Two image-filled lists in a row? Have I sold my soul to the vapid, clickbaity world of modern listicle writing? Mercifully no. Even worse, this is my first two part article. Why? Well, if narrowed it down to a friendly ten, it’d just be the massive billion dollar franchises getting a look-in and are the ones already being talked about incessantly. Anyway, this is not a thing I usually do, but I’m responding to a request on Facebook (Hi Dave!) to write about the films that I’m anticipating in 2015. I’m looking forward to all of these in different ways, but the thing I’m really looking forward to is a film I know nothing about at the moment and get blindsided by when I sit down to watch it. Obviously being hyped for something and then it turning out to be good is great, but there’s something incredibly special about being sucker punched by the unexpected and exciting. I realise that by saying this, I’m kinda invalidating this list I worked pretty hard on, so let’s move swiftly on. So, in UK release order, here are the films you can expect this “disingenuous prick” (actual reader feedback) to have “one of my sodding opinions” (probable reader thoughts) on later this year.
Big Hero 6 – 30th January
Big Hero 6 has been out for ages in the United States, but we finally get it at the end of the month. I’ve been excited about it for a long time and the wait has been tortuous. Basically, it’s a more traditional Disney take on a Marvel Comics property. The film’s about a boy named Hiro (voiced by Ryan Potter) and his inflatable medical bot Baymax (Scott Adsit) who team up with his techie friends to form a team of superheroes. Disney have been on a roll lately with Wreck-It Ralph and the inescapable Frozen and I’m hoping that co-writer Daniel Gerson brings the same level of quality to the film as he did with Monsters Inc. The near unanimous praise the film has garnered would suggest that Disney have knocked it out of the park again. I’ve only seen a few trailers, but I can already tell I’m going to love Baymax and that he’ll steal the show.
Inherent Vice – 30th January
Out on the same day is Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest, Inherent Vice. Based on the Thomas Pynchon novel, the film is set in the ’70s and follows pothead P.I. Larry “Doc” Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) as he investigates the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend. Critical reaction to this one has been mixed, but the reason I’m looking forward to it is because of PTA. At the very least his films are interesting and the cast is made up of some legitimately great actors. It looks to be a bit of a strange mix of genres, but if anyone can make it work it’s PTA. Joaquin Phoenix is a fascinating actor too, both on and off screen. I’m hoping for a bit of an unconventional experience that has the potential to become a new cult favourite of mine. Fingers crossed.
Jupiter Ascending – 6th February
Whilst the trailers for Jupiter Ascending haven’t been great, I have absolute faith in the Wachowskis. Sure, the Matrix sequels weren’t as great as they should have been, but their Post Neo work has been fantastic. When they can give me stuff like V for Vendetta, Speed Racer and Cloud Atlas, they’ve earned a ticket sale to all future projects. Mila Kunis plays Jupiter Jones, a woman who unsurprisingly dreams of something bigger than her current job cleaning toilets. It’s only when genetically engineered ex soldier Caine (Channing Tatum) tracks her down that she learns that she may space royalty and in charge of the balance of the entire cosmos. No pressure then. I’m hoping it’s the slightly hokey but visually stunning space opera it seems to be. I imagine it’s the sort of film that needs to be seen on the biggest screen possible, which is great for me as it’s an excuse to visit the IMAX. Pretty stoked.
Fifty Shades of Grey – 13th February
Yes, really. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s almost certainly going to be terrible considering the source material. However, this film is going to make waves when it hits and it’s probably going to be one of the most talked about films of the year. It’s kind of an event picture. If you didn’t know by osmosis alone, Fifty Shades of Grey is about Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), a student, who encounters a brooding, handsome billionaire named Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). Grey opens Anastasia’s eyes to all sorts of things, with a special focus on the world of BDSM. Cue mugging and flogging. I’ve not read the book, but have read select passages and I was genuinely shocked at how poorly it was written. I guess that’s what you get from something that started its life as Twilight fanfiction. I kinda want to see if it’s just as much of a car crash on screen. I might skip going to see it in cinemas though, can’t be publicly photographed leaving this sort of this sort of filth- got my political career to think of.
Chappie – 6th March
So Chappie is the next Neill Blomkamp film after District 9 and Elysium. I’m a big fan of the guy. Chappie looks like my cup of weird tea. It seems to be a mix between Robocop and Short Circuit, which is something I didn’t even know I wanted until just now. It stars Hugh Jackman, Dev Patel and Sigourney Weaver with voice and motion capture for Chappie done by my main man Sharlto Copley. Basic story is that Chappie, a robot capable of learning and feeling, is kidnapped by gangsters and raised in a dysfunctional way and used for their “nefarious gains”, whatever the hell that means. I don’t know what the hell to expect from this one. The first trailer seemed like it was a fairly family friendly affair, but the latest one seems to indicate the film is firmly in Blomkamp’s wheelhouse with promises of gritty violence. Despite not quite knowing what I’m in store for, I’m excited. Plus, I am rather charmed by Chappie himself, I must admit.
In the Heart of the Sea – 13th March
I like Ron Howard. He’s done some crap in the past, but his recent output has been great. I loved Rush and I hope him re-teaming with Chris Hemsworth produces a similar quality film. Based on a book about real events, In the Heart of the Sea focuses on the 1820 sinking of the whaling ship Essex by a massive and pissed off bull whale. leaving the crew shipwrecked. I really like the sound of this one and I think the spectacle alone is worth seeing. I’m a big fan of Hemsworth and Cillian Murphy and I can imagine that they’ll bring the skills needed to sell what seems to be a prolonged oceanic disaster film. Sign me up.
John Wick – 10th April
Again, this one has been out in America for ages and the positive word of mouth has me desperate to see it. Story is that John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is a retired hitman seeking vengeance over someone killing his dog. What’s not to love about that? I like Keanu and this seems like a real return to form after recently starring in shit that nobody saw like 47 Ronin. After being spoiled by The Raid 2 last year, I’m hoping for a slice of unusual action from this one as it cites many anime and martial arts films as influences.
Avengers: Age of Ultron – 24th April
It’s the sequel to The Avengers. Of course I’m excited. Marvel are on a great run of quality right now and I can’t see that failing to extent to their tentpole team-up film which has the potential to make more than the billion dollar first did. From the trailers, it looks like we’re heading into darker territory with rifts between the various Avengers appearing and a few shots of a clearly not well Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo). Simple premise is that Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) creates Ultron, a robot peacekeeper with self-awareness and learning capabilities (2015 is looking to be a banner year for self-aware robots). Things go awry when Ultron (voiced by James Spader) decides that humanity needs to eradicated. The trailer has me stoked. The returning cast look great. The new additions of Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Vision look awesome. The trailer’s promise of a showdown between The Hulk and Iron Man in his Hulkbuster suit has me incredibly hyped. Bring it on.
Mad Max: Fury Road – 15th May
God. I hope it’s half as fun as the trailer.
Anyway, that’s part one done. Part two later this week.