Most Anticipated Films of 2016

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Well we’re already over a whole month into 2016; can you believe that? Just like last year, the team here at XXIV can scarcely contain our excitement when looking at the slate of upcoming films for this year, so without further ado here’s what we think you should getting pumped for in 2016.

Hail Caesar! – Amy Planner

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The New Year always brings a fresh new list of potential film goodies and after the year that was 2015, 2016 sure has a lot to live up to in my book. It will once again be a year of sequels with the likes of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, new X-Men instalments, Finding Dory and Star Trek Beyond topping my very long list.

And after much deliberation over potential golden nuggets like Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, Deadpool, Suicide Squad and the all female Ghostbusters, I have apprehensively settled on Hail, Caesar! as my most anticipated film of 2016.

Hail, Caesar! is the newest Coen bros film and it’s promising a whole lot of Hollywood glam and hysterics. Following the likes of The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, Burn After Reading and a stack of other unspeakably gigantic films, Hail, Caesar! is bound to fit nicely on that list.

Joel and Ethan Coen have written and directed this one after the last few films were in the capable hands of Angelina Jolie (Unbroken) and Steven Spielberg (Bridge of Spies).

Hail, Caesar! is a comedy starring just a little list of some of Hollywood’s elite; Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Channing Tatum – not too shabby, right?

Set in the Golden Era of Hollywood, Hail, Caesar! follows the story of Eddie Mannix, a Olivia Pope styled ‘fixer’ working in the film industry when the worlds biggest star, Baird Whitlock is kidnapped.

This is my pick because it’s got that Coen-esque uniqueness about it and I don’t have any sequel-plagued predispositions ready to jump out and ruin my movie moment.

So what happens when you mix awesome actors, unique storytellers, a tap-dancing Channing Tatum in to a comedy – well, who knows but it’s got to be pretty great, right?

 

Suicide Squad - Angelique Komninoglou

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I don’t know if it’s just me, but all superhero movies seem to draw me to the big screen as I believe they’re the epitome of the cinematic experience. And 2016 is looking to be a crazy good year for both Marvel and DC, so this was a very difficult decision to make. But as much as I’m looking forward to the hilarious Deadpool and epic Civil War clash, I find myself dying – pun completely intended – to see Suicide Squad, and it therefore ranks first as my most anticipated film of this year.

Although it could be prematurely written off as just another cut-and-dried superhero movie, the leaked trailer after last year’s SDCC – which has now racked up over 60 million views on YouTube – surprised us all by showing a refreshing emphasis on the baddies and a much more somber tone, turning previous tropes on their heads.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen an interpretation of the legendary group of death-row antiheroes grace our screens, starring most recently in the CW’s Arrow, but this is the first time they are appearing in a theatrical release in what will be the third instalment of the DC Extended Universe.

The basic premise is that the inmates are recruited by a secret government agency to carry out dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency, and the characters will be portrayed by an impressively diverse cast; including the likes of Will Smith, Jared Leto and model Cara Delevigne, as well as Australia’s own Margot Robbie and Jai Courtney.

And although Leto has some pretty big shoes to fill in his role as the Joker, historically played by greats like Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson and the late Heath Ledger, he is almost unrecognisable in the trailer and delivered just the right amount of crazy to convince us to come back for more.

The film is being written and directed by the esteemed David Ayer, known for Fury and Training Day, so the adaptation has all the right ingredients to become a modern cult classic that is one-part creative, two-parts compelling – and a helluva lot of cuckoo!

The crazy is scheduled to be unleashed early August.

 

Captain America: Civil War – Jamie Doran

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The gripe that a lot of people had with the Avengers: Age of Ultron was that there were too many characters, too many side plots. Personally, the only problem that I had was with Hawkeye’s family being stuffed in there (it was sweet, but unnecessary, IMHO), but to those who weren’t happy with the Avengers growing cast…

You’re not going to be too impressed with Captain America: Civil War.

With the crew comprising of Captain America, the Winter Solider, Falcon, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Scarlett Witch, Ant-Man and introducing Crossbones, Black Panther and Spider-Man, anyone not too happy with the bulging cast in Avengers: Age of Ultron won’t see that problem fixed, rather exacerbated.

The third installment in the Captain America franchise follows up from arguably the best Marvel film yet in Captain America: The Winter Soldier which saw Cap uncover Hydra and their secret weapon – the Winter Solider, otherwise known as his amigo from back in the day, Bucky Barnes.

Now, Cap 3 will focus on the civil war between Captain America and Iron Man – one believes that superheroes should be registered by the government (Stark), one believes that’s a really bad idea (Cap). It’s very Professor X / Magneto, really. The rest of the superheroes take sides, have their own agendas and subplots… most of them revolving around the Winter Solider.

Not much is known about the plot just yet but if Winter Solider is anything to go by we can rest assured that the Russo Brothers haven’t left anything by the wayside. If you’re a fan of Marvel films, or superhero films in general (barring Batman v Superman, there are some things I can’t get behind – #Batffleck), Captain America: Civil War is going to be a hot topic come May.

 

Triple 9 – Tobias Handke

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When it comes to Australian directors, none are more underrated than Queenslander John Hillcoat. While his output is sporadic you can’t question the results. From gritty western The Proposition to the post-apocalyptic The Road through to bootlegging caper Lawless, his films always have a sense of menace about them, and cop drama Triple 9 looks to follow suit.

Based on Matt Cook’s Black List script, the film centres on a gang of criminals and corrupt cops, led by Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Michael Belmont, who are blackmailed by the Russian mob to pull off an impossible heist. The plan they concoct involves manufacturing a 999; police code for “officer down”, with rookie cop Chris Allen (Casey Affleck) the unsuspecting mark. The premise sounds simple enough, but as this is a Hillcoat film, you can expect many layers to both plot and characters along with beautiful direction and stunning cinematography.

If my synopsis doesn’t sell you then check out the red-band trailer. It looks set to be an action-packed thrill ride chock full of violence, betrayal and revenge, with Hillcoat’s trademark grittiness showing through. Nick Cave, a long time Hillcoat alumni was first choice to score the film but had to drop out, making way for worthy replacement Atticus Ross, who has said the soundtrack is very electronic based.

Hillcoat is also known for attracting top shelf talent, and looks to have done it again with Triple 9. Ejiofor and Affleck are joined by an eclectic ensemble cast that includes big hitters Anthony Mackie, Teresa Palmer, Aaron Paul, Norman Reddus, Woody Harrelson and Kate Winslet as the Russian moll blackmailing the crew. The support cast also includes terrific character actors Clifton Collins Jr. and Michael K. Williams as well as the new Wonder Woman Gal Gadot. Corrupt cops pulling of a heist is nothing new in Hollywood, but in Hillcoat’s hands and the talent at his disposal I expect great things.

 

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Timmy Bartel

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I’m the first to admit that the marketing campaign for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has already given away too much of this film, and that the film’s got a dumb name, and that it seems like they’re jamming in way too many characters, and that Zack Snyder did a piss-poor job with Man of Steel, AND that it’s time for directors to stop basing their Batmans (Batmen?) on Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, but you know what?

I’m still freaking excited.

For all intents and purposes I’ve hated almost everything I’ve heard about this film to date and I fully expect disappointment, so why am I excited? Because I’m hoping against hope that Snyder can prove me wrong. And there’ a very real chance he can do that.

See Man of Steel was disappointing because it was essentially Batman Begins with the main character swapped out for Superman. It was too dark and devoid of hope to be a Superman movie – but those sensibilities work for a movie in which Batman gets top billing. And having the Dark Knight in there might force them to make Superman more Superman-y for contrast.

Surprisingly while I am very cautious about having any expectations for this film, the casting hasn’t got me worried really at all. The internet exploded when Ben Affleck was cast as Batman/Bruce Wayne, but if you put aside the irrational disdain for Affleck that people seem to have (I call it the Anne Hathaway Effect) you’ll notice that this is the best live action Batman casting we’ve ever had. The dude looks exactly like comic Bruce Wayne and is currently doing the best work of his career. If this does well he’s even in line to direct a Batman solo-film.

Of course that’s only if it does well, and unfortunately the cards are stacked against it. Except in the case of The Dark Knight Trilogy, which owes it’s success to the auteur directing style of Christopher Nolan, Warner Brothers have an awful track record with their adaptions and now they’re racing to the Avengers shaped finishing line; slapping this out on the ASAP and including as much of the Justice League as possible, so that they can make that film (again) on the ASAP. This completely ignores the years of set up Marvel Studios put in to get to their big payoff and – ok yeah, I know, enough already.

I swear I’m looking forward to this. No, really.

 

Well there you go…

We’ll see you in 11 months to celebrate, commiserate, and edit this article so we don’t look stupid.

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