It’s going to be hard to top 2015 in terms of movies, namely because that space movie we’re all so fond of came out this year. What is there left to look forward to after that?
I have, perhaps irresponsibly, pre-reviewed some of 2016’s films for you so you can make a snap decision to see them or not, based on the opinions of someone else who also hasn’t seen them. I have assigned each film a rating, as follows:
BB — Best Bet
WCO — Worth Checking Out
MNS — Might Not Suck
WUS — Will Undoubtedly Suck
“Carol” Oscar buzz surrounds Todd Haynes’ period drama about a married woman (Cate Blanchett) and her love affair with a young store clerk (Rooney Mara). Based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith, either of these actresses would make a movie WCO but having both makes this is a BB. (Jan. 7 at the Crescent Theater)
“The Revenant” Bears and beards epic from Alejandro González Iñárritu, hot off last year’s “Birdman.” He excels at memorable but punishing stories and this one, about Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio), who survives a brutal bear attack and tracks down the man who left him for dead. I’m awarding this a BB and it’s also WCO since it was shot almost entirely with natural light. (January)
“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” This is based on a satirical novel that mashes up the original Austen text with zombie attacks. There are some good people in it, like Lily James of “Downton Abbey” as Elizabeth Bennet and Lena Headey of “Game of Thrones” as Lady Catherine, Elizabeth’s biggest foe in the original version, which didn’t also pit her against zombies. This could be funny and is therefore WCO. (February)
“Hail, Caesar!” We get a new Coen brothers movie this year, and it looks to be from the “wacky” rather than “bleakly comic” Coen school. The setting, Hollywood in the 1950s, is ripe for comedy; I mean, Tilda Swinton plays Hedda Hopper. This might be the BB of the whole year. (February)
“The Little Prince” Many (OK, me) were brought to tears by just the preview to this winsome animated version of the beloved children’s book. This is also one of those fiercely felt books that must not be screwed up. It’s WCO even if it could never live up to the book. (March)
“Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” Superman is not rebooting like every other superhero on this and all the other planets, so director Zack Snyder is inexplicably doubling down by throwing Batman in there, with the extremely dubious casting choice of Ben Affleck. Rating this one WUS. (March)
“The Family Fang” This movie premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2015, but Starz is supposed to release it to theaters in 2016. Read this book by Kevin Wilson right now if you haven’t, and hopefully we can see the movie this year, directed by and starring Jason Bateman as a washed-up novelist and Nicole Kidman as his washed-up actress sister. It got middling reviews so it’s a WCO. (Release date unknown.)
“Everybody Wants Some” Any Richard Linklater film is WCO and this one is considered the unofficial, spiritual sequel to the classic “Dazed and Confused.” This time around, a group of college baseball players navigate their way through the freedoms and responsibilities of unsupervised adulthood. (April)
“Alice Through the Looking Glass” Tim Burton and Johnny Depp team up again to pummel us with whimsy; MNS. (May)
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” J.K. Rowling expanded a short piece of Harry Potter lore into a feature-length film, this time set among the wizards and Muggles of New York City and starring Eddie Redmayne; MNS. (November)
“Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” Director Ang Lee classes things up with a literary adaptation about an infantryman recounting the final hours before he and his fellow soldiers return to Iraq; BB. (November)
“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiars” Another book-to-film that’s a perfect match for the goth sensibilities of director Tim Burton; WCO. (December)
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” You only have to wait an entire year for another “Star Wars” movie; MNS. (December)
And, finally, a round-up of sequels and remakes, whose necessity on earth varies from questionable to unquestionably frightening: “Ghostbusters”; “Now You See Me: 2”; “Bridget Jones’ Baby”; “Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday”; “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2”; “Zoolander 2”; “Kung Fu Panda 3”; “The Huntsman: Winter’s War”; “Barbershop: The Next Cut”; “Jumanji”; “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows”; “Finding Dory”; “Independence Day: Resurgence”; “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising”; “Ouija 2”; “Underworld 5”; and finally, “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.” Seriously, please never go back. That should be the subtitle for all of these. Spoiler alert: most of these “Will Undoubtedly Suck.”
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