25 Movies I’m Excited for in 2015

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Putting together a list of most anticipated movies for an entire year is a futile task. There are always going to be movies that I’m forgetting or have no idea are coming out. For instance, many of my favorite movies of 2014—the ones that made my Top 10 and honorable mentions—were films I hadn’t even heard of at this time last year. As I stated in my Most Anticipated Movies of 2014 piece, “There’s no way to tell what film will be discovered out of a film festival and become a word-of-mouth sensation or what under-the-radar independent will surprise everyone. In the end, a list like this serves as a collection of my most anticipated films from established auteurs and big studios whose release dates are already set in stone.”

My 2014 Year-in-Review coverage:

In Retrospect: The Best of 2014

If I Had an Oscar Ballot

What Films Did South Florida Critics Love Most in 2014?

2014: The Year in Superlatives?

 

Anyway, here are the movies I’m most excited to see in 2015. All plot descriptions are pulled from write-ups provided by the films’ respective studios.

 

01-silence

1. Silence

Martin Scorsese’s long-gestating project about 17th century Jesuit priests who face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and to spread the gospel of Christianity. Directed by Martin Scorsese. Stars Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, Ken Watanabe and Adam Driver.
Release date: November 2015

02Revenant

2. The Revenant

Alejandro González Iñárritu’s follow-up to his award-winning Birdman is an adaptation of Michael Punke’s novel about a frontiersman in the 1820s’ named Hugh Glass who went on a path of vengeance against those who left him for dead after a bear mauling. Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. Stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter and Domhnall Gleeson.
Release date: December 2015

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3. SPECTRE

The 24th entry in the James Bond series begins when a cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization which Bond fanatics will recognize as SPECTRE. Directed by Sam Mendes. Stars Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Monica Belluci and Andrew Scott.
Release date: November 6, 2015

04stjames

4. Bridge of Spies

Steven Spielberg returns to cinemas with this Cold War-era set saga about an American lawyer who is recruited by the CIA to help rescue a pilot detained in the Soviet Union. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Stars Tom Hanks, Amy Ryan, Alan Alda and Billy Magnussen.
Release date: October 16, 2015

05-insideout

5. Inside Out/The Good Dinosaur

After languishing in sequel hell, the Pixar team returns to the spotlight with two original offerings. Inside Out is told from the perspective of the emotions inside the mind of a little girl while The Good Dinosaur is set in a world where the dinosaurs and humans co-exist. It’s about the hijinks that follow a 70-foot-tall teenage Apatosaurus when he befriends a young human boy named Spot. Inside Out directed by Pete Doctor. The Good Dinosaur directed by Peter Sohn.
Release date: June 19, 2015; November 25, 2015

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6. Tomorrowland

Brad Bird’s second live-action feature after Mission: Impossible 4 centers on a bright, optimistic teen and a former boy-genius inventor  who embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory as Tomorrowland. Directed by Brad Bird. Stars George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Judy Greer and Hugh Laurie
Release date: May 22, 2015

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7. The Hateful Eight

The seventh film by Quentin Tarantino is another western. Set in post-Civil War Wyoming, it’s about a bunch of bounty hunters who, when trying to find shelter during a blizzard, get caught up in a plot of betrayal and deception. Directed by Quentin Tarantino. Stars Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Michael Madsen and Amber Tamblyn.
Release date: November 13, 2015

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8. Joy

David O’Russell and Jennifer Lawrence court Oscar once again with the life story of Joy Magano, a struggling Long Island single mom who became one of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs after she invented the Miracle Mop. Directed by David O’Russell. Stars Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Edgar Ramirez and Robert DeNiro.
Release date: December 25, 2015

09-sea-of-trees

9. The Sea of Trees

Gus Van Sant teams up with Matthew McConaughey for this drama about a suicidal American who befriends a Japanese man lost in a forest near Mt. Fuji, and the two search for a way out. Directed by Gus Van Sant. Stars Matthew McConaughey, Ken Watanabe and Naomi Watts.
Release date: November 2015

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10. Mission: Impossible 5

Tom Cruise returns as Ethan Hawke in the fifth installment of the franchise that keeps on giving.  No information is known about the project other than it’ll star Cruise feature a lot of crazy cool stunts like Cruise holding on to the side of an airplane. Directed by Christopher McQuarrie. Stars Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Jeremy Renner, Alec Baldwin and Simon Pegg.
Release date: July 31, 2015

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11. The Look of Silence

Joshua Oppenheimer ‘s sequel to his harrowing documentary The Act of Killing is shot from the perspective of one of the families that survived the genocide in Indonesia, and how they confront the men who killed one of their brothers. Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer.
Release date: July 2015

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12. That’s What I’m Talking About

Richard Linklater’s follow-up to Boyhood is a spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused and is said to be about the lives of baseball players, on and off the field. Directed by Richard Linklater. Stars Ryan Guzman, Zoey Deutch, Tyler Hoechlin and Wyatt Russell.
Release date: October 2015

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13. Carol

Todd Haynes adapts Patricia Highsmith’s novel about a department-store clerk in 1950s’ New York who dreams of a better life but falls for an older, married woman. Directed by Todd Haynes. Stars Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson and Kyle Chandler. There will be awards.
Release date: October 2015

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14. Midnight Special

Jeff Nichols long-awaited follow-up to Take Shelter is a contemporary tale about a man and son who go on the run from the authorities when the father learns that his child has special powers. Directed by Jeff Nichols. Stars Michael Shannon, Kirsten Dunst, Joel Edgerton and Adam Driver.
Release date: November 25, 2015

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15. The Martian

Ridley Scott directs Andy Weir’s best-selling novel about an astronaut who gets stranded on Mars after a severe dust storm forces his ship to abandon the planet, and then must figure out a way to get home before his oxygen runs out. Directed by Ridley Scott. Stars Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Sean Bean and Jeff Daniels
Release date: November 25, 2015

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16. In the Heart of the Sea

Ron Howard directs this striking tale based on the non-fiction book by Nathaniel Philbrick which recounts an 1820 incident where a whaling ship was preyed upon by a sperm whale. The story became the inspiration for Moby Dick. Directed by Ron Howard. Stars Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson and Ben Wishaw.
Release date: December 11, 2015

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17. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

J.J. Abrams directs the most anticipated movie of all time which is set thirty years after the conclusion of Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi. Directed by J.J. Abrams. Stars John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford.
Release date: December 18, 2015

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18. The Avengers: Age of Ultron

The Avengers are back! When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. Directed by Joss Whedon. Stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo.
Release date: May 1, 2015

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19. Kingsmen: The Secret Service

As far as I’m concerned, Matthew Vaughn is 4-4 with the four films he’s directed. His fifth film, based on a graphic novel by Mark Millar, tells the story of a super-secret spy organization that recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius. Directed by Matthew Vaughn. Stars Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Caine.
Release date: February 13, 2015

21-black-mass

20. Black Mass

Johnny Depp looks for redemption as a serious actor in this biopic about infamous criminal Whitey Bulger, who rose up the ranks of the underworld by becoming an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf in South Boston. Directed by Scott Cooper. Stars Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sienna Miller and Joel Edgerton.
Release date: September 18, 2015

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21. Sicario

Denis Villeneuve’s follow-up to his twofer of Jake Gyllenhaal dramas (Prisoners, Enemy) sees him take on a story of a young female FBI agent who is paired up with a pair of dangerous bounty hunters on a secret CIA operation to take out a Mexican drug lord. Directed by Denis Villeneuve. Stars Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin and Jon Bernthal.
Release date: September 2015

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22. Aloha

Cameron Crowe’s long-delayed romantic comedy follows a celebrated military contractor who returns to the site of his greatest career triumph and re-connects with a long-ago love. While there, he unexpectedly falls for the young hard-charging Air Force watchdog assigned to him. Directed by Cameron Crowe. Stars Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray and Alec Baldwin.
Release date: May 29, 2015

 24-crimson-peak

23. Crimson Peak

Guillermo Del Toro plays with things that go bump in the night for his gothic haunted house tale. In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds…and remembers. Yikes! Directed by Guillermo Del Toro. Stars Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, and Charlie Hunnam.
Release date: October 16, 2015

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24. Mad Max: Fury Road

George Miller resurrects his long-dormant cult franchise and hero with an apocalyptic story set in the furthest reaches of our planet, in a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, and most everyone is crazed fighting for the necessities of life. Directed by George Miller. Stars Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult and Rosie-Huntington-Whiteley.
Release date: May 15, 2015

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25. Money Monster

Jodi Foster directs this thriller about Lee Gates, a Wall Street money guru who is held hostage on air, along with his entire TV show, by Kyle, a young family man who loses his life savings on a bad tip. Kyle threatens to kill Lee if the stock doesn’t go up by 24 and a half points before the bell rings. Directed by Jodi Foster. Stars George Clooney, Jack O’Connell and Julia Roberts.
Release date: November 2015

 

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Missing the cut:

Beasts of No Nation (d. Cary Fukunaga), Demolition (d. Jean-Marc Vallée), Everest (d. Balthazar Kormakur), Legend (d. Brian Helgeland), Macbeth (d. Justin Kurzel), Knight of Cups (d. Terrence Malick), Our Brand is Crisis (d. David Gordon Green), Spotlight (d. Thomas McCarthy), Triple Nine (d. John Hillcoat), Untitled Bradley Cooper Chef Movie (d. John Wells)

 

2015 or 2016? Jobs (d. Danny Boyle)

 

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