Every week, IndieWire asks a select handful of film and TV critics two questions and publishes the results on Monday. (The answer to the second, “What is the best film in theaters right now?”, can be found at the end of this post.)
This week’s question: Here we are again, staring down the barrel of another year at the movies, one sure to be filled with its fair share of discoveries, disappointments, and trucks that are powered by monsters. Many of our most anticipated new films can be seen coming a mile away, but what’s the most exciting movie of 2017 that no one is talking about?
Angie Han (@ajhan), Slashfilm.com
I haven’t seen much talk about “The Glass Castle,” Lionsgate’s upcoming adaptation of Jeannette Walls’ memoir, maybe because it doesn’t have an actual release date yet. But I’ve been interested in the project since it was first announced, and particularly since Brie Larson signed on to star and Destin Cretton to direct. Walls’ account of growing up poor in a dysfunctional family is tough and tender, clear-eyed and kind — in other words, not so very different from Cretton and Larson’s last film together, “Short Term 12.” From here, it sounds like the perfect marriage of talent and material.
Eric Kohn (@EricKohn), IndieWire
Trey Edward Shults’ “It Comes at Night.” Shults’ debut “Krisha” was a major discovery in 2015 that was released in 2016, so the accolades have been coming just long enough to set the stage for his sophomore feature — which has been described as a horror movie, but seems unlikely to fit neatly into those expectations. After all, “Krisha” was a horror movie about alcoholism. Anyone who saw that chilling first feature should be excited to see this bigger-budget followup, which counts Joel Edgerton, Riley Keough and Christopher Abbott among its cast.
Erik Davis (@ErikDavis), Fandango, Movies.com
Personally, I am incredibly curious about Jordan Peele’s “Get Out,” which hits in February and hasn’t been talked about much at all. Peele and his longtime comedic collaborator Keegan Michael-Key are more known for their wildly funny and topical humor, but Peele is said to be making a straight-up horror movie with this one. And even though it appears to fall into a genre we haven’t seen him play in yet, like his comedy, “Get Out” looks to be topical and of-the-moment, and maybe even a little button-pushing in the ways it explores the struggles of being in an interracial relationship.
To make it all even more appealing the film is produced by Jason Blum’s Blumhouse, who’ve been doing the most interesting things in genre entertainment for the past couple of years. Their “Split” (out this month) is stuffed with tension and a really fun watch. Blumhouse is already off to a good start in 2017.
Joshua Rothkopf (@joshrothkopf), Time Out New York
Definitely on my own here: After seven years of fallow, the “Saw” series returns in October with “Saw: Legacy.” Am I a glutton for punishment? Undoubtedly — I’m a film critic. But these movies were always tons of fun to write about, as expressions of masochistic American tendencies. In our dawning age of Trumpism, I can’t help but find the reboot’s timing perfect.
Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC), Freelance, Author of “Five Came Back”
My problem in answering this question is that I am now squarely in the demographic of people who don’t know about movies nobody is talking about because nobody is talking about them yet. I mean, I hear that Rian Johnson, the very talented director of “Brick” and “Looper,” has made a sequel to a 1977 science-fiction film. That seems unusual and promising. I’ll look into it and get back to you.
Okay, here’s one that not many people were talking about until it got a distributor (Sony Classics), which happened just as I was trying to compose this answer: “Call Me By Your Name.” If I’m excited about a movie this far in advance, it can only be because of pedigree, and this film has a sterling one: It’s based on a wonderful short gay novel from 2007 by Andre Aciman that had a measure of crossover success. It’s directed by Luca Guadagnino, who made “A Bigger Splash,” and produced and cowritten by James Ivory, who will turn 89 (!) this year. And the cast — the skilled and likeable Armie Hammer, national treasure Michael Stuhlbarg, and Timothee Chalamet, who was superb in an excellent little-seen 2016 indie called “Miss Stevens” (not to be confused with “Miss Sloane” — fills me with hope. Since it’s at Sundance, I guarantee you that within the next two weeks, someone will tweet “Saw Call Me By Your Name. Meh.” But let’s keep hope alive for now.
What fills me with MORE hope is that, at this time last year, I had never heard of “Moonlight” or “Paterson.” The lovely thing about January is that one’s optimism can be boundless. As long as, this year, you don’t read the news.
Christopher Campbell (@thefilmcynic), Nonfics/Film School Rejects
I could name a bunch of documentaries, but one of my most anticipated of the year is probably not being talked about because it doesn’t have a release date yet: Armando Iannucci’s “The Death of Stalin.” This is the film he left “Veep” to make and it’s going to be so worth it and so wonderfully relevant in its poking fun at a Russian dictator. Based on a graphic novel, the movie depicts the final days of Joseph Stalin and has an incredible cast, including Steve Buscemi as Nikita Krushchev, Jeffrey Tambor as Georgy Malenkov, and Michael Palin as Vyacheslav Molotov. Hopefully it’ll play Cannes then quickly hit theaters after that.
Miriam Bale (@MimBale), Freelance for The Hollywood Reporter, The New Republic
“Madame Hyde” by Serge Bozon, starring Isabelle Huppert and Gerard Depardieu. Also “Good Time” by the Safdie brothers.
Richard Brody (@tnyfrontrow), The New Yorker
If nobody was talking about a movie that hasn’t come out yet, who’d have heard of it? (Yogi Berra, film critic: “Nobody’s talking about it anymore, it’s got too much buzz.”) So let’s stick with the pure passion apart from the un-buzz that the question calls for and say that the yet-un-festival-programmed movie I’m most impatient to see this year is “Movie No. 1,” Josephine Decker’s latest, in which Miranda July is one of the actors — two of the most inventive artists of the moment working together, joined by a third, the cinematographer Ashley Connor, a sample of whose singular artistry in this movie July recently tweeted.
And for those who worry that the musical genre, pressed ardently ahead by Spike Lee in “Chi-Raq,” has suffered a grievous setback this year, fear not: “Movie No. 1” includes a production number choreographed by Faye Driscoll. Decker’s short film — also a musical — in “collective:unconscious” was among the cinematic high points of 2016; her originality conveys a sense of fate, in the sense of Robert Bresson, who passed this sentence on artists: they’re people who are unable to do things the way other people do. That’s why I’m so damned impatient to see what she’ll do next.
Charles Bramesco (@intothecrevasse), Freelance for Rolling Stone, Vulture, Vox
I’m not completely sure how to answer this, because I can’t really claim to know what people are or are not talking about. I am not one of those millennials with his finger on the pulse, who understands why “Young Pope” jokes are jokes. But because I’ve heard some people murmuring about how dope Bong Joon-ho’s “Okja” is going to be (Jake Gyllenhaal appears to be allowing himself to have a little fun, good for him!), I’ll say that not nearly enough ruckus has been raised over “You Were Never Really Here.” After getting herself ousted from the “Jane Got a Gun” set, this adaptation of a Jonathan Ames novella will mark Lynne Ramsay’s first feature since 2011’s “We Need To Talk About Kevin,” which remains one of the finest films of the millennium. Joaquin Phoenix plays a Travis Bickle type who rescues young women from the sex trade, a premise that I was sold on two words in, and then really sold on seven words in. Two tickets, please!
David Ehrlich (@davidehrlich), IndieWire
As pleasantly surprised as I was to find that Sofia Coppola’s “The Beguiled” landed in the top 10 on our critics poll of the year’s most anticipated movies, that collective expression of good taste has robbed me of the answer I had ready for this question. But 2017 promises to be as wide and wonderful on screen as it threatens to be narrow and nightmarish off it, so it’s not much trouble for me to think of another movie that’s waiting in the wings.
I’ll go with Brady Corbet’s “Vox Lux,” with the caveat that it may not see the light of day until 2018. Corbet impressed me and then some with 2016’s “The Childhood of a Leader,” a rigorous and uncompromising portrait of a future tyrant’s formative years, and I’d be first in line to see whatever he cooked up next. But his next movie isn’t just “whatever he cooked up next.” It’s a 70mm pop epic that chronicles 20 years in the life of a singer played by Rooney Mara (whose songs will be written by Sia). Just freeze me in Carbonite until it comes out.
Question: What is the best film currently playing in theaters?