With the 2014-2015 Awards Season officially over, it is now time to look forward to the near future.
MUCH has been written about 2015 in film. Various outlets have predicted it to be the greatest and most profitable year in recent history. This optimism is largely attributed to the sheer number of familiar and prestigious blockbuster franchises making their return. All this attention has led some observers to argue, even as far back as 2012, that 2014 in film is “criminally underrated” as compared to the “overblown” 2015.
In this 2-part article, I compile my most anticipated films of 2015. Unfortunately, this list is not “complete” because not all films coming out this year have been announced yet. These unannounced films include the entries for prestigious festivals such as the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and the Filipino films of 2015, especially the independent scene. I have also purposefully excluded films from the Walt Disney Corporation and its famous subsidiaries as they warrant a separate article.
This list is arranged chronologically based on world premiere and US release dates:
1. KNIGHT OF CUPS
Enigmatic filmmaker Terrence Malick returns this year with Knight of Cups. It premiered at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival last month. The film features a massive ensemble cast (assuming they survive the editing room) and breathtaking cinematography.
Premise: A screenwriter living in Los Angeles tries to make sense of the strange events occurring around him.
Featuring: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Brian Dennehy, Antonio Banderas, Freida Pinto, Wes Bentley, Isabel Lucas, Teresa Palmer, Imogen Poots, Jason Clarke, Joe Manganiello, Joel Kinnaman, Nick Offerman, Thomas Lennon, Shea Whigham, Ben Kingsley, etc.
Release date: None so far.
Another returning director this year is Neill Blomkamp. The South African filmmaker is known for his distinct visual sci-fi designs and sociopolitical commentary. Since lightning failed to strike twice with Elysium in 2013, can Blomkamp go back into the public’s good graces with Chappie?
Premise: Chappie, an experimental robot built and designed to learn and feel, must fight back against forces planning to take him down.
Featuring: Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, etc.
Release date: March 5 (PH), March 6 (US)
3. FURIOUS 7
James Wan takes over the popular Universal Pictures franchise from previous director Justin Lin. The film will probably serve as the climax of the spring film season and opening salvo of summer. Will Wan’s acclaim from The Conjuring carry over?
Premise: Ian Shaw is after Dom and his crew, seeking revenge for his brother’s death and putting the entire crew in danger once more. After learning of Han’s death, the crew sets out to find the man who killed one of their own, before he finds them first.
Featuring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson,
Ludacris, Lucas Black, Jason Statham, Elsa Pataky, Kurt Russell, Tony Jaa, Ronda Rousey, Djimon Hounsou.
Release date: April 4 (PH), April 3 (US).
Writer-director Cameron Crowe returns to the big screen after 4 years with this romantic comedy set and filmed in Hawaii.
Premise: The film, which features a talking computer and mystical island fortunes, follows Brian Gilcrest, a defense contractor who falls for Allison Ng, an Air Force pilot, after he is assigned to oversee the launch of a weapons satellite from Hawaii
Featuring: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, John Krasinski, Danny McBride, Bill Murray, Alec Baldwin, Jay Baruchel, Ivana Milicevic, etc.
Release date: June 24 (PH), May 29 (US)
HBO TV series Entourage returns but this time to the silver screen. Series creator Doug Ellin will direct the comedy that blends male friendship and Hollywood satire.
Premise: Ari bankrolls Vince’s directorial debut with a $100 million budget which goes $15 million over. He does this by securing financing from a Texas billionaire Larsen McCredle and his son Travis. Vince continues his carefree lifestyle saying if the film fails they can just move back to Queens. Now with his own studio Ari deals with the problems of being a start up movie producer in his own ill tempered way.
Featuring: Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Jeremy Piven, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara, Perrey Reeves, Rex Lee, Scott Caan, Constance Zimmer, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Rhys Coiro, Billy Bob Thornton, Haley Joel Osment, etc.
Release date: June 10 (PH), June 5 (US).
6. LOVE & MERCY
Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys gets a biopic in Love & Mercy. The film premiered during the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival and was featured at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival and SXSW Film Festival. Directed by Bill Pohlad.
Premise: In the 1960s, young songwriter and recording savant Brian Wilson finds himself in the midst of extraordinary success after scoring numerous hit records with the Beach Boys. Following a panic attack, he resigns from concert touring and ventures into the studio intent on creating “the greatest album ever made”, Pet Sounds. Meanwhile, his grip on reality slowly loosens once his recent psychedelic experiences give rise to scattered voices in his head. Later, in the 1980s, a now-middle-aged Wilson is shown to be a broken, confused man under the pharmacological and legal thrall of therapist Dr. Eugene Landy. After meeting Cadillac saleswoman Melinda Ledbetter, she is determined to save Wilson from Landy’s manipulation.
Featuring: Paul Dano, John Cusack, Paul Giamatti, Elizabeth Banks, etc.
Release date: June 5 (US)
7. JURASSIC WORLD
Acclaimed Safety Not Guaranteed director Colin Trevorrow joins a long list of talented indie directors who have been given large tentpole films to apply their craft and rejuvenate the industry.
Premise: Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar, an island located off Central America’s Pacific Coast, near Costa Rica, now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. This new park is owned by the Masrani Global Corporation. Owen Grady, a member of the park’s on-site staff, conducts behavioral research on the Velociraptors. At the corporation’s request, the park’s geneticists create the Indominus Rex, a genetically modified hybrid dinosaur, to boost visitor attendance, but it soon breaks loose and runs wild throughout the park, forcing the staff to consider extreme measures to stop it.
Featuring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Irrfan Khan, B.D. Wong, Ty Simpkins, Judy Greer, Omar Sy, Katie McGrath, Jake Johnson, Nick Robinson, etc.
Release date: June 10 (PH), June 12 (US)
8. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 5
Ghost Protocol‘s success practically revived Tom Cruise’s career and goodwill among critics and moviegoers alike. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case with Jack Reacher, which was directed by M:I 5 helmer Christopher McQuarrie. Can McQuarrie live up to predecessor Brad Bird?
Premise: None so far. We will probably get it when the trailer and poster debut.
Featuring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson, Alec Baldwin, Zhang Jingchu, etc.
Release date: July 31 (US)
Director Tarsem Singh is like a bad habit that’s hard to quit. After the quiet and imaginative The Fall, all of his films have been very disappointing. The man has talent but his work doesn’t seem to match it. Hopefully, he bounces back with this one.
Premise: In this provocative psychological science fiction thriller, an extremely wealthy man dying from cancer undergoes a radical medical procedure that transfers his consciousness into the body of a healthy young man. But all is not as it seems when he starts to uncover the mystery of the body’s origin and the organization that will kill to protect its cause.
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Michelle Dockery, Natalie Martinez, Ben Kingsley, Victor Garber, Matthew Goode, Derek Luke.
Release date: July 31 (US)
Director Antoine Fuqua and The Weinstein Company give us this sports drama film about boxing. Antoine Fuqua’s filmography is rather inconsistent but it would be interesting to see his dynamic with Jake Gyllenhaal. Much buzz has been given to the latter’s transformation into a prized fighter following his dramatic weight loss for the acclaimed Nightcrawler. That sudden change places Jake in the Christian Bale school of method acting. Normally, this kind of film would be released in the fall to garner awards season buzz so it puzzles me why it’s being released in the middle of summer blockbuster season.
Premise: None so far.
Featuring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Naomie Harris, Forest Whitaker, Victor Ortiz, Curtis Jackson, Tyrese Gibson, etc.
Release date: July 31 (US)
11. STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON
As a lifelong fan of the music of N.W.A., I’m particularly excited for this one. F. Gary Gray helms this music biofilm on one of Hip-Hop’s most iconic and socially relevant acts.
Premise: Revolves around the rise and fall of the Compton, California rap group N.W.A, whose members include Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yella.
Featuring: Jason Mitchell, Corey Hawkins, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Aldis Hodge, Neil Brown, Jr., Marlon Yates, Jr., Paul Giamatti, etc.
Release date: August 14 (US)
Alejandro Amenabar returns to the silver screen after 6 years with Regression, a Spanish-American thriller.
Premise: …set in 1980 in a small Minnesota town where a man is arrested for sexually abusing his daughter. He admits his guilt despite having no memory of it. With the help of a psychologist, he relives the memories and implicates a police officer as his partner in crime. The man’s estranged son and other townspeople are also suddenly able to relive suppressed memories of horrific abuse. At the same time, the local news reports blame a Satanic cult that has been performing rituals of orgies, assault, killing animals and even babies, for years. The officers are alarmed when similar reports come in from all around the country—they believe they’ve uncovered a national and possibly supernatural conspiracy. Is the abuse real, or something else?
Featuring: Ethan Hawke, Emma Watson, David Dencik, Devon Bostick, Aaron Ashmore, David Thewlis, etc.
Release date: September 2 (PH), August 28 (US)
13. TRIPLE NINE
Director John Hillcoat returns after Lawless (2012) with another crime drama this year.
Premise: A group of corrupt police officers are blackmailed into pulling off a seemingly impossible heist. They plot the murder of a rookie police officer in order to orchestrate a “999”, code for ‘officer down’, to pull off the heist across town.
Featuring: Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslet, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie, Gal Gadot, Teresa Palmer, etc.
Release date: September 11 (US)
14. BLACK MASS
After 2013’s underrated Out of the Furnace, Scott Cooper returns this year with his adaptation of Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob.
Premise: The true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston: following a string of violent actions, he became an FBI informant for 30 years in order to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.
Featuring: Johnny Depp, Kevin Bacon, Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Edgerton, Jesse Plemons, Sienna Miller, Dakota Johnson, Adam Scott, Juno Temple, Corey Stoll, Peter Sarsgaard, etc.
Release date: September 23 (PH), September 18 (US)
Rising star director Denis Villeneuve is back with Sicario, a crime drama. As a fan of both Prisoners and Enemy, I hope to enjoy this new offering from the French-Canadian.
Premise: A police officer from Tucson, Arizona travels across the border to Mexico with a pair of mercenaries to track down a drug lord.
Featuring: Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, Jon Bernthal, Daniel Kaluuya, Maximiliano Hernandez, etc.
Release date: September 18 (US)