Blast of the Week - 2015 Movies We Want To See Now!

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Mike Maillaro: Welcome to Blast of the Week.  Each week, the Critical Blast staff will post up a question and do our best to answer it.   This is going to be pretty freeform and stream of consciousness, so I have no idea what we’ll end up with.   So, good luck, and hopefully we will all survive this.

The topic I picked for this week was “What upcoming movies are you excited about?”  2015 is shaping up to be a huge year of movies.  We’ve got big blockbusters, sequels, remakes, and a bunch of smaller films that I hope don’t get lost in the cracks.   So, I open it up to our panel:

R.J. Carter: When it comes to 2015’s movies, there’s only one name that springs to mind immediately: AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON. Is there really anything else worth mentioning this year?

Mike Maillaro: Well...I can think of at least one...STAR WARS:THE FORCE AWAKENS!!   I actually can’t decide which of those two I am most excited about at the moment.   And while not nearly on the same level as those two for me, JURASSIC WORLD is probably going to be huge too.  I actually will probably get dragged to that one by Chris and Patti.  I’ve seen all the other Jurassic Parks with one or both of them, even though I am not a fan of the series.

Jeff RItter: I am up for anything Marvel, though ANT-MAN is not terribly exciting to me and Ultron is one of my least favorite villain characters. Killer robots...could it be any less interesting? Well, I guess it could, and then we’d call it, TERMINATOR: GENISYS much to the detriment of the English language. I am not a big J.J. ABRAMS fan--good ideas, sloppy executions--so I’m going into the STAR WARS relaunch with a big Costco-sized canister of Morton’s salt. JURASSIC WORLD is yet another money grab from a franchise I never liked in the first place. If the dinosaurs would have ate those damn kids in the first movie maybe I’d have been happier. Nothing drives me insane like annoying child characters in movies...except for maybe annoying children at the movies and the moron breeders who bring them.

Chris Delloiacono: Yeah, I'm not super excited for the new JP.  The last movie wasn't very good, and it's been so damn long. The new flick looks okay, the concept sounds kinda cool, but it's just another rehash.  I may go, but I'm not chomping at the bit.

S.J. Mitchell: Mike, I think Star Wars gets overlooked at a 2015 movie because of it’s December release date. I’m always kind of a ‘here and now’ type of person so I’m most excited for Avengers: AoU simply because it’s right around the corner. The big question will be when I leave the theater will I immediately want to go back? Or will I be looking to move on to the next potential blockbuster? Jurassic World is more of a nostalgic movie for me. It’s one of those...I’ve seen all the others, so...why not this one too?

Chris Delloiacono: My Jurassic-mania has died down, but my STAR WARS hysteria has been reignited by Rebels, the new Marvel Comics, and the new film.  Disney has been a wonderful caretaker of the MCU and, so far, their stewardship of Star Wars has been impeccable.  I foresee a midnight expedition to take in the magic of THE FORCE AWAKENS!

R.J. Carter: The last STAR WARS film I saw was THE PHANTOM MENACE. I remember feeling extremely nonplussed by the whole thing, so much that I was just completely disinterested in the rest of the franchise. (And I’m a kid who regularly watched DROIDS when it ran on Saturday mornings!) Just looking over the list of movies for 2015, I see things that ought to excite me -- like FANTASTIC FOUR and SPECTRE. But the ones other than AVENGERS that I may actually have an urge to see would be the underdogs -- not literally THE UNDERDOGS, but things like THE PEANUTS MOVIE, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. and (lest we forget) ANT-MAN.

Mike Weaver: Well, I mean...okay, ANT-MAN.  I’ve been Henry Pym’s #1 fan for some time, and while I know that it’s Lang...at least Pym is in it.  And they’re going to make a movie.  Of ANT-MAN.  My life is complete.  AGE OF ULTRON also, of course.  As for STAR WARS...my youngest is deep in Star Wars Mania right now, so honestly, the less I hear about Star Wars, the better (even though I like all six existing films to one degree or other).  “Hey dad...hey dad...did you know...they’re going to make Lego sets of Rebels?”  Ad infinitum.

S.J. Mitchell: R.J. if you’ve given up on Star Wars then you're missing a helluva good series with Rebels. That’s a different topic for a different day though!

Chris Delloiacono: Easily the best new STAR WARS material since 1983!

Jeff Ritter: This is going to be a great year for spycraft fans like me. We’ve already had the surprisingly entertaining KINGSMAN and we have SPECTRE, THE MAN FROM UNCLE (directed by Guy Ritchie), and BRIDGE OF SPIES (Steven Spielberg directing Tom Hanks).  I’m also excited to see Quentin Tarantino’s THE HATEFUL EIGHT starring Channing Tatum, Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen and Walton Goggins among others. I generally know what to expect from Tarantino, but I can’t help but feel giddy about having Tim Roth and Michael Madsen on screen together again. Every time I hear “Stuck In The Middle With You” I immediately picture RESERVOIR DOGS. And Walton Goggins, of television’s The Shield and Justified? I’m as good as there already.

S.J. Mitchell: As far as FANTASTIC FOUR goes: I’ll pass. Nothing about that movie interests me. SPECTRE, I’m very excited about mostly for the storyline. Daniel Craig hasn’t impressed me as Bond but he’s been involved in some excellent movies. Kinda like the reverse of Ryan Reynolds as GL (Great as Hal, crappy screenplay). ANT-MAN will be the dark horse of everything coming out this year. I think it’ll outperform audience expectations. Paul Rudd is perfect for Scott Lang!

Mike Weaver: On that topic, another thing ANT-MAN has going for it...besides Rudd and Michael Douglas being great for their parts...is that it seems to me that the most enjoyable Marvel Cinematic things have been the ones I’ve thought had no business existing.  GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is the best example of that.  I’m also going to take a pass on the FANTASTIC FOUR...it really seems like just an empty effort to keep the film rights.

Jeff Ritter: I cannot wait to see FANTASTIC FOUR, because man is it ever gonna suck! It’s going to be such a colossal wreck. That’s the only reason most people watch NASCAR--for the wrecks. I have no use for the forthcoming CROUCHING TIGER-HIDDEN DRAGON: THE GREEN LEGEND and am already ready to pan PAN, but I’m going to have an absolute (Critical) blast skewering the FANTASTIC FOUR. Please note that my earlier comment about being up for all things Marvel meant the Marvel-controlled cinematic universe, not the horrendous waste of digital media that this debacle will sure be.

Mike Maillaro: I don’t know what to expect from ANT-MAN.  I will probably see it in theaters, but I will admit I am a little hesitant.  I just have no idea if it will be any good.  BUT, there isn’t a single MCU movie I haven’t enjoyed so far, so that does give me some hope.

Chris Delloiacono: ANT-MAN looks quite good, and I've enjoyed all the other MCU films.  Now, there's a big issue, I'm still ticked off that Edgar Wright was dismissed right before filming.  Edgar's filmography is some of the best of the current millenium.  I adore pictures like SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD, SHAUN OF THE DEAD, and THE WORLD'S END.  Unfortunately, Marvel jettisoning Wright after years of development soured me on the film.  I may watch eventually, but probably not at the theater.

Mike Maillaro: Totally agree with Weaver on FANTASTIC FOUR.  It just seems like a movie made to protect the rights.  Nothing I have seen about this movie has really grabbed me at all.  And this is from someone who mostly enjoyed the last two FF movies.

I don’t want to harp on Star Wars...we can fill another whole column with that...but I liked THE PHANTOM MENACE and REVENGE OF THE SITH quite a bit.  I actually saw THE PHANTOM MENACE like 7 times in the theater, oddly enough.  It is very rare I see a movie more than once or twice.  Not so much ATTACK OF THE CLONES

Another movie I am looking forward to is INSIDE OUT.  Pixar always releases fun movies with cool concepts, and I love the cast for this one.  Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Phyllis Smith, and Amy Poehler.  

S.J. Mitchell: I keep waiting for that first Pixar film to bomb and INSIDE OUT could be it. PLANES: FIRE AND RESCUE was horrible in my opinion but box office and toy sales seem to keep it alive. I was not impressed with UP either as it wasn’t able to hold my attention. But, again, box office rules. I’m sure INSIDE OUT will perform well out of the gate, such is the case with anything under the Disney/Pixar umbrella but I’m wondering how the reviews will be.

Mike Maillaro: PLANES and FIRE AND RESCUE actually weren’t put out by Pixar, oddly enough.  My kids loved both of them.   I didn’t think they were classics, but far better than CARS 2.

S.J. Mitchell: CARS 2 was a fun action flick but I think they tried to shoehorn adult action into a kids movie. Too much non-stop violence for my younger kids, at the time it came out.

R.J. Carter: When I saw the trailer for INSIDE OUT, my first thought was that someone was finally capitalizing on the idea that drove the series HERMAN’S HEAD. I do look forward to seeing this one, though. And UP? That movie makes a grown man cry at the beginning, the hallmark of a great film.

Mike Maillaro: I think the beginning of UP is great...it’s everything that comes afterwards that I didn’t like as much.  

R.J. Carter: The vibe I’m getting from ANT-MAN is that they’re probably going to shoot for the same GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY humor/action vibe. And who can argue with that approach, given the tone of the character and the success of the latter movie? I’ve always hoped that the ANT-MAN movie would end with him fighting the Chitauri during the climax of AVENGERS, to show he was there, helping, but too small to have been seen before.

Mike Maillaro: Yeah, that is definitely something that sort of bugs me about Ant-Man is that they seem to be trivializing his importance in the Marvel universe.  The awful comic tie-in from a while back does imply that Ant-Man was active years ago, but it’s pretty clear he only had a small (ouch) role in SHIELD.  They couldn’t even let him build Ultron...that’s all Stark in the movies.  Which is sort of an even bigger slap on the face since ANT-MAN is coming out soon after AGE OF ULTRON.  

R.J. Carter: Well, in fairness to the filmmakers, we don’t know what role Hank Pym may have had in the past. He may have had a hand in the creation of Ultron that Stark took to a higher level. We don’t even know if Pym had a prior history in the suit before handing it over to Paul Rudd’s character. Although, for sheer cinema spectacle, I’m disappointed he didn’t start out as he should have: as Giant Man.

S.J. Mitchell: RJ, we must be cut from the same generation because I LOVED Herman’s Head and thought it was such a unique show. I feel that if INSIDE OUT captures that dynamic it could be a success, but how well it’ll translate into a kids movie gives me cause for concern. If ANT-MAN has a post-credit sequence that has him doing anything during the final battle in THE AVENGERS, I will stand up and cheer. Since the MU has decided to take the creation of Ultron away from Hank Pym, I hope ANT-MAN has some dialogue regarding the creation of a self-aware robot. Just so Pym can say, “You’d have to be an ego-maniacal lunatic to do such a thing”.

Mike Maillaro: RJ, there was a tie-in comic that showed Pym did use the suit, but it seems to have been for a very brief period of time.  

Chris Delloiacono: You know what else I'm excited for?  Bond.  James Bond!  The release of SPECTRE will get me to the theater on day one.  The idea that Bond is going to face his old enemy again...well how cool is that?  Daniel Craig has been a fantastic Bond, thus far.  Plus, CASINO ROYALE and SKYFALL rank in the upper echelons of the 50 year-old series.  There's the new M (Ralph Fiennes) and Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) as well as villains played by Christoph Waltz and Dave Bautista...plus did I mention Bond is battling frickin' SPECTRE?  This could be a throwback and a jump forward all in one.  I just hope we get to see Blofeld!

Mike Maillaro: Incredibly, I still have not seen any of the Daniel Craig Bond movies.  I’ve never been a huge Bond movie fan (though I did enjoy quite a few of the books), but I did love Pierce Brosnan in the role.  GOLDENEYE is my favorite Bond movie by far, and I’ve just had a hard time caring about Bond without him.  That said, I am definitely curious about SPECTRE.  You got Drax and Moriarty!  What more do you need in a movie?

Chris Delloiacono: I can totally understand not seeing movies these days.  Life has really made it difficult to catch even a tenth of the films I want to see in a given year.

That withstanding, you need to at least give the series a shot.  You would love that Craig's version has veered so much closer to the literary roots.  A good portion of CASINO ROYALE was a modernized recreation of Fleming's novel.  On top of that, there's been threads and characters continuing through the Craig stories.  There's going to be a big payoff with SPECTRE.