Awards season 2015 kicked off in style on Sunday night with the Golden Globes taking place in California USA, celebrating the best in television and film over the last year. Whilst 2014 was another great year for cinephiles, 2015 promises great things too. Highly anticipated sequels/reboots are a staple, with Avengers Age of Ultron, Jurassic World and Mad Max: Fury Road leading the way, and below we take a look at some of the most exciting releases coming a cinema near you in 2015.
The Hateful Eight
The film that nearly wasn’t, Tarantino’s ninth feature got off to a bad start when the script was leaked at the beginning of last year. Tarantino was furious and vowed to shelve the project, but then calmed down a bit and decided to do it after all. That’s Tarantino for you. Nevertheless, this western is sure to be everything viewers have come to expect from Quentin over the years, and features a cast full of Tarantino favourites including Michael Madsen, Walter Goggins and Samuel L. Jackson, as well as new faces Bruce Dern and…Channing Tatum, a new-found dramatic talent following Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher.
Neil Blomkamp (the man behind dystopian extra-terrestrial hit District 9) returns with his third directorial effort, featuring a robot called Chappie, designed to learn and feel, who is kidnapped by gangsters (played by South Africa’s premier rap duo Die Antwoord). As if that concept didn’t already sound like a winner, the presence of Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver as well as the touching trailer mean that Chappie’s March release date can’t come soon enough.
Anyone that has seen Bronson will likely be brimming with excitement at the prospect of Tom Hardy tackling another iconic British criminal on the big screen- or in this case, two of them. He will be playing both the role of Ronnie and Reggie Kray in this biopic, and what makes it even more exciting is that the director/writer is Brian Helgeland, who also wrote L.A Confidential and Mystic River.
After a relatively quiet 2014 for Pixar, this year promises two films that look brilliant, but Inside Out has received the biggest buzz so far, possibly due to its stellar cast which reads like a who’s who of the American comedy world. Fans of ‘The US Office’ and ‘Parks and Recreation’ will recognise Mindy Kaling, Phyllis Smith and Amy Poehler, providing the voices of the emotions that live inside the mind of a little girl. It sounds crazy, but if anyone can pull it off it’s Pixar.
Guillermo Del Toro returns to what he does best with this horror flick, featuring Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska, who were last seen together in Jim Jarmusch’s underrated vampire film Only Lovers Left Alive. There’s a bloodsucking theme to this period drama too, but knowing Guillermo, it will surely be utilised in a way unlike anything else we’ve seen before.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
It’s impossible not to include this film in any list of the most exciting films coming out in 2015. Since it was announced, generations of Jedi and Sith fans around the world have been following all updates keenly, and since it’s been filmed at Pinewood Studios right here in the UK, there’s another reason to be very excited. Finally comes the matter of the stellar casting, including Oscar Isaac and British talent in the form of John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and the incomparable Andy Serkis. Let’s just hope it’s as brilliant as The Empire Strikes Back and not as awful as Attack of the Clones.
Screenwriter Alex Garland is making the jump to director this year with a sci-fi film in which Domhnall Gleeson wins the chance to spend a week at his boss Oscar Isaac’s house, where he quickly becomes involved in an experiment involving a new form of artificial intelligence. Garland is the man behind the script for 28 Days Later, Sunshine, Never Let Me Go and Dredd, so by all accounts this should be an interesting film, and with the trailer promising moral dilemmas and the sort of dark gritty realism that made 28 Days Later so brilliant, Ex Machina is shaping up to be a fascinating watch.
Don Cheadle will make his directorial debut with this biopic of Miles Davis, in which he also plays the lead role. Cheadle is a fine actor, so it will be interesting to see how he fairs behind the camera, particularly when directing himself, but you can’t deny his passion; Cheadle turned to crowdfunding in order to raise the money needed to make the film. As for the subject matter, Miles Davis is regarded as one of the finest musicians of the twentieth century,a jazz innovator and social critic who led a life as rich and interesting as his music. It’s really a mystery why there hasn’t been a film made about him sooner.
Z for Zachariah
With a cast including the Wolf of Wall Street’s breakout star Margot Robbie, 12 Years a Slave’s Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Prince Charming himself Chris Pine, Z for Zachariah is based on the post-apocalyptic novel by Robert C. O’Brien, and is the third directorial effort from Craig Zobel. Robbie plays the lead, a young woman surviving in the aftermath of a nuclear war, whilst Ejiofor is the scientist looking for a way to repopulate the earth. a Zobel’s last film, Compliance, caused controversy when it premiered at Sundance but was received positively by critics, and considering that film took on the ideas of social compliance and the human psyche, audiences should expect a little more than Mad Max from this story.
A possible contender for the Oscars 2016, Suffragette tells the true story of the fight for womens’ votes in Britain. Meryl Streep stars as Emmeline Pankhurst, and this is a historic film in its own right as it’s the first to ever be filmed at the House of Commons. Streep won an Oscar for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in 2012, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if she knocks it out of the park whilst portraying another influential British woman. She’s joined by Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter in the cast, and with the writer behind Steven McQueen’s Shame having penned the script, it’s an exciting prospect for cinema-goers, not to mention well-timed as 2015 is an election year.
Knight of Cups
Four years after wowing with The Tree of Life and underwhelming with To The Wonder, Terrance Malick is finally releasing another film. Knight of Cups shot back to back with another Malick film, Project V, back in 2012/13, but both have been stuck in distribution purgatory ever since. Knight of Cups at least is finally set for a 2015 release, premiering at the Berlin Film Festival in February. The trailer is a suitably whimsical, mystical Malick affair, and both Christian Bale and Natalie Portman might just redeem themselves for Exodus: Gods and Kings and Your Highness respectively.
Brad Bird was responsible for directing Pixar’s The Incredibles and Ratatouille, but made the jump to live-action with Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol in 2011, which became the high grossing film in the Tom Cruise driven franchise as well as managing to secure praise from critics; no mean feat for a blockbuster. Tomorrowland is another Disney project, and shares its name with the series of rides found at Disney theme parks. George Clooney stars as a grizzled inventor who travels with young actress Britt Robertson to a mysterious place in space and time where their actions have incredible consequences, and though not much is given away in the trailer, it’s likely this film will be a visually-stunning family adventure at any rate.
In the Heart of the Sea
Ron Howard has an incredibly varied filmography, and tackles another new subject with this sea voyage tale, based on the events that inspired Herman Melvin’s epic novel Moby Dick. Howard reunites with his Rush star Chris Hemsworth, who will be looking very different from how audiences are used to seeing him in Thor and The Avengers as he takes on the role of a starving sailor. It will be interesting to see how Howard tackles the tricky subject of cannibalism, at any rate…
The Scottish Play becomes the Scottish film in Justin Kurzel’s adaptation, starring Michael Fassbender as the man who would be king and Marion Cotillard as his scheming wife. In fact, the cast list features a great deal of British talent, including Sean Harris as Macduff and Paddy Considine as Banquo. Surprisingly little has been released about the film so far, but hopefully Kurzel won’t shy away from the gruesome reality of Shakespeare’s original text.