Angie Han’s 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2016

Damien Chazelle Whiplash

5. La La Land (July 15)

The rhythm and energy that Damien Chazelle demonstrated in the brutally intense Whiplash will be used for much gentler aims this year in La La Land. The musical romance looks so old-fashioned that it paradoxically feels fresh — when’s the last time we got a Ginger Rogers / Fred Astaire-style picture? But like any cinematic love story, it’ll live or die by the chemistry between its leads. Fortunately, Chazelle’s got himself a fantastic pairing in Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, who demonstrated such effortlessly sexy chemistry in Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Ang Lee directing Life of Pi

4. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (November 11)

Veteran’s Day is the perfect release date for Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, which digs into that uncomfortable chasm between America’s loud, showy celebration of “the troops,” and the way we really treat them. The source novel by Ben Fountain is the kind of deep, dark funny that only comes from the places that hurt, and his vividly drawn characters (who’ll be played by Vin Diesel, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart and others in the movie) lingered with me long after I put it down. The thoughtful, empathetic Ang Lee seems like just the guy to bring it to life. And since he’s made the choice to shoot the film in 120 frames per second, it’s going to be a technical curiosity as well.

A Monster Calls teaser trailer

3. A Monster Calls (October 14)

A Monster Calls will be one of two movies this year about monsters whisking away small children, and given that the other one is a Steven Spielberg movie based on a Roald Dahl classic, it’s certainly the lower-profile of the two. But for my money, A Monster Calls is the one I’d rather see. The first trailer nearly had me in tears, thanks to its liberal use of the “Cloud Atlas” score and Liam Neeson‘s rumbling, weary voiceover. J.A. Bayona‘s The Orphanage was a horror movie with a grieving heart; A Monster Calls is a different, far less terrifying beast, but in its own way it looks no less haunting.

Captain America Civil War

2. Captain America: Civil War (May 6)

The Marvel formula is getting more tired every time they trot it out, and the emphasis on preserving the franchise sometimes gets in the way of the individual movies. On the other hand: holy shit, that trailer. Marvel’s greatest strength has always been its deep bench of distinct, lovable, totally knowable heroes, and Captain America: Civil War seems to wield that weapon to its full effect. When Cap and Iron Man face off, their punches land with the weight of 12 films and eight years’ worth of meticulous world-building and character development. If the Russo brothers have done their job, this one’s gonna hurt, and I, for one, can’t wait.

George Clooney in Hail Caesar

1. Hail, Caesar! (February 5)

The Coen brothers are following up the perfect melancholy of 2013’s Inside Llewyn Davis with its polar opposite: a bright, big, zany comedy set in the Golden Age of Hollywood, where appearances are everything and the truth is something to be altered, hidden, or otherwise taken care of. There are musical numbers, and inside jokes, and a kidnapping mystery, and more A-list movie stars than you can shake a stick at; Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, and Tilda Swinton are just some of the A-listers on board. In short, Hail, Caesar! is going to be one hell of a good time.

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