Now that 2015 has come and gone, it’s time to look ahead to the cinematic offerings of 2016. Of course there will be tons of sequels, comic book films and film franchises with new entries, but a few original films also found their way onto my Top 10.
But first …
Films that Just Missed the Cut
“Ghostbusters” – This film has been getting tons of hate from internet film geeks but I’m actually looking forward to what Paul Fieg (“Bridesmaids,” “Spy”) does with the all-female cast. I am concerned, however, about Leslie Jones. From what I’ve seen on “Saturday Night Live,” she looks to be a one-trick pony.
“Doctor Strange” – Marvel continues to take some risks on lesser-known characters and I have a feeling this will be a good one. Benedict Cumberbatch appears to be the perfect casting choice for Doctor Strange; he’s supported by a great cast that includes Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
“The Secret Life of Pets” – As a pet owner myself I’ve always wondered what my cat Jet does when no one’s home. Well, there was that one time he apparently threw a tantrum and trashed the place. But let’s not talk about that.
“Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” – What? Not in my Top 10? Afraid so. The DC films just don’t excite me as much as the Marvel ones and I was not a fan of director Zach Snyder’s “Man of Steel.” The latest trailer didn’t do anything to get my juices going either. But of course I’ll watch it. And Wonder Woman looks hot.
“Deadpool” – The wisecracking anti-hero gets another shot after being seriously misused in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” Ryan Reynolds returns to star as Deadpool and the trailers so far have been spot on. I just hope they don’t overdo it on the humor.
The Top 10
No. 10 – “Triple 9” (Feb. 26)
I’m a sucker for cops and robbers films and this one looks intense and action-packed. The stellar cast includes Woody Harrelson, Anthony Mackie, Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor and the usually proper Kate Winslet as a trashy villain. Who could resist?
No. 9 – “The Magnificent Seven” (September 23)
Antoine Fuqua’s remake of the classic Western features an incredible cast including Chris Pratt, Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke and Korean star Lee Byung Hun. Westerns made a little bit of a comeback in 2015 with “The Hateful Eight” and “The Revenant” so I hope Fuqua’s film continues to build on that momentum.
No. 8 – “The Jungle Book” (April 15)
The trailer sold me. Director Jon Favreau did a great job with the Iron Man franchise and this reboot of the classic story features some fantastic visuals.
No. 7 – “Suicide Squad” (Aug. 5)
The villains are always more interesting than the heroes, aren’t they? “Suicide Squad” teams up Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Jared Leto as the latest version of The Joker as part of a team of bad guys assigned for special missions. Director David Ayer (“Fury”) has a knack for writing and directing dark material, thus making “Suicide Squad” the DC film I’m most looking forward to this year.
No. 6 – “The BFG” (July 1)
After making some serious films such as “Bridge of Spies” and “Lincoln,” Steven Spielberg returns to the family-friendly realm where he’s done so well in the past (“E.T.,” “Jurassic Park”). I can’t wait for Spielberg to deliver yet another memorable fantasy filled with awe and wonder.
No. 5 – “X-Men: Apocalypse” (May 27)
As an avid collector of the X-men comics I know that there are tons of classic story lines to bring to the big screen with everyone’s favorite band of mutants. The Apocalypse arc is a fantastic choice for the next film in the franchise. To be honest, I’m just a tad bit afraid that the franchise is reaching overkill – “Apocalypse” is the eighth film of the “X-Men” series – but I have faith in director Bryan Singer and Oscar Isaac is a terrific choice to play the main villain.
No. 4 – “The Nice Guys” (May 20)
I’m a huge fan of writer and director Shane Black. He has a knack for the type of witty dialogue that I just love. After a nice run of writing some of the best action films of the ’90s (“Lethal Weapon” series, “The Last Boy Scout”) he returned a few years ago to write and direct “Iron Man 3.” With talented actors such as Russel Crowe and Ryan Gosling delivering his lines, I hope that “The Nice Guys” ends up being comparable to his under-appreciated classic “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.”
No. 3 – “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (Dec. 16)
This is the first offshoot film in the beloved franchise. Not much is known about the story yet, but it takes place around the time of “A New Hope,” or Episode IV. Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything”) looks to be the lead but I’m really excited about seeing Chinese star Jiang Wen as well as martial arts master Donnie Yen kick ass in space.
No. 2 – “Ip Man 3” (Jan. 22)
Speaking of Donnie Yen, his third film about wing chun master and Bruce Lee’s instructor Ip Man opens early in 2016. The first two films are already martial arts classics (especially the first one) and in a film era where martial arts films are slowly dying, it’s refreshing to see someone skilled in the craft continuing to make films for kung fu fans. Oh, and did I mention Mike Tyson is in this? Check out the trailer below!
No. 1 – “Captain America: Civil War” (May 6)
How could this not be my most anticipated film of 2016? The MCU films have been successful, largely by successfully integrating easy-to-follow stories with great characters and huge action spectacles. “Captain America: Civil War” looks like it will crank up that meter even further with a massive blowout where heroes will fight other heroes. We also get the introduction of the Black Panther and possibly even a Spider-Man appearance? I’m counting the days!
What films are you most looking forward to seeing this year?