It's the middle of the blockbuster season!
With big movies like "Fast & Furious 7" and "The Avengers: Age of Ultron" already released this year, we are fast approaching the mid-blockbuster season when some of the most highly anticipated movies that define escapism will be releasing in cinemas.
So even if you only go to the cinema to leave behind your emotions for epic explosions, it's time to mark your calendar for these remaining big blockbusters of 2015!
If you have been wondering if disaster movies have become dead in 2015 then "San Andreas" is here to fill in that gap. In his next collaboration with the only director that can make a movie with a powerless and running scared Dwayne Johnson into a monstrous box office hit (see 2012's "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island), Dwayne Johnson is going into danger without a bulletproof vest, but with the uniform of a Fire and Rescue Department pilot, who searches for survivors across Los Angeles as it is teared up by a catastrophic earthquake. While men have already awed at his flexing triceps in breaking a cast in "Fast & Furious 7", it's now the women's turn to imagine themselves being swept up and held in his (huge) arms.
Rumblings of a fourth "Jurassic Park" movie had started since the end of the production for "Jurassic Park 3" back in 2001, but it had never been able to get off the ground until a decade later. To surmise, the road for this fourth movie has been long and hard fought, but we cannot be happier to see who has been brought in to realise this new vision for this prehistoric franchise. Starting at the helm is Colin Trevorrow; a new but very promising director who made an impressive feature debut with his time-traveling indie "Safety Not Guaranteed". Writing is being handled by the talented co-screenwriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, who crafted the stunning revision of the "Planet of the Apes" series. Led by new Marvel favourite Chris Pratt, tagged along by Bryce Dallas Howard, and undoubtedly hiring an effects team that would beat the technology in 1993, and we really don't see how "Jurassic World" is not bringing a new beginning to this franchise.
Not all blockbusters have to come from Hollywood (if "Big Game" hasn't already proven the case) as there is certainly much anticipation to be had from the Asian side of moviemaking. Wilson Yip's "SPL" in 2005 remains as one of the high points of the martial arts genre for the 21st century, so for a sequel to come out a decade later is bound to hit like a figurative fist in the face of anticipation. Although touted as a prequel to the 2005 hard hitter, "SPL 2" is already looking to match up its predecessor with Thai action star Tony Jaa instead of Donnie Yen and "Motorway" director Cheang Pou-Soi over Yip; both names being worthy replacements to their predecessors in their respective expertise. If you are looking for fast kicking (and maybe a few knee) action, then try not to dodge in your seats while watching this.
Not all remakes and reboots are made equal and "Terminator: Genisys" can turn out to be the worst idea of a reboot or still show signs that there is still some life left after all that time-traveling that has broken its continuity beyond repair. We are already very worried by the latest spoilerific trailer and we aren't just sold anymore by Schwarzenegger saying that one liner in the series where it originated from. "Terminator: Genisys" has more than just the return of Arnie (we rather take our chances with "Maggie") at stake, so we are really hoping that director Alan Taylor would be able to turn things around to give the "Terminator" series a new compelling conflict it needs.
Marvel's Ant Man
While it is the last Marvel movie of its Phase 2, it would most likely be remembered as the first of a new batch of superheroes to populate the ever growing Marvel cinematic universe. Still, we can't help but see what Marvel is attempting here. Switching the total destruction of skyscrapers for the terrifying death tracks of Thomas the Tank Engine toy cars, Marvel is pinning their hopes that director Peyton Reed will make "Ant-Man" (too late to change that now) a comedy flavoured superhero than a serious business one. Hopefully that gamble would be able to pay off like it did with "Guardians of the Galaxy".
Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation
2015 has been a blessed year for fans of the spy genre. First there was "The Kingsman", then a comedic stab by Melissa McCarthy in "Spy", and then we will have the two biggest hitters of modern spy movies. So first up we have "Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation" that has already wowed us with Tom Cruise's next performed stunt in the first trailer (seriously, is Cruise trying to be Hollywood's Jackie Chan?). Now faced with an organisation that is meant to counter the IMF, Ethan Hunt is going to meet new faces (and a few dependable old ones) to find out who wants to destroy the IMF so utterly. What's also new is that this would be Cruise's second collaboration with Christopher McQuarrie as a director since "Jack Reacher", who should know by now how well Cruise can make people hurt.
With Spider-Man now bending to the fold of Marvel, and the future plans for the web-slinger in his native Sony becoming uncertain, Fox is now the last bastion that is holding onto Marvel properties and trying to make something out of them. With its "X-Men" series being arguably the second most successful Marvel movie franchise behind Marvel's own cinematic universe, it will remain to be seen Fox can strengthen their position on the superhero hold with this reboot of the "Fantastic Four". Despite the quiet promotion that has been done so far, we would still like to see how director Josh Trank would tackle the source material that is almost a clone to his own "Chronicle". "Fantastic Four" also stands to be the introduction of a batch of young and bright talents, starring Miles Teller ("Whiplash"), Kate Mara ("Transcendence"), Jamie Bell ("Snowpiercer"), and Michael B. Jordan ("Fruitvale Station" and "Chronicle").
The Man from U.N.C.L.E
Before we get to the most prestigious name in the spy business, it looks like we have a new player in town. Developed since the 90s based on a television series from the 60s, it is almost by coincidence that "The Man from U.N.C.L.E" would be released in year that has so many espionage rivals. Once put into the hands of Quentin Tarantino (back in his heydays during his "Pulp Fiction" glory), Matthew Vaughn, David Dobkin and Steven Soderbergh, it eventually landed on the lap of Guy Ritchie, which is not a bad choice for a director to revive the 60s. The opposing spies played by Armie Hammer and Hugh Grant weren't first choices as well, after going through a gallery of distinguished gentlemen from George Clooney to Leonardo DiCaprio (and Tom Cruise before he opted to go for his darling "Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation"). So if you ever wondered why Guy Ritchie would handle a classic spy movie, this is the closest we will get.
London Has Fallen
We doubt its chances to be a strong contender for box office dollars after going through the sure must-see on this list so far, but there really isn't anything wrong with a good old fashion kick in the door with guns blazing approach to a blockbuster actioner. For that, we have "London Has Fallen" to thank. Clearly the crowd has spoken that Gerard Butler is the better man than Channing Tatum to warrant this sequel. As the title implies, Butler's Secret Service agent Mike Banning is in London for the funeral of the British prime minister, where he discovers an assassination plot to murder the gathered world leaders. While we are not sure how director Babak Najaf's credentials could take over Antoine Fuqua's, so here's to hoping that Najaf can bring something new to the table.
James Bond: Spectre
And to top off our year of espionage is none other than the grandfather of them all. While "Skyfall" may have their detractors, but the fallout at the end of it on MI6 is imminent and is clearly carried forward to "Spectre", based on the teasers we have seen. Daniel Craig returns for his fourth appearance as Bond, along with director Sam Mendes from "Skyfall". What gets us more excited though is Christoph Waltz stepping in to be the villain (with Dave Bautista as his henchman), who is one actor that we know who has a chance of topping Javier Bardem's Silva.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2
Young Adult adaptations are not going away any time soon since we just had "Insurgent" earlier this year, but 2015 is when we close the book on one of the hottest YA adaptations that has probably set the model for future YAs being turned into movie franchises. As civil war continues to rage across Panem, Katniss is now headed towards bringing an end to Capitol rule by assembling a team to finish one last mission; the assassination of President Snow. The President, however, is not going out without a fight and he will use all in his physical and mental arsenal to break Katniss and the rebels yield one last time. If you have read your "Mockingjay", you know that "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2" will have to deliver on some hard-hitting emotions by the end of it.
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
There are movies that are events by itself and every installment from the "Star Wars" series have been anything but. With the end of the second trilogy that joins the entire saga to a full circle, it was thought that the cinematic shelf life of "Star Wars" had ended and it would only be a memory shared by a certain generation. That shelf life was renewed when Disney acquired LucasFilms in 2012, and plans for a new saga was conceived. After 3 years since then and a decade since the "Revenge of the Sith", "The Force Awakens" is unquestionably going to be the movie event of 2015, and we have no qualms of letting "Star Wars" inspire a new generation of fans.
Watch some of our picks for the remaining big blockbuster movies of 2015!
Cinema Online, 24 May 2015