Orion and the Dark


The animated fantasy adventure ‘Orion and the Dark’ begins streaming Feb. 2 on Netflix.

A movie fan doesn't need a crystal ball, or even a Magic 8-Ball, to predict what kind of a year 2024 will be.

That particular die, it would appear, has been cast.

If 2023 was the year of “Barbenheimer,” you can expect 2024 to be the year of déjà vu.

Thanks partly to the Hollywood strikes, which saw the delay and rescheduling of countless projects, and partly due to Tinseltown’s continued reliance on recycled ideas, the coming year promises a raft of sequel, remakes and ripoffs.

Admittedly, that’s not a bad thing in all cases. Some of the sequels on tap are intriguing, such as “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire,” “Beetlejuice 2,” “Dune Part 2,” “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga,” “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes,” “Bad Boys 4,” “Twisters” “Gladiator 2” and “Deadpool 3” — just to name a few.

That said, in compiling my list of 10 films to watch for in the coming year, it felt like a cheat to stock it with retreads. Consequently, I limited my list to just a single sequel — but it’s a dandy.

Find it below, along with the other films that have caught my eye as the calendar changes, all arranged according to release date.

Happy New Year — and happy viewing.

“Origin” (In theaters Jan. 19; Neon) For award-season voters, it’s a 2023 film, but it won’t actually hit theaters until January, which is good enough to qualify for this list. But the real reason it’s here is because of its director, Ava Duvernay, who has proven herself to be a sure-handed filmmaker determined to use her platform to open eyes. As with her locally shot “Queen Sugar” and the documentary “13th,” it explores issues of race in America, so you can expect to be made uncomfortable. But given that it’s from Duvernay, you can also expect to be enlightened.

“Orion and the Dark” (Streaming on Feb. 2; Netflix) The animation landscape for 2024 features a wealth of familiar properties, from Pixar’s “Inside Out 2,” DreamWorks’ “Kung Fu Panda 4” and Illumination’s “Despicable Me 4” to all-new big-screen outings for the likes of Garfield, Looney Tunes and SpongeBob SquarePants. But for those looking for something original, there’s this promising fantasy adventure, penned by the always interesting Charlie Kaufman and based on the book of the same name, about a boy who comes face to face with the embodiment of his greatest fear: the dark.

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Filmmaker Alex Garland directs ‘Civil War,’ set in a dystopian American future. It is due in theaters on April 26.

“Civil War” (In theaters April 26; A24) “Ex Machina” and “Annihilation” filmmaker Alex Garland writes and directs a near-future thriller about a family struggling to survive in a dystopian America ruled by a power-hungry dictator and roaming paramilitary gangs. And, yes, it is a message movie, described by Garland as “a sci-fi allegory for our currently polarized predicament.” Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons and Nick Offerman star.

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Kevin Costner’s epic Western ‘Horizon: An American Saga,’ due in theaters June 28, is the first in what is envisioned as a four-film cycle.

“Horizon: An American Saga” (In theaters June 28; Warner Bros.) From his breakout role in 1985’s “Silverado,” and continuing through such projects as “Dances with Wolves,” “Wyatt Earp,” “Open Range” and “Yellowstone,” Kevin Costner has long seemed at home in the old West. Now, he returns to the cowboy era for what might be his most ambitious project to date: a four-film epic chronicling Westward expansion in the years before and after the Civil War. With Costner writing, directing and starring, two installments have been filmed so far, with this initial chapter due this summer.

“Joker: Folie a Deux” (In theaters Oct. 4; Warner Bros.) In the sole sequel on this list, Joaquin Phoenix returns as Arthur Fleck (aka The Joker), the role that earned him a 2020 Oscar. Just as importantly, writer-director Todd Phillips is back, too — but this time, with Lady Gaga on board to play Joker squeeze Harley Quinn. Oh, also: It’s a musical. Suffice it to say this is not your ordinary comic-book sequel. Expect the unhinged, but also expect something thoughtful.

“Alto Knights” (In theaters Nov. 15; Warner Bros.) Barry Levinson directs a period crime drama written by “Goodfellas” screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi and starring Robert De Niro in dual roles, as real-life rival mob kingpins Vito Genovese and Frank Costello. If all that’s not enough to get you interested, I’m not sure anything will.

“Wicked: Part 1” (In theaters Nov. 27; Universal) Twenty-one years after its stage debut, and following numerous fits and starts, the blockbuster Oz-inspired musical finally makes its way to the big screen. Jon M. Chu directs the first in what will be a two-part adaptation, starring Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande in the roles originated for the stage by Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth. Will it be worth the wait? Will it defy box office gravity? We have only 11 months to wait, with the sequel planned for Thanksgiving week 2025.



Bill Skarsgård stars in ‘Nosferatu,’ a reimagining of the classic vampire tale directed by Robert Eggers and due in theaters on Christmas 2024. 

“Nosferatu” (In theaters Dec. 25; Focus Features) The thrillingly original filmmaker Robert Eggers (“The Witch,” “The Lighthouse”) delivers a long-simmering passion project of his, with this reimagining of F.W. Murnau’s 1922 bootleg “Dracula” adaptation. Bill Skarsgård (“It”) plays the lead role of Count Orlok, with a supporting cast including Nicholas Hoult, Willem Dafoe, Lily-Rose Depp and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Eggers’ film will cap an interesting year for fans of classic horror, with an untitled Universal Monsters film due in theaters April 19 and a “Wolfman” remake set for a Halloween-season release.

“Kinds of Kindness” (Release date TBD; Searchlight Pictures) Visionary filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos, whose “Poor Things” can be expected to make noise this award season, reteams with actors Emma Stone and Willem Dafoe — along with Hong Chau, Jesse Plemons and others — for an anthology film shot in New Orleans in late 2022. Plot details are being kept under wraps for now, but, this being a Lanthimos film, you can expect it to be something unique.

“Megalopolis” (Release date TBD; American Zoetrope) Francis Ford Coppola directs a ridiculously stocked ensemble cast — including Adam Driver, Dustin Hoffman, Forest Whitaker, Jon Voight, Laurence Fishburne, Aubrey Plaza, Shia LaBeouf, Talia Shire and others — in an epic sci-fi drama about one man’s attempts to rebuild New York as a utopia following a major disaster. Little else is known about the project, including its release date, but that level of talent is more than enough to get my attention.