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My Most Anticipated Films of 2015: Mark I

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Given that I’m already making some sizable changes to the schedule (which I’ll discuss in more detail when the time comes), I considered cancelling this article as well, but I realized it could serve to supplement the “Overture” which I posted just before Christmas, while anticipating a more detailed list which will come…let’s say, after Cannes.

There’s still plenty to work with, including some rather inexcusable absences from the first list, along with some of the more intriguing entries at this year’s Sundance and Berlin festivals. Let’s get to it.

First, a recap of the 25 films I cited in the Overture:

  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Knight of Cups (which opens at Berlin, I believe)
  • A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Love (if it comes out this year)
  • The Postman’s White Nights
  • The Look of Silence
  • The Revenant (this is being filmed on location in Canada, in the dead of winter, and in sequence…fuck yeah)
  • Gangs of Wasseypur (I’ll see it somehow, but probably not in theaters)
  • In the Heart of the Sea (got pushed to December; I’m thinking that’s a good sign)
  • Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter 
  • Inside Out
  • Crimson Peak
  • Spectre
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • The Good Dinosaur
  • Chappie (God, this looks weird)
  • Tomorrowland
  • Z for Zachariah (this is at Sundance)
  • The Martian (please don’t suck)
  • The Peanuts Movie
  • St. James Place (which is apparently not going to be the title
  • Trainwreck
  • Child 44 (ehhhhhhh…)
  • The Lobster
Maybe this'll finally get him his Oscar? (Just kidding, of course it won't, nothing ever will) (Source)

Maybe this’ll finally get him his Oscar? (Just kidding, of course it won’t, nothing ever will) (Source)

Now, for the Sundance films I want to see (full competition list at IndieWire):

  • Advantageous (sci-fi; could be good)
  • Bob and the Trees (sounds really fucking strange; let’s see if it’s good)
  • Brooklyn (cross-cultural romance set in 50s NYC; good cast)
  • Christmas, Again (about a tree-lot attendant going through hell and maybe getting out of it; I generally like this kind of film)
  • Cloro (looks depressing as fuck, but well-directed)
  • Cronies (the synopsis includes the line “But Louis’s first adorable attempts at grown-folk business are increasingly at odds with Jack’s ceaseless quest for new fucks not to give.” I’m sold; it also might be shot in B&W)
  • The D Train (comedy; good cast; will wait for reviews)
  • Dope (looks like it could be fun)
  • Eden (about French electronica in the 90s, co-starring Greta Gerwig; looks great)
  • The End of the Tour (about David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel) and a journalist interviewing him (Jesse Eisenberg); bring it on)
  • Entertainment (weird comedy; great cast, including Gregg Turkington, better known as Neil Hamburger, one of my favorite stand-ups; this is a must-see)
  • Experimenter (about the Milgram experiments; has a great cast)
  • The Forbidden Room (Guy Maddin’s new film; always worth looking into)
  • Girlhood (French film about black teenage girls coming of age; is apparently excellent)
  • Grandma (road-trip comedy-drama headlined by Lily Tomlin)
  • H. (semi-surreal drama; I’ll see if the reviews are good)
  • I Am Michael (true story about a gay-rights advocate who renounced his past and became a pastor, starring James Franco and Zachary Quinto)
  • Ivy (Turkish drama about merchant sailors stuck in bureaucratic limbo; I’m game)
  • James White (about a man dealing with his mother’s battle with cancer; hits close to home for me, and is apparently quite good)
  • Last Days in the Desert (a drama about Jesus in the desert; he’s played by Ewan McGregor, which is both promising and exasperating)
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (sounds a bit like an indie The Fault in Our Stars)
  • Mississippi Grind (Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn in a film about poker; could be a nice little character piece)
  • Mistress America (Noah Baumbach and Greta Grewig; ’nuff said)
  • 99 Homes (Ramin Bahrani’s new film; is apparently excellent)
  • People, Places, Things (involves a graphic novelist having a breakdown; could be visually compelling)
  • Princess (Israeli coming-of-age drama; sounds more intriguing than most)
  • Results (from the guy who did Computer Chess, which I loved; has a great cast)
  • The Royal Road (tackles gender issues which films rarely do; the one review I saw was positive)
  • Seoul Searching (just for the outrageous pun-title; also an 80s period piece)
  • Slow West (Western starring Michael Fassbender; completely on board)
  • Songs My Brother Taught Me (drama set on a Native American reservation)
  • The Stanford Prison Experiment (great cast and premise)
  • Station to Station (a collection of 61 minute-long shorts, which has something to do with an “art train”; looks fascinating)
  • Stockholm, Pennsylvania (kidnapping drama with Saoirse Ronan; sounds like it could be grueling)
  • Strangerland (Australian suspense drama; my track record with Down Under cinema has been excellent)
  • Take Me to the River (another coming-of-age piece, with suspense elements, it looks like; we’ll see how it is)
  • Ten Thousand Saints (another, set in 80s NYC and starring Asa Butterfield and Ethan Hawke; I’m curious)
  • Things of the Aimless Wanderer (some kind of experimental feminist film; hard to describe, but sounds fascinating)
  • The Tribe (Ukrainian film, entirely in sign language, set in a school for the deaf; sounds absolutely fascinating)
  • True Story (James Franco and Jonah Hill in a drama; sounds interesting)
  • Turbo Kid (sounds a little like Mad Max for kids)
  • Umrika (Hindi drama co-starring Tony Revolori (Zero in The Grand Budapest Hotel); I’ll keep an eye out for it)
  • A Walk in the Woods (Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, and that’s just the start of the cast; enough said)
  • The Witch (horror film set in 1630s New England; is apparently excellent)
  • Zipper (a legal/sex thriller with Patrick Wilson, Lena Headey, and Richard Dreyfuss; hope it’s worthwhile)

And now for what’s coming to Berlin (I’ll expand this once the festival reviews are in):

  • Diary of a Chambermaid (not sure we need another film of this material, but I like Léa Seydoux)
  • Dora or the Sexual Neuroses of Our Parents (for the title)
  • Eisenstein in Guanajuato (Greenaway is cool and I love Eisenstein; please be good)
  • Every Thing Will Be Fine (new Wim Wenders, 3D, with James Franco – busy much, dude? – Rachel McAdams, and Charlotte Gainsbourg)
  • Gone With the Bullets (set in 20s Shanghai “surrounding a beauty pageant”; will investigate further)
  • Life (R. Pats is a photographer for Life in the 50s; Dane DeHaan is James Dean; I’m curious)
  • Mr. Holmes (Ian McKellen as Sherlock Holmes; need I say more?)
  • Nobody Wants the Night (set in 1908 Greenland, starring Rinko Kikuchi, Juliette Binoche, and Gabriel Byrne; I’m always down for a non-standard period piece)
  • Queen of the Desert (Werner Herzog; about Gertrude Bell, the early 20th-century adventuress; stars Nicole Kidman, with Robert Pattinson as T.E. Lawrence; Herzog is always a must)
  • Under Electric Clouds (Russian science-fiction; sounds ambitious enough)

And now for other films of the year which have caught my eye (some of which have already come out):

  • Ex Machina
  • Predestination
  • The Search for General Tso
  • Black Sea
  • The Duke of Burgundy
  • Jupiter Ascending (please, please don’t suck)
  • The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (God help me)
  • The Voices
  • ’71 (obviously)
  • What We Do in the Shadows
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service
  • The Salvation (maybe)
  • Buzzard
  • Bluebird
  • Fifty Shades of Grey (LOL)
  • Focus
  • Little Boy (here’s the trailer:)
  • Unfinished Business (maybe?)
  • The Gunman (looked surprisingly decent)
  • The Moon and the Sun
  • The Age of Adaline (out of morbid curiosity)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Spy
  • Pitch Perfect 2 (assuming I ever get around to seeing the first one)
  • Love & Mercy
  • Paper Towns (got the book for my birthday)
  • Jurassic World (fuck yeah)
  • Magic Mike XXL (give the first film a chance if you haven’t, it’s actually really good)
  • Pan (eh…)
  • Pixels (dubious)
  • Selfless (it’s Tarsem, so it’ll at least look good)
  • Southpaw (always down for Gyllenhaal)
  • Ricki and the Flash (Meryl Streep as a rock star)
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
  • Straight Outta Compton (I really want this to be great)
  • Max
  • Regression (good director and cast)
  • Jane Got a Gun (oh boy)
  • Triple Nine
  • Everest
  • Black Mass 
  • Victor Frankenstein
  • The Walk (this could be Oscar material)
  • The Finest Hours
  • Rock the Kasbah
  • Jem and the Holograms
  • Midnight Special (this ought to be incredible)
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (I suppose I’ll have to)
  • Sisters
  • Joy (my nemesis David O. Russell is back)

Far from a complete list, but that’s an even 50. That gives me a good basis for what this year has to offer. I hope it helps you as well.

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6 thoughts on “My Most Anticipated Films of 2015: Mark I

  1. Dude, they’re going to actively have to try to make The Martian suck, it’s based off one of the best hard science fiction novels I’ve ever read. It would be an absolute shoe-in for the Hugo this year, but unfortunately for it, was self published in 2013 before being published through conventional channels in 2014. I don’t think the author, Andy Weir, minds too much, though. Sales of The Martian were insane even before the movie was announced.

    • Damn. Maybe I should read it–though I’m thinking I should see the movie first. I have hopes for the film because SF is Scott’s wheelhouse, but his recent track record does concern me (though my issues with Prometheus were with the writing, not the directing).

      • I generally prefer reading the book before the movie, but then I’m a book man first and foremost. As long as they keep the script close to the book, it’ll be fine. The interesting thing, though, as far as scripting goes, is that all of the scenes following the protagonist stranded on Mars are written as journal entries, while the scenes on Earth and the spaceship where the rest of the crew are (they think he’s dead and all that) are more often in the form of conventional scenes. My hope is that they maintain that format, with the protagonist narrating those entries as they play out on screen.

      • Well, the screenwriter did Cabin in the Woods, which was awesome, and World War Z, which wasn’t, but that seems to have been the product of studio meddling more than anything else. So I’m cautiously optimistic–and what a cast! The cast alone would give me hope.

      • Oh, I’m seeing it opening night, regardless.

      • Likewise, I’ll be there, if not opening night, then the following day.

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