I used to consider myself a film buff, pretentiously spouting off about “classic films” and shaming people for not having seen them. I the past couple years, I haven’t gotten around to seeing many Academy Award winning films in theaters, instead going for mainstream films like romantic comedies and superhero flicks. Looking at my most anticipated films of this year, I noticed that that trend has remained the same. I get my deep character driven entertainment these days from television shows where I can follow characters or stories for multiple hours instead of meeting them, understanding their conflict, and growing with them in a simple two hours or less.
Here are my most anticipated films and why I’ve excited for them (in no particular order):
Since being a part of the live action Halo 3 shorts for its marketing campaign in 2007, Neil Blomkamp has been one of my favorite directors. A Blomkamp directed Halo film was in the works a couple years ago, but due to budgetary differences, the project fizzled out freeing Blomkamp up to create 2009’s District 9, a gritty sci-fi film with an art style different from anything I’d seen before. Blomkamp followed that up with 2013’s Elysium, another action, sci-fi film of the same art style with a “99% vs. 1%” commentary. With those two movies under his belt, I’m completely on board with anything he does next.
Chappie looks to follow in District 9 and Elysium’s art style. No shiny technology here, just old, rusted metal put on a fantastical science fiction idea. What intrigues me about Chappie is the playful, kid-like way the Chappie robot looks to be portrayed despite the film’s R-rating.
Inside Out 6/19
Pixar hasn’t put out an original animation film since 2012’s critically acclaimed Brave. Inside Out looks like a heartfelt examination into human psychology through playful personifications of different personalities within the brain. The story will focus around a little girl as she deals with everyday things like school and family. With only a few minutes of footage seen so far, it looks to me like a fun but meaningful adventure that has the potential to make people cry as much as it will make people laugh.
I abhor Disney film because they give kids unrealistic exceptions about life, but I will eternally love Pixar films because of their fantastical worlds and simple but profound life realizations they elicit. Inside Out was written by Michael Arndt, the same genius who wrote possibly my favorite Pixar movie, Toy Story 3. Hopefully Inside Out will hit me the same way Toy Story 3 did on the perfect time in my life.
In my life, James Bond hasn’t been a big character among my own pop cultural landscape. For America, Agent 007 is an action star featured in a new film every couple of years without much fanfare outside of those films’ releases. In England, however, James Bond is considered a cultural icon, even being part of their 2012 Olympic ceremonies along side the Queen.
I’ve only seen a few Bond films so far: Die Another Day, Casino Royale, and the fantastic Skyfall. Unfortunately for Bond purists, my view of James Bond is the gritty, sort of older looking Daniel Craig who will reprise his role in the 24th Bond film. Skyfall really got me into Bond films with its perfect balance of classy action and interpersonal drama. If that’s what I’ve been missing, I definitely plan to watch all the classic Bond film’s I’ve been missing out on all these years. Add Christoph Waltz as the main villain and Ralph Fiennes as the character M, I think Spectre has the potential to be another classic Bond film the way Skyfall became.
Ant-Man will add to Marvel’s roster of heroes by introducing Scott Lang, a former criminal given the powers of Ant-Man by the original creator, scientist Hank Pym. Lang will be played by comedy superstar Paul Rudd, hopefully adding some Apatow-esq comedy to the already humorous Marvel Cinematic Universe. Pym, a famous scientist in Marvel’s comic book continuity and the original Ant-Man, will be played by Academy Award winning actor Michael Douglas. In the comic book story line, the Pym Particle discovered by Hank Pym is what allows himself and Lang to shrink down in size while wearing the Ant-Man suit and breathing in said Pym Particle. While the size of an ant (thus the name) they retain their normal human strength. Eventually, they gain the ability to grow large as well as small, but it is yet to be seen if Marvel has plans to add that aspect of the character to the MCU.
Unfortunately, Hank Pym, who is the father of Ultron in the comic book universe, will not be part of this summer’s Avenger’s: Age of Ultron according to writer/ director Joss Whedon. Going forward, it will be fun to see how Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang will interplay with the strong personalities of Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark and Chris Hemsworth’s Thor. Lang is unlike any other character in the MCU so far, without any real additive attribute other than he can sneak by people when he gets small. We’ll see how he fits in with the Avengers in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War films.
The Cobbler 3/13
Though Adam Sandler, in my opinion, hasn’t made a half way decent film since Funny People back in 2009, after watching the trailer for The Cobbler, I found my self really onboard with his newest comedy/ fantasy film. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched a movie fully knowing I would’t be investing myself in the plot or characters any longer than the couple hours they’re shown to me on screen, but I think I’m due for a one-off comedy like this. Getting away from Happy Madison Productions was a good move for Sandler, who I really believe is underrated as a dramatic actor, evident by his roles in Funny People, The Wedding Singer, and Reign Over Me. I’m looking forward to caring about Adam Sandler again.
Star Wars: Episode VII- The Force Awakens 12/18
This is a big one. Undoubtedly the most anticipated film of this year for people around the globe, The Force Awakens is the first Star Wars film made outside of Lucas Film’s grasp, which to many is a very good thing. Disney has taken the reigns this time and has put sci-fi veteran J.J. Abrams in charge of retuning audiences to a galaxy far far away. The plot of TFA is unknown right now, however it we know it will take place 30 years after Return of the Jedi and include original cast members Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Mark Hamill each reprising their respective iconic roles.
Based on the first teaser, TFA definitely looks like it has a touch of grit, not as shiny as the CGI-laden prequel trilogy, which is positive. With all of Disney’s money to throw on this new trilogy, I hope Abrams and company took the advice of OG Star Wars fans and used as much practical effects as possible. Since the prequel trilogy was such an atrocity, many Star Wars fans are eternally shut-off from the idea of any future Star Wars films adding to the destruction of their childhood memories, but I’m optimistic that Abrams will go back to the original look and feel of A New Hope, Empire, and Jedi to recapture the magic of Star Wars.
Jurassic World 6/12
When I was a wee little baby, Jurassic Park was the first film my family took me to go see. Of course I don’t remember it, but it’s a pretty cool first movie to go see. That being said, for as many classic movies I’m a fan of, I’ve never been a huge Jurassic Park fan. That’s not to say I don’t like the film- I like it just fine- I just don’t have the loyal connection to it that many people around the world do. With that said, I am reasonably excited to see Jurassic World. From the trailer, Chris Pratt’s character with his Indiana Jones dressings looks like a badass in the making, maybe a staple for future installments. It’ll be cool to see the fully completed Jurassic Park as it was meant to be seen by the public, though many of the dinosaurs I’m sure will be CGI, which is really a shame. The original Jurassic Park really did revolutionary work getting practical effects to look like living breathing dinosaurs, but I suppose concessions have to be made if we want newer, scarier-looking monsters.
Avengers: Age of Ultron 5/1
This film is BY FAR my most anticipated of the year. As I’ve stated a previous blog post, I love what Marvel Studio has done with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Taking so many different characters with so many different personalities and putting them on the silver screen under the umbrella of the MCU has been thrilling to see.
Avengers: Age of Ultron will be the second installment in the Marvel ensemble films and will have a wide selection of heroes to intertwine. Let’s take a second to list them all: Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Falcon, War Machine, and Nick Fury while introducing Scarlet Witch, Quick Silver, and The Vision, one of the greatest Avengers members ever in comic book continuity. They will be squaring off against the deadliest weapon Tony Stark has ever made: an AI named Ultron. From brief glimpses of Age of Ultron, this film looks like it will be the biggest game changer yet in the MCU with repercussions extending to all aspects and all characters in the world, undoubtedly playing into Civil War’s story line.
More than just awesome action sequences (the Hulk vs. Hulkbuster scene looks AMAZING), I am eager to see how director Joss Whedon pushes the relationship of these characters further, not just on the battlefield, but off it when they’re deciding what the next plan of action is and who to blame for the previous one failing. Obviously, since the next Cap film is titled Civil War, there will be some hard feelings between Earth’s Mightiest Heroes at the end of Age of Ultron. I’m almost certain it will leave us on some sort of cliff hanger setting up Phase 3.
So that’s my list of most anticipated films of 2015. I’m sure something will pop up as the year goes on and catch my eye, but for now if you think I’ve missed anything or if there’s something you’d like to suggest leave a comment below or tweet me using the sidebar. Here’s to 2015!