This time last year, I ended my preview of 2015’s coming attractions by quoting Michael Haneke, who was keeping quiet about the nature of his own upcoming film, Flashmob: “Do not sell the skin before the bear is shot,” said the chucklesome Austrian.
Well, he was right. Midway through the year, he abandoned plans to make that movie. With that in mind, let’s not hold our breath for the appearance of Warren Beatty’s upcoming movie about Howard Hughes. (Fingers crossed all the same, though.) But here is a baker’s dozen of other interesting or noteworthy titles definitely coming our way in 2016.
The Coen brothers’ latest is a knockabout comedy set in 1940s Hollywood, starring George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Josh Brolin and Channing Tatum. It’s already been announced as the opening night presentation at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival.
Goodnight Mommy I can vouch for: it’s a deliciously unsettling Austrian horror about twin boys whose mother returns home from surgery with her face concealed by bandages. Gradually the children become convinced that the woman under the wrapping isn’t really their mother; a bit like Changeling, only in reverse. And brilliant. The Boy sounds similarly eerie—it’s about a nanny who discovers that the child she has been hired to care for is not even a child after all.
Charlie Kaufman may previously have directed only one film (Synecdoche, New York) but his skew-whiff, pop-philosophical sensibility is familiar from his fiercely original screenplays including Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Anomolisa, his second movie as a director, is a stop-motion animation co-directed with Duke Johnson and with a voice cast including David Thewlis and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Last year, it was Birdman that wowed audiences by being apparently shot all in one unbroken take. In fact, that was an illusion. But the German heist thriller Victoria does it for real—more than two hours of real time pass between “Action!” and “Cut!”
Everybody Wants Some
Richard Linklater’s first movie since the knock-out double-whammy of Before Midnight and Boyhood returns him to his origins: it’s a comedy-drama that’s been described as a spiritual cousin to his Dazed and Confused, which was released in 1994 but set in the mid-1970s. For Everybody Wants Some (which Linklater had previously referred to in interviews as That’s What I’m Talking About), the 1980s provide the backdrop for the his typically genial, footloose characters.
This debut from the Turkish director Deniz Gamze Ergüven has been an awards magnet wherever it has been screened, and looks likely to be on the Oscar shortlist next year for Best Film Not in the English Language. It concerns five sisters who have been promised to men in arranged marriages.
There are various comedy sequels, reboots and revamps this year—including Zoolander 2, Dad’s Army (both in February), Absolutely Fabulous The Movie (July) and the Office spin-off David Brent: Life on the Road (August). But none is more highly anticipated, at least by me, than this new spin by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) on the 1984 comic-fantasy hit Ghostbusters. All the main roles this time are played by women. Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones are the ones trying not to cross streams; Chris (Thor) Hemsworth turns up to bat his eyelashes as their receptionist.
One of the most encouraging collaborations of 2015 was between the director Olivier Assayas and the actor Kristen Stewart in Clouds of Sils Maria. They’re back together again in this contemplative ghost story about a personal shopper to the stars who has clairvoyant powers. Shooting only just finished and, though no release date has been set, it would be a surprise if this were not unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
Martin Scorsese’s historical drama, starring Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver as 17th-century Jesuit missionaries, is also expected to premiere at Cannes.
And a third Cannes hopeful is likely to be the new drama from Pedro Almodovar—which was, incidentally, called Silencio until the Spaniard switched titles to avoid confusion with Scorsese’s film.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
JK Rowling’s first screenplay doesn’t stray far from the material that made her name: this is adapted from her book about the magical creatures in the Harry Potter universe, and stars Eddie Redmayne. It should ensure, along with the new two-part West End play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a cultural monopoly of sorts.
Star Wars: Rogue One
Here we go again. Unofficial title: Star Wars: Plus ça change.