– by David Morgan-Brown
In no time at all, the first month of 2015 has gone by already, and with a handful of leftovers from 2014 still to be released down under (the likes of Inherent Vice, The Theory of Everything, Selma, Big Eyes), this year is already showing plenty of promise through an almost unending list of films to get hyped for. Here’s a hefty handful of some films to look out for, they just might end up being your favourites of the year.
- The Hateful Eight. Plot details are vague now, all is known is that its “set in the late 1800s and follows a bunch of bounty hunters that all find themselves trapped in the same saloon during a blizzard.” This sounds like quintessential Tarantino material already, some of his best work in writing and getting the most from his performers have been from long, taut, tight scenes of hostile characters together (the underground bunker scene from Inglourious Basterds, the abandoned warehouse moments from Reservoir Dogs).
- The Lobster. “This romantic sci-fi thriller is set in a dystopian future where singles are arrested and sent to a hotel where they must find love in 45 days. If they do not make the deadline, they are turned into an animal and released into the woods.” Now that’s an original story, certainly sounds like something that would come from the mind of the man who helmed the family-friendly 2010 film Dogtooth.
- Sea of Lies. Matthew McCougnhey travels to the Japanese suicide forest (for obvious reasons) and meets Ken Watanabe who has planned the same for himself and the two begin a bond. About as fun as you can get from a Gus van Sant film.
- Absolutely Anything. A stellar line-up of comedy actors from different generations, including Simon Pegg, Eddie Izzard, the remaining Monty Python crew (with Terry Jones directing). Also features Robin Williams voicing the dog Dennis, his final film performance.
- Chappie. South African director Neill Blomkamp takes on the sci-fi genre again (as well as teaming up with actor Sharlto Copley again) for a film about a very human robot. Here’s hoping Blomkamp can continue with critical and commercial success until he adapts his short video project based on the video games Halo into a feature movie.
- Ex-Machina. Speaking of the Halo movie, did you know Alex Garland wrote the script for it, which was bought off him from Microsoft for $1 million, then sold again to 20th Century Fox for $10 million? Failed movies aside, Garland is making his directorial debut with this sci-fi film that also looks at a robot with very human qualities.
- High Rise. Keep Ben Wheatley’s name in mind, this filmmaker is already gaining a cult audience and is soon enough not going to be winning awards (his films are too weird for that) but continuing to make a name for himself. Kill List and A Field in England has shown he has his own brand of horror-comedy and it’s terrifying and hilarious. Now he will taking on the J.G. Ballard novel about the people that inhabit a self-sufficient apartment building, starring Tom Hiddleston, Sienna Miller, Jeremy Irons, and Elizabeth Moss.
- Life. Continuing to distance himself from the teen-hunk status, Robert Pattinson stars as a US photographer for Life magazine, Dennis Stock, as he develops a friendship with the legendary actor James Dean, played by Dane Dehaan. The fourth film directed by music photographer Anton Corbijn, his work has declined over the years, but hopefully he can make this film as good as his debut, Control, the biopic of Ian Curtis.
- Knight of Cups. The acclaimed American arthouse director Terrence Malick hasn’t been the most prolific filmmaker, with only six outputs in the past forty years, but his last two only came out in the past four years, and he has three films currently in the making, this one starring Christian Bale as a celebrity meandering between lives and lovers, co-starring Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett.
- Lost River. Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut baffled audiences at the few festivals it has been shown at, a surreal fantasy drama film about a single mother (Christina Hendricks) who is swept into a dark underworld as she tries to escape her financial woes, while her son (Matt Smith) discovers a secret underwater town. The film is set for a very limited theatrical release in America, with its video release on the same day. Will it be worth watching on the big screen?
- Spongebob Squarepants: Sponge Out of Water. On the surface, it may look cheesy – another Spongebob movie with the out-of-water scenes showing our main characters as CGI’d along with 3D-isation. But the humour in the trailers we’ve received so far tell us this could be as good as the first (it thankfully looks like it’ll have more Squidward in it than the first), if the show hasn’t dried up by now. I sure don’t want to live in a world where this movie turns out to suck.
- Untitled Woody Allen Film. The comedy-drama maestro’s 50th directorial film will star the powerhouse actor Joaquin Phoenix as a philosophy professor having an existential crisis – couldn’t have picked a more suitable actor for a role like that.
- Entertainment. Oddball comedian Tim Heidecker teams up with Rick Alverson (the pair previously collaborated on The Comedy in 2012) on a film apparently based on Gregg Turkington’s character, Neil Hamburger, who will also be in the film.
- Pasolini. Abel Ferrara will win Best Director at next year’s Oscars, and Willem Dafoe will win Best Actor, I’ve already got my money down (okay, probably not going to happen). Based on the last two days of the acclaimed and controversial Italian filmmaker before his suspicious murder, Dafoe is in the lead as the title character and it may just be a career best from him (or maybe his most underrated performance).
- Accidental Love. The new film from director David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle), though he doesn’t want it released at all – amidst budget issues when it was in production back in 2008, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Biel, and many crew members left production after they weren’t paid, leaving the film unfinished and with crucial scenes not filmed at all, yet here it is getting a release anyway (maybe it could be the avant garde film event of the year due to its incomplete narrative). There’s also a proper O. Russell film to be released later in the year, Joy, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, which is likely to be a finished film.
- The Look of Silence. A follow-up to the deathly confronting The Act of Killing, this one has an optometrist in Indonesia recall and reflect on the assassinations he committed in the ’65-66 genocides. Some critics are already saying this is better than its already fantastic predecessor, so maybe this one will nab the Best Documentary Oscar next year.
- Steve Jobs. With the disappointing Ashton Kutcher starring Jobs out of the way, the next posthumous film about the technological pioneer (and his band of underappreciated code monkeys) has a screenplay written by Aaron Sorkin (who won an Oscar for his script for The Social Network), but getting a director and actor attached wasn’t as easy. It was originally going to be the meticulous David Fincher directing Christian Bale as Jobs, then Fincher left, along with Bale, then Leonardo diCaprio was acquired for the lead role, then he left, and now the film is firmly in production being helmed by director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) with Michael Fassbender starring in the lead role, with a due date set for October. Despite all this hiccups throughout its pre-production, sounds like this is still going to be better than Jobs.