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Screen Invasion’s Ultimate 2015 Movie Preview – Everything From BLACKHAT to STAR WARS

Brand awareness has been one of the guiding forces in Hollywood since the turn of the century. Movies cost so much to make and market now that studios, especially with their tent poles, only want to make something people already know about, either via sequel, reboot, or massively popular young adult novels. In 2015, this ideology looks to peak, with almost every big budget film being a sequel or remake.

After flirting with an out and out recreation of films from the ’80s, 2015 looks to be the year the decade of excess truly takes over Hollywood, with new TerminatorMad MaxPoltergeistVacationStar Wars and James Bond films, not to mention a live action version of the Jem and the Holograms cartoon. There’s also the chance another Friday the 13th sequel will pop up. The only thing missing is another Back to the Future. Not to be outdone, the ’90s are also represented, with new entries in the Jurassic Park and Mission: Impossible series, along with a remake of Point Break.

007 Spectre

This year also brings almost 25 other sequels or reboots to theaters, including a new Peter Pan, a third InsidiousTaken 3The Second Best Exotic Marigold HotelParanormal Activity: The Ghost DimensionPaul Blart: Mall Cop 2Fantastic FourSinister 2Hitman: Agent 47Hotel Transylvania 2London Has Fallen and a fourth Alvin and the Chipmunks. Yes, there’s another Paul Blart movie coming into the world. Such is life in 2015.

paulblartmallcop2

So, where do we go from here?

The obvious blockbusters everyone knows about already

Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1)

Fifty Shades of Grey (Feb. 13)

Furious 7 (April 3)

Jurassic World (June 12)

Mission: Impossible 5 (Dec. 25)

Spectre (Nov. 6)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Dec. 18)

Pretty much everybody will see these movies, with the exception of Fifty Shades. Releasing over Valentine’s Day weekend, single men across America will be doubly thankful they don’t have girlfriends that will drag them to see the much anticipated adaptation.

Star Wars

The blockbuster flying under the radar for some crazy reason

Tomorrowland (May 22)

With all the talk centering on Star Wars and Avengers, Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland feels like its being overshadowed by those other blockbusters. Starring George Clooney and Britt Robertson, the film is loosely based on Walt Disney World’s science fiction theme park Tomorrowland. With an imaginative trailer and the director of The Incredibles and Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol calling the shots, Tomorrowland has the potential to become one of the most imaginative blockbusters of the last few years.

Tomorrowland

Late season films from fantastic directors

David. O. Russell’s Joy (Dec. 25)

Ridley Scott’s The Martian (Nov. 25)

Jeff Nichols’ Midnight Special (Nov. 25)

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s The Revenant (Dec. 25)

Martin Scorcese’s Silence (TBA 2015)

Untitled Jonathan Levine Project (Nov. 25)

Untitled Steven Spielberg Project (Oct. 16)

Robert Zemeckis’ The Walk (Oct. 2)

Odds are a good chunk of these films will dominate discussion next awards season. David O. Russell has been on a tear since The Fighter, and Joy reunites his Silver Linings Playbook cast of Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro. Ridley Scott has missed more than he’s hit lately, but The Martian, based on Andy Weir’s runaway best seller, and starring Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain and Kristen Wiig, has the pedigree to be something special.

After the achievement of Birdman and a possible Best Director Oscar in tow, I’ll watch anything directed by Inarritu, including The Revenant. Casting Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy as the leads is only icing on the cake.

After decades of making great films, anything by Scorcese, Spielberg and Zemeckis are required viewing. With Silence, Scorcese returns to his religious roots with Liam Neeson in tow. Spielberg’s new film doesn’t have a title, but it does have Tom Hanks. Zemeckis wowed audiences with the plane crash in Flight. Now, he looks to wow audiences again with The Walk, the 3-D film based on Philippe Petit’s 1974 high-wire walk between New York’s Twin Towers.

The Walk

Nichols and Levine are newer to the scene. With Mud, Nichols took the McConnaisance to another level. Levine made the fantastic Warm Bodies and his latest finds him working with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, the co-stars of my favorite film of 2011, 50/50, which Levine also directed.

The YA craze continues

The Divergent Series: Insurgent (March 20)

The DUFF (Feb. 20)

Fallen (TBA 2015)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (Nov. 20)

The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials (Sept. 18)

Seventh Son (Feb. 6)

Paper Towns, aka the unofficial Fault in Our Stars 2 (June 5)

Z for Zachariah (TBA 2015)

Those disappointed by the lack of action in the first Mockingjay film will hopefully be satisfied with this bookend, which completes The Hunger Games series. Some may be turned off by the bleak material, though anyone who’s stuck with the films this far knows the series only gets darker and more violent as it goes on.

Mockingjay

Paper Towns is obviously an attempt to re-create the success of The Fault in Our Stars. Studios are so hungry for anything John Green related that Let it Snow, a collection of three stories (only one of which Green wrote) was optioned. Insurgent looks to continue its run of being the poor man’s Hunger Games and The Maze Runner the poor man’s Divergent.

The dream of the ’80s is alive in… Portland?

Mad Max: Fury Road (May 12)

Terminator: Genisys (July 1)

Vacation (Oct. 9)

Terminator: Genisys looks to be a reboot in the same mold as J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek. Genisys takes things a step further, setting the story at the same time as the original Terminator, interweaving the new plot with the first film. Sadly, after Terminator Salvation and The Sarah Conner Chronicles, does anybody still really care about this franchise? The only thing that can save it is James Cameron, and he’s too wrapped up in Avatar to return to this series.

Terminator Genisys

Mad Max: Fury Road is the perfect example of what should be rebooted, though it’s technically a sequel. First, it’s directed by George Miller, creator of the series and director of the original Max trilogy, taking away the feeling that someone is trying to make a quick buck off of someone else’s idea from 30 years ago. Fury Road was in development for 25 years or so, and in 2003 was set to begin filming in Namibia. Even original star Mel Gibson set to reprise the role that made him famous. However, the outbreak of the war in Iraq created too many security concerns and production was shut down. With Gibson now aged out of the role, Tom Hardy (LockeThe Dark Knight Rises) steps into Max’s shoes, with Charlize Theron and Warm Bodies star Nicholas Hoult co-starring.

What sets Fury Road apart from 2015’s other reboots is the series lacks the awareness of a Jurassic Park or Terminator. Mention Max Max and most people scratch their heads and ask if you’re talking about “that movie with cars and Mel Gibson.” The original trilogy featured some of the most exciting, visceral car chases ever captured on screen with very little special effects work, and they were released in 1979, 1981 and 1985. With thirty years of advanced technology in special effects and a budget north of $150 million to play with, Miller may very well have the tools to create the single greatest car chase film in the history of the known universe. Considering the fact that the studio gave him additional funds to make the action bigger after seeing a rough cut and going by the trailer below, is it any wonder why Fury Road is my No. 1 movie to see in 2015?

The new Vacation might be fun. Starring Ed Helms, Christina Applegate and Chris Hemsworth, it can’t be any worse than Vegas Vacation. Speaking of Hemsworth…

2015 is Chris Hemsworth’s to lose

Blackhat (Jan. 16)

In the Heart of the Sea (March 13)

Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1)

Vacation (Oct. 9)

Hemsworth, on top of reprising his role of Thor in Avengers: Age of Ultron, aka the soon to be highest grossing movie of all time, headlines two films that can potentially be really good. Jan. 16 brings Blackhat, a film about hackers from Michael Mann, the director of Heat and The Insider. While Mann hasn’t been the same since his 2004 classic Collateral, with his two films since – Miami Vice and Public Enemies – disappointing, Blackhat demands attention.

Blackhat

In the Heart of the Sea is based on the true story of the whaleship Essex, which itself served as the inspiration for Herman Mellville’s Moby Dick. The last time Hemsworth teamed with director Ron Howard, the result was the fantastic but little seen Rush. If In the Heart of the Sea is half as good as Rush, audiences should be in for a treat.

Unless Jake Gyllenhaal steals it from him

Everest (Sept. 18)

Southpaw (TBA 2015)

Nightcrawler capped off a fantastic 2014 for Gyllenhaal, which included stellar turns in Prisoners and Enemy. With a potential Oscar nomination for Nightcrawler, the actor could go on to even more acclaim with Antoine Fuqua’s boxing pic Southpaw and Everest, based on the doomed expedition to the top of Mount Everest in 1996.

Let’s all calm down and take a deep breath regarding…

Ant-Man (July 17)

Yes, it was disappointing when Edgar Wright left the project, which stars Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly. Some have Ant-Man pegged as Marvel’s first outright dud. Thor: The Dark World may have been profitable, but it sure wasn’t what I’d call a good movie. Look. Marvel is like an old-fashioned movie studio. They do things a certain way. Directors aren’t given full artistic freedom. Everything has to be done a certain way so that the films can all fit into the bigger picture coughAvengerscough. People worried about Jon Favreau, the director of Elf, taking on Iron Man. Or Kenneth Branagh helming Thor. And what about the Russo Brothers, seasoned TV vets whose only feature films were the bombs Welcome to Collinwood and You, Me and Dupree? They were handed the reins to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. We all know how that turned out.

Ant-Man

 

Marvel knows what they’re doing. Heck, they took a massive gamble on James Gunn and Guardians of the Galaxy. That said, why worry about Peyton Reed screwing up Ant-Man? First, it’s Ant-Man. Aside from being a pet project of Edgar Wright’s, what’s the worry? Oh, that’s right. There isn’t one. Ant-Man will be just fine.

Johnny Depp’s last two chances at redemption

Black Mass (Sept. 18)

London Fields (2015 TBA)

Mortdecai is going to bomb. It looks horrific. And Johnny Depp can keep running his Pirates of the Caribbean character, Jack Sparrow, into the ground with countless sequels or knock-offs like The Lone Ranger. The fact remains, the best movie Depp’s been in over the past five years was 21 Jump Street, and that was only a cameo. London Fields may turn out well, but considering that Depp co-stars with fiancee Amber Heard, it’s probably more just an excuse to work with his main squeeze.

Black Mass

That leaves Scott Cooper’s Black Mass as Depp’s best chance at restoring some of the audience’s faith the actor threw away on dreck like Transcendence. Depp dons some serious makeup to play the infamous Whitey Bulger in the film, which will either work out beautifully or be an absolute train wreck. Given that the film co-stars Sienna Miller, Joel Edgerton, Corey Stoll, Adam Scott and Kevin Bacon, chances are better than even Black Mass will be solid. Throw in Benedict Cumberbatch, a man who can absolutely do no wrong regardless of whatever it is he’s doing, and Black Mass becomes one of the fall’s must see films.

Speaking of redemption, is Pixar back?

Inside Out (June 19)

The Good Dinosaur (Nov. 25)

Pixar has really struggled since 2010’s Toy Story 3Cars 2Brave and Monsters University, while profitable, were all disappointments. After dominating the animation field for so long, what the heck happened to Pixar? Their prospects don’t seem much better with The Good Dinosaur.

Originally slated for release in May 2014, The Good Dinosaur has become Pixar’s problem child. Co-director Bob Peterson, who also directed Up, struggled to come up with a workable third act for the film and was removed, delaying the release all the way to November 2015. Maybe the extra time helped Pixar work out the kinks. Maybe it didn’t.

Inside Out

Inside Out, from Pixar vet Pete Docter and Toy Story 3 scribe Michael Arndt, looks like a classic Pixar film. The story of the emotions that run people’s lives, each personified by a stellar voice cast that includes Amy Poehler, Bill Hader and Mindy Kaling, Inside Out feels like Pixar is getting back to good, old fashioned storytelling and away from movies that generate merchandising profits for parent company Disney. Sadly, 2016’s Finding Dory will probably find the studio right back in the merchandising game, but for now, Inside Out may prove to be a return to form for Pixar.

Honestly, what’s the point? 

Alvin and the Chipmunks 4 (Dec. 23)

Entourage (June 5)

Fantastic Four (Aug. 7)

Hotel Transylvania 2 (Sept. 25)

Pan (July 24)

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (April 17)

Pixels (July 24)

Point Break (July 31)

None of these movies are likely to have any redeeming values whatsoever. None of them. Yes, I know the three movies that fall under Adam Sandler’s umbrella are mentioned. Apart from trying to make a few bucks, there just isn’t anything about these movies that justify their existence.

The one movie that could literally destroy everyone’s childhood

The Peanuts Movie (Nov. 6)

There is no hope for humanity if The Peanuts Movie isn’t good. None.

Peanuts

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The Author

Ryan Hill

Ryan Hill

Ryan Hill used to spend his time writing screenplays into a notebook instead of doing homework. That love of film and all things storytelling led him to spend most of his time writing. He's been a film critic in North Carolina for over five years, and his debut novel, THE BOOK OF BART, is out now. Please buy it. Ryan also feels odd about referring to himself in the third person.