Even as I scramble to get in a few more 2014 releases before I close the book on this year, I’m looking forward to 2015. Next year promises to be huge for Hollywood, packed as it is with big-name sequels like Star Wars 7 and Avengers 2. But it also looks like a good time for movie lovers, not just movie studios. A lot of those tentpoles look genuinely good. And a lot of riskier ventures look like they’ll pay off. And that’s not even getting into all of the indie gems buried ahead, waiting for us to discover them at Sundance or Toronto or what have you.
Films from the last category were naturally left off my list, as I can’t get excited for a movie I haven’t heard of yet or know nothing about. But for a list of the films (big and small) that I do know about, and am eagerly looking forward to, join me after the jump.
Odds and Ends
This list is purely subjective, and definitely not predictive. I’m not saying these are going to be the best films of next year, or even the films I personally am going to like best next year. They’re just the titles I’m most anxious to see at this point in time, for whatever reason.
First, we have some odds and ends that didn’t quite make my top 10, but that I’m nevertheless dying to see.
Of course I’m curious about this one. Everyone in the known world is curious about this one. It might be a disaster, it might be an epic success, or (most likely) it’ll fall somewhere in between. Whatever the case, it’s going to be something to talk about for years to come.
Dinosaurs + Colin Trevorrow + Chris Pratt = I’m not quite sure, but I can’t wait to find out. The Safety Not Guaranteed director was an unexpected choice to helm, but also an intriguing one, and Pratt’s star seems to rise higher with every passing month. Plus, who doesn’t love dinosaurs?
Mad Max: Fury Road
I wasn’t especially interested in the idea of a Mad Max sequel when it was first announced, and as the production process got rockier I was ready to write this one off as a flop. But then: holy shit that trailer. And oh my God that other trailer. If the actual movie is half as good as its promos, we’re in for a real treat.
The Hateful Eight
It’s the new Quentin Tarantino. That’s reason enough to look forward to The Hateful Eight, but if you need more there’s also the colorful cast and the tense premise: Eight strangers who have reason to hate one another are stuck together in a snowstorm. Presumably, lots of talking and lots of bloodshed ensue.
Alex Garland has penned lots of great sci-fi screenplays for others to direct, including 28 Days Later…, Sunshine, Never Let Me Go, and Dredd. With Ex Machina, he finally gets to direct himself. The results so far look as intriguing as anything he’s written for anyone else.
The Paul Feig–Melissa McCarthy relationship is a gift that keeps on giving. <emSpy stars McCarthy as a female James Bond type and surrounds her with actors you’d think would be more likely to show up in an actual James Bond movie, like Jason Statham and Jude Law.
Anyone bemoaning the current state of the grown-up romcom should keep an eye out for Focus. Directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa know their way around a good love story, having directed Crazy, Stupid, Love. and I Love You Phillip Morris, and leads Will Smith and Margot Robbie seem to sizzle together.
Z for Zachariah
It’s thankfully difficult to imagine Craig Zobel‘s Z for Zachariah being more horrifying his last film, Compliance, but here’s hoping it’s just as smart. Future A-lister Margot Robbie plays a young woman who thinks she’s the last survivor of an apocalypse until two mysterious men (Chris Pine and Chiwetel Ejiofor) show up.
What is there to say about this one? I’m not expecting high art. I don’t anticipate Minions being one of the best films of the year. What I am expecting is 90ish minutes of cute overload. With a cast that consists of minions, minions, and more minions, it’s hard to believe Minions won’t deliver.
Still Alice, Mommy, and What We Do in the Shadows
It seems kind of unfair to include these in my most-anticipated list since all of them have debuted at film festivals already, meaning I’ve already read tons of reviews and seen all the trailers. On the other hand, it seemed equally unfair to leave them out completely, since they’re some of the most exciting titles coming up on the horizon.
Still Alice has, by all accounts, an absolutely stellar performance by Julianne Moore at its core. Mommy has broken the heart of seemingly every movie critic I’ve talked to. And What We Do in the Shadows involves the spectacular line “We’re werewolves, not swearwolves.”
And now, onto my top 10…