Alright, let's get down to business. While 2015 has been an exceptional year, I'm feeling a bit of fatigue for next year. There isn't a whole lot that jumps out at me that I can pinpoint as definitively the most exciting film to look forward to. There are a lot of pretty rad-looking films next year, but I don't know, I think I my brain might have fizzled out this year. Maybe I'm getting older and more senile and grumpier. Who knows? I'm still excited, but maybe my expectations are more tempered this year and I'm just going to play it cool.
50. Jane Got a Gun
Starring: Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Joel Edgerton
Director: Gavin O'Connor
Writers: Brian Duffield, Anthony Tambakis, Joel Edgerton
Release Date: January 29
Probably the most drama-filled production on this list, I've had to move Jane Got a Gun twice (it showed up two years ago on my 2014 list! And then again in my 2015 list). In fact, I'm gonna be lazy and just re-post what I wrote a year ago:
The movie has had a revolving door of cast members and the original director, Lynne Ramsay, didn't bother to show up the first day. Sooooo, yeah, this movie was originally on last year's list, but of course it got pushed back. Now for details - Natalie Portman stars as Jane (duh!) who asks her old boyfriend to help rescue her asshole of a husband from being murdered by outlaws. So this is a western and it seems like every year this genre tries desperately to claw back into our cultural consciousness and every year most people pass on them. For every True Grit, there's a Lone Ranger. But I actually really, really enjoy the genre and it's sad to see it getting very little love. I doubt this movie will change anyone's mind about it, but I'm excited to see Natalie Portman wielding a gun and being a badass. This movie is coming out relatively soon, so don't be surprised if this gets pushed back further into the year.It's unfortunate it's getting a shitty release date, but at least it's not being regulated to a VOD or DVD release. I think this looks like this could be kick-ass and who doesn't want to see Portman shooting bad guys?
49. The Boss
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell
Director: Ben Falcone
Writers: Ben Falcone, Steve Mallory, Melissa McCarthy
Release Date: April 8
Melissa McCarthy has been hit or miss with me. She's such a great comedian and comedic actress that I'm befuddled that she'll pick the worst movies like Identity Thief and Tammy that seem so focused on her physical comedy and shoe-horning her into terrible, weirdo-type roles. But Spy turned out to be pretty damn good this year and I like how she's killing the profane-Oprah look here. I don't know how this will end up but her husband (Ben Falcone, who can be seen showing up in all her movies) is directing, just like he did in the awful Tammy. I love Kristen Bell and I think this is a sublime pairing, so hopefully they'll feed off each other in this movie. This is like a modern take on Troop Beverly Hills with a more obvious adult-bent on comedy. I like it and R-rated comedies have become such a boon ever since The Hangover - McCarthy is riding that wave - let's hope this turns out to be another clever comedy like Spy rather than relying on cheap jokes and dumb visual/phsysical gags.
48. The Divergent Series: Allegiant
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Zoë Kravitz
Director: Robert Schwentke
Writers: Noah Oppenheim, Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Stephen Chbosky
Release Date: March 18
After the first movie, I was on board. I was excited to see where the story would go and who Shailene Woodley would throw knives at next. But sadly, Insurgent was such a mess that the only reason this movie is on the list is that I want to see this series to its bitter end. Unfortunately that means sitting through another book adaptation split into two movies. I'm guessing much like every other time this has happened (except for Harry Potter) that this will end up hurting both movies rather than serving as a deeper reflection on the third book. From what I've heard, Insurgent diverged (pun intended) so wildly from the book that even Maggie couldn't understand what the hell is happening. I've seen this trailer 3 times and I still don't know what the hell is going on. And when the trailer is that incoherent, you've got a problem. I love how the movie has tried to shove in a love triangle by mixing in another badass lady for Theo James to oogle at. And the special effects look so poorly made in that flying contraption scene that I feel like I'm watching a SyFy Channel exclusive, rather than a large franchise-type movie. I'm interested in what it all means, but at what cost?
Starring: Margot Robbie, Alexander Skarsgård, Christoph Waltz
Director: David Yates
Writers: Stuart Beattie, Craig Brewer, John Collee, Adam Cozad
Release Date: July 1
Every year sees a star bursting out onto the scene and 2016 might be the year of Robbie. Margot Robbie has been circling around, garnering praise for Wolf of Wall Street a couple years ago. This year, she's in 3 big-time movies and Tarzan might be the least talked-about right now. But come summer time, this is going to be a huge blockbuster movie for Warner Bros. Whether anyone is interested in seeing Tarzan on the big screen is up for debate. And much like Edgar Rice Burrough's other big-time fictional character, John Carter, this might end up being a bust. Tarzan is instantly more recognizable than John Carter and instead of treading ground on a well-worn origins story, the movie plans on showing Tarzan coming back to the Congo. The plot as summarized on Wikipedia: It has been years since the man once known as Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård) left the jungles of Africa behind for a gentrified life in London as John Clayton III, Lord Greystoke, with his beloved wife, Jane Porter (Margot Robbie) at his side. Now, 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 the Belgian Captain Rom (Christoph Waltz). I'm actually eager to see a trailer and I love the idea of coming home-type story for the character. The cast is buzz-worthy and David Yates, the man who finished off the Harry Potter movies, is an exciting choice. I loved his grim take on the last few Potter books and political drama is familiar as he also did the State of Play miniseries which is fantastic as well.
46. Keeping Up With the Joneses
Starring: Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot, Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher
Director: Greg Mottola
Writer: Michael LaSieur
Release Date: April 1
I have mixed feelings about this movie. On one hand, this could be a great, I love the cast - it's a mix of up-and-comers and veteran comedians. Galifianakis can be hit or miss - he plays a certain schtick with his oddball characters and sometimes those fall a bit flat (The Campaign). Other times he's brilliant (Between Two Ferns). And Gal Gadot is going to break out this year as well with her turn as Wonder Woman. Jon Hamm, while known for his dramatic turn in Mad Men, has always been funny - his hosting on SNL and casting in 30 Rock are solid. Isla Fisher has been around for a while, with a few hits under her belt (Now You See Me) and I've always enjoyed her in pretty much everything. The story follows a couple who become embroiled in an international espionage plot when they find out their new neighbors are government spies. Sure, I'll take that premise - especially when Greg Mottola (the director of Superbad) is behind the camera. I think he's a solid comedic director and I'll reserve more judgement until I see a trailer.