Although a deluge of adverts may suggest otherwise, there are in fact some amazing films coming out in 2016 (some of which don’t even contain superheroes). With that in mind, we take a look at what could be the sleeper hits this year in cinema.
Release Date: February 26
George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Channing Tatum, Tilda Swinton, Scarlett Johansson, Ralph Fiennes, Frances McDormand, Jonah Hill, and Dolph Lundgren. Need we say any more? Throw in the fact that masters-at-work Joel and Ethan Coen are directing this ensemble cast and Hail, Caesar! is virtually guaranteed to be a storming success come February. After the melancholic Inside Llewyn Davis, the Coen brothers look to return to their original screwball style with a dim-witted Clooney and tap-dancing Tatum in tow.
Release Date: March 11
The Witch proclaims to be unlike any film you’ve seen before, and the creeping sense of dread conveyed in the trailer (if you manage to make it through) certainly suggests it may have achieved its goal. Writer and director Robert Eggers fashions the story of a devoutly religious family who are banished from their community. Upon setting up a new home in the middle of the woods the fractures in the family begin to open up once more when they are sieged by something in the dark.
Release Date: March 18
Following cult-hits Kill List and Sightseers, Ben Wheatley’s adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s celebrated novel looks to combine his usual pitch-black satire with deliciously stylised cinematography. Tom Hiddleston stars as an unstable doctor who watches his futuristic high-rise apartment complex erupt into a class war.
Release Date: April 15
Over just a handful of films, Jeff Nichols has become renowned for pulsating dramas and Midnight Special looks no different. Take Shelter and Mud saw Nichols combine the unbelievable and the truthful in a stunning format, and Midnight Special sees the director hoping to achieve the same tension in a different genre. Adam Driver, Michael Shannon, Kirsten Dunst and Joel Edgerton feature in Nichols’ fourth effort, described by himself as an exhilarating “sci-fi chase film”.
Knight of Cups
Release Date: April 23
Terence Malick has become well-recognised for his purposely divisive films, with few viewers being able to last his unique endurance test of ambiguous imagery. Certainly those who made it through Tree of Life are braver than us. And yet his latest, Knight of Cups, looks to be one of his most accessible to date. Malick follows screenwriter Rick (Christian Bale) as he dives headfirst into the murky world of Hollywood debauchery. The film’s ethereal, anxiety-inducing qualities look to provide a unique visual experience into the shallowest, yet most seductive setting.
Release Date: August 12
Disclaimer: I promise this film is real. Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig, Paul Rudd and James Franco star in the bawdy animation of a lost sausage who must make it back to his shelf having fallen out of a shopping trolley. Off the success of original adult animated TV programs like Bojack Horseman, Archer, Rick & Morty as well as populist hits like Family Guy and South Park, Sausage Party looks sure to exploit the weird and the wonderful. You’ve got to believe no matter how bizarre the premise, Sausage Party could be one of 2016’s wittiest films with the talent involved.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Release Date: December 16
If you were worried that you’d be missing out on your Star Wars fix until 2017 then think again. Rogue One is helmed by creature specialist Gareth Edwards, director of Godzilla, and Monsters. Taking place before the events of the original trilogy, Rogue One tells the story of the rebel soldiers who stole the Death Star plans. Thankfully, Rogue One has the license of being separated from the main episodes, allowing the film to do something unique within the confines of the well-loved Star Wars universe.
Arms and the Dudes
Release Date: TBC
If the title alone isn’t enough to win you over, frat-hero Todd Phillips (The Hangover, Old School) directs the biographical tale of two young guys who improbably become arms dealers when Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill) and David Packouz (Miles Teller) get a government contract to supply weapons for US troops in Afghanistan. Expect an eyebrow-raising political tale intertwined with Phillips’ trademark filthy bro-comedy.
Release Date: TBC
Tom Ford returns after his entrancing debut, A Single Man, for an adaptation of the well-loved book by Christopher Isherwood. The film centres on a gay college professor haunted by the death of his former lover. After a heavy bidding war, the film was sold to Focus Features for an astounding $20 million, generating a great online buzz. Irritatingly enough Ford has proved previously how multi-talented he is, and with Jake Gyllenhaal doing what he does best, being unnerving and brooding (see Nightcrawler), it is likely that Nocturnal Animals will be a sinister hit.