With the sweltering heat of summer and the barrage of big budget popcorn flicks in full swing, what better time to look ahead to the cooler temperatures and hopefully great movies on the horizon. Fall and Winter will be here before you know it and it has grown into a much more diverse time of the year for movies than it once was. That is an exciting prospect especially considering how mediocre the 2015 movie year has been so far. But the second half of the year looks good. Here are just a handful of movies that I’m really excited for.
“Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” (12/18/2015)
No movie could possibly excite me more than a new Star Wars film. Disney takes the franchise’s reins which can be exciting considering their willingness to expand the franchise. It can also be troubling considering their potential willingness to milk it for every dollar it is worth. I choose to be optimistic and my love for Star Wars, from childhood to present day, drives my optimism and enthusiasm. This is a special series to me and it means everything that Disney and J.J. Abrams gets it right.
007 purists will probably laugh me out of the room, but Daniel Craig’s run as James Bond has provided all I have ever wanted from the immensely popular franchise. Craig has brought a unique flavor to Bond and the subtle and not-so-subtle changes have won me over completely. Craig’s fourth Bond film “Spectre” lands in November and it looks insanely good. Considering the events of “Skyfall”, this installment should have a lot of story to tell and did I mention the casting of Christoph Waltz? I’m all in!
“The Martian” (10/7/2015)
Some people’s enthusiasm for Ridley Scott has started to dry up. Personally speaking he remains one of my favorite working filmmakers which is the main reason I am excited for “The Martian”. In my opinion (for what it is worth) Scott has mastered big cinematic storytelling and he has also provided some of my favorite films of all time. Just as intriguing is the film’s cast including Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristin Wiig, Michael Pena, Sean Bean, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sebastian Stan, and more.
“Midnight Special” (11/25/2015)
Speaking of filmmakers that automatically grab my attention, Jeff Nichols is one of my favorite directors which is impressive considering he has only three films to his credit. But all three have been superb especially “Take Shelter” and “Mud”. “Midnight Special” is Nichols’ new film about a father who takes his son on the run after realizing he is endowed with special powers. Watching Nichols play in a more science fiction sandbox is thrilling. He is a director who deserves an audience.
“The Revenant” (12/25/2015)
I have never fully bought into director Alejandro González Iñárritu the way many have. At the same time I always find myself interested in his style. “The Revenant” is a movie that may change my mixed feelings about Iñárritu and some are saying it is the film which could finally net Leonardo DiCaprio the long awaited Oscar. The western revenge tale also stars Tom Hardy which is just icing on the cake. The first trailer just hit the web and it looks absolutely fabulous.
This may be a bit of a cheat for my American readers mainly because “Macbeth” doesn’t have a firm 2015 US release date (although one is speculated). But my friends in the UK only have to wait until October 2nd. The film premiered this year at Cannes and the buzz doesn’t surprise me. I mean we are talking about Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard starring in the William Shakespeare tragedy. Whether the film can fully deliver is a question, but all the pieces are in place for something special.
Another exciting film which premiered at Cannes is Denis Villeneuve’s “Sicario”. The first trailer is fantastic. It is tense, gritty, and violent. But what would you expect from a film about border violence and drug cartels. But what really excites me is seeing Emily Blunt getting a tough leading role. Readers know she is a favorite of mine who I believe deserves meatier material. It looks like she is getting that kind of role in “Sicario”. Josh Brolin, Benicio del Toro make the supporting cast equally exciting.
“Knight of Cups” (12/11/2015)
While the film hasn’t been getting a ton of great reactions from early audiences, I still find myself excited for “Knight of Cups”, the latest film from ‘do-it-my-way’ filmmaker Terrence Malick. We got the first look at “Knight of Cups” several months back via a trailer that is as cryptic as the movie will probably be. Still I found myself utterly enthralled by what I saw and my appreciation for Malick’s visual and lyrical style of filmmaking makes this a must-see.
I have a real soft spot for disaster films so it’s no surprise that an upcoming disaster film has caught my attention. I’m talking about “Everest” based on the true events of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster. The story is perfect for the cinematic treatment and judging by the trailer this looks like a film that could actually make thrilling use of 3D. And listen to this cast: Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, Kiera Knightley, John Hawkes, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emily Watson, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, and Sam Worthington.
“Bridge of Spies” (10/16/2015)
“Bridge of Spies” caught my attention the moment I first read about it. First, it is a Cold War period thriller from director Steven Spielberg. When Spielberg is on his game he is hard to beat as a filmmaker. It also stars the always reliable Tom Hanks in a role that looks custom made for him. But the most intriguing thing about the film is that Joel and Ethan Coen were writers which automatically makes me think this could be a special movie. Put them all together and that is one heck of a combination.