As hard as it is to believe, the year in 2014 movies is over, and another year of cinema is about to begin.
Anticipating movies is half the fun, and 2015 has often been described as one of the biggest years for film in quite some time.
I mean, think about it. Jedis, dinosaurs, Pixar, James Bond AND The Avengers all in the same year. It’s a geek’s dream. On top of that, great auteurs like Martin Scorsese, Brad Bird and Quentin Tarantino also have titles over the horizon.
So, without further ado, here’s my handful of anticipated films for 2015.
I’ll begin with my “honourable mentions” and then get into my top 10.
After being pushed back nearly a year, the mysterious found-footage film Project Almanac (formerly known as ‘Welcome to Yesterday’) is finally getting a release. The trailers promise a Chronicle-esque take on time travel, and if the results here are half as fulfilling as they were with that film, we’re in for a treat. Having Michael Bay on board as a producer doesn’t hurt to help guide a small movie like this, either.
The Good Dinosaur
The Good Dinosaur is the latest film at animation powerhouse Pixar to undergo a change of director, but new director Peter Sohn is one of the studio’s most promising voices ( “Partly Cloudy” is the best Pixar short of the last few years). The reported plot changes (including making nature the film’s antagonist) also sound fascinating. Seeing Pixar take on the world of dinosaurs already had me interested, but having a talent like Sohn at the helm could pay dividends for this movie. And, it’s one of two original Pixar films in ’15. That’s something to celebrate, right?
Even though tightrope walker Philippe Petite’s story has already been told in the acclaimed documentary Man on Wire, The Walk, a dramatised take on Petite directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the main role, is a welcome addition. The recently released teaser trailer left me nauseous – in a good way – and watching Petit take his walk in IMAX 3D might promise to be one of the most stunning moments in a theatre next year. This is prime material for Zemeckis to take on.
It’s hard to believe that Marvel Studios is on the streak that it’s on, and it’s even harder to believe the level of anticipation they can raise for some of its movies. Ant-Man might best be known for the departure of Edgar Wright from the director’s chair, but Peyton Reed (the criminally-underrated Yes Man) is a fascinating choice to take over. Outside of the directorial swap, this movie already puts comic actor Paul Rudd at the front of a potential superhero franchise with Michael Douglas in the main supporting role. Not to mention the test footage for this movie rules. Ant-Man is one of the most interesting upcoming movies of 2015, no doubts about it.
NOW, THE TOP TEN
10. Terminator: Genisys
As someone who adores Terminator 2: Judgment Day and was greatly disappointed in Terminator: Salvation, a reboot of the franchise with Arnold Schwarzenegger on board in his iconic role as T-800 doesn’t sound half bad. The film is taking the J.J. Abrams Star Trek route of establishing a new timeline for the series, and the trailer sells it well. Some are reacting negatively to this one, but I can’t help but be endlessly curious to see what the future of the Terminator franchise holds. Director Alan Taylor (the underrated Thor: The Dark World) should be able to hold his own with the sequel.
Even though District 9 director Neill Blomkamp’s sophomore effort Elysium didn’t exactly meet its sky-high expectations, Blomkamp should still be considered one of the more fascinating genre directors working today. Chappie, his latest film, looks to be his most out-there title yet. Blomkamp regular Sharlto Copley lends his voice to the title character, a sentient robot with the mind of a child, and Hugh Jackman and Dev Patel are among the supporting cast. The trailer puts of a vibe that is very similar to Blomkamp’s other films, but some reports say that this one might lend itself more to the comedic realm. Regardless, this is a film to watch out for, if only to see where this new luminary of sci-fi takes audiences next.
Whether or not Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz is actually classic Bond villain Blofield shouldn’t be the point of excitement for Daniel Craig’s fourth foray into the world of 007. Skyfall, 2012’s smash-hit Bond movie, is, to me, one of the great popcorn blockbusters of the last decade, with director Sam Mendes effectively borrowing Christopher Nolan’s visual sensibilities and grounded realism and translating them into the world of James Bond. Yes, Waltz being on board is exciting in any capacity, but the idea of seeing Craig and Mendes work together again on a Bond film is enough to muster up plenty of fervour. A bonus, upcoming star cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema will be behind the lens.
The great director Martin Scorsese nary has a misstep, and his latest venture might be one of his most ambitious films yet. Set in 17th century Japan, the film follows Jesuit priests during the times of Christian persecutions. Scorsese tried to mount the film a few years ago with Daniel Day-Lewis and Benicio del Toro starring, but this time around, Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano and Adam Driver are all on board. Anytime Scorsese steps behind the camera, it’s cause for anticipation. The subject matter and the cast alone have me intrigued, but Scorsese’s involvement takes the film to a whole new level. It will be a surefire awards contender if all the stars align.
Quentin Tarantino must have taken a liking to the western genre, because his follow-up to 2012’s western-influenced Django Unchained takes place in the same wheelhouse. And, after the film’s infamous script leak and subsequent live-reading, it’s a wonder this film is getting made at all. The official details are fairly sparse (beware spoilers, because they’re out there), but it promises to be a tense outing in close confines. And, the cast includes Tarantino regulars like Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth and Michael Masden. Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Channing Tatum, Bruce Dern and Demián Bichir are all also on the roster. Tarantino’s eighth film might be one of his last if his 10 films and done mentality upholds, so each remaining title that he makes is a treasure.
Director Brad Bird is one of the few auteurs in Hollywood whose record is spotless. His three animated films (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Ratatouille) are modern-day classics, and his live-action effort Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol was a rollicking adventure, complete with everything you’d want in a movie of that sort. Bird returns to the Mouse House for Tomorrowland, a high-concept sci-fi fantasy film that’s based on the contents of a box found in Walt Disney’s archives. The film attracted megastar George Clooney to a starring role. The trailer is as mysterious as can be, a refreshing twist for modern-day movie advertising. Releasing an original sci-fi fantasy in the middle of summer movie season might seem like a gamble, but if I’m going to bet on anyone to succeed, it’s Brad Bird.
4. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Marvel Studios’ crowning jewel, The Avengers, will get its hotly-anticipated sequel this coming May. Outside of a certain sequel involving space, this is one of the most important film releases of 2015. Director Joss Whedon has the incredible task of both following up one of the most successful films of all time and setting a strong tone of the future of Marvel Studios’ output. With all the right talent in place and a knockout trailer circulating the web, everything seems to be falling in place for the sequel. As the trailer indicates, this new movie promises to be a more solemn affair and potentially will be a game-changer in terms of where this story goes next. The anticipation is as high as it can be for this one.
3. Inside Out
Again, Pixar Animation Studios hasn’t had it easy over the past few years. The studio hit its consensus peak with 2010’s acclaimed Toy Story 3, but since then, it hasn’t been the same for the studio. While I loved 2013’s Monsters University just as much as anything else the studio has done, most would say that Pixar’s last great moment came with the third Toy Story. Movies like Cars 2, Brave and November’s The Good Dinosaur have all undergone behind-the-scenes changes over the past few years, and Pixar had to shut down its branch in Canada recently. But, Pete Doctor (Monsters, Inc., Up), one of the studio’s premiere storytellers, is returning with Inside Out, a highly-original film that follows the five primary emotions in a pre-teen girl’s head as she moves to a new city. With a wonderful voice cast and some irresistible trailers, Inside Out looks to be Pixar’s big return to animated prominence. Any fan of the studio should have this one right at the top of their lists.
2. Jurassic World
Jurassic Park, Steven Spielberg’s landmark sci-fi adventure film, is one of the most beloved blockbusters of all time, and now, Universal is bringing back the world with Jurassic World. Director Colin Trevorrow is the third person to take the franchise under his wing, and if the film’s first trailer indicates anything, fans should be in for a treat. Jurassic Park worked so darn well because of the grandeur of Spielberg’s direction, coupled with a perfect cast, Stan Winston’s amazing animatronics and an all-time great score from John Williams. This new movie looks to incorporate more CGI-driven technology for its dinos, which has irked some fans. But, I’m far more concerned with Trevorrow nailing the sense of awe the permeated the original film. If he gets that right, everything else should fall into place. A bonus, new it-guy Chris Pratt will be in the leading role.
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Star Wars: The Force Awakens might be the most anticipated film to be released since, well, the last return of Star Wars (1999’s polarising Episode I: The Phantom Menace). Director J.J. Abrams has taken on one of the most colossal cinematic tasks of our time: continuing the story of the original Star Wars trilogy, some of the most beloved films of all time. The film’s now-famous teaser trailer promises a new experience in the Star Wars universe, notably excluding any of the returning faces and playing up the newness in store. Like many, the Star Wars movies were ones that made me love movies in general, so another trip to a galaxy far, far away has me on the edge of my seat. Here’s hoping that Abrams can pull it off. Early signs look good.
Well, there you have it. What movies will have you on the edge of your seat in 2015?