It’s the first big push of 2015 and there are a bunch of movies coming out in anticipation of the Oscars, as well as the first significant slate of movies for 2015. I have to be honest with you, nothing looks especially promising. Some of the limited releases are a lot more intriguing and if they are playing in your city they are worth checking out.
OPENING IN WIDE RELEASE
The Boy Next Door – Remember when Jennifer Lopez was in Out of Sight and we thought her career might be headed in a somewhat positive direction? Those were the good old days for J-Lo. Now, she is making weird thriller movies that have her taking her clothes off and being the harassed woman who doesn’t fight back like she did in Enough (not a good movie, btw). I was completely bored by this trailer and not at all excited for this movie to be in theaters. I know there is a large contingent of people who like these movies since they are like romance novels turned into movies, but these movies are never any good. BLARGH!!!
In case you didn’t get that, the noise I just made was, “BLARGH.”
Mortdecai – I genuinely love most of what Johnny Depp has done over the years, and I always love Ewan McGregor. My interest in this spy comedy starring Depp as Mortdecai, the part-time rogue and British spy, is piqued. The trailer had some genuinely funny moments, but most of the laughs seemed Austin Powers-ish and lacked anything enduring as far as funny goes. We’ll wait and see. Let me know what you thought of this one if you go see it.
Strange Magic – From the mind of George Lucas. A phrase that may either perk up your ears or cause you to run for cover. The early reviews on this animated film from LucasFilms are not all that encouraging, and might have you longing for Jar Jar (*gasp*). It looks to be beautifully animated but the plot seems nothing unique and I guess it has a modern musical-type vibe that uses pop songs from the last half century. Not really something I want to see, but my unswerving support of Lucas might just drag me to see it.
Update: More reviews are pouring in and people are absolutely trashing this movie. It does not look good for The Maker.
Black Sea – Do you like submarines? Do you like quests for gold? Do you like under the sea adventures? Does anyone like Jude Law? Well, then have I got the movie for you. A submarine adventure (think The Hunt for Red October and Crimson Tide) that follows a crew of untrustworthy fellas to the bottoms of the Black Sea in search of another submarine full of Hitler’s gold (yes, it sounds dumber written out). Full of tension and suspense, it’s sure to cure what ails you if you like those kind of movies.
OPENING IN LIMITED RELEASE
Cake – People are absolutely RAVING about Jennifer Aniston’s performance as Claire, a pill-popping, troubled woman dealing with her own personal demons. After the death of a friend in her support group (Anna Kendrick), she befriends/stalks her husband and looks to find healing and stability amidst the chronic pain she deals with. Aniston looks like she gives some serious gravity to her performance and the early reviews say her performance is up to snuff, but the screenplay and direction is not. I’m really interested in this one, given some personal connections to people suffering from chronic pain, and I might just go see this relatively soon. Check it out if this is in your area.
Song One – An official Sundance 2014 selection, it stars Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises, The Devil Wears Prada) as Franny, a young woman enamored by his brother’s favorite folk singer, played by Johnny Flynn (Clouds of Sils Maria). After her brother is in a serious car accident, she goes to meet Flynn’s character to get him to visit Franny’s brother in the hospital. After spending time together a romance starts to develop. Sounds like a TON of movies I have seen before, and honestly, I was bored before the trailer was even over. Not a good sign.
Mommy – If you are on Letterboxd, then you know that this movie blew up on that site this year and was bantered about all year long. It is Canada’s official entry to the Academy Awards for this year and, unfortunately, did not make the short list. It is a French language film by Xavier Dolan, an up and coming young director and writer, and it looks really amazing. It won a Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and has received many awards on the film festival circuit. I’m very interested in this movie about persevering love, family, and mental disorder. This is a very limited distribution, so it will most likely only appear in mega-metro areas.
Josh Crabb (@HeyItsThatJosh) is an editor, writer, and sometimes talker for Reel World Theology. He dreads waking up to George Lucas still being in charge of LucasFilms.