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January 6 2016

The Movies of 2016 – 2nd Quarter

Welcome to the first of four parts of an analysis of every major film release of 2016.

Following up on last year’s project, I’m back with a look at the films of 2016. And as usual, I will be breaking it down by quarters and then an overall review.

There are some clear, “What in the world were they thinking?” projects coming out this year, and there are some that I think will surprise all of us.

Hopefully you enjoy this as it is a huge undertaking each year, but one I enjoy doing.

Please note that titles and release dates can change at any time, none of these are written in stone.

April

Collide

Release Date: April 1

An American backpacker gets involved with a ring of drug smugglers as their driver, though he winds up on the run from his employers across Munich’s high-speed Autobahn.

Analysis: Haven’t we seen this story a dozen times already? Setting it on the Autobahn doesn’t change much as no pays attention to speed limits in these movies anyway.

God’s Not Dead 2

Release Date: April 1

From the college classroom of GOD’S NOT DEAD to the public square in GOD’S NOT DEAD 2, the name of Jesus is welcomed less and less with each passing day. If Christians don’t take a stand today, will we even have a choice tomorrow?

Welcome back to Hope Springs … home not only of Hadleigh University, but also Martin Luther King Jr. High School, where beloved teacher Grace Wesley helps students understand and enjoy history. Her love of teaching, her love for her students, and her love of life all come from the same place: her love of Christ.

So when Brooke, a hurting student grieving the loss of her brother, reaches out to Grace, their coffee-shop conversation naturally leads to Grace sharing the hope she finds in Christ.

When Brooke later asks an honest question about Jesus in the classroom, Grace’s reasoned response lands her in big trouble—almost before she even finishes giving her answer.

With the principal and superintendent joining forces with a zealous civil liberties group, Grace faces an epic court case that could cost her the career she loves and expel God from the classroom—and the public square—once and for all!

Analysis: The first film was made for $2M and grossed $62M. It’s no surprise a second one is on its way.

Rings

Release Date: April 1

A group of high school students have to find someone to watch an evil videotape or else they’ll all die.

Analysis: Apparently this is going to be the year of long delayed sequels. Not sure how this will do after so many years since The Ring.

Before I Wake

Release Date: April 8

An orphaned child’s dreams alter reality which becomes a test to his new parents who are overwhelmed by the child’s dreams.

Analysis: Production on this ended in 2013 and it has been sitting around ever since. Never a good sign.

The Boss

Release Date: April 8

The story follows Michelle Darnell, a titan of industry who is sent to prison after she’s convicted of insider trading. When she emerges ready to rebrand herself as America’s latest sweetheart, not everyone she screwed over is so quick to forgive and forget.

Analysis: Melissa McCarthy comedies make money, so they keep coming. Although most of them seem to have the same plot.

Amityville: The Awakening

Release Date: April 15

Belle, her little sister Juliet, and her comatose twin brother James move into a new house with their single mother Joan in order to save money to help pay for her brother’s expensive healthcare. But when strange phenomena begin to occur in the house including the miraculous recovery of her brother and Belle’s increasingly horrifying nightmares, Belle begins to suspect her mother isn’t telling her everything and soon realizes they just moved into the infamous Amityville house.

Analysis: This is another film that has been finished for a few years and keeps getting shifted around. Doesn’t leave much hope for it.

Barbershop: The Next Cut

Release Date: April 15

It’s been more than 10 years since our last appointment at Calvin’s Barbershop. Calvin and his longtime crew are still there, but the shop has undergone some major changes. Most noticeably, our once male-dominated sanctuary is now co-ed.

Analysis: These films do well, but I’ve never seen one so I can only assume it will continue to do so.

Criminal

Release Date: April 15

The memories & skills of a deceased CIA agent are implanted into an unpredictable and dangerous convict.

Analysis: Great cast with the likes of Gal Gadot, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones and so on, but a horrible concept.

Everybody Wants Some

Release Date: April 15

A group of college baseball players navigate their way through the freedoms and responsibilities of unsupervised adulthood.

Analysis: It’s a Richard Linklater so it will be good, but more than likely not many people will see it.

The Jungle Book

Release Date: April 15

The Jungle Book is an all-new, live-action/CGI epic adventure about Mowgli (Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera (Ben Kingsley), and the free-spirited bear Baloo. Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa (Scarlett Johansson), a python who’s seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie (Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire.

ANalysis: Not sure this was a film we needed, but Jon Favreau seems like the right director for this.

The Huntsman Winter’s War

Release Date: April 22

Long before the evil Queen Ravenna was thought vanquished by Snow White’s blade, she watched silently as her sister, Freya, suffered a heartbreaking betrayal and fled their kingdom. With Freya’s ability to freeze any enemy, the young ice queen has spent decades in a remote wintry palace raising a legion of deadly huntsmen – including Eric and warrior Sara – only to find that her prized two defied her one demand: Forever harden your hearts to love.

When Freya learns of her sister’s demise, she summons her remaining soldiers to bring the Magic Mirror home to the only sorceress left who can harness its power. But once she resurrects her sister Ravenna from its golden depths, the wicked sisters threaten this enchanted land with twice the darkest force it’s ever seen. Now, their amassing army shall prove undefeatable…unless the banished huntsmen who broke their queen’s cardinal rule can fight their way back to one another.

Analysis: Without Kristen Stewart I think this is going to be a hard sell. And outside of the the Thor films, Chris Hemsworth hasn’t had a stellar time at the box office.

Keanu

Release Date: April 22

Friends hatch a plot to retrieve a stolen cat by posing as drug dealers for a street gang.

Analysis: How do you have a movie named “Keanu” and not have Keanu Reeves involved?

Mother’s Day

Release Date: April 29

Intersecting stories with different moms collide on Mother’s Day.

Analysis: Garry Marshall directing with a cast with the likes of Jennifer Anniston, Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts and more it should be entertaining… but, intersecting movies have a horrible track record as everyone tries to copy Love Actually.

Nine Lives

Release Date: April 29

A stuffy businessman finds himself trapped inside the body of his family’s cat.

Analysis: You have to be kidding me. Didn’t these types of films die off in the 1970s and 80s?

Ratchet & Clank

Release Date: April 29

An origin story that retells the events of the original Ratchet & Clank, depicting how Ratchet and Clank met each other as they attempt to save the Solana Galaxy from being destroyed by Chairman Drek and the Blarg. However, the film will expand on various plot points in greater detail, and will also incorporate some elements from later series entries, such as the introduction of Doctor Nefarious and the Galactic Rangers.

Analysis: This looks to be exactly the movie fans of the video game wanted. How could Hollywood have missed the memo about screwing up video game movies?

Same Kind of Different as Me

Release Date: April 29

A modern-day slave, an international art dealer, and the unlikely woman who bound them together.

Analysis: Great cast with Renée Zellweger, Jon Voight, Djimon Hounsou and so on, but if your synopsis leaves me confused you have issues.

May

Captain America: Civil War

Release Date: May 6

After the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, another international incident involving Captain America and the Avengers results in collateral damage, prompting politicians to form a system of accountability and a governing body to determine when to call in the Avengers, which results in the fracturing of the team while they attempt to protect the world from a new enemy.

Analysis: The first film in Marvel’s Phase 3 and it basically should have been called Avengers 2.5. With the same directors as The Winter Soldier this should be a very solid entry in the series.

Going in Style

Release Date: May 6

Three retirees plan a bank heist.

Analysis: Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Ann Margret… I’m in. Not sure how much general audiences will be.

A Bigger Splash

Release Date: May 13

Rock legend Marianne Lane is recuperating on the volcanic island of Pantelleria with her partner Paul when iconoclast record producer and old flame Harry unexpectedly arrives with his daughter Penelope and interrupts their holiday, bringing with him an A-bomb blast of nostalgia from which there can be no rescue.

Analysis: Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson. Could be good, but seems a played out concept.

The Darkness

Release Date: May 13
Analysis: Don’t know anything as of yet.

Free State of Jones

Release Date: May 13

During the Civil War, a Southern farmer (Matthew McConaughey) joins forces with a group of slaves to lead a rebellion against the Confederacy.

Analysis: Sounds interesting, but don’t see it doing much at the box office.

Kidnap

Release Date: May 13

A desperate woman (Halle Berry) goes to extremes to save her kidnapped son.

Analysis: How many times will this story be done? Total pass.

Money Monster

Release Date: May 13

Snowden

Release Date: May 13

Former CIA employee Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) leaks classified information to the media.

Analysis: Does anyone really care to see this on the big screen? I doubt it.

The Angry Birds Movie

Release Date: May 20

Three birds (Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride) investigate the mysterious arrival of pigs to their island paradise.

Analysis: This movie is way too late and won’t be able to count on the once huge popularity of the game. That being said, it does look cute.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

Release Date: May 20

Mac and Kelly Radner reunite with Teddy and Pete to help battle the sorority sisters who move into their neighboring house.

Analysis: I haven’t seen the first one. No clue if this makes sense.

The Nice Guys

Release Date: May 20

In 1970s Los Angeles, a down-on-his-luck private eye (Ryan Gosling) and his tough partner (Russell Crowe) investigate the disappearance of a girl and the death of a porn star.

Analysis: I like Shane Black movies, but this doesn’t feel like it will perform well at the box office.

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Release Date: May 27

Alice (Mia Wasikowska) travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp).

Analysis: The first one did well internationally, so maybe it will play well that way again, but in the U.S. I know of exactly no one excited for this film.

X-Men: Apocalypse

Release Date: May 27

Analysis: No plot synopsis has been released as of yet, but it seems pretty obvious that it will be about the X-Men taking on Apocalypse and changing allegiances. The last two have been good, no reason to think this one won’t follow that path.

June

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2

Release Date: June 3

The Turtles comes into conflict with T.C.R.I. scientist Dr. Baxter Stockman with the association of the Foot Clan and the return of the Shredder, who has hired Stockman to create mutants of their own in the form of Bebop and Rocksteady and a unknown invasion above New York City. To prevent the end of the world, the turtles and their human friends April O’Neil and Vern Fenwick comes to the aid with vigilante Casey Jones.

Analysis: The first movie was horrible, but it turned a profit. Seeing as they are adding what feels like a dozen characters I expect this one to be even worse.

Top Secret Untitled Lonely Island Movie

Release Date: June 3

Analysis: Nothing is known at this time.

The Conjuring 2

Release Date: June 10

Analysis: The first one did over $300M globally off of a $20M budget, I don’t think anyone cares we don’t know the plot of the sequel yet.

Now You See Me 2

Release Date: June 10

The plot is undisclosed at this time.

Analysis: Did this really need to happen? No. A one and done would have suited this perfectly.

Warcraft

Release Date: June 10

Humans, dwarfs, trolls and orcs engage in an epic battle between the Alliance and the Horde.

Analysis: The trailer did not leave me with the least bit of hope for this to be good.

Central Intelligence

Release Date: June 17

Finding Dory

Release Date: June 17

The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish reunites with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the true meaning of family along the way.

Analysis: There is a lot of love for the original film. This should do well.

Independence Day: Resurgence

Release Date: June 17

Using recovered extraterrestrial technology, the nations of Earth collaborate on an immense defense program to protect the planet. When the aliens attack with unprecedented force, only the ingenuity of a few brave men and women can save the world.

Analysis: It has been 20 years since the first movie. Was this needed? Nope. It’s not like the first film is thought of as a timeless classic.

The Shallows

Release Date: June 24

A young woman is stranded alone on a buoy with a great white shark circling the waters between her and the shore.

Analysis: It’s going to totally rely on the performances.



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