kind of movie.

Tramps

A young man and woman find love in an unlikely place while carrying out a shady deal.

Like, the trunk of a car?

It’s a Netflix movie. So 3 stars. I’m sure it’ll be fine.

Tully

The film is about Marlo, a mother of three including a newborn, who is gifted a night nanny by her brother. Hesitant to the extravagance at first, Marlo comes to form a unique bond with the thoughtful, surprising and sometimes challenging young nanny named Tully.

Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody back together. Juno was great, Young Adult was very good. What are we gonna get here?

Charlize Theron is back, Mackenzie Davis joins her. Ron Livingston and Mark Duplass are also in it.

I’m thinking we go 3.5 stars here. Solid, very good, but not assuming great. Jason Retiman hasn’t really made something I liked a lot since Up in the Air. Young Adult was almost there, but Labor Day and Men, Women and Children weren’t more than just okay. I’m hoping he gets back to very good status. I really like his work.

Unchained

No plot, but based on the cast, I already know it’s a 3 star action movie.

John Malkovich, Adrien Brody, Antonio Banderas. See? That’s all you needed. You know what you’re getting here, even sight unseen.

Under the Silver Lake

Modern noir crime thriller set in Los Angeles.

Noir written and directed by the It Follows guy starring Andrew Garfield and Riley Keough.

Done.

4 stars.

Bring it on. Cannot wait for this.

Unicorn Store

A woman named Kit receives a mysterious invitation that would fulfill her childhood dreams.

Brie Larson’s directorial debut. She stars along with John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Joan Cusack, Bradley Whitford and Hamish Linklater.

Let’s call it 3.5 stars. Maybe I’m aiming too high, but what the hell. I’ve really liked Brie Larson’s choices.

Untitled 1922 Film

based on a man’s confession of his wife’s murder. It will be told from the perspective of Wilfred James, the story’s narrator, who admits to killing his wife, Arlette, with his son in Nebraska. But our narrator is unreliable, and after he buries her body, his life begins to unravel. He becomes convinced his wife is haunting him, for good reason.

Netflix is making another Stephen King movie.

Thomas Jane and Molly Parker star. Sure.

3 stars.

Untitled A.A. Milne Project

A behind-the-scenes look at the life of author A.A. Milne and the creation of the Winnie the Pooh stories inspired by his son C.R. Milne.

Domhnall Gleeson plays Milne, Margot Robbie plays his wife. Kelly Macdonald is also in it.

Director is Simon Curtis, who did Woman in Gold and My Week with Marilyn. So solid Oscar-realm projects without any real bite to them.

3.5 stars. Might be able to get 4 out of this, but I won’t get my hopes up.

Untitled Darren Aronofsky Project

Centers on a couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter past Darren Aronofsky. But we also have Jennifer Lawrence, Domhnall Gleeson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Javier Bardem and Ed Harris for good measure.

4.5 stars. Aiming high, I know. But it’s Aronofsky. Gotta go big somewhere. He generally stays around 4 stars. Noah’s the only real film of his that went below 4. I think he’ll go back to making something really good.

Untitled Detroit Project

A police raid in Detroit in 1967 results in one of the largest citizen uprisings in the United States’ history.

Kathryn Bigelow making a Detroit riots movie, starring Anthony Mackie, John Boyega, Jack Reynor, John Krasinski, Kaitlyn Dever, Will Poulter, Jason Mitchell.

Bigelow, at this point, is good for 4 stars. Could go higher, could go lower. Hurt Locker was great and Zero Dark Thirty was very good. Let’s assume this will also be very good.

Untitled Nash Edgerton Project

Joel Edgerton’s brother is directing a movie, and it stars him, Charlize Theron, Thandie Newton, Amanda Seyfried, Sharlto Copley, Michael Angarano, David Oyelowo, Kenneth Choi and Alan Ruck.

Hell of a cast. And with no plot to go on whatsoever, I have to assume 3.5 stars. Completely sight unseen.

Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Fashion Project

Plot unknown. Described as a drama in the fashion world of London in the 1950s.

Paul Thomas Anderson directing Daniel Day-Lewis again. Don’t even care what it’s about. 5 stars.

The man’s made seven films. Five of them were in my top ten for their respective years. A sixth barely missed. I think we can safely say 5 stars as a guess with him.

No idea if this gets shot and comes out this year or not, but I’m excited for it either way.

Untitled Woody Allen Project

Described as a period drama set in New York in the 1950s.

It honestly doesn’t matter what this is about. It’s Woody Allen. We guess 3 stars and wait to see.

Oh, and in this are Kate Winslet, Juno Temple, Justin Timberlake, Max Casella, Jim Belushi, Tony Sirico, Steve Schirripa. So it’s mob related.

It’s Woody. We see it, it’ll be either okay or not great, and we move on. At this point I don’t expect anything more or less out of him.

Untogether

A former teen prodigy turned heroin addict tries to be a writer now that she’s sober.

Okay.

Written and directed by a woman. Ben Mendelsohn’s wife, at that.

Jamie Dornan, Alice Eve, Jennifer Grey, Ben Mendelsohn, Lola Kirke, Jemima Kirke, Scott Caan, Billy Crystal — damn, the cast keeps going.

3 stars. Seems too indie to go much higher, so we’ll stick with 3.

Valley of the Gods

Entwines Navajo lore with a reclusive trillionaire and his would-be biographer, creating a fascinating, mysterious and idiosyncratic vision of America.

Okay?

Josh Hartnett, John Malkovich, Berenice Marlohe, Charlotte RAmpling, John Rhys-Davies.

2.5 stars, I guess.

Vengeance: A Love Story

A gulf war veteran seeks vengeance against those who assaulted a single mother.

Yeah, you guessed it. Starring Nicolas Cage.

Based on Joyce Carol Oates. In case you didn’t think that pairing would ever happen.

3 stars. Blanket Cage rating. He always gets 3.

Viceroy’s House

In 1947, Lord Mountbatten assumes the post of last Viceroy, charged with handing India back to its people, living upstairs at the house which was the home of British rulers, whilst 500 Hindu, Muslim and Sikh servants lived downstairs.

3 stars. Seems easy enough.

Voice from the Stone

Set in 1950s Tuscany, Voice from the Stone is the haunting and suspenseful story of Verena, a solemn nurse drawn to aid a young boy who has fallen silent since the sudden passing of his mother.

Apparently out April 28th. Stars Emilia Clarke.

3 stars.

Warning Shot

A single mother and her young daughter struggle to make ends meet until they inherit their family’s farmhouse. When a business rival covets their water rights, the situation spirals out of control.

James Earl Jones and Bruce Dern are in this. I don’t give a fuck how bad it is, I want to see it.

2.5 stars.

Walking Out

An urban teenager journeys to Montana to hunt big game with his estranged father. Father and son struggle to connect, until a brutal encounter in the heart of the wilderness changes everything.

3 stars. Sounds western-y.

We Don’t Belong Here

A matriarch of a dysfunctional family is pushed to her tipping point by the disappearance of her son.

Supposedly in theaters April 4th.

Catherine Keener stars, with Anton Yelchin (which I assume is his last movie), Kaitlyn Dever, Maya Rudolph, Riley Keough, Cary Elwes and Molly Shannon.

Sure.

3 stars.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

An isolated family, which has already lost four members to poisoning, that uses rituals and talismans to keep itself away from hostile townspeople.

So many female directors here. I love it.

Sebastian Stan, Alexandra Daddario, Taissa Farmiga, Crispin Glover.

Guess which one’s playing the creepy uncle.

3 stars.

Wetlands

A man attempts to make a new start in Atlantic City with the help of his daughter and a new business partner.

Anthony Mackie, Jennifer Ehle, Adewale Akkinuoye-Agbaje, Heather Graham. Sure.

3 stars.

What Happened to Monday

In a world where families are limited to one child due to overpopulation, a set of identical septuplets must avoid being put to a long sleep by the government and dangerous infighting while investigating the disappearance of one of their own.

Starring Noomi Rapace, Willem Dafoe, Glenn Close.

The director made Dead Snow and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. So… yeah.

3 stars. Either generic sci fi thriller or batshit crazy sci fi movie. Either way, 3 is the number.

What’s the Point?

An ensemble comedy about the meaning of matrimony.

Written and directed by Lake Bell, whose previous movie, In a World…, was good.

3 stars. I’ll assume decent but not something I’ll love. Especially since the cast includes Ed Helms and Amber Heard, who don’t inspire much confidence out of me.

Wheelman

A getaway driver for a bank robbery realizes he has been double crossed and races to find out who betrayed him.

Okay, okay. Director’s done nothing before, so this’ll be a down and dirty B movie. Which means an automatic 3 stars. That was simple.

When We First Met

Noah spends the perfect first night with the girl of his dreams Avery but gets relegated to the friend zone. He spends the next three years wondering what went wrong – until he gets the unexpected chance to travel back in time and alter that night, and his fate, over and over again.

Directed by the guy who did The DUFF, which was fair. Stars Adam Devine and Alexandra Daddario.

Yeah, figuring only 3 stars out of this at best. The people involved don’t give me a whole lot of hope that it’s much better.

Where is Kyra?

In Brooklyn, New York, Kyra loses her job and struggles to survive on her ailing mother’s income. As the weeks and months go on, her problems worsen. This leads her on a risky and enigmatic path that threatens her life.

Michelle Pfeiffer stars. They’re gonna push this for Oscars all throughout the year. Either low key or real big. Depends on how it’s received. She’s in that position Julianne Moore was at ten years ago, just at a lower level. They want to push her for awards any chance they get, though she, more so than Julianne Moore, doesn’t do enough to really put her in that conversation.

Let’s see what we got out of this.

3.5 stars.

White Boy Rick

The story of teenager, Richard Wershe Jr., who became an undercover informant for the police during the 1980s and was ultimately arrested for drug-trafficking and sentenced to life in prison.

This hasn’t shot yet, but I’m really excited for it. Yann Demange’s first movie after ’71, and Matthew McConaughey co-stars. Doubtful this comes out this year.

4 stars.

Why We’re Killing Gunther

A group of eccentric assassins are fed up with Gunther, the world’s greatest hit-man and decide to kill him but their plan turns into a series of bungled encounters as Gunther seems to always be one step ahead.

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Gunter. And this is directed and written by Taran Killam.

This could be real stupid. So let’s only go 2.5 stars. I don’t know what I’m getting out of this. I’m thinking 2.5 or 3, but I’m not ruling out the possibility of less, if this is that really bad SNL movie humor I can’t stand.

The Wife

A writer decides to leave her husband while traveling to receive a prestigious award.

Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, Logan Lerman and Christian Slater star.

Sure.

3 stars.

Wildlife

A boy witnesses his parent’s marriage falling apart after his mom finds another man.

Paul Dano wrote and directs this. It stars a kid, and also Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan

4 stars. Not sure why I’m going so high, but it feels like I should.

Win It All

Joe Swanberg movie. Which is really all I need.

3 stars. His movies are exclusively 3 stars for me.

Wind River

An FBI agent teams with the town’s veteran game tracker to investigate a murder that occurred on a Native American reservation.

Written and directed by Taylor Sheridan, who wrote Sicario and Hell or High Water. Not a bad starting point.

Stars Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner and Jon Bernthal.

At least 3.5 stars here. It’s his first film, so I’m not gonna go overboard. I think I could get 4 out of this if the stars align.

Wolves

An 18-year-old basketball star who is being recruited by Cornell University seems to have it all figured out: captain of his team, a good student, has a longtime girlfriend and some good friends. But at home he’s struggling with his troubled father who has a gambling addiction. His mother tries to keep the family afloat but does so with great emotional and financial sacrifice.

Playing at Sundance, coming out March 3rd. Stars Michael Shannon and Carla Gugino.

3 stars.

Woman Walks Ahead

Woman Walks Ahead is the story of Catherine Weldon, a portrait painter from 1890s Brooklyn, who travels to Dakota to paint a portrait of Sitting Bull, and becomes embroiled in the Lakota peoples’ struggle over the rights to their land.

Written by Steven Knight. Check. Directed by a woman. Double check. She did Our Kind of Traitor, which I liked.

Stars Jessica Chastain, Sam Rockwell, Ciaran Hinds.

Totally in.

3.5 stars.

Wonderstruck

The story of a young boy in the Midwest is told simultaneously with a tale about a young girl in New York from fifty years ago as they both seek the same mysterious connection.

Todd Haynes is directing this, so I’m in regardless.

Michelle Williams, Julianne Moore. Not written by Haynes, but written instead by the guy who wrote Hugo. The book. Still, Todd Haynes.

4 stars.

Woodshock

A woman falls deeper into paranoia after taking a deadly drug.

Kirsten Dunst stars. Directed by sisters. Which is cool.

3 stars.

Yeh Din Ka Kissa

An estranged family gathers together in New York for an event celebrating the artistic work of their father.

Noah Baumbach movie.

Adam Sandler, Emma Thompson, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman.

I mean… it’s Baumbach, so I can’t assume more than 3 stars. I hope for more, but I generally am put off by his movies, by and large. So we stay with the standard and see where it goes from there.

You Were Never Really Here

A war veteran’s attempt to save a young girl from a sex trafficking ring goes horribly wrong.

Lynne Ramsey directs Joaquin Phoenix. If that’s not the sign of a decent movie anchored by a very strong lead performance, I don’t know what is.

3.5 stars.

Zoe

Two colleagues at a revolutionary research lab design technology to improve and perfect romantic relationships. As their work progresses, their discoveries become more profound.

Supposed to shoot this spring. Technically it could come out. If not, it’s Drake Doremus, who is someone I at least find interesting as a director.

Ewan McGregor and Lea Seydoux.

3 stars.

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