The 15 films Richard Roeper can’t wait to see in 2015
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Mad Max is back.
Same with the Terminator, Cinderella, Frankenstein, Doc Savage, Charlie Brown — not to mention a host of familiar places, from a Jurassic tourist attraction to a haunted house in Amityville.
We’re getting a boatload of remakes, sequels and reboots in 2015. Some, such as “Mad Max: Fury Road” and Jon Favreau’s take on “The Jungle Book,” look promising. Others (hello, “Point Break”) have me wondering: Why?
Sifting through the list of titles coming our way over the next 12 months, I do see plenty of intriguing possibilities, including these 15 for ’15:
‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’: Writer-director Joss Whedon and the all-star ensemble (Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo et al.) return for the sequel. Love the casting of James Spader as Ultron, an artificial intelligence program with a God complex. I don’t think Spader has ever given an uninteresting performance. May 1
Cameron Crowe’s untitled project: I’ve always been a huge fan of Crowe’s, even when he gets a little too sentimental (“We Bought a Zoo”). His new romantic comedy features a cast Woody Allen would envy: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, John Krasinski, Bill Murray and Alec Baldwin. May 29
‘Crimson Peak’: Director Guillermo del Toro is like the Jimi Hendrix of filmmakers. Even some of his fellow greats marvel at what he can do. Mia Wasikowska is a young author in 19th century England married to the dashing Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), who has a bit of a mysterious past. Add to that the fact they live in cavernous old mansion, and let the creepiness begin. Oct. 16
‘Jupiter Ascending’: The Wachowskis (the “Matrix” trilogy) return to mind-bending sci-fi in a story that sounds like it could be awesome — or awesomely nuts. Here goes. Alien royal families have secretly planted their seeds in humans and denizens of other planets, in a quest to produce a magic serum that will allow the royals to live forever. Mila Kunis plays Jupiter Jones, the obligatory unsuspecting, seemingly ordinary Earthling who is actually the last great hope for humanity. Channing Tatum is Han Solo, I mean Caine Wise, who must protect Jupiter at all costs. Right? It sounds a little like a “Saturday Night Live” sketch, but here’s hoping. Feb. 6
‘Jurassic World’: More than two decades after the first “Jurassic Park,” a huge blockbuster with amazing special effects for its time, we’re back on a remote island with a functioning dinosaur theme park. When scientists create a hybrid dinosaur to amp up attendance, the new creature works perfectly, is as gentle as a sleeping baby and nobody gets hurt. Wait. It probably won’t go like that. June 12
‘Mad Max: Fury Road’: Some 35 years after the release of “Mad Max,” writer-director George Miller returns to the apocalypse, picking up the story shortly after the events of “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.” In an inspired piece of casting, the brilliant Tom Hardy takes over the role of “Mad” Max Rockatansky. The eclectic cast includes Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and 6-foot-11, 360-pound Nathan Jones as “Rictus Erectus.” May 15
‘The Martian’: As maybe the only critic in the world who has enjoyed Ridley Scott’s last three movies (“Prometheus,” “The Counselor,” “Exodus: Gods and Kings”), not to mention Scott’s more popular films (“Thelma & Louise,” “Gladiator,” “Black Hawk Down”), I still think of a Ridley Scott film as an Event Movie. Based on the 2012 novel of the same name by Andy Weir, “The Martian” stars Matt Damon as an astronaut left stranded on Mars. The cast includes Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Donald Glover and Sean Bean. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more talented ensemble in any movie in 2015. Nov. 25
‘The Revenant’: Writer-director Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu isn’t the most prolific director around, averaging one film about every two and a half years, but it’s almost always worth the wait. From “Amores Perros” (2000) to “21 Grams” (2003) to “Birdman” (2014), Inarritu is a masterful visual artist and a gifted storyteller. “The Revenant,” inspired in part by the exploits of a real-life 19th century frontiersman, stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Hugh Glass, who is mauled to within an inch of his life by a bear. His three partners, led by Tom Hardy, rob Glass and leave him for dead — but he ain’t dead. And he’s coming after them. Dec. 25
‘Silence’: Let’s thank the movie gods for Martin Scorsese’s indefatigable passion for working, and working, and working yet again. Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver are two young priests who travel to 17th century Japan, where the government has banned Catholicism and regularly executes Christians by “anazuri,” i.e., hung upside down and slowly bled to death. Liam Neeson also stars as a priest suspected of committing apostasy. Release date TBA
‘Spectre’: Daniel Craig returns as Bond, James — you know the drill. Christoph Waltz as the villain Oberhauser is almost too easy a choice, but why not go with the best? Nov. 6
‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’: Couldn’t find anything on the Internet about this one, but apparently some people are really looking forward to it. I believe it’s a sequel of some kind to that Jedi movie? Dec. 18
‘That’s What I’m Talking About’: Richard Linklater (“Boyhood,” “Dazed and Confused” the “Before” trilogy) is one of our premier storytellers. This time around the subject is American college baseball players in the 1980s, and until now I never knew I wanted to see a movie about American college baseball players in the 1980s. Release date TBA
‘Tomorrowland’: Brad Bird (“The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”) helms a science-fiction adventure with some kind of tie to the Disney theme lands. The shrouded-in-mystery project stars George Clooney as an inventor who travels to a magical time and place known as Tomorrowland. May 22
Untitled Cold War thriller directed by Steven Spielberg: Because it’s a Cold War thriller directed by Steven Spielberg. Oct. 16
‘The Walk’: Robert Zemeckis (“Back to the Future,” “Forrest Gump,” “The Polar Express”) directs a biopic of Philippe Petit, the high-wire specialist who walked between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Petit, and that’s kind of an interesting casting choice. If “The Walk” is anywhere near as good as “Man on Wire,” the 2008 documentary about Petit’s incredible stunt, it’ll be one of the better films of 2015. Oct. 2