2015 was a pretty good year for movies, both commercially and critically. “Jurassic World” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” both shattered box office records while not being terrible and instant classics such as “Spotlight”, “The Revenant” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” marked a dramatic improvement over the previous year. So 2016 has a tough act to follow. Below are my most anticipated films for the new year.
The Merc with a Mouth had been in development limbo for years, but will finally get his big screen treatment this February. Unlike the glut of superhero films out there, “Deadpool” is distinctly anti-family, with R-rated violence and biting sarcasm. The anticipation for his debut is paramount.
- February 12
2. X-Men: Apocalypse
Bryan Singer and co. hit it out of the park with the last X-Men film, “Days of Future Past”, so expectations for the follow-up are sky high. Said to be the conclusion of a trilogy that started with “X-Men: First Class”, “Apocalypse” may end up being the best X-Men film yet.
- May 27
3. Hail Caesar!
The Coen brothers return with an all-star cast consisting of George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Tilda Swinton, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill to tell the story of a big Hollywood actor who is kidnapped and held for ransom. The Coens are quirky, equal parts dramatic and funny, and some of the best filmmakers working today. The film should be a blast.
- February 5
4. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
The first live-action “Star Wars” film to take place out of the Skywalker cannon, “Rogue One” tells the story of a group of rebels who steal the original plans for the Death Star. Free from the constraints of adding to the original series of films, perhaps this new film can add to the Star Wars mythos in its own way.
- December 16
5. Suicide Squad
Another superhero film that is trying to do something different, “Suicide Squad” features the villains in the titular role as a task force team used by the government. With the long awaited big screen debut of fan favorite Harley Quinn (Margot Robie) and a new Joker (Jared Leto), it looks like the best bet for DC’s recent slate of superhero films.
- August 5
6. The Magnificent Seven
Remakes are usually awful, but that hasn’t stopped audiences from seeing them or studios from making them. So it is with “The Magnificent Seven”, starring Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke and Chris Pratt. Perhaps director Antoine Fuqua will deliver the goods, perhaps not, but the potential is there for something special.
- May 28
7. Captain America: Civil War
The superhero film phenomenon is getting a little stale, but the third Captain America film promises to at least change the dynamic of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by pitting hero against hero. Hopefully, this raises the stakes and gives greater emotional investment to the films.
- May 6
8. The BFG
Steven Spielberg returns to the genre that suits him best, childhood drama, with this tale of a giant who takes a young girl under his wing. Based off the book by Roald Dahl, many look at it as perhaps that long awaited sequel to E.T.
- July 1
9. The Girl on the Train
Based off the hit novel and starring Emily Blunt, the film investigates a woman who finds herself wrapped up in a murder mystery after her regular morning commute.
- October 7
10. The Free State of Jones
Matthew McConaughey stars in this film about a Southerner against slavery and secession who creates a haven for those like him in the Confederacy. The political ramifications alone make this a must-see film.
- May 13
Directed by Martin Scorsese, the film follows two Jesuit priests traveling through Japan in the 1600s.
The two most popular stars in Hollywood, Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, team up for this film about two people woken up on a 60 year flight trip to a distant planet. The film is directed by “The Imitation Game’s” Morten Tyldum.
- December 21
13. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
The first film in the wizarding world to take place without Harry Potter, Eddie Redmayne stars as Newt Scamander in the beginning of this set of movies. With much of the original crew returning, it will be interesting to see how the story compares to the Harry Potter legacy.
- November 18
14. The Nice Guys
Shane Black returns to the crime genre for this film starring Ryan Gosling and Russel Crowe who team up to find a missing girl. The writer-director of the criminally underseen “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” should deliver a fun ride.
- May 20
15. La La Land
The follow-up film of Damien Chazelle after 2014’s “Whiplash”, “La La Land” features Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in a romantic comedy musical.
- October 20
16. The Great Wall
Directed by Zhang Yimou and starring Matt Damon, the film focuses on the construction of the Great Wall of China.
- November 23
17. Money Monster
Jodie Foster directs this film about a man who holds a live TV game show hostage after he loses his savings. The film also stars George Clooney and Julia Roberts.
- May 13