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South Texas Living


Most anticipated movies of 2015




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At the movies
January 7, 2015 | 4,413 views | Post a comment

Movies like “Jurassic World,” James Bond sequel “Spectre,” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” are exciting, but none of them ranks in my top 10 most anticipated films. I’ll be there opening day for each, but sometimes it’s a performance from a favorite actor that makes a film an event, and not just a giant budget. Here’s my rundown for 2015. Hopefully, it includes some big films you know, and some small ones you haven’t heard of yet:

10) “McFarland, USA” -- Niki Caro is a special director, able to capture small town culture and make otherwise cliché stories feel fresh again. She’s best known for the dreamy New Zealand inspirational “Whale Rider.” Kevin Costner’s unique talent lies in capturing an audience’s good will the moment he steps onto the screen. Here he plays a P.E. coach who becomes involved in his students’ lives and starts an underdog cross country racing team. Feb. 20

9) “Chappie” -- Excitement over Neill Blomkamp’s edgy sci-fi success “District 9” was tempered by the uneven “Elysium.” His third feature, “Chappie,” takes place in a near-future world where a decommissioned military robot is salvaged by a family who raise him like a toddler. When his former masters come to claim him, Chappie has to begin making decisions for himself. Initial trailers for the film are surprisingly moving. Mar. 6

8) “The Hateful Eight” -- Quentin Tarantino’s always been a superb storyteller, but with his recent films, he’s evolved the ability to balance social commentary with uproarious humor. He can send chills up your spine, make you laugh, and make you incredibly uncomfortable all at once. There’s no reason to believe he’ll falter at this point, especially making a Western whose main characters are all villains. Nov. 13

7) “Star Wars: Episode VII -- The Force Awakens” -- I know, this should be No. 1, right? Count me disillusioned by the prequels. The first trailer looked fantastic, but I’m worn out. For a franchise that hasn’t had a new movie in 10 years, it’s omnipresent. There’s something to be said for: “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” I need to be away from something in order to miss it. It’s still No. 7 on my list, so I’m excited to see it. I just need some space beforehand. It’s not you, “Star Wars,” it’s me. Dec. 18

6) “Mad Max: Fury Road” -- Speaking of franchises that have given me space, the last “Mad Max” movie came out 30 years ago. Since then, audiences fell in love with lead Mel Gibson, discovered he was off his rocker, and divorced him. Enter Tom Hardy, who takes over the role of the original post-apocalyptic wanderer, with an uncanny knack for Gibson’s ticks. Seek out the trailer -- it’s one of the craziest, most colorful two minutes you’ll see until the film. May 15

5) “Tomorrowland” -- The director of Pixar classics “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille,” Brad Bird tells the story of a young girl (Britt Robertson) who travels to a place outside of time and space in order to set the world right. A cross between “The Wizard of Oz” and “Amazing Stories,” it may have a lot to say about the troubled times we live in. May 22

4) “Predestination” -- An adaptation of sci-fi author Robert Heinlein’s most controversial and challenging short story, “All You Zombies.” The story involves time travel and some chilling paradoxes. Ethan Hawke’s a reliable lead in a mind bender like this. Adapting such a difficult story makes this leap to the top of my list. Jan. 9

3) “Midnight Special” -- One of the best and most overlooked films of 2013 was coming-of-age tale “Mud.” Writer-director Jeff Nichols follows it up with the story of a father and son on the run after the son develops special powers. Most new Americana feels too generic, but Nichols tells modern tales that feel like Mark Twain, Flannery O’Connor, and Jack London. Stakes are simple, stories are organic and unexpected, and the characters are so well-realized they jump off the screen. Nov. 25

2) “Suffragette” -- Meryl Streep and Helena Bonham Carter play the leaders of Britain’s suffrage movement, fighting for the right of women to vote in the early 1900s. When the state reacted brutally, the movement turned underground. It’s eerie to think that, in many countries (including the United States), women have had the right to vote for less than a century. Sept. 11

1) “Crimson Peak” -- Today’s best horror director, Guillermo Del Toro, tells what he calls a gothic ghost story. A young woman (Mia Wasikowska) marries a mysterious man (Tom Hiddleston, who plays Loki in “Thor”) who hides a dark past. The prospect of seeing these two play off whatever monsters emerge from Del Toro’s imagination is what makes me most excited about the coming year in film. Oct. 16.

Gabe Valdez grew up in Chicago, went to college in Massachusetts, is a former news reporter in Floresville, Texas, and worked in politics in Oregon. He writes and directs films when he can find the time. Reviews, views, photos and more can be found at http://basilmarinerchase.wordpress.com. Email him at vlasicary@hotmail.com.
 

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