The Pamphleteer’s 2024 Comprehensive Film Guide

Revisit our most anticipated films of 2024.

Superhero Best Bet

Deadpool & Wolverine (July 26): The Merc with the Mouth officially joins the MCU after that exhausting half-decade Disney/Fox merger. This time, some multiversal rift leads to a bro out with Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine chocked full of hilarious one-liners and, likely, the other classic X-Men cameos Marvel’s been teasing since the last Doctor Strange. Thanks to the strikes and the failure of The Marvels, this is the only official release from the comics giant on the schedule. They better make it count. 

Kraven The Hunter (August 30): Sony hasn’t had the best of luck with its Spider-Man spinoffs, but a hard-”R” rating and director J.C. Chandor (A Most Violent Year, Margin Call) in charge may change all that. Aaron Taylor-Johnson plays the son of a mafioso whose passion for game hunting extends to his vigilante activities when he ingests some special herbs. It may just be good enough to make everyone realize Madame Web wasn’t that bad. Or not. 

Superfluous, but Still Fun: Madame Web (February 14)

Also on Tap: Venom 3 (November 8)

Most Worthwhile Sequels/Remakes

Dune: Part 2 (March 1): As Wonka proved, Timothée Chalamet knows how to choose his roles. Dune picks up right where its impressive first chapter left off. Eccentric candy purveyor. Fireplace-Staring Sufjan Stevens Fan. Classic American Lit Emo Boy. Cannibal from Kentucky. Is there anything Timmy can’t do, especially with the help of Zendaya, Josh Brolin, Austin Butler, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Florence Pugh?

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (March 22): The last entry in the stalwart 80s franchise bypassed the worst tendencies of nostalgia and had something to say about trusting the science. This time Busters old (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, and Annie Potts) and new (Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, McKenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Patton Oswalt) face a supernatural force that goes full Queen Elsa on New York City. Blockbuster moviegoing may well peak early this year. 

Alien: Romulus (August 16): Details are scarce on the latest franchise installment beyond that it takes place between Alien and Aliens. But if anyone can pull off succeeding Sigourney Weaver as a rough-and-tumble heroine, it’s Priscilla’s Cailee Spaeny. Not to mention, director Fede Alvarez has an enviable track record for resurrecting moribund horror franchises (2013’s Evil Dead) and creating a sense of compelling claustrophobia (2016’s Don’t Breathe).  

Beetlejuice Beetlejuice (September 6): Tim Burton, Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder and Catherine O’Hara are back for the next chapter in the story of the Ghost with the Most. We don’t know much else beyond Burton reteaming with Wednesday star Jenna Ortega, and Monica Bellucci taking a turn as Beetlejuice's wife (with a little Willem Dafoe thrown in to spice things up). However, this is sure to be the hit of the long Halloween season and a fixture at the newest sites for Spirit Halloween stores that show how far our economy has fallen since the Reagan days of the original’s release. 

Gladiator 2 (November 22): Despite his indefatigable work ethic, octogenarian Ridley Scott’s late-career output has been spotty. What this sequel lacks in relationship to its predecessor, it makes up for with a cast that includes Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, and Paul Mescal. Here’s hoping it’s more The Last Duel than House of Gucci and Napoleon

Superfluous, but Still Fun: Mean Girls: The Musical (January 12), Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (May 10), The Crow (June 4), Bad Boys 4 (June 4), The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (November 15), Karate Kid (December 13), Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (December 20).

Also on Tap: Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (March 29), Transformers 1 (September 13),  White Bird: A Wonder Tale (October 14), Wicked: Part 1 (November 27), 

Multi-Demo Animation

IF (May 17): John Krasinski directs Ryan Reynolds in this CGI comedy about a girl who begins to see the imaginary friends stuck in limbo when the world’s kids grow up. An early contender for the crowdpleaser of the summer, especially with an all-star cast that includes Matt Damon, Sam Rockwell, Emily Blunt, Awkwafina, and Steve Carell.

Inside Out 2: (June 14): Pixar hopes to restore its reputation by revisiting its crowning achievement as Riley’s emotions (Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Mindy Kaling and Lewis Black) prepare for her teen years with a little help from new friend Anxiety (Maya Hawke). Disney needs a return to form. This better be it.

Also on Tap: Kung Fu Panda 4 (March 8), Dragonkeeper (April 5), Spy x Family Code: White (April 19), The Garfield Movie (May 24), Despicable Me 4 (July 3), Harold and the Purple Crayon (August 2), Dreamworks’s The Wild Robot (September 20), Moana 2 (November 27), The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim (December 13), Mufasa: The Lion King (December 20)

Top-Shelf Horrorshow

Immaculate (March 22): Sydney Sweeney reteams with The Voyeurs director Michael Mohan for this demonic yarn about a nun who moves to a convent in the idyllic Italian countryside and faces the evil underneath the service. Between its star wattage and release by hip distributor Neon (Parasite, Infinity Pool), it could be the biggest surprise of the spring.

Late Night with the Devil (March 22): This entry in the found footage canon from Australia details a 1977 talk show Halloween special that goes horribly awry when a young girl who escaped a satanic cult unleashes pure evil in the studio. It’s been building buzz since its fest premieres last year.

The First Omen (April 5): No one was asking for a prequel to one of the genre’s all-time greats, but this trailer makes it seem like Fox has somehow cracked the code. 

Abigail (April 19): Radio Silence, the directing duo behind Ready or Not and the last two Screams, turn their attention to a child vampire ballerina fighting back against her kidnappers. It should pack the same fresh and jokey punch as its predecessors. It’ll also probably be Melissa Barrera’s last movie

The Strangers: Chapter 1 (May 17): While it never got the credit it was due, The Strangers remains one of the creepiest and most tense horror films of the past fifteen years. Even if director Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2: Die Harder, Deep Blue Sea) has had a touch-and-go career, the first in this planned trilogy starring Riverdale’s Madelaine Petsch may finally give the franchise some extended goodwill. 

A Quiet Place: Day One (June 28): One of horror’s most acclaimed franchises gets a prequel starring Lupita Nyong'o and Djimon Hounsou that Paramount hopes will extend its universe. Whether or not the no-dialogue schtick has worn thin, we’re just happy to see Michael Sarnoski follow up 2021’s best film, Pig, with all the toys in the studio sandbox. 

The Wolf Man (October 25): COVID killed its box-office buzz, but director Leigh Whannel’s 2020 take on The Invisible Man was destined to be the breakout film of that year while showing that the way forward for Universal’s Monsterverse was more elevated horror than Tom Cruise-led CGI explosion fests. Whannell returns for his take on The Wolf Man starring Julia Garner (Ozark and those new Nespresso commercials) and indie king Christopher Abbott (Sanctuary, Poor Things). If it’s half as good as the director’s last foray into horror, it could linger in theaters far beyond Halloween.

Untitled Jordan Peele Movie (Christmas): The only thing we know is that Peele is a force to be reckoned with whose movies have just gotten better and better. We can’t wait to see what’s next. 

Nosferatu (Christmas): Robert Eggers, director of The Witch, The Lighthouse, and The Northman, makes his biggest movie yet with this remake of the German Expressionist vampire classic starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Willem Dafoe, Lily-Rose Depp, and Renfield’s Nicholas Hoult. If Universal planned a Christmas release, it must be something special. 

Could Go Either Way

Imaginary (March 8): When a little girl finds a teddy bear named Chauncey in the basement of her new house, it might just be a conduit for demonic imaginary friends excised from that new Ryan Reynolds movie. A Blumhouse release and great trailer make it seem promising, but director Jeff Wadlow’s Truth or Dare and Fantasy Island have been two of the most milquetoast horror films in recent memory. 

The Watchers (June 7): Most 22-year-olds just want to get their pretentious thesis films into a regional festival. But when your dad is M. Night Shyamalan, you get to write and direct a Hollywood movie starring Dakota Fanning as an artist who must fight off a demonic entity in the woods of Ireland with a group of strangers. Ishana Shyamalan grew up on the film sets of contemporary film’s most hit-or-miss director. We hope she learned the right lessons. 

I Saw the TV Glow (TBA): Perhaps the greatest cinematic con game of the past few years is that Jane Schoenbrun’s 2022 Sundance sensation We’re All Going to the World’s Fair was anything but a thinly veiled trans polemic that displayed the same concern for nuance as its director’s Twitter screeds calling Red Scare’s Dasha Nekrasova and her friends fascists. So, of course, A24 would bankroll the director’s bigger budget follow-up about teens whose realities blur when their favorite TV show is canceled that stars Justice Smith, Brigette Lundy-Paine, and Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst (?). It may evade the sophomore slump, but will probably make those of us who aren’t full of shit just want to break stuff.  

Trap (August 2): M. Night Shyamalan’s latest is, as always, shrouded in secrecy, but it is a psychological thriller set at a concert that stars Josh Hartnett, Haley Mills, and one of the director’s kids. No telling whether it’ll be the next Split or Another Earth, but we’re along for the ride. 

Also on Tap: Winnie The Pooh: Blood and Honey 2 (March 26), Sting (April 12), Tarot (May 10), Speak No Evil (9/13), Saw XI (September 27) Smile 2 (October 18); Terrifier 3 (October 25), Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot (TBA)

Glen Powell-Wow!

Twisters (July 19): If anyone can make us forget the chemistry between Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt and the maniacal joy of Philip Seymour Hoffman in the 1996 storm-chaser blockbuster, it's the man of the hour. Powell stars as the dudebro who just may be able to harness the power of the tornado alongside an enviable ensemble cast of Young Hollywood heavyweights like Daisy Edgar-Jones, Anthony Ramos, Kiernan Shipka, and Sasha Lane. Throw in Minari director Lee Isaac Chung fresh from his well-deserved Oscar attention and equipped with his knack for rural local color, and our most-anticipated blockbuster of midsummer could also be one of the year’s best. 

Hit Man (June 7): When he wasn’t promoting box-office darling Anyone But You, Powell spent most of the last half year at the world’s most prestigious film festivals plugging the new movie he stars in and co-wrote with indie film founding father Richard Linklater (Boyhood, Dazed and Confused). Set in Texas and based on a true story like much of the Austin director’s oeuvre, the film finds Powell as a professor with a side hustle as an assassin for the local police department who falls in love on the job. It’s just a shame this is going straight to Netflix. 

Odds and Ends

Drive-Away Dolls (February 23) Ethan Coen splits from his brother for this goofy crime caper that finds two best friends (Margaret Qualley, Geraldine Viswanathan) unwittingly carting a trunk full of drugs on a road trip to Tallahassee as gangsters (Pedro Pascal, Colman Domingo) close in and corrupt politician (Matt Damon) seethes.

Love Lies Bleeding (March 8): We may have found Rose Glass’s breakout St. Maud one of A24’s most lackluster releases, but the trailer for this crime caper involving a gym manager (Kristen Stewart) and a bodybuilder (Katy O’Brian) who juice up with an unusual substance and delve into the criminal underworld is more than intriguing. 

Cabrini (March 8): Angel Studios reteams with the director of Sound of Freedom for a biopic of the Catholic missionary and future saint who fought the New York political machine to provide the poor a better life. 

Arthur The King (March 15): Mark Wahlberg stars as a triathlete who befriends a dog during a grueling race in this inspirational drama based on a true story. 

Riddle of Fire (March 22): This whimsical tale about a group of preteens who navigate a Wes Anderson- meets-Brothers Grimm world when running an errand for their mother took Cannes and Toronto by storm.

The American Society of Magical Negroes (March 15): It’s not too early to go ahead and call this one the misstep of the year. Justice Smith plays a black dude who gets recruited Men in Black style by David Alan Grier to a secret society of Negro wizards who keep white people happy. But when his biggest client falls for the girl of his dreams, he causes a culture war ruckus. Early reviews say it’s about as good as it sounds. 

Housekeeping for Beginners (April 5): Macedonian wunderkind Goran Stolevski continues the streak he began with 2022’s You Won’t Be Alone and last year’s Of an Age with this tale of a woman who creates a makeshift family to keep some orphans out of the foster system.

Monkeyman (April 5) Dev Patel stars and makes his directorial debut in this highly stylized vigilante tale about an underground fight club employee who goes after the syndicate responsible for his mother’s death that could be one of April’s most rollicking times at the multiplex. 

Civil War (April 12) Alex Garland gets a lot of goodwill for directing Ex Machina and writing some of the early 2000’s best films like 28 Days Later and Never Let Me Go. But after 2022’s frustratingly one-note sexism fable, Men, our hopes aren’t high for this allegory about a war photographer (Kirsten Dunst) in the mix of a War Between the Red and Blue States. Yawn.

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare (April 19) Guy Ritchie bridges the cockeyed irreverence of Snatch with his newfound love of war movies in this men-on-a-mission flick about a ragtag group of antiheroes striking Hitler’s forces behind enemy lines. With Ritchie’s trademark machismo ensemble cast that includes Henry Cavill, Henry Golding, Cary Elwes, and Alan Ritchson. Could be the best of its kind since Inglourious Basterds

The Beast (May 5) Léa Seydoux stars in this drama about rogue AI that perceives human emotions as a threat wreaking havoc. It took a while for this one to find a distributor after its festival debut last year, but that probably means it’s really good.

Back to Black (May 17) Amy Winehouse’s rock biopic is in the hands of Sam Taylor-Johnson. The buzz indicates that the photographer-turned-director may have hit a homerun after her experience on Fifty Shades of Grey, but we still say that the much-maligned blockbuster is one of the best directed movies in the past ten years. 

Sight (May 24) Angel Studios’s summer release focuses on Nashville eye surgeon Dr. Ming Wang who escaped Communist China to become a world renowned leader in his field. With Terry Chen and Greg Kinnear.  

Cora Bora (June 14) Comedian Megan Stalter stars in this tale of a marginally talented singer reeling from a car accident who returns home to Portland to mend her faltering relationship. The kind of smarty pants movie that appeals to edgy millennials while also mocking them. Too bad the audience who saw it at last year’s Nashville Film Festival wasn’t in on the joke. 

It Ends With Us (June 21) Colleen Hoover’s breakout romance novel gets the bigscreen treatment with Blake Lively as a woman hoping to break the cycles of abuse that began with her father when she falls for a brilliant neurosurgeon. Our bet for the summer’s sleeper hit.

Longlegs (July 12) Osgood Perkins (son of Anthony) further establishes himself as a singular horror director with this moody serial killer thriller that finds an FBI agent (Maika Monroe) facing off against a psychopath (Nicholas Cage!!!!) with whom she may have a personal connection. Given how The Blackcoat’s Daughter and Gretel & Hansel are two of the most original horror films of the past few years, this one just barely missed the cut on our top ten. 

Horizon: An American Saga (June 28 and August 16) Fresh from Yellowstone, director/star Kevin Costner returns to his revisionist western roots with this two-part epic that interrogates American expansion in the days after the Civil War and features Costner, Sienna Miller, Sam Worthington, Abbey Lee, Jena Malone, and Michael Rooker. The merch should be hitting Buc-ees and Cracker Barrel any day now.

Touch (July 12) Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur shifts away from action flicks (Contraband, 2 Guns) for an intimate, intercontinental drama about a widower trying to track down his first love fifty years later. 

Flint Strong (August 9) The story of the first woman boxer to win an Olympic Gold medal as she rises from the streets of Flint to international stardom. Written by Moonlight director Barry Jenkins and directed by acclaimed cinematographer Rachel Jenkins (Black Panther, Mudbound)

Wolfs (September 20) Brad Pitt and George Clooney rekindle their easy banter for Spider-Man director Jon Watts as two corporate fixers assigned to the same job. As Ticket to Paradise and The Boys in the Boat proved, Clooney’s somehow found the winning formula for post-pandemic grown-up movies. We need another win. 

The Amateur (November 8) Rami Malek plays a CIA-cryptographer who goes after the terrorists who killed his family in an attack on London when the agency ignores his pleas for justice. 

Alto Knights (November 8) Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Bugsy) taps Robert DeNiro for this retelling of the mob feud between Vito Genovese and Frank Costello.

The Order (TBA) Jude Law stars as an FBI agent pursuing a real-life political radical Robert Jay Mathews (Nicholas Hoult) when a spate of bank robberies plagues the Pacific Northwest. From The Snowtown Murders and Nitram director Justin Kurzel.

Juror No. 2 (TBA) Clint Eastwood’s rumored swansong features 22024’s crime movie king Nicholas Hoult as a juror appointed to a murder trial who realizes that he may actually be the perpetrator. If it’s half as good as Richard Jewell, it’ll be a fine farewell to one of American film’s greatest. With Toni Collette, Zoey Deutch, Kiefer Sutherland, Leslie Bibb, Chris Messina, and J.K. Simmons.

The Empire (TBA) French enfant terrible Bruno Dumont follows up his ingenious media satire France with a scathing Star Wars lampoon that focuses on a child in a provincial village whose talents attract the attention of a hostile alien race. Lead actress Adèle Haenel left the film because, “The script was full of jokes about cancel culture and sexual violence. I tried to discuss it with Dumont, because I thought a dialogue was possible. I wanted to believe for the umpteenth time that it was not intentional. But it’s intentional.” Is a better endorsement possible?

It’s Not Me (TBA): Leos Carax is back after his Cannes-winning Adam Driver/Marion Cotillard musical, Annette, with a cinematic self-portrait that reunites him with Holy Motors star and longtime collaborator Denis Levant. 

Voyagers (TBA): Andrew Garfield and Daisy Edgar-Jones take on the roles of Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan circa 1977 as NASA sets out to create the Golden Record that shares music and image with aliens. From Oscar-winning Chilean director Sebastián Lelio (Gloria, A Fantastic Woman, Disobedience).

Maria (TBA): Angelina Jolie stars as renowned opera singer Maria Callas for Jackie, Spencer, and El Conde director Pablo Larraín. 

Suspended Time (TBA) French auteur Olivier Assayas mines his pandemic experience for this story of an artist who spends lockdown with his entire family in the countryside. This subgenre should have been over before it began, but if anyone can do it well, it’s the mind behind Personal Shopper and Clouds of Sils Maria.

We Shall Be All (TBA): Jia Zhangke had an international hit with 2019’s Chinese crime epic Ash Is Purest White. After a brief hiatus, he’s back with a film twenty years in the making that assembles footage of couples in various stages of their relationships. 

The Sparrow in the Chimney (TBA): Inscrutable Swiss director Ramon Zürcher (The Girl and the Spider, The Strange Little Cat) takes his talent for finding the profound in the mundane to a family birthday party that turns into an emotional inferno when memories of the deceased bleed into happy times. 

Bird (TBA): The only thing we know about the latest from British powerhouse Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank, American Honey) is that Barry Keoghan dropped out of Gladiator 2 to be in her latest. We’ll tell you all about it when it’s on our top films of 2024 list. 

Blitz (TBA): Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) makes his first foray into the war epic with Saorise Ronan and Harris Dickinson. This Apple TV+ release is tailor-made for consumption while spending the holidays alone in your childhood bedroom or through AirPods during Thanksgiving dinner. 

Hand of Dante (TBA:) Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, At Eternity’s Gate) investigates Dante’s creation of The Divine Comedy and the struggle to verify its authenticity in an interwoven narrative starring Oscar Isaac, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Gerard Butler, John Malkovich, Franco Nero, and Al Pacino.