Thursday, 29 January 2015

Blog: My most anticipated films of 2015

How is it we're nearly into February already? Despite that, we've got 11 months of promising releases ahead of us. So, as is the tradition, let's take a gander at the top 25 films I am anticipating the most for 2015.

As usual, I should point out that this list is not an attempt to predict which films will be the best of next year, just an opinion piece of which ones I am anticipating the most. Also, take note how I occasionally grasp at straws for the "Hint of Doubt" section.


Honourable Mentions:

Trainwreck Judd Apatow's latest is a vehicle for the talented Amy Schumer, boasting a brilliant cast that includes Daniel Radcliffe, Barkhad Abdi, Tilda Swinton, Brie Larson and Ezra Miller
Ant-Man After all the behind the scenes trouble, this Marvel flick still boasts a stellar cast from a studio with a solid track record.
Krampus A demon seeks to punish naughty people at Christmas, starring two of 2014's breakout stars in Allison Tolman and Emjay Anthony.
Crimson Peak Guillermo Del Toro brings a fantastic cast together for his lastest horror film.
Jane Got A Gun A film whose existence wasn't even made aware of until the director quit one day into shooting. The talent assembled along with the intriguing plot sounds promising.


25. Midnight Special

Release Date: 25th November

Premise: A father and son go on the run, as the dad discovers his child has special powers.

Why?: It may seem a departure for Jeff Nichols to next make what is described as a sci-fi chase film, but he insists that it's more grounded than his last film, Mud. Expect great relationships to be at the centre of this piece, brought to life by the wonderful cast.

Hint of Doubt: I'm nitpicking here, but it could be a bit slow in places.


24. Child 44

Release Date: 17th April

Premise: A disgraced member of the military police investigates a series of nasty child murders during the Stalin-era Soviet Union.

Why?: It's a promising sign that this is scripted from a writer of the acclaimed series The Wire, and it helps that an impressive cast have been put together. Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Gary Oldman, Vincent Cassel, at the very least expect a well acted piece of work.

Hint of Doubt: From the director of Safe House...


23. Ricki and The Flash

Release Date: 26th June

Premise: Ricki is an aging woman who abandoned her family in order to chase her dreams of being a rock star. She gets a last chance to put things right when her ex-husband asks her to help their estranged, divorced-daughter through a tough time.

Why?: Let me just read this out to you: Meryl Streep plays a rock star, in a script by Diablo Cody and directed by Jonathan Demme, who directed The Silence of The Lambs. Must I say more?

Hint of Doubt: Here's hoping Diablo Cody's script doesn't emphasise too much on the "quirky" dialogue over character development or story (here's looking at you, Jennifer's Body).


The Good Dinosaur.JPG22. The Good Dinosaur

Release Date: 25th November

Premise: On a world where the dinosaurs never went extinct, Arlo sets out to restore peace to his tranquil community. He is joined by an unlikely companion, in the form of a human boy.

Why?: It tends to be an event whenever Pixar release a new film (that isn't Cars), and the intriguing concept sounds wonderful and full of potential. It also helps that a wonderful cast have been assembled.

Hint of Doubt: The change in directors halfway through brings some worries. Plus, it's no secret that Pixar have been on a downhill slope in quality.


High Rise 2014 Film Poster.jpg21. High-Rise

Release Date: N/A

Premise: London, 1975. A young doctor takes up residence on the 25th floor of a high rise, a tower block that's isolated from the rest of society. A dangerous situation develops for the residents, and the high-rise eventually fragments into violent tribes.

Why?: Ben Wheatley directing, starring Tom Hiddlestone? I'm in.

Hint of Doubt: It sounds like it'll take focus on themes of class, so there's a chance we'll be given messages we've seen done better many times before.


Peanuts 2015.jpg20. The Peanuts Movie

Release Date: 6th November

Premise: Snoopy embarks upon his greatest mission as he and his team take to the skies to pursue their arch-nemesis, while his best pal Charlie Brown begins his own epic quest back home.

Why?: The UK have not been exposed to the Peanuts gang much outside of the occasional homage and reference from American TV shows. The films inclusion is not due to any potential nostalgia, but due to the adorable looking trailer, which looks to be a good-natured, well animated piece of fun.

Hint of Doubt: Blue Sky Studios are not the most consistent studio when it comes to quality, with their films ranging from the various Ice Age flicks, Rio and Horton Hears  A Who!.


19. Triple Nine

Release Date: 11th September

Premise: A group of corrupt cops are blackmailed into pulling off an impossible heist. To do this, they plot the murder of a rookie cop in order to orchestrate a "999", code for 'officer down'.

Why?: A crime drama from the director of The Road and Lawless, but the main draw is the solid cast.  Composed of Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslet, Norman Reedus, Aaron Paul, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie and Teresa Palmer. Truly one of the years best ensemble casts.

Hint of Doubt: Despite the cast, there's the possibility it could fall short due to a weak script.


In the Heart of the Sea poster.jpg18. In The Heart of The Sea

Release Date: 11th December

Premise: Based on the 1820 event, a whaling ship is preyed upon by a sperm whale, stranding its crew at sea for 90 days, thousands of miles from home

Why?: Ron Howard reunites with one of Rush leads to tackle the astounding true tale which inspired Moby Dick. Bringing a talented cast that includes Cillian Murphy, Ben Whishaw and Brendan Gleeson, this looks promising.

Hint of Doubt: Ron Howard's filmography isn't exactly consistent in quality...


Inside Out (2015 film) poster.jpg17. Inside Out

Release Date: 19th July

Premise: Riley is uprooted from her life when her father takes a new job in San Francisco. She's guided by her emotions, who live in a control centre inside her mind, helping to advise her through everyday life. Turmoil ensues, and the emotions conflict on how to navigate a new city, house and school.

Why?: It's always promising to see Pixar tackling a unique story as opposed to a sequel/prequel, and this one's premise is rather marvellous. Focusing on a girls changing life through the perspective of her emotions is vintage Pixar, and it helps the director of Monsters, Inc is taking a handle on things. Plus, Amy Poehler!

Hint of Doubt: Again, it's no secret Pixar have been on a bit of a downward slope.


16. Jupiter Ascending

'Jupiter Ascending' Theatrical Poster.jpgRelease Date: 6th February

Premise: In the future, a young janitor finds she could be the next ruler of the Universe, as she sets out to stop a young man's tyrant rule.

Why?: With Cloud Atlas and The Matrix,The Wachowskis have proven their talents within expansive tales of science fiction. Their next picture looks to be just as imaginative, with a greatly talented cast led by Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum.

Hint of Doubt: Originally set to be released last July, it's a little troubling it got pushed back from blockbuster season to early the next year. Plus, here's hoping Kunis' character is more than your typical damsel, as well as somebody we actually want to rule.

A black poster featuring a grey circular shield with a stylized Tyrannosaurus skeleton under a plaque reading "Jurassic World". Below is the tagline "The Park is Open".
15. Jurassic World

Release Date: 12th June

Premise: 22 years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar is now a fully functioning Dinosaur theme park. In order to boost visitor attendance, a genetically modified hybrid dinosaur is created. But it soon runs wild on the island.

Why?: I could fill this section with just this films cast list, especially with Chris Pratt headlining. But it looks like Colin Trevorrow won't be skimping on the sense of terror that comes from being faced with one of natures most exceptional killing machines. Plus, we get to see what a Dinosaur theme park would look like.

Hint of Doubt: No Jeff Goldblum/Sam Neill appearance?


Teaser poster14. Mad Max: Fury Road

Release Date: 15th May

Premise: An apocalyptic story in a desert landscape where humanity is broken, and almost everyone is crazed fighting for the necessities of life. Two rebels on the run exists who might be able to restore order. Max, a man of action and of few words, who seeks peace of mind following the loss of his wife and child in the aftermath of the chaos. And Furiosa, a woman of action who believes her path to survival may be achieved, if she can make it across the desert back to her childhood homeland.

Why?: Having not seen any of the films in the Mad Max series before, my excitement for this isn't based on being a fan of the franchise. It's purely for what I saw in the trailers, which was a nightmarish landscape brought to life with wonderous imagination, and stunts that look set to make jaws drop.

Hint of Doubt: Filming wrapped in 2012, reshoots in 2013, why so long to release?


It Follows (poster).jpg13. It Follows

Release Date: 27th March

Premise: What begins as an innocent sexual encounter for 19 year old Jay leaves her plagued with strange visions, and the unavoidable feeling that she's being followed by someone - or something. With her friends, Jay must find a way to escape the terror that seems to only be a few steps behind.

Why?: If you've read many of my horror reviews, then you will find I often lament on many of today's additions to the horror genre. I find that despite many great recent additions, there's an abundance of lazy rubbish. What we have here is a stunning idea, an entity that never stops following you until it catches up, and kills you. Starring Maika Monroe, one of last years breakout stars from The Guest, this looks to be another great addition to the genre.

Hint of Doubt: Can David Robert Mitchell keep the story going throughout, or will this be a tale that eventually runs out of steam?


12. Spectre
Spectre007.jpg
Release Date: 6th November

Premise: A cryptic message from an unlikely source sets James Bond navigating the layers of a sinister organisation known as SPECTRE. As M continues fighting political pressures that threaten the future of MI6, Bond draws closer to uncovering a hidden truth that threatens to destroy everything he has fought to protect.

Why?: After the success that was Skyfall, it's promising to see the writer/director team of Sam Mendes and John Logan return for the next instalment of Bond. While I'm not a longterm Bond fan, I can see the excitement in a return of the old villains. With a cast that combines returning cast of Ralph Fiennes, Naomi Harris and Ben Whishaw, with franchise newcomers like Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, Monica Belluci, Léa Seydoux and Christoph Waltz, how can you not be excited?

Hint of Doubt: The script was allegedly leaked during the Sony hacks, with special criticism reserved for the final act and the villains link to Bond.


A well organized gentleman's closet containing suits, shirts, umbrellas, as well as several large guns, hand guns, and other weaponry.11. Kingsman: The Secret Service

Release Date: 13th February

Premise: A veteran secret agent leads a young protégé into the world of espionage.

Why?: In 2010, Matthew Vaughn delivered Kick-Ass, a film which took the basic concept of a Mark Millar comic and delivered a gleeful deconstruction of the superhero genre, packed with fantastic fun and humor. 5 years later, it looks as though Vaughn will deliver the same, only for the spy genre. Plus, who doesn't want to see Colin Firth kicking ass?

Hint of Doubt: Samuel L. Jackson looks to be walking a thin line between entertaining and cringeworthy for his villainous role, especially with the lisp added on.

10. Tomorrowland
Tomorrowland logo.jpg
Release Date: 22nd May

Premise: Bound by a shared destiny, a teen bursting with scientific curiosity and a former boy-genius inventor embark on a mission to unearth the secrets of a place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory.

Why?: Originally announed under the working title 1952, this film is shrouded in secrecy very well that not a lot is known. What is known, the intriguing trailer, the stellar cast including George Clooney and Hugh Laurie, and the directing by Brad Bird of The Incredibles and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol fame, points to promisin.

Hint of Doubt: Can Damon Lindelof deliver a script that satisfies?

Chappie poster.jpg9. Chappie

Release Date: 6th March

Premise: After being kidnapped by two criminals at birth, Chappie becomes the adopted son in a strange, dysfunctional family. Chappie is preternaturally gifted, one of a kind, a prodigy. He also happens to be a robot.

Why?: In 2009, Neill Blomkamp came out of nowhere and delivered Distrcit 9, scoring wide adoration and a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars. His latest release stars an adorable central robot with the mind of a child, who is uniquely raised by criminals. It looks to possess a satirical element that was missing from last years Robocop, while also including heart, humor and a bit of action. In short, this stuff looks good.

Hint of Doubt: Can Blomkamp make this stand out from the many films about artificial intelligence? Or will audience be left proclaiming "It was done better in (insert film name)"?


8. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2

Release Date: 20th November

Premise: After being symbolized as the 'Mockingjay', Katniss Everdeen and District 13 engage in an all-out revolution against the autocratic Capitol.

Why?: The Hunger Games saga has proven to be a franchise that gets better with each instalment, with the first part of Mockingjay gripping the viewers with conversations that left us *ahem* hungering for more. The second part sets to finish the story, complete with the fantastic characters and social allegories that have made this franchise a success. It'll be sad to see the story of Katniss and Peeta end, but hopefully it'll go out on a high note.

Hint of Doubt: Mockingjay is often considered the weakest book in Suzanne Collins' trilogy, so could the film also end up as the weakest in the saga?


7. Regression

Release Date: 28th August

Premise: A father is accused of sexually abusing his daughter, a crime which he has no memory of committing. With the help of a psychologist, he relives the memory and implicates an officer in the crime, who also has no memory of committing the crime. Suddenly, other townspeople are able to relive suppressed memories of horrific abuse, with similar reports coming in from all over the country.

Why?: The intriguing premise, combined with Ethan Hawke, Emma Watson and the director of The Others makes for a promising picture.

Hint of Doubt: Can Alejandro Amenábar deliver satisfying answers in a non-convoluted manner?


6. The Revenant

Release Date: 25th December

Premise: In the 19th Century, a fur trapper (Leonardo Dicaprio) is mauled by a bear while hunting. His companions rob him and leave him for dead, but he survives and sets out for revenge on the men who betrayed him.

Why?: Having helmed the spectacular Birdman, Alejandro González Iñárritu has never been more on my radar. It helps that the cast of his next film includes spectacular talent such as Leo, Tom Hardy, and up and comers Will Poulter and Domnhall Gleeson.

Hint of Doubt: Can this distance itself from the many revenge flicks we see come out?


5. The Neon Demon

Release Date: N/A

Premise: An aspiring model attempts to conquer the world of modelling, only to confront a terrifying force of beauty and death.

Why?: There is only one reason this film has made its way onto this list. Nicolas Winding Refn. The masterful director of Drive, Bronson and Only God Forgives is next helming a horror film about vicious beauty starring Elle Fanning, and I'm already anticipating it.

Hint of Doubt: Only God Forgives was one of the most divisive films in recent memory. Will this be the same?


4. The Lobster

Release Date: 24th March

Premise: In a dystopian near future, lonely people are relocated to a hotel where they're obliged to find a match within 45 days. If they fail, they are transformed into animals and released into the wild.

Why?: Go back and re-read that premise. It sounds unique, bizarre and utterly enticing. Not to mention the terrific cast, composed of Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw, Léa Seydoux and Olivia Colman.

Hint of Doubt: It could be a case of "great premise, lacking execution".


Avengers Age of Ultron.jpg
3. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Release Date: 1st May

Premise: When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and it is up to the Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans.

Why?: 3 years ago, Marvel made their riskiest move. The result was the third highest grossing film ever, one of the best reviewed films of that year and a highly entertaining piece of work. To say the sequel is anticipated is understating it. It's great to see the team dynamic once more, to see how the Marvel Cinematic Universe will change and to see another big screen film from Joss Whedon. But speaking as a long time comic fan, it's rather exhilarating to see characters like The Vision, Scarlet Witch and Ultron get adapted for the big screen.

Hint of Doubt: The cast has certainly increased since The Avengers. Can the screentime be split fairly, or will some of the characters be left with the short end of the stick?


The Hateful Eight film poster.png
2. The Hateful Eight

Release Date: 13th November

Premise: In post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunters try to find shelter during a blizzard but get involved in a plot of betrayal and deception. Will they survive?

Why?: Er, because it's from Quentin Tarantino? While he may not have a perfect record (who does?), there's a reason each of his new films are so anticipated. The guy's insanely talented, has an eye for casting (he revitalized John Travolta's career 20 years ago) and can write some of the best dialogue out there.

Hint of Doubt: With every release, there's a niggling doubt that will be the film where audiences proclaim Tarantino has lost his touch. Could this be the year?


1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Starwarsviitheforceawakens.jpgRelease Date: 18th December

Premise: Set 30 years after Return of The Jedi, the new instalment of the popular franchise will feature new leads and returning faces. That's all we know so far.

Why?: Growing up, I was into many of the popular film franchises, such as Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings. I was entranced by them, but nothing, I repeat, NOTHING, commanded my attention, and my young, impressionable mind, the way Star Wars did. It's a franchise that's endured, with just most of its aspects such as characters, phrases, vehicles, being firmly situated in pop culture, and instantly recognisable. So to say that this year, we're getting a new Star Wars film, is completely unbelievable. Before even mentioning the talent behind the cameras and in the cast, this film has already made the top of this list, but rest assured that the talent all over the film is exceptional. From the perspective of both a film fan and a Star Wars fanboy, this will be an event worth attending.

Hint of Doubt: After such a build up, this could result in disappointment from our standards being set too highly.


Do you agree/disagree with the choices? Has this list given you knowledge of any films that sound cool/awful? Be sure to voice your opinions in the comments.

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