Lights, camera, action! The top movies to look out for in 2016
Star Wars hype aside, 2015 was a pretty boring and bleak year for film. Best picture categories at the award ceremonies are looking somewhat limp and unconvincing in comparison to the vibrant originality of films like Birdman, Boyhood, Whiplash and The Grand Budapest Hotel that came the year before.
But will 2016 be any better? These are the main releases that will be hitting cinemas:
The Coen brothers’ latest film might be their most ambitious yet.
Telling the story of a Hollywood fixer struggling to keep A-listers in line, it has a movie within a movie, an amazing cast, and, judging by the first trailer, some luxurious visuals.
Comic book superhero movies have been getting slowly more self-referential and self-parodic lately, and Deadpool looks to be taking itself even less seriously than Guardians of the Galaxy.
It remains to be seen whether Deadpool will actually be funny, or just descend into toilet humour ...
Zoolander’s return was derailed somewhat by backlash over a trans/gender fluid character played by Benedict Cumberbatch.
The long-awaited sequel will no doubt do well at the box office, but I’m not sure if the fashion industry is as fertile for satire now as it was in 2001.
Knight of Cups
A new film from Terrence Malick should have been a huge cause for celebration, but Knight of Cups has been swimming in post-Cannes purgatory for months now.
In March it will finally get a theatrical release. Starring Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett and Natalie Portman, it sees a man return home from New York and get sucked into the hollow hedonism of LA, fighting to extricate himself from it.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Based on journalist Kim Barker’s 2011 memoir The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan, this dark comedy sees Tina Fey play a foreign correspondent reporting in the Middle East during Operation Enduring Freedom, where she develops a weird relationship with a journalist played by Martin Freeman.
Batman v Superman
The wind seems to have gone out of the sails of the Man of Steel series in spite of the addition of a new Batman, and there’s a more palpable anticipation for Suicide Squad (which arrives later in the year).
Perhaps Jesse Eisenberg – taking Lex Luthor in a very different direction – can change that.
The Jungle Book
Disney is trampling on its own hallowed ground with this live action remake. Elf and Iron Man director Jon Favreau is a fairly safe pair of hands though, and Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray are all on board.
Jodie Foster directs George Clooney and Julia Roberts, and the premise is kind of intriguing: “Financial TV personality Lee Gates, who offers up stock advice on his hit show Money Monster, is held hostage by a viewerwho lost all of his money following a bad tip from Lee.”
Platoon director Oliver Stone takes on a very important and timely story. But can he make it entertaining the way The Big Short did with the financial crisis?
The Finding Nemo sequel will focus on Ellen DeGeneres’ forgetful blue tang fish.
It’s expected to have an anti-SeaWorld message, which should make it strike a chord with parents as well as children.
There’s still a lot of love for Roald Dahl’s stories, and this one is being adapted by none other than Steven Spielberg.
There hasn’t been a huge amount of buzz around it but it’s early days – and Mark Rylance is an interesting casting for the titular Big Friendly Giant.
This is something of a question mark.
On one hand, it’s landed a cast of incredibly funny actresses, but on the other – another reboot? Really?
There’s also thought to be a very meta all-male version in the works from the creators of Jump Street, set in the same universe as Men In Black no less.
Star Trek Beyond
If you thought Abrams’ Star Trek films were bad, feast your eyes on the trailer for the next one from the director of the Fast & Furious franchise. Hopefully the new TV show will offer something a bit less action-orientated and a bit more cerebral.
Harley Quinn was one of the most popular Halloween costumes this year, despite the holiday falling months before the release of the film she’s in.
That says a lot about the hype over this comic book adaptation, which revels in the villains rather than the heroes for once and sees Jared Leto step into Heath Ledger’s size 58 boots as the new Joker.
Bridget Jones’s Baby
It’s 2015 and Bridget is now pouring her soul into an iPad rather than a diary.
This sequel might perfectly skewer the frustration of growing up in an increasingly youth-orientated world, or it might just serve to tarnish the originals.
The Magnificent Seven
I’m not convinced there’s the demand for Westerns that Hollywood seems to think there is. We’ll find out in September with Antoine Fuqua’s remake of 1960’s The Magnificent Seven.
Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke are among the gang.
The Girl on the Train
That book everyone was reading on the commute inevitably makes cinemas in October, with Emily Blunt playing Rachel Watson, an alcoholic whose husband left her for his mistress, and who witnesses a murder and starts to realise she may have been involved in the crime.
Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them
JK Rowling makes her screenwriting debut adapting her own book here, with a film that takes place in the Harry Potter universe but is well removed from Hogwarts.
It centres on wizarding relations with muggles in New York, where they’re referred to as “No-maj”.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Disney is releasing a Star Wars movie every year between now and 2020.
This first standalone ‘anthology’ film centres
on a Death Star heist, but may prove to just be filler while Star Wars 8 is in production.