Yeah – I must be a masochist. But having had so much fun last week putting together my top ten of 2014, I thought I’d raise the stakes and try and predict some insanely cool films I need to see in 2015.
Then, I made a discovery.
You know what’s a harder list to do than the top 10 of the year list? It’s the top ten films I’m looking forward to the most list.
It’s a risky business because, damn, these COULD conceivably suck, but I don’t think so personally. They’re a crazy mix of tried and trusted and plots that have piqued my curiosity. This isn’t an exhaustive list of everything great coming to screens in 2015, it isn’t anywhere near to being a list of everything I WANT to see in 2015. It’s a personal list of those movies that guarantee my ass on a seat on opening day, or as near to that day as is humanly possible. This is just the most looked forward to absolute tip of the iceberg list and doesn’t take into account the incredible films that tend to come out of left field.
Please note that the release dates I have here are UK release dates only.
So let’s kick off…..
10) In The Heart Of The Sea – you can’t go wrong with a cinematic whale movie, and with director Ron Howard at the helm, this one promises to be spectacular. Based on a true story that I gather was the basis of the classic Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Imagine being on board a whaling ship in 1820, the tables are turned, the whale is pissed off and preying on its hunters – who are thousands of miles away from home. My first really major scare at the cinema was whale related. I must have been six or seven, seeing Disney’s Pinocchio in the old Palladium cinema (now sadly long closed) and those scenes with Monstro the whale terrified me – the damn thing filled the whole screen and there was nowhere else to look. About a year later, I saw the John Huston version of Moby Dick on TV again, the scenes where it’s a showdown between Gregory Peck’s Captain Ahab and the great white whale had me staring in terrified fascination. Release date March 13. (Breaking news - this release has now been pushed back to December 2015.)
In the meantime – look at the poster – I love it!!!
9) Fast & Furious 7 – What happened here? This was just a series of chase movies, which initially stole the plot from Point Break. How did they get so damn cool and unmissable? I thought it was just the addition of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnston – but no, it runs deeper than that. It wasn’t until I watched them in sequence on DVD that I realised how well the story arc is crafted in a non-linear way.
The first three run together, then the next three are flashbacks, building up to the death of Han and we’re carrying on from there – but with Jason Statham and Kurt Russell joining the regular cast. I’m hoping it’ll be a fitting tribute to Paul Walker. Expect this one in May.
8) Terminator: Genesys – Arnold Schwarzenegger back as the unstoppable killing machine that made him an A-lister. He always said he’d be back. Now he is.
No more need be said.
To paraphrase a line from Jerry Maguire - they had me at “Schwarzenegger in a Terminator movie”. Released July 3
7) The Man from U.N.C.L.E. - This could just as easily be a total train wreck as it could a huge success. That’s the thing with adapting TV series for the big screen. For every Star Trek, there’s an Avengers (And by that, I mean John Steen and Emma Peel, not Captain America, Iron Man and the rest of the gang.) Even Mission: Impossible got off to a shaky start with me by having Jim Phelps be a double agent. (Though since, the M:I series have grown to be unmissable in my opinion and it’s only my self-enforced rule of keeping this to a list of ten that keeps M:I 5 from being on it.)
So, who else remembers Man from U.N.C.L.E.? Robert Vaughn and David McCallum as the two super agents who saved the world on a weekly basis from the evil schemes of THRUSH in the mid-sixties? Yeah, I remember it well – it and Bond triggered a lifelong love of spy movies. This is, as I gather, a kind of origin story set in the sixties. Napoleon Solo is played by Man of Steel’s Superman Henry Cavell, with Illya Kuriakyn played by ex Lone Ranger Armie Hammer.
I expect an outlandish plot, people talking in to their pens, the original Jerry Goldsmith score and a huge nostalgia rush. Do NOT disappoint me! (Meh, if they do, I have the original series on DVD anyway.) Released August 14.
6) SPECTRE – Yeah, I had a double oh of my own. Oh how I hated the notion of Daniel Craig as Bond, following Pierce Brosnan. Oh, how I loathed the idea of a realistic reboot.
On first viewing, Casino Royale left me cold. I warmed a little bit to Quantum of Solace, but not too much. Skyfall sold me entirely! From the moment I saw the segment of the trailer with Bond effortlessly jumping into a railway carriage then adjusting his cuffs – MY version of Bond, the super cool, invulnerable secret agent – was back. Skyfall showed me that Casino Royale and Quantum were but two parts of a three part story arc that brought Bond straight back to where he was at the beginning of Dr No.
It was a better payoff than I ever thought possible. I can now say Craig IS Bond.
And I can’t wait to see what happens when he tangles with SPECTRE. Released October 23.
5) Inside Out – Yes, 2015 will be the year we get TWO films from Pixar, one is The Good Dinosaur and the other is Inside Out. From the trailer, this looks to be Pixar returning to their creative best with a wholly original film told from the perspective of the personifications of the emotions of a young girl.
Nobody manipulates audience emotions like Pixar – the first ten minutes of Up demonstrated that.
Released July 24
4) Jurassic World – It’s about damn time we went back to visit the site of the world’s most ill advised theme park. Spielberg is not credited as director, but we can safely assume that this will be as much of his film as it will be Colin Trevorrow’s. Spielberg has been a constant presence on set, much as he was with Poltergeist. Spielberg is my favourite director, but enough of the Lincolns – let’s get back to what brought you to the party. Let that T-Rex loose and enjoy the havoc.
Released June 12.
And now – the top three.
3) Ant-Man – In the world of Marvel Comics, there’s nobody with quite the astounding number of personal issues as Henry Pym, who originally figured out a formula to miniaturise himself and communicate with ants then went to fight crime. Forget the laws of physics, even in his shrunken state, if he punched you, it was with the same force as if he were full sized.
Then, he reversed the effect and became Giant Man, then he changed his name and costume and became Goliath, then Yellowjacket….anyhow, he’s a quirky superhero. I enjoyed reading a collected edition of the comic books a couple of years ago (In Marvel lore, he was a founder member of The Avengers, so we’ll see if this ties in with Age of Ultron. I reckon it has to). His method of getting to the scene of a crime was to miniaturise himself, shoot himself out of his lab window with a miniature cannon and use his special helmet which was tuned to the frequency of ants to summon one that he could land on and ride to wherever he’s needed. Who doesn’t want to see that level of goofiness this summer? I’m there opening day for sure.
Released July 17.
2) Avengers: Age of Ultron – In any other year, this would be in the number one spot without a doubt. Look at what we know so far – Ultron, a rogue invention of Tony Stark’s replicates itself to take over the world. We’ve seen that Robert Downey Jnr’s back, we’ve seen that the Hulk will face off against Iron Man’s Hulkbuster armour. This could well be the mighty Avengers’ darkest hour. The events of this film will lead into Captain America: Civil War, which will tear Marvel’s universe apart if it follows the stunning story arc of the comics, and will probably leave Thor to face the Ragnarok storyline showing the fall of Asgard in his next film .
New characters in Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch, a possible build-up to the event in Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD on TV (God knows they need something to bolster interest and audience buy-in on that show) – meanwhile Thanos (last seen in Guardians of the Galaxy) is still plotting, scheming and manipulating.
Any way you look at it, Age of Ultron will be an epic gateway to an even more epic eventual conclusion.
Released April 24.
And as I say, any other year – undoubtedly the most anticipated film……except…. there's the small matter of......
1) Star Wars Episode VII - The Force Awakens
There is no franchise EVER that can ever beat the allure of a new Star Wars film! A year with a new Star Wars film is always a better year, merely because there’s a new Star Wars film.
The original cast, back together after over 30 years. I remember the rumours back then that the cast were under some kind of contract to come back in several decades to reprise their roles and here we are, Hamill, Ford, Fisher – back in action. On a personal note, it’s stunning to realise that the original Star Wars was released just as I had left school and was starting out in the day job. During some turbulent times in the middle, Star Wars returned and saw me through some dark days. Now I’m approaching the end of the road on the day job, to turn my attention more to writing – Star Wars is back to see me out.
Plot details are sketchy to say the least but my preferred rumour is that Luke Skywalker is missing and is being looked for by Han Solo in an Apocalypse Now sort of plot as Skywalker has kind of gone Brando. Is this right? Hell, I don’t know. If it is – cool. If it isn’t then I’m still there on opening day, watching this film as many times as I can on opening day. The trailer showed me X-Wings, TIE Fighters, an awesome Sith broadsword AND the aerial acrobatics from the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy.
See you in the multiplex on December 18.
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