Monday, March 9, 2015

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25 Films in 2015 I'm Rawther Excited About

Well, it's time for my annual OMG SO EXCITED list of films I'm excited about! This one is coming especially, unfortunately late -- I had it written up and everything, neglected to post it, and now I've had to go and replace two of the films on the original list -- Chappie and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel -- with other flicks.


That's all right. We'll make do. Incidentally, I saw Chappie and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel this weekend, and was a fan of both. Contrary to what I've been reading, I think the last act is actually what made Chappie so fascinating. As for Second Best, I must say it surpasses its own titular ranking -- not to say it's better than the first one (which was nominated, ahem, for three Hollmann Awards), but I certainly think it's equal!

So what else does 2015 have in store for us?

Honorable Mentions: Black Mass, Bridge of SpiesDope, The Founder (2016?), The Free State of Jones (2016?), Magic Mike XXLMr. Holmes, Silence (2016?), Trainwreck

25. Pan
Dir: Joe Wright
Wri: Jason Fuchs
Release: July 24
To play off of an obnoxious hashtag, #InWrightWeTrust. Yes, yes, I admit that I was part of that brigade of hand-wringers shouting "problematic" at the Rooney Mara casting, but I tell you who's got me intrigued: Hugh Jackman. What's going on there?

24. Spotlight
Dir: Thomas McCarthy
Wri: Thomas McCarthy/Joshua Singer
Inspired by the Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into the sex abuse scandals of the Catholic Church in Massachusetts. It sells itself.

23. Mad Max: Fury Road

Dir: George Miller
Wri: Brendan McCarthy/George Miller/Nick Lathouris
Release: May 15
Sometimes, it's the pitch. Sometimes it's the cast. Sometimes, it's the mind-blowing trailer. This one is the third option, though you know I love me some Charlize Theron (Hollmann Award Winner for Best Actress, Young Adult). Is it just kooky enough to work? Should I watch the first three Mad Max films?

22. Cinderella

Dir: Kenneth Branagh
Wri: Chris Weitz
Release: March 13
I quite liked Maleficent, and think Kenneth Branagh is becoming quite a solid studio hack -- Thor was great, and even if I don't remember Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, I tell you what I don't remember: hating it. But let's be real: everyone's coming just to see Cate Blanchett be bitchy in gowns.

21. Irrational Man

Dir/Wri: Woody Allen
Release: July 24
The annual Woody Allen Slot.

The top 20...after the jump

20. The Little Prince

Dir: Mark Osborne
Wri: Irena Brignull/Mark Osborne/Bob Persichetti
Big fan of the musical version from the 70s, love the story, the new spin on it seems interesting enough. And it's already bringing me to tears.

19. The Witch

Dir/Wri: Robert Eggers
Lot of buzz out of Sundance about this one, but it caught my eye before it screened. I'm a fan of witches in cinema (hello, The Lords of Salem), especially when we are left to wonder if it's small-town hysteria or genuine phenomena. I mean, that's what appears to be happening, anyway. Who knows?

18. Macbeth

Dir: Justin Kurzel
Wri: Jacob Koskoff/Michael Lesslie/Todd Louiso
It's been four years since director Justin Kurzel's previous film, The Snowtown Murders, which was legitimately terrifying and uncomfortable to watch -- he didn't shy away from the violence, but it never felt exploitative or cheap; just sickening. Can he bring that same sense of sick and dread to the Scottish Play? Probably. He's great at atmosphere, and he's secured himself quite the leading duo in Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard.

17. Suffragette

Dir: Sarah Gavron
Wri: Abi Morgan
A large female ensemble made up of Romola Garai, Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham-Carter, and (gasp) MERYL?!?

16. Far from the Madding Crowd

Dir: Thomas Vinterberg
Wri: David Nicholls
Release: May 1
A sucker for costume dramas am I, a loud and proud fan of Howards End, The Go-Between, and A Room with a View. I heard something about some damsel coming back to town and three men vying for her affections and yada-yada-yada. Really, I don't care what it's all about, all I know is: ENGLISH COSTUME DRAMA! MATTHIAS SCHOENAERTS AND TOM STURRIDGE! THE COUNTRYSIDE!

15. Saint Laurent

Dir: Bertand Bonello
Wri: Thomas Bidegain/Bertrand Bonello
I've heard good things about it, and I'm all for sexy times, fancy clothes, and foine French accents. Besides, I've been quietly rooting for Gaspard Ulliel since Hannibal Rising.

14. The Intern

Dir/Wri: Nancy Meyers
Release: September 25
Nancy Meyers needed time to recover from working with Meryl. I get it, I understand. But now vacation's over, and Momma is back in business, this time with Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway along for the ride.

13. Grandma

Dir/Wri: Paul Weitz
Lily Tomlin is one of the most under appreciated stars of her generation. We all love her, she's funny, but she still comes off as not beloved enough (maybe I'm just reacting to the time she came into my old workplace and the cashier who got to serve her asked why I was gawking at "that old lady"). Grandma debuted at Sundance to some acclaim, a dramedy that apparently gives her something to sink her teeth into. Doesn't she deserve her own vehicle?

12. Everest

Dir: Baltasar Kormakur
Wri: Simon Beaufoy/Justin Isbell/Mark Medoff/William Nicholson
Release: September 18
I was into it enough when I thought it was just a disaster movie -- but now I understand this is a non-fiction-based account, covering the same storm Jon Krakauer encountered in Into Thin Air, and which was documented by the IMAX film Everest (which I saw on Father's Day with my family, back in 1998). All right. Cool (heh-heh). Krakauer is played here by House of Cards' Michael Kelly, but stars include: Keira Knightley, Jake Gyllenhaal, Robin Wright, Josh Brolin, Sam Worthington, Emily Watson, Elizabeth Debicki, Jason Clarke, John Hawkes...JEsus!

11. Snowden

Dir: Oliver Stone
Wri: Kieran Fitzgerald/Oliver Stone
Release: Christmas Day
Between this and The Walk, it seems Joseph Gordon-Levitt is gunning for a nomination. This, of course, covers the same ground as Citizenfour, and even features that film's Oscar-winning director, Laura Poitras, as a character -- played by MELISSA LEO! But of course, I'm here for the man at the helm: Oliver Stone, a man who's yet to make a movie I didn't like (we can hardly qualify Alexander as a movie, yes?).

And my Top Ten Most Anticipated Flicks...

10. Straight Outta Compton

Dir: F. Gary Gray
Wri: Andrea Berloff/Jonathan Herman/S. Leigh Savidge/Alan Wenkus
Release: August 14
I've been following this thing since it was first announced. Oh my God, that trailer! Could it be that it really is everything I want it to be?

9. The Hateful Eight

Dir/Wri: Quentin Tarantino
Release: November 13
Boy, that story about Tarantino not wanting to do it lasted all of three seconds, huh? I'm glad he's decided otherwise -- Django Unchained was probably my favorite film he's done, and he's once again assembled an exciting ensemble -- Kurt Russell!

8. Freeheld

Dir: Peter Sollett
Wri: Ron Nyswaner
Finally, the long-awaited civil rights drama about a dying woman who wants her benefits to go to her same-sex partner, and the legal battle that ensued. The film, by the way, is based on a true story; a 2007 film of the same name won the Academy Award for Best Documentary, Short Subject.

7. In the Heart of the Sea

Dir: Ron Howard
Wri: Charles Leavitt/Rick Jaffa/Amanda Silver
Release: December 11
After All is Lost, I did my 1953 retrospective, where I fell in love with All the Brothers were Valiant and Beneath the 12-Mile Reef. What I'm saying is, boating movies. And also: painterly boating movies.

6. Crimson Peak

Dir: Guillermo del Toro
Wri: Guillermo del Toro/Matthew Robbins
Release: October 16
Looks like Guillermo del Toro is offering AIP-style chills. All the elements are there: new bride, haunted house, mysterious family. Vincent Price smiles from above.

5. Truth
Dir/Wri: James Vanderbilt
Yes, give me behind-the-scenes journalism stories. Get political. Have Cate Blanchett defending the honor of America's most trusted newsman, Robert Redford. Say it again: Robert Redford! As Dan Rather!

4. Carol

Dir: Todd Haynes
Wri: Phyllis Nagy
Todd Haynes directs Cate Blanchett (her third appearance on this list) in a 1950s lesbian drama.


Dir: Sam Mendes
Wri: John Logan/Neal Purvis/Robert Wade
Release: November 6
Finally! We've waited long enough for the follow-up to Skyfall, and what could be promising than SPECTRE? I trust we will see the reappearance of a certain Persian cat, if not yet its owner. I know many assume Christoph Waltz will be Blofeld, but I'm hoping Waltz is more of an Emilio Largo type, while we wait for the man himself to make an appearance. Monica Bellucci!

2. Ricki and the Flash

Dir: Jonathan Demme
Wri: Diablo Cody
Release: August 7
Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme and Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody team up with Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep, in the story of a lady rocker making amends with her family. Meryl Streep is playing a lady rocker, people!

1. Jem and the Holograms

Dir: Jon M. Chu
Wri: Ryan Landels
Release: October 23
Speaking of lady rockers... Look, I don't know if it'll be good or not, but I own the entire animated series on DVD, I love that the team behind the film seems genuinely excited about it, Molly Ringwald and Juliette Lewis are in it -- here it sits. At the top. Genuine excitement. And after all -- Jem is excitement.

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