We may be in a golden age of television, but the big screen still manages to deliver every year (even if it's mostly delivering reboots). From David Brent to Batman, Red Dog to Derek Zoolander, 2016 is delivering up all your favourites.
Opens May 26
Mia Wasikowska is back in the role that made her a star, in Disney’s eye-popping return to the worlds of Lewis Carroll. Tim Burton is not directing, but that’s not necessarily a minus: we’re not big fans of his work these last 15 years, and this is one sequel that could surpass the lame-ass original.
Opens February 4
We’re assuming the title is a portmanteau referring to a woman called Lisa (voiced by Jennifer Jason Leigh) who’s a bit of an anomaly. Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich) directs a stop-motion animated film about a depressed author (voiced by David Thewlis) who meets the eponymous Lisa on a business trip to Cincinnati.
Opens March 24
Together at last: Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) and Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) face off in Zack Snyder’s film that tries to do for the DC universe what The Avengers has done for Marvel. Spoiler (not): Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) also appears – check out the hilarious one-liner in the trailer below – along with other DC comic book heroes.
Opens February 11
Child acting sensation Saoirse Ronan (Atonement) is all grown up now and winning awards for this adaptation of Colm Toibin novel about an Irishwoman who immigrates to New York City in the early 1950s to start a new life. A romantic drama that captures a time and place with acuity, it’s received rave reviews.
Opens November 17
There’s life in the old wizarding world yet as the Harry Potter universe gets its first spin-off film with a screenplay by JK Rowling. Eddie Redmayne stars as Newt Scamander, a UK wizard who arrives in the US for a magical conference in the early 20th century.
Opens June 16
Things move at a glacial pace in the world of animation but even we are surprised it took 13 years for a sequel to 2003’s near-billion-dollar earner Finding Nemo to come along. Still, the whole team is back: Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres voicing Marlin and Dory, and Andrew Stanton directing. The plot concerns the forgetful Dory being reunited with her family. Expect that stony heart of yours to be tugged anew.
Opens May 12
Newton Knight, a Confederacy deserter who attempted to establish a free state during the American Civil War, is the subject of this drama from writer-director Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, The Hunger Games). Matthew McConaughey stars as Knight and rising Brit star Gugu Mbatha-Raw is his (African-American) lover – little wonder he switched sides.
Opens July 14
The distaff reboot of the 1983 comedy-horror favourite stars Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and Kate McKinnon in the roles made famous by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) directs and co-wrote the script with Katie Dippold (The Heat). Time Out would not be especially excited about another classic film being remade were it not for the super-cool gender flipping – and watch out for cameos from the surviving cast of the original.
Opens February 25
The Coen Brothers return to a Hollywood setting with the madcap story of a studio fixer (James Brolin) trying to retrieve the kidnapped star (George Clooney) of a swords and sandals epic being made in the 1950s. A bigger-than-Ben Hur cast also includes Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Scarlet Johansson and Channing Tatum.
Opens June 23
The belated sequel brings back Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Brent Spiner and Vivica Fox once again under the direction of German schlockmeister Roland Emmerich. The aliens have been licking their wounds and 20 years later they’re back to finish what they started. Not along for the ride: Will Smith. The tongue-in-cheek humour of the original is nowhere to be seen either in the teaser trailer. But in the pro-column the special effects should be a lot less cheesy.
Opens March 3
Acting treasure Dame Maggie Smith proves her star power at age 81, starring in an adaptation of Alan Bennett’s play, based on the true story of the homeless woman who lived in her van in Bennett’s driveway for 15 years. In this era of mass human displacement, its story is bound to resonate, as it did with Time Out’s reviewer.
Opens August 25
At last: Ricky Gervais’s The Office character David Brent gets his own movie. Life on the Road has Brent followed by a documentary crew (natch) as he fronts his band Foregone Conclusion on a self-funded tour of Britain. Get ready to cringe and cringe again as we learn more about Brent’s private life than we ever wanted to.
Red Dog: True Blue
Opens December 26
Time Out wasn’t sold on the original 2011 Red Dog movie but who are we to argue with public opinion? Kriv Stenders returns to direct a sort-of prequel about a boy sent to a cattle station in the Pilbara who has an adventure involving a canine companion. Cast includes Bryan Brown, John Jarratt, Jason Isaacs and Levi Miller (Pan).
Opens December 15
Not Episode VIII, but the first in a series of standalone stories set in the Star Wars universe,Rogue One is set prior to the events in Episode IV and concerns the efforts of the spies who stole the plans to the original Death Star. Like The Force Awakens, this film stars a feisty UK actress – Felicity Jones – and it’s helmed by talented Brit Gareth Edwards (Godzilla).
Opens January 28
The favourite to take out the Oscar for Best Picture of 2015 is a journalistic procedural about Boston Globe reporters who exposed the rampant paedophilia and shameful cover-ups by the Catholic Church. Tom McCarthy (The Visitor) wrote and directed a gripping film featuring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and Liev Schreiber.
Opens July 21
Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the gang return in a threequel not directed by JJ Abrams and which will hopefully not see Kirk acting like an arrogant dick and putting the whole crew in danger (sorry, personal gripe there). Mind you, with Star Wars movies a thing again it’ll be interesting to see if there’s still as much fondness for space, the final frontier.
Opens August 4
It’s the evil Avengers. Supervillains join forces for a secret mission in a film set in the DC Comics universe: Jared Leto as the Joker; Jai Courtney as an Australian assassin called Boomerang (eek); and Will Smith as marksman Deadshot. Rising Aussie star Margot Robbie also features prominently as does model Cara Delevingne, and acclaimed actor Viola Davis crosses over to the mainstream as their tough government handler.
Opens February 11
It’s not a crime to be really, really, really good looking, but Ben Stiller making us wait 15 years certainly counts as a misdemeanour. Here, Ben Stiller’s titular male model and friend Hansel (Owen Wilson) are recruited to help solve the murders of the world’s most beautiful celebrities. Call it schadenfreude, but the death of Justin Bieber in the trailer really tickled us.
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Have you got what it takes to sit through Raw? Last year, a festival screening of this French arthouse cannibal movie, directed by 33-year-old Julia Ducournau, turned into a bit of a medical emergency when audience members passed out. No ambulances were required when I saw it, but there was lots of nervous giggling before the film and plenty of yelps of horror during. The stomach-churning ace up its sleeve is how disturbingly realistic the grisly bits are (and there are some very grisly bits). Watching fake blood spurt from a screaming victim in a Tarantino movie is one thing, but the anatomically correct bite marks and flayed tendons in Raw may send the contents of your stomach rising up. It opens with Justine (Garance Marillier), a shy, clever – and vegetarian – teenager arriving at veterinary school, where freshers’ week involves the ritual humiliation of newbie ‘rookies’ by older students. When Justine is forced to eat a piece of raw rabbit liver it gives her a taste for flesh. Within hours she’s ferally ransacking the fridge, sniffing raw chicken – and it’s not long before she graduates on to the hard stuff. Raw is a film with things to say about body image, finding your identity as a woman and adapting to life as a grown-up. And vet college, it turns out, is the perfect setting for a horror film. Walk into a seminar room and you might see a horse – tranquillised by ketamine – drunkenly thumping to the ground, or dead dogs on concrete slabs ready for dissection class.
It may have been a bleak period in human history, but the Second World War was a golden age for British cinema, as filmmakers discovered purpose and commitment in stories of resistance, fortitude and togetherness. An Education director Lone Scherfig's witty, sophisticated and unexpectedly sober romcom pays tribute to those artists – writers, actors, directors, producers, even agents – and slips in a spry, timely investigation of women's roles in cinema for good measure. Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) comes to the attention of the Ministry of Information as a copywriter for newspaper cartoons. They're looking for someone to script a series of propaganda short films urging the women of Britain to work in factories and grow vegetables, and she's looking for a way to support her moody artist boyfriend Ellis (Jack Huston). But it's not long before Catrin is assisting writer Tom Buckley (Sam Claflin) on an inspirational feature film script inspired by a pair of Southend sisters who stole their father's boat and headed to Dunkirk to assist in the evacuation. The story is largely bunk, the Ministry brass are always lurking and washed-up leading man Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy) is forever sticking his oar in. But Catrin and Buckley get stuck in, transforming this simple fable into a rousing tribute to everyday British pluck. Like its film-within-a-film, Their Finest might so easily have been sentimental hogwash, a jolly, stiff-upper-lipped love story set against the picturesque sett