[31 Days of Horror Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan] Day 4 – New Nightmare (1994)

Director: Wes Craven
Cast: Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, Miko Hughes, David Newsom, John Saxon
Screenplay: Wes Craven
112 mins. Rated R for explicit horror violence and gore, and for language.

By 1994, the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise was so beaten into the ground that it doesn’t surprise me that Wes Craven (Scream, My Soul to Take) was able to step in and do whatever he wanted with the property. New Nightmare is a movie that shouldn’t work, one that confronts the projector booth or the television screen to remind you that all of this is fake but it can still kill you. How did it happen, how does it work, and does the movie still have a place? Let’s find out.

It’s been years since Heather Langenkamp (Hellraiser: Judgment, TV’s Just the Ten of Us) played Nancy Thompson, and yet, the memory of her time on A Nightmare on Elm Street has defined her career, and it has stayed with her since. Her husband, Chase Porter (David Newsom, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, CODA) has been working on a secret project with Wes Craven, she’s dealing with a stalker, and her son Dylan (Miko Hughes, Kindergarten Cop, The Untold Story) has been struggling under the stress of it all. The worst thing is she’s starting to have nightmares about Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund, Nightworld: Door of Hell, The Funhouse Massacre), but this Freddy is different. He’s darker, angrier, more primordial, and he wants Dylan.

The plot of New Nightmare is tied to the real world. Wes Craven has confronted the unreality of the franchise to this point and Freddy Krueger as a character. Brand recognition has made Krueger something that even children can recognize, a horror Ronald McDonald, and with that, he seems to have lost some of the luster, that edge that he started out with. That’s true. Even as a defender of most of the sequels, the horror/comedy line that Krueger tows lessens the horror and increases the comedy with each installment. It never got as bad as Seed of Chucky, but Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare is truly an abysmal send-off for the beloved horror icon. You can critique Craven all day about maybe just being biased against the sequels but he was still right about that. His decision to approach the material in a very different way is not only admirable, but it shockingly works, and it works really well. Craven mined the real world for influences, even going as far as to introduce a stalker subplot to Heather’s story (something that the real Heather Langenkamp dealt with), and it’s commendable that even though he had disdain for the sequels, he never once feels the need to completely disown them from the canon, an overall good idea that probably would’ve happened in today’s retcon-heavy horror landscape. Craven’s script feels focused and restrained, but he’s playing in the sandbox that he created again, and he’s ambitious in telling his story. In fact, there are elements of his original screenplay that would only have expanded upon his ambition (like the Michael Berryman-driven van that “Wes Craven” the character would have ridden around in, his eyelids removed so as not to fall asleep), and it may have been for the best that some of these crazier ideas were excised, but they also showcase the confidence that Craven has in his universe.

Through Craven’s writing and directing and Robert Englund’s reinvention of the character, we get a very different Freddy Krueger this time around, so much so that I would almost want to refrain from calling him Freddy. This uber-Freddy is something larger, nightmarish, coming from a much more fantastical realm, and taking on the visage of Krueger to play off the audience’s, and Heather’s, fears. This idea feels like a natural progression, and it takes the mythology of A Nightmare on Elm Street and expands it exponentially to achieve this. Whereas the original Freddy invaded the perforation between dreams and reality, this one invades the perforation between the film world and the real world, but it’s so much more than that. This new Freddy is supposedly much closer to Craven’s intention, and it is indeed closer to his original film than it is to any of the sequels. I should also circle back to the performance by Robert Englund. He does something unique with this portrayal of Krueger (since it is a different entity, perhaps, or maybe even an evolution of the dream demons from Freddy’s Dead, if we’re getting canonical here) which makes it stand on its own even if you haven’t seen any of the other films. In fact, I can’t say for certain, but I think New Nightmare was the second Nightmare on Elm Street film I’d seen after The Dream Child, and it freaked me the hell out as a kid. Perhaps it’s because Englund is also playing himself here, but he adds little verbal tics and physical movements to this new iteration so that it seems like a completely new character.

Much like Englund, Heather Langenkamp has to play herself, a fictionalized version or course, and also somewhat reprise Nancy Thompson. Along with her, John Saxon (Enter the Dragon, Black Christmas) returns to do double duty for a bit as well. Both Langenkamp and Saxon able to do a lot of heavy lifting here. Langenkamp has to convince us that this is really, and oftentimes it is believed that playing oneself is easy, but it isn’t. There tends to be an accidentally satirical or over-the-top lilt to everything because we see ourselves differently than other people see us, but Langenkamp still has that girl next door innocence that Nancy has, but aged up ten years and aware of where she’s come from. While Langenkamp takes on the narrative flow, Saxon adds a punch to it. Much like all his appearances in this series and many other movies, he is able to do a lot with a little bit of screen time, and that’s no different here.

Even the non-actors are able to carry their own weight here. I know that Wes Craven is not an actor. I know that Robert Shaye isn’t. In that way, it’s a good thing that they don’t take the film with their performances, and while they would never win awards, they are capable enough not to derail the narrative or pull down the curtain of illusion that we are in the “real” world as we watch.

The film carries faults in a few areas that, again, do not derail the illusion, but they are there. I found the constant screaming for “Dylan” to be a little grating. The finished product has 300 utterances of Dylan’s name, and the more you watch it, the more it gets at you. I didn’t like Dr. Heffner as a secondary antagonist because, as I’ve grown older, I’m less convinced of her realism by the way she is written. I just didn’t buy it. I also kind of wish that Craven had tilted a bit more into the mythology that he’s going with. As I mentioned above, so much of the mythology works within the confines of presenting us with the “real” world, but to be honest, I wish he had pushed that envelope a little bit further. The areas where he leans into the fantastical are some of my favorite sequences on repeat viewings, especially where the film ends up. The finale is great, but I wish there was more of it.

New Nightmare laid a lot of ground work for the later Craven slasher Scream. I’m convinced that we would not have Scream without New Nightmare, and we might not have the excitement for Freddy Krueger among the horror fanbase without this unique installment. Remember, we last hooked up with Freddy for Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, one of the worst installments of any franchise and certainly the worst Freddy Krueger film. We may not have gotten Freddy vs. Jason or the remake or the interest in continuing the franchise without it. Here, Wes Craven crafted the precursor to the meta-slasher, and he did it while convincing us that everything was real. Most filmmakers only have to convince us what’s on the screen is real. Craven admits that everything is fake up to this point, and that Freddy Krueger is just a guy in a costume with prop knives, and then he re-convinces us all over again, leading to one of the most entertaining and interesting franchise continuations ever put to the horror landscape, culminating in a fantastic finale that ends the franchise in a great place and re-cements Krueger as one of the horror greats.

4/5
-Kyle A. Goethe

  • For my review of Sean S. Cunningham’s Friday the 13th, click here.
  • For my review of Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, click here.
  • For my review of Steve Miner’s Friday the 13th Part II, click here.
  • For my review of Steve Miner’s Friday the 13th Part 3, click here.
  • For my review of Joseph Zito’s Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, click here.
  • For my review of Jack Sholder’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, click here.
  • For my review of Danny Steinmann’s Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning, click here.
  • For my review of Chuck Russell’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, click here.
  • For my review of Tom McLoughlin’s Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI, click here.
  • For my review of Renny Harlin’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, click here.
  • For my review of John Carl Buechler’s Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, click here.
  • For my review of Stephen Hopkins’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, click here.
  • For my review of Rob Hedden’s Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, click here.
  • For my review of Rachel Talalay’s Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, click here.
  • For my review of Adam Marcus’s Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, click here.
  • For my review of Wes Craven’s Shocker, click here.
  • For my review of Wes Craven’s Vampire in Brooklyn, click here.
  • For my review of Wes Craven’s Scream, click here.

[31 Days of Horror Part V – A New Beginning] Day 1 – The Dentist (1996)

Director: Brian Yuzna

Cast: Corbin Bernsen, Linda Hoffman, Michael Stadvec

Screenplay: Dennis Paoli, Stuart Gordon, Charles Finch

92 mins. Rated R for graphic violence including scenes of dental torture, sexuality and some language.

 

Hey there everyone! Happy October, and we are back with another 31 Days of Horror. I know last year I called it The Final Chapter, but c’mon, is it ever? Let’s start things off with a cringer.

Dr. Allan Feinstone (Corbin Bernsen, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Psych: The Movie) seeming has it all. Or at least, until his wedding anniversary when he discovers his wife Brooke (Linda Hoffman, Face/Off, Clifford) is cheating on him with the poolman, Matt (Michael Stadvec, Public Enemies, Chairman of the Board). The knowledge of such treachery sets Dr. Feinstone off, causing him to kill the neighbor’s dog and then turn his sights on work for the day. Dr. Feinstone is a dentist, and cavities don’t take the day off, and he tries to convince himself that he is okay, but Allan’s patients soon realize that he is not alright. In fact, he’s gone insane.

The Dentist, on the surface, seems like it could be an appealing concept. By that, I mean the very surface. I remember being a kid and being terrified of the dentist. Many people are scared by dentists. It only seems natural to make a horror film about one.

That being said, The Dentist is terrible. It has the slimmest possible plot it can, it revolves seemingly around an entirely unlikable and uninteresting cast, and there is no tension in the film. There is some revulsion, but no tension. There’s a feeling like The Dentist can exist in a world of Grindhousian films, but I would pass it up for another flick even based on the gore. There’s nothing particularly over-the-top about the horror, and in that way, it doesn’t even shock the way Grindhouse films should.

Sadly, there isn’t really a redeeming quality, unless you like seeing celebs before they were famous (Hey look, it’s Mark Ruffalo!). Other than that, I found the film, from director Brian Yuzna (Faust, Amphibious Creature of the Deep) to be dreadfully boring and flat-out without merit.

 

1/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

For my review of Brian Yuzna’s Bride of Re-Animator, click here.

 

For more Almighty Goatman,

Kyle’s Top Ten Most Anticipated Films of 2018

 

Since I’ve already seen one of 2018’s releases, I’m probably a little late on presenting my most anticipated list for 2018. Don’t worry, it hasn’t changed much. Let’s start off with a note:

  • This list is more anticipated, not what I think will be the best by any stretch. These are the films I’m most looking forward to as of right now, so there will be more blockbusters than indies because that’s just how it plays out. So, with that being said…

 

NOTE: THIS IS NOT A COUNTDOWN BUT A LIST.

 

Annihilation

-I thoroughly enjoyed director Alex Garland’s Ex Machina from 2015, and on that film alone, I cannot wait to see Annihilation. Garland has had a run of pretty solid work in the last few years, and getting top talent like Natalie Portman and Oscar Isaac involved is only making this more hyped for me. I don’t know much about the film’s plot outside of the lone trailer I’ve seen, but getting a chance to see a great storytelling weave a yarn in his own sandbox is always a great thing.

 

Pacific Rim: Uprising

-I’m very sad that Guillermo del Toro isn’t returning to helm the sequel to his underappreciated Pacific Rim, but that’s what it took to get The Shape of Water, so what can you do? At least he is staying on in a producer role and the franchise is continuing. I’m not sure how to feel about Uprising as the film looks drastically different from the original, but John Boyega playing Idris Elba’s son looks interesting enough, and genre favorite Steven S. DeKnight behind the camera is setting the film up for success. I’m very excited to see an expanding of this mythology and more Jaeger/Kaiju action.

 

Ready Player One

-I’m just starting the book right now, and the trailers for Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One have been fascinating. I just don’t know how to feel but the film looks bonkers. There is absolutely no reason not to be excited for more Spielberg but this one feels so familiar and yet so different from what we’ve seen recently from the director. As long as there are enough weird Easter Eggs, I guess I will keep plenty busy at this one.

 

God Particle

-Yeah, this one was on my list for 2017, but it got bumped back. God Particle is all but confirmed to be the next Cloververse film after Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane. Since I loved both of its predecessors and I enjoy dissecting theories about this quasi-anthology, God Particle should be a fun and interesting ride.

 

Avengers: Infinity War

-What do I say that hasn’t already been said? Almost 20 films in and we are getting this massive film. I have no words. I doubted that this franchise could or would work, and I was wrong. Pop in Black Panther and Ant-Man & the Wasp (I didn’t want to have more than one franchise installment on this list but I’m stoked for all three) and this should prove to be another exciting year for the MCU.

 

Solo: A Star Wars Story

-All the drama behind-the-scenes has made me rather nervous for Solo, but I trust the minds at Lucasfilm because I’ve enjoyed all three Star Wars adventures since their acquisition by Disney, so I trust that they acted at the right time installing Ron Howard as the new director to fix this anthology film. What does make me nervous, though, is the lack of the trailer with only four months to go.

 

Deadpool 2

-I elected to pick Deadpool 2 over The New Mutants and Dark Phoenix because of how surprising the original Deadpool was in 2016. With the shuffling around behind the camera, the exit of Tim Miller, and the addition of David Leitch, it is interesting to see how this one plays out. If the teaser or short that were released are any indication, I think we are in good hands here.

 

The Predator

-Trust me when I say that all of my excitement for this film is riding on Shane Black. I always love a new Predator film, but Shane Black is the reason this is on the list. I love Black’s storytelling sensibilities from his writing of the greatest action film of all time (yeah, I’m calling it for Lethal Weapon) but also his work as a director with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3, and The Nice Guys. Some people aren’t aware that Black even co-starred in the original Predator, so he has a good tie to this series.

 

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was quite a surprise. I love Harry Potter, but the idea to expand the mythology with an adaptation of a textbook was weird. Turns out, J.K. Rowling has a few more stories to tell. The flaw with the first film, though, was Johnny Depp’s cameo as Gellert Grindelwald. I didn’t like his appearance and I don’t have as much faith in him as an actor, so seeing him take on the second-biggest villain in the Harry Potter universe was an odd choice. With The Crimes of Grindelwald, Depp will be taking on a much larger role, so I’m interesting if a little nervous to see what comes of it.

 

Mortal Engines

-Though the trailer didn’t have much to offer (as the film is still about a year out), seeing Peter Jackson’s name onscreen again is always a welcome sight. He’s taking on a producer and screenwriter role this time with Mortal Engines, an adaptation of the novel series by Philip Reeve. Jackson and his team are incredible writers, so a nice foundation to this film is enough to spark my interest. We will have to wait for another trailer to see how it is all shaping up, but Mortal Engines has a lot on its plate.

 

So there it is. What film are you most excited for in 2018? Let me know/drop a comment below.

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For more Almighty Goatman,

[31 Days of Horror 3] Day 4 – Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

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Director: Joseph Zito

Cast: Erich Anderson, Judie Aronson, Peter Barton, Kimberly Beck, Corey Feldman, Crispin Glover, Alan Hayes, Barbara Howard, Laurence Monoson, Joan Freeman, Camila More, Carey More

Screenplay: Barney Cohen

91 mins. Rated R.

 

Ah, The Final Chapter. Never what it truly means. Hell, Jason Voorhees had two film touted as the Final Something. You just can’t keep a slasher down.

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In Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, the bloodbath from the previous installment has ended, and as Jason Voorhees’ body is dropped off at the morgue, the staff quickly discovers that the killer has not yet died. Now, Jason is up and going, determined to seek further vengeance over the death of his mother. His reign of terror has been going on for days (technically this movie takes place from Sunday the 15th to Tuesday the 17th, but hey, who’s counting), and the body count continues to rise as Jason makes his way back home to Camp Crystal Lake.

This fourth entry is the Friday the 13th franchise is where the series hits its comfortable stride. The producers know the formula, and they aren’t ready to change it. Friday the 13th Part III was supposed to end the franchise, but fans clamored for more and so Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter was created to be a true finale. Tom Savini was even brought in to kill the franchise he helped create. Paramount also wanted a finale as they felt the series tarnished their good name. Director Joseph Zito (Missing in Action, The Prowler) was brought in to helm the Final Chapter.

This is also the film that started to really show the insanity behind the scenes. Actress Judie Aronson (Weird Science, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) was supposed to have a long scene in the cold water, and as Zito kept demanding takes, it was clear she was developing hypothermia. Ted White, who played Jason, actually had to threaten to quit before Zito came to his senses. Then there’s Crispin Glover (Back to the Future, Alice in Wonderland). Damn, this dude is insane. He hadn’t quite gone off the rails at this point in his career but legends from the set arose about his unhinged mental state. That being said, his portrayal of Jimmy is one of the more interesting characters from a Friday the 13th entry. Laurence Monoson (The Last American Virgin, Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation), who plays Jimmy’s asshole friend Ted, had a scene smoking pot, but as Monoson had never done so, he thought the night of his big scene would be the perfect time to partake. Lots of insanity from the Friday the 13th set helped to mold an interesting if messy entry.

But about the film itself, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter is indeed messy. It doesn’t have the same kind of tone that the previous entries had, which would be fine if the film actually had a tone to begin with. It feels like Zito is collecting a check because that’s all he’s doing here. This film just feels like a whole lot of ideas crammed into a movie. For one thing, the character Rob (Erich Anderson, Unfaithful, I Married Who?) is supposed to have been Sandra’s brother from Friday the 13th Part 2. You may remember her as the girl who gets kabob-ed by Jason while with her boyfriend Jeff. Well, Rob is there to exact revenge or find his sister, I’m not entirely sure of his full motivation. But Part 2 took place two days prior. He’s made a lot of ground and learned a lot in two days. Rob shouldn’t be as capable as he is. This is just one of the many problems with the film. I feel like there were good intentions all around, but The Final Chapter is just really weird.

The best thing to come out of this film, though: Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman, Stand By Me, Lost Boys: The Thirst). Tommy Jarvis is an accidentally successful character played nicely by Feldman. The fact that he kept coming back to face Jason is one of the most enjoyable elements of the franchise.

This screenshot was taken from http://www.tepg.se owned by Krister Nielsen (info@wonderworks.se)

As I said before, I really enjoy watching Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. It’s a lot of fun. The formula works and there’s no reason to change it. It just isn’t anything new. Even slapping the tag The Final Chapter on it doesn’t really do anything, and the franchise wouldn’t even skip a beat in order to drop the next film, Friday the 13th V: A New Beginning, the next year. If your a fan of Jason, you’ll find a lot to love here. If not, this probably won’t convince you.

 

2.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of Sean S. Cunningham’s Friday the 13th, click here.

For my review of Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, click here.

For my review of Steve Miner’s Friday the 13th Part 2, click here.

For my review of Steve Miner’s Friday the 13th Part III, click here.

The Nice Guys (2016)

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Director: Shane Black

Cast: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Keith David, Kim Basinger

Screenplay: Shane Black, Anthony Bagarozzi

116 mins. Rated R for violence, sexuality, nudity, language and brief drug use.

 

It’s a great feeling when an artist takes on a project so perfectly in his wheelhouse that it’s all you can think of. I’m a big fan of director Shane Black (Iron Man 3, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang). My fandom is really from his writing, as I grew up watching Riggs & Murtaugh from Lethal Weapon, a film written by Black. The franchise is very near and dear to my heart, partly due to the brilliant writing and realistic dialogue crafted by the writer. I also really enjoyed Black’s foray into the MCU with Iron Man 3, but when I heard he was heading back to the buddy-cop-ish genre he helped perfect, I was floored. Sure, our leads aren’t extremely likable guys, but it is their flaws that make them so fun to watch, and the decision to set The Nice Guys in the 1970s…well, wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

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Holland March (Ryan Gosling, Drive, The Big Short) has been hired to find Misty Mountains, a porn star who actually died days earlier. His search for answers brings him into contact with enforcer Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe, Gladiator, The Water Diviner), who has been hired by one of the women Holland has been tailing. When the two discover something much more sinister is afoot, they join forces, and the unlikely pair, aided by March’s daughter Holly (Angourie Rice, Walking with Dinosaurs, Nowhere Boys: The Book of Shadows), attempt to discover the connection between this dead porn star and a secretly made adult film featuring a now missing young woman named Amelia (Margaret Qualley, TV’s The Leftovers, Palo Alto) in 1977 Los Angeles.

The Nice Guys feels like a movie that so perfectly encapsulates Shane Black’s storytelling style, but it might be his riskiest movie yet. He takes several chances on pushing the envelope of the viewer and most (but not all) really work. Black has a gift of dealing with somewhat taboo subjects like porn without glamorizing or debasing them. There is a level of respect given to his seedier characters as well that doesn’t treat them any differently than how he’d treat any others.

In Crowe and Gosling I found the most unlikely chemistry from two leads that I’m likely to find this year. Both come from different cinematic backgrounds and mesh so damn well. Crowe is seemingly directed at being the lead here but it is Gosling’s performance that shines, and the way the two characters interact with Angourie Rice, who plays the young yet mature Holly March that shows the depths of Black’s character development range. The trifecta of characters are tested by a cadre of interesting secondary characters played by Matt Bomer (TV’s White Collar, Magic Mike XXL) and my personally proclaimed screen legend Keith David (Platoon, Cloud Atlas) in great supporting roles.

As a director, Shane Black is still fairly new, but he has tested the waters already and jumps right in, exploring some really interesting cinematography and musical choices that showcase the 1970s without throwing at you.

The flaws with the film? The editing is a little looser than it could be. Certain sequences should’ve been tightened a bit more to create a more cohesive pacing to the film. Black chooses to linger on some moments that I didn’t need him to linger on. There’s also a reveal at the end that I found both unsurprising and a little clichéd, something I didn’t expect to find here.

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The Nice Guys is a mostly fantastic romp through an often overdone time frame, but Shane Black chooses to populate his film with likably unlikable people and a few moments of genuine heart. It is the characters and their relationships with each other that drive this film to a pretty exciting conclusion. One can only hope that this has the making of a new franchise, and this reviewer would be more than happy to see the further adventures of The Nice Guys.

 

4.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

So have you seen The Nice Guys? What did you think? And what’s your favorite buddy pairing in film? Let me know!

AlmightyGoatman’s 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2016!

 

Note* This list is not the countdown so these are not numbered. This list contains films that have a release date for 2016 and will not contain the 10 films I believe will be the best. This is the films I have become aware of that I am looking forward to. No, your indie film didn’t make the cut because I just haven’t heard much if anything about it. I’m sorry, but you have a whole year to change my mind.

 

Honorable Mentions: Deadpool, Captain America: Civil War, The Free State of Jones, Connor4real, The BFG

 

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Hail, Caesar!

I love the Coen Brothers. I don’t always love their movies, but I love that these two great artists can conjure up so much grandeur while at the same time creating so many personal stories. Hail, Caesar! is an exciting farcical comedy about a kidnapped actor back in the heyday of show business and the studio man tasked with finding him. There is a lot of madcap, a lot of fun in the trailer alone, and a lot of Coen.

 

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

I’m not even all that convinced that this movie will be good. The trailer didn’t entirely convince me and I wasn’t a big fan of Man of Steel by any means. I’m mostly excited to see this film because it appears to be the must-see popcorn flick of 2016, much like Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015. The only problem: I was convinced by the great marketing campaign for Star Wars. Batman v Superman, not so much. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been a big supporter of Zack Snyder (loved Dawn of the Dead and Watchmen, even liked 300) but lately, he just hasn’t been hitting the mark.

 

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Snowden

I actually know very little about this project except the touchy subject matter and Oliver Stone, who has become the king of the biopic. With so many great ones under his belt and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the lead, Snowden looks to be an interesting property for this year.

 

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The Nice Guys

When I say Shane Black, you say what? Exactly, he isn’t a household name yet, but I feel in love with his style based on Lethal Weapon alone. He’s been hitting it out of the park lately with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang several years back and then 2013’s Iron Man 3, and now, a 1970s highly stylized buddy cop picture with Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. Yes, please.

 

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The Conjuring 2

I tried to pick the most interesting horror film of the mulch this upcoming season, and The Conjuring 2 is it. Never mind Annabelle (truth be told, haven’t seen it yet), The Conjuring is an excellent horror film that learned from all the great work and all the mistakes of director James Wan’s career, and coming off of Furious 7 (a difficult production giving us one of the best in the series) and you have me excited.

 

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Suicide Squad

Even if Batman v Superman is a dud or a hit, 2016’s real pressure of the DCEU is Suicide Squad, the third film in the Expanded Universe features some of its best villains, and they aren’t even the villains of the film. Confusing, I know, but at this point in the MCU, we were getting Iron Man 2, and we hadn’t even dipped a toe in the pool yet. The real test of the DCEU is Suicide Squad, so baby, dip that toe!

 

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A Monster Calls

An interesting property with Liam Neeson playing a monster. Yeah, a monster, and Juan Antonio Bayona (recently off of World War Z 2, dodged a bullet there) at the helm, A Monster Calls seems on par with a Boy and his Dog vibe and the magic of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. Check out the teaser if you get the chance; it slipped right in under the radar last year.

 

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Doctor Strange

The reason I didn’t include Captain America: Civil War on the list this year was because of Doctor Strange, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as our new Marvel hero, Mads Mikkelson as the villain, and horror director Scott Derrickson at the helm. This has the potential to be what Fantastic Four, or Fant4stic, or whatever it was last year, tried to be.

 

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

These last two are no-brainers. Of course I am excited to see where JK Rowling and director David Yates take us in the ninth installment of what is becoming the Harry Potter expanded universe. Everyone’s doing it! I like the idea that you can play with a new tale in a world already established with rules made to be bent. Add in Academy Award Winner Eddie Redmayne, fresh off The Theory of Everything and The Danish Girl (which will likely garner him another nomination tomorrow morning), and you have made a delicious nerd soufflé, and I can’t wait to try it.

 

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

See Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them for my reasoning behind this film. Let’s face it, Star Wars: The Force Awakens was great, and this will be the first opportunity for Disney to actually experiment with the formula without killing our hopes and dreams. And what a story to tell, featuring a tale between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope about the plot to steal the Death Star plans. Expect to see some hints dropped at Star Wars: Rebels and The Force Awakens, perhaps even a cameo or two. Sounds like an exciting December.

 

Hell, sounds like an exciting 2016!

So what do you think? These are just my choices. What are yours? Leave me your own 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2016 below in the comments and I look forward to talking this year with you for at least 12 months…

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

@AlmightyGoatman

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