Preview: The Best Original Films in 2016

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We live, for better or worse, in an era of cinema which has come to be defined by its many sequels, reboots, and spin-offs. When looking ahead to the next year of films, it’s easy to predict that most of the biggest cinematic successes of 2016 will come from this category of film – just as it did in 2015. Of the 10 highest grossing films of 2015, only one (Inside Out) was not a sequel or adaptation, with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World, and Furious 7 taking the top 3 spots. However, due to the strength of Pixar’s brand, for all intents and purposes, Inside Out may as well have been considered a sequel itself. As such, with the price of cinema tickets rising, and audiences and studios alike willing to take fewer risks in their choice of film, it can be easy to overlook some of the more exciting, original projects of 2016. Below, we run through some of them.

Isabelle Huppert and Roman Kolinka on set. Photo Courtesy of Detail Film
Isabelle Huppert and Roman Kolinka on set.
Photo Courtesy of Detail Film

L’avenir (Things To Come)

Dir. Mia Hansen-Løve

Starring Isabelle Huppert, Edith Scob, Roman Kolinka

Release Date 2nd March

Genre  Drama

Plot Synopsis A 50-year-old philosophy professor who suffers a series of tragedies: her husband is unfaithful, she is fired, her mother dies

Why You Should Watch It Hansen-Løve’s last film (Eden) was widely critically praised, and this film promises to be just as good.

Hail, Caesar

Dir. Ethan Coen and Joel Coen

Starring George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Josh Brolin

Release Date 4th March

Genre Comedy Drama

Plot Synopsis A Hollywood fixer in the 1950’s works to keep the studio’s stars in line.

Why You Should Watch It George Clooney reuniting with the Coen brothers for the 4th time, retro costumes, and an all star cast.

The Witch

Dir. Robert Eggers

Starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie

Release Date 11th March

Genre Horror

Plot Synopsis A puritan family searching for their missing child in 1630’s England is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic, and possession.

Why You Should Watch It The film has been terrifying festival audiences since January last year. At Sundance, Robert Eggers won the best Director award for his work on the film.

Demolition

Dir. Jean-Marc Vallee

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper, Heather Lind

Release Date 29th April

Genre Comedy Drama

Plot Synopsis A successful investment banker struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash.

Why You Should Watch It Despite mixed reviews from critics so far, Gyllenhaal alone, who carried last year’s Southpaw, should be enough to drag you to the screen

Elvis & Nixon

Dir. Liza Johnson

Starring Michael Shannon, Kevin Spacey

Release Date 29th April

Genre  Historic Comedy

Plot Synopsis The untold true story behind the meeting between the King of Rock ‘n Roll and President Nixon.

Why You Should Watch It It’s the sex dream we’ve all been too ashamed to admit we’ve had – but finally Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon are brought together on screen.

La La Land

Dir. Damien Chazelle

Starring Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, J.K Simmons

Release Date 15th July

Genre Comedy Drama

Plot Synopsis A jazz pianist (Ryan Gosling) falls for an aspiring actress (Emma Stone) in Los Angeles.

Why You Should Watch It Look past its stupid name, and look forward to Chazelle reuniting with J.K Simmons who won an Oscar for their last film together, Whiplash.

Photo Courtesy of El Deseo
Photo Courtesy of El Deseo

Julieta

Dir. Perdo Almodóvar

Starring Adriana Ugarte, Rossy de Palma, Michelle Jenner, Imma Cuesta

Release Date 26th August

Genre Drama

Plot Synopsis Julieta’s life in 2015 finds her on the verge of madness; 30 years earlier we see a more prosperous time in her life.

Why You Should Watch It “It’s a return to the cinema of women, of great female protagonists, and it’s a hard-hitting drama, which excites me,” says Almodóvar.

Photo Courtesy of The Guardian
Jennifer Lawrence, and Chris Pratt star in this sci-fi drama. Photo Courtesy of The Guardian

Passengers 

Dir. Morten Tyldum

Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Lawrence Fisburne

Release Date 23rd December

Genre Sci-Fi

Plot Synopsis A spacecraft travelling 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.

Why You Should Watch It Jennifer Lawrence, and Chris Pratt are two of the biggest names in Hollywood right now, and rightfully so.

Photo Courtesy of Gaumont Film Company
Photo Courtesy of Gaumont Film Company

The Neon Demon

Dir. Nicolas Winding Refn

Starring Keanue Reeves, Jena Malone, Elle Fanning, Christina Hendricks

Release Date TBC

Genre Horror/Thriller

Plot Synopsis 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.

Why You Should Watch It Danish Nicolas Winding Refn’s first foray into the genre, after his success with Drive, and Bronson.

Tony Leung Chiu Wai stars in this romantic drama.
Tony Leung Chiu Wai stars in this romantic drama.

The Ferryman

Dir. Zhang Jiajia

Starring Angelababy, Wei Tang, Ji-hyun Jun

Release Date TBC

Genre Romantic Drama

Plot Synopsis A young woman falls in love with married painter Ma Li, whose wife is unfaithful to him.

Why You Should Watch It The involvement of Kar-Wai Wong (In The Mood For Love).

Photo Courtesy of Film4 Productions
Photo Courtesy of Film4 Productions

Free Fire

Dir. Ben Wheatley

Starring Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Noah Taylor

Release Date TBC

Genre Crime Drama

Plot Synopsis 1978 Boston, a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two gangs turns into a shootout and a game of survival.

Why You Should Watch It Wheatley has won awards for his darkly comic and violent films, and this, his his first film outside of the UK, promises to bring all of that to an American setting

Photo Courtesy of Annapurna Pictures
Photo Courtesy of Annapurna Pictures

Wiener-Dog

Dir. Todd Solondz

Starring Kieran Culkin, Danny DeVito, Greta Gerwig, Julie Delpy

Release Date TBC

Genre  Comedy

Plot Synopsis Chronicles the life of a dog as it travels around the country, spreading comfort and joy.

Why You Should Watch It Danny DeVito and a joy spreading dog. What more could you want from life?

Photo Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
Photo Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Silence

Dir. Martin Scorsese

Starring Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, Tadanobu Asano, Nana Komastu

Release Date TBC

Genre  Historical Drama

Plot Synopsis In the 17th Century, two Jesuit priests face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and propagate Christianity.

Why You Should Watch It Scorsese is one of the most iconic American Directors working today – and with a strong cast this has all the hallmarks of a wonderful film.

 

 

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