2024 Preview: Ten Films Worthy of Your Optimism
Maybe these won't suck?
It is extremely difficult, if not outright impossible, to predict what kind of year it’s going to be for movies. This is for a number of reasons, including the fact that normally-excellent filmmakers sometimes stumble and produce less-than-stellar films, normally-terrible filmmakers sometimes find their footing and produce less-than-awful films, and filmmakers who simply aren’t on anyone’s radar yet are bound to emerge (twelve months ago, most people had never heard of Past Lives writer/director Celine Song, for example).
With that mind, I am now going to predict that the following ten movie scheduled for release this year will be of interest, based almost entirely on their filmmakers’ past output. These educated guesses are as follows:
Drive-Away Dolls (February 23)
Directed by Ethan Coen, written by Ethan Coen & Tricia Cooke
The Coen brothers have split up! Hopefully not forever, but still… THE COEN BROTHERS HAVE SPLIT UP!! This may be the defining tragedy of the 21st century, right in between climate change and the rise of global fascism.
For his solo writing/directing debut, Joel Coen stacked the deck in his favor by adapting Shakespeare for The Tragedy of Macbeth… and the results were still only kinda okayish. Hopefully Ethan Coen fares a little better for his first outing without his brother, which appears to be a comedic crime film, which is more in the traditional Coen brothers wheelhouse than a Shakespeare play. Ethan co-wrote the movie with his wife, Tricia Cooke, who edited some of the Coens’ best films, like The Big Lebowski and O Brother, Where Art Thou?, but has no prior screenwriting credits.
Dune: Part Two (March 1)
Directed by Denis Villeneuve, written by Denis Villeneuve & Jon Spaihts, based on the novel by Frank Herbert
Denis Villeneuve is a genius, and his first Dune was about as good an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s ultra-complex sci-fi epic as you’re gonna get without making a mini-series. Plus, Christopher Walken and Florence Pugh join the cast for this one. The only thing that could possibly fell this movie is if Austin Butler plays the villainous Feyd Rautha with his Elvis accent.
Road House (March 21)
Directed by Doug Liman, written by Anthony Bagarozzi and Chuck Mondry
They remade Road House? With Edge of Tomorrow’s Doug Liman directing? From a script by the co-writer of The Nice Guys? And Jake Gyllenhaal is playing the Patrick Swayze role? I mean… I’m not not interested, y’know?
Mickey 17 (March 29)
Written and directed by Bong Joon-ho, based on the novel Mickey7 by Edward Ashton
Bong Joon-ho (Parasite, Snowpiercer, The Host, etc.) is at the helm. So it has about as much of a chance of being good as any movie can have.
Challengers (April 26)
Directed by Luca Guadagnino, written by Justin Kuritzkes
I have about as much interest in tennis as I do in having my foot sawed off. But this is a love triangle from the same dude who made Call Me By Your Name, so it should, at the very least, be thought-provoking.
Furiosa (May 24)
Directed by George Miller, written by George Miller & Nick Lathouris
On the one hand, I’m skeptical about topping Mad Max: Fury Road, and I’m skeptical about swapping out Charlize Theron for Anya Taylor-Joy. But on the other hand, I was also skeptical that Mad Max: Fury Road would be good in the first place, and it was a goddamn masterpiece. Franchise creator George Miller gets the benefit of the doubt.
A Quiet Place: Day One (June 28)
Written and directed by Michael Sarnoski
Michael Sarnoski, the writer/director of 2021’s excellent Pig, takes over the franchise from John Krasinski. Which means this movie might actually have a chance of properly utilizing the series’ terrific premise.
Joker: Folie á Deux (October 4)
Directed by Todd Phillips, written by Todd Phillips & Scott Silver
As good as Joker was, director Todd Phillips’ previous forays into sequels, The Hangover parts II and III, were about as much fun as an IRS audit. Still, this movie is reportedly a musical, which is bonkers if true, and they’ve somehow roped in Lady Gaga to play Joker’s shrink-turned-moll, Harley Quinn, so I don’t see how you could not be intrigued.
Terrifier 3 (October 25)
Visionary enfant terrible Damien Leone continues the masterclass in semiotics that is the Terrifier cycle. The last installment slyly subverted religious iconography, Jungian archetypes, and bourgeois cinematic grammar to deconstruct 21st century socio-political anxieties and psycho-sexual mores, resulting in a droll satire and savage critique of Trump’s America. Godard only knows what Leone has in store for the follow-up.
Untitled Jordan Peele Film (December 25)
It’s Jordan Peele. He hasn’t shit the bed yet!