Despite last year breaking all the records and somehow featuring five of the top ten all-time highest-grossing releases (The Force Awakens is somehow still making mega money waves even now), 2016 still promises plenty of excitement on the film front. Coming up over the next 12 months we have everything from foul-mouthed, self-aware mercenaries to old-school musicals, video-game adaptations and everything in between. So, with the Oscars soon moving aside, let us look forward to what the rest of the year has to offer.
Deadpool (12th February)
The “Merc with a Mouth” finally has his own film. Deadpool follows the exploits of the cult comic book character of the same name who, following an experimental surgery which leaves him with unnatural abilities, disfigured skin, and an unstable mind, sets out to hunt down the man who almost destroyed his life. Cue dramatic theme music.
Happily, though, Ryan Reynolds and director Tim Miller don’t appear to have hijacked the loathsome and loveable mercenary for their own ends. 2016’s Deadpool looks set to be an accurate manifestation of the character that comic book fans have come to laud as Marvel’s ultimate antihero: a hilariously twisted, violent, gun-toting psychopath with a penchant for katanas and acrobatics.
Words by Oli Polhill
10 Cloverfield Lane (11th March)
Described as the “blood relative” to 2008’s Cloverfield, Dan Trachtenberg’s directorial debut 10 Cloverfield Lane is set to be one to watch for fans of science fiction. Following a young woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) that has been ‘saved’ by a man in a bunker after experiencing a car accident, the film is set in his cellar; the characters safe from a world that has been ravaged by chemical warfare – or so they are told. Deciding she has to find out for herself; Winstead plots her escape – but what will she face if she finds her freedom?
With the possible link to J. J. Abrams’ previous monster-ravaged New York, we might have some idea. The screenplay has been crafted by a trio of writers, one being none other than Whiplash‘s Damien Chazelle – a proven master of intensity and character interaction. Vibes from the footage so far are creepy, clever, and insatiably mysterious – 10 Cloverfield Lane has all the materials to be one of 2016’s best releases; we just have to wait until March to find out.
Words by Ashleigh Millman
Captain America: Civil War (29th April)
Captain America: Civil War might look like Avengers-lite, given the presence of pretty much the whole team, apart from Bruce Banner and Thor, but that’s not surprising given the source material. Based on the heavily dramatic and hero filled Civil War series of comic books, the new instalment of Captain America’s stand alone series pits Steve Rogers against Tony Stark as they disagree on the idea of superhero registration.
With old favourites like Falcon, Hawkeye, and Black Widow returning, alongside the hotly anticipated introduction of Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther, as well as the integration of a new incarnation of Spider-Man, Captain America: Civil War looks set to be the biggest Captain film yet.
Words by Rebecca James
The Nice Guys (20th May)
Do you like jokes? Do you like action? Do you like funny action, and action-packed jokes? Then boy have I got the film for you – The Nice Guys is a comedy-thriller set in 1970s L.A., that follows a P.I. and a hired thug who team up in order to find and protect a missing girl, and solve the curious death of a porn star. It’s made by Shane Black, who previously wrote Lethal Weapon, and directed Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and the best Iron Man film (the third one), and stars Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling (yeah I know). There are lots of films to get excited about in the coming year, but everyone will be getting excited for those. Get excited for this – it looks like it could very easily be one of the most fun films of the year, you never know.
Words by Matt Clarson
La La Land (15th July)
After making huge critical waves with his Oscar-winning debut Whiplash last year, fresh-faced Sundance graduate Damien Chazelle is back, turning his sights towards something even more expansive: an old-school musical. The only plot given for La La Land to date suggests a jazz pianist falling for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles, with song and dance supposedly following. What sells this one though isn’t just Chazelle’s name, it’s his cast. Reuniting the ever-adorable Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as the central pair is a stroke of genius, especially considering the strength of their chemistry in the likes of Crazy, Stupid, Love and the often forgotten Gangster Squad, whilst the return of former Chazelle favourite J.K. Simmons also provides plenty of excitement too. There’s not much to go on for this one yet, but if it ends up being even just half-as-good as Whiplash, Chazelle’s sophomore effort will likely be one of 2016’s best.
Words by Ben Robins
Ghostbusters (15th July)
Who ya gonna call? 2016 sees the return of cinema’s beloved ghostbusters, but with a twist. Director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat & Spy) and screenwriter Katie Dippol (Parks and Recreation) are bringing back the paranormal investigators in an all-female reboot.
Not surprisingly, since the reboot was announced there have been mixed opinions regarding this new direction for the franchise, and the decision to cast female comedians (Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones) instead of the original male team (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis). Many are celebrating the fact that women are finally being represented fairly in the hugely male-dominated sci-fi genre, whilst others think it’s already going to flop due to the cast and it’s labelling as a reboot of the beloved franchise. I for one, couldn’t be more excited to see one of my favourite franchises have female representation from comediennes that I admire.
Words by Sophie McEvoy
A Monster Calls (21st October)
J.A. Bayona, director of horror The Orphanage, is bringing his third feature film to 2016, and it could be the best of the lot. Adapted from Patrick Ness’s book (who also took on screenwriting duties), A Monster Calls is the story of Conor, a thirteen year old boy whose mother is suffering from cancer, when one night he is confronted by a tree monster. The Monster, played by Liam Neeson tells him he was summoned by Conor. The book is an elegant reverse-engineering of stories, that takes a powerful stance on the nature of grief and loneliness. Rumour is that Bayona withdrew from directing the World War Z sequel in order to perfect this film’s edit. The book is heartbreaking and quite magical, and with Bayona’s assured direction, and a cast that also includes Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, and Sigourney Weaver, it looks set to be something truly special. If the adaptation is done properly, it could be on the same level as Inside Out, as intelligent and mature stories under the guise of something magical and fantastical.
Words by George Seabrook
Doctor Strange (28th October)
The latter half of this year’s Marvel offerings comes in the form of Doctor Strange – a new mystical origin story that promises a welcome departure from the technologically equipped superheroes of recent months. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Dr. Stephen Strange, an arrogant but highly skilled neurosurgeon whose life is changed after a horrific car accident. Unable to carry on as a surgeon, Strange turns his attentions to the mystic arts; exploring hidden dimensions and learning to wield ancient magic.
The star-power of the cast alone is enough to make anyone giddy, with the likes of Tilda Swinton, Mads Mikklesen, Rachel McAdams and Chiwetel Ejiofor joining Cumberbatch in the adventure. The first images of Cumberbatch as the so-called ‘Sorcerer Supreme’ also look tremendously promising (and for the Cumberladies of the world, more than a little bit foxy.) Directed by Scott Derrickson, Doctor Strange is set to be released in the UK on 28th October 2016.
Words by Anneka Honeyball
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (18th November)
2016 is set to take us on a trip down memory lane as the Harry Potter universe expands with the heavily anticipated arrival of David Yates’ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
The film centres around the story of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) in the year 1926. Newt travels to America with a briefcase filled with magical creatures, and when these creatures escape, serious consequences face Newt, the magic community and the muggle world. The cast also features newcomers Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol and Ezra Miller, but also acting veterans Jon Voight, Ron Perlman and Colin Farrell.
Given the monumental success, both commercially and critically, of the Harry Potter series and the indelible impact it has had on popular modern day culture, Fantastic Beasts (featuring the screenwriting debut of JK Rowling) looks set to launch the magical world back into the spotlight and remind everyone just why they fell in love with Rowling’s world in the first place.
Words by David Mitchell-Baker
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (16th December)
A common criticism of the most recent Star Wars entry, The Force Awakens was that it played too safe, re-treading the familiar ground of A New Hope. It’s fitting, then, that Disney’s upcoming Rogue One could be the most unique Star Wars film to date – the first to deviate from the Skywalker family saga, instead turning the franchise’s attention to the rebels that made the destruction of the first Death Star possible. With Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) and Diego Luna (Elysium) starring alongside a digitally-resurrected Moff Tarkin and a rumoured Darth Vader cameo, Rogue One will take us back to known territory but has the potential to be a refreshing and original entry in the Star Wars series.
Words by Sarah Corrigan
Assassin’s Creed (26th December)
The film adaptation of the wildly popular Assassin’s Creed video game franchise is a wholly original story separate from the games and sees Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) explore the memories of his ancestor Aguilar, gaining the skills of a master assassin and uncovering his lineage along the way.
Assassin’s Creed has the unenviable task of trying to answer the question of whether or not there can truly be a successful film adaptation of a video game. The strength of the director and cast alone are cause for optimism as it sees the reunion of Justin Kurzel and Michael Fassbender, the team behind 2015’s brilliant Macbeth, making for an exciting prospect. The other two invaluable members of the Macbeth team in the beautiful and versatile Marion Cotillard and the underrated MVP of Macbeth in the extremely talented cinematographer Adam Arkapaw, also return. Throw these bright talents in with screen veterans in the form of Brendan Gleeson and Jeremy Irons and you’ve got an eagerly anticipated must see film on your hands.
Words by Chris Meads