47. Straight Outta Compton
Starring: Paul Giamatti, Orlando Bloom, Keith Stanfield, Jason Mitchell, Corey Hawkins
Director: F. Gary Gray
Writers: Andrea Berloff, Jonathan Herman, S. Leigh Savidge, Sheldon Turner, Alan Wenkus
Release Date: August 14
How could anyone not want to see this? I mean this is a biopic about one of the most infamous and notorious rap groups. They made some great music together and Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg went on to even loftier heights after NWA. I can't wait to see what director F. Gary Gray (Friday) does with this material. Hell, they even got Ice Cube's own son to play his father in the movie! You can't get much more meta than that, folks. So hell yeah I'm excited for this movie. Gonna get me my Beats by Dre headphones and jack up that classic record "Straight Outta Compton"
Now onto the top 10. If you don't know by now what the next top 10 is, well you're in for a treat. Because these next ten movies are like rainbows and lollipops and unicorns to movie fans.
10. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Director: Francis Lawrence
Writers: Danny Strong, Peter Craig
Release Date: November 20
While I didn't like the first part of Mockingjay - it had it's moments - I still think Part 2 is going to be much, much better. First of all, this book doesn't deserve two movies. Maybe a long three hour movie, but 2 movies that run for about 5 hours? Nope. Harry Potter set an ugly precedent even if the Deathly Hallows is well-deserved of two movies (which it was - the book was super long and wrapping things up from 6 other books. So yeah). Most of the important and fun action takes place in the second half of the book so expect more pew pew bang bang *explosion* than what we got from Part 1. Which will be great - I'm excited to see how they wrap things up and then complain about how the movie got most of the book wrong. It's funny because I really dug the first and second movie adapatations, but Part 1 kind of soured me on the experience. I think watching Part 1 and Part 2 back-to-back will make it a much better movie, but damn, they could have just cut more than half of Part 1 and shove the rest in front of Part 2 and call it a day. And this is going to be Philip Seymour Hoffman's final big screen appearance - RIP. Don't get me wrong - there's a reason this is in my top 10. I think this franchise has been a huge surprise and is extremely well done. This will be a good final entry for the series.
9. Crimson Peak
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Writers: Guillermo del Toro, Matthew Robbins, Lucinda Coxon
Release Date: October 16
The mastermind behind such amazing films like Pan's Labyrinth and Pacific Rim is getting back to his roots with a more intimate and lower-budgeted film. Set in a crumbling mansion in a largely rural and mountainous region of northern England in the 19th century, young author Edith Cushing discovers that her charming new husband Sir Thomas Sharpe is not who he appears to be. This is straight up gothic fiction - which I absolutely love. I would love for this genre to make it back big time - and del Toro is perfectly suited for the job. The film reminds me a lot of 18th century gothic novels like Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe and more recent gothic fiction like Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier. While these books aren't for everyone, I think they translate easily to film and del Toro has a great sense of visually creating dread. It'd be nice to see something out of the horror genre that doesn't rely on gimmicks like murderous mirrors or bloody board games. In fact, del Toro stated, "I think people are getting used to horror subjects done as found footage or B-value budgets. I wanted this to feel like a throwback." and he wants to tell "a very set-oriented, classical but at the same time modern take on the ghost story." Plus the cast is fantastic - Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy, Pacific Rim) and Jessica Chastain (Interstellar, Zero Dark Thirty) are two fantastic actors that are playing supporting roles alongside Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland, Jane Eyre) as the main protagonist and her husband is played by Tom Hiddleston (Thor). Gothic fiction was part of my major in college, so you can understand how much I'm geeking out right now. If del Toro can't make his masterpiece, At the Mountains of Madness, then this should do very well as a consolation prize to horror fans.
8. The Hateful Eight
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Channing Tatum, Kurt Russell, Walton Goggins
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Release Date: December
I couldn't resist putting this one at number eight. It's just too perfect. And neat! While this movie may not see a release in 2015, I'm hoping that Tarantino can film and edit this for a Christmas time release like his last two films. Seriously, Tarantino is at his peak - he's doing the best work right now and I'm glad he's doing a western because the genre is in bad shape. And if everything works out well, there might be three legitimately good westerns next year (including Jane Got a Gun and The Revenant). Earlier this year the script had been leaked onto the internet and Tarantino considered dropping the movie altogether. But thankfully he's changed his mind since and has written two other endings to the film - so who knows which one he'll use? The story is quite simple - In post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunters try to find shelter during a blizzard but get involved in a plot of betrayal and deception. With the cast announced and shooting beginning early next year, I'm hoping he can pull this off in less than a year. I don't doubt there's going to be some great dialogue and some intense moments between the cast - Tarantino has proven he's most adept at creating very powerful and insanely tense scenes with brutally dark humor (the scene where the soldiers are ordering beer in Inglourious Basterds comes to mind). So yeah, The Hateful Eight will be good. Probably even insanely good - and I can't wait!
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham
Director: James Wan
Writer: Chris Morgan
Release Date: April 3
I can't help myself again! This was a fitting choice for number 7. After a months-long delay in production, Furious 7 is getting its big release this coming April. Paul Walker will be missed and hopefully his scenes will be tastefully done and I hope respect not just his character but Walker as an actor. The last thing audiences want to see is horrible photoshopping and bad effects. But aside from all the tragic drama and baggage this movie is carrying, Furious 7 looks just as insane and amped up as the last one. Don't get me started on the titles of these movies - they totally jacked this franchise up with the second one when they called it 2 Fast 2 Furious. Sometimes there is a the in front of the fast and furious, sometimes not. It's messed up and who the hell knows what they're going to do with the eighth title. But back to the movie itself, the sixth film left a very tasty teaser when Jason Statham gets out of his car to reveal he's the dude who killed off Han (the Asian guy) in Tokyo Drift (which now takes place after the events of four, five and six - getting confused?). Furious 7 is about Statham's character getting revenge of the F&F crew for killing his brother, the villain in number 6. Apparently the producers were looking to Denzel Washington to play a small role in this film that will lead into a much bigger role in the eight film Washington turned the role down and it looks like Kurt Russell has stepped in to fill that void. It's surprising how much this franchise has gotten bigger and bolder and has managed to stay relevant despite being left for dead on video shelves after Tokyo Drift. This time they have The Conjuring director James Wan behind the camera and he has a terrific sense of style so I'm excited to see what he brings to the film. This film could possibly dethrone Captain America: Winter Soldier as the biggest April release ever and I know I'll be there opening weekend to see all that CARnage.
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld
Director: Elizabeth Banks
Writer: Kay Cannon
Release Date: May 15
Pitch Perfect came out of nowhere to be one of the biggest comedy hits in 2012. After seeing previews the movie just looked like a bad money grab from a studio looking to cash in on the Glee craze. But trailers lie and this film was better than what it was selling. Smart and filled with memorable characters and some amazing musical numbers, Pitch Perfect was, well, perfect! And Elizabeth Banks is set for her directorial debut with the sequel and it looks like there's going to be more A Capella shenanigans and fun. The writer from the first movie is back and there should be the same whip-smart jokes and quirky characters. And with a sequel you have to go bigger - so the Barden Bellas enter into an international competition with the weight of America having never won it all. Hopefully this won't fall into the dreaded comedy sequel trap of trying to hard to create the magic of the original. 22 Jump Street managed to avoid this dilemma this year and I'm hopeful from what I've seen and read that Pitch Perfect 2 can do the same.