Everyone in the film world is feverishly debating the Academy Awards nominations — but who cares? 2015 is so old news. It’s a new year and there’s a whole new slate of films to salivate over, some of which aren’t installments in tiresome, money-raking franchises that are all the rage these days.
Naturally, the most anticipated film of 2016 is one of those installments, though thankfully it comes from a galaxy far, far away. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” looks to build off the ludicrous success of “Episode VII,” while adding some intrigue in its own right. The film depicts the fatal effort to steal the Death Star’s building plans for the famed attack that occurred in “Episode IV,” Felicity Jones, Ben Mendelsohn and Forest Whitaker make up a strong cast. Don’t be surprised if “Star Wars” robs your pocket yet again in December.
You won’t have to wait that long for an entertaining movie though, as the Coen Brothers return to their zany, dry brand of comedy with “Hail, Caesar!” Due out Feb. 5, the film is a period piece set in 1950s Hollywood where an actor, played by George Clooney, is kidnapped (in the midst of filming a Roman epic, no less) and efforts must be made to save him. Boasting a cast of Josh Brolin, Clooney, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand and Channing Tatum, the Coen Brothers look ready to deliver another classic.
As for more serious fare, Michael Keaton is certain to generate buzz for “The Founder,” where he plays Ray Kroc, the man who turned McDonald’s into a multi billion-dollar chain. He maneuvered his way to the top, edging out the actual McDonald brothers from the company — the kind of dastardly business tactics that are likely to engross audiences come November.
Tisch alumnus Ang Lee will be offering some more Oscar material in November as well, with his adaptation of the uber-popular book “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.” Featuring newcomer Joe Alwyn in the eponymous role, the film follows an army platoon celebrated during halftime of a Cowboys game, only to find out they’re to be sent back to war. Steve Martin, Vin Diesel and Kristen Stewart round out the cast that’s likely to jerk some tears.
Last but not least, 2016 will be graced with the newest feature from Tisch alumnus Martin Scorsese. “Silence” has all the makings of a hard hitter: Jesuit priests are captured in Japan by people who don’t take kindly to the word of the good Lord. Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver band together for a rather odd trio of clergymen, which may make for must-see cinema, whether they blend well or not at all. Unfortunately, it seems that Neeson may not be using any of his special set of skills from “Taken” in “Silence.” However, that’s no reason to be less excited for what seems to be a greatly promising year of film.
A version of this article appeared in the Jan. 25 print edition. Email Ethan Sapienza at [email protected]