Release Date: July 17th
Director: Peyton Reed
Cast: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Hayley Atwell
Synopsis: Based on the popular Marvel comic, thief Scott Lang and mentor Hank Pym must safeguard the Ant-Man technology, which allows its user to increase and decrease in size.
Why I'm Excited: While my excitement has dwindled down since director Edgar Wright left the project, to see what Marvel has in stock to close out Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is just as exciting as an auteur bringing his own signature style to Marvel. Like most other MCU films, Peyton Reed doesn't have many films to his name. This is great. Reed doesn't have his own unique film technique, but might find it here. It's exciting to watch talent bloom.
9. The Revenant
Release Date: December 25th
Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Cast: Tom Hardy, Leonardi DiCaprio
Synopsis: Set in the Old West, a fur trapper seeks revenge against his colleagues who had betrayed him.
Why I'm Excited: Westerns will reign indie kings in 2015, with The Revenant and Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight coming out in the fall. This film gets special recognition since Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu always surprises when his films hit the big screen. Each film has similar themes, but it's how Inarritu builds a story around the themes that always entertains. It will also be interesting to watch a gifted director tackle a different genre.
Release Date: October 9th
Director: John Francis Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein
Cast: Ed Helms, Leslie Mann, Charlie Day, Chevy Chase
Synopsis: Russ Griswold decides to take his family on the classic Griswold family vacation to Wally World.
Why I'm Excited: It's been 18 years since the last Vacation film. It's a safe bet to say that a new installment in the franchise has been long overdue. While this is surely a way for Warner Bros. to find a way to keep making money, it's always nice for some nostalgia in cinema. The Vacation franchise has always been consistently funny. A decent amount of time has passed that introducing modern audiences to the Griswold family won't seem like such a money grabbing idea.
Release Date: May 22nd
Director: Brad Bird
Cast: George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie
Synopsis: Two seemingly ordinary people are transported to a mysterious place called Tomorrowland.
Why I'm Excited: This film has been under the radar for quite some time. What's exciting is the concept of creating a film around Disneyland's Tomorrowland. On one hand, it's a carte blanche on a story perspective. There's a million ways you can go. You can create an entire film based on the Rocket Rods or Autopia. On the other hand, where do you even start? Tomorrowland looks like a mix of Insterstellar and Meet the Robinsons. The film might also be under the radar due to the uncaring of current audiences since this is a creation of another theme-park-attraction-turned-film. However, Bird is behind the critically acclaimed Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. After watching the trailer, there is no denying that the film will be visually beautiful and might have some deep philosophical moments that can make this film a Disney classic.
6. Crimson Peak
Release Date: October 16th
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam, Tom Hiddleston
Synopsis: Crimson Peak is stated to be a love story/ghost story hybrid with the possibilities of vampires.
Why I'm Excited: Guillermo del Toro has his own unique signature. His mixture of darkness and beautiful special effects has a special place in my heart. After a grand performance with Pacific Rim, del Toro goes back to a smaller budget with a haunted house tale. Just the fact that del Toro is creating a love story is enough to wet anyone cinephile's appetite. This will also be the only time we get to watch what del Toro had in mind for his Haunted Mansion film that Disney decided to hold off on.
5. Jurassic World
Release Date: June 12th
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jake Johnson
Synopsis: With new investors, Jurassic World is finally open to the public. However, the owners of the park can't help but find ways to create something bigger and deadlier.
Why I'm Excited: If you haven't seen the trailer yet, watch it. There's Chris Pratt riding with a herd of Velociraptors. The theme park is open, but looks like it'll close early. It seems that the best way to go is the way of a new genetically created dinosaur. While most of the trailer is just glitz and glamour, the last minute really puts intrigue and hope for the future of this franchise.
4. Bond 24
Release Date: November 6th
Director: Sam Mendes
Cast: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux
Synopsis: James Bond tackles another deadly mission.
Why I'm Excited: Sam Mendes returning to the director's chair after his success on Skyfall. Christoph Waltz as the villain. Lea Seydoux as the Bond girl. John Logan returning as the screenwriter. So far, this film provides a talented team. I grew up on Bond films, and I love when franchise reboots are done well. Casino Royale was a prime example on how to reboot a franchise. Quantum of Solace wasn't the best follow-up, but once Skyfall hit theaters, Solace was long gone from my mind. Audiences can expect well crafted and contained action sequences, superior dialogue and a display of minimalist Bond technology.
3. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Release Date: May 1st
Director: Joss Whedon
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Kevin Spacey
Synopsis: The Avengers must go up against Ultron; an artificial intelligence unit bent on human extinction.
Why I'm Excited: The follow-up to the 2012 box office juggernaut, Age of Ultron seems like the turning point in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (CMU). Kevin Spacey is haunting in the role of Ultron. Robert Downey Jr. still looks trashed after the events of Iron Man 3. While Ant-Man closes out Phase 2 of the CMU, Ultron might have the government look at the role of superheroes in society. This will lead to Captain America: Civil War which will lead to some overhaul in the Avengers cast. Ultron also opens up the door to introduce a hundred more Marvel characters.
2. Inside Out
Release Date: July 16th
Director: Pete Docter
Cast: Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader
Synopsis: A girl is guided by her emotions: fear, anger, sadness, joy and disgust.
Why I'm Excited: It's been four years since Pixar has had an original idea. Cars 2 was a poorly executed expansion of Cars; Brave was more of a traditional Disney film than a creative Pixar knockout; and Monsters University was nice, but a creative endeavor that could have been left on the drawing board. Inside Out won't be the only Pixar film to come out in 2014. The Good Dinosaur releases a few months later, but Inside Out takes the cake for its intriguing plot involving characterizing the emotions in a little girl's mind.
1. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Release Date: December 18th
Director: J.J. Abrams
Cast: Harrison Ford, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley
Synopsis: Set 30 years after the defeat of the Empire, the film will focus on three young characters as the force reawakens. Watch the trailer.
Why I'm Excited: I'm a 90's kid. I grew up on the old films and enjoyed the new films as much as I could as an overexcited child. As I grew older I came to realize that there was only one true trilogy; the original trilogy. J.J. Abrams has shown his interest in Star Wars ever since Star Trek. We can all admit that Star Trek was Abrams' test run for a Star Wars trilogy. It's unfortunate that he won't be on to direct Star Trek 3, but he has already established himself in cinematic history for nostalgic dialogue and story in Super 8, and extraordinary special effects in Star Trek.
The trailer shown Black Friday was a perfect teaser. John Boyega in stormtrooper gear? Stormtroopers landing on what looks to be Tattoine. X-wings flying over a lake. A stumbling Sith lord with a makeshift lightsaber. Then, the Millennium Falcon twisting and turning above desert terrain, dodging TIE fighters, while John Williams' triumphant score plays. Everything about this trailer makes Star Wars: Episode VII the most anticipated film of 2015.
Honorable Mentions: The Hateful Eight (Directed by Quentin Tarantino); Mad Max: Fury Road (Directed by George Miller); Furious 7 (Directed by James Wan); Terminator: Genisys (Directed by Alan Taylor).