With Summer about to hit its final 2016 sunset, one might think that all the good movies for the year have already hit the big screen. Well, if popcorn fare with big explosions and bigger than life characters are your thing, then you would be one hundred percent correct. However, if your tastes veer to the eclectic, unusual, uplifting and "Oscar worthy" then there are still many gems left to see.
The films on this list, culled from IMDB, fall all over the spectrum. From the heroic (Sully), to the inspirational (Deepwater Horizon), to the historical (Allied). The best part? There's still plenty of popcorn-fueled fun to be had.
Doctor Strange and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story are just a couple of the films on this list. What really sets these bigger budget, spectacle pieces apart is that they just seem smarter than the average Hollywood offering. Just a look at their trailers will show you that they are dealing with bigger themes and ideas.
Making this final movie stretch of 2016 even more tantalizing is what an interesting shadow Netflix is casting over all of this. Back in the old days (ie. 2-3 years ago), art films used to open small and hope that good word of worth, Oscar buzz and other factors could make them go wider. Well, in today's jumbled world, movies like Mascots are actually available in your home so you don't have seek them out in the theater.
Alright, enough of the history lesson. 2016 has been a very interesting year. We have a political climate that it seems like nobody (not even the two candidates vying for the top spot) want to be a part of. We have violence and protests in the street. And as always, we have movies to take us away from all of this, and also, in some circumstances, they help us illuminate the greater truth of it all. So here's 17 Big Movies Still Coming in 2016
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - 12/16
From Lucasfilm comes the first of the Star Wars standalone films, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, an all-new epic adventure. In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire's ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves. It's another Star Wars movie. If you're not excited about this tale of the Rebellion attempting to steal the plans to the Death Star, or if you don't know about it then you may want to find another hobby.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - 11/18
A magizoologist makes a brief stop in 1926 New York but is waylaid by a Muggle, a misplaced magical case and the escape of some fantastic beasts. Eddie Redmayne finally steps into a big budget film, but's not the usual popcorn fare. As part of the Harry Potter universe, Fantastic Beasts has a great deal of anticipation behind it. That it seems every bit as arty as its big budget makes it look, seems to bode quite well for this new offering from the beloved J.K. Rowling.
Doctor Strange - 11/4
Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) loses his ability to operate after a terrible accident, but finds new purpose when a mystical being known as the Ancient One reveals that Dr. Strange is the newly designated Sorcerer Supreme. If ever a Marvel movie had chance at garnering an award for best actor, this film might be it. With Benedict Cumberbatch as the erstwhile Dr. Stephen Strange hatching plans to save the world, even the stodgiest of Academy members can't ignore how much they love this actor. With a release date over a month before Rouge One makes its debut, it seems safe to say that this film should receive both critical and box office acclaim.
Passengers - 12/21
Two passengers aboard a spaceship awake from cryogenic sleep 90 years before anyone else. With Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt as these two astronauts, audiences seem destined to see the first space age love story of the year. Or, are they? One never really knows what to expect from director Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game), but Passengers looks like the kind of film that is going to transport moviegoers to another planet.
The Magnificent Seven - 9/23
Desperate townspeople hire seven mercenaries (Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke) to battle a ruthless industrialist (Peter Sarsgaard) in the Old West. We need action this time of year and The Magnificent Seven seems poised to provide moviegoers with exactly that. The story is simple, thieves are pillaging a small town and seven gun men come in to stop it. From ultra-violent director Antoine Fuqua, this film is both big budget and big on story.
The Girl on the Train - 10/7
In Girl on the Train, A commuter investigates a mystery revolving around a couple whose house she passes every day. Emily Blunt is that rare actress that can do action and drama equally well. With it's Hitchcockian-like story and a bestseller behind it, The Girl on the Train could be this years Gone Girl. In a year that has seen some amazing spectacle on screen, this film appears to be quieter than some of the other offerings but no less intense.
Assassin's Creed - 12/21
Callum Lynch, a descendant of the mysterious secret society the Assassins, must use his deadly skills to battle the powerful Templar organization. Michael Fassbender is another actor that bridges the worlds of high and low art quite nicely. As Callum Lynch, Fassbender plays a man who must come terms with his family's past. Throw Marion Cotillard into this rich mix (not to mention Boardwalk Empire alumni Michael Kenneth Williams), and Assassin's Creed could be another popcorn film that people are talking about come awards time. Everybody says that fall is when the best movies are released, this idea could be proving itself to be very true.
Arrival - 11/1
When alien crafts land across the world, a linguist expert is recruited by the military to determine whether they come in peace or are a threat. Amy Adams stars in this Contact-like sci-fi tale about the art of alien communication. With the supremely talented Denis Villeneuve (Sicario) at the helm, this transcendent story seems like it will fit quite nicely into an already stacked fall schedule.
La La Land - 12/2
Mia, an aspiring actress, and Sebastian, a dedicated jazz musician, are struggling to make ends meet in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts. In this musical with (where else?) Los Angeles as the backdrop, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone show what its like to be truly in love while contending with the harsh realities of modern life. With an almost 1950s air about it and Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) directing, this movie is either going to be Moulin Rogue or Heaven's Gate. Truthfully, with all the things La La Land has going for it, it seems impossible that it could fail.
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk - 11/11
Stationed in Iraq, a young soldier (Joe Alwyn) and his squad return to the United States for a hero's welcome at a Thanksgiving Day football game. Ang Lee is a master at taking simple stories and giving them the gravitas that film affords. This tale ultimately centers on the redemptive factors and acceptance that the Academy loves. With audiences looking for something to cheer for, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk might just be the film to give them what they need.
Allied - November 23
While on a mission to kill a German official in 1942 Africa, two assassins fall in love, get married and then discover that one is a double agent that the other must eliminate. A love story amidst World War Two featuring Brad Pitt, Lizzy Caplan and Marion Cotillard sounds like a must-see during the upcoming Award season. This may not be Fury, but what it lacks in violence it makes up for in lovemaking. Making this tale of international intrigue even more incredible is that visionary director Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, The Frighteners) is behind it.
Mascots - 10/13
Sports mascots reveal the peculiarities of their ultra-competitive world as they pursue the highest honor in their field: the Gold Fluffy. A Christopher Guest film about about the world of competitive mascots seems to have Best Original Screenplay written all over it, right? Guest has a made a career out of satirizing the "little things" that people seem intent on making a big deal out of. Mascots seems to be bent on taking it's place beside Waiting for Gufman and Best in Show, and that is not a bad place to be at all.
Sully - 9/9
On Jan. 15, 2009, Capt. Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) tries to make an emergency landing in New York's Hudson River after US Airways Flight 1549 strikes a flock of geese. Miraculously, all of the 155 passengers and crew survive the harrowing ordeal, and Sullenberger becomes a national hero in the eyes of the public and the media. Despite the accolades, the famed pilot now faces an investigation that threatens to destroy his career and reputation.
Deepwater Horizon - 9/30
Disaster strikes in the Gulf of Mexico when a drilling rig explodes on April 20, 2010, resulting in the biggest oil spill in U.S. history. Peter Berg has proven that he's solid director for down and dirty biopics. Re-teaming with Lone Survivor co-star Mark Wahlberg, Berg turns his lens on that fateful day when the world witnessed this atrocity. If the trailers are any indication, this film is gonna really leave an impression on audiences, especially those who lived through the reality of it.
Snowden - 9/16
Former CIA employee Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) leaks classified information to the media. Oliver Stone's highly anticipated tale about the NSA whistleblower seems to have all the goods of Oscar Bait. With it's highly current subject matter, and it's VICE-like look into the clandestine world of National security. This film seems certain to spark debate and rustle feathers. The fact that it has the chameleon like Joseph Gordon Levitt doesn't hurt either.
The Light Between Oceans - 9/2
A couple who reside in an Australian lighthouse discover a baby in a boat along with a dead body. They decide to raise the child, a choice that leads to devastating consequences. With Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander and art house darling Derek Cianfrance (Blue Jasmine, The Place Between the Pines) directing, this is without a doubt the ultimate fall movie. Adapted from M.L. Stedman's novel, things go from good to very wrong, and at 132 minutes, moviegoers seem poised to savor every one of them.
Birth of a Nation - 10/7
Nat Turner is an enslaved Baptist preacher who lives on a Virginia plantation owned by Samuel Turner. With rumors of insurrection in the air, a cleric convinces Samuel that Nate should sermonize to other slaves, thereby quelling any notions of an uprising. As Nate witnesses the horrific treatment of his fellow man, he realizes that he can no longer just stand by and preach. On Aug. 21, 1831, Turner's quest for justice and freedom leads to a violent and historic rebellion in Southampton County. Nate Parker's dramatic opus about a slave (starring the director himself) who orchestrates an uprising in the south has been met with much critical acclaim. It was bought by Fox Searchlight for nearly double its $10 million dollar budget and has captivated every audience that has seen it. It might be too early to say but could we be calling this film Best Picture at some point? Even if the current rape controversy surrounding the movie has put a damper on things? We'll have to wait until next year to see how this all plays out.