Every December I take a look at the coming film-release year and get a little bummed. Which is more or less how I feel right now. This Wiki forecast of 2015 represents only about 50% or 60% of the likely stand-outs if that, but I’m feeling deflated all the same. Too many programmers, I’m thinking — i.e., somewhat predictable, concept-driven, ho-hummy, not a lot to quicken the pulse. A healthy percentage of the stuff that will really turn the key, of course, will be on cable. This is the world, the way it is…and that’s fine. House of Cards, the Mad Men finale, etc.
Right off the top the only theatrical film that looks like it might be a major X-factor knockdown is Alejandro G. Inarritu‘s The Revenant, a revenge-survival drama which 20th Century Fox will open 11 or 12 months from now.
I realize, of course, that many, many unforeseen comers will pop out of Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and the September-October festivals (Telluride, Venice, Toronto, New York), but right now I’m looking to add titles to the list that may turn out to be cultivated, dynamic, extra-dimensional, “original”, arty-farty, awards-baity…anything along those lines.
Right now the only 2015 films that seem remotely boat-floaty are the following, and a significant portion of these seem at first glance more like plot-driven attractions or diversions than what most of us would call fresh approach social undercurrent perk-up flicks…but what do I know? My interest levels are roughly reflected by the order in which they appear. The first seven or eight for sure, but after that….
The Revenant (20th Century Fox) — Alejandro González Inarritu (director/screenplay); Mark E Smith (screenplay); Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, Domhnall Gleeson.
Everest (Universal) — Baltasar Kormákur (director); Justin Isbell, William Nicholson (screenplay); Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke, John Hawkes, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Robin Wright.
Black Mass (Warner Bros.) — Scott Cooper (director/screenplay); Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sienna Miller, Dakota Johnson.
Joy (20th Century Fox) — David O. Russell (director/screenplay). Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Édgar Ramirez.
In the Heart of the Sea (Warner Bros.) Ron Howard (director); Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, Tom Holland, Ben Whishaw, Brendan Gleeson.
Mad Max: Fury Road (Warner Bros.) George Miller (director/screenplay); Nick Lathouris, Brendan McCarthy (screenplay); Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Zoë Kravitz, Abbey Lee, Richard Norton, Riley Keough, Courtney Eaton, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Nathan Jones, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
The Martian (20th Century Fox) — Ridley Scott (director); Drew Goddard (screenplay); Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Pena, Mackenzie Davis, Jeff Daniels, Sean Bean, Donald Glover, Aksel Hennie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sebastian Stan.
Midnight Special (Warner Bros.) — Jeff Nichols (director/screenplay); Cast: Michael Shannon, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Joel Edgerton.
Blackhat (Universal) — Michael Mann (director/screenplay); Morgan Davis Foehl (screenplay); Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Viola Davis, Holt McCallany, Tang Wei, Leehom Wang.
Magic Mike XXL (Warner Bros.) Gregory Jacobs (director); Channing Tatum (screenplay); Cast: Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Gabriel Iglesias, Andie MacDowell, Amber Heard, Jada Pinkett Smith, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Glover, Michael Strahan.
Trainwreck (Universal) — Judd Apatow (director/screenplay); Amy Schumer (screenplay); Cast: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Colin Quinn, Tilda Swinton, Vanessa Bayer, Ezra Miller, John Cena, Barkhad Abdi, Norman Lloyd.
Spectre (MGM / Columbia) — Sam Mendes (director); John Logan, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade (screenplay); Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Monica Bellucci, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, Rory Kinnear, Jesper Christensen.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Disney / Lucasfilm / Bad Robot) — J.J. Abrams (director/screenplay); Lawrence Kasdan (screenplay); John Boyega, Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow, Lupita Nyong’o, Gwendoline Christie, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker.
Grimsby (Columbia) — Louis Leterrier (director); Sacha Baron Cohen, Phil Johnston (screenplay); Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong, Isla Fisher, Rebel Wilson, Annabelle Wallis, Ian McShane, Gabourey Sidibe, David Harewood, Johnny Vegas, Penélope Cruz, Scott Adkins.
Masterminds (Relativity Media) — Jared Hess (director); John Goldwyn, Lorne Michaels (screenplay); Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson, Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis.
Criminal (Summit Entertainment) — Ariel Vromen (director); Douglas Cook, David Weisberg (screenplay); Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, Gary Oldman.
Regression (The Weinstein Company) — Alejandro Amenábar (director/screenplay); Ethan Hawke, Emma Watson, David Dencik.
The Walk — (TriStar / ImageMovers) — Robert Zemeckis (director/screenplay); Christopher Browne (screenplay); Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, James Badge Dale, Charlotte Le Bon.
Crimson Peak (Universal / Legendary) — Guillermo del Toro (director/screenplay); Matthew Robbins, Lucinda Coxon (screenplay); Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam, Jessica Chastain, Jim Beaver.
St. James Place (Touchstone / DreamWorks / 20th Century Fox) — Steven Spielberg (director); Matt Charman, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen (screenplay); Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan, Alan Alda, Billy Magnussen, Eve Hewson.