Hey it’s the New Year! So we’ve got a whole new bunch of movies coming out to look forward to. I didn’t bother making an ‘anticipated’ list last year which I kinda regret, but then again if I had it would probably have been topped by Jurassic World. It’s fun to make them though, if only to so you can later compare them to the inevitable top ten list. Last time I tried it in 2013 my top 3 films of the year all also appeared on my ‘anticipated’ list a year prior, but then again so did Transcendence and Sin City 2, so hey, what do I know?
A few of these movies were ones I already knew a good deal about and could have added from the top of my head, others I did a bit more research for to check on expected release dates and such, making a few discoveries along the way, including the unfortunate fact that the new Edgar Wright movie Baby Driver isn’t actually due until 2017, otherwise it would have featured here.
I noted down enough movies to actually assemble a decent top twenty I think, but as I know I’m not going to do that for the year-end list I needed to whittle these down to ten, but I’m still going to add all the others as honourable mentions.
10. La La Land (Damien Chazelle)
If I’d have been able to actually see it in 2014, Whiplash would easily have been on my top five for the year. It’s young director Damien Chazelle follows it up here with a new music-themed drama, which also features Whiplash‘s Oscar-winning star J.K. Simmons, alongside Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. (no pictures available yet so above shot from Whiplash)
09. Elle (Paul Verhoeven)
Dutch mad genius Paul Verhoeven returns with his first proper movie in a decade. It’s not a sci-fi film like my admitted favourites of his are, being a thriller that sounds a lot more akin to his Dutch work than his American films. It’s something new for him though, being in French. I hope it’s the comeback it sounds like it could be.
08. Wilson (Craig Johnson)
I greatly appreciated Craig Johnson’s little seen indie The Skeleton Twins a couple of years ago. His follow-up sees him adapting some source material I know and love; Daniel Clowes’ excellent 2010 graphic novel Wilson. It’s produced by Alexander Payne, who was originally down to direct, and stars Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern and Judy Greer.
07. The Witch (Robert Eggers)
The Witch is a supernatural period horror movie from debutant director Robert Eggers that’s been earning rave reviews since premiering at Sundance last year. It seems to have taken forever to reach general audiences but now looks set for a February release. I just hope it can live up to the praise.
06. Silence (Martin Scorsese)
I’ll admit that the premise of this film, which reportedly follows Jesuit priests attempting to spread Catholicism in historical Japan doesn’t sound like the most attention-grabbing, but who am I to doubt Scorsese, who’s had this film in production for several years now. Likely to be a major awards contender I’d imagine.
05. Story of Your Life (Denis Villeneuve)
Before tackling the mooted Blade Runner sequel, director Denis Villeneuve has another sci-fi film in the can; an interestingly unconventional-sounding take on alien invasion. Villeneuve’s been on an incredible run recently capped with the stunning Sicario so I only hope he can keep it up.
04. The Nice Guys (Shane Black)
I’m so pleased to see that Shane Black is following up the monstrously successful Iron Man 3 with an original movie. I really don’t know a great deal about The Nice Guys other than that, but it’s a comedy/thriller of the kind Black’s best known for, his first since Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and that gets my ticket money.
03. Hail, Caesar! (Joel & Ethan Coen)
All you really need to know about this to get your attention is that it’s the new film by the Coen Brothers. I broke my usual rule and watched the trailer a few weeks ago though, and wow this just, looks flat-out fantastic. It appears to find the Coens back in oddball comedy mode after the outstanding Inside Llewyn Davis for a tale of classic Hollywood crammed with a host of today’s top stars. We should be seeing this very soon too.
02. War on Everyone (John Michael McDonagh)
John Michael McDonagh’s made two films so far, The Guard and Calvary, both of which are absolutely brilliant, and the latter was my pick for best film of 2013. This is his third, which is due to premier at the Berlin Film Festival. I don’t know much else other than that it stars Alexander Skarsgård and the ever-underrated Michael Peña. I can’t wait to see it.
01. Everybody Wants Some (Richard Linklater)
Previously titled That’s What I’m Talking About, Everybody Wants Some is the latest effort from Richard Linklater (who’s last film Boyhood topped my 2013 anticipated list). He’s described it as a “spiritual sequel” to his sublime 1993 teen movie Dazed & Confused. If this can be to Dazed & Confused what Before Sunset was to Before Sunrise, then Everybody Wants Some could well be something truly special.
The other films I’m looking forward to include:
Midnight Special, a sci-fi film from Mud/Take Shelter director Jeff Nichols that looks absolutely fantastic, I only hesitated to put it on the main list as it’s been delayed so many times now it seems possible Nichols’ next film Loving might end up being released first.
Another director with two films coming out in 2016 is Ben Wheatley, who’s JG Ballard adaptation High-Rise has already played a few festivals, with follow-up Free Fire apparently almost completed too.
I’m cautiously optimistic about Weiner-Dog, Todd Solondz’s semi-sequel to Welcome to the Dollhouse. I wasn’t all that keen on his last such movie, the Happiness follow-up Life During Wartime, and find it hard to get on board with Dawn being portrayed by Greta Gerwig now, but Solondz’s last film Dark Horse was a real return to form.
Some other indie directors returning in 2016 include Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin) with the fantastic-sounding neo-Nazi siege thriller Green Room, which I’d originally thought I’d be seeing in December, James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now) who has a new film called The Circle, Derek Cianfrance (The Place Beyond the Pines) with The Light Between Oceans and Harmony Korine with The Trap.
On the more international side of things, Nicolas Winding Refn is following the highly divisive (I loved it) Only God Forgives with The Neon Demon, and his fellow Dane Thomas Vinterberg has The Commune, a drama that I hope will be more in line with The Hunt than Far From the Maddening Crowd. Starred Up director David Mackenzie has an intriguing-sounding Western called Comancheria, and Tom Tykwer’s solo Cloud Atlas follow-up is A Hologram For the King, which also features Tom Hanks. Korean master Park Chan-wook also returns to his native country for The Handmaid, an adaptation of English crime novel Fingersmith, that I hope he makes his own just as much as he did Oldboy.
On the larger end of the scale, there are fewer big movies I find myself getting all that excited about. Age of Ultron really dimmed my Marvel enthusiasm, and the only interest I have in Doctor Strange (and indeed Rogue One) is Mads Mikkelsen. I do honestly hope though, that both Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad are good movies. I just cannot get behind the hugely negative attitude towards them that I seem to constantly encounter online. They might be awful, but why are so many people willing them to fail? I liked Man of Steel enough, and I want to see these characters succeed on screen.
The franchise sequel I think I’m most keen for is John Wick 2, which sees the return of Keanu Reeves’ ass-kicking hitman and original co-director Chad Stahelski (his partner David Leitch is making comic adaptation The Coldest City, which also sounds pretty good).
We’ve got new films from both Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis on the way too, but I don’t know enough about Zemeckis’ untitled war movie to know if it’ll be more The Polar Express than Back to the Future, but I’ll always watch whatever he puts out. Conversely, Spielberg is making a new adaptation of Roadl Dahl’s children’s book The BFG, which is just too familiar for me to get excited about.
Finally, I’d like to mention Independence Day: Resurgence (header picture). I’m going to make a prediction now, I think this film is going to pull a Jurassic World and make an absolute ton of money, surprising box office analysts everywhere. I have to admit that the original is a film I’ve seen many, many times, and I’m very curious to see this. It won’t be the same without Will Smith, and replacing him with Liam Hemsworth is just adding insult to injury, but after seeing the trailer the other day, which heavily features the return of blockbuster Goldblum and is confident enough to actually use the infamously cheesy President’t Speech as it’s voice-over, well I can’t deny I’m going to be in line on opening night.