20. The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Release Date: August 14th
Synopsis: In the early 1960s, CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin participate in a joint mission against a mysterious criminal organization, which is working to proliferate nuclear weapons.
Director: Guy Ritchie
Writer: Guy Ritchie (screenplay), Lionel Wigram
Starring: Henry Cavill, Alicia Vikander, Hugh Grant, Armie Hammer
What Could Go Right: As mentioned I really enjoy spy films, and when those spy films take place in the slick 1960’s my interest is peeked even more. I know Guy Ritchie can bring the style when you see movies like Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels or Snatch. I am intrigued to see what he can do with a property like this.
What Could Go Wrong: One thing to consider is that the The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is an adaptation of a television series, and those do not tend to fair well. I have enjoyed a lot of Guy Ritichie’s movies but he has been stuck in Sherlock Holmes land for some time now so I worry he is becoming a for hire director that is going from one soulless project to the next. I feel like Armie Hammer is a star in the making, but his last film was The Lone Ranger so maybe that feeling is off.
19. Umimachi Diary
Release Date: June 13th
Synopsis: A story that revolves around three sisters who live in their grandmother’s home and the arrival of their 13-year-old half sister.
Director: Hirokazu Koreeda
Writer: Akimi Yoshida (manga), Hirokazu Koreeda
Starring: Haruka Ayase, Masami Nagasawa, Suzu Hirose
What Could Go Right: Last year Like Father, Like Son made my Top 10 of the year so I am obligated to put this on the list somewhere. I was impressed how he took a story that on paper seemed cliché and made it into something unquie. Hopefully that will happen again with Umimachi Diary.
What Could Go Wrong: Like Father, Like Son was my first introduction into Hirokazu Koreeda so the question becomes was Like Father, Like Son a one hit wonder or the beginning of something great.
18. Midnight Special
Release Date: November 25th
Synopsis: A father and son go on the run after the dad learns his child possesses special powers.
Director: Jeff Nichols
Writer: Jeff Nichols
Starring: Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver ,Michael Shannon
What Could Go Right: In three short films Jeff Nichols has become one of the most notable directors today. With each progressive film he has become better and better. Michael Shannon and him have formed quite the partnership. Joel Edgerton also is quietly having quite the career. I cannot wait to see what he and Nichols can do together.
What Could Go Wrong: Jeff Nichols does not strike me as a director who would make a movie centered around a child with special powers. Take Shelter had elements I could see that relate, but overall it appears to be an odd choice.
17. Mission: Impossible 5
Release Date: December 25th
Synopsis: The Plot is unknown at this time
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writer: Bruce Geller (characters), Drew Pearce
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, America Olivo , Paula Patton, Alec Baldwin
What Could Go Right: The Mission Impossible movie franchise has some interesting similarities to the Fast and the Furious Franchise as it to has become better the longer it has stuck around. I loved Ghost Protocol, and although many hate him I am an unabashed Tom Cruise fan. Love him or hate him there is no denying he goes all out for this movies.
What Could Go Wrong: Part of what made M:I3 and M:I4 such improvements was the fact they were directed by J.J. Abrams and Brad Bird. Brad Bird especially brought a unique visual storytelling style that made this old franchise fresh again. The last time Christopher McQuarrie teamed up with Tom Cruise it was on Jack Reacher, and that was as by the book as you can get. I worry that without someone like Brad Bird this will just be another stale action film.
16. Untitled Christmas Eve Project
Release Date: November 25th
Synopsis: In New York City for their annual tradition of Christmas Eve debauchery, three lifelong best friends set out to find the Holy Grail of Christmas parties since their yearly reunion might be coming to an end.
Director: Jonathan Levine
Writer: Evan Goldberg , Kyle Hunter
Starring: Lizzy Caplan, Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt , Anthony Mackie
What Could Go Right: The last time Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt , and Jonathan Levine teamed up it was on th comedy drama 50/50, which made my Top 5 of that year. As time has gone by I have only enjoyed it more. Levine also made Warm Bodies that could have been a Twilight rip-off, but ended up being a clever little gem.
What Could Go Wrong: We all know what happened to Seth Rogen’s last movie so you never know what can derail a film. The worst part of the entire situation was that The Interview was just an okay movie. Evan Goldberg who co-wrote that screen play is also co-writing the script to this. Sometimes his comedy works, and sometimes it is just one fart joke too many.
15. Crimson Peak
Release Date: October 15th
Synopsis: In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds…and remembers.
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Writer: Guillermo del Toro (screenplay), Matthew Robbins
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston , Mia Wasikowska
What Could Go Right: Guillermo del Toro is one of the most respected names in geek culture today. If you asked which director is the most likely to have a cult that follows him around I would assume its del Toro. There is no denying his creative mind. Some of the characters and visuals he comes up with are one of a kind. He is the type of director who loves movies and does not mind showing it.
What Could Go Wrong: As scandalous as it might sound I have never been the biggest fan of Guillermo del Toro’s horror films. I can recognize his craftsmanship, but overall they tend not to work for me. I also worry del Toro has been running himself too thin. His name has been appearing a lot of properties that have been kind of awful. The Strain last year was a colossal waste of time, and that was even after he directed the pilot episode. Is there enough gas left in his tank to make this movie work?
14. Z for Zachariah
Release Date: April 16th
Synopsis: In the wake of a disaster that wipes out most of civilization, two men and a young woman find themselves in an emotionally charged love triangle as the last known survivors.
Director: Craig Zobel
Writer: Pall Grimsson , Nissar Modi
Starring: Margot Robbie, Chris Pine, Chiwetel Ejiofor
What Could Go Right: I enjoy myself a good dystopian future film. Last year we had a plethora of examples of how to do the apocalyptic world right, and I hope Z for Zachariah can keep it going. Being based on a well-regarded book does give me faith. Plus having the acting talent of Chiwetel Ejiofor does not hurt. Margot Robbie burst onto the scene due to Wolf of Wall Street and this will be a perfect opportunity to prove she is not a one movie wonder.
What Could Go Wrong: Chris Pine has always seemed like someone who was more of a movie star than a movie actor. I wonder if he will be able to keep with Robbie and Ejiofor. Not to mentioned a love triangle storyline during a disaster movie is a recipe for over indulgent melodrama.
Release Date: May 22nd
Synopsis: Bound by a shared destiny, a teen bursting with scientific curiosity and a former boy-genius inventor embark on a mission to unearth the secrets of a place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory.
Director: Brad Bird
Writer: Damon Lindelof (screenplay), Brad Bird
Starring: George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie
What Could Go Right: Brad Bird and George Clooney are two of the most intrinsic minds in Hollywood today. Bird in his short live-action career has already demonstrated a great skill in visual storytelling. With a movie called Tomorrowland that is based on a futuristic world he should be able to demonstrate that skill in abundance.
What Could Go Wrong: When you speak the name Damon Lindelof aloud you need to do it carefully. There is a lot of hatred out there for his past failures. There is not denying he has had many great successes, but when he fails he fails hard.
12. The Walk
Release Date: October 2nd
Synopsis: The story of French high-wire artist Philippe Petit’s attempt to cross the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974.
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writer: Robert Zemeckis (screenplay), Christopher Browne
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon
What Could Go Right: Man on Wire is one of my all-time favorite documentaries, and many place it as one of the best of all time. With that praise it makes sense someone is taking this story and making it into a documentary feature. Robert Zemeckis was on the downswing of his career, but brought himself back with 2012’s Flight that earned Denzel Washington an Oscar nomination. Could he also do the same for Joseph Gordon-Levitt?
What Could Go Wrong: I am a fan of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but I am not sure if I see him fitting this role. Philippe Petit is such an eccentric character that is too surreal to believe. When you place that type of personality into a documentary it tends to enhance the quality of the movie, but when you try to represent that type of personality in a dramatization it can come off as unbelievable and corny.
11. Untitled Cold War Thriller
Release Date: October 16th
Synopsis: An American lawyer is recruited by the CIA during the Cold War to help rescue a pilot detained in the Soviet Union.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Matt Charman, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Starring: Tom Hanks, Billy Magnussen, Amy Ryan, Alan Alda
What Could Go Right: So you have a movie directed by Steven Spielberg and written by the Coen brothers? Why don’t we just give them the Oscars now? People know Spielberg can do big scale action like no other. What people sometimes forget is he also knows how to do the small scale as well. Based on the plot description the one past Spielberg film that comes to mind is Munich. It too was a thriller set against a hostile political backdrop so I have faith he will have similar success once again.
What Could Go Wrong: I am a Spielberg fan. I mean how can you not be based on his career? Still, he is guilty of lessening the quality of his films in order to pander to audiences so you always run that risk. I too wonder how the Coen’s style will mesh with Spielberg’s. The Coens tend to favor a dry wit over the deep emotional resonance you tend to get with Spielberg. Will this be an example of where the direction and script are always at odds?
10. Trespass Against Us
Release Date: TBD
Synopsis: A man looks to find a way to escape the criminal ways of his outlaw family.
Director: Adam Smith
Writer: Alastair Siddons
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Brendan Gleeson, Rory Kinnear
What Could Go Right: I may be ranking this far too high but I am gitty at the chance to see Fassbender and Gleeson act opposite of one another. They are both the type of actors that own every ounce of the screen so I am interested to see what happens when you put those to colossal acting forces together.
What Could Go Wrong: Adam Smith has gotten some acclaim for his television work. Specifically many have indicated he has directed some of the best recent episodes of Dr. Who. Film is an entire different medium though. It is a lot to ask for an unproven directed to control such supreme actors like Gleeson and Fassbender.
Release Date: TBD
Synopsis: In the seventeenth century, two Jesuit priests face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and to spread the gospel of Christianity.
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: Jay Cocks (screenplay), Shûsaku Endô (novel)
Starring: Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver
What Could Go Right: Things are shaping up for 2015 to be quite the year for movie geeks. You have to love it when cinematic heavyweights like Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg are both coming out with films in the same year. Andrew Garfield may be losing the role of Spider-Man, but starring in a Scorsese joint is not a bad consolation prize. This can be his shot to show American audiences just how talented an actor he is capable of being.
What Could Go Wrong: Last year we had an abundance of movies that focused on faith and religion of some sort. In fact one, Calvary, ended up making my Top 10 of the year. With this being a period piece it does offer something different, but I wonder if it is really going to say anything new that already hasn’t been said already.
8. The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Release Date: May 1st
Synopsis: When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and it is up to the Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans.
Director: Joss Whedon
Writer: Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo , Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader
What Could Go Right: One of the biggest movies of all time is getting a sequel, and this time the team is facing off against one The Avengers greatest foes. Joss Whedon was able to match the unprecedented hype for the first film, and there does not seem to be any reason to assume he will not do it again.
What Could Go Wrong: Seeing The Avengers in the theater was one of the most fun movie going experiences of my life time. Much of that enjoyment came from seeing these characters together for the first time. The Avengers: Age of Ultron cannot rely on that luxury. It needs to be a fully fleshed out movie in order to be successful. Marvel has not had much luck establishing new villains with their films. Loki played a large role in making it The Avengers what it was. Will a CGI creation in Ultron be able to fill that void?
7. Knight of Cups
Release Date: TBD
Synopsis: Once there was a young prince whose father, the king of the East, sent him down into Egypt to find a pearl. But when the prince arrived, the people poured him a cup. Drinking it, he forgot he was the son of a king, forgot about the pearl and fell into a deep sleep.
Director: Terrence Malick
Writer: Terrence Malick
Starring: Joe Manganiello, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett
What Could Go Right: Love or hate his movies there is no denying that Terrence Malick is one of the most ambitious filmmakers today. Something like Tree of Life had some claiming genius and others claiming Malick had lost his mind. So when Malick comes out with a film his fans await with bated breath hoping genius will once again emerge.
What Could Go Wrong: Malick’s style in some ways has become stale. His last film To the Wonder was a disappointment and felt like a downgraded version of Tree of Life. What was once groundbreaking has now become common place. Will Malick rely too heavily on his old tricks or bring the world something new once again?
6. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Release Date: December 18th
Synopsis: A continuation of the saga created by George Lucas set thirty years after Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi(1983).
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writer: J.J. Abrams
Starring: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Domhnall Gleeson, John Boyega, Max von Sydow
What Could Go Right: Ironically with creator George Lucas out of the picture it appears Star Wars is getting back to what we all loved about it. J.J. Abrams has made it clear he favors practical effects over saturated CGI. We know some of icons from the original trilogy are returning, and a lot of the new cast looks promising. It looks like we are finally getting the Star Wars sequels we always wanted.
What Could Go Wrong: Well when it comes to Star Wars sequels and prequels we all know how bad things can get. With the failures of the prequels it feels dangerous to get hyped for The Force Awakens. Will we all get burned once again or will this time be different?
5. Green Room
Release Date: TBD
Synopsis: A young punk rock band find themselves trapped in a secluded venue after stumbling upon a horrific act of violence.
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Writer: Jeremy Saulnier
Starring: Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Anton Yelchin , Patrick Stewart
What Could Go Right: This time last year I did not know the name Jeremy Saulnier. That changed when I saw one of the brightest surpises of 2014 Blue Ruin. With that one movie Saulnier showed he had a command of the Crime genre, and some true directoral talent. So much so it ended up making my Top 5. Now he is getting some huge acting talent with Patrick Stewart and Anton Yelchin.
What Could Go Wrong: There have been many directors that have showed great promise that ended up disappointing us. Will Saulnier be another one hit wonder? Was Blue Ruin nothing more than just a fluke?
4. Mad Max: Fury Road
Release Date: May 15th
Synopsis: An apocalyptic story set in the furthest reaches of our planet, in a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, and almost everyone is crazed fighting for the necessities of life. Within this world exist two rebels on the run who just might be able to restore order. There’s Max, a man of action and a man of few words, who seeks peace of mind following the loss of his wife and child in the aftermath of the chaos. And Furiosa, a woman of action and a woman who believes her path to survival may be achieved if she can make it across the desert back to her childhood homeland.
Director: George Miller
Writer: George Miller
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Zoë Kravitz
What Could Go Right: When I first heard George Miller was trying to make a sequel/remake of Mad Max I thought it was a huge mistake, but then I saw the trailer. I was majorily impressed with the visual spectacle that I witnessed. It also helps knowing that Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron will be starring.
What Could Go Wrong: George Miller is not the director he once was. In fact he has not directed much of anything lately. Besides Happy Feet and Happy Feet Two the last time Miller directed a live action film was Babe: Pig in the City. Sure the trailer looks amazing but so did the trailer for Godzilla, and that ended up being my dissapointment of the year.
3. The Hateful Eight
Release Date: November 13th
Synopsis: In post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunters try to find shelter during a blizzard but get involved in a plot of betrayal and deception. Will they survive?
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Channing Tatum, Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins , Bruce Dern
What Could Go Right: The world is better place when you know Quentin Tarantino is coming out with a movie. Okay, perhaps that is an overstatement, but I am an unabashed Tarantino fan. He might be one of the most arrogant men in Hollywood, but based on his career he has reason to be. Channing Tatum has grown into a bonafide acting talent, and I am looking forward to see how Bruce Dern follows up his Oscar nominated performance in Nebraska.
What Could Go Wrong: It is unlike Quentin Tarantino to stay within the same genre. Even Kill Bill 2 was a style shift from Kill Bill 1. Is this sign that Tarantino is finally coming complacent? He has stated on many occasions he will retire when he runs out of great ides for movies. Has that already happened?
2. That’s What I’m Talking About
Release Date: TBD
Synopsis: Plot undisclosed. Centers on the lives of baseball players on and off the field.
Director: Richard Linklater
Writer: Richard Linklater
Starring: Ryan Guzman, Zoey Deutch, Tyler Hoechlin
What Could Go Right: For two years in a row Richard Linklater has made a movie that made my top 10. I am hoping that he can make it three for three. Some have said That’s What I’m Talking About is a spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused, which has me intrigued on what the movie will entail.
What Could Go Wrong: How do you follow up a movie like Boyhood? When you finish a tweleve year project like that I would assume there has to be some sort of mental letdown. Will simple fatigue set in? Will the pressure to do something great be too much?
Release Date: November 6th
Synopsis: A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.
Director: Sam Mendes
Writer: Ian Fleming (characters), John Logan(screenplay)
Starring: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Ralph Fiennes, Monica Bellucci
What Could Go Right: So who can beat out Richard Linklater, Quentin Tarantino, Terrance Malik, Martin Scoresse, and Stephen Spielberg? Well one man–Bond, James Bond. Corny lines aside I am pysched that Sam Mendes is returning to the Bond franchise. Skyfall was one of the best installments of the entire series. There was an aristray to it that we never saw before in a Bond film. It is dssapointing that cinematographer Roger Deakins is not returning as his work was a big part of Skyfall’s success, but Mendes got a great replacement with Hoyte Van Hoytema. His past work includes Her, Interstellar, and Let the Right One In so you know he is no slouch.
What Could Go Wrong: I know many Bond fans are excited to see Spectre is returning the franchise, but I wonder if it will really work. Since Daniel Craig has took over the mantel of Bond the series has been more grounded in reality. I can’t imagine someone explaining what the accoryn Spectre stands for without getting a few chuckles. Can something like Spectre work for today’s audience? Can it stand the test of time?
Well there you have it. 100 films to look forward to in 2015. I know even with 100 movies I left some off. What movies are you looking forward to? What is ranked too high? Too low? Sound off in the comments below.