The 2017 Film Release Calendar: 2016 Holdovers

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.

And finally, we go over the films from last year (or even before last year) that I’ve been tracking that haven’t yet come out. It’s my chance to reevaluate them now knowing they’ve been held over or not picked up for release for whatever reasons.

About Ray

After Ray decides to transition from female to male, Ray’s mother, Maggie, must come to terms with the decision while tracking down Ray’s biological father to get his legal consent.

This is that movie the Weinsteins pulled from release like three weeks before it was supposed to come out in 2015. And they promised, “No, no, don’t worry, we’re gonna put it out bigger. This was just a temporary thing.” And it’s still not out.

I have a copy of it, so I’ll see it for sure this year. But no idea when they’re actually gonna release this.

With Susan Sarandon, Elle Fanning and Naomi Watts, you’d think they’d put it out somewhere. Nope.

2.5 stars. The delay is not promising.


Based on the airline accident that occurred in July of 2002 and on the events that took place 478 days later.

Arnold Schwarzenegger stars. This used to be called 478. So a title change is a sign of things moving forward.

I expect this to be dumped on VOD some time this year. Especially with a title as generic as this.

2.5 stars.

All Nighter

A workaholic father who attempts to visit his daughter during a layover in LA, only to discover that she’s disappeared, is forced to team up with her awkward ex-boyfriend to find her over the course of one transformative night.

March 24th VOD release. Saw the trailer — ehh. Decent enough.

3 stars.

Basmati Blues

A brilliant scientist is plucked out of the company lab and sent to India to sell the genetically modified rice she created – which she doesn’t realize will destroy the farmers she thinks she’s helping.

Been done for two years now. Still waiting for it to come out.

3 stars. Can’t, in good conscience, keep the guess at 3.5. Not after all this time.

Billionaire Boys Club

A group of wealthy boys in Los Angeles during the early 1980s establish a ‘get-rich-quick’ scam that turns deadly.

This should end up on VOD at some point this year.

3 stars.

The Bleeder

A drama inspired by the life of heavyweight boxer Chuck Wepner.

Played Toronto 2015 and nothing yet. Solid cast. I imagine it’s not great. It doesn’t look too great.

3 stars. It’s boxing, though. How bad can it be?

Brain on Fire

A look at a young woman’s rapid descent into insanity.

Was at Toronto last year. So it theoretically should come out this year.

This is the last of the Chloe Moretz movies before she cleared her slate to reevaluate her choices. I imagine decent, unspectacular.

3 stars.


From the moment the new reverend climbs the pulpit, Liz knows she and her family are in great danger.

March 10th, day and date. This is coming out.

Western. 3 stars. The bump only goes so far.

The Brits Are Coming

In an effort to avoid paying off a massive gambling debt to a notorious mobster in England, a couple flees to Los Angeles and hatch a jewel theft plot.

Seems like an easy 3 stars.

Carrie Pilby

A person of high intelligence struggles to make sense of the world as it relates to morality, relationships, sex and leaving her apartment.

April 4th release date. Still interested in this. I like Bel Powley.

3 stars.


A woman discovers that severe catastrophic events are somehow connected to the mental breakdown from which she’s suffering.

The Anne Hathaway/Godzilla movie.

April 7th release date. This is for sure coming out.

3 stars. Not gonna get my hopes up on this one.

Crash Pad

A hopeless romantic who thinks he’s found true love with an older woman, only to learn that she’s married and that his fling is merely an instrument of revenge against her neglectful husband.

Domhnall Gleeson stars and it’s directed by the editor of The Descendants. So there’s some reason to be interested in this.

3 stars.


Set in the 1980s, a young Italian-American from the “wrong side of the tracks” falls for a Jewish girl from Long Island.

By the guy who wrote The Wrestler and did Big Fan. Maybe VOD this year?

3 stars.

The Disaster Artist

A behind-the-scenes look at the making of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room (2003).

I mean… 3 stars. Still haven’t seen a Franco movie come out.

First They Killed My Father

Cambodian author and human rights activist Loung Ung recounts the horrors she suffered under the rule of the deadly Khmer Rouge.

Coming out on Netflix this year. Angelina Jolie movie. Jury’s still out on her abilities as a director.

3 stars.

The Foreigner

The IRA took his family. The police looked the other way. Now he must get revenge.

Says it’s coming out September 29th. That seems to be the date for these Jackie Chan action movies.

But hey, at least Pierce Brosnan is in this one too.

3 stars.

Goon: Last of the Enforcers

A hockey player plagued by injuries is confronted with the possibility of retirement when a tough new player challenges his status as the league’s top enforcer.

Well this is easy. The first one was a solid 3, this will be a decent 3 stars.

The Headhunter’s Calling

A headhunter whose life revolves around closing deals in a a survival-of-the-fittest boiler room, battles his top rival for control of their job placement company — his dream of owning the company clashing with the needs of his family.

Why am I tracking this?

2.5 stars.

If this doesn’t come out this year, I’m done.

Hot Summer Nights

A boy comes of age during a summer he spends in Cape Cod.

Still excited for this. One of the better scripts I’ve read over the past few years.

3.5 stars.

How to Talk to Girls at Parties

An alien touring the galaxy breaks away from her group and meets two young inhabitants of the most dangerous place in the universe: the London suburb of Croydon.

Definitely coming out this year.

3 stars.

It’s Only the End of the World

Louis (Gaspard Ulliel), a terminally ill writer, returns home after a long absence to tell his family that he is dying

Xavier Dolan. Was shortlisted for Foreign Language Film. Still technically not released in the US. I have a copy, so I’ll see it.

3 stars.

Katie Says Goodbye

A kindhearted seventeen-year-old in the American Southwest turns to prostitution to fulfill her dream of a new life in San Francisco.

Oh, fun.

3 stars.

The Last Face

A director (Charlize Theron) of an international aid agency in Africa meets a relief aid doctor (Javier Bardem) amidst a political/social revolution, and together face tough choices surrounding humanitarianism and life through civil unrest.

Sean Penn directs.

This got savaged by critics and still hasn’t come out.

But Sean Penn is a good director, so I have to give him a baseline of 3 stars for this, despite everything.

The Layover

Two friends decide to go on a road trip together.

William H. Macy directs.

Good enough for me.

3 stars.


The story of U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson from his young days in West Texas to the White House.

Rob Reiner, Woody Harrelson. Solid cast around him.

Still 3.5 stars. Only played Toronto last year. Can’t imagine it’s terrible. At worst 3 stars.

Loving Vincent

A feature film about the life and mysterious death of Vincent Van Gogh.

Why this is interesting is because every single frame of this movie is hand-painted.

Every single frame.

4.5 stars.

The Man with the Iron Heart

1942: The Third Reich is at its peak. The Czech resistance in London decides to plan the most ambitious military operation of WWII: Anthropoid. Two young recruits in their late twenties, Jozef Gabcik and Jan Kubis, are sent to Prague to assassinate the most ruthless Nazi leader – Reich-protector Reinhard Heydrich, Head of the SS, the Gestapo, and the architect of the “Final Solution”.

Oh good, another Anthropoid movie.

This is by the director of The Connection and stars Mia Wasikowska, Rosamund Pike, Jack O’Connell, Jack Reynor and Jason Clarke. Should I give in and stick with 3.5? Fuck it. 3.5 stars.


The story of a heavy metal drummer who blows his eardrums out and must learn to adapt to a world of silence. An introspective journey into the vortex of our senses, tinkering with cinema’s boundaries.

I really don’t know what I’m getting here, but I’ve been tracking this for like three years now.

Derek Cianfrance directs this, and I’m assuming there’s some crazy audio shit going on with this, which is why it’s taking so long to finish. Either that or it’s a money thing.

Still — 4 stars. Cianfrance has earned 4 stars to this point.

Morgan Leavey

The true story of Marine Corporal Megan Leavey, who forms a powerful bond with an aggressive combat dog, Rex. While deployed in Iraq, the two complete more than 100 missions and save countless lives, until an IED explosion puts their faithfulness to the test.

I mean, ultimately it’s a dog movie. So 3 stars.

November Criminals

A teenager takes on his own investigation of a murder in Washington D.C.

So like if Blue Velvet were a standard thriller?

By the director of Hitchcock, which was decent. Stars Ansel Elgort and Chloe Moretz. Okay.

Coming out April 7th.

3 stars.

Once Upon a Time in Venice

A Los Angeles detective seeks out the ruthless gang that stole his dog.

I love that this is by the guys who did Cop Out and it’s basically the same story and also starring Bruce Willis. Hilarious.

This should get a VOD release sometime this year.

3 stars.

The Other Half

A bipolar woman and a grief-stricken man struggle to forge a simple life.

March 10th VOD release.

That’s what I love about these holdovers. I get older, they stay the same age. They’re always either straight up dated for the first quarter of the year or they might never come out.

3 stars.


Follows the journey of sisters who are believed to possess the supernatural ability to connect with ghosts. They cross paths with a visionary French producer while performing in Paris.

This got a French release in November. It should become available to see at some point this year.

3 stars.

Please Stand By

A young autistic woman runs away from her caregiver in an attempt to submit her manuscript to a writing competition.

This gets one more year, otherwise I’m out.

2.5 stars.


The plot centers on Maynard (Shannon), a beloved local businessman who is mistaken for the legendary Bigfoot during an inebriated romp through town in a makeshift gorilla costume. The sightings set off an international Bigfoot media spectacle and a windfall of tourism dollars for a simple American town hit by hard times.

Michael Shannon mistaken for Bigfoot? In.

3.5 stars.

The Promise

Set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire, The Promise follows a love triangle between Michael, a brilliant medical student, the beautiful and sophisticated Ana, and Chris – a renowned American journalist based in Paris.

Terry George directs. Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac and Charlotte le Bon star. That should be an automatic 3.5, but the fact that it went to Toronto and is now going VOD is not promising.

3 stars. 3.5 seems like the ceiling on this.


The story of humankind’s last stand against a cataclysmic alien invasion. Set in the war-ravaged African countryside, a U.S. soldier and a French foreign aid worker team up to survive the alien onslaught. Their bond will be tested as they search for refuge across a crumbling world.

Seems small in scale and solid in premise. 3 stars.

Salt and Fire

A scientist blames the head of a large company for an ecological disaster in South America. But when a volcano begins to show signs of erupting, they must unite to avoid a disaster.

Werner Herzog’s new movie. The lack of a release is not promising, but 3 stars is the baseline for him.

Sand Castle

Set during the occupation of Iraq, a squad of U.S. soldiers try to protect a small village.

3 stars. Whenever it comes out. It’ll be 3 stars.

The Seagull

The Seagull centers on the romantic and artistic clashes between fading actress Irina Arkadina; fresh-faced ingénue Nina Zarechnaya; famous writer Boris Trigorin, Irina’s lover; and failing playwright Konstantin Treplyov, Irina’s son who is in love with Nina. All four come up against one another while visiting a country estate owned by Irina’s brother.

Good cast. Saoirse Ronan, Elisabeth Moss, Annette Bening, Corey Stoll. But a play is a play, and there’s only so much you can do with that. 3 stars.

The Secret Scripture

A woman keeps a diary of her extended stay at a mental hospital.

Played Toronto, should be coming out in the UK in the spring, which means fall release here, likely.

3.5 stars. Gonna stick with 3.5 because of Rooney Mara and Jim Sheridan. Could be wrong, but I’m hopeful.

Shot Caller

A newly released prison gangster is forced by the leaders of his gang to orchestrate a major crime with a brutal rival gang on the streets of Southern California.

3 stars. Some things won’t change because of VOD.


A victim of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 helps the police track down the killers while struggling to recover from devastating trauma.

This will come out this year. The only question is how good it’s gonna be.

Gotta go 3.5 stars just because David Gordon Green can be solid and Jake Gyllenhaal has been picking good material lately.


An original pop musical film about six strangers who get stuck on a New York City subway together and change each others lives in unexpected ways.

3 stars. Original musical will be at least moderately interesting to me, even if it’s not particularly good.

Super Troopers 2

I love the first one. I’m worried this one will be a lesser version. This is 16 years later.

So 3 stars, and we’ll hope to get 3.5 out of this.

True Crimes

A murder investigation of a slain business man turns to clues found in an author’s book about an eerily similar crime. Based on 2008 New Yorker article by David Grann.

Jim Carrey thriller. These generally don’t turn out well. But hey, what the hell. 3 stars.


When a young woman unexpectedly arrives at an older man’s workplace, looking for answers, the secrets of the past threaten to unravel his new life. Their confrontation will uncover buried memories and unspeakable desires. It will shake them both to the core.

Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn. You gotta figure at least decent out of this.

Difficult subject matter. That’s probably why this hasn’t come out yet.

3.5 stars. Good acting counts for a lot.


A CIA interrogator is lured into a ruse that puts London at risk of a biological attack.

3 stars. Easy enough.

Oh, and this stars Michael Douglas, John Malkovich, Orlando Bloom, Noomi Rapace and Toni Collette. So that’s something too.

Viena and the Fantomes

A roadie travels across North America with a punk band during the 1980s.

Evan Rachel Wood, Dakota Fanning, Zoe Kravita, Jon Bernthal.

Good enough to keep this at 3 stars.

Vier giegen de Bank

Four men, betrayed by the bank, unite to take revenge.

Wolfgang Petersen. Pretty much only gonna be released in Germany but he’s part of my Directors List so I need to track it and see it.

3 stars.


A small town loner and a rebellious punk rocker unexpectedly fall in love as they are forced on the run and soon discover violence follows them everywhere.

3 stars.

War Machine

A satire of America’s war with Afghanistan with a focus on the people running the campaign.

Netflix is putting this out. Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton, Emory Cohen, Ben Kingsley.

I mean, shit, there’s like eight more people I recognize in this. Really good case.

4 stars.

I feel like I should go for, knowing Pitt’s tastes. At worst I should get 3.5 out of this.

The Yellow Birds

Two young soldiers, Bartle (21) and Murph (18) navigate the terrors of the Iraq war under the command of the older, troubled Sergeant Sterling. All the while, Bartle is tortured by a promise he made to Murph’s mother before their deployment.

Played at Sundance to so-so reviews.

Decent enough cast, so we’ll assume it’s okay.

3 stars.


A young actor arrives in Hollywood in 1969 during a transitional time in the Industry.

Yet another James Franco movie that may or may not ever come out.

2.5 stars.

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