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The Only 2016 Film List You Need

Posted January 4, 2016 by Max in Featured


With the beginning of every new year comes a time for looking forward. No longer will we be interested in the films released in 2015, those films are simply old fashioned. The time to explore 2016 has arrived and in that case here are some films you absolutely must keep on your radar this year.

Also, this list will only cover about ten films and I will try to point out exciting work that is not in the Star Wars / Marvel / DC universe. If you are excited about films in those franchises, chances are you already know films are coming and they will be of varying degrees of acceptability.

For a more complete list here are some places recommend checking out:


Film School Rejects

The Playlist


10.  The Free State of Jones


Director: Gary Ross

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Keri Russell, Jacob Lofland

Excited: Mostly for the cast on this one. Gary Ross directed the first Hunger Games movie and had an extremely lucrative deal from it if I remember. Something like a percentage of the profits. He basically could make any film he wanted to this time around so he decided to make a film about the Civil War and a Southerner who falls for a slave. McConaughey and Mbatha-Raw together should make for an interesting film although the March release doesn’t inspire much confidence. Let’s hope for the best.

9.  John Wick 2


Director: Chad Stahelski

Starring:  Keanu ReevesBridget MoynahanRuby Rose, Laurence Fishburne

Excited: John Wick was one hell of a fun ride. If this means more of the first one, then I’m on board. While there have been other movies that have gone for non-stop violence with only a small thread of a plot to hold it together, John Wick maintained the momentum throughout and gave us the best Keanu Reeves in a long time. With a mini-Matrix reunion being rumored as Laurence Fishburne is joining the cast, hopes are high that the sequel doesn’t disappoint.

8.  The Neon Demon


Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Jena Malone, Christina Hendricks, Elle Fanning

Excited: Nicolas Winding Refn directed one of my favorite pictures of the last couple years with Drive. While he followed that up with a film many called disappointing, perhaps this film will meet expectations. IMDB has a brief summary of the film “When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.”

7.  Hail, Caesar!

Director: Joel and Ethan Coen

Starring: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Channing Tatum

Excited: The Coen’s directing a new film would likely be enough for many film affectionados to be on board, but with a cast and premise as delightfully entertaining as they have assembled, there’s little reason to be afraid of this one. If you were looking for the absolute best bet of a high quality film on this list, I point you to this direction.

6.  Passengers


Director:  Morten Tyldum

Starring: Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence

Excited: To start, here’s the synopsis from IMDB: A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in one of its sleep chambers. As a result, a single passenger is awakened 60 years early. Faced with the prospect of growing old and dying alone, he eventually decides to wake up a second passenger.

So, Jennifer Lawrence not in a Hunger Games film or a film directed by O’Russell sounds like a big win at this point. Not only that but the film is being billed as a Sci-fi romance picture with Chris Pratt, something he has a little bit of experience with. The only weak link is Morten Tyldum who directed last years competent Imitation Game. Hopefully this time he has the right equation.

5.  Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk


Director: Ang Lee

Starring: Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Steve Martin, Vin Diesel, Chris Tucker

Excited: Apparently based off a best-selling novel, an infantry man (Hedlund) recollects his final hours before leaving Iraq. While the premise doesn’t sound exactly riveting, this is Ang Lee we are talking about. I’m not sure he has made a terrible picture since 2003. Also, look at this cast! Extremely intrigued about the possibilities and will be looking out for this for sure. The only problem is that IMDB lists this as a November 2016 film, so it will be sometime before we can see this one.

4.  Everybody Wants Some

Director: Richard Linklater

Starring: Zoey DeutchTyler HoechlinBlake Jenner

Excited: After the one-two punch of Before Midnight and Boyhood, Richard Linklater is going back to his roots. This time he is making a spiritual sequel to his hit film Dazed and Confused, this time focusing in on the 80s. Using an unknown cast like he did in Dazed and Confused, the film follows young adults as they explore their unsupervised adulthood.

3.  Silence


Director: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Liam Neeson, Adam Driver, Andrew Garfield

Excited: Martin Scorsese. Really that’s enough to sell me on the film and it will probably be enough for you too. We know extremely little about this film, only that we hope that it does come out this year.

2.  La La Land


Director: Damien Chazelle

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone

Excited: From the director of the award winning Whiplash, comes a musical featuring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Did I just sell you on the film, because that was enough for me. Whiplash proved that Damien Chazelle has the goods and as seen in previous films, Gosling and Stone have amazing chemistry together. Even if somehow the film isn’t good, it will surely still be a delight.

1. Midnight Special

Director: Jeff Nichols

Starring: Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Jaeden Lieberher, Sam Shepard

Excited: Previously my most anticipated film of 2015 becomes my most anticipated film of 2016. From the director of Take Shelter and Mud, a father (Shannon) must protect his son (Lieberher) and find out the truth behind the boy’s special powers. Let’s see what Nichols can do with a sizable budget. After Mud, he signed a deal with Warner Bros and that gave him a little bit of control about what his next project will be. Now it is almost here and with this cast on board there can be little exception, but greatness.


You’ve heard about mine. What are some of your most anticipated films of the year?

About the Author


Chief Editor of Impassionedcinema. A film enthusiast who studies and creates his own films. Criticizing movies is his favorite pass-time.