Most Anticipated INDIES & DRAMA – part 2

There are so many interesting indies & dramas on the horizon. 2015 will be quite the year in cinema.

Here’s PART 2 of my Most Anticipated for the year.

With so many possible Award contenders worth mentioning the list can’t be long enough… Stay tuned for a follow up article of Honourable Mentions.

Here we go… The Picks 20 – 11…

20. JOY // Director: David O. RUSSELL (AMERICAN HUSTLE, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK); Writer: Annie Mumolo (BRIDESMAIDS) // Starring: Jennifer LAWRENCE, Bradley COOPER, Edgar Ramirez, Robert DE NIRO

Biopic. Joy Mangano is a single mother who got famous inventing over 100 products including Shopping Network favourites.

Russell focuses on character in his movies. I always love the realism and quirky attributes he highlights. Lawrence and Cooper re-team with Russel yet again, promising more praise-worthy performances. I’m thinking there will be a fair amount of black humour in this one. I’m thinking Russell will play on the irony of this title.


19. OUR BRAND IS CRISIS // Director: David Gordon Green (PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, JOE); Writer: Peter Straughan (TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY); Producer: George CLOONEY // Starring: Sandra BULLOCK, Anthony Mackie, Billy Bob Thornton, Zoe Kazan, Scoot McNairy

A Bolivian politician hires an American political consultancy firm to help win the presidential election.

The plot will also focus on US interventions in South America. A solid creative team behind the camera and in front gets me excited. Bullock intrigues me, playing against type here. I also really like the co-stars here: Kazan & McNairy.


18. SEA OF TREES // Director: Gus VAN SANT; Writer: Chris Sparling (BURIED) // Starring: Matthew McCONAUGHEY, Ken Watanabe, Naomi Watts

A suicidal American travels to the infamous suicide forest at the base of Mount Fuji, where he meets a depressed Japanese man.

I remember seeing a documentary on this eerie forest, with trees all decorated with red ribbons symbolizing taken lives. What a haunting atmosphere for a movie. I wonder how deep Van Sant will explore the themes and philosophy here. Our main actors have a real chance to dive into emotional territory and earn serious acclaim come Award season.


17. TRUTH // Director: James VANDERBILT (who wrote ZODIAC) // Starring: Robert REDFORD, Cate BLANCHETT, Elisabeth Moss, Topher Grace, Denis Quaid, Bruce Greenwood

The true story of DAN RATHER’s 60 MINUTES report on George W. BUSH’s lack of service (his derelection of National Guard duty) in Vietnam, and the resulting political / professional personal fallout.

Vanderbilt impressed me with his deep examination of obsession in his screenplay for David Fincher’s ZODIAC. Once again, he explores a dense true story ripe for the spotlight. Redford in a starring role is always compelling. He was sublime in ALL IS LOST recently. He’s also known for his real life political activism so his role here should be empassioned. It’s important subject matter ripe for thematic discussion on today’s vapid media juxtaposed with a journalist’s devotion to the truth.


16. Z FOR ZACHARIAH // Director: Craig Zobel (COMPLIANCE) // Starring: Margot ROBBIE, Chiwetel EJIOFOR, Chris PINE

A woman believes she is only survivor of a civilization-ending disaster… until two men show up.

I loved the director’s previous movie, COMPLIANCE. It was an unflinching portrayal of a distubing true story. I’m interested to see how he handles a larger picture with an acclaimed cast in a post-apocalyptic love-triangle. Robbie (WOLF OF WALL STREET) is a rising star, and Ejiofor (David Mamet’s REDBELT) exploded into pop culture with 12 YEARS A SLAVE. I’m expecting a fair amount of tension in Z. I don’t think it will be all roses and lovey dubby for too long.

15. LIFE // Director: Anton CORBIJN (CONTROL, THE AMERICAN) // Starring: Robert PATTINSON, Dane DeHAAN, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley

A LIFE Magazine photographer is assigned to take pictures of rising star JAMES DEAN. The two men become close friends. Based on the True Story set in the 1950s.

CORBIJN was once a photographer who took pictures of JOY DIVISION. I wonder if he developed a friendship with the lead singer – a parallel to the story here? He went on to direct CONTROL, a film about that very band. For me, the main draw is this visual director. DeHaan is a compelling young talent who also draws my attention to LIFE – especially since he’s portraying an icon of the silver screen.


14. EQUALS // Director: Drake Doremus (LIKE CRAZY); Writer: Nathan Parker (MOON); Producer: Ridley SCOTT // Starring: Kristen STEWART, Nicholas HOULT, Guy PEARCE, Jackie Weaver

A love story set in a dystopian future where emotions have been eradicated. However, a new diseases spreads causing emotions to return.

I’m one of the few that think Stewart is an intriguing actor. Maybe TWILIGHT wasn’t the best vehicle to demonstrate that, but her other work has been promising. I really liked her in ADVENTURELAND, ON THE ROAD, and THE RUNAWAYS. I’m also really looking forward to her film CAMP X-RAY. That said, I’m most intrigued to see another story from the writer of MOON – a true hidden gem with great twists and character work. Oh, and what about Hoult appearing everywhere this year. I’m thinking his stock is about to rise.


13. THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS // Director: Derek CIANFRANCE (A PLACE BEYOND THE PINES, BLUE VALENTINE) // Starring: Michael FASSBENDER, Rachel Wiesz, Alicia Vikander

A soldier returns from The Great War, finding a job as lighthouse keeper in Australia. His wife finds an abandoned baby and tries to convince him to keep it.

I really loved PINES. And I like Fassbender. These two factors weigh greatly on my anticipation. PINES had bold storytelling techniques and stellar performances from all involved. Psst… Keep your eyes on Vikander, she’s in several anticipated movies that didn’t make the list.


12. HEART OF THE SEA // Director: Ron HOWARD // Starring: Chris HEMSWORTH, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Wishaw, Benjamin Walker, Tom Holland

The True Story of MOBY DICK.

Howard directs this tale of survival. The trailer was so impressive. The movie must live up to those expectations since its release has been delayed until Oscar season. I love these historical movies of survival told with an impressive scale. The sheer spectacle should be worth seeing this on the big screen. Howard also got a surprisingly good performance out of Hemsworth with their previous effort together, RUSH.


11. HIGH RISE // Director: Ben WHEATLEY (KILL LIST, SIGHTSEERS) // Starring: Tom HIDDLESTON, Sienna MILLER, Jeremy Irons, Ellisabeth Moss, Luke Evans, Stacy Martin

Based on a J.G. BALLARD dystopian novel, like a UK version of Chuck PALANHIUK. I’ve heard of the book as compared to LORD OF THE FLIES in the TOWERING INFERNO. Things go crazy in a high rise tower, with the tenants shut off from the outside world.

I loved the director’s previous work. He blends dark violence with internal madness and dense metaphors. The impressive cast led by Hiddleston just adds to the anticipation. He was magnetic and mesmerizing in ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE. Will this genre fare crossover into Award territory?

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Stay tuned…

PART 3 is coming soon with the TOP 10 Most Anticipated dramas and independent films.

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