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Thursday, January 22, 2015

25 Films To Look Forward To In 2015

It's that time of the year again! It's 2015 and here are the 25 films we think deserve your attention. Each member of our team contributed a set of movies that we're most excited about, and here they are:

July 17th

The cap of Marvel's Phase Two to their Cinematic Universe had a very rocky road on its way to development.  Originally to be written and directed by Edgar Wright, production was halted days before filming, seeing Wright quit his pet-project to be replaced by Peyton Reed. This caused a ton of controversy among fans, but, nevertheless, we are getting Ant-Man this summer.  Paul Rudd stars as Scott Lang, who takes over the mantle of the shrinking hero for Michael Douglas' Hank Pym.  The first trailer was a bit rough, but I have faith that this project just may surprise all those doubters. [Shane]

Avengers: Age of Ultron
May 1st

This is arguably the biggest release of 2015.  Okay...a certain December release may be bigger, but this is definitely one of the most anticipated.  Avengers: Age of Ultron sees the cast and writer/director Joss Whedon reunite to tackle Ultron, the villainous robot who seeks to eliminate human life on Earth.  James Spader's performance as Ultron already steals every single trailer thus far, making all of us at GeekRex hope Marvel has finally found an interesting villain again.  The first Avengers film made just over $1 billion...it probably won't be too far fetched to assume this sequel will do just as well (if not better).  Let's hope Whedon's humor finds a way into the noticeably darker tone. [Shane]

TBD 2015

Todd Haynes makes great movies, and sadly so few of them. But when that ever so rare occurrence of a new release hits, it demands your attention. This will mark Haynes first theatrical release since the Bob Dylan psuedo bio-pic, I'm Not There, but it looks to perhaps have more in common thematically with his 2002 feature Far From Heaven. Starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara whose characters become romantically involved in 1950's New York, and there's some seriously great dramatic potential to mine. This may very well be my most anticipated film of the year. [Kyle]

March 6th

As I discussed in my 15 non-blockbusters to watch this year, there are many directors in 2015 who seem to be seeking some redemption...the one film that will help recapture what audiences and critics loved about them to begin with.  One of them is Neill Blomkamp and that film is Chappie.  The story feels a bit like a futuristic Short Circuit with just a dash of Robocop, but I'm a sucker for Blomkamp's style of making science fiction look dirty.  Chappie may not win over every single person who goes to see it (many still have the bad taste of Elysium in their mouth), but all I'm hoping for is a heart-warming story with some stellar special effects. [Shane]

The Duke of Burgundy
January 23rd (limited)

Peter Strickland's Berberian Sound Studio was a clever, beautifully-shot homage to Italian giallo filmmaking that had some interesting ideas about where horror comes from, how we invent it from seemingly simple, innocuous components. His new film, The Duke of Burgundy, riffs on the softcore erotica of the 1970s, trying to find the real human emotions beneath these sensual fantasies. Sidse Babett Knudsen and Chiara D'Anna play a pair of lesbian lovers in a kinky BDSM relationship, but the core of the film is what they're doing when they aren't amorously entangled. The film was a big hit at last year's Toronto International Film Festival, with a number of critics citing it as a surefire presence on their Best of the Decade lists, and I can't wait to see why. [Cal]

Ex Machina
April 10th

Alex Garland is easily one of the most exciting screenwriters working as far as genre films go. His resume speaks for itself (28 Days Later, Sunshine, Never Let Me Go, Dredd) and Ex Machina marks his directorial debut. With Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander, and Domhnall Gleeson starring, this one could be a big surprise. Or, it could just be Her but as a thriller, which the trailer sort of pitches it as. Either way, Garland hasn't missed with me yet, and I look forward to seeing his first outing behind the camera. [Kyle]

Hateful Eight 
November 13th

Next up in the Quentin Tarantino history rewrite extravaganza is Hateful Eight, a story of a fugitive, the bounty hunters that have captured her, and the people they're holed up with during a blizzard. The movie takes place about six years after the end of the civil war and stars Jennifer Jason Leigh, Samuel L. Jackson, Channing Tatum, and Kurt Russell, among others. Based on previous Tarantino works as of late, I expect a lot of violence and even more revenge. [Hannah]

It Follows
March 27th

Sex and death have long been inextricably linked in horror films, but few have made the comparison as thoroughly - or cleverly - as David Robert Mitchell in It Follows. Jay, a young woman, has sex with her new boyfriend... and, shortly thereafter, finds herself stalked by an unearthly presence that can look like anyone and find her anywhere. She can pass it on like a Slasher STD, but it means condemning some other poor soul to die. It Follows combines the sexual terrors of Charles Burns' Black Hole with The Ring, and these are a few of my favorite things. [Cal]
Jurassic World 
June 12th

Don't even pretend like Chris Pratt leading a pack of velociraptors around on his motorcycle or the creation of the new, genetically modified Indominus Rex isn't awesome. Because it is awesome. And even if the movie squanders all of its potential and is terrible, you know you'll have to see it just to make sure. [Hannah]

Kingsman: The Secret Service
February 13th

Although I might be the only GeekRexer to say so, I think Mark Millar's had an enormous renaissance in the last year, and of all the really stellar new series he's introduced, The Secret Service was by far my favorite. The weird but dramatic tale of a young British troublemaker being taken under wing by his secret agent uncle and having to unravel a mystery involving world domination and sci-fi movie stars is one I'm very excited to revisit on the big screen, especially with veteran comic adaptor Matthew Vaughn at the helm. [Harper]

December 4th

Michael Dougherty made a huge splash on the horror scene with his film Trick 'R Treat in 2007.  The anthology horror film provided great scares, fun humor, and an excellent inter-weaving plot that captured the fun of Halloween night.  Dougherty now shifts his focus to Christmas, specifically the mythical figure of Krampus, something still relatively unknown to most American audiences.  This will be Dougherty's first film since Trick 'R Treat, making fans all the more excited.  Here's hoping Krampus' first big outing in American theaters is a big success.  It's about time we had a good Christmas themed horror movie. [Shane]

The Look of Silence
July 17th

Joshua Oppenheimer rose to prominence with 2012's powerful, moving documentary The Act of Killing. The film spoke with a number of people who participated in a series of mass killings in mid-1960s Indonesia, allowing these pop-culture savvy killers to essentially recreate their crimes as scenes from American genre films, something they were all too happy to do. The Look of Silence, Oppenheimer's follow-up film, is a companion piece to The Act of Killing, this time focusing more on the victims of the government-sanctioned slaughters. If it's half as powerful as his previous film, this will be the year's must-see documentary. [Cal]

Mad Max: Fury Road
May 15th

You guys...that trailer. Seriously. George Miller's career arc can be divided into two phases: when he's directing Mad Max films and when he's making family fare like Happy Feet and Babe (yes, there's The Witches of Eastwick in between, but I'll conveniently ignore that for this argument). Luckily, the former looks to return to prominence this year. Tom Hardy stars in the role that made Mel Gibson an action star, in a film that Miller describes as a "western on wheels". I don't know if the world is really hungering for another Mad Max film, but then again, who cares what the rest of the world wants as long as I get something that looks this awesome? It's all about me after all. [Kyle]

The Martian
November 25th

Andy Weir's self-published sci-fi novel The Martian was one of 2013's most surprising pleasures, a book that can be boiled down to, essentially, Robinson Crusoe on Mars (no, not that one) as it follows a lone astronaut stranded on Mars with 4 months of supplies... and four years until the next Mars mission is set to land. The book is witty and very, very heavy on the science - it's become a favorite of engineers and astronauts - so I'm not sure how well that will translate, but the cast, which includes Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, and Kristin Wiig, is killer, and hopefully Ridley Scott got... whatever the fuck was wrong with him our of his system with Prometheus and Exodus. We'll see. Still, if it's anything like the book, viewers are in for a treat. [Cal]

Midnight Special
 November 25th

Jeff Nichols made a big splash with his 2012 indie hit Mud, which arguably started the McConaissance. Mud is extremely down to earth and emotionally resonant, which makes his new film about a father learning his son has special powers especially interesting. If he can bring his unique brand of realism to this street level sci-fi concept, he might just have another critical darling on his hands. Plus, Michael Shannon=Awesome. [Harper]

The Peanuts Movie
November 6th

It's hard to not crack a nostalgic smile when watching the trailer for this upcoming Blue Sky animated film.  Seeing Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Woodstock, Linus, and the whole Peanuts gang on screen again brings back a flood of memories from childhood.  The nostalgia factor is going to likely be a huge selling point for many when The Peanuts Movie debuts this Fall, likely making it a huge hit.  Written by members of Charles Schulz's family, this seems to be the perfect way of celebrating the 65th anniversary of the comic strip.  Hopefully the film doesn't try to add too much modern humor to appeal to today's kids.... [Shane]

The Revenant   
December 25th (limited)

Director Alejandro González Iñárritu, known for his most recent success with Birdman, follows up with a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a 19th century fur trapper. DiCaprio's character is mauled by a grizzly bear and then robbed and left for dead, but after surviving the ordeal, decides to find the men who left him for dead and exact revenge.The film is based on the Michael Punke novel "The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge." [Hannah]

November 6th

Sam Mendes returns for what is probably the only remaining auteur driven blockbuster franchise, or at least that's been the case since he joined EON on the ongoing adventures of 007. Skyfall was a wonder of craft, if not exactly storytelling, and the cast for this new entry is certainly impressive (Christoph Waltz, Andrew Scott and Monica Bellucci particularly). What I'm most anticipating though, is the team-up between Mendes and new cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema (Interstellar). If they can even come close to matching the visual splendor that Mendes and previous DP Roger Deakins were able to master, we'll have a real stunner on our hands. [Kyle]

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens 
December 18th

I mean... do I even need to say anything about this besides the title? Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that 2015 is the year Star Wars comes back to the big screen. I'm not even that interested in Star Wars, but this will probably be the biggest cinematic event of the year. Plus, my friend Brian will be freaking out. [Hannah]

That's What I'm Talking About
TBA 2015

Richard Linklater's follow-up to his one-two punch of Before Midnight and Boyhood is what he's calling a spiritual sequel to both the latter film and to his first critical smash, Dazed and Confused. Taking place in the 1980's and following a group of college freshmen, it picks up right after the time-frame of Linklater's 70's coming of age story, while setting itself within the next moment of adulthood that Boyhood left off with. There isn't much else to go on yet, but Linklater is operating at the peak of his powers right now, there's little reason to expect this won't be another home-run (get it? Because its about college baseball players! Wait, I didn't mention that?) [Kyle]

May 22nd

Though few classic films have been based on amusement parks, this one has garnered a lot of interest. It's retrofuturistic look and cast, including George Clooney and Britt Robertson, are definitely appealing, but it's Brad Bird's involvement as director and co-writer (with Damon Lindelof) that clinch the deal. [Harper]

July 17th

Judd Apatow's films are bloated improv-heavy bro-downs of the highest order. They're also warm, humanistic dramedies that do some excellent character work and find a number of inspired comic riffs. But while Apatow's film work has been super bro-y, his television work contributing to shows like Freaks and Geeks and Girls has some of the medium's best female characters, so seeing him direct a film written by Amy Schumer - whose Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer was some of the sharpest feminist comedy on TV last year - definitely has my attention. Will Apatow and Schumer reign in one another's worst instincts or just turn the bloat towards a different target? No clue - but I'm eager to find out. [Cal]

Triple Nine
September 11th

While the basic premise of corrupt cops and criminals planning the murder of an officer to pull of a heist didn't initially draw my attention, the cast and crew certainly did: the excellent and underrated John Hillcoat directing, with Kate Winslet, Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, and many more starring. Here's to hoping this becomes a new crime classic! [Harper]

While We're Young  
March 27th

Director Noah Baumbach seems to have found a favorite lead actor in Ben Stiller. After pairing up for Greenberg, the two will be working together again for Baumbach's newest film, While We're Young. Following up on Frances Ha, potentially one of Baumbach's most successful films to date, While We're Young looks like another retelling of Baumbach's signature story - struggling with growing up. This time it focuses on a couple in their 40s who finds their lives changed when they begin spending time with a pair of 25-year-old hipsters. The film will also star Naomi Watts and Adam Driver. [Hannah]

Z for Zachariah
January 24th (Sundance Film Festival)

Based on the 1974 young adult novel by Robert C. O'Brien, this post-apocalyptic tale tells the story of a young girl who's been surviving on her own set upon by scientists wishing to reclaim the now deadly exterior environment. There's been some controversy about the cast, which includes Margot Robbie, Chris Pine, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, in that it seems to be pushing a love triangle that was not present in the book. Regardless, it's a cast and concept that could definitely be worth a look–we'll have to wait for a teaser to tell more. [Harper] 

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