2015 is the year major studios are releasing all of their biggest blockbusters in hopes that their hundred million dollar babies (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Batman vs. Superman, Star Wars: Episode VII, Hunger Games: Mockingjay and Bond 24) fight to become the movie that earns all the money there will ever be. Not to be overlooked in all the CGI-aided assault is 2014. Next year plays host to many original stories by big names such as Christopher Nolan, Darren Aronofsky, Wes Anderson, and Paul Thomas Anderson. Before audiences start wishing for it to be 365 days from now, let’s take a look at the best and brightest coming attractions.
David Fincher – Gone Girl
“Gone Girl” made the rounds on the book circuit this year and given Fincher’s predilections toward lurid material it’s no surprise that he snapped up the opportunity to direct the picture. Few directors are as adept at mysteries as Fincher, making this adaptation as anticipated as his last nasty thriller, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Gone Girl stars Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck and will be released October 3.
Marjane Satrapi – The Voices
A disturbed factory worker who hears advice from his pet dog and cat is implicated in the accidental death of his co-worker. Yes, you read that right, Ryan Reynolds will be playing a man who speaks to his pets about murder. That premise alone just bought my ticket.
The Voices hits Sundance January 19th.
Terrence Malick – Knights of Cups & Untitled Project
Prior to the aughts the wait between Malick features spanned decades, now he’s released two films in about three years (Tree of Life, To the Wonder). To the Wonder was not as well-received as Tree of Life, but with the mega-watt casts he has assembled for Knight of Cups and his still untitled project, both pictures hold a lot of promise. Plus who doesn’t want to see Christian Bale do something light-hearted again?
Knight of Cups and Untitled Malick Project’s release dates are currently TBA.
Lars von Trier – Nymphomaniac
If you’re a cinephile (and if you’re reading MM chances is you are) than the always controversial Dane is sure to draw a reaction one way or another. Nymphomaniac certainly is not anyone’s idea of a fun night at the movies, but if Anti-Christ and Melancholia are any indication, this film will be talked about for a very long time.
Nymphomaniac is slated for U.S. release on March 21st.
Darren Aronofsky – Noah
Black Swan bought a lot of critical and commercial goodwill for Aronofsky in 2010, yet no one would have anticipated he would invest that goodwill into a Biblical epic, especially one nearing three hours long. Whether the new elements added to Noah will enthrall or enrage audiences is yet to be seen, but win, lose or draw, a project this ambitious is worthy of your attention.
Noah is released March 28th.
Susanne Bier – Serena
Serena will be Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper’s third outing together in a period piece focused around a timber magnate (Cooper) and the complications that arise when it is learned that his wife, Serena (Lawrence), cannot bear children. Lawrence and Cooper are batting 1.000 with Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle, I can only imagine they will repeat the magic one more time.
Serena release date is TBA.
Angelina Jolie – Unbroken
Based on the adapted screenplay by Joel and Ethan Coen, Unbroken chronicles the prison experiences of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who was taken prisoner by Japanese forces during World War II. Jolie has an eye for what makes a good war picture–as evidenced by In the Land of Blood and Honey–so this shall be another exciting directorial entry into her filmography.
Unbroken is released December 25th.
Christopher Nolan – Interstellar
Little is known still about the massive sci-fi Christopher Nolan is undertaking. All we have to go on is the teaser trailer, the cast made up of McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway and Casey Affleck, and the source of the script based on Kip Thorne’s book. Frankly, that’s all I need to know. After Gravity‘s success combining IMAX and space I can’t wait to see what the creator of Inception has up his sleeve.
Interstellar hits theatres and IMAX November 7th.
Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
At this point in Wes Anderson’s career, you either like him or you don’t, but Grand Budapest Hotel features maybe the strongest cast Anderson has had at his disposal. I’m still not sure how Ralph Fiennes went this long in his varied career without starring in a Wes Anderson movie.
Grand Budapest Hotel is released March 7th.
Kelly Reichardt – Night Moves
Reichard made her name directing minimalist fare like Meek’s Cutoff and Wendy & Lucy, but with Night Moves she dramatically increases the stakes. Night Moves follows three environmentalists (Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard) who believe that pamphlets, lectures and being a concerned part of the local community isn’t enough anymore, so they decide to blow up a dam.
Night Moves release date is currently TBA
Gareth Edwards – Godzilla
Indie filmmakers are rarely given the keys to a big studio picture, but Warner Bros. has entrusted the auteur behind Monsters to revive Godzilla in the midst of the monster movie craze. The teaser trailer has only hinted at the carnage that will occur onscreen, but I suspect that Edwards will make Roland Emmerich’s 1998 stab at the radioactive monster nothing more than a bad, distant memory.
Godzilla hits theatres May 16th.
Lynn Shelton – Laggies
One of the preeminent voice of the mumblecore scene, Lynn Shelton adds a few stars to her next project, nabbing Keira Knightley, Chloe Grace Moretz and Sam Rockwell to her latest comedy. Laggies centers around a perpetual adolescent who lies to her fiancé (Rockwell) about going on a retreat and instead spends the time hanging out with her friends instead.
Laggies hits Sundance on January 17th.
Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher
Raise your hand if you knew last year that a true life story starring Steve Carell and Channing Tatum would be one of the most anticipated pictures of the year. No? Channing Tatum’s popularity exploded after Magic Mike and 21 Jump Street, but 2013 saw him take a few steps back. This prestige picture produced by Megan Ellison could not only jump-start Tatum again but shatter the type-casted image of Carell as Michael Scott forever.
Foxcatcher‘s release date is TBA.
Paul Thomas Anderson – Inherent Vice
Anderson’s last effort with Joaquin Phoenix stirred up critics everywhere; one only imagines what will happen when he translates the free-wheeling, gleefully unhinged works of Thomas Pynchon to the big-screen. Phoenix has polished his chameleon-like abilities with roles like Freddie Quells and Theodore Twombley, watching him play private detective Doc Portello in the late sixties should be a pleasure as well.
Inherent Vice‘s release date is TBA.
Cary Fukunaga – True Detective
This one is cheating, but play along with me for a moment. Fukunaga, who delivered Sin Nombre and Jane Eyre, takes his next project to HBO for the long-form miniseries True Detetcive starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. Sure HBO isn’t theatrical distribution, but damn if this doesn’t look on par with Zodiac in terms of an obsessive thriller. If the premise doesn’t sell you, the haunted look on McConaughey’s face at the end of the trailer certainly will.
True Detective starts on HBO January 12th.