Blog: My most anticipated films of 2016

Almost a month into 2016, and the years releases are just getting started. We have 11 months of promise to come our way, so let's take a peek at the top 25 films I am anticipating the most for 2016.

As usual, I should point out that this list is not an attempt to predict which films will be the best of next year, just an opinion piece of which ones I am anticipating the most. Also, take note how I occasionally grasp at straws for the "Hint of Doubt" section.

Honourable Mentions

The Jungle Book Jon Favreau directs pretty, live action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's tales.
The Death and Life of John F. Donovan The latest from Xavier Dolan sees Kit Harrington portray a movie star, whose correspondence with an 11 year old is revealed and brings forth assumptions that destroy his life and career.
Trespass Against Us Michael Fassbender looks to escape his crime family. With Brendan Gleeson and Sean Harris, expected something with fantastic acting.
Una Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn reconnect years after a passionate affair, in what promises to take an unflinching look at damaged love, with shattering consequences.
Goat Nick Jonas & Ben Schnetzer star in dark drama, examining fraternities and their hellish hazing rituals.

25. The Disaster Artist

Release Date: N/A

Premise: A behind the scenes look at the making of the infamous film known as The Room.

Why?: Tommy Wiseau's 2003 film The Room is one of the more fascinating films ever made, considering it's wide notoriety for its hilariously awful content. A look at the making of this film is more than welcome, particularly with a cast that includes James and Dave Franco, Alison Brie, Josh Hutcherson, Zac Efron and Seth Rogen.

Hint of Doubt: James Franco is not only starring in this, but directing also. Far from his first directing job, but this will be his most high profile one yet. Here's hoping he can live up to it.

24. Ghostbusters

Release Date: 15th July

Premise: Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates are a pair of unheralded authors who write a book positing that ghosts are real. A few years later, Gilbert lands a prestigious teaching position at Columbia University, but her book resurfaces and she is laughed out of academia. Gilbert reunites with Yates and others when ghosts invade Manhattan and she and her team have to save the world.

Why?: Despite the vitriol the internet's inflicted upon this film, I'm anticipating Paul Feig's take on the famous 80's team (especially after the terrific Spy, one of 2015's best surprises). A terrific cast has been assembled, and should the franchise continue, I'd rather see new characters take the lead.

Hint of Doubt: Time will tell if a reboot of this piece of pop culture is necessary.

Apocalypse ,the film's villain holds a human skull with the film's title below and the slogan "Only the Strong Survive" upon him and the film's title and credits below.23. X-Men: Apocalypse

Release Date: 27th May

Premise: Since ancient times the first and most powerful mutant, Apocalypse—immortal and invincible—has been worshipped as a god. When he awakens after several millennia, Apocalypse is disillusioned with the modern world and recruits a team of mutants to "cleanse" humanity and create a new world order, forcing Raven and Charles Xavier to lead a team of young X-Men to save humanity.

Why?: After the failure that was Fant4stic, the X-Men remain the only successful Marvel franchise not owned by their studios. Bryan Singer returns once more to the franchise he began, bridging the gap as the First Class characters intertwine with the young versions of the original trilogy team. Not to mention how the stakes have been upped, with the enemy they face being the very first mutant, a powerful being literally named Apocalypse.  X-fans, get hyped.

Hint of Doubt: The X-Men films each held a big cast, and failed to give all something to do, or some kind of development. This film looks to deliver the former, will the latter also be present?

Finding Dory.jpg22. Finding Dory

Release Date: 17th June

Premise: Six months after Finding Nemo, Dory suddenly recalls her childhood memories. Accompanied by Nemo and Marlin, she sets out to find her family.

Why?: Finding Nemo was one of the better efforts from Pixar, balancing heart with humor, an engaging story and great characters. The chance to return to these characters is one i'm willing to take, especially with original director Andrew Stanton back.

Hint of Doubt: What if it's more Cars 2 than Toy Story 2?

Moana (2016 film) logo.png21. Moana

Release Date: 23rd November

Premise: In ancient Oceania, in the South Pacific, the young Moana, a born navigator, sets sail in search of a fabled island. During her journey, she teams up with her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui.

Why?: One of two 2016 releases for Disney, released during a run of terrific inclusions into their back catalogue. Taking place in a unique setting, with the directors of Aladdin and The Little Mermaid (among other Disney flicks) and voice acting from charismatic and likeable actor Dwayne Johnson? I'm in.

Hint of Doubt: What if that run of terrific films ends here?

20. Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them poster.png
Release Date: 18th November

Premise: The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York's secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.

Why?: Now this is an interesting one. How do Warner Bros wish to continue on their highly successful Harry Potter franchise? Taking a book about magical creatures read in Hogwarts, and having its fictional author be front and center, as he catalogues the unique creatures in the Wizarding world. An intriguing way to expand the world, allowing us to delve into the world before Voldemort and Harry's tales, while given a chance to see what the wizarding world's like in America. Plus, Eddie Redmayne leading things, with J.K Rowling writing the script?

Hint of Doubt: Please don't be just a cash grab attempt.

Triple 9 poster.jpg
19. Triple 9

Release Date: 26th February

Premise: A group of corrupt cops are blackmailed into pulling off an impossible heist. To do this, they plot the murder of a rookie cop in order to orchestrate a "999", code for 'officer down'.

Why?: A crime drama from the director of The Road and Lawless, but the main draw is the solid cast. Composed of Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslet, Norman Reedus, Aaron Paul, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie and Teresa Palmer. Truly one of the years best ensemble casts.

Hint of Doubt:
Despite the cast, there's the possibility it could fall short due to the script.

18. Keanu

Release Date: 29th April

Premise: Friends hatch a plot to retrieve a stolen cat by posing as drug dealers for a street gang.

Why?: With their sketch show Key and Peele, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have proven themselves as a pair of strong voices in comedy, social commentary, racial politics and mad-cap scenarios. Their first Hollywood film as writers, producers and stars will hopefully bring all that's promised from their inclusion.

Hint of Doubt: What if their voices don't translate well into a feature length film?

Assassin's Creed (2016) Poster17. Assassin's Creed

Release Date: 21st December

Premise: After Callum Lynch discovers that his ancestor, Aguilar from 15th Century Spain was an Assassin, Callum relives Aguilar's memories to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to confront the Templars—age-old enemies of the Assassins—in the present day.

Why?: Normally I wouldn't get excited for a video game film, previous encounters have taught me about that. But then I took a closer look at the people involved. Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Michael K. Williams, Jeremy Irons and Brendan Gleeson acting in it? Directed by Justin Kurzel, who did fantastic work with Snowtown and 2015's stunning MacBeth? Yeah, I think this could be a great video game film.

Hint of Doubt: *sigh* It's still a video game film, so let's see how it turns out.

Star Wars, Rogue One.jpg16. Rogue One

Release Date: 16th December

Premise: Following the foundation of the Galactic Empire, a wayward band of Rebel fighters comes together to carry out a desperate mission: to steal the plans for the Death Star before it can be used to enforce the Emperor's rule.

Why?: After their fantastic return last year, it's exciting to have the Star Wars franchise back in cinemas to tell more stories. This one fills in some gaps, set leading up to the 1977 original, with Monsters and Godzilla director Gareth Edwards on directing duties. Never mind the fantastic cast, as Felicity Jones, Forest Whitaker, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Alan Tudyk and Hannibal Lecter himself, Mads Mikkelsen, join the expanding Star Wars universe.

Hint of Doubt: Is this really a story that needs telling?

15. A Monster Calls

Release Date: 14th October

Premise: A boy seeks the help of a tree monster to cope with his single mom's terminal illness.

Why?: J.A. Bayona made a tremendous debut back in 2007 with The Orphanage, so his name attached already has my interest piqued. Liam Neeson voicing a tree monster is intriguing casting, in what appears to be a mix of fairytale and an emotional story.

Hint of Doubt: Will Bayona deliver the right amount of emotion, without getting syrupy? (If you've seen The Orphanage, you know the answer).

Doctor Strange logo.jpg14. Doctor Strange

Release Date: 28th October (UK), 4th November (US)

Premise: After his career is destroyed, a brilliant but arrogant and conceited surgeon gets a new lease on life when a sorcerer takes him under his wing and trains him to defend the world against evil.

Why?: The MCU takes aim at another corner of its expanding world, as the Mystical come to the big screen, courtesy of Sinister director Scott Derrickson. The cast is the biggest asset, as Benedict Cumberbatch takes on the lead role, while Mads Mikkelsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tilda Swinton and Rachel McAdams round off the cast.

Hint of Doubt: Hopefully this won't be close to Deliver Us From Evil in terms of quality.

Kubo and the Two Strings poster.png13. Kubo and the Two Strings

Release Date: 19th August

Premise: Kubo lives a quiet, normal life in a small shoreside village until a spirit from the past turns his life upside down by re-igniting an age-old vendetta. This causes all sorts of havoc as gods and monsters chase Kubo who, in order to survive, must locate a magical suit of armor once worn by his late father, a legendary Samurai warrior.

Why?: Laika's newest film takes viewers to Ancient Japan, for a gorgeously animated piece of work that looks to be a feast for the eyes, with a decent story behind it. I haven't even mentioned Matthew McConnaughey, Charlize Theron, Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes, George Takei and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa being in the cast.

Hint of Doubt: There's definitely style to this, let's hope the substance is there as well.

12. La La Land

Release Date: 15th July

Premise: A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.

Why?: After writing and directing one of 2014's most magnificent pieces of work, better known as Whiplash, whatever Damien Chazelle follows it up with will be highly anticipated. His choice is a musical comedy drama starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Count me so in.

Hint of Doubt: Damien Chazelle proved talented with bringing a drum beat to screens, will he be as talented with musical numbers?

Green Room (film) POSTER.jpg11. Green Room

Release Date: 1st April

Premise: A punk band straying into a secluded venue stumble on to a horrific act of violence. Because they are the only witnesses, they become the targets of a terrifying gang of white power skinheads who want to make sure all the evidence is eliminated.

Why?: Shall we start with Patrick Stewart playing a White Supremacist leader? Or how about that director Jeremy Saulnier's last film was the fantastically tense thriller Blue Ruin? Nevertheless, the basic plot of skinheads vs a Punk band is too enticing to ignore.

Hint of Doubt: Can the film be more than just seeing multiple characters dying in grisly ways? Here's hoping.

Zootopia.jpg10. Zootopia (known as Zootropolis in Europe)

Release Date: 4th March (US), 25th March (Europe)

Premise: In a city of anthropomorphic animals, a fugitive con artist fox and a rookie bunny cop must work together to uncover a conspiracy.

Why?: Disney have been on a hot streak as of late, so their latest release is already anticipated. Count in the intriguing set-up within a world which appears well realized, not forgetting the decent cast and how the directors each helmed Wreck-It Ralph and Tangled?

Hint of Doubt: Used for Moana, but still, what if that streak ends here?

9. Free Fire

Release Date: N/A

Premise: Set in Boston in 1978, a meeting between two gangs in a deserted warehouse turns into a shootout and a game of survival.

Why?: A talented cast of well established actors, acting out a tense scenario in an enclosed area, directed by Ben Wheatley? Hell yes!

Hint of Doubt: Will Wheatley be able to sustain the tone over the films runtime, or will it outstay its welcome?

The Witch poster.png8. The Witch

Release Date: 19th February

Premise: In the 17th century, a Puritan family lives alone on the edge of a New England wilderness. Soon after their infant son disappears, their daughter is suspected of witchcraft, and the family begins to break down in the face of an unknown evil.

Why?: This film gained attention online for it's creepy trailer, and it's understandable why. The trailer itself generates a creeping, tense atmosphere, looking to be pretty unsettling. Hopefully a good antidote to the January rubbish we tend to get stuck with.

Hint of Doubt: Trailers don't always reflect their films well. Remember The Grey's trailer?

The Neon Demon (2016) Poster7. The Neon Demon

Release Date: N/A

Premise: An aspiring model attempts to conquer the world of modelling, only to confront a terrifying force of beauty and death.

Why?: There is only one reason this film has made its way onto this list. Nicolas Winding Refn. The masterful director of Drive, Bronson and Only God Forgives is next helming a horror film about vicious beauty starring Elle Fanning, and I'm already anticipating it.

Hint of Doubt: Only God Forgives was one of the most divisive films in recent memory. Will this be similar?

Hail, Caesar! Teaser poster.jpg6. Hail, Caesar!

Release Date: 5th February

Premise: Eddie Mannix is a Hollywood "fixer" helping the production of the upcoming film entitled Hail Caesar starring famous actor Baird Whitlock. When a hungover Whitlock is kidnapped by a group named The Future, Mannix is the one in charge of collecting $100,000 and rescuing him

Why?: The latest film from the Coen Brothers looks to be an entertaining tale, set within the 1950's film industry with perhaps something to say about the industry. But while 2016 looks to be a great year for ensemble casts, this possibly has the most impressive assortment assembled. Did anybody expect Dolph Lundgren in a film from the directors of Inside Llewyn Davis?

Hint of Doubt: Could the influx of name actors leads to a bloated picture?

5. Silence

Release Date: N/A

Premise: Two Jesuit Portuguese Catholic priests face violent persecution when they travel to Japan to seek out their mentor and spread the teachings of Christianity.

Why?: Martin Scorcese finally gets a passion project of his to the big screen with Liam Neeson in a dramatic role that doesn't involve his family being Taken, and Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver in the cast. Considering how long Scorcese's been planning to film it, he must have thought over exactly what he's wanted to do for a while, and it's exciting to see this project come from a director who still hasn't lost his touch at the age of 73.

Hint of Doubt: 25 years in development, can it live up to what Scorcese wishes for it?

Captain America Civil War poster.jpg4. Captain America: Civil War

Release Date: 29th April (UK), 6th May (US)

Premise: Political interference in the Avengers' activities causes a rift between former allies Captain America and Iron Man.

Why?: As Phase 3 begins, the MCU takes inspiration from one of the more famous recent comic events, as former allies face off against one another over differing political views. This may not be the first Hero vs Hero film of the year, but it's one with many years of cinematic backstory and character history behind it, making it more than a simple hero slugfest. With Black Panther and Spider-Man making their debuts, it looks to be a big moment for Marvel's films with lasting ramifications. I can't wait!

Hint of Doubt: There's a LOT of character appearing here, even for a Marvel film. Will the characters get their moments to shine? Or will some be there just to round up the numbers? Will there be a bloated amount of storylines to get through? We'll see.

10 Cloverfield Lane.png3. 10 Cloverfield Lane

Release Date: 11th March

Premise: After a car accident, a young woman wakes up in an underground cellar, where most of the action takes place. She fears she has been abducted by a survivalist, who tells her he saved her life and that a chemical attack has left the outside world uninhabitable. Uncertain what to believe, she decides she must escape, whatever dangers she may face outside.

Why?: Let's start with how extraordinary way this film was announced. Despite a few small announcements, this film wasn't known to the public conciousness until it's trailer premièred before Michael Bay's latest film, just 2 months before its own release. It was also through the trailer it's connection to 2008's Cloverfield was announced. Whether it's another tale on the same world, or part of an anthology connected by the Cloverfield title, this has quickly shot into most anticipated lists. Particularly with Whiplash's writer/director Damien Chazelle on the script.

Hint of Doubt: Time will tell how first time director Dan Trachtenberg will do, or if adding Cloverfield to the title is more than a cheap marketing tactic.

Deadpool poster.jpg2. Deadpool

Release Date: 4th February (UK), 12th February (US)

Premise: In an effort to cure his cancer, former special forces operative Wade Wilson was subjected to an experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, disfigured skin, an unstable mind, and a "dark, twisted" sense of humor. Armed with new abilities and a new identity, Wilson hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.

Why?: I've been a Deadpool fan for a while now, and have hoped to see a proper adaptation of him on the big screen (no, the X-Men Origins: Wolverine abomination doesn't count). Even disregarding this and viewing the film on its own merits, the footage and marketing show promise. The intent of delivering a superhero film that's adult & comedic, more so than what the genres had since its surge in popularity. Plus, it looks absolutely hilarious, with Ryan Reynolds seemingly perfect as the lead.

Hint of Doubt: Could this be a case of the trailer showing all the best bits? Plus, will Morena Baccarin play more than the damsel/love interest combo?

The Nice Guys poster.png1. The Nice Guys

Release Date: 20th May

Premise: A private eye and an enforcer investigate the apparent suicide of a fading porn star in 1970s Los Angeles, which leads them to uncover a conspiracy.

Why?: Shane Black has proven himself to be a talented writer since the 80's, particularly where the moments of humor and the sharp dialogue are concerned. With two films directed under his belt, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and the divisive Iron Man 3, he's proven to be just as strong a director. Both these aspects make The Nice Guys something to get excited for, as does the hilarious trailer which shows great chemistry between the leads.

Hint of Doubt: Gosling fans, you'll have to see his wrist get broken. :'(

Do you agree/disagree with the choices? Has this list given you knowledge of any films that sound cool/awful? Be sure to voice your opinions in the comments.