While triumphs like

Mad Max: Fury Road

and

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

show that there can be still be some joy in actually watching a movie, the majority of our filmic conversation is still driven by anticipation. Far be it from me to buck this trend, so here I will cite the ten (or so) films I am most excited to see in 2016.

If I am to discern anything from that fact that only two of my most anticipated films from last year ended up on my Best of 2015 list, it is that the medium has not lost the power to surprise.

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As in previous versions of this blog, I am skipping over all the Oscar-y films that are coming out in New Zealand over the next month or so, amongst which are numerous must-see movies, like Anomalisa, The Hateful Eight and Spotlight, all three of which are absolutely amazing.

And I'm also going to skip over imminent essential popcorn offerings like Deadpool and Zoolander 2, both of which look super choice. This blog is about looking a little further ahead.

The Brothers Grimsby

Comedic genius Sacha Baron Cohen has yet to kick serious butt in a lead role in a "scripted" comedy, and this geezer-centric spy riff is his first attempt since The Dictator proved to be just okay. Despite coming in the wake of successful spy riffs like Kingsman and Spy, I am inordinately excited to see what Cohen does exploring comedic tropes back on English soil.

NZ Release Date: February 25th.

Hail, Ceasar!

I always like to cite Peter Jackson as my favourite film-lover-turned-film-director, but the brothers Coen show just as much unbridled love for the medium and especially its history, which makes this star-studded romp set in 1950s Hollywood an enticing proposition indeed. Josh Brolin plays a fictionalised version of real-life studio fixer Eddie Mannix, with Channing Tatum, George Clooney, Scarlett Johnasson, Ralph Fiennes and Dolph Lundgren filling out the cast.

NZ Release Date: March 3rd

Everybody Wants Some

A holdover from last year's most anticipated list, when it was still titled That's What I'm Talking About (somebody must've explained how marquees work to Richard Linklater), the trailer for this tonal follow-up to Dazed and Confused reinforces everything I've presumed about the content of the film. It's one thing to conceive of any given project as a spiritual sequel to a beloved antecedent, and then to play up those associations in the marketing, but this must be the first time the term is being actually used in the marketing of a movie.

NZ Release Date: April 14th

Superhero Showdown Movie Showdown

This list would be half superhero movies if I didn't consolidate some of them, so I'm using one entry for 2016's double-hitter double hitter: DC's Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice Vs. Marvel's Captain America: Civil War, which pits the virtuous Cap against his insufferable chum Iron Man. I'm very excited for both films, but if I had to choose to see only one it would be Zack Snyder's B Vs. S. The Marvel films are wonderful and indulge the wishes of my youth on the regular, and even though DC very much seem like they're playing catch-up (they've also got Suicide Squad out in August), I've had increasingly positive feelings about Man of Steel of late, and I think Snyder is a genius so I'm slightly more interested to see what he does with his movie. These two movies really do seem like they will embody the idea that the Marvel big screen offerings are comic books, while the DC movies are graphic novels.

Watch the trailer for Batman v. Superman here:

Watch the trailer for Civil War here:

NZ Release dates: Batman Vs. Superman: March 24th. Civil War: May 5th

The Nice Guys

After re-affirming his considerable powers with Iron Man 3, Shane Black returns to the milieu of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Lethal Weapon with this buddy action comedy set in 1970s Los Angeles starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling as the titular guys.

NZ Release Date: May 26th

Warcraft

This fantasy epic from Moon and Source Code director Duncan Jones (Horde) is being touted as the film that will finally buck the trend of videogame adaptations always being pants. What excites me about Warcraft is how it feels like the first film since the Lord of the Rings trilogy to be making a serious attempt at building on what Peter Jackson achieved. Game of Thrones appears to have scared everyone else away from trying this sort of thing on the big screen, and I can't wait to see what fanboy-made-good Jones does with it.

NZ Release Date: July 14th

Midnight Special

One of the most interesting auteurs working today, Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter, Mud), applies his unique flavour to an Amblin-esque tale about a small boy imbued with mysterious powers. Featuring a killer cast, this intriguing prospect has the potential to succeed where the well-intentioned-but-ultimately-blah Super 8 faltered.

NZ Release Date: TBC (A likely film festival berth).

Dr. Strange

Scott Derrickson was behind the especially nasty horror Sinister, and his status as the director of the next Marvel adaptation (after Civil War) elevates my anticipatory excitement.

NZ Release Date: October 20th

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

We are now officially in the era of one Star Wars movie per year.

NZ Release Date: December 16th

Moana

The prospect of seeing a big screen Maui voiced by Dwayne Johnson makes this Polynesian-flavoured Disney CGI movie a must-see alone, and I'm fascinated to see how certain other myths and legends play out when filtered through a Disney lens.

NZ Release Date: December 22nd

I also have to admit I'm mildly excited to see Independence Day: Resurgence. Plus I suppose Spielberg's The BFG could be interesting. And I'm sure Finding Dory will be great. Plus I am definitely amped for Now You See Me 2.

What are the movies 2016 movies you're most excited about? Comment below!