Last week, with the assistance of guest writer, Greg Rouleau (Reel True), we discussed the upcoming year's most enticing family/animated films, major blockbusters and upcoming releases (Part I). Today we close out our 2016 movie preview with a look at the year's most anticipated horror films, comedies, dramas and award season hopefuls. Here's what you can expect from the upcoming cinematic year:
The Witch (February 19th) – With successful indie horror films such as The Babadook and It Follows dominating the genre lately, it's no surprise that one of the most buzzed-about scary movies of the year is Robert Eggers' festival darling, The Witch. Set in 1630s New England, a family's recent string or bad luck is blamed on witchcraft and black magic. Early reviews have been overly positive, so horror fans should definitely be on the look-out later this month.
Rings (April 1st) – One of this millennium's finest horror offerings was 2002's The Ring. Although its eventual sequel left plenty to be desired, the evil entity Samara returns for more vengeance. While odds are slim that this latest entry will deliver the same haunting tone as the original, Rings is an intriguing sequel that I will certainly take a chance on.
The Conjuring 2 (June 10th) – James Wan captivated audiences with the first installment of his series and he's back to direct the second go-around as well. In the sequel Lorraine and Ed Warren (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson) venture to London to help a single mother combat malicious evil spirits. Wan handed off his Insidious franchise in order to devote his full attention to this follow-up film, which easily makes The Conjuring 2 one of 2016's biggest must-see horror titles.
Other Horror Releases: Rob Zombie's ultra violent 31 debuted last month at the Sundance Film Festival, leaving everyone hoping for a 2016 general release. Next, this July The Purge 3 looks to build upon the franchises much improved second installment. And finally, the partitioned horror flick, Holidays, is aiming for a 2016 release. The film features an array of directors who each helm their own horror segment based on different national holidays. You can count me in!
The Nice Guys (May 20) – Shane Black’s directorial debut, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is one of the finest films of the 2000s, and after helming the latest Iron Man movie, he returns to the comedy genre with The Nice Guys. Starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, they play a duo investigating the suicide of a 1970s porn star in Los Angeles. With Black’s trademark humor, style and action evident in the trailer this one could be a sleeper hit of the year.
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (May 20) – 2014’s Neighbors was a surprisingly decent comedy, perhaps not quite warranting a sequel, but alas this May we’re getting part two. Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne and Zac Efron are returning, but this time they’re teaming up to combat the shenanigans of the new sorority house they’re at war with. Chloe Grace Moretz and Selena Gomez also star as a couple of sorority sisters.
Ghostbusters (Jul 15) – We’ll get our second dose of Melissa McCarthy (The Boss arrives in April) in the summer as her and Saturday Night Live’s Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and the superlative Kate McKinnon debut the latest effort in the Ghostbusters franchise. With the all female cast, directed by Bridesmaids’ Paul Feig, it’ll be interesting to see how this version translates on screen. Much of the original cast is set to reprise their roles in, at the very least, small cameos.
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Free State of Jones (May 13) – In May we’ll get to see the latest from director Gary Ross (Hunger Games, Seabiscuit) in this period drama where Matthew McConaughey stars as a farmer from Mississippi who leads a group of rebels against the Confederate army.
La La Land (Jul 15) – Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) debuts his sophomore effort this summer, entitled La La Land. Ryan Gosling plays a jazz pianist that falls in love with an aspiring actress in Los Angeles, played by Emma Stone. JK Simmons, who Chazelle directed to a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, also has a role in the film.
Sully (Sep 9) – Clint Eastwood will follow up his hugely successful American Sniper with another modern day biopic, this time with Tom Hanks as pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger who successfully landed a US Airways plane on the Hudson River in 2009.
The Girl on the Train (Oct 7) – The Girl on the Train, directed by Tate Taylor (The Help), is adapted from the best-selling novel about Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt) and her thrilling adventures as she travels past her ex-husbands house on the train every day. Word is the story is very similar to another recent thriller adapted from a popular novel, Gone Girl.
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Nov 11) – Ang Lee’s follow up to his Oscar winning Life of Pi is adapted from a novel by another Oscar winner, screenwriter of Slumdog Millionaire, Simon Beaufoy. This story is about a group of soldiers in Iraq who return home triumphantly, hailed as the “Bravo Squad”, and embark on a victory tour including a halftime showcase at a Dallas Cowboys game. But during this tour the group learns they must return to duty in Iraq and we see the ensuing results.
The Founder (Nov 25) – The Oscar push for Michael Keaton continues this year – with prime Oscar fodder, a starring role in a biopic – as he portrays McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc. John Lee Hancock (Blind Side, Saving Mr. Banks) directs, and Nick Offerman and Laura Dern are in supporting roles.
Passengers (Dec 21) – A big-budget, sci-fi blockbuster with awards aspirations seems to be commonplace every year now. In 2016, Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) brings us Passengers. The story is about a spaceship traveling to a distant world where all of the passengers are under a deep sleep. But when one malfunctions and a man is awoken, he makes the decision to wake up another passenger rather than spend the next 60 years alone. Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, arguably the biggest box-office duo possible, are in the lead roles.
Gold (TBA) – It’s been over ten years since Stephen Gaghan’s had a major release, but he returns with a promising project lined up for later this year. Gold tells the story of a duo (Matthew McConaughey and Bryce Dallas Howard) and their adventures to find gold in an Indonesian jungle.
Story of Your Life (TBA) – Before embarking on the Blade Runner sequel, Denis Villenueve will give us his fourth movie in three years with Story of Your Life. Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner will star in a story about aliens making their presence known around the world, and they must determine if their intentions are benevolent or malicious.
Silence (TBA) – Martin Scorsese’s latest effort is about two priests (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who travel to Japan to find their mentor (Liam Neeson) and face religious persecution during their journey.
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