ROGUE 10: Ten Potential Gems of 2015

Wednesday, 31 December 2014 12:11 Written by  iamrogue
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ROGUE 10: Ten Potential Gems of 2015

Happy New Year, dear ROGUES.

With 2014 coming to a close, our latest ROGUE 10 is all about the future.  2015, specifically, and a bunch of movies that we're particularly looking forward to over the next year.

It's our second time whipping up such a list, and looking back as last year's list of potential gems, everybody at IAR HQ is pretty happy with how that worked out.  Our picks went on to make plenty of hay, from a family-friendly indie darling (Chef) to Wes Anderson's finest work (The Grand Budapest Hotel) to the year's most beloved blockbuster (Guardians of the Galaxy) to a for-real historical footnote (The Interview).

So the ROGUE 10 of potential gems is back.  Once again, the idea isn't simply to run through the most anticipated movies of 2015; we're as psyched as anybody for guaranteed blockbusters like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Avengers: Age of Ultron, but this list is all about movies that aren't freighted with the same kind of expectation.

These are movies that have could be surprising, that could end up on the inevitable favorite movie lists a year from now but aren't necessarily the most anticipated movies on the docket right now.

Of course, by this time next year, we're hoping to have been astonished by pictures haven't even heard of yet from filmmakers whose work will make us ask, "Who the hell made this?"  That's so much of the fun of going to the movies: getting knocked on your ass when you walked in with absolutely no idea what to expect.

Nonetheless, we've hand-picked ten potentially great films from all corners of the release schedule.  With no further ado:

IAR'S 10 POTENTIAL GEMS OF 2015

Ex Machina

A twisted scifi love triangle between a man, a billionaire, and a sexy cyborg from the writer of 28 Days Later..., Sunshine, Dredd, and Never Let Me Go.  All that would be enough, but Alex Garland has loaded his scintillating Turing Test of a directorial debut with talent like Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson, both on the cusp of major stardom thanks in no small part to big roles in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Plus, Alicia Vikander could break big as Ava, a robo-woman who puts the Svedka Vodka synthezoid to shame.

Release Date: April 10, 2015

The Walk

This is a narrative version of the true story chronicled so excellently in the documentary Man on WireJoseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Philippe Petit, the delightful French sprite who illegally wire-walked between the Twin Towers back in 1974 just because to do so would be beautiful.  With Flight, director Robert Zemeckis made a fascinating return to live-action after a decade of performance capture tinkering.  The Walk gives him the opportunity to create a totally unique, lovely heist movie that also allows for vertiginous 3D wire-walking like we've never seen on film.

Release Date: October 2, 2015

Triple Nine


Check out this cast: Kate Winslet, Woody Harrelson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Aaron Paul, Gal Gadot, Norman Reedus, Anthony Mackie, Teresa Palmer, and Clifton Collins Jr.  That's a formidable group, all working for The Proposition helmer John Hillcoat to tell a gritty tale of a heist that hinges on killing a rookie cop to take advantage of the code 999 (Officer Down) that ensues.

Release Date: September 11, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road

Seriously, did you see that trailer?  Max Rockatansky is back and after three decades, George Miller's post-apocalyptic wasteland is wilder and more high-octane than ever before.  Yeah, this is a big-budget sequel to an established franchise, but as the trailer shows, Fury Road just doesn't look like any other summer mega-movie.  Where so many other would-be blockbusters are bland, by-the-numbers, and soaked in CGI, this looks audacious, weird, colorful, and packed with blessedly practical stunts and real souped-up demon cars really hauling ass.

Release Date: May 15, 2015

Magic Mike XXL


In 2012, Magic Mike surprised everybody by being a smart, funny little movie, an actual good movie that easily transcended its early status as an easy punchline.  Since the first ended up being much more than just "The Channing Tatum Stripper Movie," we're hoping the second can be more than a redundant sequel.  Once again inspired by Tatum's real-life experiences as a male strumpet, Magic Mike XXL is actually a road movie that follows the Kings of Tampa on a more comedic odyssey.

Release Date: July 1, 2015

In the Heart of the Sea


There just aren't enough movies about adventure on the high seas these days, when we actually have the tech to make such stories slicker and more effective than ever before.  Even if there weren't a dearth of nautical movies, In the Heart of the Sea would be promising, since it's based on a great true story, one that inspired Moby Dick.  In 1819, the Nantucket whaleship Essex was sunk by a righteously pissed-off sperm whale, leaving the survivors to float aimlessly, desperately, for three starving months on the open ocean.  Ron Howard and Chris Hemsworth made for a solid combo on the underappreciated Rush, so we're hoping they double down on this nautical nightmare.

Release Date: March 13, 2015

Victor Frankenstein


Mary Shelley's novel has been stretched, reshaped, and bent every which way over almost two-hundred years, but Frankenstein hasn't had a really solid cinematic shakeup in too long (sorry, I, Frankenstein and Van Helsing).  This one might just spin the basics of the story nicely by focusing on Igor, a character who wasn't even in the original book.  Daniel Radcliffe stars as a non-hunchbacked Igor, with James McAvoy as the titular doctor, and those two bits of casting are every shade of promising.

Release Date: October 2, 2015

Knight of Cups


This is guaranteed to be the antidote to the Entourage movie.  Legendarily reclusive filmmaking sasquatch Terrence Malick returns for a whirlwind trip through the strange, self-indulgent lifestyle of a man (Christian Bale) who has reached the highest levels of Hollywood success.  This would be worth seeing in a theater for Emmanuel Lubezki's liberated, lyrical, hyperactively gorgeous cinematography alone, but Malick tackling this kind of material could make for a valuable addition to the canon of movies about people who make movies.

Release Date: T.B.D. 2015

Crimson Peak


An old fashioned gothic horror story that's all about atmosphere, Crimson Peak is a different breed from Guillermo del Toro's other American movies.  Those have tended towards the glorious pop ridiculousness of Pacific Rim and Hellboy, but this is the first time del Toro's making an English-language movie for grown-ups, one more in line with his Spanish classics Pan's Labyrinth and The Devil's Backbone.  Add to that a cast that includes Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam, Mia Wasikowska, and del Toro's muse Doug Jones and the chances for greatness and gorgeosity are high.

Release Date: October 15, 2015

The Martian


Matt Damon as a smartassed, resourceful astronaut marooned entirely alone on Mars?  Sign us up.  Andy Weir's novel is one of those books that reads like a bat out of hell and has you thinking about the inevitable movie version the whole time; it's a Robinson Crusoe-style story of survival based on plausible stumpers and scientific solutions.  True, Ridley Scott's proven even more divisive than usual the last few years, but The Martian gives him a lean, straightforward story that channels Apollo 13 and Gravity while distinguishing itself thanks to its setting and characters.

Release Date: November 25, 2015

DIRECTORS MAYBE FINALLY MAKING LONGTIME PASSION PROJECTS THAT COULD BE GREAT BONUS:

Silence


For years, this has been Martin Scorsese's "next" movie, yet it still hasn't gotten made.  This time it may finally be coming together with Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, and Adam Driver starring and Paramount eyeballing a release in the 2015 prestige season.  It's easy to see just why Scorsese can't let this one go.  Shusaku Endo's brilliant novel follows Jesuit priests into Japan in the 17th century, where their faith is tested by forced apostacy.  Hopefully it finally goes before cameras this year, because this cast is too good to pass up and we've waited long enough for Silence.

That's What I'm Talking About


Richard Linklater has been talking about a "spiritual sequel" to his 1993 classic Dazed and Confused for decades now.  Well, he finally shot the thing, so unlike Silence, we're pretty confident That's What I'm Talking About will arrive at some point this year, especially since Linklater's coming off the artistic high of Boyhood.  The 1980s-set story actually incorporates elements of both movies, since it kicks off with a freshman arriving at college, like Boyhood, and is a "party movie" like Dazed.

AND THAT'S IT FOR 2014, FOLKS!  STAY TUNED TO iamROGUE AND WE'LL SEE YOU IN 2015!

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