The Best of 2015: INDIES & DRAMAS – part 1

Tom Hardy in dual gangster roles of LEGEND

2015 is destined for greatness. There are so many UPCOMING MOVIES pushing the boundaries. A lot of younger talent will get the chance to shine in the spotlight this year.

I’m ranking these AWARD CONTENDERS from an anticipatory point of view. Some of these films might seem like obvious Oscar shoe-ins, others may seem like DARK HORSE candidates from way out of left field. I also hope to illuminate some hidden gems in the making.

Here are just a few rising stars with multiple compelling features set to premiere in 2015: Adam Driver, Nicholas Hoult, Dane DeHaan, Alicia Vikander, Naomie Harris, Jason Clarke, Domnhall Gleeson. And then there are some familiar faces with multiple highly anticipated roles: Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts, Rachel Weisz, Sienna Miller, Tom Hardy, Jake Gyllenhaal.

These lists will be conducted in 3 parts, leading up to the Number One selection – followed by an Honourable Mention list afterwords.

Keep your eyes peeled for the other side of the equation: BLOCKBUSTER EVENT MOVIES… Coming Soon.

Here we go…

I hope I draw some attention to a few movies you might have never even heard about.


30. THE LOBSTER  // Director: Yorgos Lanthimos (DOGTOOTH) // Starring: Colin FARRELL, Rachel WEISZ, Ben Wishaw, Lea Seydoux, John C. Reilly

Set in a dystopian near future where lonely people in a hotel have to find a matching mate within 45 days. If they fail, they are transformed into animals and sent off into the woods.

This strange and unique concept follows a man who escapes and finds love. LOBSTER sounds like something Charlie Kauffman would dream up. The film is sure to be filled with quirky characters. Farrell almost looks like his HORRIBLE BOSSES character. The director is a compelling new voice in cinema, who busted down the doors with his delirious debut DOGTOOTH.

 

29. DEMOLITION // Director: Jean Marc VALLEE (DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, WILD) // Starring: Jake GYLLENHAAL, Naomi WATTS, Chris Cooper

An investment banker spirals out of control follwing the tragic death of his wife. He meets an unconventional pot-smoking single mother and forms a bond with her.

Gyllenhaal appears on these lists multiple times. He’s making wise decisions of late, light-years beyond the choice to star in PRINCE OF PERSIA. Watts will also make another appearance. Her resume for the past few years is stellar – from the Oscar winning BIRDMAN, nominated THE IMPOSSIBLE, to the hidden gem ADORE. Vallee directs the cast coming off tremendous success and recognition for his previous two features.

 

28. THATS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT // Director: Richard LINKLATER // Starring: a cast of Unknowns

This has been dubbed “a spiritual sequel to DAZED & CONFUSED” by Linklater himself. The story follows a college freshman who befriends a group of baseball players.

A lot of his previous films are what I’d call “Hang-out movies”. We meet some eccentric characters and we just chill with them for two hours. BOYHOOD demonstrated that he didn’t need strange or quirky characters to entertain us. I’m hoping this film will blend the best of Linklater’s two worlds – we’ll still get a couple of weirdos, but we’ll also connect emotionally to some of the more complex characters.

27. STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON // Director: F. Gary GRAY // largely unknowns  

NWA finally gets their own biopic. The trailer launched it off right, with an introduction from Dr. DRE and ICE CUBE. It’s the official stamp of approval. The story will follow the rise of hip hop history’s most notorious group, and some of the musical genre’s most influential artists.

The casting of unknowns is bold. As is the choice of Cube’s son portraying his younger self. The inner-city setting is ripe for social commentary. The violence still hasn’t stopped today. The song “F**k the Police” might be Number One decades after its debut. It’s happened before because of a movie. I’m expecting an exciting tale with action elements and complex characters. 

 

26. SILENCE // Director: Martin SCORSESE // Starring: Liam NEESON, Andrew GARFIELD, Adam DRIVER

Set in the 17th Century. Jesuit priests travel to Japan. They encounter violence along the way to locate their mentor.

We get Neeson, and some of the brightest young stars in Hollywood. Garfield was excellent in the dark UK thriller RED RIDING. Driver has shown a range of quirky characters, his darkest and strangest just might be his role on GIRLS. Scorsese guides them all. I’m sure we will get a brutal depiction of the violence involved with the spread of Christianity, and the trials the Jesuits faced. 

25. BLACK MASS // Director: Scott Cooper // Starring: Johnny DEPP, Benedict CUMBERBATCH, Joel Edgerton, Sienna Miller, Kevin Bacon, Juno Temple, Dakota Johnson

The True Story of Whitey Bulger, a prolific Irish mobster in the 1980s. His story is surrounded in controversy. Was he an FBI informant? Or was he playing both sides of the Game to survive?

Depp in the lead suggests a return to DONNIE BRASCO mode; however, the enduring foul taste of PUBLIC ENEMIES has yet to fade, making me a little hesitant here. The cast is great though, and the subject matter is compelling. I’ve really been enjoying Juno Temple’s (JACK & DIANE, KILLER JOE, HORNS) work thus far, so I’m also looking forward to her involvement here.

24. BEASTS OF NO NATION // Director: Cary FUKUNAGA (SIN NOMBRE, TRUE DETECTIVE) // Starring: Idris ELBA

A boy is forced to become a child soldier in an African country. This disturbing tale could easily be based on reality.

Sudan is one such spot where countless children lose their innocence to war. Viscious warlords manipulate young boys into joining The Cause and train them to fight. Elba smolders with intensity without even speaking. I’m curious to see his villainous turn here. I’m also looking forward to a focused approach to this specific political subject matter. Recent controversy stemmed from this film’s release on Streaming Platforms. Theater chains thus pulled BEASTS, not condoning same-day online releases.

 

23. LEGEND // Director: Brian HELGELAND (KNIGHT’S TALE, writer: L.A. CONFIDENTIAL) // Starring: Tom HARDY, Tom HARDY, Emily Browning, Christopher Eccleston, Taron Egerton

The True Story of the Kray twins, gangsters rising through the rankings of the British Underworld in London during the 50s & 60s.

Hardy will have multiple roles on this list. This is another of his Award buzzing performances, playing both of the notorious twins himself. Helgeland wrote one of the best crime movies ever with LA CONFIDENTIAL in the 90s – making a star out of RUSSELL CROWE. I’m interested to see his return to the genre. Rising talent Browning (SUCKERPUNCH, SLEEPING BEAUTY) and Egerton (THE KINGSMAN) add to the anticipation.

 

22. JOBS // Director: Danny BOYLE (127 HOURS, TRAINSPOTTING); Writer: Aaron SORKIN (NEWSROOM, THE SOCIAL NETWORK) // Starring: Michael FASSBENDER, Seth ROGEN, Kate WINSLET

A Steve Jobs biopic told through the conferences for three APPLE product releases.

Sorkin is a brilliant writer. Extravagant. The height of the craft. His back-and-forth fast dialogue explodes like a string of firecrackers. He also manages to vivisect social climate with intellectual commentary. This project has gone through several different phases, but I’m sure Sorkin’s script is the backbone that garners so much interest. I’m eagerly anticipating this uniquely structured true story.

 

21. MONEY MONSTER // Director: Jodie FOSTER // Starring: George CLOONEY, Julia ROBERTS, Jack O’Connell

A host for a financial television show is taken hostage – while broadcasting live on the air – by a disgruntled viewer.

This film is rumoured to take place in real time. This dramatic technique should mount incredible tension with high stakes and urgency, building all the way until the finale. With the heavyweight creative team and exciting concept, this should be quite the thrilling picture.


What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Stay tuned for PART 2… Coming Soon.

9 thoughts on “The Best of 2015: INDIES & DRAMAS – part 1

  1. Wicked! There are some great sounding movies on this list. I’m excited for Black Mass and Legend, British gangster culture is a great theme for British made movies so these should be fantastic. The Lobster looks cool as well

    Liked by 1 person

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