How do you get people into the multiplex in 2015 instead of looking at their tablets, cell phones, and/or smart TVs? Content, Gentle Reader. Content > Format. Formats change with the winds these days. In the last 40 years alone we’ve gone from broadcast to downloadable streamed content. The film industry started quaking in its boots when the VCR came along - they thought they were losing control. The DVR overtook the VCR for home recording and then the VCR gave way to the DVD, which gave way to Blu-ray, which – in turn, gave way to downloadable High-Def content. And so it goes. The industry must always reinvent and upgrade their content for no matter what the format is the content (and, please Lord, the story) is core. Once the industry realized that they could get paid for their content across many different formats at basically the same time they slacked a bit on the whole, ‘VCR / DVR will kill the business’ argument. Sure they’ll cry about piracy but they will be the first in line to collect your dollars opening night at the theaters, at Redbox, in a hotel room, on your tablet, and – if you still do this, when you buy the Blu-ray. Technically, for one movie and if you the viewer are so inclined the industry will get paid several times over by the same consumer for the same product.
“Ridiculous – that can’t happen!”
How many versions of, “Star Wars” have YOU had over the years? Yeah, you know; well, the studios do too. The industry must up it’s game. Season after season, year after year. They must build a better mousetrap to lure people out of their comfortable homes and into the theaters. Just like farming, some seasons are better than others and 2015 looks like a bumper crop. I ran some of these past my 22 year-old daughter to see what she thought of my picks and she provided an interesting generational opinion on the topic and for that, I am thankful. So without further ado, presented here to mark on your calendars are my picks (and some of my 22 year-old daughter’s) for what just may be Ticket Worthy Cinema this year…
Jupiter Ascending – February 6th. The Wachowski’s doing space opera? I’m in. I asked my daughter and she said, “I like the idea of a strong female character but this looks like a bunch of young adult clichés jumbled all together.”
Fifty Shades of Grey – February 13th. For my money, “The Secretary” is a much better film on the topic than this will be by far. That said, my wife’s birthday is on the 12th and Valentines Day is on the 14th so who knows? My daughter took a quick glance at my notes, “Really? That's on your list?"
Ex_Machina – April 10th. This looks like a sleeper to me – in a disturbingly good way. I think it will get under the radar and then blossom. It will take April because, hey, it’s April but what will really make this interesting is the subject matter. Where are the lines between humanity and artificial intelligence going to be drawn? Tech keeps moving forward and the sky truly is the limit on this sort of thing (that thing being thinking, feeling, robots). The ghost in the machine.
CHAPPiE – March 6th. Neil Blomkamp is the man who made, “District 9”, which is, for my money, one to the best science fiction films of the 21st century. CHAPPiE is a security robot whose programming is altered and he starts to learn at an exponential rate. He develops emotions, thoughts, and self-awareness. This looks good to me. “That’s going to be depressing as hell but I’d totally check that out!” my daughter said. “It will be a good look at humanity.” And by, "good look' she meant, 'not so good'. I think she's spot on the money.
In the Heart of the Sea – March 13th. This looks intriguing to me. Ron Howard helms this ‘true story’ about whaling that inspired Herman Melville to pen, “Moby Dick”. The trailer looks great to me and I have a thing for historical drama. My daughter? Not so much. She just shook her head.
Hey, the teaser poster was so cool I let it exceed it's boarders.
Avengers: Age of Ultron – May 1st. Pure frosting, baby. It’s the next Joss Whedon helmed Avenger’s movie! Ultron, a sentient machine, wreaks havoc across the Marvel’s film universe. I’m a Marvel Zombie so BRING IT ON! My daughter? “Yeah, I’d watch that.”
Mad Max: Fury Road – May 15th. A Mel Gibson-less Mad Max? Yep. Tom Hardy is the new Max and, I gotta tell ya, the trailer is hypnotic. All eight cylinders are firing on this one for me. I can’t wait to see the Road Warrior in action again. “I might watch it,” said my daughter. “It’s Mad Max!” I said. “Yeah, but I didn’t grow up with it like you did.” “Oh,” I said.
Tomorrowland – May 22nd. I love Brad Bird. He knows how to tell a story. Whether it’s at his days at PIXAR or with his live action stuff for Disney (yes, I’m talking about John Carter from Mars) I’ve loved it. George Clooney’s character at the end of the trailer asks the girl whose pin seems to transport her to another world asks, “Do you want to go?” Both my daughter and I answered, “YES.”
Jurassic World – June 12th. How about another trip to Jurassic Park? Yeah, I’m down for that. I love the John Williams piano score during the trailer – it strums all the right fan-boy chords. I asked my daughter and she told me that, “I hope it’s good. I don’t know but my childhood demands that I go to this!”
Inside Out – June 19th. PIXAR. This one addresses the voices in our heads that dictate our emotions and actions. It looks great to me and I would be happy to take the family. “It looks really cute. I’d totally check that out.” This one generated a lot of excitement for both of us – that’s two generations who would, “Totally check that out”.
Terminator Genisys – July 1st. Arnold as an older T-800 in a reboot of the franchise? It has the potential to be really awful or really cool. I’m pulling for the cool factor. I asked my daughter, “YES – I’ll see that. It may suck but I’ll go see it.” She’s a huge fan of T2. …Also, for the record, I find the misspelling of the title distracting. I get why but I don’t like it.
Pan – July 17th. An origin story for Peter Pan. Said I, "Oh look, Hook and Pan are enslaved together and fight a pirate named, Blackbeard played by Hugh Jackman." I asked my daughter about her interest. “Why, on earth, would I go see that?” she said. People love Peter Pan the world over. My daughter is not one of them. She was really ticked off at the latest NBC version.
Pan may be in trouble for other reasons too, it’s opening up against…
Ant-Man – July 17th. MARVEL is riding the crest of a billion dollar monster wave and Ant Man is poised to set up whatever is coming next in the series. DC has a lot of catching up to do. As has been established, I am a Marvel Zombie. I will be there. As for my daughter's opinion; “It sounds really lame. I like Marvel but, damn.”
The Jungle Book – October 9th. A live action version helmed by John Favreau. Bill Murry is Baloo and Idris Elba as Shere Khan? Yeah, this just might work. Daughter’s response, “No. It’s a no.”
Crimson Peak – October 16th. I love Guillermo del Toro. He has a unique vision and when he is in the zone he makes magic. Really. See, “Pan’s Labyrinth” or, “The Devil’s Backbone” and you’ll see what I mean. I’m also a sucker for the Hellboy series. This is a return to Victorian horror and del Toro can pull that off like gangbusters. I asked my daughter. “No way. Not after you forced me to watch that awful TV show [The Strain].” “I didn’t force you.” I said. “It doesn’t matter. No.”
SPECTRE – November 6th. The new James Bond movie! This will be Daniel Craig’s fourth outing as 007 and there is a great cast assembling around the project including Christoph Waltz, Andrew Scott, and Dave Bautista. I’m a big fan of Ian Fleming and his creation, James Bond. I think Daniel Craig has done a great job in the role and this is on my radar. I asked my daughter. “Nope,” she said. She has never been impressed with Bond’s misogynistic roots and she has a point – still, I wonder how the new Aston Martin handles!?
The Martian – November 25th. Ridley Scott helmed film with Matt Damon as an astronaut stranded on the planet Mars. It has the makings of something great and it may just be ticket worthy. It is based on the book by Andy Weir.
The Hateful Eight – unknown release date. This is Quinton Tarantino’s next film and it’s another western. It’s in the vein of the Wild Bunch and Kurt Russell is part of the cast. Yep, that sounds good to me. I asked my daughter. “A western!? Who does that? OH, Kurt Russell is in it? Yeah, I might see that,” she said.
Star Wars: the Force Awakens – December 18th. This one is big. Big for not only yours truly but big for GENERATIONS of fans of a story that takes place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. The teaser trailer for this film is really a time machine because I’m nine years-old every time I see it. See: http://evilchickenscratch.blogspot.com/2014/11/on-first-glimpse-of-star-wars-episode.html for further gushing. In a strange twist of fate – none of my daughters are Star Wars fans and, therefore, my oldest nor her sisters have any interest. Such is the way of things. For my part, I will take off of work to see this film. That’s a true story. I believe that the Force flows strong through J.J. Abrams and I hope to see it in IMAX, opening night.
Mission: Impossible 5 – December 25th. What can I say, I’ve enjoyed this series of movies. It’s pure popcorn. Say what you want about Tom Cruise but he’s just a bit older than yours truly and the majority of the stunts he does himself. I might wait for streaming on this one but it gets a nod from me here ‘cause you never know, it might be ticket worthy. I asked my daughter and she said, “It should be called, ‘Mission Impossible: Who Cares?”
So there it is, 2015 in the nutshell. That’s a good crop of cinema. Special thanks to my daughter for her perspective on what’s coming soon to a theater near you. We just may do more of the same in the near future. I have three daughters and they have some pretty solid opinions about a great many things. I ran the list by them after the bulk of the blog was done and it looks like, “CHAPPiE”, “Tomorrowland”, and “Inside Out” are on their radar. What will be on the rest of the world’s radar? With Ex Machina, “CHAPPiE”, “Terminator: Genisys”, “Avengers: Age of Ultron”, and a new Star Wars movie, 2015 could become the Year of the Robot (yes, you heard it here first). What will win and what will lose remains a mystery. Quality, unfortunately, does not always win the day but, hey, here’s hopin’. May the story be served.
See you at the Multiplex in 2015.