Russ Fischer’s Most Anticipated Movies of 2015

Richard Linklater's 'That's What I'm Talking About
05. That’s What I’m Talking About
dir. Richard Linklater, stars Wyatt Russell, Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell

Linklater has grown from a filmmaker I like and respect to being one whose work is essential viewing. He is a canny way with story, and understands how to work with actors of all disciplines. This movie has been called a “spiritual sequel” to Dazed & Confused, which is probably a way to set really unrealistic expectations. I’ll just watch the story for what it is: another effort from Linklater.

spielberg-hanks

04. Untitled Steven Spielberg Cold War Thriller
dir. Steven Spielberg, stars Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan, Alan Alda

Spielberg goes back to the political thriller, with a script by Joel and Ethan Coen and that cast listed above. That’s all I need to know.  The film is “the true story of James Donovan, an attorney who finds himself thrust into the center of the Cold War when the CIA sends him on the near-impossible mission to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot.” The last two times Spielberg did real-world politics we got Lincoln and Munich, his two best films of the past ten years.

Hateful Eight shoot date

03. The Hateful Eight
dir. Quentin Tarantino, stars Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, Bruce Dern, Demian Bichir

The Quentin Tarantino film that almost wasn’t represents a collection of odd extremes. It’s essentially a closed-room drama shot on the 65mm large-film format, which is often considered to be a means to capture the grandeur of locations, rather than of actors. That’s perhaps the most formal statement Tarantino has yet made of the actor as the primary attractions of a film. (Though the point could also be made that the director considers his own scripts to be the primary draw, and there’s something to be said for that, too.) Regardless, The Hateful Eight sounds like a distillation of all the things Tarantino does well: great actors in a room with a verbose script, playing people who all want to destroy one another.

Patrick Stewart Skinhead
02. Green Room
dir. Jeremy Saulnier, stars Patrick Stewart,  Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Callum Turner, Mark Webber, Kai Lennox, Eric Edelstein, Macon Blair

The director of Blue Ruin returns with a film that casts Patrick Stewart as leader of a racist skinhead gang that corners a small-time punk band in a club after they witness some of the gang’s violence — and these skins don’t leave witnesses. Blue Ruin was great, and the story of this film is perfect. It couldn’t be more tailored for me. I’m excited to see what Saulnier does with it, and hope he’s got a bit of money left over for a great soundtrack.

Mad Max: Fury Road poster header
01. Mad Max: Fury Road
dir. George Miller, stars Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult

There’s a possibility I’ll get burned on this one, but the footage we’ve seen so far from Mad Max left my jaw on the floor. I can’t remember the last time a first look at a studio action movie left me so gobsmacked. Those who saw the early test screenings of Fury Road this year called it a 90-minute chase film, and it has been described as a picture with very little dialogue, and it’s possible that from a character angle Fury Road will be pretty light. But if it is as impressive throughout as that footage was, I don’t even care.

***

In retrospect I realize that I totally forgot about Ben Wheatley’s adaptation of the book High Rise, which would have easily made my top ten had I remembered to consider it.

[For additional looks forward to movies in 2015, see our additional staff lists from Peter ScirettaGermain Lussier, and Angie Han.]

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