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Winter 2016’s Most Exciting Films

The final few months of the year are always a treasure trove of cinematic excellence, and 2016’s Autumn/Winter season looks set to be no different. From a return to the Wizarding World to a new Star Wars spin-off and the latest Scorsese and Zemeckis releases, the months from September to December will be packed with incredible films…

Fantastic-Beasts-Colin-Farrell1. FANTASTIC BEASTS & WHERE TO FIND THEM

MVPs: Harry Potter author JK Rowling makes her screenwriting debut as Potter veterans David Yates and David Heyman return to direct and produce. The cast includes Eddie Redmayne, Colin Farrell and Ron Perlman.

ETA: November 18. Set your time-turners!

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Ph: Film Frame ©Lucasfilm LFL

2. ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

MVPs: Producer Kathleen Kennedy, who so successfully brought Star Wars home with last year’s terrific The Force Awakens. Composer Alexandre Desplat, the first maestro ever to attempt to emulate John Williams’ Wars work. Director Gareth Edwards is a less promising figure, and star Felicity Jones has yet to prove as capable as Force‘s Daisy Ridley.

ETA: December 16.

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3. LA LA LAND

MVPs: Director Damien Chazelle, who burst into Hollywood with his 2014 masterpiece Whiplash. Stars Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling and JK Simmons, who will lead this LA-set homage to classic musicals.

ETA: December 16.

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4. BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK

MVPs: Director Ang Lee, adapting Ben Fountain’s brilliant Iraq War novel in technologically revolutionary style (much of the film is shot at a high frame rate like none we’ve seen before). Steve Martin, Kristen Stewart, Vin Diesel and Makenzie Leigh join newcomer Joe Alwynn as young soldier Billy.

ETA: November 11.

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5. INFERNO

MVPs: Director Ron Howard and star Tom Hanks, reunited to adapt their third Dan Brown novel after 2006’s DaVinci Code and 2009’s Angels & Demons. Those films were thoroughly enjoyable, but Inferno– a terrible book with little plot- will be a tougher nut to crack. Composer Hans Zimmer will play a large role in the film’s watchability.

ETA: October 28.

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6. SNOWDEN

MVPs: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who stars as whistleblower Snowden in Oliver Stone’s long-awaited thriller. The fantastic supporting cast includes Nicolas Cage, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto and Tom Wilkinson.

ETA: September 16, though this film was on our Most Exciting Films of Winter list last year and we’re honestly not sure if it’ll ever be released.

silence-movie-2016-liam-neeson-scorsese

7. SILENCE

MVPs: Martin Scorsese. Liam Neeson. Adam Driver. This could be astonishing.

ETA: December TBC.

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8. THE BIRTH OF A NATION

MVPs: Director/star Nate Parker, reclaiming the title from white supremacist sympathiser D.W. Griffith. The big winner at Sundance, this is the current frontrunner for Best Picture 2017.

ETA: October 7.

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9. FREE FIRE

MVPs: Director Ben Wheatley, who assembles an incredible cast including Cillian Murphy, Brie Larson, Jack Reynor and Sharlto Copley for a thrilling 70s-set Boston crime thriller.

ETA: December TBC.

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10. THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN

MVPs: Emily Blunt, in a leading role that could get her an Oscar nomination. The Help director Tate Taylor. Justin Theroux, Alison Janney and Luke Evans are among the impressive supporting cast.

ETA: October 7.

bad-santa-billy-bob-thornton-and-brett-kelly1

11. BAD SANTA 2

MVPs: Billy Bob Thornton, back in the role he was born to play. Mean Girls director Mark Waters.

ETA: November 23.


12. ALLIED

MVPs: Robert Zemeckis directs Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard in this WW2-set romantic thriller.

ETA: November 23.

13. A MONSTER CALLS

MVPs: Director J.A. Bayona, adapting Patrick Ness’ award-winning novel. Sigourney Weaver and Felicity Jones star, along with Liam Neeson as the voice of a tree (we’re not kidding!).

ETA: October 21.

14. DOCTOR STRANGE

MVPs: Benedict Cumberbatch, finally hitting the superhero genre hard and fast in Marvel Studios’ latest origin story. The terrific cast also includes Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Michael Stuhlbarg and Mads Mikkelsen. Michael Giacchino’s involvement promises a better-than-usual Marvel soundtrack.

ETA: November 4.

15. ASSASSIN’S CREED

MVPs: Macbeth director Justin Kurzel, reuniting with both Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. Brendan Gleeson also features.

ETA: December 21.

16. THE ACCOUNTANT

MVPs: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, JK Simmons, Jeffrey Tambor and John Lithgow. Cinematographer Seamus McGarvey.

ETA: October 14.

17. PATRIOTS DAY

MVPs: Peter Berg directs a Boston Marathon Bombing true story, with Mark Wahlberg, JK Simmons, John Goodman and Melissa Benoist among the cast.

ETA: December 21.

18. THE BOOK OF HENRY

MVPs: Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow. Room‘s breakout young star Jacob Tremblay, as well as Naomi Watts, Sarah Silverman, Lee Pace and Dean Norris.

ETA: September 16.

19. MOANA

MVPs: Songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda (Broadway’s Hamilton). Voice actor Dwayne Johnson.

ETA: November 23.

20. THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN

MVPs: Antoine Fuqua directs a Nic Pizzolatto (True Detective) script. Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke and Vincent D’Onofrio. Before his death in 2015, James Horner secretly composed a score for the film, which will be used as his final posthumous composition.

ETA: September 23.


Quite a season for cinema it will be! Are there any films you’re excited for that we didn’t include? Let us know in the comments below!

This entry was posted in: Big News, Movies

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Lucien writes on film, television and politics at LuwdMedia.com and co-hosts the podcasts Above All Else and The 99%.

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