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30 films we’re excited about in 2016

JK Rowling returns to witchcraft and wizardry, there’s more mutant mayhem from the X-Men plus the return of a certain ridiculously good-looking male supermodel

There’s a whole lot of movies to look forward in the next 12 months, from romcoms to sci-fi and Hollywood blockbusters. Here are 30 of 2016’s must-see movies.

30
Ghostbusters
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Ghostbusters

Was remaking 'Ghostbusters' a good idea? Not really. Was remaking 'Ghostbusters' with some of the world's finest female comedians under the direction of 'Bridesmaids' creator Paul Feig a good idea? That's a big ten-four. The entire internet seems hell-bent on hating this big-budget reboot, but we can't wait. Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig battling the supernatural? Chris Hemsworth co-starring as their long-suffering secretary, Kevin? Cameos from Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver and Dan Aykroyd? What about this doesn't sound completely amazing?

Out on July 15.

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29
Assassin's Creed
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Assassin's Creed

Movies adapted from computer games don’t have the greatest track record, but that could be about to change. Inspired by the popular series of stealth games about a secret society of assassins and their centuries-long battle with the equally murky Knights Templar, ‘Assassin’s Creed’ may sound a bit seen-it-all-before. But its pedigree is, frankly, gobsmacking. Director Justin Kurzel reunites his ‘Macbeth’ duo of Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard as the leads, with support from Jeremy Irons and Brendan Gleeson. Fassbender is already talking sequels, so expect this to be a peg or two above, say, ‘Street Fighter: The Movie’.

Out on December 30.

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28
Star Wars: Rogue One
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Star Wars: Rogue One

Can’t bear the thought of waiting two years between each new ‘Star Wars’ movie? You won’t have to! Sandwiched between each film in the continuing saga, Disney will release one ‘Anthology’ instalment: a stand-alone feature exploring the history of the ‘Star Wars’ universe. Directed by ‘Godzilla’ man Gareth Edwards and featuring a top-flight international cast including Felicity Jones, Riz Ahmed, Mads Mikkelsen, Diego Luna and Ben Mendelsohn, ‘Rogue One’ tells of how, in the weeks before the first ‘Star Wars’, a brave band of rebels stole the plans to the Death Star under the nose of Darth Vader and his dark legions.

Out on December 16.

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27
Hail, Caesar!
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Hail, Caesar!

It’s impossible to watch the trailer of the Coen brothers’ latest without a big goofy smile finding its way onto your face. The star-studded comedy is set in 1950s Hollywood, with Josh Brolin playing a fixer whose job is to keep the private lives of its stars hush hush. George Clooney is a movie star kidnapped for ransom, with Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill also appearing.

Out on February 26.

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26
The Revenant
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The Revenant

Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu follows up Oscar-winning ‘Birdman’ with a bloody-looking nineteenth-century revenge drama. Leonardo DiCaprio plays a fur trapper, who, after being mauled by a bear, robbed and left for dead sets out on a 200-mile trek across the icy wastes of the American frontier in search of the men who attacked him. Tom Hardy co-stars.

Out on January 15.

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25
The Hateful Eight
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The Hateful Eight

Once Quentin Tarantino latches on to something, he can't let it go: following three films about black-suited criminals and two about yellow-suited samurai, he's now moved into his Western phase, chasing 'Django Unchained' with another hard-bitten tale of frontier violence. As the title suggests, the film follows an octet of outlaws who hole up in a remote trading post during a blizzard. Who'll make it out alive? Stars Kurt Russell and Jennifer Jason Leigh join Tarantino stalwarts Tim Roth, Michael Madsen and Samuel L Jackson, and the trailers promise a rootin', tootin', shootin' good time.

Out on January 8.

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24
Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie
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Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

Sweety, darling, they’re back! After years of rumours, the ‘Ab Fab’ movie is finally happening. Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders are returning as Edina and Patsy, with original cast members Julia Sawalha (boring Saffy) and Jane Horrocks (ditzy Bubble) also making an appearance. The film finds Edina and Patsy hiding out in the French Riviera after causing a major incident at a fashion week party. Kim Kardashian West and Kate Moss are among the A-listers making cameos.

Release date to be confirmed.

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23
Silence
© Everett Collection
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Silence

The first pictures have emerged of Martin Scorsese’s seventeenth-century priest drama, revealing a super-skinny Andrew Garfield, who lost nearly three stone for the film. He plays a Jesuit missionary who travels to Japan after hearing rumours that his mentor has abandoned the Church. ‘Silence’ is based on a 1966 novel by Shusaku Endo – aka the Japanese Graham Greene. Expect it to premiere at Cannes.

Release date to be confirmed.

22
Joy
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Joy

After hanging up her bow and arrow in ‘The Hunger Games’, Jennifer Lawrence is getting tough in a whole new way in this biopic of the millionaire inventor of the Miracle Mop. Teaming up again with director David O Russell (‘American Hustle’ and ‘Silver Linings Playbook’) she plays Joy Mangano, the single mum who dreamt up the self-wringing mop. Ten years later her company was selling $10 million worth a year.

Out on January 1.

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21
Zoolander 2
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Zoolander 2

The big question is, 15 years after ‘Zoolander’, does anyone still care about the ridiculously good-looking supermodel and pioneer of the male pout long before Daniel Craig? Who are we kidding, yes! Ben Stiller is back as Derek Zoolander, alongside original cast members Owen Wilson (tousle-haired knucklehead Hansel) and Will Ferrell (megalomaniac fashion tycoon Mugatu). Kristen Wiig also joins the cast.

Out on February 12.

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20
The Girl on the Train
© Denis Makarenko - Shutterstock.com
11/30

The Girl on the Train

Does it matter that the producers of this adaptation of Paula Hawkins’s brilliant London-set amnesia thriller are transferring it to suburban America? Not if they manage to recreate the suspense and ingenious twists – and don’t go and do a Hollywood cop-out by softening its unlikeable, alcoholic stalker-y female lead character. Emily Blunt stars.

Release date to be confirmed.

19
Grimsby
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Grimsby

The Sony hacking scandal gave us a taste of the bad taste jokes we can expect from Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest comedy – he plays a football hooligan whose brother (Mark Strong), is a suave MI5 spy. According to the leaks, one joke features the Queen contracting HIV and passing it onto the Pope. Well, what were you expecting?

Out on March 4.

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18
Trainspotting 2
© Rob Greig
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Trainspotting 2

Rumours of a ‘Trainspotting’ sequel have been raging for years. The first spanner in the works came when director Danny Boyle and Ewan McGregor famously fell out after Boyle cast Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘The Beach’. Now, finally, ‘Trainspotting 2’ is happening. All four leading actors are back –McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle and Ewen Bremner and the plot is loosely based on ‘Porno’, Irvine Welsh’s ‘Trainspotting’ sequel. Filming starts in early summer and Danny Boyle has said he wants it in cinemas by Christmas 2016.

Release date to be confirmed.

17
Florence Foster Jenkins
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Florence Foster Jenkins

Meryl Streep stars as the famously terrible opera singer Florence Foster Jenkins, a twentieth-century American heiress who used her wealth to pursue her dream of professional singing despite being tone deaf. Hugh Grant plays Jenkins’s much-younger husband, an aristocratic English actor determined to protect her from the truth.

Release date to be confirmed.

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16
Bridget Jones's Baby
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Bridget Jones's Baby

So here it is, Renee Zellweger has been spotted filming in Borough Market with a baby bump. Eleven years after ‘The Edge of Reason’ the new film follows Bridget’s journey into motherhood. Colin Firth is back as love interest Mark Darcy, but Hugh Grant won’t be returning. The big question is, does anyone still care about big pants and sad singletons?

Out on September 16.

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15
Passengers
© Tinseltown - Shutterstock.com
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Passengers

It’s J-Law – in space! Now that she’s all done saving humanity from the apocalypse, Jennifer Lawrence is free to take a little pleasure cruise in this sci-fi anti-romance from ‘The Imitation Game’ director Morten Tyldum. Chris Pratt plays a cryogenically frozen passenger on a deep-space liner who wakes up 90 years before he’s supposed to (we’ve all had those days). To relieve the boredom, he selfishly decides to defrost a companion – guess who!

Out on December 23.

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14
Room
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Room

You might not know her name, but 26-year-old Brie Larson is currently the bookies’ favourite to win Best Actress at the Oscars for her stunning performance in indie drama ‘Room’. Based on Emma Donoghue’s bestselling book, Larson plays a young woman kidnapped and held prisoner in a shed for seven years – by a rapist who fathered her son Jack. The director is Lenny Abrahamson, who made ‘Frank’ and the brilliant Irish indie ‘What Richard Did.’

Out on January 15.

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13
Anomalisa
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Anomalisa

This is likely to be the only film featuring stop-motion puppet sex you’ll see next year. It’s the product of the ingeniously inventive mind of Charlie Kaufman – writer of ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ and ‘Being John Malkovich’. Seven years after his directorial debut ‘Synecdoche New York’, Kaufman is back with this story of a depressed motivational speaker (voiced by David Thewlis) on a business trip to speak at a conference. Kaufman quietly probes the biggies. Y’know – happiness, disappointment, love, living with other people.

Out on March 11.

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12
The Great Wall
© Featureflash - Shutterstock.com
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The Great Wall

This one’s got us seriously intrigued: Matt Damon stars in a fantasy-inflected action-adventure inspired by myths surrounding the building of the Great Wall of China. He’s joined by Willem Dafoe and ‘Infernal Affairs’ star Andy Lau, heading up a huge international cast. Best of all, the director is Zhang Yimou, the crown prince of modern Chinese filmmaking whose work ranges from award-winning dramas like ‘Raise the Red Lantern’ to wild kung-fu flicks ‘Hero’ and ‘House of Flying Daggers’. The word ‘epic’ may not quite cover it.

Release date to be confirmed.

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11
Doctor Strange
© JStone - Shutterstock.com
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Doctor Strange

Ready for another Marvel superhero movie? Wait, come back, this one could be pretty great. First there’s the character, a caped neurosurgeon who battles supernatural threats. Then there’s the cast: Benedict Cumberbatch brings his usual squirrelly awkwardness as the odd Doctor, backed by the likes of Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen and (we love this idea) Tilda Swinton as some kind of ancient Himalayan philosopher-wizard. Director Scott Derrickson has a patchy track record – he was the one responsible for that rotten remake of ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ – but overall, ‘Doctor Strange’ looks like a weirdy winner.

Out on October 28.

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10
Silencio
© Denis Makarenko - Shutterstock.com
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Silencio

No, this isn’t a behind-the-scenes look at David Lynch’s Paris nightclub Silencio (though we’d like to see that too). This is a new film by Pedro Almodóvar and all we know about it is that it stars Spanish actresses Emma Suárez and Adriana Ugarte as the older and younger versions of the lead character. Almodóvar is also saying has that this is his ‘return to the cinema of women’.

Out on August 26.

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9
The BFG
© Rob Greig
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The BFG

The big news with this blockbuster adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved fairytale isn’t that Steven Spielberg is making his second motion-capture animated movie following 2011’s ‘Tintin’, or that he’s hauled in a super-impressive cast including Mark Rylance as the Big Friendly Giant, plus Bill Hader, Rebecca Hall and Penelope Wilton as the Queen. No, the real story is that Spielberg re-teamed with screenwriter Melissa Matheson for the first time since 1982, when she penned a certain little movie about a stranded alien. Sadly Matheson died recently before filming was completed.

Out on July 22.

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8
Star Trek Beyond
© S Bukley - Shutterstock.com
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Star Trek Beyond

Dunno about you, but we can’t read that title without wanting to break into a bit of Madness: ‘Star! Trek! Beyoooooonnd!’ (cue saxophone solo). Leading men Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are back in the figure-hugging suits, but it’s all change backstage for this third movie in the rebooted franchise. Director JJ Abrams has jumped starship to a galaxy far, far away, leaving ‘Fast and Furious’ alumnus Justin Lin holding the reins. Screenwriting duties have fallen in part to co-star Simon Pegg, a decision that could go either way. Sure, he co-wrote ‘Shaun of the Dead’, but he’s also responsible for ‘Run Fatboy Run’. Will it be warp speed ahead or cringe factor ten?

Out on July 22.

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7
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
© Helga Esteb - Shutterstock.com
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My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

Thirteen years after the original smashed the box office comes the Greekquel – sorry, sequel – to Nia Vardalos’ romcom about a second-generation Greek woman from Chicago whose fiancée converts to the Greek Orthodox church to please her crazy eccentric family. This time around the clan are back for a bigger, fatter wedding, where a family secret is blurted out.

Out on March 25.

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6
Untitled Bourne Sequel
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Untitled Bourne Sequel

Matt Damon returns to the franchise that made him a star – though the film itself is still untitled. Will they bow to the obvious and call it ‘Bourne Again’? Plot details are thin on the ground, but we assume it would have taken a pretty strong script to tempt both Damon and ‘Ultimatum’ director Paul Greengrass back into the spy game. A terrific international supporting cast includes Alicia Vikander plus Tommy Lee Jones and Vincent Cassel, one of whom has to be playing the villain.

Out on July 16.

5
Suicide Squad
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Suicide Squad

Imagine The Dirty Dozen on a night out at underground fetish club Torture Garden and you’ve got the general idea of this berserk supervillain mashup. It’s basically ‘The Avengers’ for bad guys, as raving loony The Joker (Jared Leto), psycho marksman Deadshot (Will Smith) and numerous other murderous leather-clad nutjobs team up to take down a force even more evil than they are. Expect cartoon violence galore.

Out on August 5.

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4
X-Men: Apocalypse
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X-Men: Apocalypse

For those who haven't been keeping up, this one focuses on the Michael Fassbender/James McAvoy band of mutants, rather than the Ian McKellen/Patrick Stewart brigade (yes, it's getting confusing). The specifics of Bryan Singer's latest X-buster are being kept under wraps, but in the comic books Apocalypse was the first mutant, a creature of unimaginable power who awakens from centuries-long slumber and decides, for reasons best known to himself, to wipe out the human race. Jennifer Lawrence returns as slinky shapeshifter Mystique (even though, let's face it, she's better than this now), along with newbie Oscar Isaac as the titular villain.

Out on May 19.

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3
The Jungle Book
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The Jungle Book

There are two adaptations of Rudyard Kipling’s beloved novel of nature-red-in-tooth-and-claw on their way, and this is the one we’re slightly less keen on (the second, darker version directed by Andy Serkis isn’t out until 2017). ‘Iron Man’ director Jon Favreau takes the helm for a motion-capture cartoon on an epic scale, with voices provided by the likes of Bill Murray (perfectly cast as Baloo), Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken and Scarlett Johansson. Expect something a little grittier than Disney’s goofy original, but still a far cry from Kipling’s gruesome stories.

Out on April 15.

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2
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Foto: Cortesía Warner Bros. Pictures
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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

The ultimate smackdown! The fight of the century! The Bat v... the Soup? Anyway, superhero team-ups are all the rage these days, so it was inevitable that some bright spark would think of putting the most recent caped crusader, Henry Cavill from 'Man of Steel', up against the reigning Dark Knight. Sadly, Christian Bale didn't want to get involved, so they've turned to Ben Affleck instead (nope, we still can't get our heads around it either). The basic thrust is that Batman is mistrustful of Supie's unchecked, Godlike power, and decides to take him down a peg or two. Expect wall-to-wall thumping and grunting. We can't wait.

Out on March 25.

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1
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
© Featureflash - Shutterstock.com
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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

In the Harry Potter universe, ‘Fantastic Beasts’ is a guide to magical creatures penned by Newt Scamander, a bold 1920s explorer and (super)naturalist. For her first original screenplay, JK Rowling tells Scamander’s story as he romps around depression-era America hunting down and studying mythical monsters. The crew may be Potter veterans – David Yates returns as director, along with producers David Heyman and Steve Kloves – but the cast is all new. Eddie Redmayne plays Scamander, joined by Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller and Samantha Morton.

Out on November 18.

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