INTRO: 2015 saw me seeing more films in theaters in one year than any other year in my life. I got out of the Marine Corps at the end of March and am starting school at ASU in January of 2016 so from basically April to December I watched an ungodly amount of films in theaters…and loved every second of it (except for Taken 3, Jupiter Ascending, etc). 2015 also blessed us all with just being a fantastic year for film. It was the highest grossing year for film of all time for a reason. That being said, now it is time to look ahead to this year, 2016. While narrowing down the list of films I wanted to see most, I realized that this year is actually a much weaker year than last year, which is unfortunate but not every year can be stellar. I have seven favorite directors (my Magnificent Seven) and I always see how many of them are releasing a movie in any given year, which can sometimes be an indicator of how well the upcoming year may go. In years past I have had five of the seven directors release films. In 2016 only two of my favorite seven are releasing films. Besides that, there just isn’t the total amount of quality films that I had to look forward to last year. That having been said, I still think there will be amazing movies to look forward to and there will be some late minute surprises/additions that probably just aren’t on my radar right now. So weeding out a lot of stuff that I wasn’t super pumped for (I’m alone when it comes to film critics/websites/circles but I don’t think I will ever be pumped up for a Terrence Malick movie), here are the ones I am pumped for. Three special notes before we begin…First off, normally I have a pretty easy time with the process of elimination on picking my Top 20 films but I had 21 this year and it was a real struggle to pick which of the bottom three to pick/swap/switch around. So just in case anyone is curious, my #21 pick was Suicide Squad, which I am looking forward to but barely missed this list. Secondly, for the first time in the now 10 years since I’ve been making these lists (wow!), I am adding a Top 5 Most Anticipated Returning TV Shows and a Top 5 Most Anticipated New TV Shows just for your reading pleasure! Finally, thank you again to anyone and everyone who read my Star Wars review. Loved all the feedback I got. I know it was long but I appreciated you all taking the time to read it 🙂

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

20. Assassin’s Creed (December 21st 2016)
19. The BFG (July 1st 2016)
18. The Brothers Grimsby (March 11th 2016)
17. Deadpool (February 12th 2016)
16. Passengers (December 21st 2016)
15. Hacksaw Ridge (November 4th 2016)
14. X-Men: Apocalypse (May 27th 2016)
13. Sully (September 9th 2016)
12. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (November 11th 2016)
11. Captain America: Civil War (May 6th 2016)

10. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Release Date: March 25th 2016
Director: Zack Snyder (Man of Steel, Dawn of the Dead, Sucker Punch)
Screenwriters: Chris Terrio, David S. Goyer
Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Gal Gadot
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality
Plot Summary: Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.

9. Arrival

Release Date: November 11th 2016
Director: Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Enemy, Prisoners)
Screenwriter: Eric Heisserer
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Amy Adams, Forest Whitaker
Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language
Plot Summary: Based on an award-winning short story by Nebula and Hugo Award-winning author Ted Chiang, “Story of Your Life” is a mind-bending science fiction thriller with a powerful, emotional twist. After aliens land around the globe, a linguist (Adams) is recruited by the US government in a race to decipher their intentions on Earth. As she learns to communicate with the aliens, she begins experiencing vivid flashbacks that become the key to unlocking the greater mystery about the true purpose of their visit. Renner will play a physics professor paired by the government with the linguist to help communicate with the aliens.

8. Snowden

Release Date: September 16th 2016
Director: Oliver Stone (Platoon, W., Natural Born Killers)
Screenwriters: Oliver Stone, Kieran Fitzgerald
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Timothy Olyphant, Zachary Quinto, Shailene Woodley, Tom Wilkinson, Nicolas Cage, Melissa Leo
Rating: R for language and some sexuality/nudity
Plot Summary: Based on Luke Harding’s recent book, “The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man.” The book, from the newspaper’s own correspondent, was published earlier this year with the following official description. It began with a tantalizing, anonymous e-mail: “I am a senior member of the intelligence community.” What followed was the most spectacular intelligence breach ever, brought about by one extraordinary man. Edward Snowden was a 29-year-old computer genius working for the National Security Agency when he shocked the world by exposing the near-universal mass surveillance programs of the United States government. His whistleblowing has shaken the leaders of nations worldwide, and generated a passionate public debate on the dangers of global monitoring and the threat to individual privacy. In a tour de force of investigative journalism that reads like a spy novel, award-winning Guardian reporter Luke Harding tells Snowden’s astonishing story—from the day he left his glamorous girlfriend in Honolulu carrying a hard drive full of secrets, to the weeks of his secret-spilling in Hong Kong, to his battle for asylum and his exile in Moscow. For the first time, Harding brings together the many sources and strands of the story—touching on everything from concerns about domestic spying to the complicity of the tech sector—while also placing us in the room with Edward Snowden himself. The result is a gripping insider narrative—and a necessary and timely account of what is at stake for all of us in the new digital age.

7. The Light Between Oceans

Release Date: September 2nd 2016
Director: Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine, The Place Beyond the Pines)
Screenwriter: Derek Cianfrance
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Rachel Weisz, Alicia Vikander, Caren Pistorius
Rating: PG-13 for thematic material and some sexual content
Plot Summary: After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

6. Doctor Strange

Release Date: November 4th 2016
Director: Scott Derrickson (The Day the Earth Stood Still, Sinister, Deliver Us From Evil)
Screenwriters: Joshua Oppenheimer, Thomas Dean Donnelly, Jon Spaihts Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, Scott Adkins, Amy Landecker
Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action throughout, and an intense crash sequence
Plot Summary: “Doctor Strange” follows the story of neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a horrific car accident, discovers the hidden world of magic and alternate dimensions. “Doctor Strange” is the latest film in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Phase 3’s goal—over the course of four years and nine films—is to introduce audiences to new heroes and continue the adventures of fan favorites.

BONUS: Top 5 Most Anticipated Returning TV Shows

5. Doctor Who
4. Orange is the New Black
3. House of Cards
2. Game of Thrones
1. South Park
STAY TUNED FOR #5-1 SOON!!! Feel free to comment and predict what my Top 5 will be!

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