Mittwoch, 4. Januar 2017


 Hello there puny humans,
the year 2016 was a big cinematic year. Batman and Superman faced off on the big screen for the first time, the Harry Potter saga continued, and we got to fill-in the gap between the Star Wars Episodes III and IV. This year, however, will not be one bit less interesting, and looking back at how a lot of 2016's blockbusters turned out, 2017 might even be the better year for movie goers. It was hard to put together this list and I kept moving films up and down as I wrote it. Ultimately it came down to which movies I want to catch in theaters rather than later on DVD. Thus, before I get to my Top Ten of my most anticipated movies, I will give you spots 15 to 11 as quick honorable mentions:

15. MANCHESTER BY THE SEA: This drama staring Casey Affleck has already been released in the States. Affleck's nuanced performance and the genuineness of the film got a lot of praise. Looks like my kind of drama.

14. EDGE OF SEVENTEEN: This R-rated high-school comedy had an intriguing trailer and stars the likes of Woody Harrelson and the twenty year-old (already Oscar nominated), incredibly talented Hailee Steinfeld. Surely a good time!

13. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL.2: The crew is back! And while the first trailer didn't completely blow me away, I still have a great enough memory of the first installment to get me excited for this one.

12. THOR: RAGNAROK: If Thor: The Dark World had been a better film and I wasn't suffering from a little superhero movie fatigue, this movie would be higher on my list. Especially because the involvement of Kiwi director Taika Waititi and the inclusion of The Hulk and Doctor Strange promise a fun action-packed ride.

11. LOGAN: This film moved from spot ten to spot seven on my list and then back down to eleven. I just couldn't make up my mind about it. The X-Men have often disappointed in the past, including their Wolverine solo movies, but oh boy, did that trailer look good!

Some might be surprised that this film beat out the other five for a spot in the top ten. Yes, maybe I might be guilty of being a fanboy of director Guy Ritchie, but I simply love his trademark style and comedy. Against the opinions of all of my friends, I declared The Man from U.N.C.L.E. the best spy film of 2015, above Spectre, Mission: Impossible 5 and the cult-hit Kingsman. I don't know why, but somehow Ritchie always finds a way to charm me. When the trailer for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword dropped, you could see his fingerprints all over it. I was swayed!

I still have reservations about this movie due to its casting. Firstly, I am not a big fan of Scarlett Johansson in action movies as I think dramas and smaller scale films suit her much better. Secondly, I am annoyed by the obvious whitewashing of this Asian character. I can't deny however that I really really want to see what the live action adaptation of the 1989 anime classic will look like. As a fan of the original, I am equally excited as I am nervous. It is an intellectual science fiction thriller that does not only offer great action sequences, but is also composed of many beautiful shots. This adaption could be great or it could suck. Either way, I will buy a ticket for this film. And so far, the first full trailer did look pretty cool.

When Dawn of the Planet of the Apes landed on my number eight spot of my favorite movies of 2014, I started by saying: "Apes on horsebacks with machine-guns! Is there anything more I need to tell you?" And that argument still stands. This franchise already delivered two very different but equally awesome films. And while War looks similar to Dawn, I can't wait to see how they are going to put the spectacle on yet another level. These movies have always been worth watching just for breaking new technological ground alone. But seeing Andy Serkis' character Caeser evolve with every film is also reason enough to get your butt into a movie theater. The master of motion capture is back, and I expect no less than yet another amazing performance. Watch the trailer here!

Christopher Nolan has never made a bad movie. Seriously, if your worst film is The Dark Knight Rises (a film that didn't only earn millions of dollars, but created a continuously quoted movie villain with Tom Hardy's Bane) you are doing pretty damn good. Yes, Nolan's body of work is damn impressive. Next to masterpieces like The Dark KnightInception and Memento, even his low-budget student film Following manages to stun you. While not everyone loved Interstellar, I actually did, and so the name of this director is all I need to hear to get me on board. Additionally, the topic of World War II is new territory for him, which makes it even more interesting to see what he will do with this material. I am sure he will put me in awe once more.

I have been reading Spider-Man comic books since I was ten years old, and he has been my favorite superhero ever since. But while the comics managed to keep that character interesting, the movies struggled after Sam Raimi's first two great incarnations. Spiderman 3 was a total disaster, and the franchise reboot staring Andrew Garfield as the wall-crawler didn't do the character justice either. When Marvel Studios finally struck a deal with Sony to re-reboot Spidey into their cinematic universe, I was hoping that they could get it right this time. Then Captain America: Civil War came along and Tom Holland's portrayal of the web-slinger even exceeded my expectations. For the first time I felt that they perfectly translated my biggest childhood hero onto the big screen. No surprise that I will most definitely stand in line to see this solo film!

After Indiana Jones 4, A Good Day to Die Hard, the latest Terminator abomination and a long list of horrible late sequels, I was not particularly pleased with the fact that they were going to make a second Blade Runner film. The iconic movie that seems to have an endless amount of alternate cuts, was one of the last few sci-fi classics that stayed untouched. After getting caught up on director Denis Villeneuve's work however (including Enemy, Sicario and Arrival), I was confident that this continuation was in the best hands it could be. Villeneuve is a master of smart, dark suspense-films, which is exactly what Blade Runner is all about. Even though the first teaser didn't really show much at all, it sure demonstrated that he totally nailed the atmosphere this world needs. By now, I am totally hooked.

Little has been revealed about the movie adaptation of Stephen King's famous book series. I didn't even have an official poster to put here. Except for one short story, I haven't even read any of the books that take place in that universe. So why does this project end up so high on my list? Well, first of all, having no preexisting knowledge of something that seems to be an epic story is refreshingly intriguing. Stephen King is a master of creating worlds with a unique atmosphere and even that little short story already engaged me deeply. Second of all, I am a humongous fan of Idris Elba, who I feel is not as appreciated in Hollywood as he should be. Everyone who has seen the TV show Luther knows that Elba can combine vulnerability and strength in a character as if it was the easiest acting task. Giving him the long overdue leading role in a franchise and pitting him against an equally strong actor such as Matthew McConaughey will with certainty be a blast to watch.

When a buddy of mine and I went to the theaters on a nice February evening two years ago, we expected nothing more than to be mildly entertained by yet another action-heavy one-man-show. What we got however was John Wick, an exhilarating ride with amazingly choreographed fight scenes, great camera work and an unexpectedly fun world that was somehow one of a kind. Even though the substantial framework was familiar, the film felt incredibly new and fresh. I left the theater wanting more and this year my wish will come true. The trailer to John Wick: Chapter 2 (as the movie is simply but fittingly named) promises to bring us the same slick stylistic feel of the first movie, only with twice the action. This franchise knows exactly what it is and what it isn't, and therefore you can just sit back and enjoy a spectacular show. One of the few movies this year where I am 99.99% positive that I will absolutely love it.

Anyone who knows me long enough (or reads this blog) has at some point realized that I am a sucker for creature features. The Gremlins is my favorite Christmas movies, I will defend Pacific Rim until my dying day, I renamed my phone Godzilla and I wouldn't cut a single minute of Peter Jackson's three hour version of King Kong. This year, the first original movie monster gets a new interpretation with Warner Bros' Kong: Skull Island. Starring the brilliant actress Brie Larson, as well as the likes of Tom Hiddleston, John Goodman and Samuel L. Jackson, this movie lays the groundwork for an even bigger motion picture event: Godzilla vs. Kong scheduled to come out in 2020 (and referring to the very same Godzilla of the 2014 film). This set-up combined with everything I saw in the trailer makes me jump of joy. I got so excited just writing about this that I immediately moved the film up on this list from fourth place to the number two spot. My inner eight year-old just couldn't resist.


I had never been a Star Wars fanboy. Just a regular fan, who really enjoyed those six films (well, at leas three-and-a-half of them). Some of that probably had to do with the fact that I didn't watch the movies until I was a teenager and so never connected the films with any form of childhood nostalgia. I never played the video games, watched the Clone Wars series or read a tie-in novel. 
I had also never seen a Star Wars film in theaters. Until December 17th, 2015 one minute past midnight. As soon as John Williams' score boomed out of the sound system and I saw the opening crawl appear on the big screen, it was as if I finally wholly got it. The Force Awakens awoke my love for this franchise in a new way. Despite a few issues, the film left me wanting more. Wanting to find out the answers to the mysteries it put out there: Who are Rey's parents? Who is Supreme Leader Snoke? What was Luke doing that whole time? How will Kylo Ren strike back?
And while Rogue One didn't sweep me of my feet, it might have partially been due to the fact that I liked Episode VII so much that I was still preoccupied with that story-line. There is no way that I am going to miss the chance to get all the answers I want by standing in line for this movie! My ticket is basically already sold.

There you go. Those are my 15 picks for films to look forward to in 2017. The fact that I felt the need to expand my regular top ten list and still had to let a few movies go, should be a pretty good sign. Even if half of these films end up being disappointments, there are still enough movies to enjoy this year. But what are your picks? Which movie would you have liked to see higher up? Are there movies you are excited about that aren't even on this list? Feel free to comment below!

I wish you all a happy cinematic 2017,
Your Cinemartian

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