George Huertas ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Martin Scorsese’s film about Jesuit priests in Japan has been in gestation for a long, long time. After numerous false starts and stops, it is finally coming in Fall 2015. Telling the story of a Jesuit priest who has possibly committed apostasy in seventeenth-century Japan, Martin Scorsese is moving out of his familiar territory of organized crime, but is still tackling his ever-present themes of faith, guilt, and one’s commitment to their ideals. Of all of Scorsese’s projects, this is one I’ve been anticipating since I first became a film buff.
2. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
What else can we say? This is the film we thought would never happen. It was even a topic of conversation in Boyhood. And yet, ten long years after the previous proper Star Wars film entry, we are finally getting a new film. Of course, it isn’t just that we are getting a new Star Wars. It’s that we are getting a new Star Wars with a new interpretation. Coming from J.J. Abrams, whose Star Trek was more thrilling and delightful than any of the prequel films, and with a new cast of characters that is at once colorful and diverse, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is a film I await with bated breath.
3. The Hateful Eight
Probably no film on this list has had more bumpy a ride to development than Quentin Tarantino’s latest. Following a well-publicized script leak, Tarantino publicly declared that he was shelving the project. After a cooling period, Tarantino then stated that The Hateful Eight was back on with a completely re-tooled third act. Quentin Tarantino takes up and leaves projects at the drop of a hat, so every time one is finally announced to go into production, it’s a real treat. And with what little has been officially revealed so far (nothing beyond a teaser trailer) we can only sit tight and wait to see what Quentin Tarantino will bring us next.
4. The Sea of Trees
The McConaissance continues with this, Gus van Sant’s latest film. Telling the story of an American man who wishes to commit suicide in the infamous Japanese suicide forest, McConaughey instead meets another man (played by Ken Watanabe) who is in the forest for the same reason. Rather than commit suicide, the two begin a spiritual journey together to seek purpose in their lives. A promising premise combined with two very talented actors and a very talented director makes this sound like a moving, extraordinary film.
It’s harder and harder these days to find a blockbuster that enters the uncharted territory of originality, which is what makes Brad Bird’s upcoming project, Tomorrowland, sound so enticing. Focusing on a now grown-up boy genius and a young girl, its actual story is wrapped in mystery, with the only definitive information being that there are segments that take place in “a place in space and time known as Tomorrowland.” Considering Bird’s track record, Tomorrowland should hopefully continue the director’s so-far unbroken winning streak of delightful and thrilling adventure films.
6. Untitled Cold War Thriller
It’s been three long years since we last saw a Steven Spielberg film in the form of Lincoln. However, this film, about the lawyer who rescued the pilot of the downed U2 spy plane, looks to be right within Spielberg’s historical wheelhouse. Combined with the ever-reliable pairing of Spielberg and Tom Hanks, this should be a welcome return to moviemaking from one of its most iconic masters.
7. The Revenant
Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu’s Birdman was, in my opinion, the best film of the year. Thus hearing that he will already be working on his next project (when the previous gap was four years) is already cause for excitement. The knowledge that this project will be teaming him up with Leonardo DiCaprio is even better. With its storyline, about a fur trapper left for dead in the wilderness by his companions, and his subsequent journey for revenge, The Revenant looks to be a dark, violent tale of vengeance and fury in the Old West, and with Iñarritu and DiCaprio’s input, it promises to be a dark and powerful work.
8. Crimson Peak
Guillermo del Toro is one of the most splendidly visionary directors working today. Anything he touches carries a gleeful enthusiasm along with it, even something as blatantly commercial as giant robots smashing into each other. Thus, it is an absolute pleasure that del Toro will be returning to the genre which was once his premiere stomping ground: horror. Crimson Peak looks to be an old-fashioned horror story along the lines of The House on Haunted Hill or The Innocents, two films which del Toro has named as inspiration. This, combined with a killer cast (Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam, and Jessica Chastain) should hopefully bring the prestige back to horror that del Toro has been searching for.
9. Mad Max: Fury Road
It’s a miracle in and of itself that this movie even exists. Setting aside the fact that it’s the first Mad Max film since 1985, was in development hell for a good twenty-five years, and was beset by production issue after production issue. The fact that it even has a release date is a testament to the tenacity and fortitude of the cast and crew involved. Plus, Mad Max is an enduring icon of the post-apocalyptic genre, a genre which has only risen in prominence since the original Mad Max films were released in the 80s. With George Miller returning to helm the project, and Tom Hardy in the title role, Mad Max: Fury Road looks to be an oddball, crazy action movie the likes of which we haven’t seen in a long time.
10. Midnight Special
Jeff Nichols’ films all have a touch of the fantastical in them. It makes sense, then, that he finally directs a science fiction film, something which he compares to John Carpenter’s Starman. Another film wrapped in mystery, the only definitive bits of story we have are Michael Shannon (making his requisite appearance in a Jeff Nichols film) playing a father whose son develops superpowers, and that this ignites a chase after him. While this is admittedly little to go on, Nichols’ track record, combined with the cast he has assembled (Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Adam Driver, and Kirsten Dunst) lends a great deal of excitement to the project.