Well, 2014 has come and gone, but calendar years are social constructs anyways. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have a lot to look forward to cinematically in 2015! From new films from Jeff Nichols, David O. Russell, and Todd Haynes to the return of many a franchise, 2015 looks as eclectic a year in cinema as ever. Let’s see what our folks at The Balcony, or as I have begun to call the “Balconians” (hat tip to Dan Schindel) are anticipating this year!
The winter of 2015 will receive a lot of attention for big franchise additions like Avengers: Age of Ultron, SPECTRE, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part Two, and the crown jewel of geek anticipation, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but the film I have circled on my calendar is Midnight Special. Jeff Nichols, who blew me away in 2011 with his second directorial feature, Take Shelter, has been given the keys to an original sci-fi concept with a large budget. If that doesn’t make you a little bit excited as a movie lover than I don’t recommend you keep reading this site. In just three films Jeff Nichols has already established himself as one of the most promising American directors working today, infusing authenticity with rich, original stories. He kickstarted the McConnaissance with Mud, but watching what the auteur can do with a larger canvas and a genre that too often goes overlooked, is a prospect worth getting excited about in 2015. Not much is known about Midnight Special, but a prime Thanksgiving release slot could make it the film that finally puts cinephiles on notice: Nichols belongs in the top tier of filmmakers. – Colin Biggs
There’s no question that the first part of the year’s most talked about film will be Fifty Shades of Grey. As conversation about sex becomes more fluent within our prominently conservative society, it only makes sense that various topics once considered taboo are being used as the centrepiece in modern film. I missed Peter Strickland’s Duke of Burgundy at TIFF, but I’ve since become obsessed. Physical devotion and endurance juxtaposed the strength of love and adoration is a theme I’m excited to see explored at length and with a sense of maturity. Although I’ve yet to see the movie, I’m immediately drawn to the quietness of the provocation. It’ll push the envelope of sexuality explored on screen that we’re used to seeing, but won’t be obscenely obtuse in doing so, unlike the former title mentioned. A contemporary take on an act we’re only just allowing ourselves to talk about, I have high hopes that The Duke of Burgundy will open the floodgates for future films that want to authentically explore human sexuality. – Julia Alexander
As much a Marvel fan as the next person, the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier shook me to the core as the Marvel Cinematic Universe saw a major shift in direction. I’m really looking forward to how the Marvel story develops with The Avengers: Age of Ultron after the distraction that was Guardians Of The Galaxy.
The other quite obvious one is Star Wars Episode VII. My curiosity of how this unfolds is already killing me ever so slowly. There should be a lot of confidence in JJ Abrams – if he can successfully introduce a new generation to Star Trek, the same should apply here.
Then there’s also the tight race for Best Actor at the Oscars – there’s a crowded bunch and only five spots, none of which are certain. 2015 will be a year for recognizing great roles.
(On a separate note – although not on the big screen, I as other Australians are intrigued by two television miniseries to air about the battle of Gallipoli. These carry on from the Boxing Day release of Russell Crowe’s The Water Diviner, and are shaping as worthy tributes as the country recognizes 100 years since its bloodiest battle in war.) – Katina Vangopoulos
It’s always my motto that every year is a good year for film if you look hard enough, but I think next year will certainly be interesting inasmuch as testing the waters for what the new business models for Marvel and DC will look like. I don’t know if I’m necessarily looking forward to that, but I’m intrigued nonetheless. I am, however, excited for the following: the new Bond film SPECTRE, as a life long Bond and a person fascinated with their current trajectory, will be curious to see what goes on with this one; Star Wars – Episode VII: The Force Awakens, some more nostalgia stuff; Kumiko: The Treasure Hunter, bringing an art house aesthetic to a Coen Brothers riff; and Todd Haynes’ Carol, because it’s Haynes and Cate Blanchett, what more could you want? I’m also very much hoping that the Criterion Collection will release Cristian Mungiu’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days, David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, and, on an off chance, Howard Hawks’s Bringing Up Baby and/or His Girl Friday. But, on those last two, I won’t hold my breath. – Kyle Turner
Animation has been dominated since the ‘90s by Pixar. The streak couldn’t last forever, and in recent years the mass public opinion on the company has shifted with the run of sequels and uninspired projects. 2015 looks to be game-changing year for the company, with two original films that both sound promising. Inside Out, from director Pete Docter of Up and Monsters, Inc., is about a young girl’s emotions in her mind as they struggle to deal with her new life in a new city. The trailers are amusing and look beautiful, and there is much potential for poignant storytelling here. The Good Dinosaur, despite some troubling behind-the-scenes shakeups (director Peter Sohn replacing Bob Peterson, some story rewrites), will hopefully come together. About a dinosaur that befriends a small boy (the asteroid never hit the Earth), one can expect a great unlikely friendship to be formed, as Pixar has done so well in the past. While independent animation is always worth celebrating, the loss of Studio Ghibli has me hoping for a true return to form in 2015 for Pixar. Don’t let me down. – Jake Pitre
Apatow the Line
Everyone is excited about the nostalgia fueled cinema coming to multiplexes this year, including myself. How could we not be excited to see another Avengers film and a new Star Wars? Let’s talk instead about the films that are sure to be interesting, but have received little press.
First of all, theres a new film from Jeff Nichols called Midnight Special. Both his previous films Mud and Take Shelter were in my top films and expectations for this could not be higher.
Next we have new films from Spielberg (St. James Place) and Apatow (Trainwreck). Spielberg’s career has seen its fair share of disappointments lately, but Lincoln was arguably the best of its year. St. James Place reunites him with Tom Hanks and is written by the Coen brothers. That alone is enough to be interested. Apatow, on the hand has directed some terrible films lately. Funny People and This is 40 were both stinkers, but Trainwreck sounds too interesting to ignore. Starring and written by Amy Schumer and staring Tilda Swinton, Bill Hader, and Brie Larson among others, this could be the turnaround his directing career needs.
Ridley Scott will be directing a Science-Fiction film that is not Blade Runner or Prometheus. The Martian is based on a 2012 novel about an astronaut stranded on Mars. Having just finished the novel, the story seems to offer plenty of intrigue and suspense. Let’s just hope Scott can give the book the adaptation it deserves. 2015 is going to offer plenty of big name sequels, but there will be plenty of other gems to enjoy. – Max Covill
In my bio it says that I can talk for 30 minutes about how bizarrely constructed the Fast & Furious franchise is. That’s not an exaggeration. On April 3rd, the latest installment in the series will be released with Furious 7. It’s ridiculous that I’m this excited for a seventh film in what will be a 14 year old franchise, but here we are. No franchise has reinvented itself by making three prequels to an installment nobody saw, no franchise has hit their creative stride at the fifth film, and no other franchise has given me The Rock and Vin Diesel fighting each other. This film has several risks riding on it – you have horror auteur James Wan trying his hand in the action realm, finally getting the franchise’s film’s timeline to its present, and of course most of all this film had to figure out how to move on after the tragic death of Paul Walker. 2015 will be great, but in a year where we’ll have new films from Martin Scorsese, Ti West and Alejandro González Iñárittu, the thing I’m most excited for is seeing how this franchise will continue after such tragedy. – Dylan Griffin
2016 will be the year of Twin Peaks, twenty-five years later as promised by Laura Palmer in 1991, which makes 2015 the year of Twin Peaks anticipation. So fire up Netflix, get out your Blu-ray Goldbox sets, and dig for a copy of any Lynch film you own, because it is time to celebrate the coming of this beautifully dream-like serial drama.
The show is highly influential as evidenced by various filmmakers and musicians: Lars von Trier gained fame off of his mid-90s nightmarish hospital soap-opera The Kingdom, indie-rock band Beach House made their career off of dream-pop reminiscent of Angelo Badalamenti’s score which compliments, conjures, and reflects the show’s atmosphere, The X-Files followed the series’ washed-out visuals and surface of superficiality, etc. Next year, audiences will again bathe in this aesthetic that has led artists into different directions of hazy delight.
When it happens again, will it have the same effect it had in the early 90s? Will season three thrive off nostalgia or be its own gorgeous dream in the present? Will the members of the main cast be back? What direction will Lynch and Frost take the town through narratively? The huge list of Twin Peaks questions will not be satisfied until next year, but for this year, we should all be more than satisfied with re-watching the first two seasons, wondering what is to come, and being grateful that this wonderful show ever was. – Nick Mastrangelo
Women of the Year
Last March, I watched my wife give birth to our beautiful son Everett. In that moment, holding my baby boy, I realized that I had become overwhelmed by the sight of my wife. Before my very eyes, she had ascended as a maternal goddess – powerful and transcendent. This was the revelation to color the rest of my year, making 2014 the year I bowed in adoration at the altar of the feminine.
Films like Persona, the Before trilogy, and all of Hayao Miyazaki’s filmography (aided by the ubiquitous gender discussions had around the globe), helped shape my new feminine-worshipping lens. And it is this new lens which sets my anticipation for 2015. Yes, I could go with the new Scorsese, Malick, or Nichols (Jeff, that is), The Avengers: Age of What Now? Remind Me or Star Wars: The Force Rolls Out Of Bed Once Again, or even Pixar’s return to originality, but instead I’m aiming to continue my cinematic education of the feminine with Todd Haynes’ Carol, Sarah Gavron’s Suffragette, and David O. Russell’s Joy.
These films are all stories centered on the lives of women; each written by women (with one directed by a woman); and all starring cinematic female powerhouses like Blanchett, Streep, Mulligan, Lawrence, Mara, and Bonham Carter. Also, each is a period piece, which could (hopefully) allow these films to form a cinematic historical triumvirate, a three-dimensional study of womanhood. 2015, I’ve heard your feminine roar, and I come running. My education awaits! – Colin Stacy