2017 is absolutely chock full of sequels, blockbusters, franchise starters and the likes, however there are always lower key affairs that could blow your socks off, you just need to know where to look. But have no fear, The Snooty Ushers are on hand to let you know what to keep your eye on in 2017.
Manchester by the Sea – 13/1/17
Hands down this is one of the best films I have ever seen. Before I cement it in my top 1o films of all time I’ll need to see it again, but I was lucky to catch this in an advance screening in 2016 (you can read my review here and I was mesmerised. Depending on how the politics of awards season go, Manchester by the Sea should be up for numerous accolades. Directed by Kennth Lonergan and starring Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, and Kyle Chandler, the film depicts the internal struggles of a mans past that he must overcome after being entrusted guardianship of his nephew against his will. It’s a beautiful film played out perfectly human.
Wind River – 2017
Taylor Sheridan is a name you would have heard a few times last year, and that is because he is the writer of such acclaimed films as Sicario, and Hell or High Water. Well in addition to writing another film featuring on this list later, he has been given the reigns of his own film, Wind River, starring Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner. Olson plays an FBI agent investigating a murder on a Native American reservation, with Renner playing a local game tracker. The synopsis has the same feeling as the contained stories Sheridan has successfully written so far. The big question is, how well will he skills transfer to directing in his directorial debut?
Fences – 10/2/17
It’s not often that Denzel Washington steps into the directors chair, but when he does you should take note. Fences (originally a Pulitzer prize winning play) will mark the third time Washington has directed a feature film, following Antwone Fisher and The Great Debaters. The project has somewhat of a history with Washington, who actually starred in the 2010 revival of the play on Broadway as the same character. The film follows Troy Maxson, a man with a sketchy past and a stomach full of bitterness after being rejected from entering Major League Baseball when they began integrating Negro League Baseball players into their leagues. The play covers various aspects of the life that African Americans faced growing up in 1950s America, and the trailer for the film is outstanding. But on’t be mistaken, this isn’t just the Denzel Washington show, because Viola Davis looks like she might blow the roof off. The film was released in the U.S. on Christmas day, unfortunately for us in the UK we have to wait till February.
Jawbone – 10/3/17
Written by and starring Johnny Harris, alongside veterans Ray Winstone, Ian McShane and Michael Smiley, comes this boxing drama from director Thomas Q. Napper. Now though that name may not be familiar to you, Napper has actually been the second unit director for acclaimed director Joe Wright on a number of films, including Atonement, Pan, The Soloist, and Anna Karenina. If that tells you anything it’s the film should be a visual treat. In the film Johnny Harris will play Jimmy McCabe, a former youth boxing champion who has fallen on hard times and decides to return to his old gym and former trainers.
There isn’t a trailer yet, but the wealth of home grown talent on offer is enough to keep you eyes peeled for what looks to be a gritty film without the glitz and glamour that surrounds most boxing films.
Free Fire – 31/3/17
Speaking of home grown talent, Free Fire is director Ben Wheatley’s latest film as he continues his ascension in the film industry. Refreshingly the director has so far eschewed from typical big budget films, instead turning in concentrated and sometimes potent work. Kill List is an bleak eye opening watch, Sightseers is the type of black comedy only the U.K. could pull off, and High Rise is a like it or loath it drama based on J.G. Ballard’s novel. There is a variety to Wheatley’s work that demonstrates his talent as a director capable of tackling different genres seamlessly. Now Free Fire, where an arms deal goes awfully sideways and two groups with a lot of guns try to get out, looks to follow suit as the type of action/comedy hybrid that Shane Black has come to be known for. With a cast rammed with burgeoning talent (Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Sharlto Copley) it could be a sleeper when it hits cinemas.
The Belko Experiment – 17/3/17
From the mind of James Gunn, and director Greg McLean, comes this gnarly looking film that sees a large group of Americans locked into their office building in Columbia and forced to take part in rather unproductive work practices by having to kill one another to survive. It sounds mad, looks mad, and with John Gallagher Jnr, John C. McGinley, Michael Rooker, and Sean Gunn, it likely will end up being pretty mad. I totally forgot to add this to the upcoming horror films in 2017 guide we published earlier, so if you’re looking for a bit of warped entertainment I think we found your fix.
Baby Driver – 11/8/17
Since his departure from Ant-Man (I’m sure his version would’ve been better), we’ve not seen Edgar Wright direct a film since The Worlds End in 2013. That alone makes me sad. However fear not fans, Wright returns once more with Baby Driver, the story of a getaway driver stuck in a doomed heist. Jon Hamm, Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Jon Bernthal, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey aaaaand Flea are all scheduled to star in the film, which is a heck of a line-up. But to be honest it could have starred Pudsey the dog and we would have still went to see it aslong as Edgar Wright is at the helm.
The Coldest City – 11/8/17
There are a few reasons you should be keeping you’re eye on The Coldest City, the first is the cast is pretty sweet. James McAvoy, Charlize Theron, Sofia Boutella, John Goodman, Eddie Marsan, and Toby Jones…not bad at all. But the main reason is it’s directed by David Leitch, one of the directors of the fantastically slick John Wick and the new director for Deadpool 2. This film is actually based on a graphic novel of the same name that sees an MI6 agent sent into Cold War Berlin to unearth the killers of an undercover agent. It might have action as relentless as John Wick, but it could just well be as great.
Taylor Sheridan pops up again on the list, a sure sign I’m totally infatuated with his work or that he is one of the brightest talents to pop up in the last couple years. Soldado is the sort of sequel to the brilliant Sicario, but we won’t be picking up with Emily Blunts character. Instead we’ll be following Josh Brolin, and Benecio Del Toro’s shady and ruthless characters as they further engage in drug wars on the borders of the U.S. and Mexico. Sheridan returns to write the film like he did for it’s predecessor, but as Dennis Villenueve is off doing Blade Runner 2049 and generally being one of the best directors ever, Italian director Stefano Sollima helms the project following his work on Suburra and the series Gomorrah.
I’m fairly certain by the time this film is due for release everybody in the world will know about it. Until then it remains a relatively unknown project which has only raised eyebrows thanks to an image of Gary Oldman in superb prosthetics as Winston Churchill. Directed by visual maestro Joe Wright, Darkest Hour will follow the early days of Churchill’s actions against the Germany in World War II. As mentioned Gary Oldman is playing Churchill, a pairing that screams awards, but the film also has support from the equally fantastic actors Kristen Scott Thomas, John Hurt, and Ben Mendelsohn.