Exciting future for movies releasing in 2016

Leonardio DiCaprio comments on next film: *The Revenant*

Leonardo DiCaprio chooses roles much the same way a professional ball player chooses which pitches to swing at: it has to be perfect, and it has to present the best opportunity to score. Whether or not "score" means Oscar contention or a chance to work with a revered director, it is apparent that DiCaprio has a pretty good batting average. His new film, The Revenant, is set for a Dec. 25, 2015 release, and the film looks to be another cinematic masterpiece, much ado to two-time Academy Award winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity, Birdman). DiCaprio sat down with Yahoo! Movies to discuss the new film, and his comments make me anticipate The Revenant even more, which I did not think was possible. DiCaprio stated, "It’s going to be one of the most unique film-going experiences that audiences have seen in modern times..."

The film takes place in the frozen wilderness and the filmmaking team spent nine months in remote parts of Canada and Argentina, using only natural light to film. When asked about the harsh filming conditions, Leo responded, "The truth is that I knew what I was getting into. This was a film that had been floating around for quite some time, but nobody was crazy enough to really take this on, simply because of the logistics of where we needed to shoot and the amount of work and rehearsal that would have to be done to achieve Alejandro and (Lubezki's) vision. They’re very specific about their shots and what they want to achieve, and that — compounded with the fact that we were in an all-natural environment, succumbing to whatever nature gave us — was something that became more of a profoundly intense chapter of our lives than we ever thought it was going to be."

Nothing is certain in film, but I anticipate The Revenant to be in the Oscar conversation come the new year. All the right pieces are in place. All we can do is wait and see.

Chris Rock to host the Oscars

Speaking of the Oscars, let's talk about the upcoming 88th Academy Awards and how the show's producers decided to bring back, after 11 years, one of the most celebrated comedians around. Comedian, actor, writer, producer, director, and documentarian Chris Rock will return as host for the Feb. 28 broadcast of the "Biggest Night In Hollywood." Rock and the Academy butted heads in the decade since 2005, the last time he hosted, regarding the Academy's "white-washing" the awards, but the tensions have since died down. Today, we can finally wise up and recognize that Chris Rock's comedic style might be the perfect breath of fresh air for an Academy Awards, which has taken a recent dip in the ratings since its height in 2014 under Ellen DeGeneres' hosting. Chris Rock is hilarious, intelligent, adept, socially aware, dramatically talented, and charmingly snarky. He checks all the boxes for great hosting and brings that one-of-a-kind voice as a cherry on top.

Jared Leto speaks out about his role as the Joker

The Joker may be the most famous villain in entertainment. Hannibal Lecter and Darth Vader are contenders, but when the Clown Prince of Crime enters the scene, no good can happen. There have been several accounts of Jared Leto never breaking character on the set of the upcoming Suicide Squad (sending co-stars dead rats in a shoe box and whatnot), but Leto himself has finally commented on what it was like to become the most feared villain in Gotham, "There was definitely a period of... detachment. I took a pretty deep dive. But this was a unique opportunity and I couldn't imagine doing it another way. It was fun, playing those psychological games. But at the same time it was very painful, like giving birth out of my pr**k hole."

Director David Ayer also spoke about Leto's Joker, and how this incarnation will differentiate itself from past Joker's we have seen on screen, "The Joker is the third rail of comic book movies. There's a power to that character, and by some freaking miracle, through the incredible things Jared has done and the photography and all the other millions of things that went into it, we've cooked up something transcendent. He's scary."

A scary Joker? So, all the past Jokers were not scary? Sure, the Joker in the comic books has done things no film has come close to, but is this when we get the frightening psychopathic rage that The Joker embodies? I'm already going to be first in line when [ITAL]Suicide Squad[ITAL] is released on Aug. 5, 2016, but if this Joker is the most rampant, psychotic, frightening Joker we've ever seen, I might just have to campout at the ticket booth.

Nicholas Hoult and Rooney Mara to star in *The Discovery*

Nicholas Hoult entered my radar as Beast in X-Men: First Class but has only recently become a name to remember when he appeared as Nux in Mad Max: Fury Road. Rooney Mara's talents are undeniable, especially for those who have seen her Academy Award nominated performance in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. It is now being reported that Hoult and Mara will be seen together in The Discovery.

Directed by relative newcomer Charlie McDowell, the film is a romance set in a world one year after scientific proof of an afterlife has been discovered. Hoult plays the son of the man responsible for the discovery while Mara plays Hoult's love interest, whose life is "tinged by a tragic past."

The concept sounds very intriguing and fresh. Hollywood has been criticized recently for not producing much, if any, original material; only sequels and films based on comic books get released. Much the same as any casual pedestrian buying pizza, you buy a pizza you trust. Trying a new place is a bit frightening. New ideas and untested scripts are frightening to studios, especially when they may need to hand over tens of millions of dollars. I hold that same skepticism. On the other hand, I may not know McDowell's directing abilities, but having Hoult and Mara involved tells me the acting caliber is far from untested. The Discovery is set to start production in Rhode Island in January 2016. No release date has been, set but anticipate waiting until 2017 to buy your tickets.