Looking ahead: coming soon to cinemas in 2016

In case you are feeling a bit meh about films - seen it all before, got the t-shirt etc - we've selected some of the films coming up in 2016 to wring your emotions and put that filmgoing skip back in your step. These films will leave you shaken and stirred and make you remember why you took out that Curzon membership (and if you didn't, it's not too late... )


I have been a card-carrying member of the Ralph Fiennes fan club since he first appeared on TV as T.E. Lawrence in A Dangerous Man. While my younger self was perfectly happy to see him cultivate his dark and troubled romantic persona in various roles from The English Patient to Strange Days, I have now come to realise that Ralph Fiennes was born for comedy (if there was any justice in this world, the 2014 Oscar for Best Actor would be sitting in the lobby of the Grand Budapest Hotel). A Bigger Splash is 99% Ralph Fiennes’ film: his whirlwind performance as eternal party guy /drugged-up music producer / out of control man-child trying to get back the love of Tilda Swinton is like nothing you’ve ever seen before - think the crazed energy of Robin Williams crossed with the seductiveness of Mick Jagger. He’s not the only hot stuff in the film: the volcanic island of Pantelleria (off the coast of Sicily) is the backdrop to a number of equally sexy and dark deeds that take place under the sun, the moon and the water, as director Luca Guadagnino nods knowingly to Plein Soleil and Le Mépris. If that weren't enough, everyone is in (and, largely, out of) clothes designed by Dior. Put me on that plane now. - Irene Musumeci

[A Bigger Splash is released on 12 February.]


Full disclosure: this is a Curzon Artificial Eye film that we’re releasing in 2016 but it’s one that the entire team, without exception, love and therefore I’m ok with trumpeting it. This adult animation (in more than one sense, don’t watch it with your parents) from Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufmann caused massive ripples at Venice and Toronto when it premiered. It has Kaufman’s trademark biting wit and imagination but also should be lauded for Johnson’s exquisite stop-frame artistry. A haunting look at the life of a middle-aged man who is searching for light in the darkest of places, you’ll never see another film like this again.  - Cate Kane

[Anomalisa is released on 11 March.]


Pablo Larraín (No, Tony Manero) is back with his best film to date. The Club is a super dark, searing attack on the Catholic church which left me with goosebumps at its Berlin screening in 2015. Intelligent, measured, brilliant. - Cate Kane

[The Club is released on 25 March.]


No one has seen this yet. Everybody wants to see it. It's the Coens. Who could ask for anything more? - Irene Musumeci

[Hail, Caesar! is released on 26 February.]


My favourite film at the London Film Festival 2015, this gentle masterpiece follows a year in the life of three sisters who, following the death of their father, take in his youngest daughter from another marriage. The relationships between the sisters are traced at first, then gradually painted in full colour as the season change, family traditions are shared and time does its thing. With visuals that recall Ozu's framing and a fresh narrative approach derived from the graphic novel that inspired it, Kore-Eda's latest is a complete triumph. - Irene Musumeci

[Our Little Sister is released on 15 April.]


The Revenant tells a harrowing story of endurance, set in a desolate but hugely cinematic landscape. The film tells the story of an 1820s fur trapper who gets mauled by a bear and whose fellow trappers leave him to die. He survives and treks hundreds of miles towards Tom Hardy's John Fitzgerald to act out his revenge. DiCaprio gives a performance of preternatural growls, blood and spit, all of which is juxtaposed by the beautiful but hostile winter conditions of the Missouri trail, stunningly shot by Birdman and Gravity DoP Emmanuel Lubezki. - Ally Clow

[The Revenant is released on 15 January.]


Not your average cinema visit unless you usually come out red-eyed, slightly broken and need a few toilet minutes to try and recompose your facial features into something resembling the person you were. I'd not read the book and if you haven't either, here's what you need to know: when we meet nearly 5 years old Jack he's saying good morning to the things in his room: that is, the walls, the table, the chairs. Jack doesn't have toys or animals because he was born in the room in which his mother, Ma, has been held captive for the last 7 years. Their captor is Old Nick who visits most nights but is also not immune to punishing them if Ma steps out of line. When Jack turns five, Ma puts in place an audacious plan of escape and after that the film becomes something else.

So, it's a film of two halves - both equally devastating but also life-affirming. The first half, in the room, details an unconditional love between mother and child. I don't think you have to be a parent to watch this film but if you are then you'll recognise what joy, what hope you derive from the little person who in turn looks to his mum to answer his questions. All the reviews you'll read single out actor Jacob Tremblay and his performance. No wonder - it crosses artifice and lands on truth because it feels so real. But they're all heroes in this film: the performances are in no small part because of director Lenny Abrahamson - who got the gig partly through his initial letter to writer Emma Donoghue - and lead actor Brie Larson who plays Ma. The second half - and this is no plot spoiler - is what happens to you after seven years of captivity: how do you live and deal with the things that have changed. 

Always at the core of Room is this nugget of unshakeable love that was formed in a place of unspeakable horror. This thing that we do as humans that transcends the bad is never better shown than in this film. I was floored and it made me love everyone around me a little more. - Kate Gerova

[Room is released on 15 January.]


László Nemes' Son of Saul focuses on a group of Sonderkommando at Auschwitz, (the Jewish prisoners forced to work on the Nazi death camps) and in particular, Saul who amid the chaos of his situation, tries to find a rabbi to bury a child who is among one of the many dead from a recent gassing. Nemes uses 35mm film and a tight 4:3 aspect ratio to film long, chaotic sequences which attempt to put the viewer among these claustrophobic and horrifying conditions. It's a horrific masterpiece and pure cinema.  - Ally Clow

[Son of Saul is released on 29 April.]


[Spoiler alert: a few plot details revealed]

Amidst all the 5-star reviews after its premiere at the Berlinale last year, Victoria became known as the 'one-shot' film. I'm never really sure what this means - will I be aware of this set up? Well, I wasn't.  From the moment we meet Victoria on the dance floor of a Berlin club we are immersed. We follow her out of the club in the small hours, on her own, and there she bumps into four young German men and they are a laugh, maybe a bit dodgy but in a harmless kind of way, chancing it and encouraging her to join them in the streets of the city. We've all been there, intrigued, not sure but young and carefree. They show her a rooftop, smoke a spliff, and there is an attraction between her and one of the guys, Sonne. He walks her to the cafe she is meant to open up, something happens that shifts their attraction and if at this point they parted ways then it would be a fun - and harmless - night out. Then, a call from the past changes everything. At this point, by the way, expect your stomach to start to knot.

Victoria is an innocent abroad, clearly lonely and nurturing a past hurt. There's quite a lot of us that wouldn't then get involved with our new-found friends in a bank heist but what makes this a virtuoso film is the plausibility of how surprising events unfold. Director Sebastian Schipper makes us believe in the characters and their actions to such a degree that the thrilling sequence of events only serves to add to the tension. It's quite simply brilliant. - Kate Gerova

[Victoria is released on 1 April.]