It’s July, which means we’ve passed the midway point of 2016 and are now heading straight towards the summer holidays. As per annual cinematic tradition, this usually means we’ve had a few blockbusters to whet the appetite and a truckload more about to bludgeon our senses until we stumble out of our local multiplex in an CGI induced, zombified state. However there is more to film and cinema than the countless superhero flicks, remakes, and merchandise vehicles that this upcoming period holds in store for us. As such we Snooty Ushers are here to let you know about some films that we think are worth keeping your eye on, which happen to be flying under the radar so far in 2016. Without further ado, in no particular order…
10. Hands of Stone (Jonathan Jakubowicz) – 26th August U.S.
At Snooty Ushers towers we love a good boxing film, so much so we’ve got a Top 10 list to celebrate the genre. Now this is the first of two boxing films on this list, and both have some pretty impressive acting credentials. Hands of Stone follows the true story of the famed boxer Roberto Duran (played by the awesome Edgar Ramirez) who with his coach Ray Arcel (Robert De Niro) takes the boxing world by storm and goes on to challenge the legendary Suger Ray Leonard (Usher Raymond). There isn’t an official UK release date yet but it’s listed for the 26th August in the U.S. so keep your fingers crossed. If the presence of Edgar Ramirez and Robert De Niro isn’t enough to pique your interest then maybe this trailer will.
9. Don’t Breathe (Fede Alvarez) – 9th September U.K.
As the resident horror expert for the Snooty Ushers I can’t explain how much I am looking forward to this. 2016 has been an utterly drab year for horror films, for every The Conjuring 2 we get a The Forest or The Boy. The only scary thing about the latter is that they were made and released in the first place. But there is hope! And it lies in the form of Fede Alvarez’s Don’t Breathe, his first film since making his feature film debut with the splattertastic Evil Dead reboot.
The film stars Jane Levy (Evil Dead) and Dylan Minnette (Goosebumps) who break into the house of a wealthy blind man (Stephen Lang) thinking they’ll get away with an easy score. But this is a horror/thriller, and it’s never easy. The trailer is a good ‘un and every fabric of my being is hoping it delivers.
8. War on Everyone – 30th September U.K.
One of the best films of 2014 was the sublime Calvary from John Michael McDonagh, who returns to the directors chair to bring us his latest film, War on Everyone. The film stars Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Peña as two corrupt cops from New Mexico who take advantage of their authority, swindling and blackmailing every petty criminal they set their sights on.
The film looks like a more out and out comedy film than McDonagh’s The Guard, a solid comedy drier than the Sahara desert, and who doesn’t enjoy a good funny buddy cop film? With a supporting cast that includes Caleb Landry Jones (The Last Exorcism), Paul Reiser (Aliens) and Tessa Thompson (Creed) there is a lot to look forward to from McDonagh’s next film. Check out the trailer.
7. Arrival (Denis Villeneuve) – 11th November U.K.
The man behind modern greats Sicario and Prisoners is gifting us another film before he tackles the unenviable task of that Blade Runner sequel. The film charters the events that follow the landing of a mysterious spacecrafts across Earth, before panic can set in and mistakes made a team is put together to investigate this mysterious occurrence. Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker are all in the cast which is good in and of it self, but when you couple it with Villeneuve behind the lens then it just has to make you happy. There is no trailer as of yet, but you can just take our word for it, anything by Denis Villeneuve is worth keeping an eye on!
No poster or trailer for this one yet, so you’re just going to have to trust us!
6. The Founder (John Lee Hancock) – 30th September U.K.
From the director of The Blind Side and the remake of The Alamo comes a film that chronicles the foundation, and rise, of the fast food chain McDonald’s under Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton). The film though is not as straightforward as that. Kroc, a salesman from Illinois, who goes on to buy the company from the McDonald’s brothers who originally created the restaurants, was constantly at loggerheads over the stewardship of the business. After some crafty manoeuvring, and shady business practices he gets to own the company and cut the McDonald’s brothers out of a lot of $$$.
With Michael Keaton taking the lead as the rather cutthroat Ray Kroc, off the back to two sterling performances in Spotlight, and Birdman, he could be lining himself up for more awards adulation. Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch play the McDonald’s brothers Dick and Mac respectively, with the dependable Patrick Wilson and Linda Cardellini also featuring. It may come across like awards fodder, but it also looks like it’ll entertain and anger in equal measure.
5. American Pastoral (Ewan McGregor) – 4th November U.K.
Ewan McGregor makes his feature film debut with an adaptation of Philip Roths Pulitzer prize winning novel of the same name. McGregor is so talented he also fancied being in front of the lens as he takes the lead in the film playing Seymour Levov, a middle aged man who watches his happy family life slowly tear itself apart in an America high on tension and war.
The trailer for this film just landed recently and it looks fine, like really fine, like Ewan McGregor could have a knack for being behind the lens more often fine. Support in the film is also good with Dakota Fanning playing Levov’s anti-war protesting daughter, and Jennifer Connelly his wife.
4. The Woods (Adam Wingard) – 16th September U.K.
Not to be mistaken for the 2006 mystery horror about an isolated all girls school in the woods that features a cameo from none other than Bruce Campbell. But as a horror fan I just had to include this here. Horror director Adam Wingard is riding high off the success of his previous two films, the thoroughly entertaining The Guest and the bloody home invasion/revenge film You’re Next. So much so his name is being banded around to take the lead on the next reboot of the Halloween franchise. But his next film is something that is most likely purposely flew under the radar in order to maintain its mysterious appeal.
With a young cast of upcoming actresses and actors that includes Valorie Curry from the horror series The Following, and Callie Hernandez, who despite starting her film career as ‘Space Babe’ in Machete Kills will be seen in future films Alien: Covenant, La La Land and Weightless (Which if you didn’t know are being directed by Ridley Scott, Damien Chazelle and Terrence Malick respectively, I know right!) The trailer is incredibly ambiguous but it’s better than ruining the film for you before you’ve even bought your ticket.
3. Bleed for This (Ben Younger) – 23rd November U.S.
The second of the two boxing films to find their way onto this list, and it also happens to be another biographical film, but don’t let that put you off as it stars Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart, Ted Levine, Katy Sagal, and Ciarán Hinds. It’s a tantalising mix of veteran actors with an already impressive young actor in the lead. For those unfamiliar with the name Ben Younger, back in 2000 he directed a sublime film about shady underground brokerage firms called Boiler Room, it was class. Why he hasn’t directed since Prime in 2005, I do not know but I’m glad he’s back.
The film follows the true story of Vinny Paz, a young boxer who off the back of winning the WBA Light Middleweight Title suffers a crippling injury that could leave him unable to walk. Refusing to give up Vinny continues to train against wishes of friends and family, so that he can one day fight again. Granted it comes across as your usual against the odds story, but there is nothing more satisfying when a film gets it right. Also I’m just going to throw this out there, Aaron Eckhart looks like he gives a heck of a supporting performance, awards worthy maybe? Check out the trailer below.
2. Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie) – 26th August U.K.
I love westerns, but ones set in the modern day are tough to pull off, though should you get them right they can stand head and shoulder above the countless tales of Wyatt Earp we’ve seen over the years. Hell or High Water looks like it could do just that. From director David Mackenzie, who last brought us the very good prison drama Starred Up, the film stars Chris Pine and Ben Foster (These dependables are popping up all over this list!) as two brothers who resort to criminal measures so that they can save their family’s farm, with Jeff Bridges hot on their heels.
The script for this film was at the top of the Black List in 2012, a list of the most liked scripts yet to go into production, the same year that Whiplash and John Wick featured on it. The trailer is really cool, and you should really give it a go.
- The Infiltrator (Brad Furman) – 16th September U.K.
I have a feeling come the end of the summer and the swathe of blockbusters are out of the way eyes will begin to look towards this little film from the director of The Lincoln Lawyer, so we better get in there first. Starring Bryan Cranston, John Leguizamo, Diane Kruger, Joseph Gilgun, Amy Ryan and Benjamin Bratt, The Infiltrator follows a U.S. customs official who opens up a can of worms when he discovers a money laundering scheme that involves Pablo Escobar. Bryan Cranston plays the aforementioned customs special agent Robert Mazur, who using his alias Bob Musella, went undercover to bring down money laundering schemes used by drug lords and cartels.
Based on the true story of Robert Mazur’s career, and the autobiography he published as a result, this could well be a very enjoyable thriller. Bryan Cranston is still riding the wave of success from Breaking Bad, as well as being an awesome actor, and headlining this film gives him the chance to be front and centre. The cast beyond Cranston is rich with talent, and considering how enjoyable The Lincoln Lawyer was, we have high hopes for this.
So there we have it, 10 films for you to keep an eye out for later this year, the perfect tonics to having your brains battered by blockbuster after blockbuster. As we confined ourselves to a list of 10, there were a few films that didn’t make the cut, but you should still keep your eyes peeled for regardless and they are…
The Blood Father – 7th October – Mel Gibson stars as an ex-con father who must protect his daughter from a whole lot of trouble she got herself into. Directed by Jean-François Richet (Mesrine Parts 1 & 2) this looks like an enjoyable action romp.
In a Valley of Violence – 16th September – Talented, and underappreciated director Ti West brings us a Western starring Ethan Hawke (who looks like he walked off the set of The Magnificent Seven and made this), John Travolta and Karen Gillen. A small town (isn’t it always) is dragged into a battle of revenge after a random act of violence, and the arrival of a stranger. Despite the seemingly repetitive nature of the story, Ti West has never made a conventional film (We don’t acknowledge Cabin Fever 2), so we’re looking forward to what could be a new look on the western genre.
The Accountant – 4th November – The Ben Affleck film that nobody seemed to be talking about this year due to Batman Vs Superman features the actor play a forensic accountant who has an incredible knack for breaking down numbers. After taking on a job checking a robots company, things begin to heat up as he gets closer to the truth. Directed by Gavin O’Conner and a supporting cast that sells itself (J.K. Simmons, Anna Kendrick, Jon Bernthal and John Lithgow) this is an action thriller to look out for.