And… we’re back! Here are the rest of the movies that will (hopefully) make 2015 a bonanza year for going to the movies. Again, in no particular order…
26) Jurassic World – A long time coming (always a worry), but if the makers have managed to reinvigorate the franchise this could be a welcome addition to the series. The only problem will be in replicating the “Wow!” factor of the first movie’s convincing mix of CGI and live action dinosaurs (and the script, of course).
27) The Hateful Eight – Quentin Tarantino’s latest venture is a Western by nature but expect the usual florid dialogues, startling camerawork, and as many movie references as one writer/director can cram into one movie. Oh, and there’s the usual top notch cast as well, including Tarantino favourite Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell and Bruce Dern.
28) The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – The first movie was such a delightful surprise (in that it was so much fun), that reuniting with Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy (plus newcomers Richard Gere and David Strathairn) is something to look forward to. Plus a gentler movie in amongst all the superhero/action shenanigans of the rest of the year isn’t a bad thing, either.
29) Avengers: Age of Ultron – And speaking of superhero/action shenanigans, here’s the daddy of them all for 2015, with Marvel once again seeking to dominate the box office and remind DC just how it’s done. Loud, brash, colourful, funny – this will be all these things and more, and all under the expert guidance of returning writer/director Joss Whedon.
30) Fifty Shades of Grey – Not to be confused with Wallace & Gromit’s 50 Sheds of Grey, E.L. James’ bestseller gets the big screen treatment after failing to land several potential leading men (including Charlie Hunnam) before settling on Jamie Dornan. Expect glossy, stylised versions of the book’s “romantic interludes”, and very little critical acclaim.
31) The Man from U.N.C.L.E. – Guy Ritchie takes time out from rebranding Sherlock Holmes to do the same for the classic 60’s TV series. With Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo and Armie Hammer as Ilya Kuryakin, it remains to be seen if this updated version will be as “bromantic” as the Holmes movies, but audiences can expect some whip-smart action scenes and some glamorous settings.
32) Blackhat – Back in the director’s chair for the first time since Public Enemies (2009), Michael Mann’s latest thriller focuses on the hunt for a cybercrime network and is headed up by Chris Hemsworth and Viola Davis. No doubt there’ll be plenty of stunning visuals, and Mann making crime look both cool and ruinous at the same time.
33) Heart of the Sea – Chris Hemsworth again in the true story, set in 1820, of a whaling ship preyed upon by a sperm whale that leaves the crew stranded thousands of miles from land. With Ron Howard in the director’s chair, this tale of human endurance has Oscar-worthy written all over it but should be powerful stuff nevertheless.
34) Ant-Man – Marvel take a chance on one of their lesser-known superheroes, and pin their hopes on Peyton Reed to shepherd the movie to completion after the departure of Edgar Wright. Have they made the right decision? Maybe, but Marvel do have a knack of choosing their directors wisely, so they may know something we don’t.
35) Insurgent – The sequel to Divergent continues the story of Beatrice as she begins to uncover the conspiracy that governs the world she lives in. Everyone except for Ashley Judd and Tony Goldwyn are back on board (so no surprise there), and they’re joined by newbies Naomi Watts and Octavia Spencer. Will this be darker than the first? Let me think…
36) Pixels – The latest from Chris Columbus sees video game players recruited by the military to fend off an invasion of 80’s-era video game characters. Adam Sandler heads the cast but this looks like it could be a blast if they’ve gotten the tone right. And besides, any movie where Kevin James plays the President has got to be worth a look.
37) The Good Dinosaur – Pixar return to our screens after a break in 2014 with two movies; this, the second, is a tale about a 70-foot dinosaur that befriends a young boy called Spot. The departure of director Bob Peterson is as concerning as that of Edgar Wright leaving Ant-Man, but as long as the movie’s heart is in the right place, and the animation is up to Pixar’s usual standard, this will still be pulling in the audiences.
38) The Woman in Black: Angel of Death – The first movie showed that shocks and scares added to the right story (Susan Hill’s novel) can make audiences jump over and over (and then come back for more). Set during World War II, this sequel will hopefully deliver the same balance (though Daniel Radcliffe will be missed).
39) High-Rise – Brit helmer Ben Wheatley returns with an adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s cult novel about the residents of a tower block and what happens when their daily lives spiral out of control. How much of Ballard’s novel remains is still to be seen but if enough of the weirdness is present, this could be one of the year’s most disturbing movies.
40) Bridge of Spies – The world’s biggest box office star, Tom Hanks, reunites with Steven Spielberg, playing a lawyer recruited by the CIA to rescue a pilot detained in the Soviet Union. With a script co-written by the Coen brothers, and strong support from the likes of Alan Alda and Amy Ryan, this has class and style written all over it.
41) The Fantastic Four – The casting has caused no end of fan base uproar – Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm anyone? – but director Josh Trank is a great choice to steer this reboot to the screen, and one piece of casting should prove to be inspired: Toby Kebbell as Dr Doom – nuff said.
42) Ted 2 – At present there aren’t any plot details, or signs of a returning Mila Kunis (or Sam Jones for that matter), but Seth MacFarlane’s follow-up to his 2012 original should be high on belly laughs and low on subtlety – just how we like it.
43) Kingsman: The Secret Service – Colin Firth as a super-spy? Newcomer Taron Egerton as the young tearaway he takes under his wing? Matthew Vaughn back in the director’s chair after reinvigorating the X-Men franchise? Samuel L. Jackson as the villainous Valentine? Is there anything not to like about this movie?
44) Everest – Another great ensemble cast – Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley, Josh Brolin, and John Hawkes to name but a few – add extra drama to the tale of a climbing expedition that runs into trouble thanks to a severe snow storm. Expect this to be compelling, gruelling and chilling in equal measure.
45) Absolutely Anything – The remaining members of Monty Python reunite (albeit as the voices of extraterrestrials) for Terry Jones’ tale of a teacher who discovers he has magical powers. Featuring Robin Williams’ final performance (as the voice of Dennis the Dog), this should be laugh out loud funny and suitably poignant at the same time.
46) Igor – Yet another version of Mary Shelley’s classic tale, this focuses more on the relationship between Victor Von Frankenstein (James McAvoy) and his assistant Igor (Daniel Radcliffe). Originally titled Frankenstein, the name change may turn off some potential viewers but with McAvoy and Radcliffe on board this should be arresting stuff nevertheless.
47) Inside Out – The other (and first) Pixar movie of 2015 is shaping up to be their best since Toy Story 3 (2010). The tale of a young girl called Riley guided by her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness – who all live in the central part of her mind, this has all the hallmarks of classic Pixar.
48) Pan – J.M. Barrie’s much-loved children’s classic gets the origin treatment with Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard, and relative newcomer Levi Miller as the young boy fated to become Peter Pan. With Joe Wright in the director’s chair this could well be one of the most handsomely mounted movies of the year.
49) Trainwreck – The latest from Judd Apatow is being kept well under wraps at present, but it does feature Daniel Radcliffe, Tilda Swinton and Bill Hader amongst others, so however it turns out, this will still be one to watch.
50) Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens – It might be okay. I guess. Probably.
If I’ve missed any movies you think we should be looking out for in 2015, feel free to let me know. Happy Viewing!