The Most Anticipated Movies of 2017: Part 9 & 10

This article was first published over at dailyoftheday.com, but re-posting here for posterity's sake.

We've made it folks to the final four of each category. Thanks for reading my inane comments on movies and I hope y'all found one movie that you might not have otherwise heard about or been excited about and because of me you either want to stay the hell away from it or would like to see it immediately. So these are the top sequels and remakes that I most want to see. I think once I reached the top 8 for the sequels list, I pretty much will watch this opening weekend regardless of reviews or word of mouth. I don't lead a life of adventure, so this is what I do. Tomorrow night I'll highlight the top 4 on original films coming out.

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2017 - Part 7 & 8

This article was first published over at dailyoftheday.com, but re-posting here for posterity's sake.

Well it looks like I posted these articles a bit prematurely. The Mummy, no. 19, has got a teaser trailer out. Listen, I know what a lot of you're thinking. I'm thinking it as well. What's the difference between this and your distaste for Transformers? I mean, saying it's a personal opinion is a bit of a cop out, right? I mean, this probably looks like hot garbage like I look at that Transformers movie. Granted, that's true - I don't think it's cool to berate other who love something that you dislike. It's just that Transformers is selling lies for the third time with promises of doing something awesome and then the movie is just a letdown. Sure, this Mummy movie may be selling lies, but at least it's vastly different from the Brendan Fraser Mummy movies (RIP). Now, if this one does well and they do a sequel and it looks like more of the same - you know I'm going to trash it. As of now, though? Count me in - I'll see Tom Cruise Mission: Impossible this monster movie any old day.

Oh, and The Circle, no. 20, looks creepy enough. I'm told it looks like an extended version of a Black Mirror episode (whatever that is. I literally have not seen anything on TV in the past 5 or so years that are so-called must-watch. Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Mr. Robot, Strange Things, Orange is the New Black. I could go on, but I won't. It's precisely because people tell me I must watch these shows that I cannot. It triggers my adolescent attitude of defiance and I get even more steadfast in my refusal to see these shows /rant).

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2017 - Part 5 & 6

This article was first published over at dailyoftheday.com, but re-posting here for posterity's sake.

From here on out, at least in this section of sequels/remakes, half the movies are going to be superhero movies. That's just how I roll. And about half the movie-going public, too. As much digital ink has been spilled over the crushing weight of the 'superhero' genre and that apparently a general malaise has swept over critics and the public. But there's a large amount of evidence that people are still pretty excited about seeing these movies. Deadpool, Captain America and Doctor Strange's collective success offers plenty of evidence that we still haven't reached peak superhero. Hell, even the DC movies BvS and Suicide Squad made a huge chunk of money compared to their previous DC counterparts. So yes, as long as there is compelling and timely stories to tell about these characters, I think there will always be movies like superhero movies. Maybe there won't be as many in ten years, but they'll still be around. Marvel may already see the writing in the wall once they finish their 3rd phase of movies - they've gone on record saying they want to create more 'intimate' stories.

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2017 - Part 3 & 4

This article was first published over at dailyoftheday.com, but re-posting here for posterity's sake.

Welcome back folks! This is the part of my lists where I'm having a hard time sorting things out. Y'all know me, I'm a sucker for science fiction, superheroes and animated films. These next four movies cover that whole range and I had a tough time figuring out where my heart lies. I think I'm cautiously optimistic about these next four than I am just outright, hands-down getting my ticket for Thursday night previews. I think we're kinda seeing American audiences get smart about sequels. Sure, the last Transformers and Pirates movies made a ton of bucks, but it was all overseas. And even though Hollywood is looking more and more to appease those international audiences, I don't think they're necessarily forgetting about their domestic prospects. Studios have gotten a lot smarter - they've hired fan-favorite directors (Star Wars with Gareth Edwards, Rian Johnson and Guardians of the Galaxy with James Gunn) and they've taken a lot of risks with their 'tentpole' titles - like Deadpool and Ghostbusters - to varying degrees of success. I think the problem is that we expect Hollywood to shed its old image of being unfriendly to anyone outside of the white male demographic. And we should be critical of that - but it's going to take time and a worthy amount of conscious effort on the part of studios to change. We'll see, but I think we're starting to see shifting tides with more female and black leads and stories in the next few years. And this may open up the door for Asian Americans and Native Americans to have them represented as well. Hopefully.

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2017 - Part 1 & 2

This article was first published over at dailyoftheday.com, but re-posting here for posterity's sake.

Now that I got all that negative energy released from last week, now I can focus on the (hopefully) good movies coming out next year. Sometimes I really like the anticipation of a film before its release - at this point it's everything you want it to be. Sure those expectations can spiral out of control (Suicide Squad, BvS anyone?) once the crushing reality of a mediocre movie comes out. But that's not what this list is all about, folks.

6 years ago I was trying to find out about movies coming out the following year and there wasn't any in-depth articles about it that I could find. Sure, there were little shorts briefs for like the top 20 movies, but they didn't delve into the production or writing or anything, just HEY check this movie out, it should be cool!-kinda writing. So I've been doing this over at my dumb little blog  and I've always, always done 50 movies along with 10 runner-up films. And last year it got overwhelming - there just wasn't enough good films for me hit 50, but I did it anyway. Unfortunately my lists have ended up having such stunning pieces of shit like London Has Fallen and Ben-Hur.

This year I've cut back to 40. And I've divided them up between 20 "originals" and 20 "sequels/remakes". I think it's fair to say there are a lot of sequels and/or franchise movies that I'm looking forward to but also I'm excited for the original films that are coming out. Yes, it's a lot of movies to put on a list for next year, but honestly, if you love movies as much as I do, this is a pretty low number as far as how many movies someone like me will watch next year. I'll start out with the first 4 sequels on my list that I'm looking forward to next year and then tomorrow the first 4 from the originals list and so on.


2015 Most Anticipated Roundup

Runner-Up: Aloha (PG-13)
Runtime: 1hr 45min
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams
Director: Cameron Crowe
Writer: Cameron Crowe

What a mess of a movie, but it sure looks beautiful. I can't even understand the point of the movie? It's that Bradley Cooper plays a guy who fucks up everyone's life and then decides to be a good guy for a change and end up with Emma Stone at the end. Forget the plot, Cameron Crowe doesn't give two shits about the plot here - this is all about the character babbling pseudo-intellectual nonsense at each other for almost two hours. And honestly, everyone in the cast is so obnoxiously beautiful and smarmy along with the setting that you end up not caring about anyone or anything here.

Crowe has had a rough few years lately - We Bought a Zoo was mildly entertaining and at least watchable, but he hasn't had a bona fide directing hit since 2000's Almost Famous. Hopefully he'll get his mojo back, but stay away from this one!

48. Steve Jobs (R)
Runtime: 2hr 2min
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: Aaron Sorkin
I really, really wanted to enjoy this movie as much as Sorkin's last 'biopic', The Social Network. But there's just not enough compelling story behind Jobs for me to really enjoy this three-act movie. The writing is fantastic, the acting is great and Boyle manages to tie things together nicely by focusing on 3 major launch/press events Jobs was a big part of. But instead of connecting the larger issues at hand - Jobs' adoption and his current fatherhood problems - the movie tries to hard to impress upon the audience that this ambitious man who starts out as a big asshole, redeems himself at the end of the movie.

Maybe it's because I'm not a big fan of Apple and maybe I know that Jobs was kind of an asshole throughout his whole life that I just can't buy what this movie is selling. I don't see Jobs as a compelling character aside from his big ego. He's certainly a titan in the fact he was a huge part of the technology advancements in the past 30 years, but I just didn't like how the story conveniently had all the same characters show up at all 3 launch events in the movie. It was too nicely wrapped up, I guess.

42. American Ultra (R)
Runtime: 1hr 36min
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart
Director: Nima Nourizadeh
Writer: Max Landis
Ugh, another terrible movie. The trailers looked at least mildly cool and I like the dumb idea of a stoner Bourne-type movie. However, American Ultra tries way too hard to be like Bourne, but also be this absurd, Austin Powers-type comedy that it manages to fail on both fronts.

Eisenberg plays basically Jason Bourne who gets reactivated by a rogue CIA agent and all hell breaks loose. But the problem is that the movie treats the program and the plot as too realistic that it's hard to imagine Topher Grace as one of the head honchos at the CIA and that he can order drone strikes on US citizens/towns. That really happened in the movie and it plays it straight, whereas the movie needed to lean heavily on the side of Dr. Strangelove or something akin to that because you don't buy any of the bullshit coming out of this movie. Plus it takes forever to get things going - the first 5 minutes should have seen Eisenberg get activated and BOOM! the shit hits the fan, But this doesn't happen until 20 minutes into the movie. It's dumb and the movie had potential, but wasted away trying to be a cool action flick.

34. The Revenant (R)
Runtime: 2hr 36min
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy
Director: Alejadro González Iñárritu
Writer: Mark L. Smith, Alejandro González Iñárritu
I'm writing this review just an hour before the Oscars and this movie deserves all the accolades it's receieved and will get tonight. Much more than Iñárritu's last film, Birdman, which won Best Picture last year. It's a stunning portrait of America's past, a beautiful postcard of the American West and just a compelling tale. DiCaprio will more than likely win his first Oscar for this tale and it's deserved.

The movie is long, but so thrilling and riveting to watch that you'll kinda get lost in Hugh Glass's revenge tale. Mainly because of the way the film is shot - there is barely any dialogue and the film is cut and shot in such a way that you won't want to look away from all the gritty and disgusting parts of the movie. There are cring-worthy parts and I don't remember a movie that left me clutching the arms of my chair as much as this movie did throughout the entire film. It's definitely one of my favorite movies from 2015 and I can't wait to see what Iñárritu does next.

25. Get Hard (R)
Runtime: 1hr 40min
Starring: Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart
Director: Etan Cohen
Writers: Jay Martel, Etan Cohen, Ian Roberts
Why, oh why do I keep letting these movies slip into my MA lists? I still enjoy Will Ferrell's schtick, but lately he seems to be phoning things in. His last great live-action comedy was Step Brothers way back in 2008. Since then, he's done some interesting stuff (including his great work in the drama Everything Must Go), but I just can't muster up the energy to laugh at the tired jokes.

The basic premise of the movie is based on one joke - prison rape. Which, to be frank, is a tired, dumb joke and most definitely not funny at all in reality. The writers literally stretch this premise out for a whole entire movie and Will Ferrell's character is too dumb to function. He's not funny nor is Hart's corny character, who is not close to being a thug, but pretends to be. I just...I couldn't. None of the jokes landed here and it was all a big load of crap.

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (PG-13)
Runtime: 2hr 15min
Starring: John Boyega, Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writers: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt
We're two months removed from the biggest movie in box office history (well, kinda) and what's not to love about this movie? I think most of the negative reviews were pretty nit-picky because there's so much baggage tied to this film/franchise that it's hard not to get emotions mixed up in this. But while there are plenty of general similarities from The Force Awakens and A New Hope, the characters are vastly different in most respects and the ending sets up a direction for this particular trilogy that will more than likely be just as good, if not better than Empire. Blasphemy! I know, but seriously, if you're not excited at all about where Disney and co. are taking these movies, that's fine, but don't make other fans feel dumb because they're enjoying something they really love.

23. Brooklyn (PG-13)
Runtime: 1hr 51min
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domnhall Gleeson
Director: John Crowley
Writer: Nick Hornby
I will fully admit I'm a huge sucker for romantic movies and Brooklyn fits that bill quite nicely. It doesn't hurt that it's a magnificent, but quiet, film filled with amazing performances and an inspired screenplay.

Ronan plays Eilis, a Irish immigrant in 1950s Brooklyn who finds herself growing up in America. It's a small tale - there's nothing earth-shattering or any twists. It's just a great tale of growing up in the melting pot that is America and Eilis is such a strong female character that makes her own decisions and isn't beholden to any men, even while she's falling in love with a charming Italian gentleman.

Everything about this movie is great - the performances, the direction, the emotional plot - all deserve the accolades it is getting. Sometimes the smaller movies are more profound and it's certainly true here.


2016 Most Anticipated: Winners

Runner-Ups 1 & 2 | 50-46 | 45-41 | 40-36 | 35-31 | 30-26 | 25-21 | 20-16 | 15-11 | 10-6 | 5-1

Hooray! We've reached the summit and you know I wasn't going to end the year without finishing this GD list. Thanks for tuning in and have a happy 2016!

5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Mads Mikkelsen
Director: Gareth Edwards
Writer: Chris Weitz
Release Date: December 16
I think we might all end up getting a little tired of Star Wars movies after the end of the planned trilogy, but right now, I'm pumped for anything and everything Star Wars. I mean, if the movies are unique and well-done and have fun, well-developed characters, what's wrong with them doing one every year? I mean, we haven't really tired of Marvel movies and it's been 8 years starting with Iron Man. There is a whole frickin' galaxy's worth of stories to explore. Sure, Disney is kind of playing it safe with doing a story about the secret Rebel Alliance team tasked with stealing the Death Star plans - it's a story alluded to in the first movie. And it sounds like they're using the blueprint for The Force Awakens: get a sci-fi focused director - Gareth Edwards, who recently directed the excellent Godzilla - and surround the film with a solid, diverse cast and tie it to the original movie. The movie has been said to play out more like a heist film than anything else and that gets me excited. The reason pretty much no one has gotten tired of the Marvel movies is they focus on making a good movie first - whether it be a political thriller (Winter Soldier), a heist movie (Ant-Man), a family drama (Thor) - and then fill that in with their characters. If Edwards and crew can focus on telling a good story, just set in the Star Wars universe, they'll be on the right track with these Anthology movies as they're calling them. I mean, this one is guaranteed to make at least a half billion globally, if not more and I'm sure I'll be seeing this one half a dozen times.

4. Everybody Wants Some
Starring: Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Tyler Hoechlin
Director: Richard Linklater
Writer: Richard Linklater
Release Date: April 15
Dazed and Confused is by far my favoite movie of all-time. I mean, my top 10 is a bit erratic, but I could never replace my one true love. I watched D&C over and over and over again in middle school and I can pretty much quote the whole movie if someone asked me to. And I'm going to make a bizarre comparison here, but this is Linklater's Force Awakens. Not that this movie is going to make a couple billion dollars, just that he's taking the same formula from D&C and slapping an 80s headband and leg warmers all around it. I mean, if critics aren't going to tear apart The Force Awakens for doing the same, then I think Linklater can get away with it. I mean, from the looks of the trailer, it looks like he's interested in just telling a day in the life of a college freshman baseball player. Shenanigans will be had and enjoyed and overall it looks like the movie isn't going to try and have some powerful message, but just explore a time in America's history. And he's filled it with a lot of unknown actors, much like D&C. I'm sure the soundtrack is going to be kick-ass and there will be some characters I'll love and loathe. It's a Linklater movie, so you know it's going to be solid script-wise. I don't know if he can capture the same magic he had twenty years ago, but damn if I'm not excited to see if he can do it.

3. Midnight Special
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Michael Shannon
Director: Jeff Nichols
Writer: Jeff Nichols
Release Date: March 18
Jeff Nichols has only directed two movies in his short career, but they're both excellent, character-driven stories about loners and fathers and and their children. Midnight Special has been shrouded in a lot of secrecy, but from the rumblings around the web, this looks like it's going to be super duper special. It's a science fiction movie where Michael Shannon plays Roy, a father who's desperate to save his son, who has special, unknown abilities, from a cult and the government who want to capture him. It's been described as a chase film and I'm guessing pretty much from the start of the movie, it's going to be one helluva ride. The cast looks to be great and I think the way Nichols writes and directs he can get the most out of all the actors. This should be a sober but extremely intense thriller. I hope this is as big of a surprise for everyone involved. I can think of another movie that kind of came out of nowhere that was in my top 5 that did gangbuster critically and financially - Rian Johnson's Looper from 2012. It was my favorite movie that year and I think Midnight Special could be, well, special.

2. Captain America: Civil War
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johnasson
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writers: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Release Date: May 6
This could be huge. I mean, it's not going to be Star Wars huge, but it could challenge the original Avengers for the highest opening weekend for a Marvel movie. I think the Russo brothers did a phenomenal job with Winter Soldier and it's by far the best Marvel movie. It's pacing, the thrilling story and a great character arc for Steve Rogers, Winter Soldier just looked good and it has that visceral action and it felt deeply important not only within the Marvel universe, but our surveillance state modern times. I'm getting the same feeling a vibe from the new movie - it just looks slick and despite pretty much all the Avengers popping in to say hello, I think the Russo brothers and the writing team of Markus and McFeely (who've worked on the previous Captain America films) will make sure to keep the focus tight on just continuing Rogers' evolution as Captain America and his relationship with Bucky. I hope the movie keeps most of the rest of the superhero cast as cameos (well, aside from Tony Stark - he's playing the antagonist here). The story revolves around one of the more ridiculous series from the comic books where superheros are fighting against each other for pretty much dumb reasons. I think the movie will handle the material a bit better and I have a feeling the main baddie we'll see in the next Avengers movie (Thanos) might have a hand in the background somewhere, even if we don't necessarily see him. I could probably talk for hours about the movie and where it's all leading and argue about favorite films and characters and this is the main reason why I'm so excited. There's just a wealth of fun here and so far Marvel hasn't made a bad movie and I don't think that will start with Civil War.

1. Assassin's Creed
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cottillard, Brendon Gleeson
Director: Justin Kurzel
Writers: Bill Collage, Adam Cooper, Michael Lesslie
Release Date: December 21
Okay, a little bit of background on why this movie, of all the GD movies coming out next year, this landed as number one. First of all, I had this still in my top 10, but more like 9 or 10. And just two weeks ago I found out my original number one movie, Guy Ritchie's King Arthur movie starring Charlie Hunnum got pushed back from a cozy release date in July. I think Guy Ritchie has been sorely underrated - Man From U.N.C.L.E. was one of my favorite movies this year and his take on Sherlock Holmes is brilliant. But sigh, it got pushed to February, so that doesn't bode well for the movie at all. The more I thought about it, the more I really was getting excited for this video game adaptation. I am a HUGE, GINORMOUS Assassin's Creed fan and the world they've built within the video games. It's historical fiction taken to the extreme with a healthy dose of sci-fi shenanigans mixed in. I think there's a wealth of storytelling opportunities and Michael Fassbender seems to agree - he's not only starring, but helping to produce the movie. Now the film isn't following any particular video game from the series, but embarking on it's own narrative. It's borrowing heavily from the first game and Fassbender will play a modern day dude who finds out he can relive the memories of his ancestors, who just happen to be part of a group of Assassin's who are in a age-old struggle with another group of movers and shakers - the Templars. I don't know how this will turn out - there's a tremendous amount of talent in the cast, but a relative newbie behind the camera with Justin Kurzel. I think this could be the film to finally break the video game movie curse. There hasn't been a successful video game movie that was both a financial and critical success. Resident Evil is by far the biggest example of box office success (and you could even argue that's not true) and it's clearly a fairly derivative horror/action series. So the pressure is insane for this movie in the bigger picture - but if everything comes together - this could be the start of a new film franchise and lay the blueprint for making successful video game movies down the road.

Runner-Ups 1 & 2 | 50-46 | 45-41 | 40-36 | 35-31 | 30-26 | 25-21 | 20-16 | 15-11 | 10-6 | 5-1


2016 Most Anticipated: Promising

Runner-Ups 1 & 2 | 50-46 | 45-41 | 40-36 | 35-31 | 30-26 | 25-21 | 20-16 | 15-11 | 10-6 | 5-1

We're on to the top 10 finally! Just to recap - there were only 20 sequels/remakes/reboots on my list this year (that includes my 10 runner-ups). So roughly 1/3 of my movies are of that variety. That's not to say there won't be more like that - it's just I'm not particularly excited for Alice Through the Looking Glass or God's Not Dead 2. So of course this list is way biased but I have a dumb blog on the internet and I have decent writing skills that everyone should hear my opinion. I do try put as much original movies as I can in the top 10. I think it's fair to get excited about sequels and sometimes they're great - but usually those movies don't end up in my top 10 list at the end of the year.

10. Hail, Caesar!
Starring: George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum
Director: Joel and Ethan Coen
Writers: Joel and Ethan Coen
Release Date: February 5
The Coen brothers have been laying low for a while now. Their last movie, Inside Llewyn Davis, from 2013, got a modest release and nice reviews, but it didn't set the awards shows on fire like their previous films have. But it seems like they're getting back to doing a more straight-up comedy here akin to O Brother Where Art Thou? and Burn After Reading. This time, they're tackling old-school Hollywood and I'm super stoked to see what hijinks they can conjure up. I really don't care too much about movies that involve making movies like The Artist - gawd what a pretentious piece of work that was. But I'll give the benefit of the doubt to the Coen brothers. The cast looks stellar - it's nothing but A-list stars and the only thing I'm hesitant about is how many characters can they shove in this movie? But the Coen brothers are adept at large ensembles and frantic, quick, witty dialogue so I'm not too worried. I think this might end up being a lot like Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel - where everyone's got their moment to shine and it moves gloriously. I'm surprised this isn't getting a better release date - February isn't exactly Oscar season, but maybe the studio knows this won't play well with the awards crowd because it is a broad comedy? I don't know, but I do know this should be highly entertaining with all the talent involved.

9. Star Trek Beyond
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg
Director: Justin Lin
Writers: Simon Pegg, Doug Jung, Robert Orci, John D. Payne, Patrick McKay
Release Date: July 22
Wow, who knew that a Star Trek movie could court such controversy? First, the production has had some drama - Robert Orci, the writer of the previous two Star Treks, was set to direct, but was kicked out of the director's chair for who knows what reason. Simon Pegg and Doug Jung were brought in to re-write the script:
Pegg had been asked to make this new film "more inclusive", stating that the solution was to "make a western or a thriller or a heist movie, then populate that with Star Trek characters so it's more inclusive to an audience that might be a little bit reticent." Orci, Payne and McKay are given official "written by" credit alongside Pegg and Jung, although Pegg clarified that neither he nor Jung had read the existing script before crafting their own for the film.
I'm probably one of the few who really enjoyed Into Darkness and was pretty pumped for the new trailer. A LOT of Star Trek fans were upset over the new trailer - they feel it's going to be Fast and Furious in space and not stay true to the spirit of exploration from the other movies/shows. I understand the complaints, but how can you make a broad science fiction action adventure film that has the same tone and vibe of the original movies or tv shows? It just wouldn't work today and frankly, the movies need to find an audience beyond (pun not intended, but enjoyed!) just the Trekkies. Plus a two-minute trailer focused on generating excitement for the widest possible audience doesn't mean the movie will not live up to the spirit of Star Trek. I think Simon Pegg will make sure that the script is worthy of a Star Trek film and I think the Fast and Furious director Justin Lin will bring a healthy dose of action and fun into the film. I'm super excited about this film because the franchise now doesn't have to live in the shadow of Khan and that legacy. It can be something new and refreshing and I hope they just make a fun adventure movie that doesn't have the 'epic' feeling of a lot of these summer blockbusters. You know, like the whole human race will die if the Star Trek crew doesn't save the day.

8. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisenberg
Director: Zack Snyder
Writers: Christ Terrio, David S. Goyer
Release Date: March 25
Every new trailer they pop out into the internet for this mega-blockbuster, I kind of lose interest a little bit. Don't get me wrong - there's a reason it's number 8 on my list. But I'm getting a little bit worried this might just be one hot mess. I enjoyed Man of Steel a lot and thought Zack Snyder was a good fit for the reboot. I'm pretty much the only one who's enjoyed all of his movies, yes including Sucker Punch. Snyder is back and whether or not this is a direct sequel to Man of Steel is still up for debate. Although there are images from Man of Steel in almost all the trailers that recall that movie, And I think Affleck and Eisenberg were brilliant choices for Batman and Lex Luthor. It's just that the film, from what I gather in the trailers, feels like it's poking you in the ribs, like "HEY! See these two iconic characters? They're in a movie. TOGETHER. And they're FIGHTING EACH OTHER! How cool is that?" Maybe that's just the trailer, but if the movie kind of has that same vibe where the whole it is just building to an epic fight, then I will be disappointed. I think the best part about these kinds of movies - where you're anticipating a showdown or climax - is the buildup and if it's not carefully executed and there aren't enough reasons to enjoy the characters, then it's a failure. I certainly hope Snyder can pull this off because DC comics needs this to work in order for their master plan of a Justice League franchise is kaput. I think if you would've asked me two years ago or longer, this would have been number one by far on my list. But times have changed and Marvel is the king of good superhero movies and I think this is DC's chance to prove themselves.

7. Keanu
Starring: Will Forte, Luis Guzmán, Keegan-Michael Key
Director: Peter Atencio
Writers: Jordan Peele, Alex Rubens
Release Date: April 22
Key and Peele are one of the more clever and funnier comediens out there and after they finished up their Comedy Central show, they decide to make a movie. It sounds pretty amazing:
More specifically, EW says that Keanu tells the story of two "blerds" ("black nerds") who impersonate gangsters in order to infiltrate a drug cartel, which - for reasons unknown - is in possession of their stolen cat, Keanu. So it's probably safe to assume that that's Keanu in the photo above, then, and not some evil kitten who's taken two blerds hostage.
This entire movie was basically the most expensive adorable-kitten video of all time...Overall it’s meant to satirize how pop culture paints masculinity and what it means to be African-American — and how many of us don’t fit into the mold expected of us.
Yes, I'm excited. There doesn't seem to be a lot of comedies coming out next year (granted, this year was full of a lot of fun comedies), so I'm even more excited about what Key & Peele can bring to the big screen.

6. Suicide Squad
Starring: Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Will Smith
Director: David Ayer
Writer: David Ayer
Release Date: August 5
Probably the more promising DC comics movie, Suicide Squad just seems to be taking a bigger risk and making sure creativity wins out over playing it safe. I mean, David Ayer, the writer of Training Day and the director behind some truly gritty films like End of Watch and Fury, is behind the camera and I think his unique vision and gritty demeanor are a perfect fit for the story of a bunch of villains donning the hero mask. And the cast looks fantastic, I think Jared Leto will leave his own mark on the iconic Joker and Margot Robbie looks to be the standout among the whole cast. It just looks sadistic and perfect. I think calling this a superhero movie is disingenuous, this is something altogether unique and hopefully the movie hits the right notes. Judging by the trailer, this movie should be a perfect end to the summer.

Runner-Ups 1 & 2 | 50-46 | 45-41 | 40-36 | 35-31 | 30-26 | 25-21 | 20-16 | 15-11 | 10-6 | 5-1


2016 Most Anticipated: Change

Runner-Ups 1 & 2 | 50-46 | 45-41 | 40-36 | 35-31 | 30-26 | 25-21 | 20-16 | 15-11 | 10-6 | 5-1

While these next set of movies seem familiar, they're not quite directly related to and earlier movie (well, except for one). These are like cousins or something. I think this is great - I mean, a lot of attention next year is centered on a few big-time sequels, but despite that small handful, there's a lot of risky moves for the studio by taking existing properties and trying something different. It's a welcome change from just writing a direct sequel with all the same characters. And yes, I'm fully aware of my hypocrisy here by ranking the direct sequel as the top movie in this section. I can't help myself, I'm just excited about that one despite all the alarm bells going off that it might be terrible.

15. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell
Director: David Yates
Writer: J.K. Rowling
Release Date: November 18
Okay, I'm a HUGE Harry Potter fan, I've obsessed over the books and movies for countless hours. That being said, I have yet to pick up Rowling's side project set in the same universe - Fantastic Beasts. I really don't know too much about the books and if they're any good. But I feel a tinge more excited knowing that it takes place 70 years before the events of Harry Potter and it's in New York. Add the fact you have a fantastic cast - Eddie Redmayne (who one an Oscar last year for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking), the up-and-coming Ezra Miller (the new Flash) and Katherine Waterston (Steve Jobs), the underrated Colin Farrell, and frickin' Ron Perlman. The film is being helmed by previous Potter director David Yates and I love what he did with the last four films in Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling wrote the screenplay and it'll be interesting to see how she handles adapting her book to screen. This is her first real screenplay, so I'm a little wary of how that'll turn out. But there's lots of promise here and I'm excited to delve deep into the wizarding world again!

14. Ghostbusters
Starring: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon
Director: Paul Feig
Writers: Katie Dippold, Paul Feig
Release Date: July 15
Hooray for feminism! After being talked about for years and years, alls it took was for a few women to get together and decide they're doing their own damn Ghostbusters movie. Screw Channing Tatum and Chris Pratt (please don't, they're nice guys, but we just don't need you in this movie as well). And this is a straight-on reboot. The story is about a couple of scientists that posit ghosts are real and get laughed out of the scientific community. Then ghosts start to invade Manhattan and the two ladies form the Ghostbusters. This is probably a good decision - they're won't be any baggage from the other two movies that the movie has to address - it can live and die on its own. What's great is that Chris Hemsworth is making an appearance as the receptionist for the team. And although the movie will miss the cameo of  Harold Ramis (RIP), the rest of the original cast will show up. Well, except for Rick Moranis, who is apparently too good for a cameo. That's fine, the movie doesn't need to reflect too long on the past - as long as the story is good and it's just as funny as the original, this should be a slam dunk for the studio. Katie Dippold, who's known for working on Parks & Rec and the Bullock/McCarthy buddy cop movie The Heat, is writing the script. I'm confident this will be a blast.

13. Doctor Strange
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton
Director: Scott Derrickson
Writers: C. Robert Cargill, Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer, Jon Spaihts
Release Date: November 4
So far, Marvel's riskiest movies have paid off pretty well. Guardians of the Galaxy was the second-highest grossing movie in 2014 and Ant-Man was successful critically and financially - topping Captain America and Thor's worldwide grosses. So while Captain America: Civil War will capture most of the attention, Doctor Strange continues Marvel's experiment with oddball, quirky and fairly unknown superheroes that nonetheless have a devoted fanbase. I was a little wary with the choice of Cumberbatch for the role, but seeing him dressed up above, I feel a little bit more confident he's going to be a good fit. Marvel really hasn't missed a beat, even if Avengers 2 wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Plus the cast looks to be fantastic - Rachel McAdams has always been solid in everything she does and it sounds like she's playing the Natalie Portman role of this origin story. Mads Mikkelsen (better known as TV's Hannibal) will be protraying the villain and I just can't even. AND THEN you have Tilda Swinton playing The Ancient One, the mentor of Strange. This is great because Swinton is like a chameleon in every role she plays. Seriously, did you see her in Snowpiercer? And then see her in Trainwreck. Yes, those two are the same person! I love how they traded in the male character in the comics for a female. So yeah, the more I hear about this movie, the more I'm getting excited for it. This is another huge step/risk for Marvel and if they can pull this movie off, there's no character they can't turn into a hit (can we please just get a Black Widow movie now?). Phase 3 for Marvel is going to be great - we'll see the end of Captain America and Thor, the continuation of Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, new characters with Black Panter and Doctor Strange and Captain Marvel. So while the superhero genre is getting crowded, I think Marvel is doing a great job and mixing things up every year.

12. Warcraft
Starring: Travis Fimmel, Dominic Cooper, Paula Patton
Director: Duncan Jones
Writers: Duncan Jones, Charles Leavitt
Release Date: June 10
Speaking of risks, this is probably the most riskiest movie on the whole list. Universal has had a banner year (Furious 7, Jurassic World, Minions all topped a billion worldwide), but we'll see if that streak continues with Warcraft next year. There's been lots of rumors swirling around that the studio is a little worried about how to market this movie and its summer blockbuster prospects. While the budget isn't insane ($100 million reportedly), it's still going to sink or swim on whether it can cross half a billion worldwide. I've always loved the Warcraft strategy games. World of Warcraft is a universe I never want to step into - it just doesn't appeal to me. But the original games were fun and the stories were actually good. And it looks like the movie is basing itself more on the original strategy games than the mega-successful online World of Warcraft game. Which may or may not appeal to those fans, but I'm guessing is the better move for a more wide-appealing, critical success. While the movie looks pretty much like a LOTR clone, I think this can stand out with an exceptional story and characters. Duncan Jones has proven he's a great filmmaker - Moon and Source Code were great science fiction movies and I trust he can turn this fantasy epic into something special.

11. X-Men: Apocalypse
Starring: James McAvoy, Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender
Director: Bryan Singer
Writer: Simon Kinberg
Release Date: May 27
I was super duper excited for X-Men: Days of Future Past, but was left feeling a little disappointed by the whole thing. It was still a fun movie, but First Class still remains the high bar for this franchise. I'm still excited for this movie even if the trailer leaves a little to be desired. I'm not going to lie, I kinda blame Bryan Singer for all of this. Sure, he handled the first two X-Men admirably, but the whole genre has moved beyond those films and I felt like Days of Future Past, which was his lauded return to the franchise as somewhat of a 'safe' and fairly by-the-books superhero movie. I think Singer is talented, but he just doesn't appeal to me and he feels a little granola in a way. Sure, you're going to get a decent film, but will it be memorable? Okay, it sounds like I'm bashing the whole film, but there's a lot to love here. Apocalypse continues the decade evolution of the X-Men and we've hit the 80s now. I kinda wish they'd just go full cheese with colorful suits and crimpy hairdos and leg warmers and SPANDEX. I mean, let's be honest - if the movie just embraced this 80s mentality, it might actually stand out. But the trailer looks like they're all wearing drabby grey clothes. Sigh. Oscar Isaac (who last melted your hearts as Poe Dameron, the love interest for Finn in Star Wars. Seriously, there's a bromance there waiting to happen), well, he's playing the badass Apocalypse who is just this insane mutant who has lived forever and can control other mutants and do some pretty bad ass shit. So yeah, this could be fun if they decide to raise the stakes a little bit and kill off a few, substantial characters. But I'm a little hesitant to get too excited - it still is Bryan Singer here and I feel like the studio is going to play it safe instead of making something truly memorable.

Runner-Ups 1 & 2 | 50-46 | 45-41 | 40-36 | 35-31 | 30-26 | 25-21 | 20-16 | 15-11 | 10-6 | 5-1


2016 Most Anticipated: OMG

Runner-Ups 1 & 2 | 50-46 | 45-41 | 40-36 | 35-31 | 30-26 | 25-21 | 20-16 | 15-11 | 10-6 | 5-1

Out of the top 25 movies I've picked this year - only 10 of them are remakes or sequels or part of a series. That's pretty impressive. I know I sound like a broken record every year, but as much as Hollywood is unoriginal, there's always at least a dozen really good, original movies that come out each year. There is one sequel in this section and they all look promising.

20. How to Be Single
Starring: Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Leslie Mann
Director: Christian Ditter
Writer: Dana Fox, Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein
Release Date: February 12
You know what I'm excited about? A bunch of ladies finally taking over R-rated comedies. I mean, would you rather watch this movie or the one where Robert DeNiro says 'fuck' a lot? I mean, that's the only draw of Dirty Grandpa, right? And if the funny ladies weren't taking over right now, we'd get a lot of sad, misogynistic 'comedies' like that awful turd of a movie. So thank god this movie looks fairly fun and funny. I'm not the biggest Rebel Wilson fan (I don't think she steals every scene she's in), but I'll taker her here as the sidekick to doe-eyed Dakota Johnson. I'm always down for those comedies about friendships and finding out who you are while trading dick (well, in this case, vagina) jokes. Funny ladies Leslie Mann and Alison Brie also show up in this movie and I honestly hope that this movie is more about friendship than a romantic comedy. Even though I'm a sucker for romantic comedies, I'd rather see an honest movie about being single than a forced romance. I mean, the movie title says it all and I'll be plenty unhappy if they deceive me like that. Very unhappy.

19. Conner4Real
Starring: Andy Samberg, Imogen Poots, Sarah Silverman
Director: Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone
Writers: Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone
Release Date: June 3
The second movie by the Lonely Island crew - their first was the underrated Hot Rod - looks to be pretty hilarious. At least, on paper. The plot revolves around a rapper who's latest album bombs and is forced to reunite with his boy band roots. I can only assume that lots of funny hijinks will ensue. I mean, Andy Samberg is tearing it up on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the funniest show on TV right now. And his friends from SNL are all responsible for the digital shorts and pretty much any good skit on the show from 5 years ago. Plus the Lonely Island rap group are pretty awesome as well with such hits like I Just Had Sex and YOLO. I have a good feeling there's going to be some great songs with this movie and probably a ton of stupid jokes that I'll giggle to uncontrollably. Sign me up!

18. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Starring: Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman
Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Writer: Robert Carlock
Release Date: March 4
Another comedy, but probably with a little more serious bent, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot tells the true story of Kim Barker, a war correspondent in Afghanistan and Pakistan and her experience being a woman reporter on the frontlines. The movie looks like it's going to have a good balance of laugh out loud jokes with some very serious, holy shit moments. I think seeing the war we fought in Afghanistan through these types of lens is an easy pill to swallow for me. Some of the experiences Barker has had will hopefully translate well on screen and give us a little bit different look at the war and those that report on it. I mean, the trailer kind of pinpoints how seriously fucked up it is over there when Barker is explaining to one of the woman that she went to Afghanistan to escape her boring, insufferable life. I'm excited to see Fey's performance and the directors, who've had a pretty weird directing filmography (The eclectic I Love You, Phillip Morris, Crazy, Stupid, Love and Focus), should bring at least a unique perspective to things. Plus Margot Robbie is in this and I'm telling you guys, it's the year of Robbie. And I'm pretty sure she's going to nail each and every movie,

17. Passengers
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt
Director: Morten Tyldum
Writer: Jon Spaihts
Release Date: December 21
Passengers was one of those black list movies (The black list is a list of unproduced screenplays that are highly regarded) waaay back in 2007. It's lingered in development hell for almost 8 years before the saving grace of our lady Jennifer Lawrence and master Chris Pratt. Hollywood's biggest ambassadors are here to take this script and probably make a billion dollar baby out of it. The story is about a spaceship transporting humans through space and a malfunction causes one of the passengers to wake up from cryogenic sleep. Afraid of being left alone his whole life, he wakes up a female passenger to keep him company. I mean, the concept sounds great. If the execution and the rest of the story is told well, then this might be not only a great science fiction movie, but also an Oscar contender. Morten Tyldum, the Oscar-nominated director from The Imitation Game is directing and I think he'll do a fantastic job creating a space for hopefully some great performances from both leads. John Spaihts looks to have a fantastic year with this screenplay and he's had a hand in Marvel's Doctor Strange movie as well. So I'm excited - I think because the movie is coming out a year from now that this movie isn't higher on my list. As the release date gets closer, I might just get more excited about this one.

16. Untitled Bourne Movie
Starring: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Julia Stiles
Director: Paul Greengrass
Writers: Matt Damon, Paul Greengrass, Christopher Rouse
Release Date: July 29
I probably shouldn't have this movie as high as it is, but A) please don't judge me B) it's another Bourne movie C) this Bourne movie reunites Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass and D) it can't be worse that Bourne Legacy, right? Maybe the movie will take place 10 years later. I love time jumps in movies/shows. That could be the best thing for this series - get away from the trilogy's story and bring in a new threat for Bourne and make him vulnerable. I'm confident that Greengrass and Damon can come up with something - they are writing the script along with Rouse, who's been the editor for all of Greengrass's movies. The only thing is, are people going to be open to another Bourne film? I think Damon has proven he can still draw audiences with a great character/story (The Martian was a near-perfect vessel for Damon this year). And Bourne is still pretty well-known, so we'll see. I'm excited to hear more about the story - which I think this is where the film will sink or swim. If it's more of a re-tread on the trilogy, then I think it's a failure. If they can move past Bourne's legacy (pun intended, folks!) than this could be a great start to another set of movies.

Runner-Ups 1 & 2 | 50-46 | 45-41 | 40-36 | 35-31 | 30-26 | 25-21 | 20-16 | 15-11 | 10-6 | 5-1