Before I started a blog I used to send out a movie group email quarterly, which would highlight each movie I was looking forward to each season, along with a trailer accompanying each one of them. Well, in thinking about the Oscar movie season being over (unfortunately) I thought I would brew up some excitement about some of the films I’m looking forward to as we enter late Winter – Spring. This should hopefully key you in to some great directors who are releasing what appear to be some very good-looking films over the next few months. Which are in no particular order other than by date of their release.
1) “Maps To The Stars” (Dir: David Cronenberg) (Release Date: 2/27) – What can I say is that I think I’ve seen about 95% of Cronenberg’s filmography, which dates back almost 40 years now. This looks like a bit of a change of pace for Cronenberg, giving us cynical take on the Hollywood film industry and obsession. And in usual Cronenberg fashion – he enlists the help of a rather impressive cast: Julianne Moore (a Golden Globe nominee for her work here), Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson (his 2nd collaboration in a row with Cronenberg after 2013’s “Cosmopolis”), Sarah Gadon (one of the most talented, relatively unknown actresses in the business), and John Cusack. As with any Cronenberg release this comes with quite a bit of anticipation for it.
2) “Chappie” (Dir: Neill Blomkamp) (Release Date: 3/6) – For those of you unfamiliar with Blomkamp (and should be) he’s the writer director of the groundbreaking “District 9” which practically reinvented the Science Fiction genre as well as the decent but nothing spectacular “Elysium” (2013). Well, based on how much I loved “District 9” and will adamandtly speak of it in such high regard, I am excited to see what Blomkamp has up his sleeve next. And this looks like it could be a another, new, and more refreshing take on the SciFi genre than his previous effort “Elysium”. That and look for “rave-rap” outfit of whom I love Die Antwoord (Yolandi and Ninja) each member seeming to have a considerable role in this film (a nice nod to Blomkamp’s African heritage). I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. But I’ll be on the side of more seeing than waiting.
3) “The Gunman” (Dir: Pierre Morel) (Release Date: 3/20) – This is a film that brews excitement based solely on one concept – that it’s Sean Penn’s first starring role in years, as he took a sabbitical after “The Tree of Life” (which he had minimal screen time in) and did one film inbetween – the horrible, if mildly amusing despite its badness, 2013’s “Gangster Squad”. This looks like an American version of something similar to Anton Corbijn’s “The American” (2010). But most importantly it brings together Penn with one of my top 5 favorite other actors – the undeniably talented Javier Bardem. Top it off with Idris Elba in the cast and I am officially sold. Let’s just hope this one holds up to how promising it looks.
4) “While We’re Young” (Dir: Noah Baumbach) (Release Date: 3/27) – This is probably the film I’m most excited about. Not many other directors have been on such a consitently good streak as Baumbach. His last 3 films being “Frances Ha” (2012), “Greenberg” (2010), and one of my all time favorites – “The Squid and the Whale” (2005). So it’s only befitting that I would be looking forward to his latest release. This one looks interesting and very “Baumbach-ish”. Though I am a bit skeptical is it looks like something that’s a bit more mainstream and could be his most commerically viable film to date. But also his best cast (and yes that’s Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz) along with an original score by ex-LCD Soundystem turned film composer James Murphy. I have a feeling this is going to be yet another in a string of brilliant Noah Baumbach films.
5) “Ex Machina” (Dir: Alex Garland) (Release Date: 4/10). Famed screenwriter Alex Garland’s (“The Beach”, “28 Days Later”, “Sunshine”, “Never Let Me Go”) directorial debut looks like it hs the pedigree to be something special. Billed as a Drama | Sci-Fi and starring Oscar Isaac (who has been on an absolute roll lately and is slowly becoming won of my new favorite actors) and Domnhall Gleeson (Brendan’s son, who was impressive in last year’s “Frank”). The trailer for this looks solid and early reviews are showing some great promise.
6) “Far From The Maddening Crowd” (Dir: Thomas Vinterberg) (Release Date: 5/1) – Coming off his career best work from 2013’s Academy Award nominated Oscar for Best Foreign Language film – “The Hunt”. I was first introduced to Vinterberg back in 1998 (another film nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film). I can’t say I’ve seen a Vinterberg film that I haven’t liked. And even despite this looking more like a period piece drama, it boasts a highly impressive cast in Carey Mulligan, Michael Sheen, Juno Temple, and Matthias Schoenaerts. Until a director does me wrong a will follow him to the end of the earth to see their next film. Which seems to be the case here.
7) “Mad Max: Fury Road” (Dir: George Miller) (Release Date 5/15) – The first thing that interested me most about this film was the incredible looking trailer that I saw before “American Sniper”. Then I found out that it was one of the few, maybe only remakes that I can think of that paired the director (Miller) from the original film (1979’s “Mad Max”) with the reboot. That and it stars Tom Hardy, who appears to be back to the ass-kicking genre of film with movies like “Bronson” (2008) and “Lawless” (2012). All I can say is this trailer looks bad ass and I can’t wait to see the finished product.
8) “Aloha” (Dir: Cameron Crowe) (Release Date 5/29). Okay, I’ll be the first to admit it. This film totally goes against my whole “auteur theory”/gobydirector approach, in that I’ve pretty much sworn off anything that has Cameron Crowe’s name on it. But this sold me with its highly impressive cast consisting of a lot of actors in the industry right now who are putting out their best work (Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone) along with a plethora of who’s who of other notable actors (this cast looks amazing) including Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, Jay Baruchel, Alec Baldwin, Danny McBride, and John Krasinski). So I’m hoping that this is more “Almost Famous” or “Jerry Maguire” than it is his most recent efforts like “We Bought a Zoo” or “Elizabethtown”.