2016 films: A list of what you'll be watching next year

New offerings from the Coen brothers, Terrence Malick, Oliver Stone, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and more

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The Independent Culture

Star Wars hype aside, 2015 was a pretty boring and bleak year for film, and best picture categories at the award ceremonies are looking somewhat limp and unconvincing in comparison to the vibrant originality of films like Birdman, Boyhood, Whiplash and The Grand Budapest Hotel that came the year before.

But will 2016 be any better? These are the main releases that will be hitting cinemas:

Hail, Caesar - 5 February

The Coen brothers' latest film might be their most ambitious yet.

Telling the story of a Hollywood fixer struggling to keep A-listers in line, it has a movie within a movie, an amazing cast, and, judging by the first trailer, some luxurious visuals.

Deadpool - 12 February

Comic book superhero movies have been getting slowly more self-referential and self-parodic lately, and Deadpool looks to be taking itself even less seriously than Guardians of the Galaxy or Ant-Man.

It looks as though fans will finally be getting the comic book-faithful, foul-mouthed version of the character they wanted, but it remains to be seen whether Deadpool will actually be funny, or just descend into toilet humour...

Zoolander No. 2 - 12 February

Zoolander's return was derailed somewhat by backlash over a trans/gender fluid character played by Benedict Cumberbatch.

The long-awaited sequel will no doubt do well at the box office, but I'm not sure if the fashion industry is as fertile for satire now as it was in 2001, and the trailer relies too heavily on honouring old gags rather than creating new ones.

Knight of Cups - 4 March

A new film from Terrence Malick should have been a huge cause for celebration, but Knight of Cups has been swimming in post-Cannes purgatory for months now.

In March it will finally get a theatrical release. Starring Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett and Natalie Portman, it sees a man return home from New York and get sucked into the hollow hedonism of LA, fighting to extricate himself from it. I prefer Malick's allegorical synopsis though:

'Once there was a young prince whose father, the king of the East, sent him down into Egypt to find a pearl. But when the prince arrived, the people poured him a cup. Drinking it, he forgot he was the son of a king, forgot about the pearl and fell into a deep sleep.

'Rick's (Christian Bale) father used to read this story to him as a boy. The road to the East stretches out before him. Will he set forth?'

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - 4 March

Liz Lemon in Kabul!

Based on journalist Kim Barker’s 2011 memoir The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan, this dark comedy sees Tina Fey play a foreign correspondent reporting in the Middle East during Operation Enduring Freedom, where she develops a weird relationship with a fellow journalist played by Martin Freeman (he doesn't feature much in the trailer, though for some strange reason Margot Robbie does...).

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - 18 March

The wind seems to have gone out of the sails of the Man of Steel series in spite of the addition of a new Batman, and there's a more palpable anticipation for Suicide Squad (which arrives later in the year).

Perhaps Jesse Eisenberg - taking Lex Luthor in a very different direction - can change that.

Everybody Wants Some - 15 April

Coming off the back of multi-Oscar winner Boyhood, this Richard Linklater film looks a lot like Dazed and Confused if it was set in the 80s, albeit pitched more towards comedy.

The Jungle Book - 15 April

Disney is trampling on its own hallowed ground with this live action remake.

Elf and Iron Man director Jon Favreau is a fairly safe pair of hands though, and Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong'o, Christopher Walken, Giancarlo Esposito and Bill Murray are all on board.

Money Monster - 13 May


Jodie Foster directs George Clooney and Julia Roberts, and the premise is kind of intriguing:

'Financial TV personality Lee Gates, who offers up stock advice on his hit show "Money Monster," is held hostage by a viewer, Kyle Budwell, who lost all of his money following a bad tip from Lee during his show.'

Snowden - 13 May

Platoon director Oliver Stone takes on a very important and timely story. But can he make it entertaining the way The Big Short did with the financial crisis?

X-Men Apocalypse - 27 May

2016 will see a ninth X-Men film. Ninth.

Every cast member you would expect will be back to collect their paychecks, which might require a crane.

Finding Dory - 17 June

The Finding Nemo sequel will focus on Ellen DeGeneres' forgetful blue tang fish.

It's expected to have an anti-SeaWorld message, which should make it strike a chord with parents as well as children.

Independence Day: Resurgence - 24 June

Will Smith isn't in it. Moving on.

The BFG - 1 July

There's still a lot of love for Roald Dahl's stories, and this one is being adapted by none other than Steven Spielberg.

There hasn't been a huge amount of buzz around it but it's early days, and Mark Rylance is an interesting casting for the titular Big Friendly Giant.

La La Land - 15 July


There's a lot of expectation on director Damien Chazelle's shoulders following the success of Whiplash, one of the smallest films ever to have been nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.

La La Land will certainly be different, a musical comedy-drama about a young pianist and an actor played by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone respectively.

Ghostbusters - 15 July


This is something of a question mark. On one hand, it's landed a cast of incredibly funny actresses, but on the other, another reboot? Really?

There's also thought to be a very meta all-male version in the works from the creators of Jump Street, set in the same universe as Men In Black no less.

Star Trek Beyond - 22 July

If you thought Abrams' Star Trek films were bad, feast your eyes on the trailer for the next one from the director of the Fast & Furious franchise.

Expect major face-palming from Trekkies in July. Hopefully the new TV show will offer something a bit less action-orientated and a bit more cerebral.

Untitled fifth Bourne film - 29 July


The Bourne series completely went off the boil with Jeremy Renner as its lead, but now both Matt Damon and original director Paul Greengrass are back to steady the ship.

This might well be Jason Bourne's last outing, so I hope they send him off in style.

Suicide Squad - 5 August

Harley Quinn was one of the most popular Halloween costumes this year, despite the holiday falling months before the release of the film she's in.

That says a lot about the hype over this comic book adaptation, which revels in the villains rather than the heroes for once and sees Jared Leto step into Heath Ledger's size 58 boots as the new Joker.

Sully - 9 September


Friendly-looking dad named Chesley Sullenberger who saves a plane load of people? Tom Hanks is your guy.

Clint Eastwood will direct this biopic, about an airline captain who was hailed as a national hero in the US after successfully executing an emergency water landing on the Hudson River off Manhattan.

Bridget Jones’s Baby - 16 September


It's 2015 and Bridget is now pouring her soul into an iPad rather than a diary.

This sequel might perfectly skewer the frustration of growing up in an increasingly youth-orientated world, or it might just serve to tarnish the originals like with Sex and the City 2.

The Magnificent Seven - 23 September


I'm not convinced there's the demand for Westerns that Hollywood seems to think there is. We'll find out in September with Antoine Fuqua's remake of 1960's The Magnificent Seven.

Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke are among the gang.

Masterminds - 30 September


Based on the 1997 Loomis Fargo Robbery in North Carolina, this comedy comes from the man behind Napoleon Dynamite.

Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig and Jason Sudeikis form a strong cast, but there are no trailers to go on yet.

The Girl on the Train - 7 October


That book everyone was reading on the commute inevitably makes it cinemas in October, with Emily Blunt playing Rachel Watson, an alcoholic whose husband left her for his mistress, and who witnesses a murder and starts to realize that she may have been involved in the crime.

Doctor Strange - 4 November


Doctor Strange might not have been the most obvious character to take to the big screen, but by this point Marvel could make $1billion at the box office from a comic an exec once scrawled on a piece of toilet paper.

Benedict Cumberbatch stars, complete with Cumberbeard.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - 18 November

J.K. Rowling makes her screenwriting debut adapting her own book here, with a film that takes place in the Harry Potter universe but is well removed from Hogwarts.

It centres on wizarding relations with muggles in New York, where they're referred to as "No-maj".

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - 16 December


Disney is releasing a Star Wars movie every year between now and 2020.

This first standalone 'anthology' film centres on a Death Star heist, but may prove to just be filler while Star Wars 8 is in production.

Passengers - 21 December


Arguably the world's hottest actress (Jennifer Lawrence) and the world's hottest actor (Chris Pratt) get it on, in space!

'A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in one of its sleep chambers. As a result, a single passenger is awakened 60 years early. Faced with the prospect of growing old and dying alone, he eventually decides to wake up a second passenger.'

A nice premise, if it can capitalise on it. The Imitation Game's Morten Tyldum directs a screenplay by Prometheus scribe Jon Spaihts.

Jumanji - 25 December


Is nothing sacred?

Everyone is so pissed about this remake of the Robin Williams cult hit that it will be a miracle if it escapes a critical drubbing.

Silence - sometime in 2016


Martin Scorsese's next film doesn't have a mafioso or corrupt banker in sight.

Liam Neeson and Andrew Garfield star, playing two Jesuit Portuguese Catholic priests who face violent persecution when they travel to Japan to seek out their mentor and spread the teachings of Christianity.

Jay Cocks adapts Shūsaku Endō's novel of the same name, having previously worked with Scorsese on The Age of Innocence and Gangs of New York.