2016 Movie Preview

2016 Movie Preview

Something I’ll never understand. For instance, who wrote the rule about rewarding movies no one gets to see unless you live in a “major city”? By the time Oscar night arrives, the general public is lucky to have seen about half the nominees. Andsomewhere it must be written that only the crummy movies can be released in early winter or late summer.

Theaters are full right now with holiday holdovers and a lot of other movies like “Jane Got a Gun,” the Natalie Portman feature that’s been bounced around for almost two years before landing a release date — in January. If that’s not bad enough, we’re forced to sit through 20 minutes of trailers for the good stuff that will start trickling out in March.

Oh, March, how I look forward to you: the promise of spring, St. Patrick’s Day and better cinema. A glance at the slate of what’s coming up this year reveals that superheroes will rule with Marvel Comics and DC Comics going into overdrive to satiate the fan-boy lust for more comic-book characters on screen.

The caped capers kick off awfully early with the March release of “Batman vs. Superman: The Dawn of Justice.” This epic confrontation features Ben Affleck as Batman and Henry Cavill in his second feature as Superman. With all the whining that accompanied the announcement of his selection as the new bat-eared man, Affleck has a lot to prove.

May marks the return of the Marvel gang with “Captain America: Civil War.” This is rumored to be the one to beat going into summer primetime. The Avengers return to fight against one another when they take sides on government regulation regarding — what else? — superheroes. It makes sense. I mean, how many times can you fight against aliens and villains bent on world domination without getting bitchy with each other?

“Suicide Squad” with a cast including Will Smith, Viola Davis and Jared Leto as the Joker is due in August, and Benedict Cumberbatch has the title role in “Doctor Strange,” coming in November. This is in addition to the return in May of the X-Men in “X-Men Apocalypse,” marked by the fact this is most likely Jennifer Lawrence’s last turn as Mystique, since she will fulfill her three-picture contract with this movie.

“Star Trek” is avoiding the early release fray by holding off until July for its third movie with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto as the younger Kirk and Spock. Since the last “ST” with Benedict Cumberbatch as the baddie left the fan base nonplussed, much of the production crew was led into the transporter room and jettisoned. Hopefully this latest will set our phasers on stun — in a good way.

Let’s hear it for the ladies with the July re-boot of “Ghostbusters” with an all female cast including Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy and Kate McKinnon. Paul Feig, the female-friendly director of McCarthy’s hit “Spy” last summer, takes the helm. If this is not a huge success, it will be the biggest surprise of summer. Then who ya gonna call?

One of the most anticipated animated features coming in June is the long-awaited follow up to “Finding Nemo,” with Ellen DeGeneres once again voicing the adorable little blue fish in “Finding Dory.” And also on board for a September release is the return of Renée Zelwegger as Bridget Jones in “Bridget Jones’ Baby.” Hugh Grant is out but McDreamy is in as Patrick Dempsey takes over. Colin Firth returns as Darcy.

But hold on, there’s more: Harry Potter fans can rejoice with the possible new franchise from J.K. Rowling when “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” opens starring Eddie Redmayne as the British wizard who comes stateside for some magic doings. Set in 1926, the period piece looks to be a winner.

Don’t all shout at once, but Terence Malick is still creating his weird movie magic with “King of Cups” starring Christian Bale as a writer having an existential crisis. Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett have to suffer along with him.

High on my list is the movie adaptation of “The Girl on the Train” with Emily Blunt in the lead character of the best selling book. This should be this year’s “Gone Girl” if the movie version holds up. Possible Oscar bait as well is “The Founder” starring Michael Keaton as Roy Kroc, the progenitor of the McDonald’s franchise. Both of these will premiere in early fall.

So as we limp through February with only “Hail Caesar,” the Coen brothers’ latest entry, to satisfy, hopefully this partial list of what’s in store for 2016 will give us all something to look forward to.