Star Wars: The Force Awakens is easily the most exciting film coming out this year. J.J. Abrams bringing back the force for a new generation is going to be a magical experience at the movies and the ultimate way to end this wonderful year of film. But I'd like to share with you 15 films that you should also really be excited to see. Click through for my fall list of the top 15 most anticipated films of 2015.
In my previous mid-year list of Top 15 films Fox Searchlight's poignant high school tale, Me and Earl and The Dying Girl, topped my list. For that full list click, here. Already this month I'd gladly add The Gift, The Stanford Prison Experience, and The End of The Tour to the Top 15. Now we're still technically in August and thus the summer time so films released in the next two weeks aren't part of my fall list (except for 1 movie*). I've picked 15 films that are scheduled to release Sept 1st till December 31st (*minus the 1). Some of these may easily be bumped back to 2016, but as of the time of this post they were 2015 scheduled releases. So lets get to the fun.
Here is my fall list of Top 15 Most Anticipated Films of 2015. These easily can be a good list for Oscar and Award season contenders. I have seen 2 of these films and will mention that in their brief descriptions. Enjoy:
15. SPECTRE – Directed By Sam Mendes.
Sam Mendes and Daniel Craig hit new heights with the haunting Skyfall and this year they've added the dynamic Ralph Fiennes and the diabolical Christoph Waltz. The film hopefully will showcase even more of the origin story of our greatest super spy as well as unite British Intelligence as it battles the spooky Spectre. Can't wait to see how wild and crazy Waltz is as the new super villain and honestly I'm excited to see Dame Judi Dench have a good final farewell.
14. LEGEND – Directed By Brian Helgeland
The Kray brothers story has always intrigued me and to have Tom Hardy tackle playing both of them is going to be crazy. In the hands of Academy Award winner Brian Helgeland it's hard to imagine this isn't going to be sublime. Tom Hardy leads a stellar cast with vets like Paul Bettany & Chazz Palminteri mixing it up with the underrated Christopher Eccleston, David Thewlis and youngsters Taron Edgerton and Emily Browning Also Cinematographer Dick Pope has really impressed with his visual style seen in last year's Mr. Turner and his previous films Bernie, The Illusionist, and Vera Drake.
13. FREEHELD – Directed By Peter Sollett
I'm a big fan of writer/producer Ron Nyswaner and am excited to see his take on the Oscar winning short documentary that first showcased this heartbreaking story. Last year's Academy Award winning Julianne Moore may have found an even more compelling character and I'm really looking forward to seeing Steve Carell & Michael Shannon play off of each other's wildly different characters. It's a great step up for Director Peter Sollett who impressed with Raising Victor Vargas and Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist. Also excited to see his directing in HBO's upcoming Vinyl!
12. BLACK MASS – Directed by Scott Cooper
Whitey Bulger's story being brought to the big screen with this CAST! Wow! Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jesse Plemons, Kevin Bacon, Rory Cochrane, Corey Stoll, and ladies Dakota Johnson, Julianne Nicholson and Juno Temple give Director Scott Cooper his most impressive ensemble to date. Cooper's last film Out of Furnace certainly didn't live up to Crazy Heart, but to tackle this gangster story just seems perfect. Did you watch the trailer. Holy shit, maybe Johnny Depp isn't making shitty franchise films after all.
11. THE HATEFUL EIGHT – Directed by Quentin Tarantino
The trailer looks amazing and who isn't excited for the next QT production? The only real issues that kept this one from making my top ten are the fact that I'd really love Tarantino to jump back into the modern world. Django was pure riotous fun, but another wild west film really makes me harp for his earlier films. I'd love to see him tackle the future world or at least the 21st century with his crazy wit. But then again it's hard not to love this –
10. COOTIES – Directed By Jonathan Milott & Cary Murnion
* – I've already seen this wild ass creation from Leigh Whannell (co-creator of Saw and Insidious) and Ian Brennan (co-creator of Glee).
All I can say is I laughed so damn much it literally hurt me. The pacing and humor of this crazy look at puberty gone wrong is easily the sneak attack film of the year. Rainn Wilson is completely at home in his character and the wonderful funny chemistry of Elijah Wood & Allison Pill is perfectly handled. Big shout out to Jorge Garcia who once again plays a damn good druggie. This movie reminded me of Shaun of the Dead on so many levels, but with much more gore. Honestly, do not miss out on this one or you'll regret your whole damn year.
9. THE MARTIAN – Directed By Ridley Scott
I get that PRO-omgthismovieissoboringandlong-METHUS was a bit of a dud, but Ridley in space is still a must see. Besides this isn't Ridley's epic way to restart a famed series, it's a quality novel. Granted the trailer is as long as the book, but the idea is a great one for a film. And it has Michael Pena, Sean Bean and Chiwetal Ejiofor aka the holy trinity of fun time actors.
8. THE REVENANT – Directed By Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Leo and Hardy back again after totally dominating Inception! A revenant is a visible ghost or animated corpse that was believed to return from the grave to terrorize the living. This is basically going to be like Game of Thrones White Walker meets Inarritu – i'm game!
7. ROOM – Directed By Lenny Abrahamson
Is it just me or is Brie Larson the next Jennifer Lawrence? This gritty book adaptation sure reminds me of the break out performance of Winter's Bone. She is captivating as a young actress and in this role should shine brightly come award season. If you're not familiar with Lenny Abrahamson please get to studying, he is yet again another quality Irish filmmaker with great intelligence.
6. THE PEANUTS MOVIE – Directed By Steve Martino
Charles M. Schulz meets the creators of Ice Age = Gold. What a tribute to the great artist while giving a brand new tale for future generations of kids. Inside Out really stole our hearts in the first half of the year, but it'll be hard to beat Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang. I mean Snoopy on the big screen!
5. BEASTS OF NO NATION – Directed By Cary Fukunaga
Bravo to Cary for passing on True Detective 2 for this emotionally trying adaptation of Uzodinma Iweala's heartbreaking novel. Easily going to be one of the most powerful films of 2015. And of course it has IDRIS.
4. BRIDGE OF SPIES – Directed By Steven Spielberg
Hanks. Spielberg. I'm confused what else more do you need?
3. THE LOOK OF SILENCE – Directed By Joshua Oppenheimer
* I got to see this film at DIFF 2015. Utterly amazing.
The Act of Killing is one of the most haunting documentaries I've ever watched. The Look of Silence is even more horrifying and it simply shows a man's journey to question the past. A very different film but with such an incredible way to showcase fear in our own humanity. You can not see this film and not be changed. Oppenheimer has given us two films that look at humanity with such an illuminating light that it is outrageous, spooky and downright evil. Drafthouse films held a limited release in July, but this film continues to push across the country and so I have included it in this list to make sure you see it!
2. HE NAMED ME MALALA – Directed By Davis Guggenheim.
If their is a documentary that will battle Oppenheimer's sequel as the best doc of the year, it is this film. Get to know this story if you haven't already, here.
"One Child. One Teacher. One Book and One Pen can change the world. Education is the only solution." – Malala Yousefzai
1. SPOTLIGHT – Directed By Tom McCarthy.
I originally was going to have the docs one and two. But after The Cobbler failure I have to highlight one of the best directors around, Tom McCarthy. He is a tremendous writer, actor and director who I'm so happy has decided to tackle a real subject again. This film looks utterly haunting in it's look into the impact of years of abuse by our religious leaders. Catholic priests aren't the only ones, but I'm at least glad that they have finally had a finger pointed their way. Not every man is evil, but there is certainly evil in our world.
What an exciting year in film. I'll leave you with this final clip.
See you at the movies, indeed!