2016 movies still to come that we're looking forward to
Plus we've got some in-season double passes to giveaway to a couple of them.
2016 has been, well a bit of a let-down movie-wise to be honest. Particularly in the blockbuster world it's been a series of, at worst complete let-downs (Suicide Squad, The BFG, Batman V Superman), at best stuff that was okay but we've seen before (Captain America: Civil War, Ghostbusters, The Magnificent Seven, Jason Bourne). There has of course been some absolute indie gems like Swiss Army Man, along with surprises like The Shallows, but by and large it hasn't been a year that's inspired us to pull away from all the high quality televsion you can stream in 2016 and actually go the cinema.
But there's still hope, and hopefully we close out 2016 with a bang over a whimper.
To help hopefully inspire you, we've rattled off a bunch of films we're looking forward to for the remainder of the year, and a bunch of them we've got in-season double passes to giveaway too, just follow the instructions below!
THE NEON DEMON
This is the latest film from Nicolas Winding Refn, the visionary director behind Drive. Depending on who you talk to, they’ll either be all over it, or find it lacking in narrative substance at the behest of style. I’m in the first category - couldn’t get enough of its superb superficial surreality (agree with The Independent: “so beautifully made you’ll want to lick the screen”) and brave depravity, despite the lack of character depth and plot. It delves into the world of modelling, following a teenage model (Elle Fanning) as she moves to Los Angeles and and fetishized for her youthful looks amongst a sea of (barely) has-beens. The film takes a turn for the surreal pretty quickly, as Fanning gets a taste of the narcissistic underworld of modelling, and morphs into a kind of neo noir horror film, with scenes that resemble Dario Argento’s work. Cliff Martinez, who was behind the Drive soundtrack, brings a bunch of stabby sexy synth soundtrack magic to the table. – Dani
Coming from someone who isn't a massive Star Wars nerd, the fact I'm excited about this is weird but cool. It's a big deal for the Star Wars universe as a whole, and it will be interesting to see if people are excited about Star Wars outside of the Skywalker stories. I for one am, director Gareth Edwards is someone I trust, and the overall grittier feel of this compared to other Star Wars is super refreshing. - Troy
I wasn't totally across this until recently, but have read some great reviews that put this film firmly onto my do-not-miss list for 2016. Featuring the internet's favourite son, Shia LeBouf, alongside a completely unknown new actress in Sasha Lane, it looks like a coming of age tale for the VICE generation, but with some actual heart - something I'm totally okay with. - Troy
Thanks to Universal, we have 5 x in-season double passes to American Honey to give away! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘give me a double pass to American Honey - just do it!’
This feels like the most bright and epically fun Disney animated film in forever. Just on how gorgeous it looks alone I can't wait to go and see it, but the fact that its co-lead is one Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson secures my ticket. There's been a few great animated movies this year (although none quite as good as Inside Out), but this one looks like it could top them all. - Troy
This film has everything! A trailer TDF! Style! Sex! Violence! Ambitious artistic vision! Modernist LA mansions with stunning views and a creepy sense of isolation! Literally every film critic is creaming their jeans over the forthcoming offering from fashion designer turned filmmaker Tom Ford, who last brought his acute sense of style to the screen in A Single Man. The stills to emerge from this so far look deathly gorgeous, as you’d expect, but it certainly doesn’t look to be a case of style over substance: first of all, there’s a well-structured narrative (yay!) involving a sophisticated insomniac art-gallery owner woman did something really, really bad to her novelist ex-husband and is now about to pay for it. And there’s also three actors at the top of their game: Amy Adams bringing more of that true actor grit we saw her spit out in American Hustle, Jake Gyllenhaal adding another ‘complex psycho’ role to his growing character collection, and Michael Shannon just being his awesome Michael Shannon self. - Dani
Thanks to Universal, we have 5 x in-season double passes to Nocturnal Animals give away! Email email@example.com with the subject line ‘when you love someone you can’t just throw it away’
20TH CENTURY WOMEN
Director Mike Mills (Beginners, Thumbsucker) makes warm, funny, poignant films – and this looks to be another to add to his likeable filmography. Mills will often draw from his own life for inspiration: this film is a portrait of his mother, and serves as an unofficial companion piece to Beginners, which dealt with the late-life coming out of Mills’ father. Set in Santa Barbara in 1979, we follow Dorothea (Annette Bening), who, struggling to raise her teenage boy Jamie in the 70s, enlists the aid of her lodger Abbie (Greta Gerwig) and Jamie’s best friend Julie (Elle Fanning). The film’s been likened to Almost Famous, in the way that the young music journalist has his eyes opened to a whole realm of new experience, and in its evocation of the tumultuous political and cultural climate at the time. - Dani
From the director of Prisoners and last year's brilliant Sicario, Arrival is already getting plenty of buzz as one of the decade's smartest sci-fi films. One of two Amy Adams films on this list, it deals with the arrival of mysterious alien space crafts, and how humanity deals with it while on the brink of global war. - Troy
Starring arguably two of Hollywood's hottest acting properties in Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, Passengers feels like an almost old school film in that it's a massive blockbuster that really hinges on how much we love the lead actors. It's not part of a cinematic universe, it's not a sequel or a reboot, it's just a super hot script that's been floating around Hollywood for years. Apparently it takes some pretty hectic twists in the second half. - Troy
Set in 2006, at a time when porn was still behind a payroll and Youtube was in its infancy, King Cobra is a fictional, satire-heavy depiction of the real-life story of underage pornstar Brent Corrigan (Garrett Clayton) a wannabe adult porn star – Stephen (Christian Slater), is a closeted gay porn mogul who runs the skin flick empire Cobra Video from behind the curtains of his suburban home, and is helping Clayton on his way. As Corrigan’s star rises, the two fall out, and Corrigan becomes involved with a cash-strapped pair of Hot Rod-loving, meathead rival producers / performers (James Franco and Keegan Allen) – cue all-out porn war that ends in tragedy. Writer-director Justin Kelly was behind last year’s festival favorite I Am Michael (also starring Franco). The real Corrigan has since blasted Hollywood for ‘bastardizing his life’ elsewhere, but IndieWire’s already gotten behind it as “possibly the best film ever made about the business end of America’s gay [adult film industry]”. - Dani
BLEED FOR THIS
After taking over the jazz drumming world in Whiplash, Miles Teller turns his attention towards boxing in this amazing true story. It looks like Rocky made by Martin Scorsece before turning into a far less depressing version of Million Dollar Baby. Miles Teller is a bit of an acquired taste for some, but like it or not the dude is fast becoming big time Hollywood, and this looks like a great, good old fashioned true story movie. - Troy
You wouldn’t expect to come out lightly from a film described as a ‘rape revenge fantasy’, but this one looks ripe for some serious post-film chats. This dark, saucy thriller stars legendary French actress Isabelle Huppert, who plays a ruthless video-game company CEO who is viciously raped, before forming a strange relationship with her attacker. As France’s official Foreign Language Film entry into the Oscars, this film could well be Basic Instinct director Paul Verhoeven’s Hollywood comeback – it’s already picking up five star ratings all over the place. - Dani
WE ARE X
This British documentary recounts the incredible story that surrounds Japanese heavy metal band X Japan and its co-founder, Yoshiki, in the lead-up to the group's 2014 Madison Square Garden performance. Tragedy surrounds Yoshiki at almost every turn - his father committed suicide when he was a child, childhood friend/X Japan co-founder Toshi was fell in with a cult, guitarist Hide died five months later, and former bassist Taiji died eleven months after performing with the group for the first time in 18 years. - Troy
Chilean director Pablo Larraín's Jackie is a biopic, that sees the director adopt a super raw, intimate, matter-of-fact approach to the First Lady’s experience in the immediate days following the history-altering Kennedy. Natalie Portman plays Jackie (how’s the likeness?), joined by a good-looking cast by way of Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, and John Hurt. An early review from the Guardian gave Jackie 5 stars and called the film ‘a singular vision’ – this sentence from their review sold me on it: “a key sequence immediately following the assassination that sees Kennedy shower her husband’s blood off her hair, struggle to rip off her crimson-stained pantyhose, and then finally, lie in bed alone.” It’s produced by Black Swan director, Darren Aronofsky, and we can’t imagine he’d take on anything less than unique, which makes this one promising, along with our anticipation to hear Mica & The Shapes’ Mica Levi’s original soundtrack (Levi recently scored Under the Skin). - Dani
LA LA LAND
Of course there had to be another Hollywood film that brought Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone’s star power and on-screen chemistry together after their stint in Crazy Stupid Love – noone’s going to forget their Dirty Dancing re-enactment in a hurry. La La Land sees the two dancing once more – and singing…in a musical. But not a Glee-style musical – a stylish, sophisticated musical, with long setpieces and romance – it’s being hailed as a throwback to the era of Rogers & Astaire, with Whiplash director Damien Chazelle capturing the allure of classic Hollywood (rather than negging it). Just watch the teaser trailers and try not to feel like your inner romantic has been triggered. - Dani
This film is copping flack but it’s still an enjoyable romp. A nostalgic love story, it’s set across both the film industry in Hollywood and the high society nightlife industry in New York in the mid-1930s, with heaps of real-life contextual references (and great outfits). Bronx boy Bobby Dorfman (Eisenberg) arrives in LA to work with his uncle, powerful film agent Phil (Steve Carell) - Phil introduces Bobby to the glitz of cinema, and to his assistant Vonnie (Stewart) – who Bobby immediately falls for, not realizing she’s having an affair with his uncle. Woody Allen’s films don’t dazzle as hard as they used to, but I found Blue Jasmine and Midnight in Paris worthwhile. I’m a sucker for dialogue-rich films, and Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart both kill it with this script: I'm now fully on board the K-Stew train after Clouds of Sils Maria and this, and Eisenberg is a great stand-in for Allen as an actor too, totally nails the neuroticism. - Dani