Today: May 28, 2024

Ten Non-Franchise Films To Excite In 2015

2015 promises to be a seriously tantalizing year when it comes to movies. With the likes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Bond 24 aka Spectre and Jurassic World all looking to stomp their way to box office mayhem it’s a wonder Hollywood has any original ideas left. But it does and in many ways they’re just as enticing as those franchise movies. So join Editor Alex Moss as we look at Ten Non-Franchise Films to get excited about in 2015.

Blackhat
Director Michael Mann is the bonafide king of slick thrillers, just look at Heat, Manhunter, Collateral and the horribly underrated Miami Vice movie as prime examples. But he’s been absent since 2009’s Public Enemies. So what better way to return to the big screen with a thriller very much of the cyber age. Blackhat sees Chris Hemsworth – a man looking to have a HUGE 2015 – as a tech-savvy criminal released from prison in order to aid Chinese and American forces track down and stop a cyber terrorist. The trailer has all the trademarks of a Mann opus; conflicted protagonist, stunning visuals and breathless action. (View trailer HERE)

Crimson Peak
Guillermo del Toro doing gothic horror? Hell yes. After all this is the man who gave us such dark and twisted treats as Pan’s Labyrinth, The Devil’s Backbone, and Cronos. Add to this one hell of a cast which includes Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain and this has sleeper hit written all over it. Of course the plot itself is being kept quiet for now but what we do know is that it takes place primarily in a house that “breathes, bleeds and remembers”. Anyone else want a cushion to hide behind?

Triple Nine
Although director John Hillcoat’s last effort Lawless wasn’t quite up to the incredibly high standard he set for himself his next film Triple Nine still holds a hell of a lot excitement. After all, this is the man who brought as the visually and emotionally powerful The Proposition and The Road. This time he’s directing a stellar ensemble cast which includes Casey Affleck, Kate Winslet, Aaron Paul, Wonder Woman herself Gal Gadot, Woody Harrelson, Anthony Mackie, Chiwetel Ejiofor and the best thing about The Walking Dead Norman Reedus in a film about a group of corrupt cops who plan a robbery by killing a rookie officer and instigating the titular code “999” which is “officer down”. The film has been in the works since 2010 and the script by Matt Cook made the 2010 Black List.

Midnight Special
In an era where superheroes are dominating every multiplex it looks as if Mud and Take Shelter writer director Jeff Nichols is putting his own unique indie spin on the genre. Midnight Special sees a father and son go on the run when the son develops special powers. Nichols has said he wants to create a sci-fi chase movie that is more grounded than his last effort, the dreamlike Mud. He’s going to be aided no end by a collection of seriously talented character actors in the form of Joel Edgerton, Adam Drive, Sam Shepard, Kirsten Dunst and his regular cohort Michael Shannon. What makes this all the more interesting is Nichols has sighted John Carpenter as a huge influence on this film. Here’s hoping for a brilliantly ‘80s electro soundtrack.

The Hateful Eight
Or, The Film Tarantino nearly didn’t make. When the first draft of The Hateful Eight leaked online this time last year Tarantino stated that he would now not make the film but instead release it as a novel. Thankfully he as changed his mind and so we will be treated to another Tarantino Western that promises to be just as bloody as Django Unchained. The Hateful Eight sees Kurt Russell as a bounty hunter taking his prisoner Jennifer Jason Leigh to a small town called Red Rock where she will be brought to justice. But along the way they get held up at a saloon where it becomes apparent they may not get out alive. The cast also includes Tarantino mainstays such as Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth and Michael Madsen with Channing Tatum also rumoured to be starring. This one’s exciting because it’s Tarantino and he has never delivered anything other than devilishly dark mischief when he’s behind the camera.

Black Mass
Based on the novel by Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill Black Mass tells the true story of Irish mobster James ‘Whitey’ Bulgar and FBI agent John Connolly. In what turned out to be a fascinating tale Bulgar turned FBI informant in order to get rid of the Mafia family in his area and hence rid himself of the competition. This one’s being directed by Crazy Heart and Out Of The Furnace helmer Scott Cooper and he’s managed to wrangle a hell of a cast with Johnny Depp as Whitey, Joel Edgerton as Connolly as well as the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Juno Temple and Kevin Bacon rounding out the cast. Cooper proved with Out Of The Furnace he can do slow-boil tension in a crime filled world so this one should be one to keep an eye on.

The Revenant
This one has some serious powerhouse talent behind it in the form of Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson and Birdman director Alejandro González Iñárritu. The film sees DiCaprio as Hugh Glass, a frontiersman and fur trapper who is mauled by a bear. Hardy will play one of the men who rather than help Glass robbed him and left him for dead. Glass then set out to take revenge against the men who wronged him. Iñárritu has continually proved to be an inventive and highly engaging filmmaker, if you haven’t seen Birdman yet you really need to, and the thought of him dealing with a character driven revenge thriller is an enticing prospect.

The Martian
Based on the book by Andy Weir The Martian looks to be another film in the vein of Gravity and Interstellar; a big budget sci-fi extravaganza which manages to keep character very much at the fore. Matt Damon will play an astronaut who finds himself stranded on Mars and forced to use his scientific skills to stay alive when everyone else assumes he’s dead.   While director Ridley Scott never fails to bring his stunning visuals to any film he makes the real appeal here is writer Drew Goddard; the man behind Cloverfield and The Cabin In The Woods knows how to create suspense and The Martian could allow Damon to flex his acting muscles with Goddard’s wry sense of humour.

War On Everyone
FilmJuice’s favourite film of 2014 was the stunning Calvary so learning that Calvary writer-director John Michael McDonagh has another film out this year is all we need to get excited about it. Little is known about the film other than it is set in New Mexico and follows two corrupt cops blackmailing and framing any criminal they encounter, until that is they run into someone more dangerous than they are. Guy Pearce, Michael Pena and the increasingly impressive Garrett Hedlund are all set to star. McDonagh has done corrupt cops before with the darkly hysterical The Guard, the only way War On Everyone could be any more tantalising is if there’s room for Brendan Gleeson, the star of The Guard and Calvary, to make an appearance.

Pixar’s Inside Out
When was the last time Pixar didn’t dazzle with one of their original ideas? Hard to think of one right. And that’s why Inside Out is on the list, because it’s Pixar and because it looks typically vibrant, fun and hugely clever. The story is told from inside the emotional headquarters of a young girl who has just moved to a new town. Inside her emotions; Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness all try to control her feelings while struggling to understand their own. The trailer has more laugh-out-loud moments than most films do in their entirety. (View trailer HERE)

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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