Sunday, 3 January 2016

My 11 Most Anticipated Films of 2016


January is upon us once again, and with the start of another calendar year comes the promise of another 12 months of exciting cinematic journeys to embark upon.

2016 is simply jam-packed with huge blockbusters, superhero smackdowns and mouthwatering indies to get excited about. From classic Jane Austen literature being met with an undead twist to chilling New England horror and all manner of animals trained in the martial arts, 2016 has plenty on offer for cinephiles and movie nerds of all tastes.

I always set myself the challenge of writing a quick list of what I'm looking forward to most, so detailed below is a set of 11 films I can't wait to see in 2016. Which films are you most excited to see in 2016? Let me know in the comments down below!

11) Star Trek Beyond (July 7)


The third entry in Paramount's rebooted Star Trek series, Star Trek Beyond, hits cinemas this July and coincides nicely with the franchise's 50th anniversary. JJ Abrams has departed the directors chair in favour of Star Wars, so taking his spot at the helm is Justin Lin, the director of every Fast and Furious film from Tokyo Drift up to 2013's Fast and Furious 6.

After the previous two films kept things primarily Earth-bound, Star Trek Beyond promises to catapult Captain Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and the rest of the crew further into the final frontier than ever before. Also returning are Simon Pegg, Karl Urban and John Cho, with Idris Elba assuming the role of primary antagonist. If the recent teaser trailer is anything to go by, Star Trek Beyond is all about having fun and putting some distance between it and the sombreness of 2013's Into Darkness. Count me in!


10) Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (November 17)


Not quite 9 3/4 - the cast of Fantastic Beasts
It was only five short years ago that the world was collectively sobbing into their hankies and bidding farewell to the Harry Potter movie universe; now, JK Rowling, Warner Brothers and director David Yates are returning to the magical world for a distant spin-off about Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), a writer who journeys to New York in search of fantastic beasts and other places where he can find them, presumably. I mean, that's what I can deduce from the title.

Set 70 years prior to the Harry Potter series, this entirely new story also stars Ezra Miller, Ron Perlman, Colin Farrell, Jon Voight and Gemma Chan. As I mentioned, it sees JK's distinctive brand of wizardry head Stateside for period adventures through the Big Apple, so don't expect there to be a lot of connective tissue between this and the Boy Who Lived. Fantastic Beasts is a spin-off has spun a long way from the tree, and I couldn't be more excited to see where JK and Yates are steering the series next.


9) Independence Day: Resurgence (June)


Welcome back to Earth - Jeff Goldblum and
discount Chris Hemsworth in Independence Day: Resurgence
Yep, Roland Emmerich's classic 90's alien invasion extravaganza is getting the sequel treatment this year. Emmerich is directing once again, along with Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman reprising their roles of jittery data analyst David Levinson and President Whitmore respectively.

However, with Will Smith choosing to sit this one out, the hunky lead role is filled by Liam Hemsworth (Chris was busy being more famous I suppose); he's not playing the same character, obviously, with Maika Monroe, Joey King, and William Fichtner rounding out the supporting cast.

Let's be real here; what are the chances that this film is going to anywhere near as good as the original? Slim, to be honest, but I can't help but be excited anyway - for the sheer goofiness of watching more iconic landmarks get blown to smithereens and Jeff Goldblum stuttering his way though more lengthy exposition. The trailer that dropped a few weeks back looks ace with all sorts of hybrid alien tech that glows a shiny teal colour - basically what I'm saying is is that I'm a huge sucker for cheesy alien invasion films and this film looks like the most fun you can have at the movies this year with your pants still on.


8) Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (March 24)


That feeling when you open a pack of gum at school
and everybody wants some
DC's Holy Trinity are finally united on the silver screen in Zack Snyder's titanic crossover/face-off/sequel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. As the title suggests, the Caped Crusader (Ben Affleck) and the Man of Steel (Henry Cavill) are set to do battle following on from the cataclysmic events that went down in 2013's Supes reboot. Also being thrown into the mix is Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) in her first live-action silver screen appearance, as well as Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and, if we're to believe the rumours, the Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher).

If the sheer number of heroes being thrown at the screen has set off klaxons in your brain, you're not alone - this is one superhero spectacular that seems stupendously overstuffed, and if the first full-length trailer that dropped last month is anything to go by, the initial reaction to Snyder's distinctive direction is certainly divisive. But, for sheer wackiness and value for money, you can't go past Dawn of Justice in 2016 - this is DC's all-or-nothing gambit. They've literally put all their eggs in this gigantic basket, and if the movie fails, it'll be titanic in proportion. Either way, I can't wait to see what the outcome is going to be when the two most iconic superheroes ever created go toe-to-toe this March.


7) Story of Your Life (2016)


The only movie on this list that isn't already earmarked as an head-spinning blockbuster, Story of Your Life is the next project in the works from French Canadian director Denis Villeneuve.

After the triple-whammy of Prisoners, Enemy and Sicario, I can't wait to see what Villeneuve is going to serve up next. The premise - an expert linguist is tasked with translating for a recently arrived alien species - sounds really interesting, and the film has a killer cast to match; Amy Adams plays the lead role whilst Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker play supporting roles. I don't know much else beyond this, but I had to put an outside choice on the list and I went for this one. Hopefully Monsieur Villeneuve doesn't disappoint.


6) Assassin's Creed (December 26)


Eagle vision - Michael Fassbender in Assassin's Creed
I may only be a relative newcomer to the Assassin's Creed franchise (I've played Rogue, Black Flag, Unity and Syndicate), but the prospect of Michael Fassbender donning the tipped hood and wrist blade in 15th Century Spain already sounds exciting.

This is a movie that has been in the works for a long time, and if the track record for video game adaptations is anything to go by, this film is doomed to fail. But, I have faith that this (coupled with Duncan Jones' big-budget Warcraft) is the film to guide video game movies into the big time.

Fassbender (who also serves as producer) is paired once more with Justin Kurzel, the director he recently worked with on Macbeth, as well as costarring alongside Marion Cotillard, who also appeared in Macbeth. See what I'm getting at here? If this movie is anything like Macbeth (in terms of tone and aesthetic), we're onto a bonafide winner that has a much wider appeal than some stuffy Shakespeare text that bores Year 11 students to tears.


5) Doctor Strange (October 27)


Expelliarmus - Brimplebert Candlestitch as Doctor Strange
If you thought talking racoons and men who can shrink to the size of an ant were strange, just wait until you see what Marvel Studios have planned next.

Coming this October is Doctor Strange, a film from director Scott Derrickson (Sinister, Deliver Us From Evil) that sees Brendadirk Crumplesnatch Benedict Cumberbatch play Dr. Steven Strange, a vain and arrogant surgeon who loses the use of his hands after an unfortunate car accident. Determined to rebuild his faltering career, Strange travels to Tibet in search of a mystical healer who can help him.

If we've learnt one thing in the last few years, it's that Marvel can take almost any character from their vast roster and spin them into box office gold; Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man both proved to be very popular with fans, despite their initial unfamiliarity, and I fully expect this next effort to continue in the same vein. We've seen space, magical kingdoms and quantum realms; Doctor Strange promises to embrace this wacky, colourful vibe with a distinctive character who can wield magic and defend the Earth against mystical enemies. Expect trippy action, B-movie weirdness (in a good way!) and a roster of actors that also includes Rachael McAdams, Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Mads Mikkelsen.


4) Suicide Squad (August 4)


Batter up Batbrain - Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn
Meanwhile, over in the DC camp once again, Suicide Squad is another relatively obscure comic-book series that is being adapted into a feature film in 2016, albeit one that has a few more recognisable characters than Doctor Strange will.

A band of detestable antiheroes who're tasked with working together under threat of death (hence the rather macabre title), Suicide Squad sees DC villains such as Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, Enchantress and Killer Croc on the big screen for the first time. With a cool cast (Will Smith, Cara Delevingne) and a very distinct visual palette from director David Ayer (Fury, End of Watch), this is one superhero film that promises to do something a little different than what we're used to.

Personally, I'm excited for three reasons; firstly, Jared Leto's Joker looks utterly bananas; two, Ben Affleck's Batman will make an appearance somewhere; and three, Margot Robbie's demented Harley Quinn looks amazing. I wasn't convinced at first, but I'm really digging the look that they've cooked up for her character as it feels a million miles away from the classic court jester Harley we all know and recognise. Her performance alone is shaping up to be the biggest draw for the film; whether they pull it off or not is another question entirely...


3) X-Men: Apocalypse (May 19)


The party posse; Apocalypse flanked by his right-hand ladies,
Storm and Psylocke
Bryan Singer is back at the helm once again for the latest X-Men film, Apocalypse. After the success of 2014's Days of Future Past, Apocalypse sees the youthful X-Men cast (James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters) return to face off against a powerful and mysterious entity (Oscar Isaac) claiming to be the first mutant in existence.

In addition to the returning cast members like Rose Byrne and Josh Helman, Singer is reintroducing and recasting a whole host of classic characters like Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Psylocke (Olivia Munn) and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee). With a sprawling ensemble cast, a fearsome new foe and a story that takes place in the most horrific of all decades (the 80's), this is one X-Men film that promises to go one bigger and better than ever before.

The initial trailer was solid and gives us a good idea of what to expect; Mystique is front-and-centre, Magneto is tortured and misunderstood some more and those awesome yellow costumes from First Class are simply never making a comeback. Shame.


2) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (December 16)


And not a Gungan in sight; the cast of Rogue One
Even though The Force Awakens is currently making more money per screening than several small African nations make in an entire year, focus will soon switch to the next Star Wars film lined-up on Disney's conveyer belt; Rogue One.

Rather than launching a direct sequel to The Force Awakens straight away, Disney are interspersing each 'Episode' with an 'Anthology' film that focuses on a single, self-contained storyline at a different point in the Star Wars timeline. Rogue One, for example, takes place in between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope and sees a team of crack Rebel Alliance pilots infiltrate the Empire in order to steal the all-important Death Star plans that Artoo is holding at the start of Episode IV.

Similar to Marvel's MCU, each Star Wars film is to be helmed by a different director, with Gareth Edwards (Godzilla, Monsters) stepping into the seat vacated by JJ Abrams. With a varied cast includes Felicity Jones, Forest Whitaker, Alan Tudyk and Mads Mikkelsen and a tone that looks decidedly darker and more grounded than we've seen before, this is one Star Wars story that promises to do things a little different.


1) Captain America: Civil War (April 29)


No-one aboard the SHIELD Helicarrier was very good
at playing 'What's the time, Mr Wolf?'
2014's The Winter Solider is, arguably, the best film Marvel Studios have ever made - it's certainly up there with The Avengers in my opinion, and if the initial trailer for Captain America: Civil War tells us anything, it's that this new film will borrow the best elements from both.

Civil War is attempting to blend the sleek direction and strong focus of The Winter Solider with the vast ensemble and character drama of The Avengers; this latest film will see Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) defy the government in order to defend his wayward friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan), pulling him into conflict with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jnr) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) in the process.

Splitting their heroes down the middle is a bold move for Marvel, who've taken particular care with slowly and carefully arranging them into the Avengers superteam over nearly a dozen films. Civil War promises to undo all this by driving a wedge between their two biggest stars and throwing the entire status quo into jeopardy. Alongside Cap and Stark, Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow appears to play a pivotal role, as well as Anthony Mackie's Falcon and Don Cheadle's War Machine.

The action doesn't stop there though; also being thrown into the mix is Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch, Paul Rudd's Ant-Man, Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye, Paul Bettany's The Vision and Emily VanCamp's Agent 13.

But wait, there's more! Also lurking in the shadows is Daniel Bruhl as the nefarious Baron Zemo, a classic Captain America villain with Nazi ties, and Crossbones (Frank Grillo), a skull-faced mercenary who cameoed very briefly back in Winter Soldier. Martin Freeman has been cast in an unspecified role, so who knows if he's good or bad?

Phew, I didn't forget anyone from the cast did I?

SHIT, WHAT ABOUT SPIDERMAN

Which movies get you most excited in 2016? Did I leave any important ones off my list? Let me know below!

8 comments:

  1. A lot of Blockbuster anticipation up in here! I don't know why, but Suicide Squad is probably my most anticipated...and I'm not even really sure I'll love it as a film...but Robbie looks like a stellar casting decision, and so I'm intrigued where she takes this.

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    1. Robbie is one of the best casting choices in the last few years - up there with RDJ as Iron Man if you ask me. Thanks for commenting!

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  2. Spidey in the MCU is gonna be great!!!!!!!!

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  3. Yes, yes, yes and yes! I'm so excited for all of these! Really glad you included Assassin's Creed too, i'm a huge fan of the games!
    - Allie

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    1. Me too! Hopefully it changes the general perception about video game movies!

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  4. I'm am certainly up for all of these, though I've never heard of the Story of Your Life. But with that pedigree, I'm in. Easily.

    Even with the talent involved, I'm a bit concerned with Assassin's Creed. That game's backstory is all kinds of ridiculous...assuming I understood it in the first place.

    Great list!

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, Assassin's Creed is totally ridiculous at times. I try to follow the future storyline but, to be honest, I really only care about the main plots set in the past. Thanks for commenting!

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