Since I still have a few films I want to check out before doing my Best of 2016 post, I figured I’d dive in to what SHOULD BE a better year in movies coming up.
Follow me, children …
The Red Turtle
A co-production between Wild Bunch and the legendary Studio Ghibli, this one’s getting some rave reviews and looks to be an interesting and original animated masterwork based on a fable.
I think. Either way, I plan to check it out with both my face and brain.
John Wick: Chapter 2
The first one was one of the most pleasant surprises of 2015, featuring strong worldbuilding, incredible, visceral action scenes and a kickass return to form for Keanu Reeves.
Do not disappoint me.
Releases: February 10
I’m a hater of much of FOX’s X-Men film run. There are a few gems (X2 and Days of Future Past among them,) but much of the franchise is cheesy, bloated and nonsensical. Logan looks to be a fresh take on a character that has grown stale in both comic book and movie form, and I’m interested to see what they do with it.
Releases: March 3
Dumb title aside, the sequel to Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting is both eagerly anticipated and mildly dreaded by fans of the weird original. Hopefully Boyle hasn’t lost his touch. The return of the original cast certainly inspires some confidence.
Releases: March 3
Kong: Skull Island
The newest Godzilla movie was boring. Really, really boring.
This new Kong movie, if nothing else, looks non-boring.
Also, much of the imagery is ripped right from Apocalypse Now. So it should be cool to look at.
Releases: March 10
John Cena and Aaron Taylor-Johnson pinned down by an enemy sniper in a 2-hour runtime …
Doesn’t inspire much confidence on the surface, but the first trailer was surprisingly riveting. Curiosity = piqued.
Releases: March 10
Ghost in the Shell
Talk about a hornet’s nest.
This one is already getting shade thrown at it from all sides, be it for presumed whitewashing, lack of originality or all manner of trendy controversies. The trailers didn’t blow me away, but they certainly make it look faithful to the anime source material, of which I’m a fan.
That said, sometimes something is lost in the translation from one form to another. Interested to see how it turns out.
Releases: March 31
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The first one is in the top five greatest films Marvel Studios has produced to date, and so far, the marketing for the sequel has inspired nothing but confidence.
I’m looking for some deeper character development in this one to go along with the bombastic and humorous action.
Also interested to see how it starts to move toward a unification/cross-over with the Earth-bound MCU proper.
Releases: May 5
Prometheus (aside from a stellar opening 10 minutes) is utter trash. Unwatchable.
This one looks a lot better, with Ridley Scott embracing his franchise’s former aesthetic and mythology and returning to his horror roots at the same time.
Releases: May 19
Man of Steel is good until it sucks. Batman V. Superman is mediocre and frustrating. Suicide Squad is one of the worst big-budget films made in the last 10 years.
So … this one’s got some work to do.
On the bright side, the trailers have looked fantastic thus far, and I’m cautiously optimistic the DCEU could finally get on track with this one.
Releases: June 2
I LOVED Tom Holland’s turn as Peter Parker in Captain America: Civil War almost as much as I loved the original announcement that Sony and Marvel Studios were teaming up and cutting through the red tape to bring my favorite comic book character back to the fore … and with his Avengers family.
That said, I was not overly impressed with the first trailer for his new solo outing. It looked a bit too kiddish for my liking. Parker may be young, but his books have always dealt with mature themes. Hopefully the finished product looks a little less glossy and gives me some of the grit (along with the humor) that has made Spidey an enduring American icon.
Releases: July 7
War for the Planet of the Apes
The first film was a pleasant surprise. The sequel was one of the best movies of 2014.
If the new trailer is any indication, the could-be capper to this new reboot of the Apes franchise could be the best yet. And that’s saying something.
Also, Woodey Harrelson going head-to-head with Andy Serkis? Fuck yeah.
Releases: July 14
Christopher Nolan has an argument for being the best director of the new century. Some love him. Some hate him (hipsters.) Either way, everyone talks about his films, and if the five-minute preview I saw in IMAX last month for Dunkirk is any indication, we could be looking at the best war film since Saving Private Ryan.
Tall order. Nolan’s up to the task.
Releases: July 21
The Dark Tower
An excellent cast and a decent budget has me more curious than optimistic about this long-in-development adaptation/sequel of Stephen King’s magnum opus.
Even if it doesn’t turn out great in terms of story, we should get some meaty scenes between Idris Elba and a resurgent Matthew McConaughey. I’ll pay to see that.
Releases: July 28
I don’t really even know what this is about, but it’s got a loaded cast and it’s directed by one of my favorites, Edgar Wright.
That dude’s never had a miss in my book. I don’t think he’ll start now.
Releases: August 11
Blade Runner 2049
I’m not a huge fan of the original Blade Runner, and yes, I’ve seen the Director’s Cut.
That said, Denis Villeneuve is the most prolific and, arguably, gifted young director working today. Sicario and Arrival are modern masterpieces, and this is said to be something of a passion project for him.
As long as Harrison Ford gives a shit during filming, we should have something special to watch when he shares the screen with stalwart Ryan Gosling this October.
Releases: October 6
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Kingsman: The Secret Service was one of my favorite films of 2015. A welcome surprise in the usually-dour (especially for us Northerners) February. Taron Egerton was a revelation and adding a now-competent Channing Tatum to the mix is exciting.
The plot seems fresh, introducing the American arm of the Kingsman to the Brits we already know and love.
Plus, Matthew Vaughn and most of the principal cast are returning, which is always a good sign for a sequel.
Releases: October 6
Hulk and Thor in space. Hulk and Thor not bound by the limitations of fighting alongside weak-ass human Avengers. Hulk and Thor in a gladiatorial arena.
All of these things pale in the shadow of Taika Waititi, the weird, quirky and original director of one of 2016’s best films, Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Marvel Studios has a knack for giving creative indie directors big chances, which has translated to some of their best films. ie: The Russio Brothers on Winter Soldier and Civil War; James Gunn on Guardians.
Consider me pumped.
Releases: November 3
I’ve long been a Zack Snyder defender. I’m a big fan of his 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake, enjoyed 300 when it came out, love Watchmen and like Man of Steel, flaws and all. I did NOT like Sucker Punch and was disappointed with Batman V. Superman, however, and I think a lot of the blame for that one rests on his shoulders.
Many are lauding the new, light tone teased by the first Justice League footage, but this one reeks of studio interference to me. Batman has gone from literally murdering fugitives to adopting a pseudo Tony Stark persona in the span of a year?
Also, the suits look dumb and everything looks fake, like cosplay.
Still … I’m interested to see how it all comes together. Beautiful chaos.
Releases: November 17
Star Wars: Episode VIII
Not because Star Wars is the best thing in movies ever (Lord of the Rings is, for the record.)
But because Rian Johnson is directing. The man behind Brick and, more importantly, 2012’s Looper, the only movie that made Bruce Willis look like he gave a shit in the last 20 years.
Set reports and script rumors suggest this one’s going to get weird, going the opposite route of the effective, play-it-safe approach JJ Abrams took with Episode VII.
But there better be a good goddamn saber duel.
Releases: December 15