There’s so much about the process of putting together a “most anticipated” list that just isn’t fair. Films that have already put out trailers have a distinct advantage over those that haven’t. New installments of familiar franchises are easier to get hyped for than completely unknown quantities. And in any given year, some of the very best films are the ones that come out of seemingly nowhere, crafted by filmmakers and stars we haven’t even heard of yet.
So I’m not going to pretend there’s anything close to an even playing field here. This isn’t a merit-based competition, because by definition I don’t know what merits any of these films have yet. It’s simply an excited look ahead at the year to come. Here are the films that make me glad, even in the freezing doldrums of January, that we’ve finally arrived at 2016.
Richard Linklater‘s Everybody Wants Some, Martin Scorsese‘s Silence, and Mark Osborne‘s The Little Prince would’ve all been among my top 10 most anticipated films of 2016… if they hadn’t already landed among my top 10 most anticipated films of 2015. My reasons for wanting to see them haven’t changed, and it seems silly to rehash them here, so I’ve gone ahead and omitted them this year.
On a related note, I’ve also decided to learn from my mistakes and rule out any films that don’t already have 2016 release dates, including, in no particular order, Ben Wheatley‘s High-Rise, Kenneth Lonergan‘s Manchester-by-the-Sea, Ana Lily Amirpour‘s The Bad Batch, Christopher Guest‘s Mascots, James Ponsoldt‘s The Circle, and Chan-wook Park‘s The Handmaid.
Finally, I am removing Yorgos Lanthimos‘ The Lobster from the running because I’ve already seen it. But if you’ve come here to figure out which films you should keep on your radar for 2016, I strongly recommend this one. It’s a spiky modern romance anchored by Colin Farrell at his hangdog best, and makes a strong argument for putting Olivia Colman in anything and everything.