2017 will be a blockbuster year for film

Gal Gadot stars as Wonder Woman. Photo / Supplied
Gal Gadot stars as Wonder Woman. Photo / Supplied

The Daily Mail's Brian Viner casts his eye over the new movie releases coming out in 2017 ... and likes what he sees (all release dates UK time)

After a year in which the cinema was unable to match politics for tales of the unexpected, 2017 should restore some balance. It's looking like a very interesting year for film.

There are sci-fi, superhero and war blockbusters aplenty, including new Star Wars, Blade Runner and Planet Of The Apes films.

I'm particularly looking forward to Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk. But there is also the promise of some juicy thrillers, stirring romances, period swooners and sharp comedies, not to mention at least one weepie, Lion, that could drive up sales of extra-ply tissues. Younger cinema-goers should be notably well-served, too.

So, for 2017, here are 17 exciting films to appeal to all tastes and due to reach our screens in the next 12 months.

Beauty And The Beast

Following in the dainty glass slipper-steps of the delightful Cinderella, this is another Disney live-action remake of one of its own animations. Emma Watson plays one title character, Dan Stevens the other. I think you can guess which is which.

As Belle, Ms Watson, by all accounts, introduced Disney to her feisty brand of feminism and declined to wear a corset under her frock. Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson and Ewan McGregor also feature. Out in March.

Blade Runner 2049

French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve - whose last two films were the excellent Sicario and Arrival - is the man entrusted with the Blade Runner baton, 35 years after the Ridley Scott original.

Promisingly, his cinematographer is the hugely accomplished Englishman Roger Deakins, 13 times an Oscar nominee. And Harrison Ford returns, just like he did in Star Wars, although Ryan Gosling will do most of the running and jumping. Scott is also involved, as producer. Out in October.

Coco

The Mexican festival Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, has inspired plenty of film-makers in recent years, not least Sam Mendes, who used it as the backdrop for a memorable pre-credits sequence in the Bond film Spectre.

Now Pixar is at it, with this animation about a young Mexican boy who, during the festivities, finds himself in the realm of the departed. Pixar's parent company, Disney, has been accused of 'cultural appropriation' for trying (unsuccessfully) to trademark the phrase Dia de los Muertos. But we'll forgive them if this is as good as it promises to be. Out in November.

Darkest Hour

John Lithgow did a fine job as Churchill in the Netflix series The Crown, but he never quite looked the part. From the pictures we've seen, Gary Oldman certainly does, uncannily, in this drama set at the outset of World War II, just after Churchill becomes leader.

The screenplay is by Anthony McCarten, the talented New Zealander who wrote The Theory Of Everything, and the cast includes Lily James as Winston's personal secretary, Kristin Scott Thomas as his wife, Clementine, and John Hurt as Neville Chamberlain. Joe Wright (Atonement) directs. Out in November.

Gary Oldman plays Winston Churchill in the upcoming movie Darkest Hour. Photo / Supplied
Gary Oldman plays Winston Churchill in the upcoming movie Darkest Hour. Photo / Supplied

Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan's breathlessly anticipated World War II film tells the story of the extraordinary mass evacuation of Allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk in 1940.
It boasts a fantastic British cast, led by Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance and Kenneth Branagh. Oddly, it's one of the rare Nolan films not to feature Sir Michael Caine. But, in a bid to attract a younger audience, it does mark the acting debut of a certain boy band star - Harry Styles, of One Direction fame. Out in July.

Guardians Of The Galaxy 2


This sequel has plenty to live up to; the original Guardians Of The Galaxy was not only a huge box-office smash in 2014, but also enormous fun. With Spider-Man and Thor films to follow, it's a big year for the money-making machine known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But this should get things off to a cracking start.

The cast is much the same as last time (Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana), but with some intriguing additions, such as Elizabeth Debicki, the Aussie actress whose raunchy sex scenes with Tom Hiddleston in last year's BBC drama The Night Manager caused such a stir. Out in April.

Kong: Skull Island

And here is Hiddleston, presumably with his bottom well covered, playing the leader of a team of explorers who come across cinema's hairiest icon in yet another version of the story first written in 1932 by former Daily Mail war correspondent Edgar Wallace.

Lion

I've already seen this, and it's absolutely wonderful.
It's the almost unbearably moving (true-life) tale, beautifully directed by debutant Garth Davis, of an Indian boy called Saroo, who was accidentally separated from his mother and brother at the age of five, before being adopted by an Australian couple.

Then, as an adult, he traced and was reunited with his biological family. I'm not the biggest fan of Dev Patel's acting ability, but he delivers as the grown-up Saroo, while the child version, newcomer Sunny Pawar, is simply sensational. Nicole Kidman shines, too, as Saroo's loving adoptive mother. Out this month.

Miss Sloane

Jessica Chastain is tipped as an Oscar contender for her performance as Elizabeth Sloane, a fierce Capitol Hill lobbyist who strays into the angry crossfire of gun-ownership politics.
I hear it's not a brilliant film but that Chastain is utterly compelling in it, which definitely makes it one to look out for: she's a wonderful actress. The British director, John Madden, made Shakespeare In Love and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Out in February.

Murder on the Orient Express

Sidney Lumet's 1974 version of Agatha Christie's famous whodunit cannot possibly be matched in terms of its illustrious cast. Ingrid Bergman (who won an Oscar), Lauren Bacall, John Gielgud, Vanessa Redgrave and Sean Connery all starred, alongside Albert Finney as Poirot.

Still, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penelope Cruz and Derek Jacobi isn't too shabby a line-up, with Kenneth Branagh (who also directs) as the moustachioed sleuth. It should be a treat. Out in November.

Paddington 2

Of all this year's sequels - and they are depressingly numerous, stretching even to Toy Story 4 and Fast & Furious 8 - this is one of the few to get excited about.

The first Paddington film was a joy and this one reunites the cast and crew, with Ben Whishaw again the voice of the marmalade-loving Peruvian bear. Mind you, his return isn't welcomed by everyone. 'Paddington Bear film set staff acting like armed militia, say angry Little Venice residents' was one local paper headline during production. Out in November.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men tell No Tales

Johnny Depp based his performance as Captain Jack Sparrow on Keith Richards, who duly popped up in two sequels as his raddled old dad.

The trouble is, judging by his occasional slurred chat-show appearances, that Depp looks like he could now play Richards's father. At any rate, he hasn't aged well, and an acrimonious marital split, complete with allegations of abuse, has further eroded some of his previously devoted fan base.

So this film, the fifth in the series, will show us whether he's still got the magnetism, and the box-office appeal, of old. Out in May.

The Snowman

This is entirely unrelated to the much-loved animated version of the Raymond Briggs book, so don't take the children along. Instead, this is based on Jo Nesbo's bestselling crime novel, and stars Michael Fassbender as Harry Hole, the maverick Norwegian detective on the snowy trail of a serial killer.

Martin Scorsese was briefly attached as director, but in the event Tomas Alfredson, who made the 2011 film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, takes the helm. Rebecca Ferguson, whose name rather belies her Swedishness, co-stars. Out in October.

Spiderman: Homecoming

Another British actor plays the web-weaving Marvel superhero, following Andrew Garfield's two-film stint. Now it's the turn of Tom Holland, who made his spider-suit debut in Captain America: Civil War, but this time gets a whole story to himself, as Peter Parker tries to balance his high school life with the demands placed on his crime-fighting alter ego.

Holland first proved his acting credentials in the West End stage version of Billy Elliot, so we know he' s light on his feet. Out in July.

Star Wars: Episode VIII

The second in the Star Wars sequel trilogy features John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and everyone else who made 2016's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, such a monumental cinematic event. Expect to see the late Carrie Fisher, too.

The story begins where the last film ended, and the writer-director is Rian Johnson, who can consider himself lucky to land such a prestigious gig. His previous movies have been well-received, but were much smaller projects. Out in December.

Victoria And Abdul

Judi Dench reprises her turn in the lovely 1997 film Mrs Brown, again playing Queen Victoria, in another story focusing on the Queen's controversial real-life relationship with a servant.

In this case it's a young Indian clerk, Abdul Karim, who served Victoria devotedly during the last 15 years of her reign, while all around them snorted and sniffed their disapproval.
Stephen Frears directs an all-star British cast, which includes Simon Callow, Michael Gambon and Tim Pigott-Smith, with Eddie Izzard, a little bizarrely, as the Prince of Wales. The writer is the excellent Lee Hall, whose screenplays include Billy Elliot, Pride And Prejudice and War Horse. Out in September.

Wonder Woman

The first three films in the grandiosely named DC Extended Universe have been disappointing, so let's hope they finally give Marvel a run for their money with this one, in which Israeli actress Gal Gadot at last gets to play the Amazonian princess as more than just an extended cameo.

Over the years it seemed that Wonder Women would never cease. Since the Nineties the part has been linked with Sandra Bullock, Angelina Jolie, Catherine Zeta Jones and even Beyonce, among numerous others. But Lynda Carter, no less, has endorsed the choice of Gadot.

Alas, rumours of a cameo for Carter, who played the role herself on TV in the Seventies, are said to be unfounded. Out in June.

- Daily Mail

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