PASS THE POPCORN

Sixteen Movies of 2016

It’s more than a few weeks into 2016 and the Oscars are on the horizon. The last movie I went and saw in the theater was Star Wars The Force Awakens. It’s way past time to look at the upcoming movie calendar to see what’s piquing my interest this year.

Here are sixteen flicks that I’ll likely head to a local movie house to catch in 2016.

Deadpool (Feb. 12)

Starting off with one that opens on Friday… Deadpool is an odd superhero movie. Deadpool, the Marvel character, is a homage/ripoff of the DC villain Deathstroke. I mean their names are basically the same: Wade Wilson/Slade Wilson. Anyway, Deadpool is a wisecracking killer. He breaks the fourth wall a lot in the comics and looks to be doing the same in the movie. The trailers have been fantastic and Ryan Reynolds is looking like he’s having the time of his life in this. I’m definitely interested in watching a non-traditional superhero movie, especially since the more traditional fare are coming up fast.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (Feb. 26)

I haven’t watched Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in a really long time. I remember thinking it was the closest thing movie audiences would ever get to a new Star Wars, but then a sequel never happened. Sixteen years later here it is. While personally I wish they would have kept the original title, Iron Knight, Silver Vase, it looks to follow that final book the movie series is based on. Yuen Wo-Ping directs (he choreographed Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and Michelle Yeoh reprises her role as Yu Shu Lien, so it should be fantastic.

Creative Control (Mar. 11)

Sure it’s another movie about how technology is bad tapping the same vein as Her, Ex Machina, and others, but it looks fantastically stylish. Nora Zehetner looks so much like Rachel Bilson I had to make sure which actress it was in the movie. I have no idea if this is an art house movie or something more. Reggie Watts looks downright crazy.

Batman v Superman: The Dawn of Justice (Mar. 25)

I rage hated Man of Steel. I was in utter kinship with Max Landis in abhorring this movie. I actually shouted in the theater, which is something I never, ever do. So, I’m going into this sequel-no-sequel-but-really-is-a-sequel to Man of Steel with some trepidation. Still, I love the casting of Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman looks great too. I was iffy on Lex Luthor as played by Jesse Eisenberg still playing Mark Zuckerberg, but I think his take may actually work. What I’m most excited about is my criticisms of Man of Steel are so meta contextualized in why Batman is worried about Superman that I’m astounded by how perceptive writer Chris Terrio is with this screenplay. I loved Argo, so I really want this flick to work. I know Warner Bros. is staking its whole superhero franchise on this one film. Please don’t suck.

Everybody Wants Some (Apr. 15)

Speaking of Affleck, remember when Dazed and Confused pretty much launched his career along with Matthew McConaughey, Adam Goldberg, Cole Hauser, Jason London, Parker Posey, and Milla Jovovich? Well, Richard Linklater is up to his old tricks with this movie riffing the exact same way for the 1980s as Dazed and Confused did for the 1970s. Hell, he’s even titling it in the same way (Led Zep for the first and Van Halen for this one) and starring a bunch of acting nobodies. Although to be fair, there are some Hollywood progeny acting here. Who will be the next McConaughey or Affleck?

Captain America: Civil War (May 6)

I loved Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the direction of Anthony and Joe Russo. So while it may be billed as a sequel to that movie, everyone knows it’s really a sequel to Avengers: Age of Ultron. Just like in the comic there’s a superhero registration act and all of our heroes are taking sides. Plus, we get Black Panther and, you know, Peter Parker. It should gross more money than the GNP of a third world country.

X-Men Apocalypse (May 27)

In the comics, Apocalypse was a villain I really had no affinity for nor thought was compelling visually. Look, I’m glad they got the band back together and Olivia Munn looks exactly like Psylocke. However, I’m not sure this is gonna work. Oscar Isaac looks kinda… dopey? Still, it’s more X-Men and that usually means a big box office.

Finding Dory (Jun. 17)

I’m not sure I was holding my breath for a Finding Nemo sequel (see what I did there?), but I know nearly all Pixar films have their fervent fans. The first one was sweet and Ellen DeGeneres was a big part of the appeal. The same writer of the first tackled this one, so it should be fun.

Independence Day: Resurgence (Jun. 24)

Was anyone clamoring for an Independence Day sequel? Probably someone. Last time out everyone dug the disaster porn of landmarks getting “blowed up gud.” What’s the appeal here? Well, Jeff Goldlum is back and the next wave is bigger, badder and probably won’t be defeated by a MacBook Pro. The most “turn my brain off when the lights go down” movie of the year.

Ghostbusters (Jul. 15)

Not a sequel! Well, it’s a reboot so it’s close enough. I wonder if the pitch was what if the Ghostbusters were a bunch of funny women? I’m sure there’s some sexist pigs out there who think women can’t be funny, but the foursome lugging around proton packs this go around (Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon) are hilarious. Of course, you know there’s gonna be cameos galore. Director and co-writer Paul Feig handled the directing on Bridesmaids and Spy so I think it’s in good hands. Better than a cranky Dan Aykroyd playing scientist right?

Star Trek Beyond (July. 22)

Speaking of reboots, the first Star Trek film of this new franchise was ok. The second was kind of a hot mess. However, the casting was incredible. The third film features a new writer and director, but my hopes are small for this one too. Look, Star Trek belongs on television. When Hollywood makes a Star Trek movie, it hardly ever feels like what Star Trek should be about because expensive science fiction movies have to appeal to a much wider audience than a tv show. Here’s hoping I’m wrong, but I’m looking forward to the new Bryan Fuller led show more.

Suicide Squad (Aug. 5)

The DC movie universe is expanding by creating a film all about the villains and on paper that seems like a giant risk. An even bigger risk is having to follow the Academy Award-winning performance of Heath Ledger as the Joker. The whole thing feels like the DC movie universe’s answer to Guardians of the Galaxy and I’m rooting for Jared Leto, Will Smith, and Margot Robbie to steal the show. Leto, especially, looks intense.

Inferno (Oct. 28)

It’s another Dan Brown adaptation with baseball cap-wearing Ron Howard in the director’s chair and Tom Hanks as puzzle-solver Robert Langdon. I own the book, but I haven’t read it yet so I don’t have any idea what happens. I really enjoyed the previous two movies and I’m expecting more of the same.

Doctor Strange (Nov. 4)

If Captain America: Civil War is the end of Marvel Movie Universe Phase 2, then having Benedict Cumberbatch launch Doctor Strange should begin a wild and wacky Phase 3. This is a story about a surgeon who after losing the dexterity of his hands in a car accident becomes the premier sorcerer of the universe. This could be, visually, the most interesting Marvel movie so far. Cinematographer Ben Davis call it “Marvel’s Fantasia.” I expect great things from Cumberbatch, but Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Rachel McAdams need to bring their A game or it could be a magical mess.

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (Nov. 18)

Speaking of potentially magical messes, instead of letting the Harry Potter universe fade off into the English countryside here’s a prequel penned by creator J.K. Rowling about Newt Scamander, a textbook author mentioned in the original books. It looks decent, but it has the air of The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings — not as good as the original and only existing as a cash grab.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Dec. 16)

Ever wonder about the heist of the original Death Star plans Princess Leia was transporting in the original Star Wars? Wonder no more with this flick as Felicity Jones and her band of scoundrels pilfers the plans. It’s the first standalone film of Disney’s new Star Wars movies and looks to revisit the gritty, lived-in feel of the original Star Wars. Here’s my prediction, it will do impressive in the theater prompting a greenlighting of Rogue Two, the story of the Bothan spies who nab the second Death Star plans.

What tickles your fancy at the cinema this year?