Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

2016, sorry to break this to you pal but you’ve not been the best year. Politics, international relations, conflicts and all those celebrity deaths? You’ve got to admit that you’ve dropped the ball a bit.

On the other hand…I suppose you have given us a pretty solid year on the film front. I mean: The Revenant, Spotlight and Room all in one month?! We were spoilt! You’ve been pretty on form with the animations this year: Finding Dory, Moana, Kubo and the Two Strings, Zootropolis – perhaps best not to mention Sausage Party. Your blockbusters were a bit more hit and miss: Captain America was a corker and The Jungle Book was stunning – bravo. Then you gave us Suicide Squad. Seriously 2016? D- for that one, must try harder.

You did give us some decent comebacks this year though, Top Cat Begins may be a contender for the worst of the year – I personally couldnt wait for for Top Cat to end at the first opportunity- but there were more cosy returns in the form of Bridget Jones and Ab Fab, whilst Fantastic Beasts showed us that JK’s still got it. So has Ken Loach who broke my heart with I, Daniel Blake. Few films you gave us in the past twelve months felt quite so permanent.

So then 2016, thank you for challenging and thrilling us with Arrival; thank you for scaring and chilling us with The Witch and thank you for bringing Steven Spielberg and Mark Rylance together twice! 2017, you have much to live up to but I’ve had a peak and there’s a much ahead:

1. Beauty and the Beast

Disney’s penchant for remaking quite so many of their animated back catalogue is becoming a touch concerning but there is something undoubtedly appealing about this one. It could be the cast made up of Emma Watson, Sir Ian McKellen, Dame Emma Thompson (oh, really? Not a Dame yet?), Ewan McGregor, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Stanley Tucci… Alternatively, it could just be that it really is a tale as old as time.

2. La La Land

This one’s already out in America, already gained critical acclaim, and already leading the way in the awards’ season. La La Land is a modern Hollywood musical and the ‘c’ word has been used to describe it…whisper the term: classic?

3. Tulip Fever

Based on Deborah-Best Marigold Hotel-Moggach’s book of the same name, this one also flutters its cast like an eighteenth century courtesan, boasting Alicia Vikander, Christoph Waltz and Dame Judi Dench. With a score by Danny Elfman and a script by Sir Tom Stoppard please don’t let us down!

4. The Circle

Another book adaptation for 2017, this time by David Eggers. Eggers’ sci-if story has found critique for being somewhat simplistic but the film will be carried by Tom Hanks, ever reliable, ever watchable. He’s joined by Emma Watson (again), Karen Gillian and Star Wars’ John Boyega.

5. Life

The sci-fi space-genre resurgence continues. I blame Alfonso Cuaron for this but I’m not complaining. Gravity was a beautiful film back in 2013 and we’ve since had Intersteller, The MartianArrival and Passengers. The synopsis feels a tad familiar (they’re searching for life on Mars and find more than they bargained for, yes you’ve seen it before) but the CG looks to be as visceral as ever and the trailer promisingly delivers.

6. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

The first one was a joy, James Gunn’s still in the driving seat, and scene-stealer Groot is now an adorable sapling.

7. Paddington 2

The bear is back. I can’t wait for this one, Paddington was utter perfection two years ago but can they repeat the magic? It’s still produced by Harry Potter‘s David Herman so I’d say so!

8. Murder on the Orient Express

It’s hard to know quite what the fifth visual adaption of Christie’s classic can bring to the story, but this one’s made half the journey by casting Dame Judi Dench (who’s having a busy year it seems), Johnny Depp (keeping an open mind…), Derek Jacobi and rising star Daisy Ridley (Star Wars VII). Kenneth Branagh’s directing and playing Poirot to boot. Hopefully one to tickle the little grey cells rather than numb them.

9. Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan makes Saving Private Ryan on sea. Try to stay calm but the excitement is tangible.

10. ………?

This may be a cop out but the film I’m really looking forward to in 2017 is the one I currently know nothing about. This is the one that’s going to come out of nowhere and surprise me, which is always the greatest sensation to be gained in the picture house.

T.S.

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