10 Movies We Can’t Wait To See In 2016
The new year is underway, and though it may be a while before some of 2016’s biggest movies start to roll out, there’s no law against getting excited early. For our first blogger Q&A of the year, we answer the question: what film are you most looking forward to in 2016?
Hail, Caesar! — February 5
Generally speaking, the Coens would not necessarily be on the top of my anticipation list. Inside Llewyn Davis was my favorite movie of 2013, and is my favorite Coen, but most of their movies fall just short of “love” for me. Hail, Caesar! looks like it will be the beginning of a new trend, leaning more toward the levity of Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Inherent Vice than the dour seriousness of something like No Country for Old Men. The story, in which a major Hollywood star is kidnapped and ridiculous people work to find him or find out what’s going on, is thankfully still fairly obscure. The cinematography, done by Roger Deakins, is perhaps his most subtle in years; the lines, colors, and lighting, as displayed in the trailer, at least, pull back from his bravura silhouette work or pale darkness. The cast list is too long to dig into, especially knowing that any of the cast members could end up subverting expectations that either Josh Brolin or George Clooney will be the main character, but every frame involving Tilda Swinton, Scarlett Johansson, or Channing Tatum will be a treat. This one’s coming soon, and it’s my next great hope for cinema. — Alex Christian Lovendahl
Deadpool — February 12
There are several films I’m looking forward to in 2016, but rather than narrow it down to the top one, I’m looking at this question as “a movie that’s coming out soon, that I want to see, and that I hope is successful.” Everybody who follows comic book movies is familiar with the wildly successful test footage that director Tim Miller and star Ryan Reynolds cooked up to show what their Deadpool movie might look like. It shows the confidence the studio has in their creativity that they are willing to front a very R-rated movie within their blockbuster X-Men franchise. Last year, Kingsman: The Secret Service proved that a comic book movie stamped with an R can be successful, and I’m looking forward to the possibility of Deadpool shaking up things within the established X-universe. While I’m not a big comic reader, I do like superhero movies, and I’m familiar with the idea of the “Merc with the Mouth”, whose fourth-wall-breaking antics could potentially be great counter-programming to the increasingly homogeneous cinematic superhero landscape. His solo outing just has to be successful first. What better time to test his foul-mouthed mettle than at Valentine’s Day? Let’s just hope his movie is more Kick-Ass than Kick-Ass 2. — Nigel Druitt
Zootopia — March 4
Rarely has a trailer alone won me over. Usually, when I see a film, even if I see a trailer for it and am intrigued, it’s because I had a prior interest in the project. When I saw the first trailer for Zootopia, I was curious. I like Jason Bateman quite a bit and the film seemed to be aiming for the satirical edge of humor. The second trailer totally won me over. The film looks to be a clever aping of societal norms, done through animals. I couldn’t stop laughing during the trailer. Zootopia looks to be a fun experience and one I am looking forward to. — Connor Ryan Adamson
Captain America: Civil War — May 6
Like many people, I am a huge fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Over the past eight years, Marvel Studios has successfully built a trustworthy brand, with most of the films in their catalog upholding a certain standard of quality and entertainment. In 2014, they upped their game considerably with the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, one of the best MCU entries to date. Now, the duo who directed that film — Joe and Anthony Russo — have returned to direct the sequel and third solo outing for Steve Rogers, Captain America: Civil War. This time, Chris Evans’ Captain America will face off against his one-time friend and fellow Avenger, Iron Man, played by the always-entertaining Robert Downey, Jr. This film will serve as a follow-up to both Winter Soldier and last year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, which presents it with unique challenges, as it will need to continue to develop the relationship between Cap and his friend-turned-brainwashed-assassin, Bucky Barnes (the main conflict established in Winter Soldier), while also dealing with Cap’s role as the leader of the new team of Avengers formed at the end of Age of Ultron.
Because of this – and the fact that the film is titled Civil War and thus requires two competing teams of superheroes – the movie has a very large cast of heroes, including Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, Vision, Falcon, War Machine, Ant-Man, and newcomers Black Panther and the MCU version of Spider-Man. And that’s not even the entire cast (I’m especially excited to see William Hurt reprise his role as General Thunderbolt Ross, who we haven’t seen since 2008’s The Incredible Hulk). Now, this large of a cast could prove too unwieldy and we could end up with something even more overstuffed than Age of Ultron. That possibility would normally cause me to look at this film with slightly more pessimism than optimism. However, with Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely — who wrote Winter Soldier — penning the screenplay and the Russos returning to direct (not to mention a pretty awesome trailer), I am fully confident that Civil War will not only be great summer entertainment, but also one of the best Marvel Studios films yet. — Matt Ray
La La Land — July 15
When I say I’m highly anticipating Damien Chazelle‘s follow-up to Whiplash, I have to out myself as someone who hasn’t even seen Whiplash yet. But I did see Chazelle’s debut feature Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, which doesn’t get mentioned NEARLY enough (no, Whiplash is not his debut), and loved it. La La Land, set to release in July (nice counterprogramming for anyone suffering superhero fatigue), will star Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, a pretty unbeatably adorable couple, in a musical romance set in Los Angeles — Gosling as a jazz pianist and Stone as an aspiring singer. It sounds almost like a riff on Guy and Madeline, which was about a jazz trumpeter and his on-again, off-again girlfriend in Boston. That was a delightful modern day musical that didn’t make any bones about being a musical — no restricting musical sequences to stages or fantasy sequences. It was very old-fashioned, and I hope Chazelle brings that same vision to La La Land, because I miss old-school Hollywood musicals. — Jandy Hardesty
Star Wars: Rogue One — December 16
After the phenomenon that was Star Wars: The Force Awakens, all eyes are fixated on what comes next from the newly rejuvenated and revived franchise under the supervisory helm of Kathleen Kennedy and Disney. Rogue One is especially compelling since it now has even bigger cinematic shoes to fill, and the expectations of it may be even higher as it tries to tell a much smaller, and entirely different type of story within the Star Wars universe. Not only will it have new directorial vision under Gareth Edwards (Godzilla, Monsters), but it will also be acting as a sort of “period piece” set directly before the events of the original 1977 film. That means a very specific aesthetic (1970s-future costuming and sets) and the potential to utilize other massively familiar icons of its time – namely Darth Vader.
On top of all that, it’s a wonderfully diverse cast, and it sounds like it’s going to be a heist movie and a gritty war film all wrapped up into one. It’s seemingly taking itself much more seriously than other entries in the series, too – which could work extremely well, but you have to wonder if some of the trademark humor and banter that’s inherent to Star Wars is truly necessary to make it feel like Star Wars. We’ll have to wait for a proper trailer to know for sure.
I doubt Lucasfilm thinks Rogue One can perform anywhere near Force Awakens at the box office, but maybe it doesn’t have to. Maybe it just has to prove that more original storytelling in the universe is possible, and profitable, to be considered a major success. Here’s hoping that everyone involved is putting as much blood, sweat, and tears into making it as J.J. did with his story. – Nathan Chase
The Disaster Artist — 2016
For me, The Room is one of the most transcendent film experiences possible. As the modern day Rocky Horror Picture Show – except unintentionally bad – I have seen The Room maybe more than any film to be released in the 2000s and I still discover new things that blow me away every time. The Room for me defies taste: it’s not terrible, it’s not great, it’s something completely new altogether. The Room co-star Greg Sestero released a tell-all book entitled The Disaster Artist as the film was picking up speed to becoming one of the best-worst films of all time. What seems like it’ll be a modern day Ed Wood, The Disaster Artist has enlisted a phenomenal cast to recreate one of my favorite films of all time, including James and Dave Franco in their first film together, Josh Hutcherson, Hannibal Buress, Jacki Weaver, Sharon Stone and plenty more. Adapting a book based on a movie I love into another movie could be – well – a huge disaster, but with this cast and this material, I couldn’t be more excited about the results. — Ross Bonaime
Silence — 2016
If we’d done this question a year ago, Silence would have been my answer for 2015 too. Unfortunately the Martin Scorsese movie about Jesuit priests in Japan got pushed back to 2016, lengthening the period of my anticipation. I don’t always love Scorsese’s movies, but I almost always appreciate them. And I nearly always like stories that are set in Japan, a country where I’ve spent a lot of time. Those two interests have overlapped before: Scorsese had a memorable cameo in Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams, the 1990 film by the great Japanese director. With Silence set to feature Liam Neeson and Kylo Ren himself, Adam Driver, there are a lot of reasons I’ll be at the theater for Silence‘s debut if and when it finally comes out. — David Conrad
2 Wick 2 Furious (OK, it’s just called John Wick 2 right now) – 2016
I’m going to take a quick break from writing some more about Star Wars to bring you this:
One of my favorite films in the last few years is the sleeper, John Wick. SPOILERS: Keanu Reeves running around shooting people because one spoiled brat mobster kid killed his dog — wonderful. It is the antithesis of the type of successful action movies we see today. The story and scope are limited and the production is small-scale. Yet present are the same boxes that larger tentpole action movies check — thoroughly choreographed and expertly executed action sequences, unique world-building, and good character development. John Wick is able to accomplish these with a dazzling style. That’s why I’m definitely excited and looking forward to 2 Wick 2 Furious, which is what I’m calling the sequel until there’s an official title. Keanu is back, of course, as are Ian McShane and John Leguizamo, whose brief appearances were scene-stealers. Being added to the mix are Common as the villain, and Reeve’s old Matrix buddy Laurence Fishburne. John Wick was such a refreshing change of pace for action movies that I can’t wait to see more of it. I’ll be there opening night. Also, Funko Pop, if you’re reading this, we need a John Wick figurine series.
OK, back to Star Wars. — Jeff Lombardi
Wicked — 2016
They’ve been announcing plans for a movie version of Stephen Schwartz’s musical Wicked ever since the Broadway show began 13 years ago now, but the latest update adds a little more detail: a 2016 release date with Stephen Daldry at the helm. I have my doubts that this is going to happen, but if it actually does hit theaters this year, I will certainly be going to see it first chance I get. The concern, of course, is who will be cast, in a show that needs two phenomenal female leads. While some purists are arguing for original Broadway cast members Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel to pretend they look college aged and revoice their characters, I’d much rather see a new take on it from some younger actors. The Internet rumor mill has tossed around some hopeful names (Lea Michele, Anna Kendrick, Amanda Seyfried, and Megan Hilty being the most common), but at this point, we really have no idea. We’ll just have to sit tight until a casting announcement and cross our fingers it’ll be a pair who can do justice to the vocally impressive “Defying Gravity” and the comedic timing of “Popular.” — Hannah Keefer
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