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100 Movies to Watch in 2015

 

 

40. The Peanuts Movie

Release Date:  November 6th

Synopsis:  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.

Director: Steve Martino

Writer:   Bryan Schulz, Charles M. Schulz (characters)

Starring: Francesca Capaldi, Noah Schnapp, Venus Schultheis

What Could Go Right:  The Peanuts  consist of some of the most iconic characters of all time so it is no wonder they are trying to reboot them for a new generation. Going from hand drawn animation to computer graphics does seem sacrilegious, but the images so far appear to pay true homage to the past style. It is staying true to the original without seeming out of touch.

What Could Go Wrong: While the look of The Peanuts  has transferred over nicely, will everything else about them fair just as well? Will a lot of their trademark gags work on kids today, or will updates be made to fit today’s sensibilities?  Will this just be Peanuts in name only?

 

Alejandro González Iñárritu

39. The Revenant

Release Date:  Winter

Synopsis:  The 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.

Director:  Alejandro González Iñárritu

Writer:  Alejandro González Iñárritu,  Michael Punke (novel)

Starring: Tom Hardy, Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Poulter, Domhnall Gleeson

What Could Go Right:  Last year Alejandro González Iñárritu’s  Birdman  garnered praise from many and hatred for some. He is the type of director that does not mind irking you. Iñárritu also knows how to get great performances out of actors and with Tom Hardy and Leonardo DiCarprio on the cast list that should not be hard.

What Could Go Wrong: While I enjoyed Birdman  Alejandro González Iñárritu can bother me with some of his directorial choices. He is the type of director that loves to berate you with misery over and over again. Something like 21 Grams is misery personified to its purest form. With Birdman  he stepped away from that, and I hope he does not return to his old ways with The Revenant.

 

 

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38. Trainwreck

Release Date:  July 17th

Synopsis:  No Plot at this Time

Director: Judd Apatow

Writer:   Amy Schumer

Starring: Amy Schumer, Brie Larson, Daniel Radcliffe, Tilda Swinton

What Could Go Right: Amy Schumer has slowly been building her name in the world of comedy. She entered a new level with the debut of her Comedy Central show that has garnered some great reviews. It makes perfect sense that one of the hottest names in comedy would team up with arguably the biggest comedy director of today Judd Apatow.

What Could Go Wrong: I am still not sure how I feel about Amy Schumer’s comedy. She certainty is talented, but at times I feel her crassness can become tiresome. I enjoy most of Apatow’s movies, but his style has become so duplicated over the years his jokes are far too familiar. His last film This Is 40  was his first misstep for me so hopefully he can have a turnaround with Trainwreck.

 

Joe Swanberg

37. Digging For Fire

Release Date:  January 26th

Synopsis:  The discovery of a bone and a gun send a husband and wife on separate adventures over the course of a weekend.

Director: Joe Swanberg

Writer:   Jake Johnson, Joe Swanberg

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Orlando Bloom, Brie Larson, Jake Johnson, Sam Rockwell

What Could Go Right:  Joe Swanberg’s movies are like the lazy Saturday afternoon equivalent of storytelling. That may sound like a slight but it is not meant to. Just his movies are told in such a laid back way at times you forget you are watching a movie. Drinking Buddies  was a romantic comedy done right and made me respect Olivia Wilde as a legit actress. Swanberg is bringing back most of his favorite actors once again, and also adding Sam Rockwell to the mix.

What Could Go Wrong: I know Swanberg’s style turns a great deal of people off. The mumblecore dialog is a little too raw for some. Chances are that style will not be going away so it is doubtful he will be gaining any new fans with this film.

 

 

THE SEA OF TREES

36. The Sea of Trees

Release Date:  TBD

Synopsis:  A suicidal American befriends a Japanese man lost in a forest near Mt. Fuji and the two search for a way out.

Director: Gus Van Sant

Writer:   Chris Sparling

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Naomi Watts, Katie Aselton

What Could Go Right: As of late anything Matthew McConaughey touches has turned to gold. He followed up winning an Academy Award by acting in one of the most well regarded television shows of all time.  Gus Van Sant is a director who is capable of brilliance when he is working with strong material.

What Could Go Wrong:  I wonder how great the material is that Gus Van Sant is working with. The screen writer Chris Sparling wrote such gems as Buried and ATM  that both centered on people stuck in an isolated situation. As a person who did not enjoy either of those movies it worries me that The Sea of Trees  appears to be covering similar material.

 

Victor Frankenstein

35. Victor Frankenstein

Release Date:  October 2nd

Synopsis:  Told from Igor’s perspective, we see the troubled young assistant’s dark origins, his redemptive friendship with the young medical student Viktor Von Frankenstein, and become eyewitnesses to the emergence of how Frankenstein became the man – and the legend – we know today.

Director:  Paul McGuigan

Writer:   Max Landis (screenplay), Mary Shelley (novel)

Starring:  Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy. Jessica Brown Findlay, , Andrew Scott

What Could Go Right: I have not read the book that Victor Frankenstein  is based on, but the idea of seeing the story of Frankenstein  through the eyes of Igor does sound intriguing. I also appreciate the fact that Daniel Radcliffe is making a lot of unique decisions. I am curious to see how he portrays the character of Igor.

What Could Go Wrong: Paul McGuigan has had more success with television than movies, and I cannot help but wonder if this will be along the same lines of the horror comedy Daniel Radcliffe starred in last year Horns. That also had an intriguing concept but it ended up being a disappointment.

 

good-dinosaur

34. The Good Dinosaur

Release Date:  November 25th

Synopsis:  Arlo, a 70-foot-tall teenage Apatosaurus, befriends a young human boy named Spot.

Director: Peter Sohn

Writer:   Peter Sohn

Starring: Neil Patrick Harris, Judy Greer, Frances McDormand

What Could Go Right: Pixar took 2014 off, but they are making up for it by giving us two films in 2015. (You can assume the other is sure to follow) I hope the year off will allow them to get back to the Pixar of old. They are at least starting off on the right foot back getting back to original material and not spewing out just another sequel.

What Could Go Wrong:  The big reason Pixar took 2014 off was due to the production issues of this movie. Last summer both the directing and producing team was changed and new people were brought on board. The last time something like that happened with Pixar was with Brave  and that too did not hit the quality we expect from Pixar. Pixar has given new directors big opportunities before and it has paid off. Could Peter Sohn be the next Brad Bird?

 

 

Child 44

33. Child 44

Release Date:  April 17th

Synopsis:  Set in Stalin-era Soviet Union, a disgraced MGB agent is dispatched to investigate a series of child murders — a case that begins to connect with the very top of party leadership.

Director: Daniel Espinosa

Writer:    Richard Price (screenplay), Tom Rob Smith(novel)

Starring: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Gary Oldman

What Could Go Right:  I really enjoyed Daniel Espinosa’s last film Safe House. It was not a cinematic masterpiece but it felt reminiscent of Tony Scott with a new age twist. With Child 44  he also has a lot of great acting talent with Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, and Gary Oldman attached.

What Could Go Wrong: Nothing about it indicates trouble is brewing. The material does seem rather serious, and Daniel Espinosa’s last film was more on the goofy side so it may be a major transition in sensibilities.

 

32. Mr. Holmes

32. Mr. Holmes

Release Date:  TBD

Synopsis:  An aged, retired Sherlock Holmes looks back on his life, and grapples with an unsolved case involving a beautiful woman.

Director:  Bill Condon

Writer:   Jeffrey Hatcher, Mitch Cullin (Novel)

Starring: Ian McKellen, Milo Parker, Laura Linney

What Could Go Right: Ian McKellen playing is playing Sherlock Holmes? What’s not to like. One of the best actors of our day playing one of the most iconic characters of all time. Even if the movie itself is a failure we should at least get a good performance.

What Could Go Wrong: It is hard to blame Bill Condon for the failures that were Twilight Breaking Dawn – Part 1 and 2, but he did decide to direct them and they both are extremely horrid. In 2013 he tried to redeem himself with The Fifth Estate, but that also ended up being a disappointment. There is also a ton of Sherlock Holmes material out already. You have the BBC show, the NBC show, and the Guy Ritchie movies. Do we really need another movie covering Sherlock?

 

31. In the Heart of the Sea

Release Date:  March 13th

Synopsis:  Ron Howard

Director: Ron Howard

Writer:   Charles Leavitt (screenplay), Charles Leavitt(story)

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson

What Could Go Right: I am surpised we have not seen more movies that have covered this story. We all know the story of Moby Dick, but that does not mean Ron Howard cannot put his own spin on it. Plus Ron Howard has shown with movies like Apollo 13  that he can create drama and suspense even when we know the outcome.

What Could Go Wrong: At first glance you may think that  In the Heart of the Sea is a movie adaptation of Moby Dick, but that is not the case. It is not even based on the book that inspired Herman Melville to write Moby-Dick. It is another book written more recently that covers the story of the ship that inspired the original story. When it is this convoluted just to explain where  the source material comes from it is not a good sign.

 

 

30. Furious 7

Release Date:   April 3rd

Synopsis:  Deckard Shaw seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto and his family for the death of his brother.

Director: James Wan

Writer:   Chris Morgan, Gary Scott Thompson (characters)

Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson , Jason Statham

What Could Go Right: I will admit that I hated the Fast and the Furious  franchise when it first came out.  However, when Justin Lin took the franchise over my opinion changed as he made it more than car porn on display. Sure the dialog is awful, the characters are cartoonish, and the plots are ridiculous–but the action is inventive and insanely fun. Now add in the fact that the Transporter himself Jason Statham has joined the cast and I’m super psyched.  I cannot wait for the forthcoming Statham, Rock, and Diesel punch and kick fest.

What Could Go Wrong: Justin Lin has left the franchise and has handed it over to James Wan. I have major respect for James Wan as a director…well a horror director that is. Can the guy who gave us Saw, Insidious, and The Conjuring  make a kick-ass action movie? Will the franchise take a step back without the person who made it respectable?

 

Straight Outta Compton

29. Straight Outta Compton

Release Date:   August 14th

Synopsis:  The group NWA emerges from the streets of Compton, California in the mid-1980s and revolutionizes pop culture with their music and tales about life in the hood.

Director:  F. Gary Gray

Writer:   Andrea Berloff, Jonathan Herman

Starring: Paul Giamatti, Keith Stanfield, Rebecca Olejniczak

What Could Go Right: I have watched many documenters and television specials about NWA and their story is fascinating. I long wondered why there was never a movie, and now finally we are going to see the adaptation happen.

What Could Go Wrong: Great stories do no always make great movies. Trying to breakdown an entire musical group’s career into two hours is nearly impossible to do right. While having names like Dr. Dre and Ice Cube attached as producers does allow a writer and director to gain some personal insight into the situation, it can also lessen the possibility of being objective.

 

True Story

28. True Story

Release Date:   January 23rd

Synopsis:  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.

Director: Rupert Goold

Writer:   Rupert Goold, Michael Finkel

Starring: James Franco, Jonah Hill, Felicity Jones

What Could Go Right: James Franco and Jonah Hill have been making a lot of interesting career choices as of late. They will still do the standard comedy here and there, but they will follow it up with a role and a movie that is outside their normal territory. The concept of True Story sounds like a cross between Silence of the Lambs  and In Cold Blood. I am intrigued to see how Hill and Franco will handle this material. Not to mentioned Felicity Jones is also starring, and after her work in The Theory of Everything  she has proven her power as an actress.

What Could Go Wrong: This is Rupert Goold’s first major project, and I have already put too much pressure on him by evoking such classics as Silence of the Lambs  and In Cold Blood. Also will Franco and Hill be able to handle this hefty material or will it be too much of a departure?

 

The Martian

27. The Martian

Release Date:   November 25th

Synopsis:  An astronaut, stranded on Mars, struggles to survive.

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer:   Drew Goddard (screenplay), Andy Weir (book)

Starring:  Kate Mara, Jessica Chastain, Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig

What Could Go Right: Ridley Scott has given us some of the greatest science fiction films of all time with Alien and Blade Runner. I know a lot of people really hated his last venture into science fiction with Prometheus, but I enjoyed it despite its flaws. So I am looking forward to him getting back to this genre.

What Could Go Wrong: I do wonder though if Ridley Scott has simply lost it. His last two films, Exodus: Gods and Kings and The Counselor, were two gigantic failures critically and finically. Will this just be another failure to add to the ever growing list?

 

everest-jake-gyllenhaal

26. Everest

Release Date:   September 18th

Synopsis:  A climbing expedition on Mt. Everest is devastated by a severe snow storm.

Director: Baltasar Kormákur

Writer:    Simon Beaufoy, Lem Dobbs

Starring: Keira Knightley, Jake Gyllenhaal, Robin Wright , Josh Brolin

What Could Go Right: It has been awhile since we have gotten a great survival action adventure tale. I enjoy a barebones story that centers on man vs nature and explores what it is like to truly fight against the harsh elements. Baltasar Kormákur also has a strong cast to work with.

What Could Go Wrong: I have much more faith in the cast than I do in the director. Baltasar Kormákur directed Contraband, which I panned, and 2 Guns, which was fine but ultimately forgettable. He seems like a paint by numbers director and  I wonder if this will be another one of his lackluster movies.

 

 

25. Jurassic World

Release Date:   June 12th

Synopsis:  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.

Director: Colin Trevorrow

Writer:   Derek Connolly (screenplay), Colin Trevorrow, Michael Crichton (characters)

Starring: Chris Pratt, Judy Greer, Ty Simpkins, Jake Johnson, Bryce Dallas Howard

What Could Go Right: Jurassic Park  is one of my favorite movies of all time, and I even have a soft spot for the book. So whenever a new Jurassic Park  movie comes out I am interested. I like how this is not a complete reboot and stays within the established universe of the previous films. This story also appears to be on a larger scale than the previous films.  That may help set it apart from its predecessors.

What Could Go Wrong: The trailer had some intriguing ideas, but overall it did not nearly wow me as much as I was hoping. Introducing genetically altered dinosaurs is also a risk. You could end up with something like Jaws Revenge  that set the bar for corniness. Seeing Chris Pratt with a supposed raptor army alongside him is odd to take in. It could end up working, or it could end up being an unintentional joke.

 

 

ManglehornWeb

24. Manglehorn

Release Date:   August 7th

Synopsis:  A Texas-set story of a locksmith in a small town who never got over the love of his life.

Director: David Gordon Green

Writer:   Paul Logan

Starring: Al Pacino, Holly Hunter, Chris Messina

What Could Go Right: David Gordon Green started out as an indie darling than turn to big Hollywood films. His success there was mixed at best so his  return back to indie projects has been welcome. Prince Avalanche  and Joe  showed he still has it and have me excited for what he does next.

What Could Go Wrong: With Joe  David Gordon Green reminded us that Nicholas Cage can be a good actor. Can he do the same thing with Al Pacino in Manglehorn? Both are notorious for their uncanny ability to go from zero to sixty in no time at all, but I worry Pacino is too hard of a shell to crack. Will he listen to Green’s direction or just do his own thing, because his own thing has been awful as of late?

 

joy

23. Joy

Release Date:   December 25th

Synopsis:  A story based on the life of a struggling Long Island single mom who became one of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs.

Director: David O. Russell

Writer:   Annie Mumolo , David O. Russell

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro , Édgar Ramírez

What Could Go Right: After The Hangover  who would have thought that Bradley Cooper would become one of today’s best actors? Now he is teaming up once again with the director that made people standup and recognize his acting talent. Not to mention Jennifer Lawrence is also starring and she simply cannot do wrong as of late. Can the team that gave us Silver Linings Playbook  and American Hustle  do it again?

What Could Go Wrong: I understand the acclaim for David O. Russell’s movies, but I do not tend to enjoy them nearly as much as everyone else. I feel like he takes on difficult topics, but handles them in a rather safe way. Knowing he is teaming up with the same actors once again makes me question if that will change at all.

 

22. Inside Out

Release Date:   June 19th

Synopsis:  Told from the perspective of the emotions inside the mind of a little girl.

Director: Pete Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen

Writer:   Michael Arndt (screenplay), Pete Docter (story)

Starring: Diane Lane, Amy Poehler, Kyle MacLachlan, Bill Hader

What Could Go Right: Pete Docter gave us one of the best Pixar movies in Up, and another solid entry with Monsters Inc. On paper Up  is a crazy movie that should not work, but through the power of storytelling they made a touching story.  It does appear with Inside Out  that Pixar is taking risks again.

What Can Go Wrong: Sadly Pixar has lost their mojo. They did not make a movie last year, and honestly they were not missed. I still have faith they can put out great movies, but they are going to have to prove it.

 

21. Chappie

Release Date:   March 6th

Synopsis:  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.

Director: Neill Blomkamp

Writer:   Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley , Dev Patel

What Could Go Right: With District 9  Neill Blomkamp made a film that surprised everyone. With a limited budget he crafted an original film with some amazing special effects. When you watch a Blomkamp movie you know you are going to get some incredible visuals, and when you have a story about a prodigy robot I cannot wait to see what ideas he has in store.

What Could Go Wrong: I did enjoy Blomkamp’s last film Elysium more than most, but still felt it was a big step down from District 9. I hope the success of District 9  was not just a happy accident. He appears to also be sticking within the same realm as his last two movies so will there be anything new here?

 

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Dan Clark

A fan of all things comics, movies, books, and whatever else I can find that pass the time. Twitter: @DXO_Dan Instagram: Comic_concierge

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