17 For ’17: Todd’s Most Anticipated Movies of the Year

Happy New Year y’all and hope you’re enjoying your first day of 2017!

For my inaugural post of the year, I’m giving you 17 of my eagerly awaited pictures hitting screens this year. They’re listed alphabetically and represent some circles on the calendar for yours truly.

Here’s to a great year at the movies!h

Alien: Covenant

Release Date: May 19

The sixth installment of the Alien franchise is a sequel to 2013’s Prometheus, which received a deserved mixed reaction. Ridley Scott is back behind the director’s chair with Michael Fassbender returning and Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, and Danny McBride among the supporting players. There is also expected to be an alien involved.

All Eyez on Me

Release Date: June 16

Benny Boom is known for directing many well-known hip hop videos, but this feature tells the tale of one of America’s finest rappers – Tupac Shakur. Newcomer Demetrius Shipp, Jr. plays the late performer.

Beauty and the Beast

Release Date: March 17

Disney has found tremendous success with their live-action remakes of animated classics and this reworking of the 1991 Best Picture nominee is likely to follow suit. Bill Condon directs with Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast.

Blade Runner 2049

Release Date: October 6

Arriving 35 years after Ridley Scott’s heralded science fiction experience, Arrival director Denis Villeneuve brings back this noirish world with Harrison Ford back as Deckard alongside Ryan Gosling.

A Cure for Wellness

Release Date: February 17

Talented director Gore Verbinski has made some impressive pics – The Ring and the first Pirates of the Caribbean among them. He’s also had some not so impressive ones, including the Pirates sequels and The Lone Ranger. This psychological horror thriller looks like it could be a return to form.

The Dark Tower

Release Date: July 28

For many years, a number of filmmakers have attempted to bring Stephen King’s novel to the screen. It’s finally happened with Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba starring.

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Dunkirk

Release Date: July 21

Anything from Christopher Nolan has earned our anticipation and so it goes with this World War II effort featuring Tom Hardy and Kenneth Branagh.

Ghost in the Shell

Release Date: March 31

Based on the wildly popular Japanese comic book series, Scarlett Johansson headlines the sci-fi action thriller.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Release Date: May 5

Summer ’17 kicks off with Star Lord, Rocket, and Lil Groot back on screen after their acclaimed first foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2014.

Justice League

Release Date: November 17

Speaking of superheroes, DC has Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot – who has her own stand-alone pic this summer), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and the Flash (Ezra Miller) joining forces.

Kong: Skull Island

Release Date: March 10

The giant ape is back for the first time in 12 years in this 1970s set blockbuster hopeful boasting a first-rate cast that includes Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman and John C. Reilly.

Logan

Release Date: March 3

17 years after first creating his signature role, Hugh Jackman is Wolverine for (apparently) the final time.

The Mummy

Release Date: June 9

The Universal monsters reassemble in this reboot that stars Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, and lotsa hopefully cool CG.

Murder on the Orient Express

Release Date: November 22

This property based on the Agatha Christie Book was adapted successfully in the mid 70s by director Sidney Lumet. This time around, Kenneth Branagh is behind the camera with an all-star cast that includes Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Josh Gad, Michael Pena and Michelle Pfeiffer.

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SpiderMan: Homecoming

Release Date: July 7

After making a nice impression in Captain America: Civil War, Tom Holland is the third actor to portray the title superhero. Michael Keaton, Marisa Tomei, and Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark costar.

Star Wars: Episode VIII

Release Date: December 15

The still untitled follow-up to The Force Awakens is pretty much unquestionably going to be 2017’s highest earner. Expect considerably more screen time for Mark Hamill’s Luke and sadly, Carrie Fisher’s final screen appearance as Leia.

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War for the Planet of the Apes

Release Date: July 14

Kong isn’t the only big-budget monkey business happening onscreen as the third installment of this franchise finds Andy Serkis’s Caesar returning and Woody Harrelson joining the mix.

16 for ’16: Todd’s Most Anticipated Fall Movies

As the 2016 summer movie season winds down – it’s time to start thinking of the leaves changing, football (both real and fantasy), and yes – the fall slate of movies heading our way from September to December!

By most accounts, it has been a rather ho-hum summer at the multiplexes. Let’s hope the autumn frame picks things up a little. A few things are certain: the pictures being released in the final third of this calendar year will almost surely make up the bulk of Oscar-bait material. There has been very little that has counted as that in the first eight months. We have plenty of contenders and some of them are in this here list.

I decided to pick out my personal 16 most anticipated titles of what’s coming to us. This is also an exciting time of the year as my “Oscar Watch” posts are certain to increase as the major film festivals (starting with Toronto and Venice in a matter of weeks) begin to showcase some of the Academy hopefuls.

Here are 16 for ’16 titles that have piqued my interest for the rest of the year:

The Accountant

Release Date: October 14

Ben Affleck sheds the Bat-suit for this thriller from Warrior director Gavin O’Connor. Batfleck plays a math savant mixed up in some secret government activity and the stellar supporting casts includes Anna Kendrick and J.K. Simmons.

Allied

Release Date: November 23

Robert Zemeckis directs what sounds like an old-fashioned romantic thriller. It’s set in the WWII era in Casablanca and is headlined by Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard.

Arrival

Release Date: November 11

Prisoners and Sicario director Denis Villenueve delves into sci-fi territory with this alien tale featuring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Release Date: November 11

Acclaimed director Ang Lee has won two Oscars and his latest is a war drama based on a bestseller. Expect this to garner Oscar buzz. The cast includes newcomer Joe Alwyn in the title role, as well as Kristen Stewart, Steve Martin, Chris Tucker, and Vin Diesel.

Doctor Strange

Release Date: November 4

After a somewhat middling 2015 with the Avengers sequel and Ant-Man, the Marvel Cinematic Universe got back on track with this summer’s Captain America: Civil War. Let’s see if the introduction of Benedict Cumberbatch’s title character continues the momentum. Scott Derrickson directs with a supporting cast including Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Tilda Swinton.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Release Date: November 18

Will audiences flock to the return of Harry Potter world sans Harry Potter? It’s a pretty safe bet as J.K. Rowling’s novel comes to life in this fantasy starring Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne.

The Founder

Release Date: December 16

Michael Keaton has been on a roll lately (both 2014’s Birdman and 2015’s Spotlight won Best Picture). Expect this biopic, in which he plays McDonald’s founder Ray Croc, to also order up Academy Awards talk. John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, Saving Mr. Banks) directs.

The Girl on the Train

Release Date: October 7

This mystery thriller from The Help director Tate Taylor should give star Emily Blunt an Oscar-bait type role, just a year after her acclaimed turn in Sicario. Based on a bestselling novel, it’s no accident that its release date is the same as Gone Girl from two two years ago.

La La Land

Release Date: December 2

Damien Chazelle made a major splash two years ago with his Oscar nominated Whiplash. His follow-up is a musical featuring Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, and J.K. Simmons. It’s screening at the Venice Film Festival in a couple of weeks in hopes of beginning its Academy talk.

The Magnificent Seven 

Release Date: September 23

Denzel Washington reunites with his Training Day and The Equalizer director Antoine Fuqua in this Western remake that also features red-hot Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Release Date: September 30

He’s been hit or miss lately, but anything from the mind of Tim Burton immediately inspires hope. The dark fantasy, based on a bestseller and starring Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Judi Dench, and Samuel L. Jackson, looks right up his alley.

Passengers

Release Date: December 21

This space thriller from The Imitation Game maker Morten Tyldum unites the box office powers of Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. Let’s get a trailer for this already!

**No trailer at press time

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Release Date: December 16

You may have heard of it. Gareth Edwards, who made the good Godzilla movie of the last few years, directs the latest Disney epic set in a galaxy far, far away. The events here take place between the events of Episodes III and IV with a plot to steal plans for the iconic Death Star. Felicity Jones, Forest Whitaker, and Diego Luna join this fabled cinematic universe… and James Earl Jones returns (!!) to voice a certain famed villain.

Rules Don’t Apply

Release Date: November 23

It’s been nearly 16 years since Warren Beatty appeared on the silver screen and 18 years since he’s directed. He’s back with this comedic drama in which he plays billionaire Howard Hughes. The supporting casts includes his wife Annette Bening, Lily Collins, Alden Ehrenreich (soon to be young Han Solo), Matthew Broderick, and Alec Baldwin.

Silence

Release Date: Undetermined (probably December)

No firm release date has been set for Martin Scorsese’s latest – a historical drama set in Japan. Yet it’s likely to earn a 2016 release for Oscar consideration. Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, and Adam Driver star.

*No trailer at press time

Sully

Release Date: September 9

Coming off the biggest hit of his incredible career American Sniper, Clint Eastwood directs the real-life tale of the “Miracle on the Hudson” with Tom Hanks in the title role. Aaron Eckhart and Laura Linney costar.

And there you have it! There’s plenty of other intriguing films coming our way in these next four months and readers of this blog know that I’ll be reviewing, box office predicting, and evaluating the Oscar chances on them! Stay tuned…

16 for ’16: Todd’s Most Anticipated Movies of 2016

With 2015 by the wayside, it’s time to focus on the upcoming releases for the New Year and that means listing my 16 most eagerly awaited features! Obviously, I’m going by pedigree alone pretty much and not buzz (I’ll note that Fantastic Four made my 2015 cut, if that tells you something).

2016 appears to be jam packed with both sequels and superhero pics. Just to give you an idea, here’s some sequels that didn’t make the cut: Zoolander No. 2, London Has Fallen, Ride Alone 2, The Divergent Series: Allegiant, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, Rings, Barbershop: The Next Cut, The Huntsman Winter’s War, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, The Conjuring 2, Now You See Me 2, Finding Dory, Independence Day: Resurgence, Ice Age: Collision Course, The Purge 3, Bridget Jones’s Baby, Underworld 5, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, Ouija 2, Bad Santa 2, and Inferno (the third Tom Hanks Robert Langdon flick). As for comic book related fare, X-Men: Apocalypse, Doctor Strange, and Gambit didn’t make the list of sweet 16.

Others that closely missed the cut: The Jungle Book remake from director Jon Favreau; The Magnificent Seven remake with Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, and Ethan Hawke; and Jodie Foster’s political thriller Money Monster starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts.

So what DID make it? Here’s my alphabetical list:

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Never mind that the trailer looks like a bit of a mess. And maybe ignore that Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel was a major mixed bag. This “sequel” brings Ben Affleck’s Caped Crusader in to fight with Henry Cavill’s Supes with Wonder Woman joining the party as well, in addition to Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor. The curiosity factor alone allows it to make this list. (March 25)

The BFG

This fantasy adventure has some seriously impressive pedigree: it’s based on Roald Dahl’s book and the screenplay is written by the late Melissa Mathison, who penned E.T. The director? Steven Spielberg. ‘Nuff said. (July 1)

Captain America: Civil War

The second Captain America pic, 2013’s Winter Soldier, ranks high in pantheon of MCU titles and this third go round is basically a quasi-Avengers experience with Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man, and our new Spider-Man Tom Holland joining the mix. (May 6)

Deadpool

Our third comic book adaptation sounds in many ways to be the most intriguing (save for one a little further down this list). Deadpool casts Ryan Reynolds (whose superhero movie history include a pretty bad Green Lantern flick) in this hard R rated pic infused with comedy and its trailers inspire hope. This is said to tie in with the X-Men franchise at some future juncture. (February 12)

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Based on J.K. Rowling’s novel and from Harry Potter director David Yates comes this return to the world of wizardry that stars Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne. Warner Bros. is anticipating at least a trilogy out of this. (November 18)

The Founder

From the director of The Blind Side and Saving Mr. Banks comes this biopic of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, played by Michael Keaton. Don’t be surprised to see this one surrounded by Oscar buzz. (November 25)

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Ghostbusters

Bridesmaids and Spy maker Paul Feig reboots the famous 80s franchise with Melissa McCarthy, Kristin Wiig, and current SNL castmates Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. (July 15)

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Hail, Caesar!

Anything from the Coen Brothers is worthy of my anticipation and this 1950s Hollywood set comedy features George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johansson, Jonah Hill, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum, and Ralph Fiennes. (February 5)

The Nice Guys

A little over a decade ago, screenwriter/director Shane Black started off Robert Downey Jr.’s improbable comeback with the hilarious action comedy Kiss Kiss Bang Bang before move onto direct Iron Man 3. This 70s set action comedy looks extremely promising and stars Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. (May 20)

Passengers

Little is known about this sci-fi romance from The Imitation Game director Morten Tyldum. Yet it is headlined by mega-stars Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. I’m in. (December 25)

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

The Force Awakens just became the biggest domestic grosser of all time (in under four weeks) and this December brings the first spin-off, taking place between episodes III and IV. It focuses on a team of rebels tasked with stealing the plans for the Death Star and is directed by Gareth Edwards, who made 2014’s effective Godzilla reboot. This should rule the holiday season in 2016. (December 16)

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Silence

Like the Coens, anything from Martin Scorsese is worthy of inclusion and this historical epic focused on Jesuit priests in Japan stars Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, and Liam Neeson. (No Release Date at Press Time)

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Star Trek Beyond

J.J. Abrams has exited the franchise as director to concentrate on a different one while Justin Lin (maker of four Fast and Furious entries) takes over. Let’s see if he keeps the momentum Abrams brought fourth speeding along. (July 22)

Suicide Squad

This is my most anticipated comic book adaptation of the many in 2016. Fury director David Ayer gathers a group of super villains together to hopefully do some good. The cast includes Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Jared Leto as The Joker. The trailer is terrific. (August 5)

Sully

Clint Eastwood follows up his cultural phenomenon American Sniper with this biopic of the pilot who famously landed on the Hudson, with Tom Hanks in the title role. Another pic that could be ripe for Oscar bait. (September 9)

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Untitled Bourne Film

When Jeremy Renner stepped in for Matt Damon for this celebrated action franchise, audiences reacted with mostly ambivalence. So Damon is back, paired with Paul Greengrass, director of the winning second and third pics in the series. Tommy Lee Jones and Alicia Vikander costar. (July 29)

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And there you have it! We’ll see you at the movies in 2016 and I hope this helped you a little bit…

Summer 2015 Movies: The Predicted Century Club

The 2015 Summer Movie Season officially kicks off two weeks from today when Avengers: Age of Ultron blasts into theaters. It will compete for the largest domestic opening of all time (where it needs to beat its predecessor) and is highly likely to be the season’s highest earner. That got me to thinking – while Ultron is poised to gross $500 million or higher, it’s been the $100 million mark that studios still like to brag about. This prompted me to look at the past five summer flick seasons and how many pictures reached that milestone.

In 2010, it was 13 movies that reached the mark: Toy Story 3, Iron Man 2, Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Inception, Despicable Me, Shrek Forever After, The Karate Kid, Grown Ups, The Last Airbender, The Other Guys, Salt, Robin Hood, and The Expendables.

Things improved in 2011 with 18 films reaching the century club: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, The Hangover Part II, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Cars 2, Thor, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Captain America: First Avenger, The Help, Bridesmaids, Kung Fu Panda 2, X-Men: First Class, The Smurfs, Super 8, Horrible Bosses, Green Lantern, Bad Teacher, and Cowboys and Aliens.

The low mark was the following year in 2012 with just 12: The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, Brave, Ted, Madagascar 3, Men in Black 3, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Snow White and the Huntsman, Prometheus, Magic Mike, and The Bourne Legacy.

Yet the high mark came the following summer in 2013 with 19: Iron Man 3, Despicable Me 2, Man of Steel, Monsters University, Fast and Furious 6, Star Trek Into Darkness, World War Z, The Heat, We’re the Millers, The Great Gatsby, The Conjuring, Grown Ups 2, The Wolverine, Now You See Me, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, The Hangover Part III, Epic, Pacific Rim, and This is the End.

2014 dipped with 14: Guardians of the Galaxy, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Maleficent, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Godzilla, 22 Jump Street, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Neighbors, Lucy, The Fault in Our Stars, and Edge of Tomorrow. 

That averages out to 15 pictures earning $100M plus per summer over this decade.

So where do I have 2015 matching up? Not breaking records, but in good shape. My predictions for the year’s $100M earners is 16 and they are as follows (in order of release date): Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road, Pitch Perfect 2, Tomorrowland, San Andreas, Spy, Jurassic World, Inside Out, Ted 2, Magic Mike XXL, Terminator: Genisys, Minions, Ant-Man, Trainwreck, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, and Fantastic Four. 

Of course, there’s always sleepers. And there’s others that I could have predicted but think will fall short: the Reese Witherspoon/Sofia Vergara comedy Hot Pursuit, horror remake Poltergeist, the film version of Entourage, the Adam Sandler video game inspired action comedy Pixels, the Vacation reboot, and the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton are among them.

As predicted, summer 2015 should see its number of century club inductees on the slightly high end without reaching the heights of 2013. And as always, you’ll see box office predictions every Saturday from me on each and every one of ’em!

Todd’s 15 Most Anticipated 2015 Summer Movies: Nos. 5-1

We’ve arrived at my top five most anticipated 2015 Summer Movies, set to start rolling out in about three weeks through the end of August. If you missed my first two posts covering numbers 15-6, have no fear, just click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/04/09/todds-15-most-anticipated-2015-summer-movies-nos-15-11/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/04/10/todds-15-most-anticipated-2015-summer-movies-nos-10-6/

This brings us to the heavy hitters on my list of must-see flicks for the season.

And away we go:

5. Mad Max: Fury Road

Release Date: May 15

As mentioned in my first post, this July’s Terminator: Genisys didn’t make my top 15 cut because of what I consider its blah trailer. Mad Max: Fury Road represents the opposite. It looks flat out awesome as director George Miller reboots the series some 35 years after the first Mad Max with Mel Gibson. Tom Hardy steps into the title role with Charlize Theron costarring.

4. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Release Date: July 31

Pushed up from its original December release date, Tom Cruise’s fifth Mission pic brings in his Jack Reacher director Christopher McQuarrie. Series regulars Ving Rhames, Jeremy Renner, and Simon Pegg are back and joined by Alec Baldwin. 2011’s Ghost Protocol was a high point for the franchise and let’s hope this keeps it going.

3. Jurassic World

Release Date: June 12

The famed dino franchise begun by Spielberg gets a reboot with director Colin Trevorrow taking over and Star Lord himself Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard headlining. The trailer has me ready to return to that dastardly park immediately.

2. Tomorrowland

Release Date: May 22

Disney has enlisted their Incredibles director Brad Bird (he also directed the aforementioned Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) for this live-action tale featuring George Clooney, Britt Robertson, and Hugh Laurie. The plot is being kept under wraps, but the trailer suggests a visual feast. With Bird behind the camera, expect something special.

1. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Release Date: May 1

The first picture of the summer is my most awaited and is certainly poised to be the season’s highest earner. Three years after teaming Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye and more – Joss Whedon is back again directing Marvel’s superhero team in the breathlessly awaited sequel to the second highest grossing domestic earner of all time. James Spader voices the title character villain. Don’t be surprised if this has the largest opening weekend in box office history – beating out, yes, The Avengers.

And that’ll do it, friends! I hope my list assists you with your popcorn viewing pleasure coming very soon…

Todd’s 15 Most Anticipated 2015 Summer Movies: Nos. 10-6

This evening on the blog, part II of my Top 15 Most Anticipated 2015 Summer Movies!

If you missed part one covering numbers 15-11, you can find it right here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/04/09/todds-15-most-anticipated-2015-summer-movies-nos-15-11/

We move forward into the Top Ten with numbers 10-6 before my final installment tomorrow revealing the top five.

Let’s get to it!

10. Ted 2

Release Date: June 26

Seth MacFarlane’s Ted was the comedic hit of summer 2012 with its foul talking teddy bear. Mark Wahlberg is back, though Mila Kunis is out with Amanda Seyfried in. Comedy sequels are a risky proposition, but let’s hope MacFarlane can recapture the magic he made three years ago (and couldn’t duplicate with last summer’s mediocre A Million Ways to Die in the West).

9. Straight Outta Compton

Release Date: August 14

F. Gary Gray, the man responsible for several music videos featuring the film’s subjects as well as Friday and The Italian Job, directs the musical bio of NWA – the highly influential gangsta rap group that included Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Eazy-E. Dre and Cube serve as producers.

8. Trainwreck

Release Date: July 17

Judd Apatow had a one two punch of comedy classics with 2005’s The 40 Year Old Virgin and 2007’s Knocked Up. His follow-ups, Funny People and This is 40, were just OK. Trainwreck is said to be a return to form based on word of mouth, with comedian Amy Schumer primed for a breakout starring role. Bill Hader and Lebron James (!) co-star.

7. Ant-Man

Release Date: July 17

The last time Marvel Studios had a feature thought to be outside the box and risky, it was last summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy and it turned out to be the season’s biggest hit. This studio knows what they’re doing and here we have Paul Rudd playing the title character with Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly in supporting roles.

6. Aloha

Release Date: May 29

For the past decade, Cameron Crowe’s filmography has been unimpressive with Elizabethtown and We Bought a Zoo. Let us not forget, though, that this is the man that brought us Say Anything, Jerry Maguire, and Almost Famous. Crowe’s latest is a romantic comedy with a truly impressive cast – Bradley Cooper (hot off American Sniper), Emma Stone, Bill Murray, Rachel McAdams, Alec Baldwin, and Danny McBride.

And that’ll do it for now, folks! Top five coming at you tomorrow…

Todd’s 15 Most Anticipated 2015 Summer Movies: Nos. 15-11

In less than one month, the Summer 2015 Movie Season will be upon us! That means studios will be bringing out their big wannabe blockbusters with sequels, reboots, animated tales, comic book heroes, and a surprisingly robust group of potentially intriguing comedies.

Therefore, I am bringing you my personal 15 most anticipated summer movies for the year. Let me talk briefly about some pictures that didn’t quite make the cut. I left off animated fare such as Pixar’s Inside Out and Despicable Me spin-off Minions. Same goes for Pitch Perfect 2, Magic Mike XXL and the film version of HBO’s Entourage. And then there’s a film I figured would make the cut: Terminator: Genisys that marks Arnold Schwarzenegger’s return to his iconic role after 12 years. Why? Quite frankly, I wasn’t crazy about the trailer. Don’t get me wrong – I’m still highly curious to watch it.

I will be breaking up my list in three installments and we begin this evening with numbers 15-11. Subsequent posts covering the top ten will arrive Friday and Saturday.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

15. Spy

Release Date: June 5

Originally, I probably wouldn’t have figured Melissa McCarthy’s new comedy would make the cut. That’s until reviews from screenings at South by Southwest came out and they indicate this is the star’s best feature so far. It doesn’t hurt that Paul Feig, director of McCarthy’s Bridesmaids and The Heat is behind the camera. Jude Law, Rose Byrne, and Jason Statham co-star.

14. Masterminds

Release Date: August 14

From the director of Napoleon Dynamite comes this heist comedy with a killer cast: Zach Galifianakis, Kristin Wiig, Owen Wilson, and Jason Sudeikis. The trailer inspires hope.

13. Vacation

Release Date: July 31

Yes, they’re rebooting the Vacation franchise with Ed Helms and Leslie Mann as grown-up Rusty and Audrey and Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo back as Clark and Ellen. Christina Applegate, Chris Hemsworth, and Charlie Day round out the cast. Here’s to hoping this is more like the original and Christmas Vacation than Vegas Vacation. No trailer has been released at press time.

12. Southpaw

Release Date: July 24

Jake Gyllenhall has been on a roll lately choosing his projects, including last year’s terrific Nightcrawler. This sports drama sees him playing a boxer with serious family issues. It also sees him heavily bulked up in a pic that could get awards attention, like 2010’s The Fighter. Antoine Fuqua directs (he made Training Day and The Equalizer) and Rachel McAdams and Forest Whitaker co-star.

11. Fantastic Four

Released Date: August 7

The first two installments of the famed Marvel comic books (the ones with Jessica Alba and Michael Chiklis) were decent size hits, however critics didn’t approve. This reboot comes from Chronicle director Josh Trank with a cast that includes Miles Teller, Kate Mara, and Michael B. Jordan and it will attempt to begin the franchise anew.

And that’s all for now! Numbers 10-6 coming at you tomorrow…

15 for ’15: Todd’s Most Anticipated Movies of 2015

For movie lovers, the year 2015 has been eagerly awaited for a number of reasons. As you’ll see, tonight I am listing my 15 most anticipated pictures of the upcoming year. In order to prove how big next year could be (it’s widely expected to set records in terms of box office), here’s just some of what I left off:

The reboot of the Terminator series (Genisys) that returns Schwarzenegger

A big-budget Peter Pan reboot (Pan) starring Hugh Jackman

Iron Man director Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book

Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella

The latest films from notable directors like Guillermo del Toro (Crimson Peak), Michael Mann (Blackhat), the Wachowskis (Jupiter Ascending), Neill Blomkamp (Chappie), and Ron Howard (In the Heart of the Sea)

The film version of HBO’s Entourage

The seventh Fast and Furious entry which features Paul Walker’s final work

The Peanuts Movie where Charlie Brown and company finally come to the silver screen

So… what did make the cut? Read on:

15. The Fantastic Four

Release Date: August 7

20th Century Fox had solid box office results but a mediocre product with their two Fantastic Four pics that featured Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis, and company. There is hope here with the reboot – Chronicle director Josh Trank is behind the camera with a cast that includes Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, and Jamie Bell.

14. Mad Max: Fury Road

Release Date: May 15

Director George Miller’s return to the series that made Mel Gibson a star puts Tom Hardy in the title role with Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult supporting. I’ve always been curious about this one, but its inclusion in the list is much due to the fabulous trailer that was recently released.

13. Ted 2

Release Date: June 26

Seth MacFarlane’s 2012 original made a huge splash. It was one of the better comedies in recent years and earned $218 million domestically. Mark Wahlberg is back with MacFarlane voicing the vulgar bear.

12. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2

Release Date: November 20

I was a bit disappointed in Part 1, but hope still springs eternal for the finale of the franchise in which we’ll bid farewell to Katniss and company.

11. Jurassic World

Release Date: June 12

Colin Trevorrow takes over Universal’s dino franchise that Spielberg started. Star Lord himself, Chris Pratt, headlines the cast that includes Bryce Dallas Howard and Vincent D’Onofrio. Expect young moviegoers and those nostalgic for the original from over 20 years ago to RSVP.

10. Joy

Release Date: December 25

Jennifer Lawrence could find herself once again in awards conversations playing real life Joy Mangano, inventor of the Miracle Mop. Joy is easily included because of its director – David O. Russell, whose last three efforts (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle) have all been Best Picture nominees.

9. Mission: Impossible 5

Release Date: December 25

This Tom Cruise franchise was completely reinvigorated with Brad Bird’s fourth flick, Ghost Protocol. Jeremy Renner, Ving Rhames, and Simon Pegg are back assisting Ethan Hunt with Jack Reacher‘s Christopher McQuarrie taking over directorial duties.

8. Ant-Man

Release Date: July 17

Never. Doubt. Marvel. Ever. They doubted that Iron Man could be a successful franchise. Same with Guardians of the Galaxy. So… if a picture called Ant-Man starring Paul Rudd sounds like a gamble, my guess is just wait. Peyton Reed directs with Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas costarring.

7. The Revenant

Release Date: December 25

Set in the 1800s, this drama finds Leonardo DiCaprio seeking revenge on thieves who left him to die. Tom Hardy costars with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (maker of Birdman) directing.

6. Tomorrowland

Release Date: May 22

As mentioned earlier, Brad Bird infused life into the Mission: Impossible series recently. He also made classic Pixar titles The Incredibles and Ratatouille. Here he’s back with Disney making a secretive fantasy adventure that stars George Clooney and Hugh Laurie.

5. St. James Place

Release Date: October 16

It’s a Cold War thriller… directed by Steven Spielberg. Written by the Coen Brothers. Starring Tom Hanks. Enough said.

4. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Release Date: May 1

The follow-up to 2012’s mega blockbuster finds the gang all returning (including director Joss Whedon) with James Spader voicing the title character bad guy.

3. Spectre

Release Date: November 6

After the billion dollar worldwide gross of Skyfall, Daniel Craig is back for his fourth go round as 007 with double Oscar winner Christoph Waltz as the main villain. Sam Mendes returns to direct after the smashing Skyfall success.

2. The Hateful Eight

Release Date: Fall

For those who are familiar with this blog, you know that (in my mind) Quentin Tarantino has never made a movie that isn’t terrific. Let’s hope the trend continues here with this Western starring Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Bruce Dern, Tim Roth, and Channing Tatum.

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Release Date: December 18

I mean… what else could possibly top new Tarantino? I’ve written plenty about it already so I won’t go on. Needless to say, the film world is breathlessly anticipating what JJ Abrams does with the most famous franchise in movie history.

And that’s all for now, folks! Here’s to a great 2015 and the pictures that populate it!

Todd’s Top Ten Most Eagerly Awaited Fall 2014 Movies

The summer of 2014 is heading towards its closure and that means school, football, and the Fall Movie Season is ahead of us! As many know, the months of September through December is when studios typically save up their major Oscar contenders and that is certainly the case this year. As for what’s been released pre-fall, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is the only shoo-in for a Best Picture nomination (it could win too) while Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel currently has a decent shot.

This brings us to my personal top ten most anticipated films being released in the final four months of the year. Some of my choices are Oscar hopefuls while others are not. I’ll get to my first round of inappropriately early Academy Award nomination predictions very soon on the blog. In the meantime, here’s the pics that this blogger is most looking forward to:

10. St. Vincent

Release Date: October 24

This comedy/drama had me at the actor headlining the cast: Bill Murray. He plays an irresponsible war veteran who befriends a young boy. Melissa McCarthy and Naomi Watts costar. If it’s good, expect Oscar buzz for Mr. Murray and Ms. Watts in the Supporting Actress race.

9. The Interview

Release Date: December 25

When Seth Rogen and James Franco have teamed up, it’s led to two hilarious comedies: Pineapple Express and This is the End. Here’s hoping the trend continues where they play two journalists given the task of assassinating Kim Jong-Un.

8. Big Eyes

Release Date: December 25

Tim Burton has seemed to be on autopilot lately with lackluster pics like Alice in Wonderland and Dark Shadows. This could change that in the true life tale of a man (Christoph Waltz) who fraudulently claims credit for his wife’s (Amy Adams) bestselling paintings. Oscar buzz could follow if this one if it delivers.

**No trailer released at press time

7. Birdman

Release Date: October 17

Not a biography of the tattooed Miami Heat player – rather Birdman stars Michael Keaton in what could be a huge comeback role. He plays an actor most known for playing an iconic superhero, which shouldn’t be much of a stretch. Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone, and Zach Galifinakis round out the ensemble and it’s directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who brought us 21 Grams and Babel.

6. Dumb and Dumber To

Release Date: November 14

Whether or not the return of Harry (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd (Jim Carrey) nearly 20 years after the iconic original works is an open question, but you can be damn sure I’ll be in the theater to find out.

5. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1

Release Date: November 21

Catching Fire improved upon an already first-rate original in the franchise so I’m pumped to see the series continue. It also serves as one of our final opportunities to see the great Philip Seymour Hoffman.

4. Inherent Vice

Release Date: December 12

Anytime Paul Thomas Anderson makes a film, it’s noteworthy given his filmography includes Boogie Nights, Magnolia, There Will Be Blood, and The Master. This private detective tale stars Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, and Reese Witherspoon.

**No trailer released at press time

3. Foxcatcher

Release Date: November 14

Director Bennett Miller has seen both his features, Capote and Moneyball, earn Best Picture nominations. Advance word is that this will as well. The true story of John du Pont’s (Steve Carell) obsession with a pair of wrestlers (Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo) is generating Academy Award chatter for all three actors.

2. Gone Girl

Release Date: October 3

One of the very best directors working today David Fincher adapts Gillian Flynn’s bestselling murder mystery novel. Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike (in a role likely to earn Oscar buzz), Tyler Perry, and Neil Patrick Harris star.

1. Interstellar

Christopher Nolan has given us the acclaimed Dark Knight trilogy and Inception. In his latest, recent Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey is tasked with no less than saving the world. Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and (of course) Michael Caine costar. Expect amazing visuals at the very least.

And that’s my top ten, folks. See you at the movies!

14 For ’14: Todd’s Most Anticipated 2014 Summer Movies

This coming Friday – the 2014 Summer Movie Season will officially swing into action with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and for the next four months, we’ll be treated to dozens of high-profile product from the studios. Per usual, there’s plenty of sequels – in addition to a rather high helping of comedies looking to break through.

This leads me to my personal Top 14 for ’14 of the Summer Movie Season. Let’s count them down from 14 to my #1, shall we?

14. Get On Up (August 1)

Chadwick Boseman found success last year playing Jackie Robinson in 42 and he’s got another historical figure on his plate here – R&B legend James Brown. Directing duties are handled by Tate Taylor, who helmed the sleeper hit The Help in 2011.

13. Transformers: Age of Extinction (June 27)

This could well end up the highest grossing film of the summer, but it’s a little low here because I frankly haven’t been impressed with this franchise. Michael Bay is still behind the camera, but Shia LeBeouf is out and Mark Wahlberg is in as the star.

12. Edge of Tomorrow (June 6)

Science fiction and Tom Cruise can work really well (Minority Report) or just OK (Oblivion). We’ll see how this one fares from Mr. and Mrs. Smith director Doug Liman. Emily Blunt and Bill Paxton costar.

11. Maleficent (May 30)

Angelina Jolie stars in the live action retelling of the Sleeping Beauty villainess title character with Elle Fanning as Cinderella. Two summers back, Snow White and the Huntsman scored with audiences and this one probably will, too.

10. Jupiter Ascending (July 18)

Since the Wachowskis made The Matrix fifteen years ago, it’s been a bit downhill with that weak third Matrix entry and Speed Racer. Their last feature, Cloud Atlas, was a commercial disappointment though I quite liked it. The $150 million sci-fi saga starring Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum certainly has my attention.

9. Sin City: A Dame To Kill For (August 22)

I’m a huge fan of Robert Rodgriguez’s 2005 original based on the Frank Miller graphic novel and I’ve been waiting a long time for this sequel. The impressive cast includes Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin, and Eva Green.

8. 22 Jump Street (June 13)

Double Oscar nominee Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum return to reprise their roles from the 2012 comedy that earned $138 million domestically. I felt the original worked very well and hopefully they’ll keep it up here.

7. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (May 2)

This is probably higher on other’s lists, but it’s not top five material for me solely because I thought the first one was rather mediocre. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone return alongside Jamie Foxx and Paul Giamatti as villains.

6. Neighbors (May 9)

Advance word is that this Seth Rogen/Zac Efron comedy is really funny and I see big box office results for this one. The trailer is a riot.

5. A Million Ways to Die in the West (May 3o)

However, my top anticipated comedy edge goes to this – the second comedic feature from “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane. You may have heard of his first – a little summer blockbuster from two years back called Ted. MacFarlane stars alongside Charlize Theron, Neil Patrick Harris, Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson, and Sarah Silverman.

4. Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1)

A Marvel Studios production based on characters that aren’t near as well known as other comic book heroes is looked at as a slight gamble box office wise. That can said of Guardians of the Galaxy, which stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and Benicio del Toro. It was also said for 2008’s Iron Man and that turned out, um, pretty well.

3. Godzilla (May 16)

Yes, the Roland Emmerich directed tale of the giant green monster was a massive letdown. However, this one’s got some truly awesome trailers and it stars Bryan Cranston – AKA Walter Freakin White.

2. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 11)

When Rise of the Planet of the Apes debuted three years back, it marked one of the greatest popcorn flicks in recent memory so I’m all in to see how they follow it up. Andy Serkis returns for his brilliant motion capture performance as Caesar with Gary Oldman and Jason Clarke also in the mix.

1. X-Men: Days of Future Past (May 23)

Maker of the first two rock solid X-Men flicks Bryan Singer (let’s just leave his personal issues aside for now, shall we?) is back as the casts of the original franchise and the new First Class franchise mix together in this time travel tale. That means Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Halle Berry, and Jennifer Lawrence herself are all back and that’s enough to make this #1 on my must see list.

And there you have, folks! See you at the movies this summer.