Sure, 2017 may have stolen 2016’s thunder with the announcement of Dunkirk a few days ago, but 2016 still has a lot of cryofreeze-worthy movies. So many, in fact, that I had to leave out highly anticipated movies like Rogue One (I don’t trust Gareth Edwards), Doctor Strange (don’t trust Scott Derrickson either), WarCraft (haven’t played the game), Jane Got a Gun (haven’t experienced Gavin O’Connor’s awesomeness firsthand), Zootopia/The Jungle Book (trailers weren’t great enough), Ghostbusters (too young to be nostalgic), Star Trek Beyond (trailer was horrible), Kung fu Panda 3 (that’s how exciting 2016 is, even KFP didn’t make it) and many, many more.
There are a few more very, very exciting movies coming out this year that only barely missed out, but I’m more interested in seeing your reaction when you reach the end of the list and realize you didn’t see them there.
10. Sully – Kicking off the list is Sully, a biopic of American pilot Chesley Sullenberger directed by Clint Eastwood. The cast of this movie, lead by Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckhart, itself would have been enough to convince me it is going to be awesome, but it was Eastwood’s name that secured its place on the list. The last biopic he directed, American Sniper, ended up one of the best movies of 2014, and I’m sure this one will repeat that feat.
9. X-Men: Apocalypse – Directed by Bryan Singer. Not only was Days of Future Past awesome, but this is one franchise where the prequels have consistently been better than the originals. A kickass trailer and Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse pretty much sealed the deal.
8. The Magnificent Seven – This western, directed by Antoine Fuqua, is a remake of the 1960 western The Magnificent Seven, which itself was a remake of the Akira Kurosawa classic, Seven Samurai. Fuqua directed Training Day starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke and last year’s awesome Southpaw. Not only does The Magnificent Seven reunite him with Washington and Hawke, but also stars Chris Pratt and Vincent D’Onofrio. Wow.
7. The BFG – Directed by Steven Spielberg, BFG is short for Big Friendly Giant. It is a Disney Fantasy movie, and that coupled with the title would make one think this is going to be a standard kiddie flick. Sure, Spielberg excels at basically any genre he touches. Sure, the trailer possesses the one quality such a movie needs the most: wonder. But it still will be a kiddie flick, right? Oh wait, I forgot to mention: It is based off of a Roald Dahl book. So it won’t just be a kiddie flick. It will be a smart kiddie flick. I’m in. (Actually, I was in at Spielberg.)
6. Hail, Caesar! – The Coen brothers (Fargo, The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, True Grit) are well known for their handling of humor in their movies, so a comedy written and directed by them is an obvious pick. It becomes more obvious when you consider that it stars George Clooney, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlet Johansson, Jonah Hill, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum and Josh Brolin. Still not sold? I’ll let the trailer do the rest of the job.
5. Deadpool – Directed by Tim Miller. You know what makes a comic book superhero even more awesome? When he knows he’s in a superhero movie. Ryan Reynolds has already shown us he can play an awesome Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and in the trailers so far, he seems to be even more awesome as Deadpool. The humor feels perfect, the action feels perfect, it’s as self-aware as it needs to be, and it’s irreverent as hell. This movie exists because of the fans, and so far, it seems like it was made for the fans. Warning: the trailer is NSFW.
4. Everybody Wants Some – This movie probably won’t be for everyone, it’s a very personal choice. You see, I’m a big soppy fan of Richard Linklater’s movies. He makes indie movies like Dazed and Confused, the Before trilogy and Boyhood. His movies are basically a bunch of people talking to each other. And these conversations are not only very real, but way more interesting than most real conversations. So while on the surface, this seems like just another college drama, it is safe to expect much, much more than that.
3. Finding Dory – Inside Out showed us that Pixar is back to making beautiful, emotional, smart movies. But you see, we didn’t really need that to be excited for Finding Dory, because it is directed by Andrew Stanton, the guy behind Finding Nemo and Wall-E. So we know this isn’t just a cash-grab. Or if it is, it’s the good kind of cash-grab. And if you remind me of how Cars 2 made the mistake of bringing Tow Mater to the forefront, pushing Dory into the spotlight is a decision I can get behind. She’s more fun than Nemo and Marlin anyway.
2. La La Land – Haven’t heard of this movie? Until a few hours ago, I hadn’t either. La La Land is a romantic musical dramedy starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, directed by Damien Chazelle, the guy behind Whiplash. I wouldn’t place so much faith in a director based on just one movie, but you see, Whiplash isn’t just a great movie, it is one of the greatest I have EVER seen. If you need more motivation, well, JK Simmons is in it.
1. Captain America: Civil War – The very idea of superheroes is a problematic one. Always has been. It takes a dump on the whole ‘we are born equal’ thing. A few people’s whims now dictate the fates of billions. And these people aren’t elected. And we all saw the consequences of such unsupervised individual decisions in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Now the only way to deal with this issue seems to be to treat superpowers, which are basically a part of who these people are, as weapons that need to be registered. No wonder people are divided on this. So now we have a superhero civil war, Captain America leading one side and Iron Man the other. And the reason I have complete faith that this issue will be dealt with properly is because the movie is directed by the Russo brothers, the directors of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, one of Marvel’s best movies to date. Also, Tony Stark saying “So was I.” Plus, it introduces Spider-Man, guys!
Honorable mentions: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice by Zack Snyder, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by David Yates and Silence by Martin Scorcese.
Also, bonus list, these are the 5 Bollywood movies I’m excited for:
5. MS Dhoni: The Untold Story – Really scraping the bottom of the barrel here, the only reason I’m interested in this movie at all is because it is directed by Neeraj Pandey, the guy behind A Wednesday, one of the best Indian movies ever made.
4. Fan – SRK hasn’t been picking great, or even good movies for quite some time now, but this seems like he’s finally going to start taking things seriously. The concept sure sounds interesting. SRK plays a guy who’s a fan of SRK. Let’s see how this goes.
3. Rustom – Also directed by Neeraj Pandey, this one has the benefit of starring Akshay Kumar. Their previous collaborations, Special 26 and Baby have been good popcorn fun. [Update: It was all a lie. Neeraj Pandey isn’t directing it after all 😦]
2. Raees – Also starring SRK, this movie has a really cool teaser. Cool enough to put it at the #2 spot. Seriously, I know virtually nothing about this movie, but I’m pumped for it nevertheless.
1. Aligarh – Citylights and Shahid are 2 of my favorite Bollywood movies, making Hansal Mehta a guy whose work I really look forward to. Add to that a premise (biopic of a homosexual professor) very progressive by Bollywood standards. Add to that universally rave reviews from festivals. Add to that Manoj Bajpayee and Rajkumar Rao, and you have a movie that almost made it to my overall list.