Mad Max: Fury Road. Releases in May 2015: Next summer, thirty years after the last entry in the Mad Max trilogy, we will get to see Tom Hardy play ‘Mad’ Max Rockatansky, the cop turned vigilante in post-apocalyptic Australia. Mad Max (1979) and its sequel Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) launched Mel Gibson into international super-stardom. After several years of development hell, director-producer George Miller announced in 2006 that a 4th film in the series would finally be made, but with a younger actor in the lead role. The project went through more delays before filming finally began in 2012 and then went through a lengthy post-production period, including reshoots. Normally, when a film takes this long to get to the screen, people wonder if there are issues with the director or the script. Think about it…George Miller is 69 years old and has not made a regular live action film since Lorenzo’s Oil in 1992 (in the meantime, he has directed two Happy Feet animated movies and the sequel to the talking animal drama Babe). But looking at the teaser trailer which came out yesterday, all such concerns are put to rest. The trailer gets my vote for the best I’ve seen this year and feels solidly connected to the original trilogy; ballsy, operatically violet and visually stunning. Can’t wait!
Cake. Releases in Jan 2015: Every now and then, comic actors get a juicy dramatic role which can become a high watermark in their career. At the end of last year, Julia Louis-Dreyfus bagged just such a role in the little-seen relationship dramedy Enough Said. This year, it’s the turn of Friends alum Jennifer Aniston. In this intriguing trailer, we see Aniston’s character Claire Simmons start a relationship with a widower while bizarrely experiencing hallucinations of his dead wife Nina (played by rising star Anna Kendrick). It seems as weird a relationship triangle as the one in Enough Said, but this film is a dark drama, not a dramedy, so it’s likely to be tough going. Early reviews have been mixed, though.
The Walk. Releases in Oct 2015: I usually keep a close eye on what Robert Zemeckis is doing. The wunderkid director made the hit action-comedies Romancing the Stone, Back to the Future and Who Framed Roger Rabbit while still in his 30s, then went on to direct serious dramatic fare (Forrest Gump, Contact and Cast Away) before becoming one of the pioneers behind motion-capture animation (The Polar Express, Beowulf and A Christmas Carol). After a long hiatus, he returned to live-action filmmaking with the superb Flight in 2012. Still, I hadn’t realized that he was working on a new project until this teaser trailer was released a few days ago. The Walk tells the true story of French high-wire walker Phillipe Petit’s project to walk across the two towers of the World Trade Centre in 1974. The trailer is breathtaking.
White God. Releases in Mar 2015: This rather bizarre film won the Prize Un Certain Regard at Cannes 2014; this is the award given to recognize original and daring works by upcoming film makers. This first thing one thinks of when watching the trailer is…Rise of the Planet of the Apes! That’s not to say that this is a scifi film with serums injected into dogs to make them hyper-intelligent. But after all, it does feature a dog separated from its young owner, put into a holding facility with other dogs who then conspire to escape from the facility and run riot on the streets of the city. On the other hand, I can also describe this as the heartwarming story of a dog that wants to be reunited with his sweet 13-year-old owner. Should be an interesting experience; the film is directed by Hungarian actor-turned-director Kornél Mundruczó.