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With 2015 now in the rearview, it's time to look at the road ahead in 2016. There's a mountain of intriguing titles on the way, so it's damn near impossible to narrow it down to just ten. Sure, we have our can't-miss favorites, but there's a whole lot more that we're curious about in the coming year. So, with that in mind, we've compiled 52 Movies that we really want to check out in 2016, from big-budget extravaganzas to low budget indie flicks. The list is compiled in order of release date, seeing as everyone always gets all hot and bothered over the order. This way we can all enjoy without sweating bullets over which movies in in which place on the list. Plenty of those to lose our shit over in the coming year, am I right? Anyway, take a look at what we have on our 2016 agenda (so far) and let us know what movies you're looking forward to as well!
Note: Release dates are subject to change, as always, and we'd bet that there's a healthy handful that will see some switches throughout the year. Check out our sweet First Cut 2016 below for all of this goodness in motion.
I know, I know, at this point Kevin Smith seems to have divided his ranks between lovers and haters and that's just fine. Smith has created a brand that can easily make you fit into one of those categories and the writer/director will likely continue that trend with his follow up to 1995's MALLRATS, his sophomore effort that ended up being way more goofy and juvenile than his debut with CLERKS. I personally didn't much care for MALLRATS when it came out, but the concept of revisiting these character's lives twenty years later is surprisingly enticing, especially since just about everyone is coming back to reprise their roles (just waitin' on you, Affleck). I know it sounds silly to hope for something more refined after two decades, but we're interested to see if Smith and co. can manage a surprise or two out of this one and provide some weight to the story in between dick and fart jokes.
MALLBRATS is currently in pre-production, while Smith's already completed YOGA HOSERS is scheduled to drop on January 24th. But, with Johnny Depp's Guy Lapointe (from TUSK) returning, we're kind of regarding this one as a SPY KIDS-like sequel until convinced otherwise. We're happy to wait for MALLBRATS.
Martin Scorsese is going back a few centuries to tell the tale of two Jesuit priests who head to Japan to spread the word of the Lord in a time of religious persecution. Scorsese has never shied away from controversial or religious films before (see: THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST and KUNDUN) and although they aren't as popular as when he has wise guys spouting profanity and cracking skulls, it's hard to not get excited for anything the veteran director would put in front of us. Bringing back his GANGS OF NEW YORK star Liam Neeson, as well as former Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield, and current Kylo Ren, Adam Driver, the film is sure to have some powerful performances and gorgeous cinematography. Hopefully, it's got the pace to keep everyone involved, especially those who typically link the filmmaker with excessive violence and quotable one-liners.
SILENCE does not yet have a release date, but is expected to debut sometime in 2016.
One of the most surprisingly awesome and badass films of 2014, JOHN WICK reminded us that Keanu Reeves has still got it, while giving us an exceptionally choreographed ballet of action violence from directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch. But, it wasn't just the shootouts and ass kicking that wowed us in WICK, but also the colorful and enigmatic supporting cast of characters that really brought it home. The sequel finds another great assortment of new and old characters from Bridget Moynahan, John Leguizamo, Common, Lance Reddick, Ian McShane, Peter Stormare, Ruby Rose, and even a MATRIX reunion with Laurence Fishburne. Director Chad Stahelski returns to the helm and although the story is under wraps, we certainly expect some epic stylized action to match the first film's energy. We also hope the dog survives this time.
JOHN WICK 2 is currently in production, but expected to debut in 2016.
A behind-the-scenes film about the making of Tommy Wiseau's THE ROOM starring James Franco, Dave Franco, Alison Brie, Zac Efron, Seth Rogen, Ari Graynor, Jacki Weaver, Josh Hutcherson, Sharon Stone, and...Kate Upton? Dude, we're ready to preorder tickets. For those not in the know, Wiseau's 2003 film THE ROOM is often referenced as the "Citizen Kane of bad movies" but it's even more well known for it's behind-the-scenes antics, which were later written into a memoir by one of the film's stars (Greg Sestero) and serve as a basis for this adaptation. James Franco directs and stars, which should help make this crazy true-life tale an even crazier behind-the-scenes comedy. With such a great ensemble cast bringing this to life, we expect an unbelievable good time.
THE DISASTER ARTIST is currently filming, but expected to debut in 2016.
Based on the real-life attack on a U.S. compound in Libya on September 11th, 2012, a security team of former Navy SEALS, Marine Force Recon and Army Special Forces must struggle against the bureaucratic chaos that ensues and make the decision to defend themselves and their fellow Americans during a 13-hour clash with enemy forces that claimed the lives of two team members and U.S Ambassador Chris Stevens. The book (and likely the film) focus more on the actions of the team members rather than the political controversy that's stemmed from it and will likely continue to swell in this election year. That could very well drive folks to the theater, but I think the bigger draw will be to war film buffs, veterans (myself included), and fans of director Michael Bay, who is thankfully using his considerable action skills to tell a tale that doesn't involve transforming robots. Ever since his days of making films like THE ROCK and BAD BOYS and BAD BOYS 2, we've been hoping he'd get back to this type of genre. Personally speaking, I'm happy that stories like this are being told and I'm even happier to have the likes of Michael Bay at the helm, bringing in The Office's John Krasinski (in his first "badass" role) as well as James Badge Dale, David Denman, Max Martini, Pablo Schreiber, and Toby Stephens to beef it up.
13 HOURS: THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI hits theaters on January 15th.
Ah, a new Coen Brothers movie! Like Tarantino or Spielberg, it's always something to look forward to, even if you can sometimes get a mixed bag. HAIL CAESAR! has their usual crop of shenanigans in tow, including a top notch cast, a unique time period, a wacky plot, and even a dance number or two. Yup, that sounds about right. The film focuses on a Hollywood studio "fixer" in the 1950's (Josh Brolin) who's called in when one of the studio's big stars (George Clooney) goes missing. Naturally, complications ensue and cause run ins with all manner of Hollywood characters, played by the likes of Scarlett Johansson, Ralph Fiennes, Channing Tatum, Tilda Swinton, Jonah Hill, Frances McDormand, Clancy Brown, and...Dolph Lundgren and Christopher Lambert? Interesting. While this isn't the bloody violence type of Coen Bros. flick, they've stick got a knack for making these quirky tales work splendidly, so we're hip to seeing what they have in store.
HAIL, CAESAR! opens on February 5th
While the zombie genre has really started to get tired, there's still something resplendent about watching a horrific monster-like corpse get bashed, battered, and sliced, especially if it's being done by some proper lovely ladies in 19th Century England. Based on the book by Seth Grahame-Smith (ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER & THE FLASH), the story follows Jane Austen's original novel characters, but with an undead twist. Starring Lily James (CINDERELLA), Lena Headey, Douglas Booth, Charles Dance, Matt Smith, Jack Huston, Suki Waterhouse, and Sam Riley, the flick looks to be a perfectly fun little zombie romp, which will hopefully outrun the failures of recent zombie romps (SCOUTS GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE among them). With a strong cast and some solid-looking trailers, we're holding out hope for a proper zombie slaughter at the theater.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES cuts in on February 5th.
It seemed like there was no possible way we'd ever get a proper iteration of DEADPOOL after his lackluster debut in X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, but with rabid fan support and the steadfast dedication of director Tim Miller and star/producer Ryan Reynolds, the Merc With A Mouth is getting his big-screen debut in all its R-rated glory. In many ways it feels like we got away with something here, so we're holding out hope for an insane comic book film that defies the typical PG-13 standard we've grown accustomed to. Not that there's anything wrong with those films, but DEADPOOL has the chance to show that we can take things a little further from time to time and break that mold (and fourth wall). With a brilliant marketing campaign that encapsulates the tone and feel of the character, it seems like we'll be getting a Wade Wilson ripped right from the page, rather than one with his mouth sewn shut and wielding katana blades in his arms. Co-starring Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, Gina Carano, Brianna Hildebrand, and T.J. Miller, DEADPOOL is at the top of our list for 2016. Okay, it's actually #44, but that's only because it's arranged by date.
DEADPOOL blasts into theaters on February 12th.
The highly quotable comedy from 2001 gets its long-awaited sequel. The only question now is: will it be worth the wait? That was the question for another highly quotable comedy a few years back (ahem, DUMB AND DUMBER TO) and that didn't pan out so well, but judging from the trailers, ZOOLANDER 2 looks to be recapturing the magic of the first. Ben Stiller returns to the role of Derek Zoolander, now an aging supermodel, along with his compatriot Hansel (Owen Wilson) to stop another international modeling incident. What sells the Zoolander brand the most is Derek and Hansel's dim-bulb interactions and the laundry list of guest stars playing insane characters, including Will Ferrell (returning as Mugatu), Penelope Cruz, Kristen Wiig, Benedict Cumberbatch, Fred Armisen, and playing themselves, Olivia Munn, Macauley Culkin, Justin Beiber, Billy Zane, Ariana Grande, Kim Kardashian West, Kanye West, and Lenny Kravitz. Some sequels are unnecessary, but this is one we welcome with open arms. Plus, we need a new look to use for Instagram selfies. Don't let us down, Derek!
ZOOLANDER 2 will zoo-lick into theaters on February 12th.
John Hillcoat (THE ROAD, LAWLESS) is one of the more underrated directors out there who we'd like to see make more films (and more often), so it's great to see him back with TRIPLE 9, a dark-looking crime thriller with an exceptional cast that snagged our attention with a stellar first trailer. Starring Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kate Winslet, Anthony Mackie, Clifton Collins Jr., Michael K. Williams, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Gal Gadot, and Teresa Palmer, TRIPLE 9 follows a group of corrupt cops and criminals as they set out to murder a police officer to pull off a heist. Feeling reminiscent of Michael Mann's HEAT, this one has got potential to be a sleeper hit for the early movie season.
TRIPLE 9 hits theaters on February 26th.
No one really expected much from 2013's OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN, the "other" Die-Hard-in-the-White-House flick that teamed up director Antoine Fuqua with Gerard Butler (as a former Secret Service officer) and Aaron Eckhart (as The President), but it ended up being an enjoyable actioner that made a few coins to scrape together, prompting an inevitable sequel. While our expectations are in check for the sequel, LONDON HAS FALLEN still has our attention, if for no other reason than for the hope of recapturing the action magic of the first film. While Fuqua is replaced with director Babak Najafi, the principle star are back, including Butler, Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Radha Mitchell, Melissa Leo, as well as new additions Jackie Earle Haley, and Robert Forster. Here's to hoping for a fun action romp sequel.
LONDON HAS FALLEN overtakes theaters on March 4th.
Sascha Baron Cohen has delivered some outrageous comedies in the last decade, including BORAT, BRUNO, and THE DICTATOR, all of which feature outlandish characters and often painfully funny sequences, but he's been absent from his brand for a few years now. Now, the writer/director/comedian returns with THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY, a spy-out-of-water comedy adventure that finds Cohen's sleazy hooligan character teamed up with his estranged badass spy brother (Mark Strong) to take down some baddies. The story itself is secondary to the comedic hijinks, which will surely be silly as hell and occasionally shocking, which fits right in with what we'd expect from Cohen. Joining the party are Rebel Wilson, Isla Fisher, Ian McShane, PenÚlope Cruz, Gabourey Sidibe, Annabelle Wallis, and Scott Adkins.
THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY starts offending theaters on March 11th.
The latest film from director Jeff Nichols (MUD, TAKE SHELTER) finds his frequent collaborator Michael Shannon starring as Roy, the father of a boy with special powers who must go on the run to protect him. In what looks like an on-the-run sci-fi thriller, we expect to Nichols to elevate this to something special, as he has with his previous efforts. Shannon is joined by Kirsten Dunst (coming off a terrific run on FX's Fargo), Joel Edgerton, Sam Shepard, and Adam Driver. We always enjoy a good sleeper thriller to sneak up on us and we're hoping that MIDNIGHT SPECIAL can do just that.
MIDNIGHT SPECIAL opens on March 18th.
One of the most-anticipated movies of the year, BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE is the true kicking off point for the DCEU (after its soft start in MAN OF STEEL), which will introduce multiple staple DC characters into their cinematic universe and set the stage for the impending explosion of it, leading into SUICIDE SQUAD, JUSTICE LEAGUE PARTS 1 & 2, and beyond. While Henry Cavill's Superman is firmly established, this is the first go 'round for Ben Affleck's Batman and the long-awaited debut of the first big-screen Wonder Woman, as played by Gal Gadot. Director Zack Snyder has crafted an ambitious-as-hell film, which pits the Caped Crusader vs. the Man of Steel in one half of the film and then teaming them up (with the aforementioned Wonder Woman) in the second half for a throwdown with Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) and his mad scientist creation, Doomsday. There's a lot riding on this film in terms of DC/WB's future film slate, but what we really want is nothing more than a good show. That's the best start we could hope for and we're ready to welcome a competing universe into the fray.
BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE smashes into theaters on March 25th.
Director Jan Favreau is trying his hand at the oft-adapted tale of Mowgli and his jungle-faring friends in a new adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's classic book. Starring newcomer Neel Sethi as Mowgli, the only real live-action character of the film, the CGI animals of the film are voiced by a tremendous cast that includes Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong'o, Christopher Walken, and Giancarlo Esposito, making for a more intriguing incentive to catch the flick. Based on the trailers it looks like a visual feast and CGI enhanced animals have come a long way (see: LIFE OF PI), so that's not a major concern. We're just hoping those aspects don't overshadow the story itself.
THE JUNGLE BOOK opens on April 15th.
Director Richard Linklater is a filmmaker we can typically count on and after his outstanding effort on 2014's BOYHOOD we've eagerly anticipated what he had in store for us next. Surprisingly, Linklater has gone back to his roots, giving us a pseudo sequel to both his massive cult hit DAZED AND CONFUSED and BOYHOOD with EVERYBODY WANTS SOME, a coming-of-age story that focuses on college life in the '80's. Tracking a group of students as they begin their college journey, the film looks to have all the quirks, insight, and mischief of Linklater's previous efforts and that's all right, all right, all right with us. Starring Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Tyler Hoechlin, Blake Jenner, Ryan Guzman, Wyatt Russell, and Holly Jee, we definitely want some of EVERYBODY WANTS SOME.
EVERYBODY WANTS SOME gets some on April 15th.
Fans of SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN get ready to be happy! Anyone? Bueller? Well, don't worry, because the follow up to the Kristen Stewart led fantasy flick has got 100 percent less Kristen Stewart and looks to be equal part Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain, Emily Blunt, and returning baddie Charlize Theron. Trading one female star for two new ones works just fine for us and it's a surprising mix, seeing as both Chastain and Blunt are typically chasing more high-profile flicks of late. But, hey, everyone's gotta have some fun, right? And, that's exactly what Theron seems to be cashing in on again, returning as the evil queen we love to hate, while she plots with her evil ice queen sister (Blunt) against the star-crossed warrior love of Hemsworth and Chastain. I mean, it's all pretty damn silly, but what the hell. The cast is solid, we know what we're signing up for, and in the end it equals out to some harmless fun. Okay, maybe it's just Chastain and Blunt that draw us in. Either way, we'll join the war.
THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER'S WAR sweeps into theaters on April 22nd.
Easily one of the most-anticipated films of the year, CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR looks and feels like The Avengers sequel we REALLY wanted last year. Drawing from the Marvel Comics Civil War storyline, Cap (Chris Evans) is faced with choosing between Government control, which Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) supports, or staying self regulated. This splits The Avengers down the middle, pitting one team vs. another, while bringing up the question of how superheroes should be regulated in a world full of them. Of course, a larger threat is looming, which could bring them all together in the end. Directors Joe & Anthony Russo return to the helm (and will also carry over into the next two Avengers films) as well as a laundry list of MCU heroes, including Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), War Machine (Don Cheadle), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Vision (Paul Bettany), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Agent 13 (Emily VanCamp), as well as the introduction of both Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and the new Spider-Man (Tom Holland). Also joining the fray are William Hurt as Gen. Ross, Frank Grillo as Crossbones, and Daniel Bruhl as Baron Zemo. That's one hell of a packed ensemble and makes this a Marvel movie that feels like a true adaptation of an event book with Cap at the center of it all. Hot damn, we couldn't be more excited for this one!
CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR charges into theaters on May 6th.
Based on the true story about a band of Confederate Army deserters who turned against the Confederacy during the Civil War, THE FREE STATE OF JONES stars Matthew McConaughey as Newt Knight, the leader of the Jones County, Mississippi troops. A controversial figure, Knight's actions have long been debated, but the story of Jones County and his actions there are also topical, given the recent racial tensions in the U.S., and are sure to stir the pot a bit more, perhaps in a positive light or at least in one that inspires conversation. We watch movies for many reasons, one of them being the reflection of our own lives and history, and THE FREE STATE OF JONES seems to vibe with that notion quite well. Either way, we're curious to see how it all plays out. McConaughey rarely disappoints these days, so if nothing else, we should get a spirited performance from him here.
THE FREE STATE OF JONES hits theaters on May 13th.
Controversy and Oliver Stone go together like biscuits and gravy, so tackling a biopic about Edward Snowden is almost too easy of a topic for the director. However, we'd expect nothing less from Stone, who's been hit or miss in recent years, so perhaps a proper controversial flick is just what he needs. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the former CIA/Government contractor who leaked classified NSA documents before fleeing the country and who has become the poster child against government surveillance ever since. Gordon-Levitt is joined by a great assemblage of players, including Nicolas Cage, Shailene Woodley, Scott Eastwood, Timothy Olyphant, Zachary Quinto, Rhys Ifans, Melissa Leo, Joely Richardson, and Tom Wilkinson, making for one hell of an intriguing cast. Controversy, timeliness, a killer cast, and Stone doing what he does best: sounds like a good time. Hopefully, it doesn't get our names put on a list just for watching it.
SNOWDEN leaks into theaters on May 13th.
I thoroughly enjoyed NEIGHBORS and felt that there was a lot of fun directions they could go with a sequel. Thankfully, they found a good angle and it sounds like a total blast. Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, and Zac Efron return for director Nicholas Stoller in NEIGHBORS 2: SORORITY RISING, which brings in some sorority femme fatales in Chloe Moretz and Selena Gomez, who look to cause some new mischief in the neighborhood now that the fraternity has moved on from the last film. Also returning to the cast are Ike Barinholtz, Dave Franco, Carla Gallo, and Lisa Kudrow, as well as new additions Billy Eichner and Kiersey Clemons (DOPE). If you're down with what the first film was cooking, then this will no doubt be your kind of barbecue again. We're ready to pledge. Or, at the very least, drink a lot of beer and pass out on the lawn.
NEIGHBORS 2: SORORITY RISING moves into theaters on May 20th.
Ah, Shane Black, you're always welcome in our home! The hard-boiled writer/director returns this summer with another Christmas-set, action-filled, buddy pic, complete with R-rated showdowns, goofy antics, and clever twists with THE NICE GUYS, starring the great duo of Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. Set during the '70's, the private eye caper looks to be living up to Black's earlier efforts like THE LAST BOY SCOUT and KISS KISS, BANG BANG and we're just tickled to hell that this is even on the horizon. Black's most recent effort was IRON MAN 3, a considerable success, but we're happy to see him back at home with the type of buddy pic that's defined his career since the beginning (see: LETHAL WEAPON, THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT). From the trailer alone, it looks like a great time at the movies and exactly the escape we need from the big budget bonanza's that will inundate the summer months.
THE NICE GUYS takes the case on May 20th.
The second X-film of the year comes courtesy of Bryan Singer, following up on the success of X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, while taking a step back in time once again, this time to the Reagan era. With the reemergence of the "first mutant" (aka Apocalypse, as played by Oscar Isaac), the younger X-Men, including Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Jean Gray (Sophie Turner), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), Jubilee (Lana Condor), and Quicksilver (Evan Peters) are joined by the old guard, including Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), and Professor X (James McAvoy) to defeat the new threat, along with his four horsemen, Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Archangel (Ben Hardy), and Storm (Alexandra Shipp). It's a full house once again and typical for the X-brand, which is seemingly starting fresh after the slate was "cleaned" in the last iteration. It's the first time we've had a true villain outside of Magneto, which should be a nice change of pace, although early looks at Isaac's make-up for Apocalypse have induced quite a bit of scorn and possible changes made in post to make him more like his comic-book persona. Whether it's great or just a fun ride, we're always down for another X-film. At their worst, they're still decent fun.
X-MEN: APOCALYPSE hits theaters on May 27th.
Many fans found the newly rebooted franchise of the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES to be a little creepy and, well, they may have been right, but that still didn't stop us from enjoying it to some degree. While the story was lame, we enjoyed the Turtles themselves and it seems like the filmmakers have taken note in the sequel, which looks to bring in many of the fan favorites we've grown up with over the years, including Krang, Rocksteady, BeBop, and Casey Jones (as played by Arrow's Stephen Amell). Sure, the CGI Turtles may take a little getting used to and it's a fairly cheesy affair, but in the end it still taps into that 90's nostalgia that warmed our after-school afternoons not so long ago. For those already opposed, not much will change their minds, but for anyone looking for some more Heroes in a Half-Shell, well, here's your ticket. Also, we just don't have any issues with Megan Fox's April O'Neill in a sexy schoolgirl outfit. That'll do just fine.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS cowabunga's into theaters on June 3rd.
Director Duncan Jones' long-gestating adaptation of the uber-popular Blizzard game WARCRAFT is finally ready to hit theaters. The only question now is: will non-gamers take the bait? Sure, it's got the big-budget visuals to draw in the spectacle crowd, but will the story and characters be enough to hold the interest of the casual moviegoer and inspire a new franchise? So many questions that can only be answered by one thing: seeing this sucker on the big screen. We love Jones' work, so you can bet your Orc we'll be there to catch it, but there's a lingering concern that it may be too convoluted or "game-y" to connect with wider audiences, so there's still some doubt as to how well they can pull it off. A strong cast certainly helps, including Travis Fimmel (Vikings), Paula Patton, Toby Kebbell, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Clancy Brown, Daniel Wu, and Ruth Negga, but it's no guarantee. Still, after riding the hype train for so long, we're ready to see this thing in action.
WARCRAFT hammers into theaters on June 10th.
Well, if the first THE CONJURING didn't affect your sleep then you've got a stronger resistance to horror than me. That clapping shit and basement scares at the end (not to mention that Annabelle opening) did wonders for my own sleep deprivation and we generally regard James Wan's horror touch as pretty exemplary. Now, Wan is returning to the franchise with a new tale from the lives of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, respectively), this time focusing on the Enfield Poltergeist case from 1977 that involved the haunting of an 11-year old girl and her family. So, yeah, if you think your sleep habits can handle it, we're sure that this one's for you. For all others, keep that ambien handy.
THE CONJURING 2: THE ENFIELD POLTERGEIST haunts theaters on June 10th.
This one seems like a rather odd sequel, but considering the first film, 2013's NOW YOU SEE ME, ended up being a sleeper hit, there's potential that this could be a worthwhile follow up. Reuniting most of the original cast, including Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine (with Isla Fisher replaced by Lizzy Caplan) and subbing a new director (Jon Chu for Louis Leterrier), the sequel takes place one year after the last film and finds The Four Horseman squaring off with a tech magnate prodigy, played by former Hogwarts alum, Daniel Radcliffe. We certainly don't expect a reinvention of the wheel here, but the first one was an unexpected pleasure, so we're happy to be "tricked" into liking another one by this merry band of magicians. Let's hope they can pull off the act one more time.
NOW YOU SEE ME 2 apparates into theaters on June 10th.
While FINDING NEMO was a really fun, heartfelt adventure, we're not quite sold on why we need a sequel or why we need a sequel involving the erratic character of Dory (as voiced by Ellen DeGeneres). That said, we tend to put a lot of trust and faith in Pixar, which leads us to give the benefit of the doubt as they continue their journey into sequel land with their titles. Still, it's going to take a hell of a trailer to sell us on this undersea adventure, which we're currently backing in hope that it will bring the feels more akin to INSIDE OUT rather than THE GOOD DINOSAUR. Having director Andrew Stanton back is a bonus, as well as new and returning voice cast talent like Dominic West, Diane Keaton, Albert Brooks, Ed O'Neill, Ty Burrell, Eugene Levy, and Kaitlin Olson. Here's to hoping this fish still swims and doesn't sink to the bottom of the tank.
FINDING DORY swims into theaters on June 17th.
Ah, who could forget the beautiful cheesy action/disaster epic that was 1996's INDEPENDENCE DAY? It made Will Smith a household name and gave us the best Presidential speech ever put to film, not to mention showing the power of an Apple virus on alien computers. Now, director Roland Emmerich is back with more mayhem, more explosions, and hopefully more speeches and uploadable viruses. Joking aside, we're absolute suckers for this. Sure, Will Smith's character is dead, but we've got Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Vivaca A. Fox, Brent Spiner, and Judd Hirsch back, with some fresh new faces to the franchise, including Liam Hemsworth, Maika Monroe, Jessie Usher, Joey King, William Fichtner, Sela Ward, and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Not a bad setup at all. Cue the invasion, mass destruction, and heroic deeds along with a sweeping score and epic speech and we'll call this a win.
INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE destroys theaters on June 24th.
Based on Roald Dahl's beloved book, the author of such classics as Charlie and the Chocalate Factory, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and James and the Giant Peach gets another big-screen adaptation, this time courtesy of director Steven Spielberg. The tale of a Big Friendly Giant who befriends a young girl named Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), while facing ridicule from fellow giants for not eating little boys and girls, has been adapted in animation form, but never for live action. Surely, at the hands of the man behind films like E.T., THE ADVENTURES OF TIN TIN, and JURASSIC PARK can deliver on such a film, right? Our money's on Spielberg, who is also helped with a cast that includes Bill Hader, Rebecca Hall, Mark Rylance, and Jemaine Clement. While we may be more excited for his next venture, READY PLAYER ONE, we're still happy to take this as an in-between appetizer.
THE BFG stomps into theaters on July 1st.
While some folks feel that THE LEGEND OF TARZAN is a boring, antiquated property, there are others who adore it for its nostalgic appeal. There hasn't been a fitting live-action adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrough's famed character since 1984's GREYSTOKE: THE LEGEND OF TARZAN, LORD OF THE APES, so it would be cool to see a proper adaptation after several decades of ho hum interpretations. True Blood's Alexander Skarsgard takes on the mantle of Tarzan, while revered beauty Margot Robbie embodies Jane and both Samuel L. Jackson and Christoph Waltz add some seasoned clout to David Yates production. The trailer for the film looks decent and had our curiosity piqued, but we're not all in just yet. Still, there's potential for a really solid effort and we'll swing on a few vines to find out. No butt flaps, though.
THE LEGEND OF TARZAN...ahem...*swings* into theaters on July 1st. Yeah, that one was too easy.
Oh, shit, here we go. Something tells me we'll have more red-bar comments on this entry than the entirety of this list, but so it goes for Paul Feig's reboot of GHOSTBUSTERS, starring an all-female team that includes Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones. Additional support comes from Elizabeth Perkins, Andy Garcia, Michael Kenneth Williams, Chris Hemsworth and cameos from the o.g. stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Annie Potts, Sigourney Weaver and Ernie Hudson. The choice of making the team all-female seems to be the only real source of hate for this one and while I feel it's a little gimmicky, I certainly don't have my panties in a bunch over it. Mostly because I don't wear panties, but still. I'm happy to give this a shot and don't feel any threat to the legacy of the first two films in any way. If anything, I hope it reinvigorates the franchise so we can get more G.B. films, where we can include all races, genders, dogs and cats, living together...mass hysteria!
Who you gonna call on July 15th?
There seems to be a bit of a divide when it comes to the fanbase for the rebooted STAR TREK franchise and that may have grown larger after the first trailer for STAR TREK BEYOND, the third venture to the new final frontier, this time replacing J.J. Abrams with a Faster, more Furious-er director in Justin Lin. The trailer in question, rocking some Beastie Boys and giving it a kind of Guardians of The Final Frontier feel didn't win over the hearts and minds of the fanbase, but perhaps that was just a premature bad call on marketing's part. A more traditionally edited trailer may turn this ship around, which otherwise looks like another fun space adventure that's more akin to the original TV show than the series of films it follows. Simon Pegg, who also plays Scotty, came onboard to help craft the script, which could very well add some fanboy attention the series needs after the darkly serious tone of the last film. Hey, all we're hoping for is a fun "trek" to the movies, but hopefully the hardcore folks can walk away happy, too.
STAR TREK BEYOND beams into theaters on July 22nd.
Bourne is back! And, we're not talking about the Hawkeye version! Matt Damon steps back into the role that's suited him the best over the years, playing superspy badass Jason Bourne in the as-yet-to-be-titled next entry in the franchise. Re-teaming with shakycam director Paul Greengrass, Damon is flanked by stars Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones, Julia Stiles, Vincent Cassel, and Riz Ahmed for the latest adventure that finds Bourne struggling with his identity and fighting the new world threats of cyberterrorism and stolen civil liberties...and likely highly trained bad guys who want to kill him. The energy, action, and intensity of the prior films always left us with a taste for more Bourne films, so we're welcoming back Damon and Greengrass to the series with open arms. We just hope that they use a tripod every once in a while. Welcome back, Bourne!
The Untitled Jason Bourne Sequel hits on July 29th. Hopefully they have a title by then.
What initially seemed like a really oddball follow-up to the DCEU after BATMAN V SUPERMAN, SUICIDE SQUAD has shot to the top of our must-see list, especially after that badass Comic Con trailer and flood of set pics that have hit the net. Director David Ayer seems like the perfect choice to bring these villainous anti-heroes to life and we're chomping at the bit to see this one on the big screen. With a stellar cast that includes Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Cara Delevingne, Jai Courtney, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Karen Fukuhara, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jay Hernandez, Adam Beach, Ike Barinholtz, Scott Eastwood, and of course, Jared Leto as our new Joker. While some booed the tattooed/pierced look of many on the team, including Leto's Joker, it seems that most everyone has warmed up to them now and are ready to see these bad guys in action. This is a big entry in the establishment of the DCEU and one we can't wait to see unfold. It feels good to be bad for this one.
SUICIDE SQUAD gets villainous on August 5th.
The 1959 version of BEN-HUR starring Charlton Heston is regarded as a classic, so why on Earth would anyone attempt a remake? Well, in all fairness, it has been more than half a century, so...why the hell not? This new version is said to pull from the novel by Lew Wallace and sports a stylish director in WANTED's Timur Bekmambetov and a script by Oscar winner John Ridley (12 YEARS A SLAVE). The cast features Boardwalk Empire's Jack Huston as the titular character and Rodrigo Santoro as Jesus, with Morgan Freeman, Toby Kebbell, and Ayelet Zurer (Daredevil) rounding things out. It's a complex story of revenge, for those not in the know, as a nobleman (Ben-Hur) is betrayed by a friend, put into slavery, and eventually fights his way back to seek revenge. It's also noted as a Biblical tale, (The original novel is Ben Hur: A Tale of Christ) which may explain Producer Mark Burnett's involvement as he's often tied to Christian-themed films/TV shows amongst his many projects. All things considered, we're exceptionally curious to see how this comes out.
BEN-HUR rides into theaters on August 12th.
Director Todd Phillips (THE HANGOVER films) is stepping into biopic territory with an adaptation of ARMS AND THE DUDES (not final title), based on the book of the same name that follows two low-end arms dealers who bid on a $300 million dollar government contract to supply weapons for US allies in Afghanistan and end up pulling one shady deal after another, getting them in hot water with everyone around them. We often enjoy stories about sleazy bad guys doing bad things, eventually getting their comeuppance, and this one sounds a lot like THE WOLF OF WALL STREET but with guns instead of money. Or, a little of both. Jonah Hill and Miles Teller starring as the two arms-dealing scamps should make for a fun movie and Phillips knows how to milk the funny and the crazy in equal parts, so we're optimistic this could be yet another fun comedy of men behaving badly.
ARMS AND THE DUDES (or whatever title they end up using) hits theaters on August 19th.
What's this? Another remake? Blasphemy! Wait, did you say it's a Western directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Peter Sarsgaard, Matt Bomer, Byung-hun Lee, and Haley Bennett? Well then...let's saddle up! In truth, this is a remake of a remake, as the 1960 version of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN was a remake of Akira Kurosawa's 1954 SEVEN SAMURAI, so...there's that. However, it's been a hell of a long time since the original(s) and with such a kickass group assembled to make the film we're ready to ride off into the sunset with this one (last western pun, I swear). Fuqua can do gritty (TRAINING DAY) and he can do action (THE EQUALIZER, SHOOTER), so we're happy to see him tackle a new genre and bring his flavor to the proceedings. Washington and Pratt bring some nice heft to the project as well and it's nice to see a few good westerns sneak in a few times a year.
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN rides into theaters on September 23rd.
Based on the 2010 explosion of an offshore oil rig that led to the worst oil spill in U.S. history, DEEPWATER HORIZON follows those who were caught in the middle of the disaster and their fight to escape with their lives. Director Peter Berg reunites with his LONE SURVIVOR star Mark Wahlberg to tell the tale, which also stars Kurt Russell, Dylan O'Brien, Kate Hudson, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, and Ethan Suplee. A real-world disaster drama is certainly something Berg can handle, which is a better fit for his talents than, say, BATTLESHIP. Wahlberg could use a solid leading-man boost as well and this seems like it could be just the project to do that. While there's sure to be some emotional depth to this, given that 11 people lost their lives during the actual event, we anticipate a strong and moving show from all involved.
DEEPWATER HORIZON opens on September 30th.
It's going to be a year of ass kicking for Ben Affleck. After hanging up his batsuit in-between DCEU movies, Affleck will return this year in THE ACCOUNTANT, where he'll play a government accountant who doubles as an assassin. The project has changed hands a few times, from Mel Gibson to Will Smith, before finally landing with Affleck and director Gavin O'Connor (WARRIOR). The film co-stars Anna Kendrick, Jon Bernthal, J.K. Simmons, Jeffrey Tambor, and John Lithgow. With nothing more than some minor info and a few images to go off, it's hard to say how this one will turn out, but we're digging Affleck in full-on action mode these days, so we're on board. Plus, he was the bomb in PHANTOMS.
THE ACCOUNTANT heads to theaters on October 7th.
Based on the popular book by Paula Hawkins, THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN stars Emily Blunt as Rachel Watson, a woman seemingly obsessed by a "perfect" couple she sees from her train ride each day to London, until one of them goes missing and she finds herself drawn closer and closer to the mystery. The novel is at the top of most book lists and has the same kind of heat that gave Gillian Flynn's GONE GIRL such a boost when that hit the big screens. Blunt has been on a steady climb into top tier fare and with a supporting cast that includes Rebecca Ferguson, Edgar Ramirez, Luke Evans, Justin Theroux, Haley Bennet, Allison Janney, and Lisa Kudrow this could very well be the GONE GIRL of 2016.
THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN arrives in theaters on October 7th.
The third book in Dan Brown's massively popular DaVinci Code sereis, INFERNO finds star Tom Hanks back again as symbology expert Robert Langdon, this time on the run for his life from a female assassin as he attempts to unravel a series of codes that lead to an obsessed scientist obsessed with Dante's INFERNO. Director Ron Howard is once again at the helm of the lucrative series, bringing along an impressive cast that includes Felicity Jones, Ben Foster, Irrfan Khan, and Omar Sy. Thus far, this series has been mostly popcorn fare with some intriguing novel-of-the-month mystery, which is all well and good. Our expectations are set accordingly and, if nothing else, we just like to see Hanks in a smart, leading-man role that lets him get a little action. This should be fun.
INFERNO burns into theaters on October 14th.
Based on the novel by Patrick Ness (inspired by Siobhan Dowd) A MONSTER CALLS is a dark, fantasy tale about a tree monster that visits a bullied young boy who is dealing with his mother's terminal illness. Heavy stuff, to be sure, and something we're excited to see director J.A. Bayona (THE IMPOSSIBLE) take on. Starring newcomer Lewis MacDougall as the boy, Liam Neeson as the voice of The Monster, as well as Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, and Sigourney Weaver, this is one we're definitely keeping our eye on. Bayona has proven to be able to handle dark and heavy material before (see: THE ORPHANAGE) and this could potentially be a big hit for him and a real treat for us.
A MONSTER CALLS scares into theaters on October 14th.
Jack is back! While many weren't quite sure the first JACK REACHER would warrant a sequel, the overall box office dictated it be so and we're happy to have another. Replacing director Christopher McQuarrie for Tom Cruise's next outing as the famed hero of Lee Child's series of books is THE LAST SAMURAI's Ed Zwick, who jumped at the chance to switch up genres and tackle an action/mystery. This time out we find Jack Reacher returning to the headquarters of his old Army unit only to find himself accused of a 16-year-old homicide. Joining Cruise on this adventure is THE AVENGERS' Cobie Smulders who will help him tackle the aptly named "The Hunter" as played by Royal Pains star Patrick Heusinger. The first film was like an old-school action flick and Cruise fit the role with ease (even if he doesn't match the book description), so this is an easy must-see for us.
JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK bashes into theaters on October 21st.
Marvel's second entry in the cinematic universe for 2016 brings in some new blood and a fresh genre with DOCTOR STRANGE, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the classic Marvel hero and Sorcerer Supreme, who is joined by Chiwetel Ejiofor's Baron Mordo, Tilda Swinton's The Ancient One, Rachel McAdams, and Mads Mikkelson. This has been a long time coming for the folks at Marvel, who hired director Scott Derrickson (SINISTER) to helm the magical world of Stephen Strange, which continually promises some twisted and insane visuals to match this unexplored world of the MCU. It's nice to have a non-sequel on the books for Marvel and they've had great success with those in the last few years (see: ANT-MAN and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY), so we're excited to see what this one...ahem...has up it's sleeve.
DOCTOR STRANGE gets magical on November 4th.
When director Ang Lee takes on a new project it's impossible not to pay attention. The Oscar-winning filmmaker has a knack for choosing an eclectic mix of projects and BILLY LYNN'S LONG HALFTIME WALK absolutely fits that bill. Based on the novel by Ben Fountain, the story follows an infantry squad on a "victory tour" that culminates at a Thanksgiving Day football game halftime, where they recount their story in-between. Lee is shooting the film at a 120 HFR and in 3D, which may seem odd considering the story, but this is Ang Lee we're talking about. Whatever he has in store, you know it's going to be something special. The film stars Garrett Hedlund, Vin Diesel, Kristen Stewart, Steve Martin, Chris Tucker, Tim Blake Nelson, and Makenzie Leigh. We're ready to take the walk.
BILLY LYNN'S LONG HALFTIME WALK takes the field on November 11th.
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and director David Yates have reteamed to take us all back to the land of witches and wizards, albeit without a certain chosen one with a lightning bolt scar on his forehead. FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM is a new entry in the Wizarding World franchise that follows the adventures of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his compatriots in New York City, set 70 years before Harry Potter attended Hogwarts. Set up as a continuing franchise, there's a lot riding on this one, but they've certainly stacked the deck; the film also stars Katherine Waterston, Colin Farrell, Jon Voight, Ezra Miller, Ron Perlman, and Samantha Morton with a brand new script from Rowling herself. Yates, who directed the final four Harry Potter films is an old hand at this universe, so they've certainly got the fairy dust to pull this off. Expelliarmus failure!
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM hits theaters on November 18th.
"Do you want me to make you sandwiches?" Okay, how about a sequel to BAD SANTA instead? Yes, your favorite son-of-a-bitch Santa (aka Willie Soke) is back, once again portrayed by the lovable Billy Bob Thornton and flanked by his foul-mouthed elf, Marcus, as played by Tony Cox. The hard-drinking, hard-partying, morally bankrupt duo are back just in time for the holidays and this time they've got a new adversary in the form of Kathy Bates, aka Mama Soke. It looks like Willie will have to confront his mommy issues in this one and you know Kathy Bates won't make that easy. We can't wait to see that shit go down. Oh, and don't worry, ol' Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly) will be back. Hopefully, his wood-carving skills have improved.
BAD SANTA 2 climbs down the chimney (drunk) on November 23rd.
You might have heard that those Star Wars films are back and they're going to be making a new one every year until long after your death. Who am I kidding, of course you've heard and, in fact, are probably on your 3rd or 4th viewing of THE FORCE AWAKENS. While you'll have to wait a few years to see the next chapter in Rey and co.'s saga, you can still get your fix from a galaxy far, far away with ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, the first-ever spinoff anthology film from the franchise. The story is said to be a heist/war film that takes place just before Episode IV, focusing on a daring mission to steal the plans for the Death Star. Director Gareth Edward (GODZILLA) is at the helm and he's bringing a bang-up cast, including Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelson, Donnie Yen, Alan Tudyk, Forest Whitaker, Ben Mendelsohn, and Riz Ahmed, to battle the Empire and save the day. While we aren't quite sure what to expect from a Star Wars spinoff tale, you can bet your TaunTaun that we'll be there opening day.
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY lands in theaters on December 16th.
Videogame adaptations don't have the best luck in Hollywood. They're a tricky bitch to adapt any way you slice it, but we've always held out hope that someday they'd really nail it. That day hasn't come yet, but we have a really great feeling about ASSASSIN'S CREED, due largely to the star power and creative forces behind the adaptation. Michael Fassbender leads the charge as Callum Lynch, a man that is part of a top secret experiment that allows him to travel back in time to his ancestors, where he can retain their memories and abilities. But, Lynch isn't the only "assassin" in the ranks and the more that he travels back, the more he learns, and the more dangerous he becomes. While this is a new take on the ASSASSIN'S CREED story, it allows the production to pay respect to the staples of the game, which branching out with new characters to embody the overall story. Joining Fassbender is his visionary MACBETH director Justin Kurzel, as well as stars Marion Cotillard, Brendan Gleeson, Jeremy Irons, and Michael K. Williams. Could this be the film to break the videogame curse? We're very hopeful.
ASSASSIN'S CREED jumps into theaters on December 21st.
What do you get when you pair up two of the hottest (and funniest) stars working in Hollywood today? You get PASSENGERS, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, who play passengers aboard a spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet. When Pratt's character is awoken prematurely and faced with dying alone on the ship before reaching their destination, he decides to wake up another passenger (Lawrence). Directed by THE IMITATION GAME's Morten Tyldum, the sci-fi drama was written by Jon Spaihts (PROMETHEUS, DOCTOR STRANGE) and has the potential to bring out some powerful, emotional, and likely funny performances from the two leads. It sounds like a stage play set in space, but with Pratt and Lawrence under the lights, we'll certainly watch.
PASSENGERS flies into theaters on December 21st.
Yet another adaptation of a popular children's book series, MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIARS feels like a righteous return to form for director Tim Burton. The story follows a 16-year-old boy named Jacob (Asa Butterfield) who travels to a mysterious island that his grandfather was raised on to find that the magical school he had been told about is still there and populated with, you guessed it, peculiar children. Jacob finds himself immersed in mystery upon his arrival, while running into all manner of people/monsters. Starring Eva Green, Samuel L. Jackson, Allison Janney, Judi Dench, Kim Dickens, Chris O'Dowd, Terence Stamp, and Rupert Everett, there's some real potential for Burton to let his freak flag fly a bit after a string of ups and downs. We're hoping it's more BEETLEJUICE than ALICE IN WONDERLAND.
MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIARS opens on Christmas Day.