20 Movies for Winter Banner

A lot of movies come out every year, and it can be hard to know where you should spend your money. This preview will help you out by showcasing 20 of the most interesting movies that are scheduled to be released in winter 2015-16.

Concussion


Directed by Peter Landesman. Produced by Ridley Scott, Giannina Scott, David Woltroff, Larry Shuman, and Elizabeth Cantillon. Written by Peter Landesman. Release date: December 25, 2015.


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What’s it About?

A biopic on Bennet Omalu, the doctor who was the first to publish findings on Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, also known as brain damage. His struggles to research and publish are documented here, with the biggest obstacle he has to overcome coming in the form of the NFL.

Why Should You Care?

Any movie that upsets the NFL before it’s been released is okay in my book. Any film that wants to draw more attention to concussions and brain damage, and do so in a serious light, is something worth checking out. Will Smith also turns in a dramatic performance for the first time in years, and that alone is something to celebrate. But, in this film’s case, it’s mostly the subject matter, and the reaction to that subject matter from various sporting agencies, that has my attention.

Daddy’s Home


Directed by Sean Anders. Produced by Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Chris Henchy, and John Morris. Written by Brian Burns, Sean Anders, and John Morris. Release date: December 25, 2015.


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What’s it About?

A stepfather finds himself becoming insecure when the original husband of his wife shows up and begins to integrate himself into the lives of his ex-wife and their children.

Why Should You Care?

The Other Guys may not have been the best movie in the world, but Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg were funny together in it. They had pretty solid chemistry (even if Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson were better; I’m still waiting for that film, by the way), and now they reunite for Daddy’s Home. The contrast in characters looks pretty funny. While it’s unlikely to be the best comedy of the year, it has the potential to be quite good.

Joy


Directed and written by David O. Russell. Produced by John Davis, Ken Mok, Jonathan Gordon, Megan Ellison, and David O. Russell. Release date: December 25, 2015.


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What’s it About?

Joy follows a woman named Joy Mangano, a name you may or may not recognize. In real life, she was the inventor of the Miracle Mop. Joy tells her story.

Why Should You Care?

It’s a little odd how none of the trailers thus far have actually mentioned the Miracle Mop, and most of Joy seems to be based around points in Joy’s life that have little to directly do with that, but it’s still David O. Russell, and he’s directing Jennifer Lawrence, so at least you’re going to get some good acting. Add in what looks like a good Robert De Niro performance and you’ve got a film worth seeing.

The Hateful Eight


Directed and written by Quentin Tarantino. Produced by Richard N. Gladstein, Shannon McIntosh, and Stacey Sher. Release date: December 25, 2015 (limited), January 8, 2016 (wide).


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What’s it About?

Eight strangers find themselves stuck in a cabin during a blizzard.

Why Should You Care?

It’s Quentin Tarantino! You know this is going to be a talky, bloody movie, one that doesn’t shy away from anything, and whose dialogue is going to be both fascinating and often times completely off-topic. This is his eighth film – assuming you count Kill Bill as one film, which he does – so there aren’t likely to be many surprises here. But it’s sure to be a fun ride, and with it being filmed on, and presented in, 70mm, you’re also going to get a gorgeous movie.

Anomalisa


Directed by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson. Produced by Rosa Tran, Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman, and Dino Stamatopoulos. Written by Charlie Kaufman. Release date: December 30, 2015 (limited).


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What’s it About?

An author meets a stranger and has his life changed forever.

Why Should You Care?

First of all, it’s a stop-motion animated movie that’s decidedly for adults, and luckily isn’t a Team America: World Police sequel. Secondly, it’s by Charlie Kaufman, who wrote Being John Malkovich, and Adaptation. (among others), and also directed Synecdoche, New York. His is a bizarre mind, and it’s one that’s always fun to enter. It also raised much of its budget on Kickstarter, used 3D printers to make its puppets, and was met with rave reviews from film festivals. It’s likely going to be one of the top 2 or 3 animated films of 2015.

The Revenant


Directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu. Produced by Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, David Kanter, Alejandro G. Inarritu, Mary Parent, James W. Skotchdopole, and Keith Redmon. Written by Mark L. Smith and Alejandro G. Inarritu. Release date: December 25, 2015 (limited), January 8, 2016 (wide).


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What’s it About?

During an expedition in the cold of winter, a man is attacked by a bear and left for dead by his group. However, he survived, and the film follows his journey to both find them and get his revenge on them.

Why Should You Care?

This is the movie that will win Leonardo DiCaprio his highly sought-after Oscar. It is also a movie that has caused pre-screening audiences to walk out, citing its graphic violence. Its director is Alejandro G. Inarritu, who won Oscars for last year’s Birdman. This isn’t one to miss.

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi


Directed by Michael Bay. Produced by Erwin Stoff and Michael Bay. Written by Chuck Hogan. Release date: January 15, 2016.


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What’s it About?

In 2012, a group of militants attacked an American diplomatic compound. Some members of the American military took it upon themselves to help defend the compound and save the life of the American ambassador.

Why Should You Care?

Okay, so this movie’s on here less because I think it’ll be good, but more because it’s morbidly fascinating. If you read closely above, you’ll note that it’s been directed by Michael Bay. That’s not usually a good thing, but this is a movie in which he’ll finally get to showcase his fetishism for the American military without having to, say, interrupt it with giant robots. That’s interesting, if nothing else. And this is a list for interesting movies, not just for ones that look good.

Kung Fu Panda 3


Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni. Produced by Melissa Cobb. Written by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger. Release date: January 29, 2016.


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What’s it About?

Po, the giant panda who knows kung fu, finds out he’s not the only panda left in the world. But an evil entity exists, and, therefore, Po needs to teach all the other pandas kung fu in order to defeat the evil.

Why Should You Care?

If nothing else, the Kung Fu Panda movies have gotten progressively better, although that’s only with a sample size of two. Introducing more pandas into the equation should result in some laughs, and if the filmmakers want to, it could also give us some heartfelt moments. The action will likely be at least passable, and the top-notch voice cast returns.

Hail Caesar!


Directed and written by Joel and Ethan Coen. Produced by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Tim Bevan, and Eric Fellner. Release date: February 5, 2016.


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What’s it About?

During the production of a giant movie, the lead actor disappears. The film follows a man trying to figure out what happened to the vanished actor.

Why Should You Care?

While the Coen brothers haven’t had a perfect filmography, it’s pretty close. Their track record is absurdly good, and if the trailer is anything by which to judge a film (it’s not), Hail Caesar will be another one. It has a fantastic cast – George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, and more – and an idea that’ll likely allow for more than a few Inside Hollywood moments.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies


Directed and written by Burr Steers. Produced by Sean McKittrick, Allison Shearmur, Natalie Portman, Annette Savitch, Brian Oliver, Tyler Thompson, and Marc Butan. Release date: February 5, 2016.


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What’s it About?

A plague has fallen upon 19th Century England that turns people into zombies, and it’s up to various Pride and Prejudice characters to defeat them.

Why Should You Care?

Y’know, while movies like this one (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) aren’t usually very good, they certainly get a devoted audience, and at worst provide a meaningless distraction for a couple of hours. Seeing Lily James, who was the lead of the latest Cinderella, go full zombie-killer mode should be fun, and seeing the various Pride and Prejudice characters completely subverted might not be the worst thing ever.

Deadpool


Directed by Tim Miller. Produced by Lauren Shuler Donner, Simon Kinberg, and Ryan Reynolds. Written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. Release date: February 12, 2016.


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What’s it About?

After undergoing a procedure to cure his cancer, a man named Wade Wilson is given superpowers and becomes the superhero Deadpool.

Why Should You Care?

Ryan Reynolds has been trying to get a Deadpool movie made for what feels like forever, and while his previous superhero attempts haven’t exactly gone well, this one feels like it fits him the best. The trailer makes it seem both bloody and funny, and the supporting cast is solid. It’s also one of the few superhero movies that’s been given a hard-R rating. Oh, and it breaks the fourth wall. A lot.

How to Be Single


Directed by Christian Ditter. Produced by Drew Barrymore, Dana Fox, Nancy Juvonen, and John Rickard. Written by Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein, and Dana Fox. Release date: February 12, 2016.


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What’s it About?

A group of women living in New York City decide to learn how to enjoy being single.

Why Should You Care?

The actors are all strong comedic performers, and the premise could be worse for a romantic comedy. One can hold out hope that it will actually make use of the premise and not cop out at the end in order to remind us of traditional values, but I’m not holding my breath. I’ll be fine with the film as long as it’s funny, and with these actors, it should be.

Zoolander 2


Directed by Ben Stiller. Produced by Stuart Cornfeld, Scott Rudin, Ben Stiller, and Clayton Townsend. Written by Justin Theroux, Ben Stiller, Nicholas Stoller, and John Hamburg. Release date: February 12, 2016.


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What’s it About?

When a bunch of models are assassinated, Interpol recruits Derek Zoolander to try to find out who’s behind it.

Why Should You Care?

Maybe you shouldn’t care. We didn’t need a Zoolander 2, after all. But since it’s coming, at least we can take solace in the fact that it hasn’t been rushed into production, it’s being directed by Ben Stiller – he directed the first film, too – and many of the characters from the original are returning. It’s unnecessary, but it’s likely to have at least some laughs.

Race


Directed by Stephen Hopkins. Produced by Karsten Brunig, Luc Dayan, Kate Garwood, Stephen Hopkins, Jean-Charles Levy, Nicolas Manuel, Thierry Potok, Louis-Philippe Rochon, Dominique Seguin. Release date: February 19, 2016.


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What’s it About?

A biopic of track and field star Jesse Owens and his attempt to win medals at the 1936 Olympics.

Why Should You Care?

While the title is a little heavy-handed – and by “a little,” I mean “A GIGANTIC AMOUNT!!!” – Race does look like a pretty interesting biopic, one which focuses on an athlete’s attempt to win medals, while also fighting racism and social pressures from all sides. Jason Sudeikis also turns in his first dramatic film role, so that’ll be interesting to see.

The Witch


Directed and written by Robert Eggers. Produced by Jodi Redmond, Daniel Bekerman, and Lars Knudsen. Release date: February 26, 2016.


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What’s it About?

A family has its infant son disappear, a daughter who is suspected of witchcraft, and begins to break apart, all while being haunted by a legitimately dangerous and evil threat.

Why Should You Care?

The Witch is a horror movie that won a directing award at the Sundance Film Festival. That’s impressive. It also looks genuinely terrifying, which is a rarity. I’m usually as down on horror movies as anyone – this is the only one on this list, for example – but The Witch actually looks both interesting and scary.

Knight of Cups


Directed by Terrence Malick. Produced by Nicolas Gonda, Sarah Green, and Ken Kao. Release date: March 4, 2016.


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What’s it About?

A screenwriter seeks Hollywood pleasures in order to escape from, and make sense of, his confusing life.

Why Should You Care?

Terrence Malick is a director who is always worth watching. He makes gorgeous movies, but many of those movies also struggle to make a lick of sense. They’re disasters, but wonderful. He’s a hard director to try to make heads or tails of, and that’s what makes his films worth seeing. Knight of Cups has been delayed a long time – not unusual for a Malick film – but it’s finally done and has a scheduled release date. It also features a fantastic cast and, like Hail Caesar! mentioned earlier, has lots of opportunity for Inside Hollywood moments.

Zootopia


Directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore. Produced by Clark Spencer. Written by Jared Bush and Phil Johnston. Release date: March 4, 2016.


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What’s it About?

A bunny and a fox become buddy cops in order to solve the case of a missing otter.

Why Should You Care?

The director of Tangled and the director of Wreck-It Ralph teamed up to make this film. It’s a Disney film, and Disney’s track record is pretty solid, especially lately. It has good actors doing the voice work, and its trailer made me laugh a great deal. The premise – a universe in which animals act like humans – is great, and hopefully will be explored well.

Valencia


Directed by Dan Trachtenberg. Produced by J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk. Written by Josh Campbell and Matthew Stuecken. Release date: March 11, 2016.


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What’s it About?

After surviving a car crash, a woman wakes up in an underground cellar and is told that she can’t leave, as the world outside has become uninhabitable.

Why Should You Care?

Valencia’s premise has me reminiscing about Room. And anything that draws comparisons to Room is worth seeing. There’s not a lot known about it yet, apart from the premise and its stars – Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman – but those alone are enough to get me interested.

The Divergent Series: Allegiant


Directed by Robert Schwentke. Produced by Douglas Wick, Lucy Fisher, and Pouya Shabazian. Written by Noah Oppenheim, Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, and Stephen Chbosky. Release date: March 18, 2016.


The Divergent Series - Allegiant Banner

What’s it About?

A continuation of the Divergent series, this one sees its heroes escape the walls and venture into the unknown outside world, learning all sorts of devious things along the way.

Why Should You Care?

It’s one of the first big-budget blockbusters to come out in 2016, and if you’ve already seen the first two chapters, you’re going to want to see this one, too. Admittedly, Divergent and Insurgent were both mediocre at best, so this one will likely continue that trend, but it’s got special effects and stuff, so hooray for that. The teens and pre-teens will care, and if you’re a parent to one of them, you may want to care, too.

Midnight Special


Directed by Jeff Nichols. Produced by Sarah Green and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones. Release date: March 18, 2016.


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What’s it About?

A group of people try to ensure the safety of a gifted pre-teen, all while being hunted by a religious cult and a government agent.

Why Should You Care?

Initially supposed to come out quite a long time ago, fans of Jeff Nichols have been waiting for his follow-up to Mud for what feels like forever. Now it’s finally here. Michael Shannon has a key role, and is just such a fantastic actor. Mostly, though, we’re here for Nichols, who’s yet to release a movie that’s even close to bad. Described by the director as a film similar to Starman, at least in tone, this should be pretty great.

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If you want more of Matthew “Marter” Parkinson, you can follow him on the Twitter @Martertweet and check out his weekly movie podcast.

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