Its official we are now more than halfway through the year! So far in 2016 we’ve had a pretty mixed bag when it comes to film, I have been surprised by film I had no expectations for, and deeply let down by films I was incredibly excited about. That being said, I can’t help but feel like the best films of this year are still yet to come. As such, I’ve decided to compile a list of 15 films, coming out either in cinemas or on home release, which I am looking forward to. I’ve decided to ignore a lot of the major releases from Marvel, DC (as I’m slowly getting bored of superhero films), as well as Rogue One (as it’s a Star Wars film – I’m sure it’ll do fine at the box office without me mentioning it). Also, because a lot of these films are being released later this year they are naturally shrouded in a lot of secrecy, so I may be proved wrong on a few of these, but here are the films I personally think are worth looking out for:
The Birth Of A Nation
I first heard about this film back in January when it played at the Sundance film festival and won a whole lot of awards. There was such a buzz about this film coming from the people who saw it, some even suggested it would be the best film of the year (which is pretty impressive as they were saying this in January). The story follows a slave and preacher on a plantation who organizes an uprising with his fellow slaves.
This next film on my list is one that I have been deliberately trying to know as little as possible about going in. All I know is that it is directed by South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-Wook, the man responsible for the phenomenal thriller Oldboy (the original 2003 version – not the rubbish American remake) and that it promises to be an incredibly boundary breaking, disturbing thriller. This film probably is probably a little bit too twisted for your average moviegoer, but If you have seen the original Oldboy (and recovered from it 🙂 ), or if you’re a fan of really dark cinema – then this might be for you.
La La Land
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling (the dream team!!) pair up for the latest film by the amazing Damien Chazelle. Chazelle did a great job with the music based Oscar film “Whiplash” back in 2014, so I’m really curious to see how he handles a full blown musical this time around. Plus, Gosling and Stone pretty much ooze chemistry and charisma, so I’ll watch them in pretty much anything.
The latest film by indie mastermind Todd Solondz is something I have been curious about for quite some time. One of my friends who loves independent cinema showed me “Happiness (1998)” a while ago and I can truly say it was … unlike anything I had ever seen before. It was awkward, cringey, satirical and darkly comedic yet actually had a great deal of emotional pathos and tragic moments. While Weiner Dog doesn’t look like it’ll be as subversive as Happiness, you can still see Solondz’s trademark sensibilities all over it.
I don’t know how this happened but I’ve managed to have two sausage related films back to back!! Sausage party is the latest animated comedy by James Franco and Seth Rogen and appears to be packing some serious laughs. I’ll be perfectly honest with you all, I have a real soft spot for these Franco/Rogen collaborations, even though I’ll admit many of them are a tad trashy. I like to think of Sausage Party as Toy Story – but edgier, swear-ier and definitely NOT for kids.
I, Daniel Blake
Ken Loach’s latest feature received a rapturous 15-minute applause when it played at the Cannes Film Festival in May and was awarded one of the festival’s most prestigious awards the Palme D’Or. Loach has been a large player in the British film movement for quite some time, and with this film he appears to be using his platform, to talk about big issues in the country such as the wealth divide and the job industry. The story follows a middle aged carpenter from Newcastle who is put on welfare due to illness and the companionship he finds in a young single mother in a similar situation.
Not much is particularly known about the latest film by Martin Scorsese, but from what I gather it looks pretty cool. It’s clearly a story Scorsese has been wanting to tell for quite some time as he began working on the project back in 1991 and the inclusion of Liam Neeson, Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield to the cast is incredibly promising. The plot is based on a book by Japanese writer Shûsaku Endô and follows the persecution and trials of two Jesuit priests as they travel in search for their mentor.
This next film is another film that received an awful lot of buzz at this year’s Cannes film festival and one that I see a lot of potential in. Director Andrea Arnold tells the story of a teenage girl on the cusp of adulthood who runs away with a group of travelling magazine sellers. What follows is a whirlwind adventure full of parties, love and lawbreaking as she travels America. I feel like we are due another great road-movie at some point, and with its beautiful cinematography, youthful story and performance by Shia Laboeuf – this could be worth looking out for.
Snowden is probably one of the bigger gambles I am making on this list, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit intrigued by the trailer. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays NSA employee Edward Snowden who, following a massive discovery about the amount of information the NSA receives, decides to leak classified documents to the press. The film is directed by Oliver Stone, who was responsible for “Platoon” and “Natural Born Killers” and looks like it at least has the potential to be good.
Okay so, the inclusion of music by Kanye West as well as the fact that Video Game movies are notoriously hit or miss probably should trigger alarm bells. But, I’ll be honest, I’m quietly confident that this film will be good. For one, it is directed by upcoming filmmaker Justin Kurzel (whose previous film “Macbeth” really blew me away) and stars incredible actors such as Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Irons. With this film and Duncan Jones’ “Warcraft” I feel like this year might be the year we finally get a decent film based on a videogame.
The next two picks on this list are films which I was unfortunately unable to see due to limited cinema releases and work commitments, but they’re both films which I think you should check out when they come out on DVD/Blu-Ray. Green Room is the latest thriller by Jeremy Saulnier (the director behind “Blue Ruin”) and stars the late Anton Yelchin in a punk band, who accidentally books a show for a group of neo-Nazi’s (lead by Patrick Stewart of all people), but when the band witness a murder they are cooped up in a “Green Room” where they must survive and escape the club while Patrick Stewart and the other neo-Nazi’s pursue them. This film got phenomenal reviews when it was first released with critics stating that it was one of the best, grittiest thrillers in recent years and promises excellent performances by its central cast.
High Rise is the latest film by acclaimed British director Ben Wheatley based on the classic Sci-Fi novel by J.G Ballard about class-war in a neo-futuristic apartment block. Trying to describe a film by Ben Wheatley in a few words is incredibly difficult as his films tend to have a very weird, surrealist feel whilst also having a rather darkly comedic tone to them with moments of pure-blooded horror thrown in. I read the book this film is based on and honestly can’t think of someone better suited for adapting this than Wheatley, plus the inclusion of Tom Hiddleston in the main role is always nice to see.
Moving back into the realm of future releases the next film is by one my favourite indie filmmakers Jim Jarmusch. Jarmusch is the director responsible for my favourite recent vampire movie “Only Lovers Left Alive” as well as “Dead Man” with one of (in my opinion) the best Johnny Depp performances, and I’m incredibly curious about. I can’t really find much out there detailing the plot in great detail other than the fact that it presents the life of a poet and a bus driver in Patterson New Jersey, but it stars Adam Driver in the central role and if the director’s previous films are anything to go by – this could be good.
Woody Allen is one of the most prolific (and prolifically good) directors in Hollywood and has been at the very top of his game for decades. While some critics argue that he may be past his sell by date I personally think he is having somewhat of a revival (with his latest films Blue Jasmine, Irrational Man and Midnight In Paris being incredibly well received). With this latest film it is clear that Allen is paying homage to the golden age of Los Angeles/Hollywood with numerous call backs to the director’s older classics such as “Manhattan”. From the trailer Jesse Eisenburg appears to be doing a marvellous job playing the neurotic writer archetype that Woody Allen would have played himself a few decades earlier, capturing all of the very specific Allen ticks really well (to the point where I’m surprised it hadn’t occurred to me earlier to put Eisenburg in one of his films. Café Society reminds me of the Coen brothers latest movie “Hail Caesar” (which I gave an incredibly good review?), I only hope this film will be as good as that.
Loving is the latest film by Jeff Nichols, a really interesting director responsible for one of my favourite films of 2013 “Mud”, and is another film I think could be pretty good. I love hearing inspiring stories from real life people. So, there’s something about the heart-breaking story of the first interracial couple that really peaked my interested (who knows – it might even get an Oscar nod).
There we have it! That’s my list of the 15 movies I think could be worth checking out when they come out. While some on this list may be better than others (or do better than others), but these are the picks that am personally looking forward to in the upcoming months. Did I miss any? Which films are you looking forward to for the rest of the year? – let me know in the comments. Thank you so much for all your support with this blog, I hope you have an absolutely amazing weekend.
Till Next Time … DUDE OUT!!