Daily Cal Arts’ 15 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

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"Baby Driver" | Sony Pictures
Grade: 5.0/5.0

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With 2016 behind us, it’s time to look forward to the movies of 2017. Here are 15 films that we think will be phenomenal.

  1. “Darkest Hours”

Directed by: Joe Wright (“Atonement,” “Pride and Prejudice”)
Starring: Gary Oldman (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” “The Dark Knight”), Ben Mendelsohn (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “Bloodline,” “The Dark Knight Rises”) and Lily James (“Cinderella”)
Written by: Anthony McCarten (“The Theory of Everything”)
Release date: November 24, 2017

“Darkest Hours” will recount the early days of Winston Churchill’s fight against the Nazis. Films based on true stories of history — especially massive ones such as this — are always the most intriguing. But when a solid director with the great war film “Atonement” is directing, the Oscar-nominated scribe of “The Theory of Everything” is writing and one of the great actors of today, Gary Oldman, is playing Churchill, it rarely gets as prestigious as this.

— Kyle Kizu

  1. “Baby Driver”

Directed by: Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead,” “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” “The World’s End”)
Starring: Lily James (“Cinderella”), Kevin Spacey (“Se7en,” “The Usual Suspects,” “House of Cards”), Jon Bernthal (“Fury,” “The Wolf of Wall Street”), Jon Hamm (“The Town,” “Mad Men”), Jamie Foxx (“Ray,” “Django Unchained”), Ansel Elgort (“The Fault in Our Stars”)
Written by: Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead,” “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” “The World’s End”)
Release date: August 11, 2017

Edgar Wright’s newest film follows a getaway driver who gets tangled up in a heist doomed to fail — a premise that seems ripe for Wright’s signature humor and insane visual stylings. “Baby Driver” appropriately stars Ansel Elgort’s baby face, as well as pretty much everyone else you’d ever want to see in a heist film. We almost got an Edgar Wright film with 2015’s “Ant-Man,” and 2017’s “Baby Driver” promises to fill the Wright-shaped void left in our hearts.

— Harrison Tunggal

  1. “War for the Planet of the Apes”

Directed by: Matt Reeves (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” “Cloverfield,” “Let Me In”)
Starring: Andy Serkis (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy), Woody Harrelson (“No Country for Old Men,” “The Messenger,” the “Hunger Games” films, “Zombieland”), Judy Greer (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” “Jurassic World,” “Ant-Man”)
Written by: Matt Reeves (“Let Me In,” “The Yards”), Mark Bomback (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” “The Wolverine,” “Live Free or Die Hard”)
Release date: July 14, 2017

Following two critically and commercially successful films, “War for the Planet of the Apes” promises to be an epic conclusion to the story of Caesar. If this was a just world — it’s not — Andy Serkis (Gollum in “Lord of the Rings”) would have two Oscar nominations for the powerfully convincing motion capture performances as Caesar. If the third succeeds — and the brief but intense first trailer leads us to believe it will — it’ll be hard to keep ignoring the brazen performance behind one of the greatest technological achievements in film’s storied history.

— Levi Hill

  1. “Battle of the Sexes”

Directed by: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (“Little Miss Sunshine,” “Ruby Sparks”)
Starring: Emma Stone (“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance),” “La La Land”), Steve Carell (“The Big Short,” “Foxcatcher”)
Written by: Simon Beaufoy (“127 Hours,” “Slumdog Millionaire”)
Release date: TBD 2017

“Battle of the Sexes” is set to depict the famous tennis match between Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell), which was surrounded by conservation of gender inequality. Emma Stone just won the nation’s heart with a career-defining performance in “La La Land” and Steve Carell recently floored the entire industry with a terrifying, layered and Oscar-nominated turn in “Foxcatcher.” With them being perhaps the most promising lead actress/lead actor combo of 2017, I can already feel the electricity between the two.

— Kyle Kizu

  1. “Suburbicon”

Directed by: George Clooney (“The Ides of March,” “Good Night, and Good Luck.”)
Starring: Matt Damon (“The Martian,” “Good Will Hunting,” the “Bourne” trilogy), Oscar Isaac (“Ex Machina,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”), Josh Brolin (“Milk,” “No Country for Old Men,” “Sicario”), Julianne Moore (“Still Alice,” “Boogie Nights”)
Written by: George Clooney (“The Ides of March,” “Good Night, and Good Luck.”), Joel and Ethan Coen (“No Country for Old Men,” “The Big Lebowski,” “Fargo”), Grant Heslov (“The Ides of March,” “Good Night, and Good Luck.”)
Release date: TBD 2017

Combine a Coen Brothers script (Oscar-winners for “No Country For Old Men”) with producer Grant Heslov (Oscar-winner for “Argo”) and director George Clooney (Oscar-nominee for “Good Night and Good Luck.”) along with Oscar-winner Matt Damon, Oscar-winner Julianne Moore, Oscar-nominee Josh Brolin and Oscar Isaac, and you have a film stacked with Oscar potential. Besides that, billed as a comedy-crime-mystery, “Suburbicon” looks to promise an entertaining film if nothing else.

— Levi Hill

  1. Untitled Detroit Riots Project

Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker,” “Zero Dark Thirty”)
Starring: Kaitlyn Dever (“Short Term 12”), John Boyega (“Attack the Block,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”), John Krasinski (“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” “Promised Land”) and Anthony Mackie (“The Hurt Locker,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”)
Written by: Mark Boal (“The Hurt Locker,” “Zero Dark Thirty”)
Release date: TBD 2017

Kathryn Bigelow reunites with Mark Boal, who wrote her previous two films “The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” for a necessary film about race, police brutality and the tragic 1967 Detroit riots. If precedent is any indication, the duo should clear up shelf space for another Oscar. If nothing else, the film stars some of today’s best young actors, including John Boyega and John Krasinski, two of the most likable people named John ever.

Harrison Tunggal

  1. “Downsizing”

Directed by: Alexander Payne (“Nebraska,” “The Descendants,” “Sideways,” “Election”)
Starring: Matt Damon (“The Martian,” “Good Will Hunting,” the “Bourne” trilogy), Kristen Wiig (“Bridesmaids,” “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”), Christoph Waltz (“Inglourious Basterds,” “Django Unchained”)
Written by: Alexander Payne (“Nebraska,” “The Descendants,” “Sideways,” “Election”), Jim Taylor (“Sideways,” “Election”)
Release date: December 22, 2017

What if I told you that Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Alec Baldwin, Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Sudeikis are all in a high-concept science fiction comedy? And what if I told you that the director/co-writer was the Oscar-winning Alexander Payne (“Sideways,” “The Descendants,” and “Nebraska”)? Are you sold yet? Yeah, we are too. Payne has been one of the wittiest writer-directors in the business, but he also has a way of adding real warmth, heart and a tinge of sadness to his pictures. With this cast, there’s no doubt “Downsizing” is one of the most interesting prestige projects in recent memory.

Levi Hill

  1. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”

Directed by: James Gunn (“Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Super”)
Starring: Chris Pratt (“Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Jurassic World,” “The Magnificent Seven”), Zoe Saldana (“Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Avatar,” “Star Trek”), Bradley Cooper (“Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “American Sniper)
Written by: James Gunn (“Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Dawn of the Dead,” “Super)
Release date: May 5, 2017

Director James Gunn, hunk Chris Pratt and the rest of the misfit gang are back to save the galaxy. If the trailers are any indication (which they might not be, but we’re hoping they are), then “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” looks to have retained the smart-ass one liners coupled with the unbreakable, irresistible heart of the main group of characters — a style that arguably made the first film the most beloved in the Marvel canon. Add in Kurt Russell, who’s playing Star-Lord’s long-lost father, and this may be the most anticipated Marvel film (besides “The Avengers”) yet.

— Levi Hill

  1. “The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara”

Directed by: Steven Spielberg (“Saving Private Ryan,” “Schindler’s List,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Jaws,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”)
Starring: Oscar Isaac (“Ex Machina,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”), Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies,” “The BFG,” “Dunkirk”)
Written by: Tony Kushner (“Munich,” “Lincoln”)
Release date: TBD 2017

Steven Spielberg is definitively and inarguably one of the greatest and most important directors of all time. Everything he touches has the potential to be a classic — he’s got upwards of 10 on his resume already. His next film — about a young Jewish boy ripped from his family to be raised as a Christian in the mid-1800s, which erupts into a political war between church and state — screams of epic brilliance, especially with the inclusion of Oscar Isaac and Mark Rylance, the 2015 Best Supporting Actor winner for Spielberg’s most recent film “Bridge of Spies.”

— Kyle Kizu

  1. “Logan”

Directed by: James Mangold (“The Wolverine,” “3:10 to Yuma,” “Walk the Line”)
Starring: Hugh Jackman (the “X-Men” trilogy, “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” “The Prestige,” “Les Misérables”), Patrick Stewart (the “X-Men” trilogy, “Star Trek: The Next Generation”), Boyd Holbrook (“Gone Girl,” “Milk”)
Written by: Michael Green (“Alien: Covenant,” “Blade Runner 2049”), Scott Frank (“The Wolverine,” “Minority Report,” “Out of Sight”), James Mangold (“Walk the Line,” “Cop Land”)
Release date: March 3, 2017

While Marvel films are unilaterally colorful and DC films are generally brooding, “Logan” looks like 2017’s most unique superhero entry. The film’s “Hell or High Water,” Western aesthetic and (seemingly) self-contained narrative suggest that “Logan” attempts autonomy rather than conforming to Fox’s increasingly jumbled “X-Men” timeline. In this sense, “Logan” seems to be a drama that just happens to have Wolverine in it. It is fitting, then, that Hugh Jackman’s final turn as Wolverine could be his best.

— Harrison Tunggal

  1. “Blade Runner 2049”

Directed by: Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival,” “Sicario,” “Prisoners”)
Starring: Ryan Gosling (“La La Land,” “Drive,” “The Big Short”), Harrison Ford (“Blade Runner,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” the original “Star Wars” trilogy), Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club,” “Requiem for a Dream”)
Written by: Michael Green (“Logan,” “Alien: Covenant”), Hampton Francher (“Blade Runner”)
Release date: October 6, 2017

Denis Villeneuve just floored us with his subversive sci-fi, first-contact film “Arrival.” In that film, as well his previous two, “Sicario” and “Prisoners,” Villeneuve proves that he is the master of creating a palpable, tangible and eerie atmosphere — the perfect skill to direct the sequel to the classic film “Blade Runner.” While most long-after-sequels-to-classics fail, the skills of Villeneuve, the talent of Ryan Gosling (reminding us why he’s brilliant with his performance in “La La Land”) and the fact that Harrison Ford is returning all set “Blade Runner 2049” up to succeed.

— Kyle Kizu

  1. “First Man”

Directed by: Damien Chazelle (“La La Land,” “Whiplash”)
Starring: Ryan Gosling (“La La Land,” “Drive,” “The Big Short”)
Written by: Josh Singer (“Spotlight”), Nicole Perlman (“Guardians of the Galaxy”)
Release date: TBD 2017

Since he’s made three films about jazz, we can only assume that Damien Chazelle’s next film, set in space, is about Ryan Gosling’s struggle to become a jazz musician. In space. Or, the film could be about the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong, with Gosling in the starring role. It’s probably the latter. Regardless, this film is almost destined to be incredible, since it’s written by two of today’s best screenwriters. If the brilliance of “Whiplash” and “La La Land” are any indication, this film will certainly be a milestone in Chazelle’s journey to auteur status.

Harrison Tunggal

  1. Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Fashion Project

Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson (“There Will Be Blood,” “Magnolia,” “Boogie Nights,” “The Master”)
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis (“Lincoln,” “There Will Be Blood,” “My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown,” “Gangs of New York”)
Written by: Paul Thomas Anderson (“There Will Be Blood,” “Magnolia,” “Boogie Nights,” “The Master”)
Release date: TBD 2017

Whenever Paul Thomas Anderson releases a new film, film fans should take notice — it will be an event. With his recent string of near-masterpieces, “There Will Be Blood,” “The Master” and “Inherent Vice,” PTA is getting close to being considered the great American director of this generation. What better way to secure his auteur imprint on cinema today than to pair with arguably the greatest actor ever, Daniel Day-Lewis — who won one of his three Best Lead Actor Oscars for PTA’s “There Will Be Blood” — for his next film about the 1950s fashion world.

— Levi Hill

  1. “Dunkirk”

Directed by: Christopher Nolan (the “Dark Knight” trilogy, “Inception,” “Interstellar,” “The Prestige,” “Memento”)
Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Tom Hardy (“The Revenant,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Inception”), Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies,” “The BFG”), Kenneth Branagh (“Valkyrie,” “My Week with Marilyn,” “Henry V”), Cillian Murphy (the “Dark Knight“ trilogy, “Inception,” “28 Days Later”), Harry Styles
Written by: Christopher Nolan (the “Dark Knight” trilogy, “Inception,” “Interstellar,” “The Prestige,” “Memento”)
Release date: July 21, 2017

Auteur Christopher Nolan might just be the defining director of our time, deserving of the label as the Kubrick/Spielberg successor. His best film, “The Dark Knight,” has shaped not only the superhero genre, but also the landscape of film in general, earning the place as this generation’s “The Godfather.” His next film “Dunkirk,” which follows the 400,000 Allied soldiers surrounded by Nazis on the beaches of France during WWII, is already a technical powerhouse — it shoots on real naval destroyers and real war planes — but may also be the harrowing epic to finally give Nolan a long overdue Best Director award.

— Kyle Kizu

  1. Star Wars: Episode VIII

Directed by: Rian Johnson (“Looper,” “Brick”)
Starring: Daisy Ridley (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”), Mark Hamill (the original “Star Wars” trilogy), Adam Driver (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Silence,” “Paterson”), Carrie Fisher (the original “Star Wars” trilogy, “When Harry Met Sally”), Oscar Isaac (“Ex Machina,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”), Benicio Del Toro (“Traffic,” “21 Grams,” “The Usual Suspects,” “Sicario”), Andy Serkis (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the “Planet of the Apes” trilogy, The “Lord of the Rings” trilogy)
Written by: Rian Johnson (“Looper,” “Brick”)
Release date: December 15, 2017

The hype around Episode VIII is staggering, as theories behind Snoke’s identity (some wildly suggest that he is Mace Windu, Boba Fett or Sy Snootles) and Rey’s parentage (that Jedi mind trick is awfully familiar…) fill the internet with cacophonous discord. Regardless, the eighth entry in the Star Wars saga might be the best yet. Director Rian Johnson’s inventiveness (“Brick,” “Looper”) bodes well for a film that pushes the boundaries of Star Wars lore, something audiences want after the familiar plot beats of “The Force Awakens.” It’s only been a few weeks since “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and I’m already getting impatient.

— Harrison Tunggal

Kyle Kizu is the arts & entertainment editor. Contact him at [email protected]. Tweet him at @kyle_kizu.
Contact Levi Hill at [email protected].
Contact Harrison Tunggal at [email protected].