We’re in the hangover stage. We’ve finished our “Best of 2016” lists, we are caught up on Awards Season contenders, drained by the Golden Globes ceremonies, and we’re looking directly into the dull eyes of that movie release deadzone of January and February. So, if you’re like us, you may be in need of an energy shot. If 2017 is anything like 2016, we are going to need movies to come through big with a remedy of escapism, entertainment, and sense-making. So we’ve compiled a forward-looking list of all the things that we are excited for in the upcoming year.

Split (January 20, 2017)

Some would say we are really rolling the dice with our first eagerly anticipated film of the year. To many, M. Night Shyamalan does not have the most assured filmography, and this newest film — a thriller propelled by an antagonist with disassociative identity disorder (played by James McAvoy) — has a lot of folks raising eyebrows at the sensitivity of the mental health subject matter. But, even with all of that working against him in the public view, Shyamalan is still at the top of the class in terms of employing film language and narrative economy, and he’s coming off of the closest thing he has had to a critical hit in years, with last year’s The Visit. But I am steadfast and stubborn in my admiration for this filmmaker and his innovations in film language, and I will be front of the maybe-short line to see Split when it opens. – David Shreve, Jr.

The Lego Batman Movie (February 10, 2017)

Why should you be hyped to see this movie? Well, it’s the Lego Batman Movie starring Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Zach Galifianakis, Mariah Carey, Jenny Slate, Ralph Fiennes, and Billy Dee Williams finally getting to play Two-Face. Lego Batman was one of the best parts of the universally adored Lego Movie, and this movie looks to expand his megalomania and the essential weirdness of the character into something bright, colourful, and wonderful. As stated, the cast is killer and every bit of footage that’s been released has been hilarious and insane. This is going to be the first superhero movie of the year, and hopefully it sets the tone for a fantastic year of unhinged heroism. – Sean Fallon

Get Out (February 24, 2017)

I think we all assumed that the directorial debut of Jordan Peele would be a comedy. Key and Peele, during its five season run, was an amazing sketch show filled with rich commentary on race in America while also being incredibly funny. However, for Peele’s first movie behind the camera, he has gone for a horror movie and the commentary on race seems to still be front and centre. Get Out is the story of a young interracial couple with the black boyfriend (played by Sicario/Black Mirror/Psychoville’s Daniel Kaluuya) going to meet his white girlfriend’s parents for the first time on their estate but . . . things seem off. Especially in the behaviour of the black hired help who all seem a little bit too happy. The trailer shows that Peele knows his way around a scare and how to build atmosphere like a pro. I feel like Get Out is going to be something brand new in the horror genre and if Peele wants to be the next big voice in horror then it looks as though he’s making all the right moves and knows all the right tricks. – Sean Fallon

Logan (March 3, 2017)

Hugh Jackman’s final outing as the Wolverine looks like what X-Men films haven’t looked like for a while — a narrative with emphasis on character accompanied by vision to actually make it look like a film. Mutant annihilation isn’t even a new plot device for these movies, as it’s been the plot for a couple of the films already, but the Western-inspired look of the film, the aging of the characters, and the mature rating make it really stand out (not just in its franchise but in the whole genre), not to mention that it grounds the film and gives it a sense of weight. And with it being Wolverine’s last solo outing in the foreseeable future, one would expect a meaningful and riveting narrative. I have no doubt Jackman and Director James Mangold, with their passionate love for the character, will be able to deliver. – Anton Reyes

Kong: Skull Island (March 10, 2017)

The Comic Con trailer for Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ Kong: Skull Island sold me on this latest iteration of King Kong, with its focus on its insanely talented cast of characters, its vibrant depiction of what appears to be hell on Earth, Skull Island, and the mayhem transpiring in their gorilla warfare. One particular shot in the teaser that excited me was the quick visual comparison Vogt-Roberts makes between a dragonfly and the helicopters carrying the protagonists. It signifies something evident throughout the trailer — the protagonists are insects going up against, well, the king. Writer Max Borenstein is penning this, after having written 2014’s Godzilla film, which proved to be a thoughtful reflection of man’s relationship with nature, so what I’m hoping for (and what the marketing seems to suggest) is that the film takes a similar approach. It’s also worth anticipating an egocentric Sam Jackson take a shot at taking down King Kong. – Anton Reyes

Song to Song (March 10-19, Sundance)

There really is no point speculating. Here’s what we know: Ryan Gosling has teamed with legendary film philosopher Terrence Malick, and no one stares longingly as well as Ryan Gosling. The rest of the cast is rounded out with a not-too-shabby Rooney Mara, Natalie Portman, and Michael Fassbender. The plot description promises a love story set within the Austin, Texas music scene, which sounds great. Outside of that, it’s hard to guess what we’re getting. Particularly considering that the name of this film changed as recently as last week (the film had been called Weightless beforehand). If Malick’s past output is any indication, it will be just as tough to describe after watching. – David Shreve, Jr.

Beauty and the Beast (March 17, 2017)

My first word as a baby was “Beast.” I wish I was kidding. Having watched the 1991 animated film no less than 100+ times in my life, seeing the trailer for Disney’s live-action adaption of Beauty and the Beast made me burst into overwhelmed tears of joy. Emma Watson looks like she’ll make a fantastic Belle, and it’s another win for me seeing I was a massive Harry Potter fan as a kid, too. I think Disney may have gotten ahold of my childhood journal and decided to cast everyone I love for one big, happy fanfic family. In all seriousness, Beauty and the Beast appears to be a stunning big-screen epic that could launch Disney into a live-action renaissance, and you can be assured that I’ll be there on opening night to see the film. – Staley Sharples

The Fate of the Furious (April 4, 2017)

The gloriously titled The Fate of the Furious is the eighth installment in the Fast & Furious franchise, which is starting to look like it will never ever run out of steam. The drive this time is a shocking betrayal as our hero Dom (Vin Diesel) turns his back on his family, aligning himself with an deliciously evil Charlize Theron as an international high-tech terrorist with weirdly bad hair. I’ll be damned if that powerhouse trailer didn’t get the entire F&F fandom totally fired up. Dom gets Hobbs sent to prison before going rogue. Then the rest of the family has to rally around snarky Kurt Russell who recruits evil Jason Statham (the villain from Furious 7) to help them all stop Dom and Charlize. Next thing we know, there’s a five-way car stand off and then they’re battling through an frozen tundra of sorts where Charlize deploys a GODDAMN SUBMARINE to take them all out. If nothing else, director F. Gary Gray has certainly got the action chops to continue carrying this series. Throw in more than a few gut-wrenching twists and we’ve got a recipe for one of the most awesome looking movies of 2017. – Ryan MacLean

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5, 2017) 

2016 was a lacklustre year for superhero movies with some very good ones and some very bad ones but none that really stood out as excellent. 2017 should hopefully turn that trend around with Logan, Wonder Woman, and Thor: Ragnarok all looking very interesting. But, as interesting as they look, none of those movies has Baby Groot and I’m pretty sure none of them have Kurt Russell starring as a living planet. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 sees the continuing adventures of the ragtag crew from the first movie with Karen Gillen, Michael Rooker, and Glenn Close coming back for more too. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 was a big shot in the arm for the genre, but I’m still hoping that James Gunn is given more freedom to lean into some of his more twisted, Super tastes for this installment. – Sean Fallon

The Endless (May 11, 2017)

Every now and then Netflix leads you to something special. One of those times for me was Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead’s 2012 film Resolution. This was an impressively creative addition to the horror genre and the two kept up their momentum bringing us a V/H/S Viral segment and the stunning horror/romance Spring. These two have some sort of magic synergy that consistently produces interesting and fresh horror. That’s why 2017’s The Endless is almost guaranteed to be great. Cults are at the top of my list for horror fixtures for their tendency to go beyond and show the elasticity of the human mind. In this story, brothers return to a cult they’ve escaped from with surprising results. Benson and Moorhead both star in and direct this upcoming horror, and that alone makes it a most-anticipated movie of 2017. – Becky Belzile

Alien: Covenant (May 19, 2017)

The most fascinating aspect of the Alien franchise is its ever evolving tone from film to film. Separate films might share similar structures but the DNA is specific to the director’s approach to the material. Even Ridley Scott’s previous return to the universe in Prometheus was a vastly different aesthetically influenced science fiction epic with elements of “At the Mountains of Madness” . . . in space. The end result was either a hit or a miss depending on who you talk to but it’s always a universe worth returning to. I find the best Alien films or moments pair slasher horror movie vibes with existential Lovecraftian dread. With visuals reminiscent of discarded Alien 3 concept art, the first trailer definitely won me over in particular. And lest we forget, there are two Michael Fassbenders in this movie. TWO. – Diego Crespo

Wonder Woman (June 2, 2017)

After breaking out in Batman v Superman, the Amazon warrior will finally have a movie of her own with Patty Jenkins at the helm, and Gal Gadot leading the charge as our titular hero. This could be a major step in terms of seeing more female superheroes on screen and more female directors on major blockbusters, something we desperately need and want. Wonder Woman is as badass as they come, and the film, written by two major comic book writers, looks to cement her place in our cinematic pantheon of heroes. The WWI setting will also be a nice departure from modern set superhero movies and will hopefully examine the effects of violence and war on our world in a way we haven’t seen before. While most of the plot details have been kept under wraps, the first trailer for Wonder Woman promises a world just as interesting as Batman and Superman’s, but unlike those films Jenkins will be able to create a world unburdened by preoccupations with previous film iterations. Hopefully the film will be the first step in many more Wonder Woman stories to come. – Richard Newby

Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7, 2017)

A common point of discussion when it comes to superhero movies is the ever-growing scale of conflict. There are only so many movies that can end with a third act showdown with an army of amorphous army of enemies. It’s one of the reasons why the character of Spider-Man endures. Peter Parker’s primary conflicts don’t revolve around universe ending possibilities. He’s a hero struggling to get through a handful of thugs and trying to maintain balance between the ordinary and their extraordinary life is what helps separate the character from the other pantheon of heroes. The previous films of Jon Watts (Clown, Cop Car) deal with various expressions of responsibility and power. Given the creative pool Watts has presented on screen prior, there are few directors with a better resume to revitalize our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. – Diego Crespo

War for the Planet of the Apes (July 14, 2017)

The Planet of the Apes series is one of the strangest and most interesting franchises. The original movie was impossible to follow up, but they managed to bring it back (and get weirder). Then they managed to follow up the sequel’s genuinely impossible-to-follow-up ending with another three entries. After the unfortunate misstep of Tim Burton’s remake, we got a full reboot/prequel/rebootquel with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which gave us staggeringly great motion-captured CGI apes as well as an exploration of the animal rights that had merely been background in the previous films. 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was even better and my second favourite after the 1968 original. While my love for the series keeps me interested in any film set in this world, my excitement for the next one comes from the dedication this revival has shown to the vigilant ethics of the original movies. How rare is it to see a blockbuster that’s so firmly anti-violence that the spectacle of battle becomes harrowing rather than thrilling? I’m happy to see a continuation of the story set up through Dawn and excited to see what Woody Harrelson brings to the table as the film’s villain. – Jack Godwin

Dunkirk (July 21, 2017)

Every time Christopher Nolan returns with a new movie it feels like an event, and his WWII epic, Dunkirk, is no different. While he may not be offering genre-driven surprised and the first trailer looks far closer to an Oscar season drama, the film’s prime summer date and IMAX release has us thinking that Dunkirk will offer a lot more spectacle than what the footage so far has showcased. Led by a cast of Brits, including Nolan mainstays Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy, Dunkirk is sure to deliver the strong performances that Nolan’s films have in-part built their reputation on. Chances are we won’t have much to say about the film until we get to see it, given Nolan’s penchant for secrecy. But it’s a safe bet to say that after its released it’ll be one of the most discussed films of the year. – Richard Newby

The Dark Tower (July 28, 2017)

It seems that Stephen King’s magnum-opus has been caught in an endless loop of development hell. Fortunately, in 2017, it finally breaks free in a film directed by Nikolaj Arcel and starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. The film, a fantasy, western, sci-fi, horror hybrid, follows gunslinger Roland Deschain, who along with a young boy, must travel to the nexus point of space and time to alter reality while the sinister Man in Black works toward the tower for his own aims. King’s eight-book series gives the Arcel a lot to play off of, and with a television prequel in the works, we’ll hopefully get to see the entirety of King’s saga play out on both big and small-screens. If the rumors are true, then The Dark Tower, will have an interesting place within the canon of King’s book series, one that if pulled off, could really change the way multi-media adaptation are approached. I’m really hoping this turns out to be a hit, because this series is right up there with LoTR for me, and could really add a new element to blockbuster season. If the first trailer is promising, be prepared to have me talk up The Dark Tower for the rest of 2017. – Richard Newby

Baby Driver (August 11, 2017)

Baby Driver will be the first movie Edgar Wright has directed since 2013’s The World’s End. His presence has been missed. Wright is one of the most visually interesting directors currently making movies and his four previous feature films have all been amazing and instant cult classics, with Hot Fuzz being my personal favourite of the bunch. Baby Driver is the story of a music-obsessed getaway driver who finds himself in over his head when a robbery goes wrong. The titular Baby is played by Ansel Elgort and the rest of the cast is rounded out by Lily James, Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Eiza Gonzalez, Sky Ferreira, and Jon Bernthal. It’s been four years since Wright was behind the camera; it’s about time he was back. – Sean Fallon

It (September 8, 2017)

Funny thing about viral marketing: it doesn’t have to be on purpose. While New Line Cinema has sternly rejected that last year’s real-life plague of sinister clown sightings had anything to do with Andrés Muschietti’s upcoming Stephen King adaptation It, their participation within and knowledge of the marketing is not necessary for it to work. There are likely a few explanations for why so many folks are afraid of clowns, but I’d wager than many around my age can trace their fear to the 1990 TV miniseries adapted from the same source material. Even with the restraints of TV guides and standards, that earlier film was as damaging to the collective psyche as a horror film has ever managed to be, so it’s hard not to be at least curious about what trauma a hard R theatrical version might lay upon its viewers. – David Shreve, Jr.

Blade Runner 2049 (October 6, 2017)

If you’d asked me a couple years ago about a sequel to Blade Runner with Harrison Ford returning, I would have said absolutely not. There’s no way that would work. Then Denis Villeneuve came aboard and everything changed. While I’m still a bit hesitant about Deckard returning given how much the ambiguity of the original film is appreciated, if anyone can deliver a smart and calculated return to this world that makes sense contextually and furthers the themes of the first film it’s Villeneuve. With Roger Deakins offering beautiful cinematography and the return of frequent Villeneuve collaborators Johann Johannsson on score and Joe Walker on soundtrack, this may be one of the most technically astute films of 2017. And with a cast featuring Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Dave Bautista, Barkhad Abdi, Mackenzie Davis, Jared Leto, and Robin Wright we’re sure to get a visionary glimpse of the future populated with characters that rival the original. Keep the spoiler-driven scoops hidden for this one; I think we’ll want to be in disbelief of all the things we’ll see. – Richard Newby

God Particle (October 27, 2017)

Last year, after 10 Cloverfield Lane, I announced that whichever trilogy was finished first between Cloverfield and Hellboy would officially win the distinction of my favorite film trilogy. Well, J.J. Abrams and the folks at Bad Robot recently moved very close to the finish line by announcing that the Julius Onah-directed God Particle would mark the third installment of that film series. To be honest, I know little about this film and I don’t intend to research beforehand. My plan is to recreate the blind experience of Cloverfield and the out-of-nowhere thrill of 10 Cloverfield Lane to the best of my ability. I’d encourage you to do the same. – David Shreve, Jr.

Thor: Ragnarok (November 3, 2017)

After the brief cameo in Doctor Strange‘s mid-credits scene, I am amped for the big-screen return of Thor. The third Thor installment, Thor: Ragnarok, is set to lead us into the events that will shape the story in The Avengers: Infinity War, and it appears that Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), my new favorite MCU hero, will be playing a part in the film. Not only that, but recent announcements confirm that Thor: Ragnarok will also include a major connection to the Hulk that may provide a launchpad for a Hulk standalone film. Really, Thor’s just bringing everyone together because he is indeed the best Avenger. Oh, and did I mention that Mark Mothersbaugh is scoring this film? Plus, any chance I get to see Tom Hiddleston’s delightfully evil Loki chew up the scenery is a total bonus — and we get to see him interact with JEFF GOLDBLUM AKA GRANDMASTER. If that doesn’t sell you, I genuinely don’t know what will. – Staley Sharples

Justice League (November 17, 2017)

Zack Snyder’s third entry in DCEU will finally bring together the world’s greatest heroes in a team-up we’ve waited decades for. There’s no doubt that with Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Mera, The Flash, Cyborg, and Superman that we’re going to be looking at an action-extravaganza as the team goes up against the forces of Apokolips, led by the formidable Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons. As exciting as all of that is in terms of opening this universe up for future installments (Jack Kirby’s Fourth World!), my greatest hope is that Justice League doesn’t veer away from questioning these heroes and their place in the world just as Man of Steel and Batman v Superman did. Yes, we’ll see a more optimistic world in lieu of Superman’s sacrifice, but I’m looking to see the boundaries of the superhero movie pushed so that we’re not just watching these heroes and villains on-screen, we’re thinking about them too. Oh, and here’s hoping that Aquaman and Mera become the breakout characters of the year! – Richard Newby

Coco (November 22, 2017)

Any animated film naturally grabs my attention. An animated film by Pixar warrants a double-take. An animated film featuring a minority protagonist with a supporting cast also of that minority origin results in an air-fist pump and heart swelling with uncontrollable joy. Coco centers around Miguel, the young Mexican protagonist, voiced by up-and-coming actor Anthony Gonzalez. Although bound by blood, it’s music that seems to flow through Miguel’s veins, while music is rejected by the rest of his family. Pixar’s greatest asset revolves around their consistent emotion-inducing storytelling. and with Coco inspired by the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos, the film seems set to land as another example of culturally inspired filmmaking. With director Lee Unkrich and writer Adrian Molina at the helm, I am confident Pixar will centralize on Mexican traditions and remain true to the cultural accuracy to show viewers. – Teaira Lacson

Stars Wars: Episode VIII (December 15, 2017)

If you’ve read any of my articles, follow me on Twitter, or met me in person you will know that I love Star Wars. And now there are new Star Wars movies and, even better, they’re good. 2017 sees one of my favourite directors, Rian Johnson, helm my favourite franchise. He’s brought in some new talent with Laura Dern, Kelly Marie Tran, and Benicio Del Toro joining the cast and now that the new movies are established he should be able to break away from being beholden to A New Hope and create something new and brilliant. The Force Awakens left a lot of questions left to be answered such as the nature of Rey’s background, who is Supreme Leader Snoke, and when will Finn and Poe finally kiss? – Sean Fallon

Annihilation (Release Date TBA)

Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation was one of the best things I read in 2016. It’s mysterious, haunting, and deeply rooted in human connection, and the lack of it. Alex Garland has proven his ability to handle all of these aspects through his long career as a screenwriter and perhaps most impressively in his 2015 directorial debut Ex Machina. Starring an all-star cast of Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, and Oscar Isaac, Annihilation follows a team of scientists as they explore an uncharted environmental disaster zone with Lovecraftian elements. Prestige horror has been a quite the roll as of late, and Garland’s film is sure to continue that trend. I’m calling it now and saying that Annihilation will be regarded in the same light as The Babadook, It Follows, and The Witch for 2017. – Richard Newby

The Death of Stalin (Release Date TBA)

Armando Iannucci is a comedy god and everything he touches tends to turn out brilliantly whether it’s his criminally slept on The Armando Iannucci Shows or his seminal The Thick of It and Veep. In 2017, he’s directing his first movie since In The Loop, and it is the story of the political backstabbing and bitter rivalries that emerged following Stalin’s death. So it’s perfect territory for a master satirist who writes swearing and insults in a way that Shakespeare could only dream about. The Death of Stalin is based on the fantastic graphic novel by Fabian Nury and Thierry Robin and stars Jeffrey Tambor, Timothy Dalton, Olga Kurylenko, Steve Buscemi, Michael Palin, Paul Whitehouse, Jason Isaacs, Paddy Considine, and Andrea Riseborough. – Sean Fallon

Cargo (Release Date TBA)

This is a hard one to talk about without giving anything away. Originally shown as a short at Australia’s short film festival Tropfest, Cargo is a story of survival in the harsh Australian wilderness in which a man must get his baby daughter to safety. Also there are zombies. Expanded into a feature film by the original creators Yolanda Ramke and Ben Howling, the movie now stars Martin Freeman in the lead and features a parallel story about a young Aboriginal girl on a quest of her own. I would love to give you more but I won’t, and chances are the trailer will do that for me. Either way, Australian cinema is great/needs to be supported, Martin Freeman is great, and a new take on a zombie story is always good. And that’s all I’ll say about it. – Sean Fallon

Geralds’s Game (Release Date TBA)

The third in what should be a milestone year for Stephen King adaptions, this Netfilx-planned release will tell see the up-and-coming horror master Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Hush, Ouija 2) take on what is seemingly one of King’s less cinematic works. But if anyone is up to the challenge, it would be Flanagan, whose filmography, from Absentia onward, is full stories of personal haunting hiding in the folds of traditional horror. – David Shreve, Jr.

How to Talk to Girls at Parties (Release Date TBA)

We’re excited for 2017 because it is (and hopefully will be remembered as) the year of the Stephen King renaissance, with the big screen release of The Dark Tower, Gerald’s Game, and It. But the year is also shaping up to be a banner year for another figure of horror royalty, Neil Gaiman. This John Cameron Mitchell adapted sci-fi romance will star Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning, and tells the story of romance-focused a young man who wants to make a move on young women at a party, without realizing that his targets are extraterrestrial. – David Shreve, Jr.

Lady Bird (Release Date TBA)

Greta Gerwig is one of the most unique voices in comedy in that she manages to be effervescently charming and at exactingly genuine at the same time. Lady Bird, which she both wrote and directed, follows the adventures of a young woman in Northern California, undoubtedly offering the kind of human insights that made Frances Ha and Mistress America such compelling looks at the lives of 21st century women. Starring Saoirse Ronan and Lucas Hedges, who impressed us in Manchester by the Sea, Lady Bird is shaping up to be one of the most-anticipated films on the indie circuit next year and maybe just maybe we’ll get a Greta Gerwig film every year to counter all those Woody Allen movies we keep getting. Fingers crossed! – Richard Newby

Okja (Release Date TBA)

Bong Joon-ho’s Okja has a plot as intriguing as its cast. Snowpiercer, Bong’s first English-language film, was fascinating in its visual direction and entertaining premise, and Okja looks as though it will provide the same. Okja is a story of a girl named Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun) trying to save her best friend Okja, described ambiguously as a “massive animal,” from a multi-national company. Promising to address themes of capitalism, activism, and the connection between humans and nature, Okja hopefully balances the same social examination and tense storytelling as Snowpiercer. Filming in both South Korea and America, the film’s cast has both a Korean female lead and American supporting actors, such as Jake Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton, and Paul Dano. Premiering on Netflix, and set for a limited theatrical release in mid to late 2017, Okja will hopefully be a visually interesting and emotionally grounded take on a monster story. – Christina Tucker

Featured Image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/New Line Cinema