A new year means a new batch of film experiences for movie fanatics like myself. Who will be the new Oscar players? The new summer blockbusters? The new book adaptations? What screwball comedies are going to make us laugh? What dramas will make us cry? What actor will have their moment, the one that makes you acknowledge that you’ll be paying much closer attention to their work from now on? I love movies, obviously, and I especially love that there are always so many to choose from. This list is bound to grow as buzz from film festivals and award season starts to spread. (Plus, there’s always the half an hour of trailers that play each time you visit a theater.) Pass the popcorn, another year of going to the movies has begun!
1. THE 5th WAVE | 1/22/16
The trailer caught my interest, since I’m into YA sci-fi fiction being turned into movies lately. I also like disaster flicks. It’s been a while since we’ve seen what Chloe Grace Moretz can do in a starring role, so I’ll give it a shot.
2. DEADPOOL | 2/12/16
I love Ryan Reynolds—particularly sarcastic badass Ryan Reynolds. I know nothing about the Marvel character, just that I have a few friends who are insanely excited for this and the trailer cracked me up. I’ve warmed up to Marvel movies in recent years and this one looks far more promising than, let’s say, Ant-Man did.
3. ZOOTOPIA | 3/4/16
It’s a Disney animated movie about animals. If you know me at all, you know why I want to go. Just watch the trailer. So many sloths!
4. The Divergent Series: ALLEGIANT | 3/18/16
Divergent is right behind The Hunger Games on my list of favorite YA dystopia literature-turned-film. Shailene Woodley is doing a great job of bringing believability to Tris’ heroism and the all-star cast just keeps getting bigger and better. The first book was phenomenal and the first movie followed it perfectly. But the books lost their way after that and the screenwriters did a great job of keeping the plot on track for the big screen. Insurgent made much more sense on film than on the page, so I’m confident they’ll do the same for the final installments.
5. MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2 | 3/25/16
I love the original so much, I practically have it memorized. So now that it’s their daughter’s turn to get married, it seems only natural to check in on Ian and Toula and see how they (and the whole big fat Greek family) handle the situation. I can’t wait. This is one sequel I won’t mind at all.
6. THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR | 4/22/16
This prequel is going to take what worked in the first film (bold cinematography, Charlize Theron’s face, Chris Hemsworth’s everything), remove what didn’t (Kristen Stewart and her new favorite director), and add some beautiful, talented women (Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain). Mix that all together and see what happens? We’re already off to a promising start.
7. NEIGHBORS 2 | 5/20/16
Because every once in a while, you need a raunchy fratboy comedy on a rainy afternoon. And a healthy dose of Zac Efron’s abs.
8. FINDING DORY | 6/17/16
I’ve been waiting for this probably as long as Ellen DeGeneres has. 2003’s Finding Nemo was arguably one of Disney/Pixar’s most successful and beloved collaborations and the sequel has been such a looooong time coming. In it, Dory goes off on an undersea adventure to track down her family. What more do we need to know? It’ll be the perfect way to splash into summer.
9. GHOSTBUSTERS | 7/15/16
Directed by the same guy as Bridesmaids and most of Melissa McCarthy’s solo entertainment, this one brings together some comedy superstars like Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig, and of course, McCarthy herself, adds a dash of man candy in the form of Chris Hemsworth, and is probably ready to let loose a wildly ridiculous but nonetheless enjoyable story.
10. LA LA LAND | 7/15/16
Emma Stone is to Ryan Gosling as Jennifer Lawrence is to Bradley Cooper. The two couples are co-star magic, so much so that we (I) don’t care how many times they work together, because they always leave us (me) wanting more. In this one, Gangster Squad and Crazy Stupid Love lovebirds team up again for a whimsical musical about a jazz pianist who falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles. Director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) describes it as a love letter to the city of angels.
11. SUICIDE SQUAD | 8/5/16
So, everyone’s making a big deal about this already and actually has been for months. The trailer makes the plot a little unclear if you’re unfamiliar with the origin material … whatever, I’ll just go with someone who can answer my questions.
12. SULLY | 9/9/16
Tom Hanks made me cry in his portrayal of Captain Phillips, which was another high-stakes true to life story. In this, he’ll be playing the man who heroically managed to land a crashing plane on the Hudson. And it’s directed by Clint Eastwood. I smell Oscar buzz!
13. BRIDGET JONES’ BABY | 9/16/16
I only just watched the first two Bridget Jones movies a month or so ago for the first time. I was bored, noticed they were both on Netflix, and enjoyed a double feature. Well, I wouldn’t say enjoyed. I really wasn’t impressed. But since this is one of Patrick Dempsey’s first appearances since being unceremoniously murdered by Shonda Rhimes, and sequels years in the making, while a tired concept, have actually been doing rather well, I would give it a lazy Sunday shot.
14. INFERNO | 10/14/16
I used to be a big Dan Brown fan. I read all of his books, and even though they were hard to follow, I liked that they were a huge intellectual obstacle course. So of course I was excited to see the most popular one become a movie starring one of my all-time favorite actors. What a disappointment. The DaVinci Code faltered big time, but I thought they did a much better job with Angels & Demons. Therefore I’m hopeful that they give the trilogy a solid finish.
15. FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM | 11/18/16
16. PASSENGERS | 12/21/16
Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt: Check! There’s no information about it yet, not even a trailer, and we have to wait practically a year to see it, but the plot is outlined on IMDb as: “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.” Sure, why not.
STRONGER | Release date unknown
Naturally, I’ll want to see anything Jake Gyllenhaal puts out next. After Nightcrawler and Southpaw, he’s solidified himself as one of my absolute favorite actors over the past couple of years. A quick peek at IMDb proves that he’s riding the peak of his career right now. Stronger is simply described as: “A victim of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 helps the police track down the killers while struggling to recover from devastating trauma.” Sounds amazing already. I’ll be there.