The thing that I anticipate the most in any movie year is the movies that come out of nowhere. In my top films list, which will publish soon, most of my favorite movies came out of nowhere. That really is the beauty of film. With the list I’m about to get into, it’s the opposite of that. These are for the most part the big movies. The films that get that huge promotional push and you see coming months in advance, yeah these are those films.
Some will deliver, some will not, and some probably won’t even make their 2015 release date. It happens. I know my best-of-list for next year will feature a bunch of films that are not on this list, that’s a guarantee. Having said all that, there’s a lot of potential in these films and if even half of these deliver, well we’re in for something special. For now, here are the films I look forward to most in the upcoming 12 months.
20. Don’t Mess With Texas
While The Heat wasn’t the first movie of its kind, this movie seems to owe a lot to that film. I don’t know too much about the film except for the fact that it stars Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara as a police officer and a criminal, respectively. Female led movies are rare so I welcome the chance for these two to knock it out the park. These women certainly can be funny in the right roles so I believe this one certainly has potential.
19. Get Hard
Here’s another film with potential, also featuring two very funny individuals in Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart. Kevin Hart seems to have taken some career advice from Ferrell since he is everywhere these days. Well, people haven’t really got too tired of Hart, at least not yet. Ferrell plays a millionaire headed to prison for white-collar crimes and Hart plays the man who will prepare Ferrell for those hard times. This seems like the two comedians at the top of their game, hopefully it delivers.
Well, Divergent certainly didn’t have the impact The Hunger Games had, neither financially or critically, but that’s not really fair to the series or its star Shailene Woodley. I’ll admit at first I just pegged Woodley as a Jennifer Lawrence knockoff, but man has she proven to be so much more. Woodley had one hell of a 2014, but Divergent was certainly her weakest film yet, not that it was a bad one by any measures. Insurgent has a lot going for it, namely Woodley herself, who just continues to get better with every role.
17. Hot Tub Time Machine 2
I was a big fan of the original film because of how much it swung for the fences. It was a big crazy premise, and yet it also somehow stayed grounded. A lot of that came from star John Cusack who is absent this time around. While the always reliable Cusack will be missed, it seems a lot of the pieces are in place for the sequel to at least come close to the laughs of the first one. You have the core group jumping all over time, including into the future and well, that’s just a recipe for some real outrageous stuff and you at least get the sense that they are trying for something different.
16. The Jungle Book
The Disney animated version of The Jungle Book was one of my favorite films growing up. I don’t know what it was about the film that connected with me, but something did. I went out and acquired Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Books at a very young age and anything related with it was something worth looking into. The live-action film that came out in the 90’s was more miss than hit mainly because the animals didn’t talk. Here Disney has the opportunity to do something pretty crazy. They’ve lined up an impressive list of actors to voice the animals as well as director Jon Favreau to steer the ship and I can’t wait to see the first footage for this film.
15. Furious 7
This one was supposed to come out last year but due to the unfortunate death of Paul Walker, Universal had to scramble and release the film a year later. Even though Walker only filmed a tiny part of his intended major role, through CGI magic and stunt-doubles, Walker will be displayed as originally intended in the film. Hopefully it’s not too noticeable or distracting and does not prove to be something they did just to cash out on his name one more time. Coming off two of the most insane movies in the franchise, Furious 7 hopes to continue its gravity defying ways and add another insane entry to the long-running franchise.
Half of me still wants to hate this movie. I feel like sometimes Marvel is too full of their own hubris, not to mention the way they handled the whole Edgar Wright situation. It doesn’t seem right that Wright did all the prep work, for years, and now someone will most likely come in and get the credit for it. The other half, well I still want to go in to each movie I see with a positive attitude. Also, this has Paul Rudd as a superhero so it has that going for it. Do, I think this is the next Guardians of the Galaxy? Well, no, but this one’s so under the radar and my expectations are so low for it that it has nowhere to go but up.
13. The Good Dinosaur
It seems so strange that Pixar did not release a film in 2014. It also seems so strange that the studio responsible for such original stories such as Wall-E, Up, Ratatouille, The Incredibles and so many more has fallen into the sequel game. With the recently released Cars 2 and Monsters University as well as Incredibles 2, Finding Dory and Toy Story 4 coming up, it seems somewhat disappointing. Those films might be good and not just a shameless cash-grab, but the true delight in Pixar comes from the original stuff. Here’s to hoping that Pixar delivers an interesting take on an old premise.
12. The Martian
Director Ridley Scott certainly has his intentions in the right place. You can’t blame him for lack of ambition even though his last two films, Prometheus and Exodus mostly failed to impress. Even the haters of those two films will at least admit that they looked gorgeous. Well, Scott returns to outer space, this time side-by-side with Matt Damon as they adapt the popular Martian book. I don’t know too much about the film, but I love outer space so this one will have me hooked right off the bat. Much like Scott, Matt Damon needs a hit bad. Hopefully they can kill two birds with one stone and make something memorable.
11. American Sniper
I know, so many people have seen this film already and it has a limited release in 2014, but I haven’t seen it and it doesn’t go wide until January 16th. It seems this is the new strategy for films involving war since it also happened with both Zero Dark Thirty and Lone Survivor. It’s disappointing since I wanted to see the film and include it in my 2014 list, but not much can be done about it, unless I drive to Los Angeles on Christmas Eve. The trailer, which depicts a scene in the movie, is intense and sets the perfect tone for what hopefully the movie is. War takes its toll on the human mind, that’s what it seems the film will explore.
This is a Judd Apatow film, but not really. It’s mainly Apatow directing a vehicle for Amy Schumer. I don’t know too much about Schumer. I’ve never seen her in anything nor seen any of her stand-up, but I assume for a guy that’s always written and directed movies based on his own ideas, Apatow must be really impressed with her since he agreed to do the project. Either that or he’s ran out of ideas. Well, Apatow’s only directed four films so I still treat each one of his projects like a special event. I think it’s a good thing that Apatow is doing something different and I hope that gamble pays off.
9. The Fantastic Four
Man, are people out for this movie. They have not seen a frame of footage yet they are ready to dismiss it already. With the more information released, the more people seem to be against it. Miles Tellar is too young and too much of a douche, Michael B. Jordan is black, seriously that’s a complaint. The truth is that it has a director coming off a great movie and such a talented young cast. I don’t get the hate. Some people already have their minds made up and even if the movie ends up surprising, they’ll hate it anyways. Well, I feel sorry for those people. Fox has a chance to right a lot of wrong with this film.
8. Inside Out
I mentioned how Pixar didn’t release a film in 2014. Well, that’s okay since they plan on releasing two in 2015. Another plus? They’re both films based on original ideas. Is it too much to hope for two classics in one year from Pixar, well I don’t care because that is what I hope happens. In contrast to the big dinosaur story, this one is more of a human story and what goes on in people’s heads. Each emotion plays a character and while the trailer comes off a little broad, I hope that’s just because of the marketing angle. I feel like Inside Out can be something really special.
I love Peter Pan. This one is easier to explain than the love for the Jungle Book. I have a Peter Pan complex much like so many grown-ups out there. There’s so much magic in Peter Pan, and Neverland, and the lost boys, and the mermaids. What’s not to love? Pan has been done so many times and yet I’m still ready for more. Will it be a fresh take? Well, it has Blackbeard as the villain with Hook playing more of an ally this time around and also there’s Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily. It promises that wonderful magic Pan has always had, but it also promises a more grounded take on Peter. It’ll be interesting to see if they can pull off that balance.
Here’s a film, by Disney, that hasn’t revealed too much and I find that wonderful. Brad Bird has directed some wonderful things, from The Iron Giant to The Incredibles and then branching out to live-action with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. I had zero interest in watching that one and yet it pretty much blew me away. Here Bird teams with George Clooney as they craft together a beautiful mystery. The teaser trailer that was released shows so much magic as well as potential. I know nothing about the film and that’s how I hope it remains until I actually see the film.
5. Terminator: Genisys
There’s still a lot of Terminator hate out there. I get it, for some people the story ended after Terminator 2. Well, I’m one of the few people out there who also loves Terminator 3 and its super dark ending. Salvation suffers from being so bland which is a big no-no for a story that offers up so many possibilities. Is that film really enough to turn everyone away from the franchise. Everything that has been released from this film has been met with skepticism, well once the trailer was released that talk pretty much quieted. I think people were impressed yet don’t really want to admit it. There are things I still don’t agree with, like the casting of Kyle Reese, but overall, man that trailer got me excited.
More and more details are starting to come out about the James Bond follow-up to Skyfall. So far, I like what I’ve been hearing. This is Daniel Craig’s fourth appearance as Bond, and really who knows how many more he has left. So yeah, each remaining appearance should be cherished. So Craig goes against villains played by Christoph Waltz and Batista? That’s exciting. Main baddie Blofeld will most likely be in it as well. Skyfall set up all the pieces for future installments, and now we get to see if Spectre can deliver off that.
3. Avengers: Age of Ultron
The original Avengers was a great film, but most of that excitement came from seeing everyone on-screen together. This time around things feel more important and more personal. The trailer promises huge moments yet also quiet and creepy ones. It’ll be interesting to see how much Tony has been humbled and how much he takes on himself as he’s the one responsible for most of the madness in this sequel. Director Joss Whedon could have played it safe with the sequel to one of the biggest movies of all-time, instead he aimed for something different and more personal.
2. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
Man, I’m so amped for the epic conclusion of this epic series. Everything is ready for a crazy and satisfying conclusion. Though I still don’t know how much this story can have a ‘happy’ ending with all the death and destruction that has already occurred. I like that everyone involved have stayed the course and continue to make the Hunger Games films the way they should be made; dark, gritty and real. They’re so popular that it easily could have been made into something else, but no, the last film was just as uncompromising as the first.
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The hype doesn’t seem to be as insane as it was for The Phantom Menace and that can only be a good thing. Still, it’s Star Wars so of course the anticipation is still pretty high. I imagine once we get an actual full trailer it’s going to get even crazier. Not much is known yet, and that’s usually how director JJ Abrams operates. The anticipation for the teaser trailer alone was pretty big and yet it revealed almost nothing. This is pretty much the calm before the storm as things are about to get pretty crazy Star Wars wise. We’re ready for it though and things are looking pretty good so far.