There are few dates on the cinematic calendar that trigger excitement quite like that of a new Coen Brother’s flick. Hail, Caesar! is a return to their comedic tendencies, teaming up once more with regular collaborator George Clooney in this 1950s set farce. Clooney is joined by a number of remarkable talents too, with Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum and Josh Brolin all featuring. Add to that Jonah Hill, Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton – and you’ve just entered into Flickreel’s top movie picks of the year. Oh, and Frances McDormand features too, obviously.
Director Jeff Nichols’ last endeavour was Mud – one of the stand out films in recent years. Steeped in realism, now we see a supernatural turn for the filmmaker, chronicling the relationship between a father and a son, as the latter develops special powers. Michael Shannon teams up with Nichols again, while there are also roles for Adam Driver, Kirsten Dunst and Joel Edgerton. The former knows a thing or two about kids with special powers…
La La Land
How do you follow up Whiplash? The stunning, intense drama was a hit amongst cinema goers (and the Academy) and marked Damien Chazelle as a talent to keep a very close eye on. His new film – and only his second to date – is La La Land, and while the focus is again on music (this time on a jazz pianist) it appears to have a lighter, more comedic touch. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are the co-leads, but thankfully Chazelle has also found a role for J.K. Simmons. Let’s just hope this film is to his tempo.
New Pixar films, regardless of what they are, or what they may be about, will always make a list of films to look out for, because so rarely does the animation studio let us down. Inside Out proved that last year, and this year it’s a return to cherished ground, with the eagerly anticipated sequel to Finding Nemo, Finding Dory. Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres reprise their roles from the much loved 2003 picture, while we welcome new members to the cast, like Idris Elba and Dominic West. Though it’s fair to assume this won’t be quite like the pair’s previous collaboration in The Wire.
If there is one thing we like more than superheroes, it’s super-villains – so thankfully, we’ve now got an entire film to revel in their sadistic badassery. Jared Leto playing The Joker is taking the majority of the headlines, but he is merely one of a stellar cast of individuals, also featuring the likes of Margot Robbie, Will Smith and of course, Ben Affleck’s first appearance as Batman. David Ayer is helming the project, so here’s hoping it’s more End of Watch, than Sabotage.
Seeing as we’re on the subject of being elusive, another film to join our list is Doctor Strange, yet another Marvel flick that looks like it will be one you simply cannot miss. Teaming up the writing/directing duo of C. Robert Cargill and Scott Derrickson – behind popular horror movie Sinister (the first one, don’t worry) – we see Benedict Cumberbatch take on the role of the eponymous protagonist. He’s joined by a breathtaking supporting cast of Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton, Mads Mikkelsen and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
J.K. Rowling, is, of course, a staggeringly creative and talented writer – and now, with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, we get the chance to see if she can adjust her talents for cinema, in what is her very first screenplay. Set in the same universe as Harry Potter – 70 years before, across the Pond in New York, and Eddie Redmayne plays the lead of Newt Scamander, while Ezra Miller and Colin Farrell also star.
Star Wars: Rogue One
There are two words in the title of this production that give this an automatic pass into our list: Star Wars. This may not be a part of the current trilogy of films, kick-started remarkably by The Force Awakens, but it’s an entry into the franchise nonetheless, and that in itself is bloody exciting. The film takes place between episodes III and IV – but closer to the latter – and Godzilla‘s Gareth Edwards takes on directing duties. Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Riz Ahmed and Ben Mendelsohn make for a hugely talented cast, and give us hope in much the same way that The Force Awakens did when that was first announced. After all, that one didn’t let us down, so why should this?
Steven Spielberg has always moved effortlessly between dramatic features aimed at adults, and those aimed at families. Be it ET or Schindler’s List, he is able to make films for any audience, and triumph, always managing to portray the complexities of the characters and narrative at hand. His latest is one for the family, and it’s a retelling of the classic Roald Dahl creation The BFG. Mark Rylance, who was terrific in Spielberg’s latest film Bridge of Spies, plays the lead role, while Rebecca Hall, Bill Hader and Flight of the Conchords‘ Jemaine Clement also star. We can’t complain about that.