It is 2015, it is January and you are struggling to take your mind off the desperate battle to quit whichever vice you are attempting to jettison. This during a month that promises nothing but miserable weather and the crushing realisation that the predictions made in Back to the Future 2 were nothing but lies, damn lies! Fear not, for the following list will give you the hope of a better future. Not just any future but a future where you can sit in a dark room and watch some really cool stuff on a screen.
To make all of this a little easier to digest i’ll release this in a few parts over the next week. Each of the film’s has been plopped into a basic genre list. Considering most of these films are yet to see a projector (or god forbid an illegal torrent site) the groupings are a little crude, obvious and odd (what the hell genre is an Inherent Vice?!) Also, some of the film’s are so fresh and unheralded that they are yet to exist in any kind of visible spoiler format so you’ll have to use your imagination like those people who lived in the past. It will be a struggle, we are people of the now who do not need imagination in a world of phone apps and instant gratification. Those people from the past (or ‘Past People’ as they shall be referred to) were able to entertain themselves for hours with a snake on their phones. Phones which didn’t even go on the internet. Idiots!
(Or films that I hope will contain a satisfying amount of jumpy, fighty, shouty bits)
The Hateful Eight | Quentin Tarantino | USA
Tarantino’s last few film’s have shown flashes of brilliance but on the whole have been over-indulgent and over-long. For any other director this would result in diminished expectations, but we are not talking about any other director here. With that beautiful poster and a cast that look perfect for the genre (Bruce Dern, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tim Roth to name a few) Tarantino could yet deliver the Classic Western he promised with Django Unchained.
James Bond 24: Spectre | Sam Mendes | USA/UK
Little is known about Bond 24 but the retention of Sam Mendes as director is enough to instil belief that this, like Skyfall before it, could be another contender for best Bond film ever. Despite the lack of information on this one (unless you check out the Sony leak, which is cheating) we do know that Ralph Fiennes will return as the newly instated ‘M’, Monica Bellucci will join (who should put the term Bond ‘girl’ to bed), and of course, Christoph Waltz who, whisper it, may star as Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
Avengers: The Age of Ultron | Joss Whedon | USA
Joss Whedon brings us the latest in the ever expanding world of Marvel. Last time out Whedon demonstrated great skill in building chemistry amongst a rabble of super heroes unaccustomed to sharing the screen whilst satiating the audiences hunger for something bigger than the film’s that preceded it. This time up things look darker with S.H.I.E.L.D. a diminished force after the events of Captain America: Winter Soldier. And damn, that Ultron fella’ seem’s like one angry customer.
Mad Max: Fury Road | George Miller | Australia/USA
Miller returns 30 years after his last Mad Max. The trailer gives us a taste of the post apocalyptic landscape some of us will be familiar with and there are plenty of road warrior battles on display. Even if for some reason you never saw the originals (!?) you may be familiar with the aesthetic as the original trilogy has had a big influence on any artist looking to create a trashy future dystopia. Plenty of directors have openly named it as an inspiration (Guilermo Del Toro, David Fincher and James Cameron to name but a few), it inspired a 2Pac video, a succesful computer game franchise (Fallout), Glastonbury has the Arcadia arena which feels like a less sandy version of the film set, and the first film was even credited by the makers of Saw for inspiring their entire franchise with the infamous chop your own hand off or die conundrum. Tom Hardy looks like a great choice to carry the Mad Max name and it will certainly be a change of pace for Miller who was last behind the lens on Happy Feet 2.
Kingsman: The Secret Service | Matthew Vaughn | UK
This is the film Matthew Vaughn turned down the chance to direct X-Men: Days of Future Past for. He has returned to his UK roots with his regular writing partner Jane Goldman and the film is based on a graphic novel by Mark Miller who also came up with Kick Ass (the sequel of which died a death without Vaughn at the helm). As the title would suggest the Kingsman are a secret service but a secret service that were somewhat ridiculously set up by a group of tailors looking to protect international security to allow them to trade worldwide. The trailer introduces us to an incredibly dapper Colin Firth in a quintessential British public house, schooling a youngster, whom he appears to have taken under his wing, in the ways of a gentlemen before beating the bejesus out of a group of rather aggressive young chaps. This looks to be for Bond what Shaun of the Dead was to zombie horror, a loving pastiche of the genre with its tongue set firmly in cheek.
Ant-Man | Peyton Reed | USA/UK
The second Marvel film on the list, Ant-Man is a welcome curiosity. We saw with Guardians of the Galaxy how a lesser known comic book series can be a damn sight more refreshing than another reboot (*ahem* Spiderman). The only dampener has been the departure of director Edgar Wright after reported script disputes. Wright worked wonders with Scott Pilgrim and always injects great energy into his films but has been replaced by Peyton Reed who is no doubt seen as a safe pair of hands in the eyes of the studio executives but hardly the visionary director fans were hoping for. Nonetheless the idea of Paul Rudd playing a man who can change size and chat away with ants offers a great premise and with any luck the spine of the film developed by Wright and Joe Cornish (of Adam and Joe fame) will remain intact.
Blackhat | Michael Mann | USA
Michael Mann has become a forgotten mann these days. The director of Heat, Collateral, The Last of the Mohicans and The Insider is back after over half a decade without a directing credit to his name. His back catalogue alone should be reason enough to give this ‘cyber crime’ movie your time. The film’s subject of ‘cyberhacking’ couldn’t be more relevant with the recent attacks the film industry has suffered and with Chris Hemsworth on board in the lead and twice Oscar nominated Viola Davis co-starring this looks like one to watch.
John Wick | Chad Stahelski | USA/Canada/China
What is it about Keanu Reeves that keeps me coming back for more? Only Nicolas Cage has the ability to out perform Keanu in the disappointment stakes. Alarm bell’s are ringing with a trailer that contains the line “I lost everything. That dog was a final gift from my dying wife”. Despite my reservations there seems to be some decent buzz coming from the US where it has done well at the box office especially for an R rated movie. Reeves stars as an ex-hitman in New York who is driven back into action by the acts of some dastardly dog killing gangsters. This could be Keanu’s Taken. But then I didn’t really like Taken so I hope not.
In The Heart of the Sea | Ron Howard | USA
At risk of being accused of having a Chris Hemsworth man crush here is another film starring the Thor man. Directed by Richie Cunningham AKA Ron Howard, In The Heart of the Sea looks epic. Set in 1820 it follows the true story of a New England whaling vessel which as the poster suggests encounters a rather large whale. This supposedly inspired the classic novel Moby Dick and Ron Howard has a great track record of producing good old-fashioned movies that merit a cinema trip. The cast has a distinctly Irish/British feel with Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson and Ben Whishaw all starring.