A new Bond, a new Star Wars, a new Terminator, plus movies from Scorsese, Spielberg and Paul Thomas Anderson – 2015 is shaping up to be a humdinger
1/50What is it?James Bond is back! For the twenty-fourth time (not counting the unofficial ones)! This adventure picks up where ‘Skyfall’ left off, with M still dead and Bond still wrestling with encroaching middle age and rampaging anger-management issues. Expect angst and action in roughly equal measure.
Who’s involved?The ‘Skyfall’ team reunite, including director Sam Mendes, writer John Logan and star Daniel Craig. We expect to see Ben Whishaw back as Q and Ralph Fiennes as slippery MI6 operative Gareth Mallory, who, for better or worse, has now stepped into M’s sensible heels.
When can I see it?‘Spectre’ opens on October 23 2015.
2/50What is it?The first sequel to the most successful movie trilogy of all time, and the first in a new sequence of films. Plot details are still sketchy but we do know it’ll involve Luke Skywalker and Han Solo coming out of retirement to tackle a new threat from the Dark Side of the Force.
Who’s involved?‘Star Trek’ rebooter JJ Abrams directs, with a sprawling cast including original stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford alongside newcomers Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Adam Driver and London’s own John Boyega from ‘Attack the Block’.
When can I see it?‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ opens on December 18 2015.
3/50What is it?A full century on from its first big-screen adaptation, Thomas Hardy’s heartfelt 1874 masterpiece of love among the sheep pens gets the lush, upscale period-drama treatment. Expect sweeping landscapes, painstakingly stitched period costumes and chest-beating drama.
Who’s involved?Dogme veteran and ‘The Hunt’ director Thomas Vinterberg is in charge, with Carey Mulligan and ‘Bullhead’ actor Matthias Schoenaerts as the romantic leads.
When can I see it?‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ opens on May 1 2015.
5/50What is it?Adapted from Thomas Pynchon’s novel, this psychedelic crime comedy follows an LA private eye’s investigation into a young man’s disappearance.
Who’s involved?The director many consider to be America’s finest living filmmaker, Paul Thomas Anderson (‘Magnolia’, ‘There Will Be Blood’) has rounded up an impressive cast including Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Josh Brolin and, um, Martin Short.
When can I see it?‘Inherent Vice’ opens on January 30 2015.
Image: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
7/50What is it?Not a warts-and-all portrait of one of the UK’s most glamorous seafront locations, but a new comedy from Sacha Baron Cohen, creator of Ali G and Borat. He plays a moronic football hooligan whose brother, an MI5 spy, comes to hide out in his attic.
Who’s involved?Cohen co-writes and stars, with the mighty Mark Strong delivering a rare comic turn as the Secret Service sibling. In an unexpected move, Cohen has roped in director Louis Leterrier of ‘The Transporter’ and ‘Clash of the Titans’ to oversee proceedings, so expect some sparky action scenes alongside the knockabout laughs.
When can I see it?‘Grimsby’ opens on July 24 2015.
9/50What is it?A sequel to the 2012 musical comedy about a group of young women taking part in an a capella singing competition. We’ve no idea of the plot this time, but given that the entire cast are coming back we expect it to be every bit as fun (and loud).
Who’s involved?We love it when an actor we admire takes up the directing reins. This time it’s the turn of comedian Elizabeth Banks, who produced and co-starred in the first movie. She’s joined on the cast list by Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson and a whole host of funny women.
When can I see it? ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ opens on May 15 2015.
10/50What is it?See if you can guess. Yes, two decades on from the original ‘Jurassic Park’ we’re going back to the island of Isla Nublar, now the site of a functioning and successful dinosaur attraction. But not for long…
Who’s involved?Steven Spielberg has bigger things on his mind than dinosaurs, so it’s fallen unexpectedly to newcomer Colin Trevorrow, director of cheerful if unspectacular time travel indie ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’, to take the reins. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard appear, but the dinos are the real stars.
When can I see it?‘Jurassic World’ opens on July 12 2015.
14/50What is it?An adaptation of JG Ballard’s 1975 novel about the inhabitants of an ultra-modern tower block who allow petty disagreements and minor complaints to spill over into outright violence as their society begins to completely break down.
Who’s involved?‘Kill List’ director Ben Wheatley directs and co-writes with his regular collaborator (and partner) Amy Jump. Tom Hiddleston plays the central character, Dr Robert Laing, with support from Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, Reese Shearsmith and ‘Mad Men’ star Elisabeth Moss.
When can I see it?There’s no release date as yet.
17/50What is it?Adapted from a graphic novel by ‘Kick-Ass’ author Mark Millar, this is the story of a young Secret Service agent taken under the wing of a more experienced spy.
Who’s involved?Colin Firth plays the older agent, with young Welshman Taron Egerton as his protégé and Samuel L Jackson, Mark Strong and Michael Caine rounding out the cast. Millar’s old mucker Matthew Vaughn, maker of ‘Kick-Ass’, directs.
When can I see it?‘Kingsman: the Secret Service’ opens on February 5 2015.
18/50What is it?An eye-popping sci-fi extravaganza about an ordinary cleaner who discovers that she’s really the Queen of the Universe, and is spirited off into the middle of an intergalactic war. Hey, we’ve all been there…
Who’s involved?‘The Matrix’ directors Andy and Lana Wachowski return to their pet theme of ordinary folks who turn out to be The One. Mila Kunis plays the lead, with Channing Taum, Sean Bean and Eddie Redmayne in support.
When can I see it?‘Jupiter Ascending’ opens on February 6 2015. Read more.
19/50What is it?When will those hired assassins get it through their thick heads? You never get out of the game! Having clearly failed to see ‘Point Blank’ (or indeed ‘Grosse Point Blank’), a skilled assassin is forced on the run from his employers when he expresses a desire to go straight.
Who’s involved?In his trashiest role for a while, Sean Penn plays the lead, topping a striking cast of men’s men that also includes Javier Bardem, Ray Winstone and Idris Elba. ‘Taken’ helmer Pierre Morel directs.
When can I see it?‘The Gunman’ opens on February 20 2015.
20/50What is it?This darkly comic drama about a gone-to-seed action star attempting to revive his career by putting on a Broadway show has received rave write-ups at festivals – including a five-star review from Time Out.
Who’s involved?Michael Keaton heads up an all-star cast including Emma Stone, Edward Norton and Naomi Watts, with ‘Babel’ director Alejandro González Iñárritu in the chair.
When can I see it?‘Birdman’ opens on January 2 2015.
23/50What is it?In 1950s Hollywood, an experienced ‘fixer’ goes about solving the problems besetting a number of stars and directors. Expect a cheekier, more sprightly take on ‘Barton Fink’.
Who’s involved?The Coen brothers return to familiar turf as writers and directors, and true to form they’ve rounded up an impressive cast of ne’er-do-wells including George Clooney, Channing Tatum, Tilda Swinton, Josh Brolin, Ralph Fiennes and Jonah Hill.
When can I see it?There’s no release date yet.
Image: Rob Greig
24/50What is it?After being rammed amidships by an angry sperm whale, the crew of the British vessel Essex are forced to spend 90 days adrift at sea. Before you ask, yes, they do start eyeing each other hungrily…
Who’s involved?After his top-notch racing film ‘Rush’, ginger ninja Ron Howard is clearly on a roll, and he’s rousted out a rollicking crew of salty sea dogs including Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy and Brendan Gleeson to join him on this voyage.
When can I see it?‘Heart of the Sea’ opens on March 13 2015.
25/50What is it?In 1974, French tightrope artist Philippe Petit walked between the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center. In 2008, successful documentary ‘Man on Wire’ retold the story of Petit’s high-wire exploits. Now here’s a dramatised version, following Petit as he plans and executes this daring feat.
Who’s involved?‘Forrest Gump’ director Robert Zemeckis adapts Petit’s own memoir ‘To Reach the Clouds’, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in creepy makeup as the high-wire man himself and Ben Kingsley in a supporting role.
When can I see it?‘The Walk’ opens on October 2 2015.
26/50What is it?The final instalment in the ‘Hunger Games’ series (unless they pull a ‘Star Wars’ and start bombarding us with sequels and/or prequels). The stage is set for the final battle between Capitol forces and the scrappy rebels led by Katniss Everdeen.
Who’s involved?The original cast – Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland and assorted non-threatening boys – will all return, plus the film will mark the very final screen appearance for the great Philip Seymour Hoffman. ‘Catching Fire’ director Francis Lawrence stays on to see the series out.
When can I see it? ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2’ opens on November 20 2015.
29/50What is it?‘Knocked Up’ director Judd Apatow shepherds another young comic talent to superstardom – this time it’s Amy Schumer, a relatively little known stand-up who has adapted this black comedy from events in her own life.
Who’s involved?Apatow and Schumer have written the script together, while the extensive and diverse cast also includes Tilda Swinton, Daniel Radcliffe and Method Man. Together at last!
When can I see it?It opens in the US on July 25 2015, so expect it in the UK around the same time.
30/50What is it?The story of legendarily homicidal Boston crime boss Whitey Bulger, number two on the FBI’s Most Wanted list for 12 years until he was finally tracked down in 2011.
Who’s involved?Could this mark the return of Johnny Depp, proper actor? He hasn’t delivered a really meaty, serious performance since 1997’s ‘Donnie Brasco’, so the thought of him returning to similar territory gives us hope. ‘Crazy Heart’ director Scott Cooper oversees, with Benedict Cumberbatch, Sienna Miller and Joel Edgerton in supporting roles.
When can I see it?‘Black Mass’ opens on September 18 2015.
35/50What is it?An early-years biopic of the great popular scientist Stephen Hawking following his courtship of fellow Cambridge student Jane Wilde and his descent into paralysis caused by motor neurone disease.
Who’s involved?Eddie Redmayne has been getting big love from the festival crowd for his portrayal of Hawking, while Felicity Jones offers support in all senses as Wilde. Sometime documentary-maker James Marsh (‘Man on Wire’) directs.
When can I see it?‘The Theory of Everything’ opens on January 1 2015.
36/50What is it?A tale of two priests persecuted by the local authorities for trying to spread Christianity in seventeenth-century Japan. Expect sumptuous period recreations and a whole lot of noble suffering.
Who’s involved?This is Martin Scorsese’s latest project, and while the outline suggests ‘Kundun’-like levels of seriousness (as opposed to ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’-like levels of fun) we’re always keen to see what the great man comes up with. Liam Neeson returns to serious acting after a long hiatus to play one of the priests, with Ken Watanabe and Adam Driver supporting.
When can I see it?It’s set for a US release late in 2015, so expect it in the UK around the same time.
39/50What is it?Based on a multi-award winning manga comic strip, this is the tale of four sisters, three of whom live with their grandmother in the Japanese city of Kamakura, until the arrival of a fourth sister shakes up their settled existence.
Who’s involved?‘Kamakura Diary’ is the latest film from Hirokazu Koreeda, creator of some of the finest films of the past two decades including ‘After Life’, ‘Nobody Knows’ and ‘I Wish’.
When can I see it?It’s set for a summer 2015 release in Japan, so expect it in the UK before the end of the year.
42/50What is it?A high-speed action thriller in which an American backpacker gets in the middle of a running battle between two arch-rival assassins on the lawless freeways of Germany. Sadly, Kraftwerk aren’t doing the soundtrack.
Who’s involved?Young British hope Eran Creevy (‘Shifty’) writes and directs, with Nicholas Hoult as the hapless hero and – here’s where it gets good – Ben Kingsley and Anthony Hopkins squaring off as the two villains. Scenery will be chewed.
When can I see it?The film’s apparently finished, but there’s no release date confirmed.
43/50What is it?In the old-world gambling dens of New Orleans, a card shark on a losing streak hopes to pair up with a younger man in an effort to improve his luck. We anticipate boogie-woogie piano and straight-up bourbon galore.
Who’s involved?This is the highest-profile project for writer-director team Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck since their impressive breakthrough film, ‘Half Nelson’. Ryan Reynolds and Sienna Miller head up the cast.
When can I see it?Shooting has finished, so expect the film in the latter half of 2015.
44/50What is it?In 2012, Oscar-nominated documentary ‘The Act of Killing’ took a unique and devastating approach to revisiting historical genocide in Indonesia. This follow-up jettisons the hyper-stylised method of the first movie for a more conventional but more personal and direct take on these mass killings.
Who’s involved?Director Joshua Oppenheimer returns, with veteran doc-masters Werner Herzog and Errol Morris exec producing.
When can I see it?There’s no release date yet, but the film has played in festivals worldwide so expect it early in the year.
45/50What is it?A low-budget American indie horror flick about a supernatural curse that’s transmitted through sexual intercourse. But this is far more than just ‘The Ring’ with STDs – reviewers have gone wild for its darkly funny tone and genre-upending twists.
Who’s involved?No-one you’ll have heard of – yet. But expect to hear much more of director David Robert Mitchell in future.
When can I see it?2015 – but there’s no UK release date yet.
46/50What is it?A computer-animated adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s beloved 1943 fable about a stranded pilot and a boy from space. The book, a philosophical treatise aimed at kids, is the best-selling French-language novel of all time.
Who’s involved?It’s an all-star affair, with ‘Kung-Fu Panda’ director Mark Osborne ordering the computer geeks around and James Franco, Marion Cotillard, Jeff Bridges, Benicio del Toro and Paul Giamatti among the voices.
When can I see it?It’s released in France on October 7 2015, so expect it in the UK in time for Christmas 2015.
50/50What is it?The further adventures of a Tampa, Florida male stripper, back by popular demand after the first movie became a smash hit with the hen party crowd (and, to be fair, with film critics).
Who’s involved?The character of Mike was based on star Channing Tatum's own pre-fame experiences, so of course he's back in the title role, ably assisted by Joe Manganiello as his memorably named foil Big Dick Richie. Sadly, original director Steven Soderbergh has jumped ship, so it's down to relative unknown Gregory Jacobs (Soderbergh's usual assistant director) to deliver all the feisty punchlines and quivering man-meat the fans expect.
When can I see it?It opens on August 7 2015 – so there's plenty of time to dry-clean your posing pouch.