Welcome back for Part 2 of my 20 most anticipated films of 2016. If you missed Part 1 then make sure you check it out here!
On with the party and we’ve got a doozy, including a secret project and a galaxy far, far away…
Midnight Special (8 April)
Jeff Nichols returns with favourite alumni Michael Shannon but this time they’re joined by Kirsten Dunst, Kylo Ren, Joel Edgerton, and Jaedon Lieberher for an adventure sci-fi that looks like a cool mix of Close Encounters, Looper, and Knowing. Described by Nichols as a “sci-fi chase film” the trailers certainly hint at a fast-paced drama that’s cooly building up to a life changing conclusion. Expecting big things from this one and it’s just around the corner.
La La Land (15 July)
It was exactly 514 words ago that I was referring to LA as the City of Angels for Shane Black’s The Nice Guys. However, Damian Chazelle of Whiplash screenplay fame draws on it’s other nickname, La La Land, for his original, written for the screen, musical. I’m not necessarily one for modern movie musicals, they often fail to hit the high notes (apologies).
But the classics I can certainly get on board with. Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, even The Sound of Music is charming in its own Nazi collaboration way. So my interest in this picture is very much fuelled by the casting of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone who shared brilliant chemistry in Crazy, Stupid, Love. My interest peaks there but with a trailer and some more info I may be sold.
The BFG (22 July)
Steven Spielberg does monster movies very well but what if he were to take on Roald Dahl’s biggest ‘monster’, and bring him to the big screen? In what is shaping up to be one of the most anicipated children’s films of the year I can only hope that Spielberg manages to capture the innocent beauty of Dahl’s humourous tale of Sophie and the Big Friendly Giant. When will the other giants learn, eating boys and girls is so last year. I took a quick look at the trailer a while back and although the teaser reveal gave me nightmarish flashbacks to Attack on Titan things are looking positive.
Jason Bourne (28 July)
Paul Greengrass returns to direct his third Bourne film since the hugely successful (apparent) conclusion to the Jason Bourne franchise in 2007. It was left on a highly satisfying note, the tortured strings of Moby’s ‘Extreme Ways’ to be precise, as our amnesiac hero swam away down East River. But Jason Bourne is back and as yet the plot details are unconfirmed but we can safely assume that Bourne is out for yet more revenge.
With a primetime summer blockbuster slot Jason Bourne has the superhero antics to compete with but those struggling with superhero fatigue will no doubt find something incredibly refreshing about a gritty John McCLane-esque performance from Matt Damon: the man that can limp away from anything. Julia Stiles returns as Nicky and Alicia Vikander is also cast.
Doctor Strange (28 October)
It takes some serious imagination, innovation, and originality to whet my superhero appetite these days. Deadpool offered audiences something they had never seen before, a rude, crass, smutty anti-hero with a serious blood lust and sex drive, definitely not a model the MCU shoots for.
However, it appears Scott Derrickson’s Doctor Strange is taking the MCU on a wholly inventive psychadelic journey through the mind of the Sorcerer Supreme played by Sherlock’s very own Benedict Cumberbatch. Both Derrickson and Cumberbatch are inspired choices and we’ll see how the former handles some well crafted non-horror content. Doctor Strange should definitely be on your superhero radar this year.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (16 December)
Mads Mikkelsen in a story about the rebellion’s acquisition of the plans to Vader’s Death Star, count me in. Taking place before A New Hope this anthology entry into the Star Wars saga has plenty of people excited and after The Force Awakens that should come as no surprise. Directed by Gareth Edwards, notable for his work on 2014’s Godzilla do-over, I can’t wait to see how Rogue One informs the events of the cherished original trilogy. A Darth Vader cameo has even been hinted, what more could one want? Cantina band perhaps?
Free Fire (TBC 2016)
Ben Wheatley’s second entry on this list is an exciting prospect. With a plotline that sets me thinking about the closing exchanges of True Romance, Enemy of the State, and The Hateful Eight expect big things in the Mexican stand-off department as two Boston gangs face off in 1978 and prepare for a battle of survival.
Starring Cillian Murphy who looks set to reprise a similar role to his Peaky Blinder, Thomas Shelby, and Brie Larson rewarded for her stunning work in Room I’d be hard pressed to say which Wheatley film I’m more excited for. With an unconfirmed released date we’ll have to wait and see where it falls, my guess would be late October/early November but keep your eyes peeled.
Untitled Lonely Island film (TBC 2016)
From the minds of Jorma Taccone, Akiva Schaffer, and Andy Samberg the Lonely Island trio return with a top secret film that as yet very little is known. But thanks to Hot Rod, arguably the funniest movie of the last decade, we can relax knowing the upcoming installment of Lonely Island absurdity will be off the chain (do kids still say that, ‘off the chain’? Ah, who am I kidding! I’m not old enough to be making ‘old man’ jokes).
Funnily enough what we do know about the film kind of relates to that failed attempt at being hip and relatable by yours truly. Samberg’s character, a rapper, has an album that flops miserably forcing him to unite his old boy band for a come back. Let’s hope his efforts land better than mine.
The Birth of a Nation (TBC 2016)
It feels like anytime is a relevant time to talk about US racial history as it continues to influence even the most minute facets of the socio-political-economic complex that keeps America on its toes. But this incredibly improtant film from Nate Parker goes one step further than 12 Years a Slave: it brings the visceral, emotional, ultra-violent history of Nat Turner’s slave rebellion in 1831 to a stage that is littered with inaccuracies and impurities that only serve to stifle the progression of the relationship between race and cinema.
Soaking up all the plaudits from Sundance last year this chilling debut has been on my radar for sometime. It’s going to be uncomfortable, emotional, captivating cinema that deserves its moment to shine.
The Neon Demon (TBC 2016)
Whether you were let down by Nicolas Winding Refn’s divisive neon thriller Only God Forgives or belong to the minority that found some beauty in its less than conventional tale, there’s no denying the brilliance of the man.
Shooting to fame in 2011 with the super cool neo-noir, Drive Refn is one director that employs a deft versatility in his work and The Neon Demon marks his latest venture into obscure cinema. Starring Elle Fanning, Christina Hendricks, and Keanu Reeves I can’t wait to see what Refn can do with his second outing in the vicious underworld of LA beauty.
That’s it, it’s over. Pack up your things and get outta here. But wait, what’s this? That’s right, my loophole clearly stipualtes a calendar year of March-March so why does my list end in December? Well, there just aren’t enough details about January and February 2017 films as of yet. But this loophole proves it’s worth once again. You see now I get to post an updated list around summertime with 5 more films that leave me weak at the knees.
So, like any great film franchise that refuses to give up Part 3 of this super duper rad feature will return to a smartphone near you, just you wait.