It’s the 1st January 2016 today! And what a year we have in store cinema-wise…but with so many films to choose from, and ticket prices so high, I’ve narrowed down the films I really, really want to see! Here are my Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2016 (to be released in the U.K.!)
- Suicide Squad
I didn’t think much of the concept for ‘Suicide Squad’ until I saw the trailer. That hooked me! It was either this or ‘Batman v Superman’ for slot number 10, but the latest trailer for ‘Batman v Superman’ repulsed me. I’ll probably see it anyway, but only out of morbid curiosity. ‘Suicide Squad,’ however, looks to serve up something different to the usual ‘BANG BANG SMASH SMASH!’ comic book story we are being sold again and again. Bad guys as the so-called heroes? Count me in! There’s the added lure of Jared Leto’s ‘Joker’…there will be inevitable comparisons to the great Heath Ledger’s take on the character, but I believe we’ll receive a different but equally worthy Joker!
Warcraft is a game that I would never play, simply because it doesn’t end! For video games especially, I desire finality. Also, I saw how it sucked all of my brother’s time up…But Duncan Jones is at the helm for this big screen adaptation of the fantasy MMORPG. He directed the exquisite ‘Moon’ and the thrilling ‘Source Code,’ two great pieces of science fiction cinema. What could possibly go wrong? We’ve seen fantasy done to death with ‘Lord of the Rings,’ but hopefully Jones will offer something completely different to what we’ve seen before…and I have faith in him!
- The Hateful Eight
Another Western directed by Quentim Tarantino? At one point, due to script leakage, this film was never going to be made. But it’s almost here in the U.K., and looks astounding. It reminds me of ‘The Thing,’ with the background of your typical Western. I know little about the story, which is always a good thing! Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Michael Madson, Jennifer Jason Leigh…what a great cast! Although Tarantino has been guilty of bloating his films in his maturity, a new release by him is still a must-see. And this is no different!
- Story of Your Life
This is a short story adaptation by Denis Villeneuve, who directed the brilliant ‘Enemy’ and ‘Prisoners’ (and Sicario, which I still have yet to see!). He’s tackling this science fiction short story written by Ted Chiang, about humanity’s first contact with a vastly superior alien species. That’s all I know about the film, but the elements already have me thrilled to the bone! I’m always intrigued by a science fiction film that doesn’t need violence and space battles to carry the story!
A film about Edward Snowden, who single-handedly destroyed our confidence in the American government by releasing its deepest and darkest secrets? Okay, there’s a bit of hyperbole there, but there’s an element of truth to it. I looked forward to ‘The Fifth Estate,’ about Julian Assange and his attack on government secrets, but that was a poor effort. I can only hope that Oliver Stone is up to the task. The risible ‘World Trade Center,’ and ‘W.’ put me off him, but I hope he can pull out all the stops for this biopic. It also has the lure of Joseph Gordon-Levitt!
- X-Men: Apocalypse
Bryan Singer tried his hardest, but ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ failed to overcome the quality of ‘X-Men 2.’ That’s no knock on ‘Days of Future Past’: for the most part, it was a cracking film. But I was too focused on all of the plot holes and plot threads dangling from the lines between the original trilogy, the Wolverine spin-offs, and ‘X-Men: First Class.’ However, I can put all of them to rest now, as we are in a completely different timeline. And we are going to have a grand villain in the form of Apocalypse. He won’t be leaving Magneto in the dust anytime soon, but if handled correctly, he will be a damn fine villain. Not only that, but the ‘First Class’ X-Men, as stellar as they are, are to be joined by other brilliant X-Men! Colour me very hyped!
- The Revenant
Every time I see the trailer for this film I immediately want to see it. It’s an epic Western, directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, who gave us the excellent ‘Birdman.’ Not only that, but it stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. You can’t go wrong with them! It looks beautiful and is reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy’s ‘Blood Meridian,’ which can only be a positive. I’ve heard it’s harsh, uncompromising and bleak…three words I always love to hear in a description for anything. After ‘Birdman,’ I only have high hopes for Iñárritu’s work.
‘Kick Ass’ never really struck a chord with me, but that was before we were over-saturated with superhero films. We need a Deadpool film! The Marvel Cinematic Universe is ever-expanding and the DC Cinematic Universe is just about to get going. We need a harsh but hilarious satire of the superhero genre. Deadpool’s fourth wall breaking antics will be the perfect antidote to the incredible amount of superhero films that are going to hit the cinema screen in 2016 alone. I realise that I already have two superhero films on my list; I do enjoy a superhero film! But I fear I will soon tire of the ‘genre.’ Deadpool will hopefully snap me out of my fear and make me crack my sides laughing!
- Captain America: Civil War
I realise that by this placing I contradict everything I said by placing the epitome of the superhero genre after ‘Deadpool,’ but even though ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ faintly spoiled my appetite for the MCU, I can’t help my excitement at seeing Captain America face off against Iron Man! Unlike Batman and Superman, Captain and Iron Man are characters we have become acquainted with over several films (and I don’t accept the whole ‘people know who Superman is!’ argument: the Superman we were given in ‘Man of Steel’ is radically different to any previous Superman I’ve seen on the screen, and he was pretty much a non-entity in the film!). Their personal showdown will be one of the cinematic highlights of 2016! I fear it may suffer from over-populations from superheroes, but the magic of ‘The Avengers’ can still be conjured up…
You can’t go wrong with any film adaptation of a J.G. Ballard novel. Both ‘Crash’ and ‘The Empire of the Sun’ are among my favourite films of all time. Ballard was incredibly creative, and tackled the flaws and psychology of the middle classes like no one else. He also wrote a bloody good science fiction story! This tale of the inhabitants of a high-rise block of apartments who create their own society…but people’s baser instincts soon get the better of them. Ben Wheatley is at the helm for this film, who gave us the great thriller ‘Kill List.’ It had mixed reviews after its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, but that will not put me off…Ballard is a personal inspiration, and the book itself is excellent. Plus, Tom Hiddleston!