12.29, 9 am Pacific Update: On 12.22 I posted a rundown of 2015 films that seem fairly promising. A few other films were posted by commenters over the next day or so. Here’s another rundown with an attempt to break them into unfair categories but…call it a work in progress, like anything else. We’re talking at least 17 films that look really good, and about 15 that seem at least moderately intriguing and might be better than that. In all likelihood, the 2015 Best Picture winner is among the top 17. Top contenders: Steve Jobs, Silence, St. James Place, Hughes, The Revenant, Truth, Our Brand Is Crisis, Money Monster, Demolition.
X-Factor “Extra”, Semi-Fresh, Social Undercurrent…Something More (17):
Steve Jobs (Universal — shooting begins filming next month or January 2015, which indicates an intention to bring it out by late ’15) — Danny Boyle (director), Aaron Sorkin (screenplay), Scott Rudin (producer); Cast: Michael Fassbender, Seth Rogen, Michael Stuhlbarg, Katherine Waterston.
The Revenant (20th Century Fox) — Alejandro González Inarritu (director/screenplay); Mark “nobody can remember my middle initial” Smith (screenplay); Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, Domhnall Gleeson.
Money Monster (TriStar/Sony — apparently shooting in early ’15) — Jodie Foster (director); Jamie Linden, Alan DiFiore, Jim Kouf (screenplay). Cast: George Clooney, Jack O’Connell, Julia Roberts. Question: Same as Silence, will it shoot early enough?, etc.
Hughes (no distributor) — Warren Beatty (director, writer); Warren Beatty, Alden Ehrenreich, Lily Collins, Matthew Broderick, Annette Bening, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, Taissa Farmiga, Chace Crawford, Candice Bergen.
Truth (no distributor) — James Vanderbilt (director, writer — based on the 2005 memoir “Truth and Duty” by Mary Mapes); Cast: Robert Redford, Cate Blanchett, Elisabeth Moss, Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid, Bruce Greenwood.
Our Brand Is Crisis (Warner Bros.); David Gordon Green (director); Peter Straughan (screenplay); Sandra Bullock, Scoot McNairy, Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Mackie, Ann Dowd.
Everest (Universal) — Baltasar Kormákur (director); Justin Isbell, William Nicholson (screenplay); Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke, John Hawkes, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Robin Wright.
Demolition (Fox Searchlight) — Jean-Marc Vallee (director); Bryan Sipe (screenplay); Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper.
Black Mass (Warner Bros.) — Scott Cooper (director/screenplay); Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sienna Miller, Dakota Johnson.
Hail Caesar (Universal — listed as a February 2016 release but if the film turns out to be half as good as the crackling script, it’ll be criminal to relegate it to a dump month); Joel and Ethan Coen (directors, screenplay); Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Channing Tatum, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill.
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.
Life (no distributor) — Anton Corbijn (director); Luke Davies (screenplay); Robert Pattinson, Dane DeHaan, Ben Kingsley, Joel Edgerton.
The Walk (TriStar / ImageMovers) — Robert Zemeckis (director/screenplay); Christopher Browne (screenplay); Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, James Badge Dale, Charlotte Le Bon.
Carol (Weinstein Co.) — Todd Haynes (director); Pyllis Nagy (screenplay, based on Patricia Highsmith novel); Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler.
By The Sea (Universal) — Angelina Jolie (director, screenwriter). Cast: Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Niels Arestrup, Mélanie Laurent.
Sea of Trees (no distributor) — Gus Van Sant (director); Chris Sparling (screenplay); Matthew McConaughey, Ken Watanabe, Naomi Watts, Katie Aselton, Jordan Gavaris.
Knight of Cups (no distributor) — Terrence Malick (director); Hanan Townshend screenplay); Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Brian Dennehy, Antonio Banderas, Freida Pinto, Wes Bentley, Isabel Lucas, Teresa Palmer.
May Not Be Released in 2015:
Silence (Paramount) — Martin Scorsese (director); Jay Cocks (screenplay); Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, Issei Ogata, Adam Driver, Ken Watanabe.
Intriguingly Commercial (14):
Tomorrowland (Disney) — Brad Bird (director, cowriter); Damon Lindelof (co-writer); George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie, Raffey Cassidy, Thomas Robinson, Kathryn Hahn, Tim McGraw, Keegan-Michael Key, Judy Greer.
The Hateful Eight (Weinstein Co.) — Quentin Tarantino (director-writer); Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Dern, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Demián Bichir, Kurt Russell.
Ricki and the Flash (TriStar) — Jonathan Demme (director); Diablo Cody (screenplay); Meryl Streep, Mamie Gummer, Kevin Kline, Sebastian Stan, Rick Springfield, Ben Platt.
Midnight Special (Warner Bros.) — Jeff Nichols (director/screenplay); Cast: Michael Shannon, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Joel Edgerton.
The Last Face (distributor) — Sean Penn (director); Erin Dignam (screenplay); Charlize Theron, Javier Bardem, Adèle Exarchopoulos.