A new Bond, a new Star Wars, a new Terminator, plus movies from Pixar, Spielberg and Ridley Scott – 2015 is shaping up nicely for movie goers. Our must see films are a fairly broad selection of action, science fiction, drama, animation and widescreen blockbusters.
Star Wars: Episode VII
It had to be on the list somewhere. Anticipation for Episode VII may not be quite at Phantom Menace pre-release levels yet, but the team behind the Star Wars sequel are certainly making all the right noises. Director JJ Abrams has been vocal about an emphasis on physical effects and sets rather than the slightly numb digital backlot approach of the prequels.The cast includes returning faces Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. The big question is whether its writers can cook up an interesting story to follow the events of the Battle of Endor, especially as Disney has every intention of Episode VII marking a big, lucrative new beginning for a multi-movie franchise. The new Star Wars has a lot to live up to.
Mad Max: Fury Road
The first trailer for Fury Road, which landed a few months ago, is one of the most unexpectedly exciting promos of this year. The new Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) drives his ramshackle vehicle through swirling desert sands and surreal curls of coloured smoke, and you can almost smell the engine oil and smouldering brakes. Among the supporting cast are Charlize Theron as Furiosa and Nicholas Hoult as a character named Nux, but it’s the vehicular stunts which makes this one fantastic thrill-ride. It’ll be a full 30 years since the release of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome when Fury Road comes out next summer, but director George Miler’s brand of automotive mayhem looks as fresh as ever.
We don’t even know its official title yet, but even with Bond 24 surrounded in mystery, we’re looking forward to it. This is partly because Sam Mendes is back behind the camera, having directed the stirring Skyfall, and we’re excited to see where Bond’s story goes after the major upheaval we saw at the conclusion of that film. Roger Deakins, who made Skyfall look so beautiful, isn’t returning, unfortunately, but he’s replaced by Hoyte Van Hoytema - whose credits include Let The Right One In, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Fighter. Those films are a hint, perhaps, of the cool, stylish direction Bond 24 will be going in.
Director Colin Trevorrow’s making a bold leap into blockbuster filmmaking with this belated third sequel to Jurassic Park. Trevorrow’s concept sounds promising: with the standard-issue T-rexes and other dinosaurs at the infamous theme park deemed too familiar and passe by an easily distracted, mobile-phone obsessed public, the park’s scientists breed a new, more eye-catching variety of prehistoric lizards and as always things don’t exactly go according to plan. If Trevorrow can match his clear talent for capturing drama and comedy with the requirements of an effects-heavy summer movie, this could be one sequel well worth waiting for.
St. James Place
Another film still without a title is Tom Hank’s latest offering (although St James Place is the working name). This is also Steven Spielberg’s first film as director since Lincoln. This Cold War thriller comes with a screenplay by the Coen Brothers and reunites Spielberg with Tom Hanks for the first time since The Terminal. The story centres on a lawyer recruited by the CIA during the height of the Cold War, to help rescue a pilot who’s being held captive in Russia. There’s a thread of Argo in that description, but Spielberg’s film is set to be a very different beast. Expect it in October.
Ridley Scott’s sci-fi adventure, based on the book by Andy Weir, is his next foray into the genre following 2012‘s Prometheus. Matt Damon stars as an engineer trapped on Mars after a dust storm forces his fellow astronauts to evacuate. Presumed dead and left behind, Damon’s character scratches out a living on the Martian surface, hoping against hope that he can survive long enough for NASA to mount a rescue attempt. Could this be the Gravity and Robinson Crusoe On Mars mash-up we never knew we wanted? With Scott behind the lens and co-stars Jessica Chastain and Kate Mara in front of it, this could be another great sci-fi survival film.
It’s hoped this will be new beginning for the franchise after the middling Terminator Salvation This reboot sees Arnold Schwarzenegger back in his leather jacket as the title cyborg. The story will account for Schwarzenegger’s advancing year, though the rest of the plot, is a closely-guarded secret. Suspect title aside, Terminator: Genisys could, if it returns to the time-travel-and-chase format that made the first two films such classics, give the franchise the shot of energy it deserves. Paramount hopes so: it’s already planning the next two films.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E
With Mission: Impossible 5 and Kingsman: The Secret Service also set for release in 2015, the multiplexes won’t be short of spy capers. The Man From U.N.C.L.E., gives us a chance to see Henry Cavill flexing his acting muscles without a superhero suit on. Cavill stars alongside Hugh Grant, Armie Hammer, Jared Harris and Guy Ritchie, who has co-penned the script and is directing. Expect The Man From U.N.C.L.E. to have closer links to the source TV show than 2014’s The Equalizer did too, incidentally. And less DIY.
After a Pixar drought that stretches back to summer 2013’s Monsters University, 2015 will see a pair of features from the studio. The Good Dinosaur is one of them. But the one that’s got us interested is Inside Out. It’s the new film from Pete Docter, the director of Up and Monsters, Inc, and it’s a movie that focuses on the emotions that live inside us. This was the reason the film was originally known as ‘Pixar Movie Set Inside The Mind’, and Docter’s lateral, original storytelling has been key to his films to date. Amongst the voice talent are Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader and Amy Poehler. Pixar has scheduled this for a big summer release. Expect big things.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2
The fourth of the film series remains a 2015 must-see. Mockingjay is a difficult book to adapt, and the challenge for director Francis Lawrence is how to get across its slippy narrative and darker moments, within the confines of PG-13. They proved they could do so with Catching Fire, and thus far, The Hunger Games movies have not disappointed. Furthermore, they’ve proven that films can talk to a teen audience about politics without dulling the edges. On a sadder note, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 will be one of the final chances we get to see a new Philip Seymour Hoffman performance on the big screen.