LUX 2016 Vibe: New Flicks
Think: Reboots, remakes, and the return of Malick, Spielberg, and Scorsese! Check out 21 killer flicks coming to a theater near you this year!
Hail, Caesar! - February 5th
Filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen have stayed away from wacky caper comedies over the last few years, focusing on somber character studies such as A Serious Man and Inside Llewyn Davis. But with Hail, Caesar!, they appear to be back in full-on O Brother, Where Art Thou?/Hudsucker Proxy mode, following a Hollywood fixer (Josh Brolin) as he tries to track down a kidnapped movie star (George Clooney) in the 1950s. As to be expected, the movie looks like it’ll be an immaculately designed, cleverly constructed period comedy, but we confess th at the Coens’ meticulous goofs can sometimes wear out their welcome. (O Brother is a great soundtrack in search of a story. Hudsucker Proxy is brilliant production design and golden-age-of-Hollywood satire without much soul.) So, consider Hail, Caesar! a tantalizing possibility that, nonetheless, makes us a tad anxious.
Zoolander No. 2 - February 12th
Derek and Hansel are modelling again when an opposing company attempts to take them out from the business.
Knight Of Cups - March 4th
It’s hard to think of a major filmmaker whose reputation has taken such a hit in the last few years as Terrence Malick. Just five years ago, he was the toast of the critical community with his Palme d’Or-winning opus The Tree of Life—his first film in six years—but since then he’s received plenty of derision for To the Wonder, which many felt was a carbon copy of Tree of Life’s dreamlike aesthetic, and Knight of Cups, which got very mixed reviews at last year’s Berlin Film Festival. At last, Knight of Cups hits U.S. theaters, telling the story of a disillusioned Hollywood screenwriter (Christian Bale) trying to make sense of his life and career. Costarring Cate Blanchett and Natalie Portman, the film has far less buzz than The Tree of Life, and it will be interesting to see if it inspires a torrent of “Is Malick over?” think-pieces. For our money, though, even minor Malick is still pretty major, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed.
Midnight Special - March 18th
Jeff Nichols is a talented indie filmmaker who first sprang onto the scene with Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter, both starring Michael Shannon. Now after 2012’s Mud, he returns with Midnight Special, his most commercial project. It’s a sci-fi thriller that once again stars Shannon, this time as a father protecting his supernaturally-powerful son, who’s being targeted by a religious cult and the government. Nichols’ dramas have always had an amazing sense of place—specifically, the South or Midwest—and been filled with lived-in, stripped-down characters. Midnight Special feels much bigger—it’s his first being distributed by a major studio (Warner Bros.) and the first with an effects budget—so it’ll be interesting to see if the intimacy of his early gems can translate to this more ambitious endeavor, which costars Adam Driver and Joel Edgerton.
Batman VS Superman: Dawn Of Justice - March 25th
Fearing the actions of Superman left unchecked, Batman takes on Superman, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero the world really needs. With Batman and Superman fighting each other, a new threat Doomsday created by Lex Luthor. Its up to Superman and Batman to set aside their difference along with Wonder Woman to stop Lex Luthor and Doomsday from destroying Metropolis.
Everybody Wants Some - April 15th
It’s billed as Dazed and Confused but set in the ‘80s, and the trailer sure plays that up: All that’s is missing is a stoner Patrick Bateman. This is Richard Linklater’s follow-up to Boyhood, but it’s right in his hey-hey-heyyyyyy-man strike zone, with a whole gaggle of wannabe McConaugheys. You can expect Linklater to embrace his inner bro, always quietly lurking beneath the empathy of some of his best pictures. After Boyhood, Linklater’s just looking for a good time, and no arguments here
The Jungle Book - April 15th
An orphan boy is raised in the jungle with the help of a pack of wolves, a bear, and a black panther.
Captain America: Civil War - May 6th
Of the non-Avengers Marvel films, Captain America: The Winter Soldier might be the best, directors Anthony and Joe Russo bringing suspense and stakes to Steve Rogers’ man-out-of-time storyline. The Russos return for this new installment, which will finally feature the showdown between Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) that’s been brewing after two Avengers’ movies’ worth of passive-aggressive tension between the superheroes. Civil War seems poised to be Marvel’s highest-grosser outside of The Avengers and its sequel, and that fact brings with it plenty of audience expectation. Considering that Avengers: Age of Ultron was widely considered to be a letdown, the studio may need to prove with Civil War that the bloom isn’t off this particular comic-book rose.
The Nice Guys - May 20th
Writer-director Shane Black survived the excesses of screenwriting superstardom back in the ‘90s (the Lethal Weapon films, The Last Boy Scout, Last Action Hero) and has emerged as one of the wittiest, most unabashedly verbal of Hollywood directors. His Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was a blast, and he upped the ante with Iron Man 3, which had more twists and surprises than any Marvel movie should have the right to have. He’s sure enjoying himself here, with Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe as ‘70s private eyes investigating the death of a porn star. It looks funny, dark and funky in an accessible way: Think Inherent Vice, but possible to follow.
X-Men: Apocalypse - May 27th
With the emergence of the world's first mutant, Apocalypse, the X-Men must unite to defeat his extinction level plan.
Finding Dory (spin off of Finding Nemo) - June 17th
The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish reunites with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the true meaning of family along the way.
Independence Day: Resurgence - June 24th
Two decades after the first Independence Day invasion, Earth is faced with a new extra-Solar threat. But will mankind's new space defenses be enough? Starring Will Smith.
The BFG - July 1st
At age 69, director Steven Spielberg has been on a hot streak of late, turning his attention to the gripping period dramas Lincoln and Bridge of Spies. For his latest outing, though, he’s shifting gears to make a family film based on Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s book about a kindly giant known as the BFG. (Mark Rylance, an Oscar frontrunner for Best Supporting Actor for his work in Bridge of Spies, voices the giant.) The BFG will be opening during a very competitive Fourth of July holiday that includes The Legend of Tarzan and The Purge 3 and represents Spielberg’s most commercial project since his wan 2011 animation adventure The Adventures of Tintin. Disney’s teaser trailer suggests an almost Tim Burton-ian sense of spookiness enveloping this film, which is not a usual mode for a Spielberg picture. We’re pretty confident he can pull it off far better than Burton can these days.
Ghostbusters - July 15th
Part of the reason the world balked initially at the idea of another Ghostbusters was that the image of an aging Dan Aykroyd donning the gray jumpsuit one more time seemed…well, less than inspiring. But even if it’s one more cash-grab reboot, an all-female Ghostbusters at least feels fresh enough to get audiences excited about what a new generation of comics can bring to the story. Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones are among the funniest people on the planet, and in director and cowriter Paul Feig (the director of Bridesmaids and Spy), they’ve got a filmmaker who’s equally comfortable with comedy, action and sentiment. The biggest worry about this new Ghostbusters is that it’s going to be just a clever concept—hey, what if the Ghostbusters were ladies!?—but we’re willing to be optimistic that these stars will bring much, much more to the premise.
Star Trek: Beyond - July 22nd
Jason Bourne (untitled) - July 29th
Not that long ago, Matt Damon sounded like he wasn’t too interested in reprising his role as Jason Bourne, especially after 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum put a satisfying cap on the trilogy. And director Paul Greengrass, who helmed Ultimatum and its predecessor, The Bourne Supremacy, seemed equally ready to move on, making Green Zone and Captain Phillips. But after the underwhelming Bourne Legacy, which starred Jeremy Renner and made us really miss Damon and Greengrass, the actor and filmmaker have reunited for a new Bourne picture, which doesn’t yet have a title. In addition, nobody seems to have any idea what it’s going to be about. (You have to love IMDb’s current plot description: “The plot is unknown.”) The Bourne trilogy helped reinvigorate the spy thriller—Daniel Craig’s Bond movies’ muscular action scenes and terse plotting are unimaginable without Bourne’s influence—but now that Skyfall took the formula to new heights, is Damon’s franchise a bit musty? That’s the bar he and Greengrass have to leap over.
The Magnificent Seven - September 23rd
Yes, it’s another unnecessary remake, but if you’re going to remake The Magnificent Seven, those seven better be pretty magnificent. It’s tough to beat the top three: Chris Pratt (who, improbably, might be the biggest movie star in the world right now) and Training Day co-stars Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke, working under their previous director Antoine Fuqua. With The Hateful Eight in danger of being Quentin Tarantino’s lowest grosser since Jackie Brown, the Western is still in need of saving. If these guys can’t do it, maybe no one can.
Doctor Strange - November 4th
Speaking of Marvel … the studio’s superhero movies have begun to take on a worrisomely familiar look, culminating in Ant-Man, a movie about a man who turns into an ant and calls this a superpower that’s too fan-servicey and obsessed with setting up future Marvel movies to have much fun with the inherent insanity of such a concept. That director Edgar Wright was run off that project has led to fears that Marvel is too obsessed with continuity and merchandise to make any of the daring choices (giving Iron Man to Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr., giving The Avengers to a TV dork like Joss Whedon) that made them so popular in the first place. Well, here’s your hope. This is a comic-book movie in which the lead character is a neurosurgeon/magician who after a car accident discovers the ability to conjure up all the “mystical entities” of the universe. This is the oddest oddball little story in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, almost an art film among the Avengers chaos, and it’ll be fascinating to see what Benedict Cumberbatch brings to the role. He’s got some top-shelf company too, with Chiwetel Ejiofor (as the bad guy Karl Mardo), Rachel McAdams, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mads Mikkelsen and Tilda Swinton as the good doctor’s mentor. In a different planet, this could have been a Coen brothers film.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - December 16th
That sigh you hear is coming from Disney’s corporate offices, where there is much relief that The Force Awakens has successfully relaunched the Star Wars franchise. Episode VIII doesn’t arrive until 2017, but in the meantime there is this spinoff film, which boasts a nifty premise. Taking place before the events of the original Star Wars, Rogue One follows a group of rebel spies as they steal the plans to the Death Star. (Remember in Star Wars when Luke and everybody attend that briefing about how they could blow up the Death Star? Rogue One shows us the undercover mission that made that attack possible.) Rogue One is directed by Gareth Edwards, who helmed the 2014 Godzilla remake, and it’s got a hell of a cast, including Felicity Jones, Ben Mendelsohn, Mads Mikkelsen, and Forest Whitaker. The commercial stakes for Rogue One won’t be nearly as high as they were for The Force Awakens, but maybe that means this movie will be its own funky beast, not so concerned with living up to the legacy of the original trilogy.
Assassin's Creed - December 21st
What’s the best movie based on a video game of all time? Mortal Kombat? Tomb Raider? Prince of Persia? The point is that Assassin’s Creed doesn’t have the highest bar to clear, and it comes with a sort of shocking pedigree. How does Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotilliard (fresh off playing Macbeth and Lady Macbeth), Brendan Gleeson, Jeremy Irons and Michael Kenneth Williams work for you? And directed by Justin Kurzel, director of the fascinating, and gory, Macbeth adaptation? This has the opportunity to feature some very smart people using a big recognizable property to make a big, very weird movie in a very different way. Color us intrigued.
Passengers - December 21st
Two of the biggest stars on the planet—Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence—team up for this sci-fi romantic drama. Set in the future, Passengers follows a spaceship carrying hibernating passengers to a distant planet. But when a computer malfunction accidentally awakens one of the passengers (Pratt) prematurely, he decides to awake another crewmember (Lawrence) so he has someone to talk to during the long journey. This follow-up film from Imitation Game director Morten Tyldum is poised to be one of the Christmas season’s bigger wild cards, competing with Rogue One, Assassin’s Creed, and the Jumanji remake, and one of its best selling points is the air of mystery its distributor Sony has placed around it.