Tuesday, February 3, 2015

15 for 2015: Our Year-Ahead Preview

Geek Peek 2015: The Boxed Office helps you geek-out on your movie going for the year ahead

Happy 2015! It’s time once again for all of us here at the Boxed Office take our annual crystal ball session concerning our most anticipated films of 2014. We look ahead at some of the biggest sci-fi, super hero and fantasy and CGI films coming soon to a theater near you: 

(ARTH VADER AV) The Seventh Son (2/6) The lone remaining warrior of an ancient mystical order travels to find a foretold hero born with incredible powers, the last Seventh Son. Having watched this initial trailer for an 2014 release over a year ago, I am not sure what to make of this one, Pontificator. Generally, its never a good sign when a film is pulled and re-tooled or has a significant amount of new, re-shot material. Here's to hoping.  
(AV) Jupiter Ascending (2/6) Who's ready for an original Wachowski Brothers screenplay? Apparently no one was a year ago. The original 2013 release of this film was halted when initial audience pools tracked so poor, executive pulled the film and completely re-tooled the film. In February 2015, we’ll see how that effort turned out. I will say, though, P-Man, the new trailers kind of have me a little giddy. Here’s to hoping Mila “TED” Kunis and Channing “Jump Street” Tatum can do something they have yet to do prove so far… that they can act. 

(AV) Chappie (3/6) One the most talented directors in Sci-fi today is Neil “District 9” Blomkamp who’s latest film, Chappie, premieres March 6th. While initial reports are panning the film, I am excited to see what comes of this latest film. Another precursor to the ‘countdown to the singularity’, Chappie is the story of an AI / Robot who learns of the human world through the actions of his creator(s) and those that fear and mistrust him. 

(AV) Ex Machina (4/10) It’s time for another Singularity story arc, Ponty. This one features the story of Caleb, a 20-nothing programmer employed at a large internet company, who wins a week at a private mountain retreat. But, when Caleb arrives at the isolated retreat he finds that himself swept up into a a strange and frightening experiment in which he must interact with the world's first true artificial intelligence, who takes on the form of a beautiful woman. Directed by horror pro Alex “28 Days” Garland, the movie chronicles an interesting inter-species coupling thats both telling and frightening. 

(AV) Avengers: Age of Utron (5/1) When it comes right down to it, there really are only two big flicks to look forward to in 2015, Star Wars and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Marvel Studio’s follow-up to their colossal 2012 hit, pits our heroes against the Avenger’s greatest adversary, the twisted AI construct, Ultron. With new foes, new allies and new costumes for Marvel’s most colorful band of brothers, Age of Ultron has every potential to exceed the $1.4 billion payday that accompanied the 1st movie.

(THE PONTIFICATOR TP) Mad Max: Fury Road (5/15) : Being a big fan of the original Max films (“Mad Max” and “The Road Warrior,” not so much “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome”) I was happy to hear that director George Miller was attached to this project Vader. It means most of what made those films great will be returning for this reboot/reimagining although I was sad to see Max’s car get destroyed in the trailer (love that car). Tom Hardy is an excellent actor and the perfect choice to reprise the role of Max. This film looks as though it’s gonna be huge and the fact that they are offering it in 3D just tells me to expect some serious special effects! I hoping it’s everything the first two films were…and more.

(TP) Jurassic World (6/12):  I’m a huge fan of all the Jurassic Park films and so I’m very excited about this latest installment, the fourth in the series, set twenty-two years after the original. Although director Colin Trevorrow hasn’t done anything thus far to impress me, I’m hopeful that Spielberg as executive producer and Chris Pratt as the lead can pull this off regardless of any shortcomings, anywhere. The premiss of the film has some cheese potential, I mean, in addition to the regular dinosaurs posing a threat (as usual) we now have a genetically modified dinosaur to deal with, but this type of film is not meant to be thought-provoking, just a wild ride. From what I have seen so far, it looks to be just that, a wild ride for the summer and I’m looking forward to it Vader.

(AV) Ant Man (7/17) Who’s psyched to see a grown man shrink down to be 1/4” tall? I know I am! The littlest big Marvel flick stars Paul “Ant Man” Rudd, Evangeline “I’m Lost as an Elf” Lilly and Michael “Henry Pym” Douglas. Shrouded in controversy, due namely to the hiring and 8-years-later firing of wunderkind director Edgar Wright, this film has almost everyone in a quandary about this film’s ability to resonate with audiences. As for me, I say this; if Marvel made The Guardians Of The Galaxy the top film of 2014, they can do anything. The trailer is fun and has CGI that will likely make the world of the Ant Man a giant success.

(TP) The Fantastic Four (8/7): I gotta say that even though I was gracious in my opinion of the first two films (being a comic geek and all), I have not been thrilled by what I have been hearing  about this film. There has been much controversy over the cast, specifically Michael B. Jordan as the Human Torch, but reading the latest synopsis for the film, I might be willing to throw everything I know about the Fantastic Four out the window and come at this film with an open mind. I generally have not been happy with how Fox has treated Marvel characters, but it seems they might be taking some notes from Marvel Studios as it has been confirmed that the Fantastic Four takes place in the same cinematic universe as the X-Men. Despite the negative rumblings, I will remain optimistic.

(TP) The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials (9/18): I wasn’t a very big fan of the first film, it just didn’t make sense to me on many levels (see the review here) so a continuation of the story doesn’t have me particularly excited. That said, the very fact that it takes place in the most scorched part of the Earth with new dangers and challenges does have me intrigued. I’m hoping this film makes more sense than the first, or at the very least can add more sense to the first. At any rate, great directing and awesome special effects can do much to salvage a film, so I’m hoping this film encompasses all of the above and leaves us with something interesting to review later Vader.

(AV) Victor Frankenstein (10/2) This unique take on Mary Shelley’s classic tale of the original plastic surgeon, is the tale of Dr. Frankenstein’s monster as told from the prospective of Igor, the film is told from the troubled young assistant's dark origins-likely his cameo in 2014’s Dracula untold–or his redemptive friendship with the a young Viktor Von Frankenstein. Igor becomes an eyewitnesses to the emergence of how Frankenstein–and his infamous abomination–become the legends we all know. We can be cautiously optimistic that this film will be an entertaining–if not certifiable–train wreck. Heres to hoping, P-Man. 
(TP) Spectre (11/6): I’ve been watching James Bond films since I was a kid (they actually predate me) and I have enjoyed all of them (some more than others). I have certainly enjoyed Daniel Craig as Bond and look forward to seeing more of him in this film, his fourth installment as 007. Monica Bellucci will be the “Bond Girl” of this film and at fifty years old, the oldest to ever do so. Although this film will not be based on any of Ian Fleming’s original work, the idea of a worldwide secret criminal organization (Spectre) seems to fit right in with what has come to be expected from a Bond film. Also expected is plenty of action, some gadgets…and a new Aston Martin. As with the previous Bond films by Craig, this one should be a lot of fun O’Dark One.

(AV) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (11/20) Pontificator, if I may, do you know why I am just this side of giddy over the release of this film? It’s because it means a certain and definitive END to this franchise that has quite frankly… overstayed its welcome. Let hit the finale button on this series and wrap this all up. I am fatigued over the amount and volume of HG comments, fandom, and movie chatter. This story has run its course for me and I will be happy to watch the final installment–and equally happy for the end of the franchise.

(TP) The Martian (11/25): This film seems like it will be a very interesting movie, although not as original as it appears to be. Based on a novel by Andy Weir, it looks to be a mix of “Gravity” meets “Interstellar.” Matt Damon plays an astronaut stranded on Mars (remember he was also stranded in Interstellar) with little hope of rescue, but a determination to live in hopes of just that. With Ridley Scott directing, I have high hopes that this film will keep me on the edge of my seat and completely entangle me in the plight of Damon’s character. If this film even hints at the desperation and emotional angst Sandra Bullock displayed in “Gravity,” I’m predicting a winner here with a deep impact and lasting impression. 

(TP) Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (12/18): Oh my… one can only hope this film is actually as big as it’s expected to be. This will be Disney’s first Star Wars film since acquiring the rights from Lucas and having J.J. Abram’s directing is just the tip of the iceberg. Set thirty years after the events of “Return of the Jedi”, not only is the film headed in a new direction (this movie will ignore the expanded universe of the novels, games, etc), with much of the old cast returning, but rumors are Disney has completely ignored any input from Lucas! Now this can be a good thing (no Jar-Jar shenanigans) or a bad thing (everything we have ever loved about Star Wars). Personally, I think Disney is smart enough to make this film as big, if not bigger, than the Star Wars films that have come before and this has me salivating in anticipation for a BIG December opening, Vader.