I’m a few prestige titles short of an informed perspective on this past year in cinema, so I thought I’d jump ahead! Here are the titles I’m most looking forward to in 2015…
Release Date: May 22nd
What governs my interest in a project are the people involved. A two-minute trailer can make anything look good, and a plot synopsis can’t encapsulate the creative decisions that bring a story to the screen. With that in mind, my #10 is a mixed bag. “Tomorrowland” is an original, big-budget science fiction film directed by Brad Bird. From “The Iron Giant” to “The Incredibles” to “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocal,” this guy is one of the best pop filmmakers working today. Sadly, screenwriter Damon Lindelof is not. Influenced by frequent collaborator, JJ Abrams, Lindelof is a fan of the mystery box. His “boxes,” while interestingly packaged, are often empty. The disappointment of “Prometheus” and the final season of “Lost” still stings. Given Bird’s track record and the intriguing teaser — No, I don’t ignore advertising altogether — I’m holding out for a good time at the movies!
Release Date: Fall
Exhibit B in the case for directors generating excitement. “Silence” has been a long-time passion project for Martin Scorsese. It’s about two Jesuit priests persecuted in 17th century Japan. Conceptually, I’m not particularly interested. It sounds like a standard dreary prestige film, but Scorsese seals the deal. Andrew Garfield and Liam Neeson are attached, and though I would prefer the original pairing of Daniel Day-Lewis and Benicio del Toro, Scorsese continues to adapt and produce great work. I was a big fan of his last two movies, “Hugo, which was uncharacteristically family friendly, and “The Wolf of Wall Street” (definitely not for children). I’m excited for him to finally bring his vision of this story to the screen.
8.) Untitled Cold War Thriller
Release Date: October 16th
Here’s another great collection of talent! This untitled Cold War thriller is directed by Steven Spielberg, stars Tom Hanks and is written by Joel and Ethan Coen. Based on a true story, it’s about an attorney sent to negotiate the release of an American pilot captured by the Soviet Union. I’m especially intrigued to see what comes of the collaboration between Spielberg and the Coens. The former wears his heart on his sleeve, while the latter tend to be cold and aloof. It’ll be interesting to see how that shakes out. Hanks’s involvement with Spielberg is always a plus – well almost always…”The Terminal” doesn’t do anything for me. But let’s be honest, when Spielberg is in thriller mode, hold onto your butts!
7.) “Avengers: Age of Ultron”
Release Date: May 1st
I’m getting a little weary of super hero movies, especially Marvel’s. Still, there’s no denying the event-ness that surrounds “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” As a fan of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” I was excited by Joss Whedon’s involvement with the first Avengers movie, and he didn’t let me down. As far as the sequel, if the trailer is any indication, he’s taking the “Empire Strikes Back” approach. This will be the darker and moodier chapter, which is fine by me. Dark Whedon is my favorite Whedon. (Buffy’s “The Body,” anyone?) I’m confident he’ll be able to take these characters in new directions and bring a more personal dimension to their struggle. Let’s face it, you can only endanger the world so often before that stops being exciting. Maybe the film’s sentient robot antagonist, Ultron, will bring the Marvel-verse what it sorely needs: a strong villain.
6.) “That’s What I’m Talking About”
Release Date: TBD
With 2013’s “Before Midnight” and this year’s “Boyhood,” writer-director Richard Linklater is on a god damn hot streak. (Spoiler alert: “Boyhood” is a serious contender for my film of the year.) “That’s What I’m Talking About” promises to be a spiritual sequel to Linklater’s “Dazed and Confused.” Set in the 1980’s, it follows several college baseball players. I’m a sucker for a good coming-of-age story. Though they might be a dime a dozen, I really feel that few get them quite like Linklater. Whether he’s working with a limited cast (“Before Sunrise”) or a large ensemble (“Dazed and Confused”), he’s so respectful of his characters. They come across as real flesh and blood human beings…full of happiness and sadness, drama and comedy.
Stay tuned next week for my top five most anticipated movies of 2015!