— “Annihilation” — Feb. 23 — I’m not a huge sci-fi fan, but Alex Garland’s 2015 directorial debut, “Ex Machinia,” reminded me how gripping and disquieting the genre can be when done right. So, I’m excited for his follow-up, which is an adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s novel of the same name. It stars Natalie Portman as a biologist who explores a quarantined wilderness area along with a psychologist (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a surveyor (Tessa Thompson), and an anthropologist (Gina Rodriguez). As the movie is also labeled an action horror film, I’m assuming that whatever these ladies discover there is not going to be pretty.
— “Where’d You Go Bernadette” — May 11 — Another movie based on a book (by Maria Semple) that looks promising, this comedy-drama tells the story of an agoraphobic architect and mother played by Cate Blanchett, who goes missing before family trip to Antarctica. Her daughter, Bee, tries to track her down. Richard Linklater will direct and Kristen Wiig, Judy Greer, Billy Crudup, Laurence Fishburne and Troian Bellisario also star.
— “Backseat” — TBA — If you haven’t seen pictures of Christian Bale lately, they’re worth a Google. The actor has packed on the pounds to play former Vice President Dick Cheney in this biopic by “The Big Short” director Adam McKay. Amy Adams will play Cheney’s wife Lynne. Steve Carrell will portray former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Sam Rockwell will take on 43rd President George W. Bush.
— “Isle of Dogs” — March 23 — Wes Anderson, dogs and a dystopian future: Count me in. This stop-motion animated film written and directed by Anderson is set in Japan at a time when canines are quarantined to an island because of dog flu. A boy ventures to the island in search of his pet, Spots. As usual, Anderson has assembled an all-star cast of voice actors that includes Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Bob Balaban, Greta Gerwig, and Yoko Ono.
— “Holmes and Watson” — Nov. 9 — In terms of serious adaptations of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic mysteries, you’re not going to better than the TV series “Sherlock,” featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as the brilliant detective. Luckily, this is clearly not going to be a serious film, as it stars Will Ferrell as Holmes and John C. Reilly as Watson.
— “Unsane” — March 23 — Steven Soderbergh apparently shot an entire horror movie on his iPhone. In it, a young woman (Claire Foy), who is committed to a mental institution, must face her greatest fear. And audiences will try to figure out along with her whether that fear is real or a delusion. In an interview with EW, Jay Pharoah, who also stars in the film, calls it “reality-type horror, almost ‘Get Out’-ish but different.”