2015's Most Anticipated: Warm Up

50-46 | 45-41 | 40-36 | 35-31 | 30-26 | 25-21 | 20-16 | 15-11 | 10-6 | 5-1 |
Runner-Ups |
This guy is psyched for 2015
2015 can’t come fast enough. I’ve been talking about 2015 for over a year now and I can’t believe we’re almost here. This is the year of the fanboy. There’s just so much to get through next year – the list runs the gamut of sequels, reboots and franchise movies and there’s something in 2015 for everyone – and I mean everyone. While the past two years have been ho-hum, 2015 is sure going to make up for it.

Movies from long dormant franchises return (Jurassic Park! Mad Max!), dead franchises get rebooted (Terminator! Fantastic Four!) and plenty of sequels all demand our attention. There’s also a lot of really interesting, new, original movies that seem like winners. Whether this translates to the biggest year at the box office is up to how well these movies are made.

It’s one thing to slap a recognizable name on a movie and call it a day, it’s another to seek out the best talent and creative minds to revitalize a franchise or keep the same spark going from the original movie(s). I plan on really delving deeply into next year, I hope you’re as excited as I am.

I usually try to find balance in my list – making sure that original titles get the same love as sequels and franchise movies. But this year is a little different. I’m embracing the sequel and going with how excited I am about some of these movies. I certainly hope that all of these movies are awesome, but I’m sure I’ll be let down more than once.

But before I get to the actual 50, here are 10 runner-ups (in alphabetical order) that I think deserve some attention. While they may not be worthy of opening day ticket stubs, they certainly have the potential be fun distractions next year.

Fifty Shades of Grey
Starring: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson
Writer: Kelly Marcel
Release Date: February 13
Despite being a perfect fit for number 50 on my list, I just can't muster up too much excitement for this film. So many people have passed on the role of Christian Grey that it seems the film might be toxic. When you have resident CW hottie Stephen Amell (Arrow) saying the character of Grey seems uninteresting, well, then you may have a problem. [sidenote: Not that Amell isn't awesome, he's just no Ben Affleck, folks.] So not only is the film going with its 10th choice in cast, but director as well. I will give the studio some respect in hiring a woman director (who is also married to Mr. Kick-Ass himself- Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who happens to be in the movie as well). This film could be a hot mess. But hot nonetheless; while I can't get too excited, it does have sex. And seemingly a lot of it if I'm told correctly by all of those mom blogs - which I do frequent. But aside from all the sex? Well, the story just seems rather dull - I could care less about some rich dude's fetish and an obsessive woman's desire to uncover all of this man's "secrets". Hell, even Maggie isn't interested in this movie so that's saying something too!

Starring: Will Smith, Margot Robbie
Directors: Glen Ficarra, John Requa
Writers: Glen Ficarra, John Requa
Release Date: February 27
The writer-director team that brought the wonderfully trippy I Love You, Phillip Morris and charming schmultzy Crazy, Stupid, Love. to screen are back with a decidedly much darker and possibly depressing movie. Will Smith plays a con man who takes Margot Robbie under his wing while also taking her to bed. After breaking up with her for getting too close, she shows up three years later to swindle him at his own con. Alright, I'm hooked, film. It's nice to see Smith get back to drama - a genre that actually brings out the best in him IMO. And Margot Robbie is the new hot young actress after her turn in The Wolf of Wall Street. And the movie seems like it should be fun. I just can't shake the feeling of the tone of the trailer - it's just seems a shade too dark and twisted. Trailers can be misleading, so hopefully this film is much lighter than what it's made out to be here. But I DON'T KNOW and I can't take any chances this year.- Sorry Mr. Smith, you're not going to be making an appearance in my top 50 this year!

Starring: Mark Duplass, Olivia Wilde, Evan Peters, Donald Glover
Director: David Gelb
Writers: Luke Dawson, Jeremy Slater
Release Date: February 20
Not much is known about this low-budget horror movie. It's got a fantastic cast - Olivia Wilde (Drinking Buddies, Rush), Mark Duplass (Safety Not Guaranteed, TV's The Mindy Project), Evan Peters (X-Men: Days of Future Past) and Donald Glover (TV's Community). Basically a group of med students discover how to bring back the dead. Of course this leads to something akin to the apocalypse if they don't contain their discovery. While the cast is superb, the writers and director are a bit untested - David Gelb has only helmed one other film - the culinary documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi and the Luke Dawson wrote Shutter and Jeremy Slater wrote Fantastic Four. I'm not a horror fan, but the movie sounds like it should be looking for more thrills than gore. And while the film is a bit gimmicky with the plot, it's nowhere in the league of absurdity of The Purge movies. So count me in with a little bit of hesitation on this one!

The Loft
Starring: James Marsden, Wentworth Miller
Director: Erik Van Looy
Writers: Bart De Pauw, Wesley Strick
Release Date: January 23
This movie was a runner-up from last year, but never got released. There hasn't even been an official trailer yet! I'm guessing this one might just get dumped onto VOD in January, so we'll see. Nothing has really changed my opinion about the movie - I still want to see it, although the fact that the studio seems to not care about the movie says a whole lot about it. So I'm just going to copy and paste my original assessment here:
An American remake of the hit Belgium (I know, Belgium!) film, The Loft is about four wild and crazy guys who share a loft to have affairs with their respective mistresses. But once they find a murdered lady in the loft, they start to suspect each other. Through a series of flashbacks intertwined with the present, the truth gets revealed. The film has an exceptional cast - Karl Urban actually replaced Patrick Wilson during pre-production (which is a plus in my book!) and James Marsden is horribly underrated as an actor. It's hard to judge anything besides just casting - but it has the same director as the original so it won't stray far from the original. I'm keeping an eye on this one.

Starring: Johnny Depp, Ewan McGregor, Gwyneth Paltrow
Director: David Koepp
Writers: Eric Aronson
Release Date: January 23
This movie was originally in my top 50. Then I saw the trailer. Boy does this movie not look that appealing anymore. I still think there's a chance this movie could be fun adventure/caper, but it also looks like it could be one of the most annoying movies next year. It's a toss-up. Johnny Depp continues to not be impressed with regular acting anymore, instead continuing his quest to be the world's most interesting/irritating actor depending on your point of view. Aside from Depp, the cast seems pretty good - Paltrow, McGregor are solid choices. But Aubrey Plaza (Parks & Rec) and Olivia Munn (The Newsroom) - two of my favorite actresses are in it as well and should bring the funny. David Koepp, who's more known for his writing (Jurassic Park, Mission: Impossible) than he is for his directing (Secret Window, Stir of Echoes). Once again, this is a toss-up - I'm intrigued by the plot and (most of) the cast, but that trailer just aggravates me! I'm sure the reviews will confirm this movie for me come January.

Starring: Adam Sandler, Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage
Director: Chris Columbus
Writers: Timothy Dowling, Tim Herlihy
Release Date: July 24 
I don't know how much I can get behind a movie where the sole premise is based on a 2-minute short film about retro video games attacking the earth. Alien invaders misinterpret old school video game footage as an attack and decide to use said footage as a template to attack Earth. And you know who can save us? Adam Sandler as a previous world champion of said video games. I'm sure there is going to be a lot of bad jokes about geeks/nerds thinly veiled as celebrating that culture but instead uses bad stereotypes about how they live with their moms and are awkward around women. So basically an extended version of The Big Bang Theory with more CGI. But this could be good - I really like Josh Gad and Peter Dinklage, but once again they might just be stand-ins for terrible jokes with Gad being that pudgy oaf character and Dinklage trading in his acting skills for bad little people punchlines. There isn't a trailer to confirm or deny any of these allegations, so I'll reserve my judgement when one comes online.

San Andreas
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino
Director: Brad Peyton
Writers: Allan Loeb, Carlton Cuse, Carey Hayes, Chad Hayes 
Release Date: May 29
In the wake of a massive earthquake in California, a helicopter pilot attempts to rescue and save his estranged daughter with his ex-wife in tow.The movie sounds like another version of War of the Worlds, just with a decidedly more family-friendly cast and crisis. I feel like any cheese ball plot about family coming together will be negated by how awesome and charming Dwayne Johnson is. Plus you know, disaster movies are pretty fun. The only other movie that had a rescue-helicopter plot angle was the terrible Kevin Costner/Ashton Kutcher drama The Guardian. That inexcusably long and dull movie gives me very little hope about this movie. And just look at how many people had to write this disaster movie! You don't need to bring your A-game to the screenplay for this type of movie, folks. So a mixed bag - this should do well at the box office because it lands 4 weeks after Avengers and 2 weeks before Jurassic World. I would like to see a trailer because a preview might make this a must-see movie rather than a wait for DVD movie.

Starring: Matthew Goode, Ryan Reynolds
Director: Tarsem Singh
Writers: David Pastor, Àlex Pastor
Release Date: July 31
Now this sounds like an interesting movie - a billionaire dying of cancer invests in a technology that puts his conscious into a recently deceased body. But the memories of his new body start to surface and reveal a disturbing past. We had an uploaded-consciousness movie already in 2014 - Transcendence - and it was a giant turd. So interesting premise aside, this movie has Tarsem Singh, a director known for his flamboyant style (The Fall, The Cell). Although his more recent movies have been fairly awful (Immortals, Mirror Mirror) - I think this movie is more in line with his older stuff. And Matthew Goode needs to have a breakout hit sometime - the dude is a seriously good actor who hasn't gotten his due yet (he played Ozymandius in Watchmen and played a brilliant criminal in The Lookout and Stoker). Ryan Reynolds has had a steep decline ever since he took on the role of Green Lantern - but I don't hold any grudges - I think he's a pretty good actor; he just needs to find his groove back. The movie is written by two brothers who's only other big release was Carriers - a bad B-movie with Chris Pine. Once again, I'd love to see a trailer because this movie could shoot straight into my top 25 if it looks good enough.

Triple Nine
Starring: Norman Reedus, Woody Harrelson, Aaron Paul
Director: John Hillcoat
Writer: Matt Cook
Release Date: September 11
A group of corrupt police officer are blackmailed into killing a rookie cop so they can set off 999, "officer down" in order to orchestrate a heist. This sounds fantastic - I like the idea of crooked cops getting their comeuppance but also being anti-heroes. However, it's still one of those cop dramas that could end up being really dull and boring. Remember Broken City with Mark Wahlberg? What a mess that movie was! So hopefully John Hillcoat (The Proposition, The Road) can make this a thrilling heist film. His last movie, Lawless, was pretty boring even though it had all the right ingredients (cast, true story plot, heavy drinking). And this movie doesn't have the benefit of having Tom Hardy. This is the main reason why I can't put it in my top ten - it just seems like this could end up being a messy, slow moving affair.

Untitled Cameron Crowe Project
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams
Director: Cameron Crowe
Writer: Cameron Crowe 
Release Date: May 29
Even though this doesn't have a title yet, you still got to give your respect to Cameron Crowe. He may not always direct the best movies (Elizabethtown, anyone?), but he has done some really great movies (Almost Famous, Jerry Maguire). The plot is this: A celebrated military contractor returns to the site of his greatest career triumphs and re-connects with a long-ago love while unexpectedly falling for the hard-charging Air Force watchdog assigned to him. It's got a great cast and hopefully it'll match the charm of his better movies rather than that mess with Orlando Bloom. Bradley Cooper has been on fire lately - even his voice work  is getting accolades - if you haven't seen Guardians of the Galaxy - Cooper is Rocket Racoon. And McAdams and Stone are always charming no matter what they're in - so I can't wait!

See you tomorrow with the first 5 in my top 50 Most Anticipated!

50-46 | 45-41 | 40-36 | 35-31 | 30-26 | 25-21 | 20-16 | 15-11 | 10-6 | 5-1 |
Runner-Ups |

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