The first half of 2015 has been stacked with some amazing flicks, my two favourites so far being Kingsman: The Secret Service and Mad Max Fury Road. But that doesn’t mean it’s over yet – we still have lots of great stuff on the radar.
If I were to have published this list at the start of 2015 then I’d have to include Avengers: Age of Ultron in there somewhere but because that movie already came out and it already made a billion dollars, I’m putting the focus on some other movies that may have budgets that equal a Marvel Studios’ catering bill. Star Wars: The Force Awakens will not be included because it is automatically number 1 in every list every time its name is either spoken or typed therefore it is not fair to include it this time because it wins by default. That’s how it should be mind you, but it makes for a less than interesting list.
#5. Straight Outta Compton – August 14, 2015
In 1987, five young men, using brutally honest rhymes and hardcore beats, put their frustration and anger about life in the most dangerous place in America into the most powerful weapon they had: their music. Taking us back to where it all began, Straight Outta Compton tells the true story of how these cultural rebels—armed only with their lyrics, swagger, bravado and raw talent—stood up to the authorities that meant to keep them down and formed the world’s most dangerous group, N.W.A. And as they spoke the truth that no one had before and exposed life in the hood, their voice ignited a social revolution that is still reverberating today.
I’m the whitest dude wherever I go, not only because of my red hair and ability to burn within seconds of walking outside, but because that’s just how the universe has chosen my role. That doesn’t mean I don’t get to be excited about an NWA biographical film however, after watching one of 2015’s most riveting trailers. I may have been a metal kid growing up but the few rap kicks that I got on, usually consisted of a healthy dosage of NWA. Every time I catch a glimpse of Ice Cube’s son, who is playing Ice Cube in the movie, it freaks me out because HE LOOKS LIKE ICE CUBE. It’s weird but it works and I can’t wait for Straight Outta Compton – easily the biggest music themed release of 2015.
#4. Turbo Kid – 2015 Limited
In a post-apocalyptic parallel future of 1997, an orphaned teenager called The Kid scavenges the Wasteland searching for relics from a better time (the 80s). During one of his expeditions he meets Apple, a mysterious girl with a rather large secret. As their relationship deepens, they accidentally run afoul of Zeus, the self-proclaimed leader of the Wasteland. Zeus, a sadistically droll maniac who murdered The Kid’s parents, now controls the Wasteland’s most precious commodity: fresh water. When Zeus’ gang kidnaps Apple, The Kid joins forces with Frederick, the laconic leader of the legendary Arm-Wrestling Clan. Armed with little more than blind faith and an ancient turbo-charged weapon, The Kid must fulfill his ultimate destiny: destroy Zeus, avenge his parents’ death and get the girl of his dreams.
Spun from a short film included on the infamous ABC’s of Death, Turbo Kid is directed by Francois Simard and Anouk Whissell while Hobo With a Shotgun director Jason Eisener produces. Turbo Kid is a post-apocalyptic 80’s B-Movie inspired romp influenced heavily by retro video games and stars Degrassi alumni Munro Chambers wearing a Mega Man-esque getup battling the iconic Michael Ironside. The preview is bonkers and I’ve been thirsting for some meaningful new age Grindhouse like this for a while now. Turbo Kid may look insane but as a fellow Canadian supporting Canadian products, I fully endorse the insanity.
#3. Cooties – September 18, 2015
A cautionary tale of a school lunch program gone horribly wrong: Cooties tells the story of a young girl who eats a chicken nugget infected with a virulent disease. She begins to transform into a violent, murderous flesh-ripping juvenile who transmits the disease, which only affects the pre-pubescent. As it quickly spreads, the teachers find themselves trapped in the school, faced with a horde of rampaging adolescents, and must come up with an immediate lesson plan to save their very lives.
Usually when there’s violence against children in the subject matter, I tend to stay away because the concept disturbs me to no end. However with Cooties, I think they handled the tone correctly by injecting a big dose of black comedy. Seeing Rainn Wilson and Elijah Wood kicking a bunch of kids’ asses seems reason enough to check this out but being a zombie aficionado, I’m always down for an infected/undead action flick and the trailer looked like a good time.
#2. Black Mass – September 18, 2015
Based on a true story: In South Boston in the 1970s, FBI Agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) convinces Irish mobster Whitey Bulger (Johnny Depp) to work with the FBI for a common goal: eliminate the Italian mob. The brother of state senator William M. Bulger, Whitey agrees, but the unlikely partnership takes a nasty turn and Whitey goes on to become one of the most ruthless and powerful mobsters in Boston.
The Boston mafia scene intrigues me to no end as a fan of true crime tales. The Departed (one of the best movies ever made) was heavily influenced by real life gangster Whitey Bulger when creating Jack Nicholson’s character. To have a full length feature actually detail the chaotic and violent reign of this infamous criminal is exciting on concept but to see Johnny Depp completely transform himself to become Whitey Bulger — is astounding. His line delivery in the trailer alone warrants an Academy Award nomination. I truly hope the film delivers this Fall because this could potentially be Depp’s best performance of all time.
In The Hateful Eight, set six or eight or twelve years after the Civil War, a stagecoach hurtles through the wintry Wyoming landscape. The passengers, bounty hunter John Ruth (Russell) and his fugitive Daisy Domergue (Leigh), race towards the town of Red Rock where Ruth, known in these parts as “The Hangman,” will bring Domergue to justice. Along the road, they encounter two strangers: Major Marquis Warren (Jackson), a black former union soldier turned infamous bounty hunter, and Chris Mannix (Goggins), a southern renegade who claims to be the town’s new Sheriff.
Losing their lead on the blizzard, Ruth, Domergue, Warren and Mannix seek refuge at Minnie’s Haberdashery, a stagecoach stopover on a mountain pass. When they arrive at Minnie’s, they are greeted not by the proprietor but by four unfamiliar faces. Bob (Bichir), who’s taking care of Minnie’s while she’s visiting her mother, is holed up with Oswaldo Mobray (Roth), the hangman of Red Rock, cow-puncher Joe Gage (Madsen), and Confederate General Sanford Smithers (Dern). As the storm overtakes the mountainside stopover, our eight travelers come to learn they may not make it to Red Rock after all…
Quentin Tarantino is my favorite director. Hands down he’s the greatest of all time in my opinion. I was somewhat hesitant when he decided to follow-up his Western masterpiece Django Unchained with yet another Western themed movie, but with that cast, with all those beards…. I should calm down and let the master deliver unto us yet another movie of the year contender just like he always does. I’m hearing The Hateful Eight is a smaller scale film in the vein of Reservoir Dogs and that’s just fine with me. I could listen to Tarantino’s dialog all day long.
Honourable Mentions: Krampus, The Good Dinosaur, Spectre, The Revenant, Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation, Ant-Man, Southpaw, Vacation and Crimson Peak.