My Top 15 Most Anticipated Films of 2015

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2014 turned out to be far more worth-while in the movie department then I think anyone expected. It was said late in 2013 that 2015 was going to be the stellar year to look forward to—and indeed it is—and that 2014 was going to be a low point where we’d have to somehow suffer through the sub-par stuff just to get to the light at the end of the tunnel: as if every movie in 2014 was going to crap in comparison to the glorious block-busters that are sure to be Star Wars and The Avengers.

Fortunately, 2014 brought us plenty of good films, most of which were well worth anyone’s ticket money. We had Interstellar, The Boxtrolls, The LEGO Movie, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Miyazaki’s final motion-picture The Wind Rises, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Mr. Turner, The Theory of Everything, Under the Skin, X-Men Days of Future Past, Guardians of the Galaxy, Maleficent, The Book of Life, Birdman, Nightcrawler, Big Hero Six, Mocking Jay Part 1, The Penguins of the Madagascar, and The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies.

Whether you agree with those picks is beside the point. Plenty of people have given these movies amazing ratings, every sequel that is listed here was better than its predecessor by a reasonable margin, and everything I just listed that was an adaptation was rather effectively done. In fact, based upon what we currently know is going to be released in 2015, 2014 looks a hell of a lot more full with quality films. There’s just not a lot of solid evidence to go on yet as to what will be playing every month, and which films are likely to be good or not. Plenty of independent films are also sure to appear at random as the months go on, at least half a dozen of which will become Oscar-nominee films by the end of this new year.

What this means is that while I have picked 15 films which I would like to highlight here, this is not a definitive list, simply because we have no idea what every film playing this year could be yet. Not all of the bets are in. For a more comprehensive list, we’ll simply have to wait until the end of the year. But we have plenty to go off of for now.

So, in order from least anticipated to most anticipated, here are the Top 15 Films that I am most anticipating this year, based on what is slated so far.

15. Pixels (Directed by Chris Columbus)

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Synopsis: Video game experts are recruited by the military to fight 1980s-era video game characters who’ve attacked New York.

Yes, this film stars Adam Sandler. Yes this film stars a few of his SNL friends (as per usual). And yes, this film is either clearly inspired by, or has blatantly ripped off that one episode from Futurama (by the looks of it). But truth be told, it’s a cool idea that has not been done in live-action before, except in a few commercials, and maybe some long forgotten direct-to-video movie from the mid-80s. It’s an idea that is ripe for the likes of Adam Sandler, because this will give him a premise that is so out of this world and unique, that not even his poor comedy can screw it up if the production is half-way decent. And this is Chris Columbus we’re talking about here: the guy who brought us both original Home Alone movies, the first two Harry Potter films, Mrs. Doubtfire, and freaking Bicentennial Man. If anyone has the artistic skill and understanding to pull off something this wacky and retro, it is most certainly him. There’s always a chance that it could fail miserably, but I’m going to put a reasonable amount of faith in Chris that he can pull through, for now.

14. Spectre (Bond 23) (Directed by Sam Mendes)

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Synopsis: “A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.”

Skyfall was a very special Bond film experience. It really did have just a bit of that old 60s flare back, but still kept on with that modern movie aesthetics. The tone was darker, the stakes were higher, the plot wasn’t nearly as convoluted or incapable of being understood by noobs like me, and best of all, it had a great opening theme song again. I still haven’t tried to watch Quantum of Solace yet, which I’ve heard was the worst Bond film since Die Another Day. But Skyfall I’m sure was a huge step in the right direction again for people who were heavily disappointed with it.

And so that’s why I am reservedly anticipating the next Bond film called Spectre, which we don’t really have much detail for yet, but so far is looking rather intriguing. Christoph Waltz is also starring in it, and I’ve really come to adore him as an actor as of late, so I’m sure he’ll bring a unique new layer to this installment. They also haven’t fired Daniel Craig yet, so I’m sure he’ll be on-board for at least another film or two after this one.

13. In The Heart of the Sea (Directed by Ron Howard)

Synopsis: “Based on the 1820 event, a whaling ship is preyed upon by a sperm whale, stranding its crew at sea for 90 days, thousands of miles from home.”

Or to put it clearly: it’s the supposedly true historical event that inspired the novel Moby Dick. Now I find it a little funny that one would try to adapt the story behind the story rather than the story itself, because you’re effectively making a far greater fantastical story than even the Moby Dick tale. I mean, I don’t begin to claim that I know exactly how big sperm whales are, or whether or not they can become enraged and cause massive damage to boats and ships, but this just seems a bit far-fetched and ridiculous based on what’s happening in this trailer.

Also, doesn’t Chris Hemsworth sound like he’s being possessed by a spirit or an alien in some of these sound bites? Weird.

Well I’m at least looking forward to what this film might be because it’s Ron Howard. And Ron makes good stuff when he has his A-game. His last movie Rush was a little lacking in substance, but it came through in the visuals and the cinematography. And the performances by both Hemsworth and especially Daniel Bruhl were fantastic. One of Ron’s other recent films, Frost/Nixon was also extremely well-orchestrated and entertaining, even if his Divinci Code films aren’t all that structurally smart. So despite his short-comings and more laughable fare, I don’t find it a bad thing to look forward to a Ron Howard picture, because there’s always a chance that it could be a decent time.

12. Pan (Directed by Joe Wright)

Synopsis: “The story of an orphan who is spirited away to the magical Neverland. There, he finds both fun and dangers, and ultimately discovers his destiny — to become the hero who will be forever known as Peter Pan.”

I am a very big fan of the Peter Pan story. The almost humble-nature of the idea, the child-like wonder and fantasy that surrounds the theme-park-like island of Neverland, and the care-free nature of the story’s characters and its main protagonist are all things that keep bringing me back to it. I honestly don’t think there’s any better fantasy story out there that’s more self-contained, more honest, or more simple and effective.

The Disney version of the story has its fans and detractors based upon its presentation. Personally speaking I like a lot of its aspects, and the atmosphere works quite well in many cases. But the fact that the comedy is so hyped up and the characters are perhaps too old for their originally intended ages makes its adaptive changes perhaps a little grading on the faithful fans of the book.

1991’s Hook is a huge cult-favorite for many fans of both the Peter Pan story, Robin Williams, and John Williams scores. Oddly enough though, I think far less people watch Hook because it was directed by Steven Spielberg. You almost forget that he directed it because people are always bringing up either Indiana Jones, Saving Private Ryan, or Schindler’s List before they ever bring up Hook in his filmography. But it still bears his stamp of creative filmmaking skills, there are some rather touching and heartfelt moments, and the reality and tangibility of Neverland I don’t think has ever been fully realized on film before or since.

The 2003 Peter Pan film—directed by P. J. Hogan and starring Jason Isaacs as Hook—was just what you would expect from an early-2000s live-action adaptation. It’s absolutely drenched in bright colors, CGI fairy dust, and an almost Stuart Little level of fanciful production design. Probably a bit too much, though. The story is given a MacGuffin/prophecy related to puberty where none was necessary. And the characters have become extreme exaggerations of themselves, resulting in the merest of paper-cut-out personalities. It was indeed a very pretty looking film, but a very very flat one.

2015’s Pan, directed this time by Joe Wright—director of the beautifully designed Anna Karenina and the effectively shortened Pride & Prejudice (2005)—taking a break from his partnership with Keira Knightly—aims to do something different than all other retellings: he’s going to show how Peter Pan became Peter Pan. Now Hook already sort of did this by showing how Tinker Bell found Peter as an abandoned child and flew him away to Neverland in order to take care of him—which makes it all the more weird why Tinker Bell would later want to kiss Peter if she’s technically his adoptive mother, but anyway. In that version, Peter was just a baby, and so he grew up in Neverland, never really knowing any other life, which is why when he travels back down to Earth, he’s rather fascinated by its contraptions, phrases and customs.

But this time, Peter is a young ten year old boy, being kidnapped—much like Banning kids in Hook—and taken away on a flying ship to Neverland—much like Jane from Return to Neverland. So yes, this film will be retreading some older territory, but there aren’t very many choices when wanting to get Peter Pan or anyone else up to Neverland: you either have to send down a fairy with her magic dust, or you have to send down a flying ship.

The one thing I’m not too keen on is Hugh Jackman’s character design, since it looks a little too pompous and late 17th century for my tastes. But I am rather looking forward to seeing how the film handles Peter’s relationship with a young James Hook, who’s apparently an American this time around, and roughly the same age as Tiger Lilly as well. Joe Wright seems to be playing around quite a bit with the story material to create something original for a change. Whether or not it will hold up I can’t be sure. But one thing I am sure of is that in the intervening time between this and 2011’s Three Musketeers, we’ve gotten rather good at creating fantasy worlds that don’t look like complete garbage.

11.The Spongebob Movie – Sponge Out of Water (Directed by Mike Mitchell, Paul Tibbitt)

Synopsis: “SpongeBob goes on a quest to discover a stolen recipe that takes him to our dimension, our world, where he tangles with a pirate.”

I’ll admit, the main reason I’m going to see this movie is because the film’s main action sequence was filmed in Savannah, Georgia, where I currently live and attend film schoo. I’ve walked those same streets and I’ve seen those same buildings numerous times. So being able to see a big-budget film where CGI-versions of under-sea cartoon characters battle a bearded Antonio Banderes atop a boat in the middle of down-town Savannah, is a pretty amazing opportunity.

But strictly speaking, the film looks about as okay as the first Spongebob movie, if not just slightly worse due to the broad extent of its humor. The first Spongebob movie had a lot of interesting and almost atmospheric moments. Moments that made the film feel like an 80s comedy like Planes, Trains and Automobiles. It had slow moments, it had creepy moments, it had shockingly hilarious and bizarre moments. It even had a moment where Spongebob came in with five-o’clock shadow, drunk as hell on sugar and sundaes, complaining to his boss in front of numerous people about being fired, while in an inebriated state. Now if that doesn’t convince you that that was an unexpectedly effective movie with some serious balls for its time, then I don’t know what will.

So again, I’m reservedly anticipating this film, even with the drastic shift in animation styles. The 3D CGI doesn’t actually look bad. And we’ll be getting to another 3D animated adaptation that looks quite good in a little bit.

10. Tomorrowland (Directed by Brad Bird)

Synopsis: “Bound by a shared destiny, a teen bursting with scientific curiosity and a former boy-genius inventor embark on a mission to unearth the secrets of a place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory.”

Another film with very little information as of yet, and only one teaser trailer, Tomorrowland looks to be a film that is inspired by the idea of Disney’s Tomorrowland section of Disneyland and Disney World, but that’s as far as the relationship goes. Some people might be quick to assume that this is a movie designed to attract more people to the parks and nothing more, but I beg to differ.

Since when did Disney ever need to convince people to go to Disney World? I mean really. Disney World is like the only place on Earth that you don’t have to convince someone to eventually go visit. Everywhere else on the planet needs a marketing system. But Disney already has one, and not just their park-specific commercials, but every single other movie that they produce, especially the animated ones.

Hasbro makes movies based on their toys and games because they want to make more money and get more people to buy the old and new toys. And they’ll drudge up just about anything these days if they can turn it into a film. This year they have Jem, and so far, that’s looking just about as bad, if not worse, than Battleship. So don’t get your hopes up on that one folks. But Disney doesn’t have to do that. Yes, they clearly wanted to make a film based on the Tomorrowland region of The Magic Kingdom, but with a name like that, you can do just about whatever you want. And I think that’s what Brad Bird has been planning to do.

If at some point we end up seeing a big fat reference to the Carousel of Progress, or something called the People Mover, or even some giant building or castle called Space Mountain, I’m not going to fret about it, it’s to be expected. But I don’t think Brad Bird will be that blatant with his story.

Ole’ Birdy hasn’t let us down yet, so I’m sticking with him to see if his latest directorial venture will be just as successful.

9. The Good Dinosaur (Directed by Peter Sohn, Bob Peterson)

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Synopsis: “Arlo, a 70-foot-tall teenage Apatosaurus, befriends a young human boy named Spot.”

I put this film lower on the list because I felt that with what the film currently looks like in its poster—appearing just a bit too much like an Aardman film—and the fact that they went through way too many creative changes and staff changes, that it might very well turn out to be a dud. We’ve seen how Pixar is now officially capable of making a crappy sequel, and how they’re capable of making films that don’t even seem like themselves (e.g. Brave, Monster’s University). So it is completely possible that this might just turn out to be a big fat mess. But I’m still putting it at a good middle-ground spot, because it’s still Pixar, and I’m fairly confident they still know what they’re doing… I hope.

8. Minions (Directed by Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda)

Synopsis: “Minions Stuart, Kevin and Bob are recruited by Scarlet Overkill, a super-villain who, alongside her inventor husband Herb, hatches a plot to take over the world.”

Making a spin-off film about the comedic side-kicks from the previous films is almost always financially understandable, but is often an ultimately terrible idea. It is extremely hard to take characters intended only to be there for laughs and make them relatable, three-dimensional, and enjoyable as main protagonists. Cars 2 is proof positive that this can be a very poor course of action. But as we saw last year, The Penguins of Madagascar proved that sometimes, with the right writers and the right director, some side-characters and comedic relief can become effective protagonists. Though, I would argue that the Penguins were always the best part of the Madagascar movies anyway, but I digress.

Minions is now looking all the more exciting and competent, most especially because the three main minion characters seem to have developing personalities of their own (hopefully by movie’s end we’ll be able to tell who’s who). The premise is also clever: taking the Minions out of modern day and making them a species of creature that has lived for millennia, working for the biggest and baddest villains. And because this film is bringing the Minions to the New York of the 1960s–taking them to a time “Before Gru” (as the trailer says)–this means that the film won’t be able to use Gru as a crutch to hold the story up at any point, and we will be treated to a new original villain for the bulk of our story.

My guess, though, is that Gru will eventually pop up in the film, but only during the last few minutes, in order to take the Minions in as his work force after their previous leader either does them wrong, or has to give them up. It could very well end up being an emotional and touching film. It’s actually a lot harder to gauge this one as opposed to some other 3D animated features.

As an additional note, you may notice that British actor, Geoffrey Rush provides the unique narration for the trailer here, and yet he isn’t featured anywhere in the cast list on IMDB: strange. However, we apparently have Michael Keaton, Sandra Bullock, John Hamm, and Steve Coogan involved in the main cast, so I’ll be excited to see who they end up playing during the chief portions of the story.

7. The Peanuts Movie (Directed by Steve Martino)

Synopsis: “Snoopy embarks upon his greatest mission as he and his team take to the skies to pursue their arch-nemesis, while his best pal Charlie Brown begins his own epic quest back home.”

Holy crap! The artistic and animation design for this film is brilliant.
Instead of trying to bring the Peanuts into the modern age like the Mr. Peabody & Sherman film, the creators of The Peanuts Movie have done something remarkable, they have honored the recognizable animation design and have created a film that’s done in 3D, but still works like it’s 2D. They’ve retained the graphical nature of character’s faces, their hair, their outfits, their feet and their hands, and the choppy nature of their movements, in order to retain the familiarity of every animated episode or tv special that the franchise ever had.

Making Peabody & Sherman into a fully three-dimensional film worked in its favor, because the original cartoon—while having its own little charms—is rather stale and dry by today’s standards. So jazzing it up and adding in a heavy dose of action and chase sequences made the film a very entertaining ride. Peanuts was not originally an epic series of comic strips either. It was always just about the quirky lives and times of all of these kids who lived in this neighborhood, one of which was a very self-conscious and uncertain bald kid named Charlie Brown, who just happened to have the Most Interesting Man in the World as his pet Beagle. In some rare cases Peanuts could be action-packed and mildly epic, like in the case of Race For Your Life Charlie Brown, which I consider to be the best of the Peanuts specials. But the show, for the most part, was full of quiet, contemplative, almost philosophical moments mixed in with every day occurrences. And the animation style—which built directly off of the original comic strip artwork—reflected that atmosphere and tone very well. So in this particular case, I always felt that none of that should be tampered with, with regards to an adaptation.

Thankfully, this film is doing things right by reworking its approach to the animation in order to create a style that both mimics the old 2D productions, while also bringing the franchise into the 21st century. The LEGO Movie dared to be different by paying homage to Lego fan-films, and making an entire 3D film built from individual Lego blocks, all animated in pseudo stop-motion. And Hotel Transylvania dared to be different by taking 3D computer animated characters, and twisting them and contorting them to conform to exaggerated movements typically only seen in traditional 2D. But The Peanuts Movie is taking this one step further, and aims to combine both approaches to create a 2D, stop-motion, CGI hybrid, that best represents these characters as they should be seen. Anything else would have been an insult.

6. Hotel Transylvania 2 (Directed by Gendy Tartakofsky)

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Synopsis: “When the old-old-old-fashioned vampire Vlad arrives at the hotel for an impromptu family get-together, Hotel Transylvania is in for a collision of supernatural old-school and modern day cool.”

Speaking of Hotel Transylvania, the sequel is due out later this year as well, and I am rather excited for it, because it is one of the only 3D animated film series that aims to be like 2D and revels in it. There have been some 3D animated TV specials that created very expressive and stretchy 3D characters, such as the Scary Godmother movies. But when it comes to feature films, its taken a very long time for 3D to catch back up to the expressiveness and looseness of traditional animation, and actually play around with the 12 animation principles as it was always intended to. Even Dreamworks films can still be rather stiff in their movements. But Sony has been upstaging everybody when it comes to character expressiveness, especially now that they have Gendy Tartakofsky in the director’s chair for both Hotel 2, and the upcoming Popeye film, due in 2016.

As for the story of Hotel 2, what do you really expect? It was inevitable that because the first film was a simple Rom-Com with a Monsters angle, that the sequel was either going to be epic and fantastical by having Mavis discover some old Vampire artifact while on vacation, which Dracula then has to discover more about, or it was going to be a much more grounded story, and simply be another Rom-Com/Dromedy involving someone’s old crusty relative. Looks like they went with the latter.

I’m sure many of us have our reservations with this one, but I put it higher on the list because I’m excited to see how much farther they went with the expressive animation and the character designs. That’s what I’m looking forward to.

5. Kung Fu Panda 3 (Directed by Jennifer Yuh)

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Synopsis: “Continuing his “legendary adventures of awesomeness”, Po must face two hugely epic, but different threats: one supernatural and the other a little closer to his home.”

The epic conclusion to a truly epic and at times tear-jerking animated film series, Kung Fu Panda 3 is hopefully going to answer once and for all what might have happened to Poe’s father and mother. We also may yet get to see the Dragon Warrior gain another amazing move or trick amongst his arsenal of Kung-Fu abilities.

The Kung Fu Panda films have always been a major highlight amongst Dreamworks’ rather diverse filmography. They still hit a dud once in a while, (Over the Hedge, Monsters VS Aliens, Turbo), and it looks like this year’s Home might be another one based on the trailer. Though I am glad to see they made the 2nd main character a young black girl. All of those haters of the recent Annie film won’t be able to complain here. But out of the majority of their films, Kung Fu Panda has been the most graphical, the most effectively comedic, and arguably the most entertaining, next to their Dragon films of course. So while I have no plans to see Home in theaters, I am very excited and have high anticipation for this 2nd sequel. And I’m very certain that it is going to look amazing.

UPDATE: Dreamworks has moved Kung Fu Panda 3 back into March of 2016, in order to avoid the juggernaut that is Star Wars Episode VII.

4. Inside Out (Directed by Pete Docter)

Synopsis: “Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley’s main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city.”

Finally getting back into some imaginative and original territory—like they ought to—Pixar’s newest venture, Inside Out, looks to be a film that could have all the makings of a very honest and effective movie that could explore a whole myriad of physically and socially conscious issues with regards to what people think and feel from “the inside out.” It’s even been said that this story could even tackle gender identity, since the main young female protagonist has both male and female emotional personifications inside her head, while her father and mother have all male and all female emotions, respectively. And I have no doubt that that is exactly why they chose to do that, even if it’s likely only going to be a subtle hint during the film. But what is interesting that that if they had decided to go with an all-female cast of emotions in the girl’s head, then that would also have been rather ground-breaking, as there haven’t been very many animated features starring an all-female cast. SO either way you slice it, this film was going to break some new ground in one way or another.

I honestly have no idea what to expect, especially since we’ve only seen what can happen when this girl is at the dinner table. Who’s really the main protagonist here? Is it going to be Joy, is it going to be the little girl herself, are all of the emotions going to share the main role as if they really are all just parts of a whole? I can’t be sure. Osmosis Jones was about a white blood-cell inside the body of Bill Murray, and Bill wasn’t the main character, but we started to care more about him when his daughter started to worry about his health. So this film will likely focus more on the emotions as the main characters rather than only giving them a third or a fourth of the screen time, but we’ll equally be caring about the well-being of this pre-teen girl because whatever decisions the emotions make inside of her, that will directly affect the girls’ actions. So the relationship battles between the emotions will tip the scales of the young girl’s fate depending on if her actions are ultimately good or bad.

So many possibilities. I truly cannot wait.

3. Avengers – Age of Ultron (Directed by Joss Weadon)

Synopsis: “When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and it is up to the Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans.”

Now for one of the big dogs.
This is perhaps the 2nd biggest and most anticipated film of the year. And what’s so awesome about it is that not only will we get to see this epic showdown of the Avengers against a new alien entity, but we’ll get to see a 2nd all-new teaser trailer for the OTHER big and highly anticipated film of the year. Now that’s an full-price movie-going experience!

The first Avengers movie was okay, in hindsight. The pacing was rather slow, there were far too many quiet conversational moments, and a lot of the time was filled with almost mundane business for the characters to do, when compared to the epic climactic battle sequence. We broke some ground, Tony has a revelation that he could have totally died, and we discovered that Thanos might be on the move to rip Earth a new one, but beyond that, the film felt much more flat than the surrounding features. Thor and Thor 2 were fun. Iron Man 3 was effective and had an unexpected twist. Guardians of the Galaxy was extremely entertaining even if it didn’t have much substance in its plot. And Captain America: Winter Soldier turned out to be one of the best films of 2014. So I’m really hoping that because every character has now been fully established and everyone knows their role, that we won’t have any of the same stale moments that we had in the first Avengers, and we can simply have a plot with a large cast that moves along at the pace that it needs to. And maybe, just maybe, we can get some real shit accomplished.

2. Ratchet & Clank (Directed by Jericca Cleland, Kevin Munroe)

Synopsis: “Ratchet and Clank tells the story of two unlikely heroes as they struggle to stop a vile alien named Chairman Drek from destroying every planet in the Solana Galaxy. Ratchet is the last of his kind – a foolhardy ‘lombax’ who has grown up alone on a backwater planet with no family of his own. Clank is a pint-sized robot with more brains than brawn. When the two stumble upon a dangerous weapon capable of destroying entire planets, they must join forces with a team of colorful heroes called The Galactic Rangers in order to save the galaxy. Along the way they’ll learn about heroism, friendship, and the importance of discovering one’s own identity.”

You may be asking why did I decide to put Ratchet & Clank in my number two spot? Well simply put, I have been waiting and hoping in vain for years that someday we would actually get a Ratchet & Clank animated film. And to my surprise and utter delight, just a short two years ago, I found out that it was really happening.

I almost thought that since the original trilogy had run out its hype and the series had progressed on to the new console (PS3), that the drive for a Ratchet & Clank film to be made would’ve been gone. Often times when films are rumored to be in the works for a video-game, the talks are very short lived, and the prospect of a feature film goes by the wayside as the new installments for a particular series have their ups and downs, and newer, fresher games get released. But this is a special case, because the fan-base is truly still alive for this franchise, and the team that created the original games and the newer games are the same people who will be bringing us the motion picture. That does not often happen. But it means that if this film has any chance of being good, and hopefully being better than some of the recent games, then this is that chance. The trailer looks okay for the most part, but by this point its a few years old, so the film itself could look a whole lot different now. Brand-new script, some new actors, bold new scope, who knows: it’s all been under tight wraps up till now. Everybody’s too busy talking about the film at our number one spot, and looking at Sony Picture’s leaked emails about a Super Mario Brothers movie to be able to leak new info about Ratchet & Clank. But hopefully that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth getting excited about, because I know I am.

And you know what’s better? This film looks like it’ll be retelling the story of the original game. Now that is truly a bold move. Not even the 1996 Sonic the Hedgehog movie could do that.

1. Star Wars – The Force Awakens (Directed by J. J. Abrams)

Synopsis: We’re not quite sure, we’ll just have to wait and ponder for now.

Now if you are not a Star Wars fan, then you will have absolutely no clue why this is perhaps the greatest new movie to come in a LONG-ass time!

The original Star Wars trilogy was a marvel of movie-making magic. The story was tight and magical, the characters were relatable and had believable arcs across all three films, the scope was enormous but also intimate, and the special and visual effects were some of the best ever seen on a movie screen for over a decade, until the advent of computer graphics. But the prequel films were not so hot.

George Lucas, in all his infinite wisdom, has proven to be far more like a kid in a candy store, wanting to get a little taste of everything that gleams in his eye, than a proper adult who can take a step back, think over his buying decisions, and actually pick out a few nice cream-filled chocolates with just the right flavor of filling, and not too much cinnamon spice. Or something like that… The point is George Lucas is not wise, by any means. His changes to the original trilogy defy logic, some of which have utterly ruined the effect that certain scenes used to have. His directorial decisions with regards to the Prequels were ridiculous and had no reason or purpose other than to “look cool.” And if the only reason you’re putting anything (that is completely noticeable) into your movie is because it will “Look cool,” then you are not making very wise decisions. The scripts that George wrote were also juvenile, poorly constructed, and were built off a very loose understanding of how to craft a three-act structure to a movie plot. His dialogue was often very cringe-worthy as well, resulting in numerous talented actors giving some of the stiffest performances of their careers. But if you’ve been keeping up with all of the literal dozens of in-depth reviews about these films, then you know what I’m talking about.

The fact is, when George is left to his own devices, and is allowed to be completely in charge of the entire script and the entire artistic direction of his films, his just goes to town, and no one tries to change his mind or work things out with him, because… he George. But now that Star Wars is no longer a problem for him to mess with, and it is now in the hands of more capable people: a visionary director, one of the original screen-writers, a solid cast, a well-orchestrated effects team, and sets and creatures that aren’t all green-screen and CGI; I can say with complete and unhindered faith and confidence that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is going to be… “Awesome.”

For some of my more complete thoughts, you can check out my review of the teaser trailer for The Force Awakens here: The NEW Star Wars TRAILER!

Well, that wraps up my best hopefuls for 2015. I’m sure I’ll highlight some more as more release dates are confirmed and more and more films are added to IMDB. But for now, these are at the top of my list, and I hope they’ll be at the top of your list as well. Let’s have one awesome new year everybody.

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