Thursday, January 22, 2015

50 Most Anticipated Movies of 2015

| 50 | Miss You Already
Directed by Catherine Hardwicke
Starring Dominic Cooper, Drew Barrymore, Toni Collette
Release Date TBD 
The friendship between two life-long girlfriends is put to the test when one starts a family and the other falls ill. [From the director of Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown, and Twilight] 

| 49 | The Nightmare
Directed by Rodney Ascher
Starring Yatoya Toy, Siegfried Peters
 Release Date 1/26/15 @ Sundance
The film is mainly about sleep paralysis. It's a fascinating but little-discussed topic, and the idea that it was programmed in the Midnights At Park City slate makes it even more exciting. [From the director of the documentary Room 237]

| 48 | Life
Directed by Anton Corbijn
Starring Robert Pattinson, Joel Edgerton, Dane DeHaan
 Release Date TBD A photographer for Life Magazine is assigned to shoot pictures of James Dean. [From the director of A Most Wanted Man and for his work directing music videos for U2 and Arcade Fire]
| 47 | Everest
Directed by Baltasar Kormákur
Starring Keira Knightley, Jake Gyllenhaal, Robin Wright, Josh Brolin
 Release Date 9/18/15
A climbing expedition on Mt. Everest is devastated by a severe snow storm. [From the director of Contraband, and 2 Guns]
| 46 | The Martian 
Directed by Ridley Scott
Starring Jessica Chastain, Matt Damon, Kate Mara
 Release Date 11/25/15
An astronaut, left behind, uses his experience and knowledge to continue his existence on an alien planet in the hopes that one day he will be rescued. [From the director of Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, Matchstick Men, and American Gangster]
| 45 | The Peanuts Movie
Directed by Steve Martino
Starring Francesca Capaldi, Noah Schnapp, Venus Schultheis
 Release Date 11/6/15
Snoopy embarks upon his greatest mission as he and his team take to the skies to pursue their arch-nemesis, while his best pal Charlie Brown begins his own epic quest back home. [From the director of Horton Hears a Who!]
| 44 | By the Sea
Directed by Angelina Jolie
Starring Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Mélanie Laurent
Release Date TBD 
Set in France during the mid-1970s, Vanessa, a former dancer, and her husband Roland, an American writer, travel the country together. They seem to be growing apart, but when they linger in one quiet, seaside town they begin to draw close to some of its more vibrant inhabitants, such as a local bar/café-keeper and a hotel owner. [From the director of In the Land of Blood and Honey and Unbroken]

| 43 | Nasty Baby 
Directed by Sebastián Silva
Starring Kristen Wiig, Alia Shawkat, Mark Margolis
 Release Date 1/24/15 @ Sundance
A gay couple are trying to have a baby with the help of their best friend. [From the director of Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus]

| 42 | Z for Zachariah 
Directed by Craig Zobel
Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Margot Robbie, Chris Pine
 Release Date 4/16/15
A lose adaptation of Robert C. O'Brien's classic Sci-Fi novel. In the wake of a disaster that wipes out most of civilization, two men and a young woman find themselves in an emotionally charged love triangle as the last known survivors. [From the director of Great World of Sound and Compliance]

| 41 | The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Directed by Guy Ritchie
Starring Henry Cavill, Alicia Vikander, Hugh Grant
 Release Date 8/14/15  
In the early 1960s, CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin participate in a joint mission against a mysterious criminal organization, which is working to proliferate nuclear weapons. [From the director of Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, and Sherlock Holmes]
| 40 | While We're Young
Directed by Noah Baumbach
Starring Amanda Seyfried, Naomi Watts, Ben Stiller
 Release Date 3/27/15
A middle-aged couple's career and marriage are overturned when a disarming young couple enters their lives. [From the director of The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding, and Frances Ha]
| 39 | Chappie  
Directed by Neill Blomkamp
Starring Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver
 Release Date 3/6/15  
After being kidnapped by two criminals during birth, Chappie becomes the adopted son in a strange and dysfunctional family. Chappie is preternaturally gifted, one of a kind, a prodigy. He also happens to be a robot. [From the director of District 9 and Elysium]

| 38 | Elvis & Nixon 
Directed by Liza Johnson
Starring Kevin Spacey, Michael Shannon, Colin Hanks
 Release Date TBD  
A recreation of the meeting at the White House between Elvis Presley and President Nixon. [From the director of Return and Hateship Loveship]
| 37 | Accidental Love
Directed by David O. Russell
Starring Kirstie Alley, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Biel, James Marsden
 Release Date 2/10/15
Previously titled "Nailed", which I personally think is a much better title, this film is about a small town waitress who gets a nail accidentally lodged in her head causing unpredictable behavior that leads her to Washington, D.C., where sparks fly when she meets a clueless young senator who takes up her cause - but what happens when love interferes with what you stand for? [From the director of The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, and American Hustle]

| 36 | Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck  
Directed by Brett Morgen
Starring Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl, Courtney Love
 Release Date 1/24/15 @ Sundance  
The authorized documentary on late Guitar/lead singer Kurt Cobain from his early days in Aberdeen Washington to his success and downfall with Grunge band Nirvana. And for those who don't simply wish to celebrate the life of the late rock musician, but to learn of the unusual and even vile flaws of his passions, this may take the cake. Cobain's daughter Frances Bean executive produced, which tells you there will be some complex perspectives here. [From the director of The Kid Stays in the Picture and Crossfire Hurricane]
| 35 | Untitled Cold War Spy Thriller 
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Starring Tom Hanks and Amy Ryan
 Release Date 10/16/15  
An American lawyer is recruited by the CIA during the Cold War to help rescue a pilot detained in the Soviet Union. [From the director of Jaws, E.T., Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan, and Schindler's List]
| 34 | Jupiter Ascending
Directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski
Starring Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Eddie Redmayne
 Release Date 2/6/15
In a bright and colorful future, a young destitute caretaker gets targeted by a ruthless son of a powerful family that live on a planet in need of a new heir, so she travels with a genetically engineered warrior to the planet in order to stop his tyrant reign. [From the directors of The Matrix Trilogy, Speed Racer, and Cloud Atlas]

| 33 | Mistress America 
Directed by Noah Baumbach
Starring Greta Gerwig
Release Date 1/24/15 @ Sundance
 A lonely college freshman's life is turned upside down by her impetuous, adventurous soon-to-be stepsister. Baumbach and Gerwig previously collaborated on the critically acclaimed Frances Ha. Fox Searchlight was so impressed with "America" - which has a less known cast than "Ha" did - they picked it up two weeks before the festival is scheduled to start.  That's the company that has two best picture nominees this year.  They rarely make mistakes. [From the director of The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding, and Frances Ha]
| 32 | The Good Dinosaur 
Directed by Peter Sohn
Starring Neil Patrick Harris, Judy Greer, Frances McDormand
 Release Date 11/25/15
After a traumatic event unsettles a lively Apatosaurus named Arlo, he sets out on a remarkable journey, gaining an unlikely companion along the way - a human boy. [From the director of the short Partly Cloudy and storyboard artist for Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, and Wall-E]
| 31 | Untitled Cameron Crowe Project 
Directed by Cameron Crowe
Starring Emma Stone, Bradley Cooper, Rachel McAdams
 Release Date 5/29/15
A celebrated military contractor returns to the site of his greatest career triumphs and re-connects with a long-ago love while unexpectedly falling for the hard-charging Air Force watchdog assigned to him. [From the director of Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous, and Vanilla Sky]

| 30 | The Audition  
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Robert De Niro
 Release Date TBD
A short film promoting the opening of Melco-Crown's movie-themed resort and casino in Macau. [From the director of Raging Bull, Goodfellas, The Wolf of Wall Street, and The Departed]
| 29 | Crimson Peak 
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Starring Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam, Tom Hiddleston
 Release Date 10/16/15
In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds...and remembers. [From the director of Pan's Labyrinth and Pacific Rim]

| 28 | Don Verdean 
Directed by Jared Hess
Starring Sam Rockwell, Amy Ryan, Jemaine Clement
 Release Date 1/28/15 @ Sundance
Biblical archaeologist Don Verdean is hired by a local church pastor to find faith-promoting relics in the Holy Land. But after a fruitless expedition he is forced to get creative in this comedy of faith and fraud.  [From the director of Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre, and Gentlemen Broncos]

| 27 | Regression  
Directed by Alejandro Amenábar
Starring Emma Watson, Ethan Hawke, David Thewlis
 Release Date 8.28.15
A father is accused of a crime he has no memory of committing. [From the director of Open Your Eyes (aka Abre Los Ojos)]

| 26 | Trainwreck
Directed by Judd Apatow
Starring Brie Larson, Daniel Radcliffe, Tilda Swinton, Marisa Tomei, Amy Schumer, Ezra Miller, Bill Hader
 Release Date 7/17/15  
Plot details are being kept under wraps. [From the director of The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Funny People]
| 25 | The Walk
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon
 Release Date TBD 
The story of French high-wire artist Philippe Petit's attempt to cross the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974. [From the director of The Back To the Future trilogy, Forrest Gump, and Cast Away]

| 24 | Spectre  
Directed by Sam Mendes
Starring Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Ralph Fiennes, Monica Bellucci
 Release Date 11/6/15
A cryptic message from Bond's past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE. [From the director of American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Revolutionary Road, and Skyfall]

| 23 | Mission: Impossible 5
Directed by Christopher McQuarrie
Starring Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton, Simon Pegg
 Release Date 12/25/15
The plot is unknown. [From the director of Jack Reacher and writer of Valkyrie and Edge of Tomorrow]

| 22 | Good Kill
Directed by Andrew Niccol
Starring Ethan Hawke, January Jones, Zoë Kravitz
 Release Date 4/10/15
A family man begins to question the ethics of his job as a drone pilot. [From the director of Gattaca, Lord of War, and The Host]

| 21 | The Stanford Prison Experiment 
Directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez
Starring Olivia Thirlby, Ezra Miller, Billy Crudup, Tye Sheridan
 Release Date 1/26/15 @ Sundance
Twenty-four male students out of seventy-five were selected to take on randomly assigned roles of prisoners and guards in a mock prison situated in the basement of the Stanford psychology building. [From the director of Easier with Practice and C.O.G.]

| 20 | In the Heart of the Sea
Directed by Ron Howard
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson
 Release Date 12/11/15
Based on the 1820 event, a whaling ship is preyed upon by a sperm whale, stranding its crew at sea for 90 days, thousands of miles from home. [From the director of Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man, and Rush]

| 19 | Digging for Fire 
Directed by Joe Swanberg
Starring Orlando Bloom, Rosemarie Dewitt, Sam Elliott, Jake Johnson, Ron Livingston, Sam Rockwell, Anna Kendrick
 Release Date 1/26/15 @ Sundance  
The discovery of a bone and a gun send a husband and wife on separate adventures over the course of a weekend. [From the director of Drinking Buddies and Happy Christmas]

| 18 | Spotlight
Directed by Thomas McCarthy
Starring Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo
 Release Date TBD
The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core. [From the director of The Station Agent, The Visitor, and Win Win] 

| 17 | Star Wars: Episode 7 - The Force Awakens
 Directed by J.J. Abrams
Starring Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher
 Release Date 12/18/15
Set thirty years after Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983). [From the creator of Lost and director of Super 8 and Star Trek]
| 16 | Silence
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Starring Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver
 Release Date TBD
In the seventeenth century, two Jesuit priests face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and to spread the gospel of Christianity. [From the director of Raging Bull, Goodfellas, The Wolf of Wall Street, and The Departed]
| 15 | Last Days in the Desert
Directed by Rodrigo García
Starring Ewan McGregor and Tye Sheridan 
Release Date 12/11/15 
Shot by Emmanuel Lubezki, this might turn out to be the most interesting of the various recent approaches to the Bible on film. McGregor plays both Jesus Christ and the Devil, and Garcia places this one-man ping-pong game in the desert during the long fast. It's a great way in, and I'm curious to see what Garcia does with it. If it works, this could be a big film for McGregor. [From the director of the TV series Blue]
| 14 | Strangerland
Directed by Kim Farrant
Starring Nicole Kidman, Hugo Weaving, Joseph Fiennes
 Release Date 1/23/15 @ Sundance
A family finds their dull life in a rural outback town rocked after their two teenage children disappear into the desert, sparking disturbing rumors of their past. [This marks Farrant's feature-length film debut]

 | 13 | Inside Out  
Directed by Pete Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen
Starring Amy Poehler, Diane Lane, Bill Hader
 Release Date 6/19/15
Told from the perspective of the emotions inside the mind of a little girl. [From the directors of Monster's Inc, Up, Toy Story, Wall-E] 
| 12 | Black Sea
Directed by Kevin Macdonald
Starring Jude Law, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn
 Release Date 1/23/15
In order to make good with his former employers, a submarine captain takes a job with a shadowy backer to search the depths of the Black Sea for a submarine rumored to be loaded with gold. [From the director of The Last King of Scotland and The Eagle]

 | 11 | True Story 
Directed by Rupert Goold
Starring James Franco, Jonah Hill, Felicity Jones
 Release Date 5/7/15
The relationship between journalist Michael Finkel and Christian Longo, an FBI Most Wanted List murderer who for years lived outside the U.S. under Finkel's name. [This marks Goold's feature-length film debut]

| 10 | The End of the Tour  
Directed by James Ponsoldt
Starring Jason Segel, Jesse Eisenberg, Joan Cusack
  Release Date 1/26/15 @ Sundance
A magazine reporter recounts his travels and conversations with author David Foster Wallace during the promotional tour following the release of Infinite Jest. [From the director of Smashed and The Spectacular Now]
| 9 | Sicario 
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro
Release Date TBD
A young female FBI agent joins a secret CIA operation to take down a Mexican cartel boss, a job that ends up pushing her ethical and moral values to the limit. Being shot by the legendary Roger Deakins who is known for his work in various Coen Bros. films and The Shawshank Redemption, DoubtRevolutionary Road, and Unbroken. [From the director of Prisoners and Enemy]
 | 8 | Mississippi Grind
 Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Sienna Miller, Ben Mendelsohn
Release Date 1/24/15 @ Sundance
A man named Gerry who is down on his luck and facing financial hardship teaming up with a younger charismatic poker player, Curtis, in an attempt to change his luck. The two set off on a road trip through the South with visions of winning back what's been lost. [From the directors who brought you Sugar and Half Nelson]
| 7 | Jurassic World 
Directed by Colin Trevorrow
Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jake Johnson
 Release Date 6/12/15
Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park (1993), Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfill a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitor's interest, which backfires horribly. [From the director of Safety Not Guaranteed]
| 6 | That's What I'm Talking About
Directed by Richard Linklater
Starring Ryan Guzman, Zoey Deutch, Tyler Hoechlin
 Release Date TBD
It focuses on the college freshman members of a baseball team in the 1980s. [From the director of The Before Trilogy, Dazed and Confused, and Boyhood]
| 5 | The Sea of Trees
Directed by Gus Van Sant
Starring Matthew McConaughey, Naomi Watts, Ken Watanabe
 Release Date TBD
A suicidal American befriends a Japanese man lost in a forest near Mt. Fuji and the two search for a way out. [From the director of Good Will Hunting and Milk]

| 4 | The Revenant
Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu
Starring Tom Hardy, Leonardo DiCaprio, Domhnall Gleeson
Release Date 1/8/16
A frontiersman, Hugh Glass, who in the 1820s set out on a path of vengeance against those who left him for dead after a bear mauling. Also, it helps that Emmanuel Lebezki is shooting it. [From the director of 21 Grams, Babel, and Birdman]
| 3 | Knight of Cups
Directed by Terrence Malick
Starring Christian Bale, Imogen Poots, Natalie Portman
Release Date 12/11/15
A screenwriter living in LA tries to make sense of the strange events occurring around him. The Tree of Life cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and The Tree of Life composer Hanan Townshend are on board yet again. This should be great. [From the director of The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life, and The New World.]
| 2 | Midnight Special 
Directed by Jeff Nichols
Starring Kirsten Dunst, Joel Edgerton, Michael Shannon
Release Date 11/25/15
A father and son go on the run after the dad learns his child possesses special powers. Nichols continues to work with the same composer David Wingo, cinematographer Adam Stone, and actors Shannon and Shepard. [From the director of Take Shelter and Mud]
| 1 | The Light Between Oceans
Directed by Derek Cianfrance
 Starring Michael Fassbender and Rachel Weisz
Release Date TBD
Cianfrance is one of my favorite directors currently making films. That's saying a lot, considering I've only seen two of his films. Blue Valentine was one of the hardest-to-watch movies I've ever seen, but it proved his talent with directing his actors (Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams) that truly transcended a typical director/actor norm. He had them live together for a month and do what normal married couples do: shop groceries, do laundry, sleep in the same bed... but most importantly learn how to push each others buttons. Even though Cianfrance had written a masterful script (and rewrote it 66 times according to interviews), he had the actors improvise their scenes and ignore the script throughout because he is just that director - the guy who trusts his actors' perceptions of the characters rather than his own. That is just one example of his gutsy experimentation that in the end worked out. The Place Beyond the Pines was maybe my favorite film of that year (2013). The title of the film is taken from the film's main location for shooting: Schenectady, NY (which is a Mohawk word which translates literally to "beyond the pine plains"). I felt like every aspect of this film worked together; the story, cinematography, editing, cast, soundtrack (which contains one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard, seriously). It outclasses films of the same genre. Its storyline scales an epic length of time and concept, blending several stories together in a three-act sort of triptych that may have been noticeable but meanders in an ethereal nontraditional quality similar to Terrence Malick. 

His new film, The Light Between Oceans, is based on the M.L. Stedman novel of the same name; a lighthouse keeper and his wife living off the coast of Western Australia raise a baby they rescue from an adrift rowboat. With Ron Patane (the editor) being the only crew member he's worked with previously, I expect this film to be another gutsy experiment from Cianfrance, a director who seems to consistently place himself outside of his comfort zone by never going for the flawless take but rather the most visceral and the most real. [From the director of Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines]

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