It’s been an amazingly strong twelve months for movies in 2015, but don’t go thinking you can give the multiplex a miss just yet – because dozens more mouthwatering films are hitting UK cinemas next year.
From Oscar contenders to gleefully bizarre B-movies, from superhero blockbusters to avant-garde oddities, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about cinema in 2016.
Here are 40 fantastic-looking flicks to look forward to.
The Danish Girl
Out Jan 1
As highlighted in our glowing review, this compelling drama could possibly net Eddie Redmayne a second consecutive Best Actor Oscar.
It’s the story of a happily-married couple in 1920s Copenhagen, and how they deal with the husband’s emerging desire to live as a woman. Alicia Vikander, so strong in Ex Machina, is equally impressive here as Redmayne’s initially supportive but ultimately conflicted spouse.
The Hateful Eight
Out Jan 8
Tarantino’s bloody and suspenseful new Western has been winning rave reviews for its neat marrying of traditional rogues and gunslingers with an almost Agatha Christie esque set-up.
Forced to take shelter with their fellow strangers in the middle of nowhere, the eight dangerous folk of the title eye each other tentatively before the bloodshed begins. It’s got Kurt Russell, Samuel L Jackson and Jennifer Jason Leigh on top form, and an original soundtrack from Ennio Morricone. You can start salivating now.
Out Jan 15
Rocky is back, and (whisper it) everyone is saying that it’s really rather good. Great, in fact.
The story revolve’s around the veteran boxer training up the loose-cannon son of his old friend Apollo, and the relationship that develops between mentor and protege. Michael B Jordan looks to sparkle, Sly has the wind back in his sails, and there’s a lot of buzz about an incredible one-take bout.
Out Jan 15
We already gave you six reasons to be excited for it, but in short – here’s why this is a must-see.
Birdman director Alejandro González Iñárritu helms an epic tale of 19th century survival and revenge that sees Leonardo Di Caprio’s desperate explorer brave the harsh wilderness to hunt down the men who left him for dead. It looks absolutely stunning.
The Big Short
Out Jan 22
How’s this for an intriguing notion? The man who gave us Anchorman directs a drama about unscrupulous banking practices with an extraordinary ensemble cast including Christian Bale and Brad Pitt.
Steve Carell also shows off his real acting chops again here, in a tale that’s being hailed as original, witty and highly distinctive.
Out Jan 29
Netting widespread acclaim for its gripping but admirably restrained insight into the real-life investigation that unearthed horrifying abuse within the Roman Catholic Church in Boston, this hard-hitting journalistic drama has already made gigantic waves Stateside.
Expect superb performances from the likes of Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton, as their characters uncover more and more shocking revelations.
Out Feb 5
With Breaking Bad now well behind him, Bryan Cranston’s push to the big screen big leagues is underway – with his portrayal of the titular blacklisted screenwriter tipped to scoop major acting honours.
The extraordinary tale of a man who wrote some of Hollywood’s biggest movies under pseudonyms while cast out due to his political ideals, it looks entertaining and thought-provoking in equal measure.
Out Feb 10
Ryan Reynolds played Deadpool once before, in a god-awful X-Men movie that fans would rather forget. Now he’s back as the same character once more – in a bid to barnstormingly right that wrong.
Make no mistake: this looks a million times more faithful, hilarious and audacious. The merc with a mouth’s new headline outing places a big emphasis on close to the knuckle laughs and jaw-dropping violence. An R-Rated comic book outing with real bite? Perhaps.
Out Feb 12
We’ll admit it. We were extremely skeptical. But then the first full trailer dropped, and our excitement levels went through the roof.
Yes, it looks like there’ll be a fair bit of gag re-hashing and the like, but Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson’s chemistry looks intact, and Will Ferrell’s ingenious creation Mugatu looks set to steal the show once more. Fingers crossed it’s as funny as the brilliant first.
Out Feb 12
Fancy a schlocky horror western starring Kurt Russell? Of course you do.
Fresh from the Hateful Eight, our Kurt is once again rocking a mean moustache and assortment of badass guns, as his grizzled sheriff takes on a host of cave-dwelling cannibals. We don’t know about you, but that description alone has got us sold.
Pride And Prejudice And Zombies
Out Feb 12
February is most definitely the month of weird. And how’s this for an off-the-wall mash up?
Jane Austen’s classic tale of corsets and country houses gets the bloody walking dead treatment when a zombie apocalypse invades the traditional story. If you’ve ever wanted to see Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy swap awkward courtship for battling with the ravenous undead – you’ve come to the right place.
Out Feb 19
The new film from uncompromising director John Hillcoat (The Road, Lawless), this gritty crime movie starring Woody Harrelson and Casey Affleck focuses on a crew of dirty cops blackmailed by the Russian mob to execute a seemingly impossible heist.
It looks both shocking and fascinating, with the scheme the cops come up with and its unsuspecting fallout likely to have us on the edge of our seats.
Out Feb 24
Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest comic outing sees him step into the shoes of a Northern football thug and layabout whose shabby existence is thrown into turmoil when his estranged brother – a top government agent – turns up, and they are plunged into a world of espionage and action.
We’ve had a fair few spy spoofs lately, but with Cohen doing his thing and Mark Strong gamely along for the ride, this could be great fun.
Out Feb 26
The Coen Brothers are thoroughly in their element creating outlandish, off-the-wall and completely hilarious comedy movies – and Hail, Caesar! has the potential to be their most entertaining yet.
George Clooney’s idiot A-List actor gets kidnapped, and a hard boiled detective caper ensues. The ensemble cast is basically ridiculous, and everyone looks to be bringing their A-game. Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum, Frances McDormand and Ralph Fiennes are just some of the stars on board.
Out Mar 4
This highly lauded Austrian horror film hinges on a supremely creepy premise: after she returns home following face-changing surgery, two twin boys begin to suspect their mother may not be herself.
Highly psychological and a really engaging mystery, this is one domestic chiller that seems a must-watch for fans of the macabre.
Out Mar 11
Another high-brow horror set to send shivers down your spine, Robert Eggers’ Sundance sensation delves into the deep dark woods – and finds something altogether terrifying lurking inside.
A 17th century family are plunged into crisis, chaos and ultimately madness when a child goes missing. The cinematography looks lush, the action intense, and you can feel the ripe sense of nerve-shredding dread and foreboding.
Out Mar 11
Award-winning writer-director Charlie Kaufman is back with his first film in seven years – an animated stop-motion movie about life, love and existence.
Looking to offer similar bittersweet drama, humour and romance to previous offerings, while also being overtly philosophical, it looks incredibly poignant.
Out Mar 18
We recently spoke to star Elisabeth Moss about this fascinating, offbeat movie – a JG Ballard adaptation from the remarkable Ben Wheatley that revolves around a group of wealthy tenants in a luxury apartment building, who embark on a chaotic spree of primal violence and destruction.
Tom Hiddleston heads the cast, Clint Mansell is doing the music, and Ballard’s dark subversive social satire finds an ideal partner in Wheatley’s black comedy genius. What’s not to like?
Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice
Out Mar 15
DC’s two most iconic superheroes go head to head in Zack Snyder’s ambitious comic book epic, with also throws Wonder Woman and Jesse Eisenberg’s unconventional Lex Luthor into the mix.
Will Affleck nail his Batman role? Will the tone be too all over the place? Will too many cooks spoil the broth? Who knows if this’ll be masterpiece or mess, but it’ll certainly be fun finding out.
The Jungle Book
Out Apr 15
Directed by Iron Man‘s Jon Favreau, Disney’s new take on Rudyard Kipling’s much loved story features the voices of BIll Murray as Baloo the Bear, Idris Elba as Shere Kahn, Christopher Walken as Ape King Louis and Scarlett Johansson as Python Kaa. How’s that for casting?
Expect a darker tone to the tale, together with captivating CGI creatures.
Captain America: Civil War
Out Apr 29
The Avengers are quite literally torn in half as a renegade Cap and his allies face off against Iron Man’s own cadre of heroes, after a political dispute goes badly wrong.
The first trailer showed Cap, Bucky, Falcon, Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye charging in to battle their former allies, Iron Man clutching a fallen War Machine, and a rather shocking glimpse of Iron Man being brutally beaten back and forth by Cap and Bucky. Looks like that famous Marvel humour is being swapped out for some serious grit. Consider us excited.
Out May 19
Charles Xavier and his young team of mutant upstarts face their biggest challenge yet in the face of ancient, formidably powerful being Apocalypse, who enlists the aid of Magneto and others to bring war to the globe.
Cool new faces, jaw-dropping action and more Quicksilver should ensure a rollercoaster ride – even if the sight of Oscar Isaac as a big blue dude is slightly weird at first.
The Nice Guys
Out Jun 3
Shane Black already mastered comedy mystery noir with his highly underrated Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but now he’s back for another bite of the cherry with Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe and Kim Basinger in tow.
Expect a slightly farcical take on LA Confidential territory, as a down and out PI and a thuggish hired hand become embroiled in the saga of a missing girl and murdered porn star.
Out Jun 3
Orcs and humans collide in a CGI fantasy epic based on the popular online video game. On the face of it, that wouldn’t necessarily be cause for cinematic excitement.
But the catch? It’s directed by the brilliant Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code), Toby Kebbell is working motion-capture wonders, and it looks to bring a more sympathetic, nuanced take on the usually one-note orcs, as well as introducing a genuinely captivating fictional world to a global film audience. Could be a much more interesting blockbuster than the naysayers expect.
Independence Day: Resurgence
Out Jun 24
More than 20 years after they invaded first time around, those dastardly flying saucers are back – as are Jeff Goldblum and a bearded Bill Pullman to battle the alien scum (no Will Smith though, sadly).
The trailer suggests a re-tread of the original disaster porn mayhem, only this time with alien tech powered aircraft from the Earth side and an even bigger mothership. Ridiculous? Maybe. Entertaining as hell? Probably.
Tale Of Tales
Out Jul 1
Straddling the border between gothic horror and fantasy, this audacious fairytale anthology offers a twisted spin on established classics, and wowed with its stunning visuals and art direction at Cannes.
The quality cast of heavyweight character actors play their part in a compendium of gory stories that should be right up the street of anyone with a taste for the films of Guillermo Del Toro and the like.
Out Jul 15
Who you gonna call? An all-female cast of American comedians apparently, as Bridesmaids’ Paul Feig reboots the seminal comedy series with a strong dose of girl power.
Slightly sexist reactions notwithstanding, it’s obviously a big risk to bring back such a beloved ’80s favourite in such a different way. But Feig’s track record, and the inspired decision to cast Chris Hemsworth as the receptionist, give us hope.
Out July 22
Roald Dahl’s fun, scary and fantastical tale directed by the erstwhile king-of-cinematic-wonder Steven Spielberg. A marriage made in heaven? We reckon so.
Spielberg looks to be once again mining the nostalgic childhood sense of awe and peril that served the likes of ET so well. Prepare yourselves for Snozzcumbers and Whizzpoppers!
Star Trek Beyond
Out Jul 22
Following the slight hyperactive muddle that was Into Darkness, here’s hoping the latest Star Trek movie can rekindle the initial excitement that JJ Abrams’ terrific 2009 reboot kick-started.
If the initial trailer is anything to by, it certainly looks funny, action-packed and dramatic. Let’s just hope they don’t try and get too clever with the fan service this time.
Out Jul 29
While a Pixar sequel is usually not as strong a cause for celebration as an invigorating original, Toy Story 2 and 3 proved they can work wonders – and we’re certainly keen to return to the underwater world of Nemo and co.
Focusing on the forgetful Dory’s quest to track down her long-lost parents, let’s hope the clown fish and friends can be as comic and lovable again as that name suggests.
Out Aug 5
While the world is busy salivating over Batman V Superman, an even more tantalising prospect is preparing to break in round the back and make off with all the box office proceeds.
It’s a Dirty Dozen of the comic book world, as a host of notorious badass DC villains are forced to team-up to undertake deadly, dangerous jobs for the US government. We think Jared Leto’s Joker and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn could be the killer couple of the summer blockbuster season.
David Brent: Life On The Road
Out Aug 19
The hapless boss from The Office is back, and this time he’s heading off on tour in a bid to become a bona fide rock star.
We’ve already compiled our wish-list, but as long as it includes cringe-inducingly funny encounters and a few spoof songs to rival ‘Equality Street’, we’re sold. This is a sitcom transition to the big screen that could really have madly-gyrating legs.
Bridget Jones’s Baby
Out Sep 16
Everyone’s favourite neurotic publishing exec is now into her 40s – and can add motherhood to her ever extensive list of life stresses.
Let’s be honest: even those who outwardly scoff at the comedy saga are secretly looking forward to catching up with ‘Brig’, a relatable, gaff-prone heroine for our times.
Out Oct 7
Little is currently known about the upcoming superhero movie starring one of the X-Men’s favourite characters. But if they get this one right, it could be fantastic.
For the uninitiated, Gambit is an ultra suave, smooth-talking cajun mutant best known for lobbing explosive playing cards at enemies. Channing Tatum is stepping into the shoes of the title hero, the excellent Lea Seydoux is on board, and Edge Of Tomorrow’s Doug Liman is directing.
The Girl On The Train
Out Oct 7
Next year’s Gone Girl? Based on the best-selling novel by Paula Hawkins, this psychological thriller starring Emily Blunt follows an ordinary woman who accidentally finds herself involved in the murder mystery of a fellow passenger.
Those who know little about it should probably keep it that way. Suffice it to say, it could be gripping stuff.
Out Oct 28
If you thought Guardians Of The Galaxy and Ant-Man were weird, prepare to be amazed. Because Marvel is really pushing the envelope with its latest outing.
The title character is a genius neurosurgeon who encounters the Ancient One, and is granted power over magic and alternate dimensions. And he’s played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Get hype.
Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them
Harry Potter is baaaack! Sort of. Eddie Redmayne stars as a magical animal expert with a mysterious briefcase in this spin-off story within the Potter universe (albeit set decades earlier).
Can it re-capture the magic of the famous franchise and make us all long for our very own wand again? Let’s hope so.
Bad Santa 2
Out Dec 2
Sleazy, sordid and pant-wettingly funny, Bad Santa is the alternative seasonal movie gift that just keeps on giving.
Now it’s getting a belated sequel, and we can’t wait to see what Billy Bob Thornton’s safe-cracker turned unlikely Christmas icon is up to now. Something very, very wrong, we presume.
Star Wars: Rogue One
Out Dec 16
With The Force Awakens proving to be such splendid, brilliantly-judged fun, hopes are now even higher for this first Star Wars spin-off film, following a rag-tag group of Rebel fighters in the early years of the Empire.
The strong cast of character actors including Felicity Jones, Riz Ahmed and Mads Mikkelsen help bolster the sense of anticipation. It’s a great idea too – and will drop before any emergent franchise fatigue quite sets in among us all.
Out Dec 26
The big budget, top cast and Boxing Day release suggests that this is one video game adaptation that Hollywood really does think will free-run its way into the box office big leagues next year.
And why not? Man of the moment Michael Fassbender is re-teaming with Macbeth’s Justin Kurzel and donning the iconic cape as a medieval assassin mired in conspiracy, with Brendan Gleeson and Jeremy Irons lending steely support. With some mouthwatering historical backdrops and gripping, height-scaling action scenes, this could be an adventure to savour. Here’s 6 reasons why we’re on board.