Last night the Academy Awards officially wrapped up 2015 in film by handing out their awards, and tomorrow is March 1st so it's time to look ahead. This year some very interesting work is due out over the next two months, and ten films in particular have caught my eye for various reasons. Some because I believe we may witness something truly special, the type of movies that will end up on my best of list early next year. Others, it's not so much an expectation of greatness but a general curiosity of the spectacle and how the finished products will turn out.
Zootopia - March 4th
As a father, you can pretty much guarantee that I will be seeing any halfway decent looking animated film shortly after it's released. Zootopia is more than halfway decent looking, it appears to be another colorful and fun adventure from Disney Animation and the reviews that have been released so far are beyond enthusiastic. I have high expectations for this one, and I have no issue connecting to the type of experience some believe to be meant "just for kids." If you dig deep enough, a lot of animated films are terrific and some are masterpieces.
Knight of Cups - March 4th
For residents of other countries, Knight of Cups has been available for quite some time now. In fact it can be owned on Blu-ray right now if your device is able to play discs from other regions. For us Americans though, the new Terrence Malick film is finally being released in theaters. As usual this is getting a pretty mixed response over all but that is to be expected from a Malick picture. Considering the man created my favorite film of all time, The Tree of Life, and has other masterworks under his belt like Badlands, Days of Heaven, and The Thin Red Line. Oh, and his recent movie To the Wonder was absolutely a lesser effort but I still very much enjoyed the gorgeous ride it took me on.
10 Cloverfield Lane - March 11th
I like the original Cloverfield enough, but it's not a film I love or hold in any really high regard. So why am I including its sort of sequel ominous spinoff whatever the hell this is film on this list? Exactly. Because I have no idea what it even is and the trailers have intrigued me more and more with each new look. It was absolutely unheard of that this movie was kept a secret until just about a month or so ago when the first trailer for it was released and surprised everyone - how the hell does that happen anymore? In a world where we know every superhero film due out for the next decade, we find out about a pretty widely anticipated movie when it is due in theaters in less than two months? 10 Cloverfield Lane may end up being terrible, who knows, but count me as someone who needs to find out more.
The Lobster - March 11th
I know basically nothing about the plot of The Lobster and honestly, I plan to keep it that way. All I know is that it is getting pretty terrific reviews and is being talked about for just how strange it is. That's plenty for me to be excited about a film.
Midnight Special - March 18th
I listed these films in order of when they are released, so I feel compelled to make it clear that had I ranked them based on level of anticipation, Midnight Special would be at the top of the list. Directed by Jeff Nichols, who is the man behind the masterpiece Take Shelter, the near masterpiece and totally great Mud, and the terrific film Shotgun Stories, I had Midnight Special listed on my most anticipated of all of 2015 last year but its release was delayed until March. It recently premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and just as I expected, the reviews out of there are pretty outstanding. I can't wait to see what this amazing storytelling has come up with now.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - March 25th
Am I excited for Batman v Superman? Yeah...I guess. I mean I am, but it isn't so much a "This is going to be great!" excitement. More of a "I wonder if this will actually be good?" excitement. I don't know what it is, but no matter how many trailers or clips they throw at me, my enthusiasm for the project can't rise above the "I hope this is cool." level. I really hope it is too, I hope it blows my mind with awesomeness. I am not a naysayer nor am I a believer that this is a game changing project. I am a wait and see with an open mind type on this one, but the spectacle and the possibilities will have me seated in that theater shortly after its release.
Louder Than Bombs - April 8th
My excitement for the film Louder Than Bombs comes from the fact that it received relatively positive reviews when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival a year ago, but even more so just because of a previous film by director Joachim Trier that knocked my socks off called Oslo, August 31st. That film basically made it official that anything Trier did going forward, I would be there.
The Jungle Book - April 15th
I know it seems silly to be excited about a film like The Jungle Book when so many of the other films I am looking forward to are totally original and this is a property that has been adapted a few times before, but something about this new take intrigues me. I think I just find myself excited by the actual theater experience, as it looks like it could be pretty visually stunning on a huge screen. Not to mention the fact that my family is looking forward to it as well, always nice to join them on a trip to the cinema. I have no idea if The Jungle Book will actually be good, but I hope so.
Everybody Wants Some - April 15th
Directed by Richard Linklater, the man behind Dazed and Confused and the 2014 masterpiece Boyhood, Everybody Wants Some is described as a "spiritual sequel" to the former classic. That's literally all I need to know, I am so damn in.
Green Room - April 15th
There is a low budget film from 2013 called Blue Ruin that perhaps you haven't heard of. Do me a favor, if you have Netflix streaming, go search for it and add it to your queue. Perhaps just watch it immediately to avoid adding it and forgetting about it. Seriously, it's that good. Director Jeremy Saulnier returns with Green Room, a film that looks absolutely brutal and visceral and has already been met with stellar reviews. It involves a punk rock band that witnesses a murder, thus pitting them up against a group of skinheads who want them dead. Oh, and the leader of the skinheads is played by Patrick Stewart. Remember how I said Midnight Special would be my #1 more anticipated on this list had I ranked them that way? Green Room would have been my #2.