We’re already passed the half way mark in 2015. As summer has come round so quickly, as it always does when you are an adult, so has the most anticipated movies of the year!
With such a strong half of the year, it’s hard to imagine how the second half can compete! Our film team have gathered their favourites of so far and the ones we’re most excited for. And it’s an eclectic bunch, indeed.
Best of 2015
by Cookie N Screen
I’ve got to be honest, this was immediately my jam the minute I saw the first trailer. A lead character who had a mental disorder and struggled to cope in an array of colour and emotion but with a humorous edge? Starring Ryan Reynolds?!?! That’s immediately cinematic gold to me. But despite all this The Voices still managed to exceed all expectations. The film revolves around Jerry - a lowly factory worker who is trying to get by with his sweet-nature and kindness. However, Jerry is suffering from schizophrenia and he hears his dog Bosco and cat Mr. Whiskers talk constantly (both voiced by Reynolds). Then a series of unfortunate events leads to him accidentally kill colleague Fiona. Keeping her head in the fridge and running away from his issues, Jerry stops taking his medication and things go a crazier from there.
Not only is Reynold’s performance incredibly well done - able to balance the off-kilter comedy and the depression well - but Marjane Satrapi’s work is bursting with cleverness and hysterics. Full of vibrancy, the story of Jerry as both hero and villain works marvellously well as he dabbles in his darker side, egged on by his Scottish cat. The film notably allows the issues of mental illness and Jerry’s murderous inclinations to intertwine with the off-kilter elements to produce an instant cult classic. Ferocious with all its themes, The Voices is a combination of all things stellar.
by Sean Narborough
In a year filled with superheroes, terminators and dinosaurs, my favourite film of the year so far isn’t a big budget blockbuster. Instead,it’s Noah Baumbach’s comedy drama about the horrors of getting older and the danger of the youth, While We’re Young. Confession time, I have never seen an Baumbach film before, which nearly made my friend’s head explode when I told her that (Ed: and mine, because, well, Frances Ha!) But I have always been meaning to catch one of his films and I’m so glad I caught While We’re Young. Documentary filmmakers Josh (Ben Stiller) and Cornelia (Naomi Watts) are in stuck a rut with both their careers and lives. That is until they meet a younger couple, Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried), who helps to rejuvenate their lives, but they aren't what they seem. The film presents a wonderful idea of the fear of getting older and how much more dangerous the young ones are when you start getting older.
It’s a film I could relate to despite being only 23, as I do start to feel quite old when I do meet people who are younger than me. The film also has some wonderful performances, Stiller shows how great of an actor he can be, something that we haven’t seen for a while. Watts has officially turned her career around after near career killer Diana and has some of the best and funniest moments of the film. But Girls actor and future Star Wars villain, Adam Driver, outshines everyone. The character is very relatable to everyone, as we will all meet someone at some point in our life who is annoying but you can’t hate them because they’re so nice. The film twists and turns with ease, never slowing the pace; always keeping you entertained and provides jokes that everyone can understand regardless of age. While We’re Young is a real gem and is essential viewing but, in the end, the film is telling every person who watches it to live life to the fullest and to have fun.
Now I can’t think of a better message for a film to have.
by Jo Johnstone
From the moment the film begun, I knew I would love Shaun the Sheep: The Movie. The opening logo was. in fact, the sheep flock of the film spelling out the legendary name that is Aardman. Sadly. they had spelt it incorrectly and it was up to Shaun to rearrange his wayward flock, (and baby Timmy to provide the studio star logo). Aardman as a studio have, frankly, only gotten better with age. From TV, adverts, shorts and then feature films, their work speaks for itself.
With Shaun the Sheep, they had two mighty challenges. The first was to take a well-loved and popular character from the small to the big screen. Secondly, they had to overcome an obstacle - the characters lack of speech. They are sheep after all and cannot speak but communicate through action and noise.
The result was one of their best films, which sees Shaun and his flock travel to the big city to retrieve their lost farmer, after one of their pranks goes horrible wrong. The film displays what Aardman do like no other studio. Not only does it showcase their absolute skill and craft of stop-motion animation, it shows that they can tell an entertaining yet heartfelt story. They create work that contains all the wit and intelligence to entertain adults but also enough humour and lightness to keep the little ones glued to the screen.
In another studio's hands, this could have been a menial and unengrossing narratives but Aardman take the smallest of stories and create something larger than life. The film was such a success that a sequel is already a possibility. If they manage to make it half as accomplished as this then I am already excited and it’s Aardman, so of course they will.
Besides, anything that gives more time to Timmy is a cause for celebration.
by Jennifer Drewett
There have been some good films out already this year including The Duke of Burgundy and Jurassic World but A Little Chaos is a film that truly stands out so far this year. This is a movie that was rather enthusiastically reviewed by this reviewer on I’m With Geek at the time of it’s release.
That enthusiasm has not dwindled with the progression of the year. It is a film that has a perfect mixture of modern film-making and traditional storytelling blended together to show a memorable and captivating piece. Alan Rickman is brilliant; not only as the film’s director but as the French King who is more than just frivolity and vanity. On that point alone, this film is more than worthy of viewing in homes and cinema screens across the land.
by Melissa Haggar
With over half the year gone, there have been many new additions to the cinematic universe and perhaps none so imaginative or futuristic than Disney’s Tomorrowland. Following in the footsteps of Pirates of the Caribbean, Tomorrowland’s concept stems from the ‘land’ in Disney theme parks.
The film was distinctly more thought-provoking than it was first advertised as, and the strong, emotional nature of the film persevered, boosted by the effortless charisma of Britt Robertson, who starred as Casey, and Hollywood heavy-weights Hugh Laurie and George Clooney. The film was perhaps more relevant than it was ever given the credit for, especially in today’s global climate, and it remains an intriguing gem amongst blockbusters. Beautifully designed, creatively imagined and with a real warmth at its core (largely helped by Brad Bird’s direction), Tomorrowland deserves its place as one of the best films of 2015 so far.
To strike a balance between thorough story depth, expansive arcs, raucous action and batshit insanity is no easy feat yet Miller has accomplished it so terrifically that you’ll be salivating for more by the end of it. The intensity of Mad Max Fury Road is so, well, ferocious that it is damn near impossible to place it in a category as it drives mercilessly down its own path. George Miller, with barely a sniff of CGI (apparently only the sky is computerised), has enhanced the cinematic experience by gifting us with story, a dystopian world and some intense visuals that no other mastermind could muster. It beats, immediately, with this kinetic energy like the drums and flaming guitar of the theme music car that follows our villain around (well, he doesn't do anything in halves). The design of the film is plentiful - adorned with these vibrant oranges that translate the heat of a near waterless desert world, and wickedly surreal costumes that’d give the citizens of The Hunger Games’ Capitol a run for their money in the “What The Fuck Do We Wear In The Future?” award. All this comes together in this chaotic entertaining away that’s like stick your face into the fires of Valhalla in masochistic pleasurable way. It’s high octane action with the violent beauty of a man who’s wielded his budget and idea to a phenomenal level of filmmaking.
No woman or character is wasted here either. But it's the females who have turned heads this year. That’s the terrific thing about Fury Road. They are all different, with wavering lengths of resolve and plight that, when push comes to shove, level up their journey because of necessity and survival. From the wives, pregnant, young and scared, to the motorcycle gang of old women - no female is spared for the struggles of a man and none are needed for rescue. The combine together, spar off and battle in a true film of equality and strength whilst Max is still pivotal in the journey as well as Nicolas Hault's Nux.
The countless amount of reviews that have lauded up the movie are all, indeed, correct (though Mark Kermode’s sheepish three stars is a lone review in the crowd. Still makes a lot of good points though). For about ten seconds, the film stagnates. But it is a momentary thing as the cast gather their willpower and fight for yet another scene of debauched, nightmarish and fun fighting. Every element here comes together, including Nicolas Hault’s twisted performance (proving that the young actor is one of the vital around). It’s tremendously entertaining, and should be celebrated many, many times over.
by Robbie Jones
The crime drama is one of the best genres around, and contains quite a few masterpieces, the most recent of which would A Most Violent Year. It is an impeccable film; it’s aesthetically pleasing, with the costumes and locations looking very authentic and making the film very atmospheric.
Jessica Chastain, Oscar Isaac and David Oyelowo are out of this world, and the direction is phenomenal. To top it all off, the music in this film is used to perfection. A Most Violent Year is hands down one of the best films of the year so far, and I’m sure it’ll still be in my top five by the end of the year.
Best to Come
by Cookie N Screen
Charles Xavier and Harry Potter build a monster from human parts and wonder why it all went wrong.
Yes, even that sentence sounds enticing. One of the best horror novels of all time gets yet another screen outing but this time, it’s told from the point of view of Igor. Striking up his relationship with the titular scientist, the tale leaps off from there and looks to be a terrific horror film. Whilst Igor wasn't in the original Mary Shelley tale, it's a welcome addition here.
It stars James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe as the leading men, -a combination that is undeniably great. But further this, it has Jessica Brown Findlay, Andrew Scott, Mark Gatiss and Louise Brealey (connecting all the Sherlock crew). Despite being classed as an American film, Victor Frankenstein is steeped in Victorian period drama and gore human bits. Plus, the director has also directed The Great Game episode of Sherlock which is arguably one of the best episodes showcasing his adeptness at thrills and spills. Peter McGuigan may not have had the best cinematic outings but it looks, from initial images, to be a chilling escapade for the famed fictional scientist.
OH! And the writer of the film is John Landis’ son Max who wrote Chronicle. This film has all the right components and I swear if we don’t get a trailer in soon, my brain might explode.
by Sean Narborough
What else am I going to look forward to the most this year; of course it’s Star Wars. The seventh entry in the most famous and biggest sci-fi franchise of all time returns to the big screen with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Set 30 years after the events of Return Of The Jedi, The Force Awakens centers around Finn (John Boyega), Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) appearing alongside returning characters from the original trilogy to… well, I don’t actually know. The film is wrapped up so tightly that only the people who worked on the film know what it’s about. It is this air of mystery that makes the film so much more exciting. The Force Awakens has everyone so excited because of the feeling of both old and new. It’s obvious from the trailers that the budget is bigger than any Star Wars film before it because of the large amount of special effects shown, but the familiarity of practical effects also shown in the trailers is a wonderful mix that will hopefully please everyone.
One of the things that has me so excited for the film is the cast involved. I got so giddy when I saw the cast announcement because there are so many wonderful actors who are about to get the chance shine brighter than ever before. Actors like John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, Lupita Nyong’o and Domhnall Gleeson will project their careers to new heights, while actors like Andy Serkis and Max von Sydow will add another impressive role to their storied careers. Plus the returning cast of the original trilogy is enough to please fanboys everywhere. The Force Awakens is going to be the movie event of the year; it’s going to be so big that I might have to book my ticket in advance for once. It’s without a doubt going to be the highest grossing film of the year and is the best chance in a long time to knock Avatar off the top as the highest grossing film of all time. But if The Force Awakens isn’t as awesome as it has to be, JJ Abrams, we will be coming for your blood.
by Jo Johnstone
Way back in 1995 a film appeared that would change the face of animation forever. Toy Story was not only innovative for its use of complete CGI animation but for opening up animation to a wider audience. The film was a phenomena and the name PIXAR would forever be placed in our concise.
Since the film the studio have gone on to create some, if not most, of the best animations of all time. Newly released Inside Out marks the studios fifteenth feature film but it is a later release that really excites me.
The Good Dinosaur, released this November, asks the simple question, what if an asteroid never wiped out the Dinosaurs? What if they survived and we had to live side by side? The film follows a young Apatosaurus called Arlo who finds himself lost far from home. While making his way back he befriends a cave boy called Spot and the two go on an adventure together. Full film details are yet to be released but the film has a The Land Before Time feel to it. Mixed with magic as only Pixar can deliver this is a film to look forward to.
Pixar have always tapped into the greatest aspects of man’s inner most wants and desires. While also pushing their CGI animations to awe-inspiring new heights. Combine that with creatures that seem to bring out the geeky child in us all and The Good Dinosaur could be one of Pixar’s best. The film ran into early development problems that saw original director Bob Peterson moved off the project and the release date pushed back an entire year. Yet the initial footage and first teaser trailer show amazing promise. After Jurassic World, it would be nice to see the Dinosaur's lighter side.
by Jennifer Drewett
Feminism and the suffragette movement have been controversial topics for many decades and continue to be majorly important to this day. With some proclaiming the suffragettes as one of the first examples of feminism whilst others consider them as too extreme, this reviewer is very keen to see where Suffragette goes in it’s representation of the women who fought for rights.
Will it be a rose-tinted, romanticised story that shows the women as pure protagonists despite allegations of the real-life women having other discriminatory attitudes? Will it try to be a balanced critique of a time in modern history that still has consequences in the present day? The only way to find out is to see the film and find out.
by Robbie Jones
My love for rhyming titles knows no bounds, but that’s not the only reason I’m excited for this. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl looks amazing; the trailers have this quirky, heartfelt vibe that we could all do with from time to time.
With a title that involves the words “Dying Girl”, there’s always a chance of tears, but it’ll be worth it for the fun loving and heartwarming tone of this film. The film has already received great reviews, which was to be expected. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl can’t come soon enough.
by Melissa Haggar
Hiddleston. Chastain. Wasikowska. If that wasn’t enough to sway you then I should point out that Crimson Peak is legendary director Guillermo Del Toro’s latest effort. It certainly seems that the film is set to be an artistic vision packed with horror and mystery, if the credits are anything to go by.
Set for release in mid-October, Crimson Peak looks destined for great things. It’s got everything you could possibly want - a sense of the supernatural, a dash of the gorgeous gothic and all wrapped up in with a nice terrifying bow. Who doesn’t want to live in their own creepy mansion with their new slightly mysterious husband and creepy sister in law? No one, that’s who (ok, maybe most people). Get your cinema tickets at the ready because this is going to cause major waves in October.
What Do You Think?
What do you think?
Are these the best of the year so far?
What are you excited for?
Let us know in the comments below!