Every time we think we’re thawed out, they pull us back in.We’re still dodging winter storms in between 60-degree breaks and it’ll be another month before we’re entirely in the clear, weather-wise, but according the Movie Calendar, spring is right around the corner.(Note: The Movie Calendar is not the same as the Lunar Calendar, the Chinese Calendar, the Gregorian Calendar or the Rigid Tool Calendar. According to the Movie Calendar, spring runs from March 11 through May 13.)
In chronological order, here’s the roster of my most anticipated spring releases of 2016.
“10 Cloverfield Lane” (March 11)
Producer J.J. Abrams says this isn’t exactly a sequel to the 2008 acclaimed cult hit “Cloverfield,” but it’s a blood relative. One of my favorite not-quite-a-star actors, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, plays a woman who is in a serious car wreck and regains consciousness underground, under the “care” of a doomsday prepper (John Goodman) who tells her she can’t leave because the above-ground world has been permanently contaminated by deadly chemicals. Sounds like “Room” meets “Misery.” Sounds like it could be scary-good in every sense of the word.
“Pee-wee’s Big Holiday” (March 18 streaming release on Netflix)
Some 35 years after Paul Reubens’ disturbingly strange and utterly brilliant creation Pee-wee Herman rocketed to stardom with an HBO special and three decades after the big-screen success of “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” the bow-tied oddball returns. Joe Manganiello plays the mysterious stranger who persuades Pee-Wee to take his first-ever vacation. Judging by the clips I’ve seen, this could be a seriously bizarre adventure with the potential to be kinda great — or a Razzie contender.
“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (March 25)
This topped the list of my Most Anticipated Movies of the entire year. In case you haven’t heard, what’s happening here is you’ve got your Superman (Henry Cavill), and you’ve got your Batman (Ben Affleck), and you’ve got that ‘v’ telling us this isn’t a buddy movie. In a rare move, it’s been announced in advance the theatrical version will be rated PG-13, but Zach Snyder’s Blu-Ray extended director’s cut will be rated R.
“Everybody Wants Some” (April 1)
Richard Linklater directs this sports comedy about college baseball players in the 1980s. Linklater says this is something of a spiritual sequel to the 1970s-set “Dazed and Confused.”
“Miles Ahead” (April 8)
The great Don Cheadle stars as the great Miles Davis. Let the Oscar buzz begin.
“Demolition” (April date TBA)
Jake Gyllenhaal headlines as a big-time investment banker who falls apart after losing his wife in a tragic accident and finds an unlikely connection in a customer service representative (Naomi Watts) who responds to his increasingly personal complaint letters.
“Barbershop: The Next Cut” (April 15)
Back on the South Side. Ice Cube (wearing a vintage 1983 White Sox jersey in publicity stills from the movie), Cedric the Entertainer, Common, Regina Hall and Nicki Minaj star in the third chapter (not including the “Beauty Shop” spinoff) of the “Barbershop” franchise. Has it really been 12 years since the last one?
“Elvis & Nixon” (April 22)
The famous photo of Elvis Presley shaking hands with Richard Nixon on the morning of Dec. 21, 1970, is said to be the most requested picture in the National Archives — and now it’s the launching pad for a highly speculative historical drama starring Kevin Spacey as Nixon and Michael Shannon as Elvis.
Come on. How can you not sign up for this one?
“Captain America: Civil War” (May 6)
Like “Batman v Superman,” this one made my list of the most anticipated movies of the year. Looking forward to seeing Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) squaring off against Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.).
“Free State of Jones” (May 13)
Based on a true story. Matthew McConaughey stars as Newt Knight, a Southern farmer who staged a rebellion against the Confederacy. If that wasn’t controversy enough, after the Civil War, Knight married a former slave (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). “Free State of Jones” is written and directed by the talented Gary Ross, who counts “Pleasantville,” “Seabiscuit” and “The Hunger Games” among his credits.
“Money Monster” (May 13)
Jodie Foster directs the story of an egotistical TV financial guru (George Clooney) named Lee Gates and his producer (Julia Roberts), who are held hostage by a viewer (Jack O’Connell) who lost all his money following Gates’ advice.
This one sounds like a “Network” for the 21st century.