Good morning and Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays with your friends and families. As everyone in the movie community knows, we are getting deeply entrenched in awards season as nominations are released for the Critics Choice, Golden Globes, and Oscars. All of the “Oscar Bait” movies are streaming through theaters while Star Wars: The Force Awakens continues to dominate. We’ll see who is left standing with the top four awards on Oscars Night.
With a new year is a new crop of films to help thrill audiences and bring in new ones into established franchises, new prequels, and sequels, this year could be filled with amazing moments caught on film. So here we go!
10) The Jungle Book
Continuing with the trend of live-action remakes of classic Disney animation movies, The Jungle Book tells the story of Mowgli (Neel Sethi), a boy raised by the Indian wolves. When the fearsome tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba) threatens his life, he is forced to leave his jungle home. From there, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery, guided by the black panther, Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) and Baloo the bear (Bill Murray); all the while, he encounters jungle creatures and threats he has never seen before.
The film also stars Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong’o, and Christopher Walken. The Jungle Book will be released on April 15, 2016.
9) Star Trek Beyond
Star Trek Beyond is the third film in the rebooted Star Trek series, the first not to be directed by J.J. Abrams, who has stayed on as producer. From what has been shown in the short and, somewhat, disappointing teaser, the crew of the USS Enterprise, led by Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), is attacked by a swarm of aliens, destroying the Federation starship, leaving them stranded on a new planet and in conflict with a ruthless alien (Idris Elba), while finding a way off of the planet.
The film will reunite cast members Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg (also a co-writer), John Cho, and Anton Yelchin. It’s scheduled for release on July 22, 2016 in celebration of the Star Trek franchise’s 50th anniversary.
8) The Legend of Tarzan
Another classic fictional character returns to the silver screen in this adaptation. Alexander Skarsgard takes over the human gorilla, Tarzan, who has left the jungles of Africa behind years ago for a life in London as John Clayton III, Lord Greystoke, with his beloved wife, Jane Porter (Margot Robbie) at his side. He has been invited back to the Congo to serve as a trade emissary of Parliament, unaware that he is a pawn in a deadly convergence of greed and revenge, masterminded by a corrupt Belgian Captain Rom (Christoph Waltz).
The film also stars Samuel L. Jackson, Djimon Hounsou, and John Hurt. I wouldn’t consider this film before until I saw this trailer, looked at the cast, and the film is directed by David Yates, director of the latter Harry Potter films. The Legend of Tarzan is set to be released on July 1, 2016.
7) X-Men: Apocalypse
X-Men: Apocalypse is the latest installment in the X-Men film series and the sequel to X-Men: Days of Future Past. This time, the mutant family must go against the first and most powerful mutant, Apocalypse (Oscar Issac). Along with the fact that Apocalypse is immortal, invincible, and worshipped as a god, he has assembled his own team in the four horsemen, that includes a stronger Magneto (Michael Fassbender). It is up to Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) to join forces and lead a team of young X-men to save humanity.
The film stars series newcomers Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Olivia Munn, and Kodi Smit-McPhee along with returning members Rose Byrne, Nicholas Hoult, and Lucas Till. Apocalypse rises on May 27, 2016.
6) Finding Dory
It’s been 13 years since audiences went on an underwater journey, Finding Nemo. The sequel will pick up six months after those events. Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) suddenly recalls her childhood memories, remembering something about “the jewel of Monterey, California”, Nemo (Hayden Rolence) and Marlin (Albert Brooks) accompany their friend as Dory sets out to find her family. I’m considering this movie highly because it’s a Disney-Pixar classic for those that started with Finding Nemo and a new generation that is taking the journey for the very first time. Similar to Toy Story 3, I expect the majority of the audience to be in their 20’s.
The film also stars Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Willem Dafoe, and Ty Burrell. Dive into the ocean on June 17, 2016.
5) Independence Day: Resurgence
This year must be the year where past films make their returns to bring in new audiences and inform those who watched the original films an update of characters they have forgotten. Roland Emmerich returns to the director’s chair for this sequel to the 1996 film. It has been 20 years since the aliens came to Earth and a small band of survivors drove them back. The international community recovers and builds up Earth’s defenses using technology salvaged from remains of the alien forces, with some military forces assembled on the Moon. However, the aliens were able to send a distress signal before their final defeat while others went into hiding elsewhere around the world. The aliens in deep space receive the signal and threaten the human race once more with a new, larger and more powerful battle fleet.
The film features the return of originals Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Vivica A. Fox, Judd Hirsch, and Brent Spiner and features newcomers Liam Hemsworth, Jessie Usher, Sela Ward, and William Fichtner. Independence Day: Resurgence lands on June 24, 2016.
4) Untitled Jason Bourne Project
There has been a lot of secrecy around the fifth installment in the Jason Bourne film franchise, featuring the return of Matt Damon to the amnesiac agent. Damon’s last performance was 12 years ago with The Bourne Ultimatum, where Bourne disappeared after those events. The only thing that has been revealed is the world that Jason will be inhabiting, one that is not dissimilar to our own. There has been the financial collapse, the great recession, along with cyber warfare and civil liberties; all of this has left Jason in a dark, tortured place. It’s interesting to see how Bourne will contend with the world around him.
The film also features the return of Julia Stiles and introduces Tommy Lee Jones into the franchise. The project, currently titled Bourne 5, is set to release on July 29, 2016.
3) Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
I’m still on the fence about this film, especially after the most recent trailer and its big reveals. There is no doubt that this will be a big movie for a major fanbase. After the events of Man of Steel, Superman (Henry Cavill) is brought before Congress to answer for the destruction he caused. They aren’t the only one he must answer to as Gotham City-based vigilante Batman (Ben Affleck) travels to Metropolis to confront the God-like hero. While the Dark Knight and Man of Steel battle, another threat endangers mankind. This film is set to jumpstart the DC Extended Universe with shared DC Films in the universe, presenting itself as a backdoor pilot for the upcoming Justice League movie so this is a risk for the media franchise to catch up with the standard that Marvel and the MCU has set.
The film also features Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, Man of Steel cast members Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, and Amy Adams, and introducing Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. Reports also confirmed that Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa, and Ezra Miller will star as Cyborg, Aquaman, and The Flash respectively. Not sure how big their roles will be but it confirms that the Justice League will be on the fast track, the two-part ensemble film already scheduled for release in 2017. The two legendary heroes will collide on March 25, 2016.
2) Captain America: Civil War
Another superhero clash is set to happen to start the summer season with Captain America: Civil War, the third installment in the Captain America trilogy. This installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe takes place after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, finding Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in another international incident. As a result, the government form a system of accountability and a governing body to determine when to call the heroes. This decision fractures the team, one faction led by Captain America (Chris Evans), who is against government supervision, and another led by Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr), in support of the accords. These two factions of friends and comrades in arms will battle out their differences while protecting the world from a new enemy.
The film also features MCU veterans Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Elizabeth Olsen, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, and Paul Bettany. Newcomers include Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther and Tom Holland as the new Spider-Man. Much has been kept secret about the roles of the new heroes, especially Spider-Man but, knowing Marvel’s current track record, fans will not be disappointed. I thought about adding Doctor Strange and it is not to be overlooked, but this clash of the heroes and one-time allies will be epic. The soldier out of time and the iron playboy will meet on May 6, 2016.
1) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
This first film in the planned Star Wars Anthology series, a collection of stand-alone stories set in the Star Wars universe, is planning on capitalizing on the success of The Force Awakens. How well these stand-alone stories will fare in comparison to the original series remains to be seen. The official premise of the upcoming epic space opera states the film: “Following the foundation of the Galactic Empire, where a wayward band of Rebel fighters come 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.”
The film stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, and Alan Tudyk. The Galaxy far, far away returns to theaters on December 16, 2016.
That fills out my top ten for 2016. Whether I am right or wrong is another matter but I hope you all enjoy these films. If you have any comments, please leave them on the page! I greatly appreciate them!