Keith: Okay, everyone, now that we’ve had a chance to shake off the the tinsel, glitter, and chaos that always comes at the end of a film year, let’s say goodbye to 2014 and hello to 2015. I always start the new year optimistic about what’s to come. Whatever highs and lows we’ve had in the preceding year are behind us now, and we’re staring down a year filled with possibility. (Until the first dreadful movies of the January dumping ground start hitting, and all that optimism vanishes. But we’re not there yet, so let’s not talk about it!) So let’s kick off this year right: What do you want from the movies in 2015?
Tasha: One primary thing: More of what we got in 2014. I’ve heard some vague griping around the Internet that this was a weak year for movies, and I assume that griping is coming from deranged eagles that can barely manage to mash out letters on a keyboard with their talons, because from my perspective, this was a terrific year: short on airless, stuffy, overblown prestige movies cramming into theaters in the last weeks of the year, but long on strong and uniquely textured indie visions, with an energizing wave of solid, smart, entertaining summer blow-’em-ups. If 2015’s forays into explode-y action epics are as surprising and enjoyable as Guardians Of The Galaxy or Edge Of Tomorrow, and the indies are as thrilling as Whiplash, Blue Ruin, and The Babadook, and prestige season peters out again and leaves people talking about movies with some actual verve, I’ll consider us all pretty lucky.
Scott: Toward the end of last summer, I wrote a piece confessing all the fun I had at Hollywood blockbusters in 2014, despite the consistent gripes from many corners that all we were seeing was remakes and sequels, and despite the fatigue that nearly always sets in after four months of being pounded into oblivion by nine-figure studio behemoths. In 2014, those behemoths came in the pleasing form of Godzilla, Edge Of Tomorrow, Guardians Of The Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, et al. 2015 has another Joss Whedon Avengers on top of a couple of other promising comic-book movies (the troubled-but-still-promising Ant-Man, the rebooted Fantastic Four), Jurassic World, a new Brad Bird (Tomorrowland), and Judd Apatow’s daringly titled Trainwreck. Some possibilities there for the kind of strong, sensibility-driven blockbusters that made the summer of 2014 better than survivable.
I have some other hopes for 2015, but let me first stump for two movies already in the bank: First is The Look Of Silence, Joshua Oppenheimer’s follow-up/companion piece to The Act Of Killing, and one that dramatically changes perspective when looking at Indonesian genocide of the kind re-enacted in the first film. Though not as conceptually audacious, it’s even more powerful in its simplicity, and it’s an utterly courageous act of journalism; there’s a reason more than half the crew is credited as “anonymous.” The Duke Of Burgundy, from Berberian Sound Studio director Peter Strickland, came out of TIFF as Noel Murray and Mike D’Angelo’s favorite, so they’ll certainly be happy to talk it up, but it’s a clever, funny, stylish film about sexual role-players that grows into a profound film about the compromises necessary to sustain a healthy relationship.
Nathan: This year, like every year, I’m partially excited about the train wrecks (and also Apatow’s Trainwreck, which Amy Schumer wrote) and I see Jupiter Ascending as having the potential to be a misconceived boondoggle for the ages. Every element of it screams fiasco, so it’ll be interesting to see if it actually manages to be good in any way, good-bad, bad-bad, or otherwise. Age Of Adeline (a.k.a. Blake Lively’s Benjamin Button) similarly has a glorious train-wreck possibility, so there are a lot of movies up on the calendar I at least look forward to getting skewered on The Flop House. Oh, and I’m excited about Monster Trucks, because, c’mon, monster trucks! I want good, original, surprising, non-clichéd movies, of course, but I also want movies I can laugh at, not with.
Jen: At the risk of repeating what other people have said using different words, I just want more pleasant surprises. Not just more of the major blockbusters that blindside-wowed us this year, like Edge Of Tomorrow, or indie films that knocked us out, à la Whiplash. (Whenever I see J.K. Simmons now, I honestly can’t decide whether to give him a standing ovation, or brace for impact.) I’d also like to see more unexpected gems from the mainstream-middle: those movies that are neither overhyped, big-budget affairs, nor tiny indies just trying to make it in this Hollyweird world.
That means more Chefs, more The Fault In Our Stars (Fault In Our Starses?), more Nightcrawlers. We—meaning critics and moviegoers in general—spend so much time either lambasting movies that let us down or effusively praising itty-bitty arthouse pics that we often forget how wonderful it is when a major studio puts out a non-visual-effects extravaganza that’s entertaining and satisfying.
In the year ahead, then, am I crazy to look forward to Pitch Perfect 2, or that untitled Cameron Crowe film that at this point might as well be called The Movie That Got Reamed In Leaked Sony Emails, or even the Poltergeist remake that’s being released in the doggiest days of August? Maybe I am. Or maybe the sanest thing I can do is be open to and eager for the possibility of the cinematic unexpected.
Rachel: For better or worse (but mostly better), 2014 was full of movies that led us in one direction, whistling casually, then stopped short, turned around, punched us in the gut, and ran away. I’m thinking about Frank’s rapid transformation from twee indie to bleak reality check; Whiplash’s trope-dodging, ambiguous final note; The Babadook’s refusal to kill its darlings or its monster; and St. Vincent’s surprising surfeit of terribleness. In 2015, I want to be just as consistently caught off guard, whether by a movie’s merits or its story arc. I hope I’m wrong about Jupiter Ascending’s elastic release date indicating it’s going to be an overblown mess. Maybe Fifty Shades Of Grey will rise like a (sexy) phoenix from the ashes of its source material. Serena has already been torn apart by critics, but goddammit, I believe in Jennifer Lawrence’s power to transcend even the shittiest script. Basically, I want to be completely unable to predict what’s going to happen in every movie I see for the next 365 days—and whether I’m going to genuinely enjoy it. Is that too much to ask, 2015?
Tasha: It might be too much to ask. But continuing the blind optimism rally, I’ll sustain our usual trumpeting for fewer franchises and more original stories. We’ve got two new Pixar movies coming up in 2015—Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur—and I’m excited for those and Jupiter Ascending and Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland and Neill Blomkamp’s Chappie and (God help me) Quentin Tarantino’s Hateful Eight and Guillermo Del Toro’s Crimson Peak in a way I just can’t get excited for the big franchise installments of 2015, the latest James Bond, and the latest Terminator, and the new George Miller Mad Max, and the latest twists on Cinderella (from Kenneth Branagh) and Peter Pan (even though it’s from Joe Wright!), and even high-nerd-profile projects like the latest Star Wars film, or Jurassic World. I just want 2015’s version of The Guest or Beyond The Lights, films that weren’t even on my radar until I was sitting in a screening room watching them. More originality means more more memorable characters that don’t just feel like watered-down or steroided-up rehashes of old favorites. And speaking of memorable characters, Ridley Scott’s The Martian is an adaptation of one of my top books of 2014, Andy Weir’s brilliant hard science-fiction debut novel about an astronaut stranded on Mars. I’m betting the film won’t be as tech-friendly, physics-smart, and real-life-focused as the novel, but the book still has a hugely memorable central character who I’m excited to see on film.
Genevieve: I’ll just come out and say it: I want more mainstream movies that aren’t made by white men, especially not white men incorporating “female stuff” into their pre-existing movies. With Belle, Beyond The Lights, and Selma, 2014 saw several mid-profile movies directed by black women, which shouldn’t feel as extraordinary as it does, but here we are. Looking ahead to 2015, I don’t see a lot to indicate this could be an ongoing trend, unfortunately, but there are some potential women-driven bright spots I’m curious about. Like Jen, I’m also looking forward to Pitch Perfect 2, not just because the first film has grown on me like some sort of terrible, harmonic fungus, but because it marks the directing debut of Elizabeth Banks, whom I would love to see break out as a filmmaker the way she has as an actor.
And while Anna Fox’s Don’t Mess With Texas has the potential to be as bleak as her previous films, 27 Dresses and The Guilt Trip, it’s produced by star Reese Witherspoon, who also produced on two of my favorite 2014 films, Gone Girl and Wild, so I’m going to extend a little goodwill to her next project, despite my better instincts. And though Trainwreck comes with Judd Apatow’s name and reputation preceding it, it also marks the feature-writing-and-starring debut of Amy Schumer, who is currently occupying prime “can do no wrong” real-estate in my mind. Hell, I’ll even hold out a teensy bit of hope for Nancy Meyers’ The Intern, despite the many red flags raised by its premise. (Anne Hathaway is the founder of a fashion-based e-commerce company that hires Robert De Niro as an intern, whoof.) It’s highly unlikely any of these films, with the possible exception of Trainwreck, will be critical darlings or awards-contenders, but I would personally love to be pleasantly proved wrong by any and all of them.
Noel: This is probably an impossible request, but in a few weeks, I’ll be at Sundance and I want a festival as full of ambitious films and unexpected pleasures as last year’s. Here are 10 films that played at Sundance 2014, just off the top of my head: Boyhood, Whiplash, The Babadook, Life Itself, The Overnighters, Obvious Child, The Guest, Cold In July, Frank, and Dear White People. Those wouldn’t be my personal picks for the year’s 10 best, but if somebody handed me that list as their year-end Top 10, I’d nod and say, “Sure.” I’m echoing what a lot of you are saying: I want to see films that take chances, and films that sneak up on me. The more I see like that at Sundance, the better the odds that the rest of the year will be just as strong.
There were a couple of persuasive articles last month—by Mark Harris and Jason Bailey—about the dire state of the American motion-picture business, and while I don’t doubt the facts or arguments in either, it’s heartening in a way that they came at the end of such a bounteous year. The odds are stacked against great movies, yet great movies keep getting made.
Keith: With all that in mind, what are the films that will break your heart if they don’t live up to expectations? For me, it’s the Entourage movie. Okay, just kidding. Looking at what’s coming out, I’d say I have the highest hopes for the two Pixar films. We just had a Pixar-free year, and now we’re getting two Pixar films that, I’m hoping, will reaffirm the studio’s ability to tell original stories. Having recently revisited a lot of the classic Pixar films with my daughter, I’d love to see that happen, even though I don’t think the drop-off has been all that steep.
Genevieve: I’ll strongly second Tasha and Keith’s high hopes for Pixar, in large part because 2014 was kind of a blah year for animation for me. There were a couple of bright spots (Big Hero 6 and Lego Movie being the big standouts), but the wheat-to-chaff ratio wasn’t great overall. Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur and Inside Out seem like the strongest bets to correct that, but I’ve also developed fairly high hopes for the Peanuts movie, almost in spite of myself. The involvement of producer Paul Feig has a lot to do with that, as does the revelation that the production is using actual kids to voice its characters, which feels like a strong nod to the old Peanuts specials I have such affection for. I know the transition to 3-D animation has been hard for some Peanuts faithful to swallow, but based on what we’ve seen of the film so far, I’m choosing to be optimistic. And now I will wait patiently for someone to bring up a certain movie about space-battles…
Tasha: Blah year for animation? Bite your tongue. Between Song Of The Sea and Ernest & Celestine alone, this animation fan was incredibly happy with 2014. Even though I didn’t unreservedly love How To Train Your Dragon 2, the visual design is spectacularly ambitious, and some of the storytelling ranks with the best animated films. And what about The Boxtrolls? There’s a lovely, weird, thoroughly unique movie for you. If 2015 brings as many offbeat animated options as major-studio blockbusters, or pushes the design and storytelling envelope as much as the past year did, I’ll be more than happy.
That aside, as far as big expectations and fear of disappointment goes… I generally don’t like high hopes for a specific film, because they turn the viewing process into a weighing process between expectations and results. But I’m certainly going into The Avengers: Age Of Ultron with all the mingled expectation and worry of a diehard sports fan rooting for the home team. There’s something about watching a writer-director come up from the beginning of a career that engenders a certain irrational, maybe even inappropriate sense of investment, bordering on possessiveness. The bad side of that is fans who get pissed when the mainstream discovers “their” special find; the good side is fans who feel an honest rooting interest in a creator. I loved The Avengers, and I want the sequel to live up to it, but I also just like having a rich, successful Joss Whedon in the world, spawning side projects and hobbyist projects and whatever else he feels like doing. I hope his latest film doesn’t let down our side.
Rachel: Genevieve, I’m with you on the whole “Can we chill out with these white guys?” thing. The movies I’m looking forward to are the ones that (hopefully) won’t fixate on the trials and tribulations of Caucasian dudes. A few off the top of my head: Angelina Jolie’s By The Sea (starring very white guy Brad Pitt, but directed by Jolie, which mathematically cancels him out), Pixar’s Inside Out (it takes place inside the mind of a 12-year-old girl—more than sufficiently dissociated from the plight of the adult male), Joy (see: aforementioned and perhaps irrational faith in all things Jennifer Lawrence), Tomorrowland, Jane Got A Gun (release-date limbo aside, I really miss you, Natalie Portman), and Sisters (Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and Maya Rudolph = the definition of an embarrassment of riches). And Keith, I’m actually excited by Entourage, which promises to be an illuminating, groundbreaking look at the struggles of rich, white, famous men.
Noel: Genevieve, I share your lack of outrage/sense of hope on Peanuts, if only because I have fond memories of the Peanuts Viewmaster reels, which were also 3-D. I’m hoping for something with that vibe. I also can’t wait to see what kind of trouble “untitled Seth Rogen/Joseph Gordon Levitt Christmas movie” will cause in November. I predict that the North Pole is going to be pissed.
Nathan: I too will be demoralized if Peanuts doesn’t turn out to at least be good. It was a fixture of my childhood, and many others, and while the old bromide about hacky movies “desecrating childhoods” has always struck me as overblown, I would be really saddened to see Charlie Brown and the gang reduced to just another mercenary mediocrity, especially after all these decades without a full-on-feature film.
Jen: I feel bad for Genevieve. She’s been patiently waiting for someone to bring up a movie about space battles for a while, and we’ve all let her down. So I’ll take one for the team and just say I’m going to be supremely super-bummed if Jupiter Ascending is not as amazing as the trailers and its pushed-back release date suggest it will be.
Ha! Just kidding. No, for real: Like anyone who has ever owned a Death Star tea infuser or worked the phrase “I find your lack of faith disturbing” into a PowerPoint presentation, I am extraordinarily optimistic that J.J. Abrams will revitalize the Star Wars franchise roughly a year from now, when Episode VII: The Force Awakens arrives in theaters. I realize that some people got a little overexcited by that recent, much-deconstructed teaser. (Don’t they remember how misguidedly jazzed we got right before the prequels—Episodes I-III: The Force Hits Snooze—came out?) But I have faith that Abrams can pull this off, mainly because he’s already made two—or at least one and a half—decent Star Wars movies: Star Trek and Star Trek: Into Darkness. While I’m keeping my sense of quivery anticipation in check, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’ll be a little disappointed if Episode VII doesn’t do what it could: give the members of my nostalgic, Kenner-action-figure-collecting generation the opportunity to experience a new hope.
Keith: Since we’ve raised the Star Wars question, we may as well talk about what sequels and franchises do excite us. It’s an unfortunate state of things that sequels, tentpoles, franchises, etc., etc., are now the norm for big movies, to the point that original stories often seem like they’re getting squeezed out. But such are the times in which we live, and it would be a lie to suggest I’m not as excited about some of these movies as everyone else. Case in point: Star Wars, for all the reasons Jen cites above. Seeing it was the defining moment of my childhood moviegoing experiences, and though I’ve watched my fandom wax and wane over the years, I’m genuinely looking forward to seeing what Abrams and his collaborators do with the material. How about everyone else?
Nathan: I am cautiously optimistic about the new Star Wars, though I was never a super-fan as a kid and like everyone in the known universe I share everyone’s excitement over Age Of Ultron, which promises to be massive beyond humanity’s comprehension of huge. And as someone who grew up on NWA it’ll be interesting to see if the group biopic Straight Out Of Compton will be Biggie-adequate, or something realer and more vital. And I would not be a human, or a cinephile, if I was not super-excited about The Hateful Eight. That Quentin Tarantino. He makes good movies.
Tasha: Fiiiine, I will admit that I’m way too invested in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so while I’m dubious about an Ant-Man without Edgar Wright directing (not to mention an Ant-Man that switched directors midstream), and even more dubious about the Fantastic Four reboot, even though it’s directed by Chronicle’s Josh Trank, I’ll still walk into both films with all the eagerness due to a series of Marvel films that’s been consistently solid-to-fantastic since the first Iron Man. Age Of Ultron is the biggie, but at this point, I’ll take all the Marvel I can get until the storytelling well runs dry, or they start going to the comics well and killing off heroes to boost ticket sales, then bringing them back in some lame way for the next installment. And 2015 will bring us the last Hunger Games movie, Mockingjay Part 2. I’m certainly ready to stop feeling like I’m waiting for a series of shoes to drop, and to finally get some cinematic resolution—and maybe, let’s hope, at least a little more catharsis than the books offered.
Genevieve: Thanks for bringing up Mockingjay Part 2, Tasha, so I didn’t have to be the first. I feel like I was one of the few people who didn’t feel that Part 1 was “half a story,” but I’m still ready to see the conclusion of the bigger arc. At the same time, though, I’m dreading it just a little, because I know where that story eventually goes, and it’s gonna be pretty rough, if Part 1 was any indication of this franchise’s willingness to wallow in its darkest elements.
I’ll also tentatively second the hope for this year’s Marvel entries, though at this point I’m still fairly lukewarm in my anticipation for Age Of Ultron. I loved the first Avengers, but so far, everything I’ve seen from the sequel has left me a little cold. But again, it’s Joss Whedon, so there’s always going to be a little spark of hope there. Similarly, our first looks at Jurassic World have been, well, a little bonkers, to put it kindly, but that franchise has always been near and dear to my heart (I actually really like Jurassic Park 3!), so a tiny part of me is holding out hope for this late-in-the-game continuation. (Plus: Chris Pratt!)
And finally, I’ll hold out a little hope for the Soderbergh-free Magic Mike sequel, because, come on, I’m only human.
Jen: We’re at a moment where even the non-Marvel, dinosaur-and-Chris-Pratt-free movies are attempting to make sequel/franchise cash grabs. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2? The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel? Presumably, if that does well, it will result in the third film in a trilogy: The Marigold Hotel With The Third Highest Rating On Travelocity. I mean, sequels are hardly a new concept, but the Hollywood tendency to create coattails, then ride ’em for a few movies, seems stronger than ever.
That being said, since we’ve already covered Star Wars, the MCU, and Mockingjay, I’ll reiterate my vote for Pitch Perfect 2, because there aren’t any film franchises about a cappella groups, and maybe there should be; and Minions, because Despicable Me 2 was a total hoot, and I love those little yellow buggers. I’m not convinced they can sustain their own movie, but I will happily sit next to my 7-year-old this summer and watch them give it their best “BEE-do! BEE-do!”
Keith: Let’s wind this down by getting small: Often the year’s most interesting smaller-scale releases aren’t on the radar until after Sundance. (I’m not going, but I’ll be watching eagerly for signs that this year has as rich a crop as last year’s.) But there are still a couple of 2014 holdovers I’m dying to see. The mixed reception only has me more intrigued about David Cronenberg’s Maps To The Stars and Olivier Assayas’ Clouds Of Sils Maria, which everyone loved at Cannes last year. What about everyone else?
Noel: Well Keith, if you were at Sundance, you could join me at one of the films I’m most looking forward to: It Follows, the indie horror film that won raves at Cannes and TIFF last year. I missed every screening of It Follows in Toronto last year (during one of them I had to see The Judge, for heaven’s sake), so I’m bound and determined not to miss it again.
Scott: Completely with Noel on It Follows, which may be the best horror film I’ve seen since The Blair Witch Project, though it certainly doesn’t have anything like that film’s found-footage aesthetic. It’s from David Robert Mitchell, the director of The Myth Of The American Sleepover, a lovely, loose-limbed portrait of suburban adolescence, and it’s basically that exact movie with a horror element layered on top. So plenty of great hangout scenes, punctuated by the film’s relentless “it,” which arrives to an absolutely unnerving mix of creepy camera maneuvers and a blast of ambient noise on the soundtrack. Radius-TWC will release the film in mid-March, likely with a strong VOD component, but I’d urge readers to make a point of seeing it in a theater, big and loud, for maximum impact.
I missed the Cronenberg at TIFF, but I have a lot of fondness for Sils Maria, which along with Still Alice, confirms that Kristen Stewart is a much stronger actor than she’s generally given credit for being. (Those Twilight movies make everyone look bad, including Anna Kendrick, so it’s time to reject them as a barometer of talent. Also, from a purely mercenary point of view, positive mentions of Stewart anywhere on the Internet are astonishing traffic-drivers, so they’ll be a big part of The Dissolve’s growth plans in the coming year.) Another gem from TIFF to discover in 2015: Heaven Knows What, the Safdie brothers’ penetrating look at young, homeless New York City drug addicts, shot through with a pre-Giuliani NYC grit and a hyper-aggressive soundtrack.
Tasha: More than anything else in the indie realm, I’m still hoping a couple of the films I saw at Tribeca in April 2014 get American distribution deals in 2015: Manos Sucias and Gabriel ranked among the best features I saw this year, and they’re both the kind of movies I immediately wanted to talk about with other people, except no one I know had access to them. I wrote about them both in detail here, so I won’t get into plots, but I will say that I think Gabriel—the writing-directing debut of Lou Howe—could do for him what striking debuts like The Babadook and Dear White People did for their directors in 2014, and Rory Culkin’s performance in the lead role is fantastic and startling.
That aside, there’s plenty on the 2015 horizon to get excited about: a new Hal Hartley film (Ned Rifle), a new one from Fruitvale Station’s Ryan Coogler (Creed, reportedly about the grandson of Apollo Creed, from the Rocky films), Tom Tykwer’s adaptation of Dave Eggers’ A Hologram For The King (which I never finished, but if anyone can make it propulsive and visually dynamic, it’s Tykwer), Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young. David Mamet is shooting a new thriller, Blackbird, which doesn’t have a release date yet. There are hints of a new Park Chan-wook film. I don’t think we’ll have problems finding reasons to make it to the theater this year.
Jen: I echo Tasha’s interest in Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young. Sure, it covers very familiar territory: mid-lifers who can’t figure out how to act their age. But Baumbach has the cutting, observational smarts to tackle that subject with fresh eyes, and seemingly, based on the trailer, a lighter touch than he brought to similar territory in Greenberg. Plus, this line in the trailer—“It’s like their apartment is full of everything we once threw out, but it looks so good the way they have it.”—is the perfect Gen X description of a millennial. Oh, and also: Ad-Rock is in it!
A couple of others to note: I’m not huge into Westerns, but Slow West, which will screen at Sundance, but already has been acquired by A24 and DirecTV, intrigues me because: a) Michael Fassbender and b) Kodi Smit-McPhee, who has impressed me on multiple occasions, ever since he was in The Road. And if Richard Linklater’s That’s What I’m Talking About—his pseudo-sequel to Dazed and Confused, set in the 1980s—actually gets a 2015 release date, it will immediately skyrocket to the top of my Things I Am Quivering With Anticipation To Watch In The New Year list.
Rachel: I like my indies like I like my coffee: dark, deeply affecting, dystopian and/or apocalyptic (pre or post!). Recent standouts that fit the criteria include Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia and Jeff Nichols’ Take Shelter, both of which explore mental illness through the lens of an imminent apocalypse. Both gutted me, but Take Shelter was particularly resonant, tacking on a critique of America’s health-care system and an unflinching look at the real-world consequences of our financial crisis. All that to say, I’m looking forward to Nichols’ Midnight Special. It purportedly follows a father and son on the run in an attempt to hide the latter’s secret powers from the (hopefully dystopian!) government, meaning it should similarly marry science fiction with serious pathos—and with Michael Shannon’s beautifully furrowed brow. I also have high hopes for Z For Zachariah (which sees Margot Robbie, Chris Pine and Chiwetel Ejiofor entering an “emotionally charged love triangle” in—wait for it—the post-apocalyptic Midwest) and for Advantageous, a Jennifer Phang-directed feature premièring at Sundance that centers on a mother’s sacrifice for her daughter in “dystopic 2041.” Also in 2015: I look into my troubling fixation with the end of the world.
Wholly unrelated: I’m excited about smaller, female-forward films like Clouds Of Sils Maria, The Duke of Burgundy, Mistress America, and Lila And Eve.
Nathan: I am also cautiously optimistic about Get Hard, a film written by Upright Citizen’s Brigade’s Ian Roberts (who also worked on Key & Peele) and directed by Idiocracy and Tropic Thunder co-writer Etan Cohen, even though it has a premise suspiciously like the little-loved direct-to-video Rob Schneider vehicle Big Stan. Will Ferrell plays a man who must learn to toughen up to prepare for a prison sentence. It’s a beyond-dicey premise, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s these guys.
And getting back to my affection for train wrecks, Wikipedia says Cameron Crowe’s untitled newest project “features a talking computer and mystical island fortunes” as it “follows Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper), a defense contractor who falls for Allison Ng (Emma Stone), an Air Force pilot, after he is assigned to oversee the launch of a weapons satellite from Hawaii.” How can that not be at least Elizabethtown-level fascinating? Speaking of offbeat projects, I share Rachel’s excitement over Jeff Nichols’ Midnight Special, which he describes as a “sci-fi chase film” which is about the last thing I’d expect from the director of Shotgun Stories and Mud. And on the smaller, female-forward film front, I’m holding out hope for Sisters, which co-stars Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, in part because I’m a Baby Mama apologist.
Tasha: So basically, there’s a lot to look forward to in 2015. And some of what we’re all looking forward to is continuing the conversation with everyone who made it this far, with the diehard readers and commentors who’ve made this site what it is over the past year and a half. With that in mind, while we don’t want to sound like one of those disingenuous opinion pieces that baits comments with a rote “What do you think?” at the end, we’d be very curious to hear what you, the readers, want to see more of from The Dissolve in 2015. While we’ve never let web traffic, praise, or criticism be the primary indicator of what we’ll write about, feature, or try next, we definitely notice when some content goes unread—like interviews, which often languish unread even when they’re pieces we love about artists we love—while other content thrives. We often get calls for fewer mainstream movies in Movie Of The Week, and more obscurities, but the mainstream movies always prompt more robust discussion and participation. So we aim for a balancing act between content we love, and content you’ve called for, and we want to do more of that in 2015. Here’s your sounding board: What would you like to see more, less, or just some of in 2015 at The Dissolve?