Despite all the harrumphing about the State of Cinema, 2016 turned out to be an excellent year for movies. Maybe the blockbusters weren’t up to snuff, but any year with Moonlight, La La Land, Arrival, Green Room, The Nice Guys, Hell or High Water, Edge of Seventeen, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, The Witch, and Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is a good year by me. 2017 has a lot to live up to, and a quick glance at the next 12 months shows a promising slate of small- and big-budget titles (it’s harder to judge indies before they make the festival rounds; no one was talking about Moonlight this time last year). Here are 17 dates in 2017 every movie fan should have circled on their calendar.
February 10: Fifty Shades Darker, John Wick: Chapter 2, The LEGO Batman Movie
Why you should be excited: Unless you’re pumped for Split and xXx: Return of Xander Cage (understandable), the first big movie day of the year doesn’t come until Feb. 10, when Fifty Shades Darker, John Wick: Chapter 2, and The LEGO Batman Movie are released. They’re all sequels, of sorts, to highly successful films (there are a lot of those this year): Darker is a more dangerous (and hopefully campier) Fifty Shades of Grey; John Wick: Chapter 2 promises “twice as much action” as the original; and The LEGO Batman Movie gives the breakout star of The LEGO Movie — voiced by the indispensable Will Arnett — his own adventure. See all three in the same day for a confusing triple-bill.
February 24: Get Out
Why you should be excited: Jordan Peele’s directorial debut isn’t what you’d expect from one-half of the creative force behind Key & Peele. But maybe it should be — the brilliant Comedy Central series regularly addressed social issues like police brutality, cultural appropriation, and racism (sometimes in the same sketch). Get Out takes Luther’s righteous anger, and turns it into a horror movie about an African-American man (Daniel Kaluuya) visiting the parents of his white girlfriend (Allison Williams). The freaky trailer makes the film look like Meet the Parents meets Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?, with a dash of The Stepford Wives. Peele said that Get Out “deals with a protagonist that I don’t see in horror movies,” and if there’s anyone who can add a breath of fresh air to the genre, it’s the guy who helped reenergize sketch comedy.
March 3: Logan and T2: Trainspotting
Why you should be excited: Logan is Hugh Jackman’s third standalone film as Wolverine — after X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Wolverine – but it looks like the best of the bunch. Granted, Johnny Cash’s “Hurt,” featured in the trailer, would make anything seem important, but the source material (Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s Old Man Logan) is solid and the premise (Wolverine looks after an ailing Professor Xavier and a young girl) is refreshingly simple, especially compared to the overstuffed X-Men: Apocalypse. As for T2: Trainspotting, well, maybe there will be another Pulp song on the soundtrack?