Weekend Roundtable: Looking Ahead to 2015

Due to the holidays, we took a couple weeks off without any Roundtables. Now that the new year is here, it’s time to get things going again. We’ll start off with an easy topic: What movies, TV, home theater goodies or other stuff are you looking forward to in 2015?

Shannon Nutt

I’m sure I’m not the only one here at High-Def Digest who’s eagerly anticipating the December release of ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’. It still seems as if the movie is a lifetime away, but I’m sure that Disney and Lucasfilm will throw material at us during the year to keep us anxious fans satisfied. I realize it’s almost impossible for a film to live up to the kind of hype this one is receiving, but it really only has to be better than the prequels to placate fans. Even if the movie is only as good as ‘Return of the Jedi’ (which, let’s be honest, isn’t all that great), it should clear a billion dollars worldwide at the box office.

Other than ‘Star Wars’, there’s actually little in 2015 I’m excited about in the world of entertainment. On television, my most anticipated event – the return of ‘Twin Peaks’ – won’t happen until 2016, though I’m sure I’ll monitor the shooting of those episodes, which will happen this year. I’m also moderately looking forward to the November release of the latest James Bond movie, ‘Spectre’, as well as the first CGI animated ‘Peanuts’ movie, but I have reservations about both. Will Charlie Brown work as computer animation? Can ‘Spectre’ possibly live up to ‘Skyfall’? (Word that the movie has starting shooting without a finished script is not very promising.) So while I’ll see both movies (which, ironically, are due to hit theater screens on the same day), I’m not getting my hopes too high for either.

Finally, while I’ll see it in theaters and will probably enjoy it, I have absolutely zero anticipation for the new ‘Avengers’ film. It’s not that I don’t like Marvel superhero movies (in fact, I thought 2014’s ‘Captain America: The Winter Solider’ was the best of the lot so far), I’m just starting to get burned-out on them. I guess I may also feel that way about ‘Star Wars’ in a few years, but not this year.

Luke Hickman

For me, 2015 is shaping up to be an amazing year in many respects.

Theatrical Movies: Most of the films I’m anticipating are off-the-beaten-path. They’re not the titles that most movie-lovers are anxiously awaiting. The first is the untitled Cameron Crowe movie opening on May 29th. Starring Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and many others, it sounds like Crowe’s return to form. Next up is ‘Pan’ (July 24th). Joe Wright already made an amazing original fairty tale flick with ‘Hanna’, so I look forward to seeing what he does with the classic tale of Peter Pan. And the end of the year brings a few titles that I’m most excited to see. Jeff Nichols blew me away with ‘Take Shelter’ and ‘Mud’. It’s going to take a lot for his sci-fi debut ‘Midnight Special’ (November 25th) to fail. Loving the franchise and being aboard the Christopher McQuarrie train, Christmas Day’s ‘Mission: Impossible’ sequel should be grand. Also out on December 25th is Quentin Tarantino’s second true Western, ‘The Hateful Eight’. Bring ’em on.

Blu-ray: All of 2014’s end-of-year movies will hit Blu-ray soon enough, so what I’m really looking forward to is the repeatedly-delayed Cameron Crowe catalog title ‘Vanilla Sky’. It’s had several street dates since April 2014 and has presumably been shuffled back to coincide with the theatrical release of Crowe’s new untitled picture. According to Crowe’s blog, the ‘Vanilla Sky’ Blu-ray will have new extras, including the never-before-seen alternate ending (which you can see bits of in the movie’s theatrical trailer) and deleted scenes. Yippee!

TV: Like most of the world, I can be lumped amongst the ‘Game of Thrones’ fans, but I’m definitely looking forward to the final season of FX’s fantastic ‘Justified’. I’d like to see that show go out on its own terms without being dragged out for too many seasons.

Personal: Aside from my film-centric “hobby job” (writing and talking about film), I also have a “real” job that I’ve become quite good at. I’m aspiring to reach a higher position there this year. This career has paved the way for Mrs. Hickman and I to start planning to buy our first home. We’ve rented houses since we were married eight years ago and I’m aching to find a place that we can call our own, with a theater space that I can completely make my own. What that entails, I don’t know, but I’m hoping it involves 4K UltraHD.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

There’s approaching a zero percent chance of me buying in this year, but I’m fascinated by what 4K may have to offer in 2015. I can’t stop skulking home theater message boards and CES news bulletins, devouring every bit of news I can find about 4K OLED displays. It doesn’t matter how off-puttingly stratospheric the prices are certain to be this year. Just knowing they’ll exist has me salivating. Panasonic kinda-sorta-not-really unveiled a prototype 4K Blu-ray player at CES (nothing was actually played on it, from the articles I’ve read), and the word is that production models could be on store shelves before the year’s out.

I know, I know. 4K Blu-ray is destined to be a niche of a niche of a niche. A standard hasn’t even been pinned down yet. The first wave of players may wind up being as clunky and overpriced as what we saw from the initial HD DVD and Blu-ray players nine years ago. Even many recent theatrical releases are still being mastered at 2K, so it’s anyone’s guess how much compelling 4K content will be available on the format, especially early on. I know all this, and yet precious little else is capturing my attention the way that 4K-at-home is right now.

M. Enois Duarte

2015 looks filled with as many potentially bad movies as well as good movies. Remakes like ‘Poltergeist’, ‘Point Break’ and ‘Vacation’ have me scared to waste money in theaters, while new franchise installments ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ and ‘Mission: Impossible – 5’ are quite tempting. Superhero flicks ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ and ‘Ant-Man’ provide a bit of hope for a good summer lineup. In the end, the two movies I’m most excited to see on the silver screen are ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ and ‘Jurassic World’. I think Tom Hardy is an awesome choice for the dystopic renegade survivalist Max Rockatansky, and I can’t wait to see dinosaurs on the biggest screen possible.

Josh Zyber

Since I’ve just upgraded to a Dolby Atmos receiver, what I most look forward to in 2015 are more Blu-ray titles with Atmos soundtracks. So far, we only have four, and they’re all pretty crappy movies. The scheduled reissue of ‘Gravity’ will be nice, but I’m frustrated that it’s only in 2D. (That’s a movie where 3D is really essential.) I need more content to justify my investment!

I tend to doubt that I’ll get out to theaters much more in 2015 than I did in 2014 (twin toddlers make that difficult), but I’ll certainly find a way to do it for ‘Spectre’. Seeing a new James Bond movie on the big screen has been a tradition for the last eight entries, and I particularly loved ‘Skyfall’, so this is my most anticipated movie of the year.

What are you excited for in 2015? Tell us in the Comments.

22 comments

  1. Ryan

    Not much yet. On the movie side, I am really hoping that Jupiter Ascending ends up being awesome. I really could not care less about Avengers 2 or the new Star Wars.

    on the TV side, I can’t wait for Game of Thrones season 5.

    And on the videogame side, the new Batman game looks awesome…and I’m really excited to see where they take Halo 5 after the nearly perfect Halo 4 campaign.

  2. Chris B

    Looking forward to A Most Violent Year, Inherant Vice, American Sniper (with some reservations), Jupiter Ascending, Avengers Age of Ultron, Star Wars Ep. 7, Spectre and The Hateful Eight.

    In addition to all the new movies being released this year, I’m stoked to attend a theatrical screening of Blade Runner nect month as part of Cineplex’s Great Digital Film Festival. It’s my favorite movie and seeing it on the big screen has sort of been a “holy grail” event I’ve been hoping for for a long time.

    On the music front, I’m looking forward to John Carpenter’s first solo album Lost Themes which comes out next month. He doesn’t seem like he’s going to make a new movie anytime soon so I’ll take what I can get.

    • What a coincidence. I’ll also be attending a theatrical screening of Blade Runner next month in Belgium. Last year, I saw ‘The Goonies’. Now all I need to experience (favourites-wise) is ‘Back to the Future’ in cinemas.

      • Chris B

        Yeah, I read online it’s playing throughout Europe in the next few months. I k ow they did a bunch of special screenings in 2007 as part of it’s 25th anniversary but none were near me. A few years back I went as far as emailing some of the independant theatres in my area asking them to consider screening it, to which they replied they’d love to but Warner Brothers wouldn’t allow it. Apparently they only “open the vault” so to speak once in a great while, so I’m glad I already bought my tickets as I’m not sure when the next oppurtunity will be.

        I’m expecting it to be fantastic, especially the Vangelis score on such a grand scale….

        The film festival it’s being shown at is an annual event during the dead of winter here in Canada when we’re all stuck inside anyways. The line-up this year is phenomenal and includes both Kill Bills, all the X-men films, Monster Squad, The Rocketeer etc….. I wish I had time for more.

        On the subject of Back to the Future, I saw it two years ago as part of the very same festival and it was absolutely amazing. During the opening skateboard sequence when The Power of Love is blaring an the movie really kicks into gear…it was impossible not to get chills.

        As far as favorites go, I heard a rumor a while back that Lucas was planning on re-releasing all original 6 Star Wars films theatrically but this time in 3-D or something? I’m guessing there’s a good chance it won’t happen especially since everyone’s so focused on the new Abrams’ film, but I just remember being giddy at the prospect of seeing The Empire Strikes Back on the big screen….maybe one day…

      • EM

        A venue here in my decidedly mid-American town will be screening three cuts of Blade Runner in a single day. (I believe these are original theatrical, “director’s”, and “final”.) Artificial humans are well and good in science fiction, but this is one of those real-life cases in which a real human could use an artificial butt.

        • Chris B

          Yeah that’s kinda silly…just screen the original and the final and be done with it. The director’s cut is basically the final cut except theres a bunch of flaws…like Cassidy’s death scene, the sky as the dove flies up near the end etc. Playing all three seems like a waste…

  3. Blu-ray- it looks like Kino’s putting out Enter the Ninja and Revenge of the Ninja on blu this May. FUCK! YES! Even more exciting than that, Synapse looks to be releasing Argento’s Phenomena ( straight razor wielding chimpanze, Donald Pleasence, and midget mutant kid?! YES PLEASE!!) Suspiria, and most exciting for me, Tenebre. As of now, Tenebre is one of my favorite giallo movies and my most anticipated catalogue title for 2015. Can not wait! As awesome as Demons, Demons 2, Prom Night, and Curtains have looked, my expectations are very high. Very excited for Fright Night 30th anniversary edition as well.
    Theatrical- it won’t get any more exciting for me than Avengers 2, but I’m also very stoked for Mad Max: Fury Road ( I feel like I’ve waited forever for this one!) Jurassic World and Spectre. I’m sure a few little surprises will pop up during the year, but these are at the tippy top.
    As far as tv goes, I miss my Walking Dead Sundays and look forward to the second half of season 5 and can not wait for Hannibal to come back.
    For toys and home theater gear, I’m looking to get a new subwoofer sometime this year but I have saved 0 for that so far, but it is a goal for me this year.

    • Chris B

      Haha I’ve always wanted to check out those ninja flicks but never had the chance. I’m guessing they’re a “so bad it’s good” kind of experience?

      Speaking of 2015 Blu-Ray releases, I’m stoked that Escape From New York is getting a Shout! Factory release. At the very least it’ll have an older commentary ported over fron the DVD. Or maybe…a new JC and KR commentary?! That would be pretty amazing.

      I hope TT reissues Christine along with the Fright Night disc….although as far as FN goes…I prefer the remake *dodges several flying objects*

      • I hear Christine will be getting a re-release. I read that Escape from New York will have a new transfer, so that alone is cause for another dipping from me. The ninja flicks are definitely bad/good nostalgic fun. Fright Night sold out again.

        • Chris B

          Yeah, the new transfer is enough to warrant a double-dip. Shout! has a pretty good track record with their JC stuff, I watched They Live and Prince of Darkness again over the holidays and the transfers are just outstanding. Especially on They Live, it looks phenomenal. I’d love it if they released a collector’s version of Ghosts of Mars, from what I hear the picture on the original release was mediocore a best. I think it’s OOP now to. C’mon Shout! Factory….give us more Carpenter in 2015…

  4. 4K and Atmos are still not on my radar.
    Maybe an Oppo-103D and the region-selector mod is in my very near future. I am still looking at the Sony route but can see reasons to go Oppo. Whether I go Oppo or Sony, it still looks like I am one step closer to having set-top 3D running.
    And finally, Grand Theft Auto 5 for the PC. It will likely be a few more generations of video cards before max settings and 60fps can be achieved. Rockstar always releases their PC versions to go beyond what any console ever could.

  5. William Henley

    I’m not really sure if I will be upgrading or not in 2015 – I had a lightning strike a week ago, and all my stuff is covered by insurance at replacement value. But I am also hoping to buy a house in the next few months, so I may be replacing with a cheap 42 inch and soundbar for now.

    That said, I may replace with a 4k set. I am also looking at possibly an Atmos receiver. I talked with the guy at Fry’s electronics, and he said in a month or two, the 2014 sets will come way down when the 2015s come in. So we will see what happens this year

  6. Brett

    Movies: 1) Fury Road; 2) Force Awakens; 3) Mission 5
    (because I’ll always be a sucker for franchise flicks)

    Blu-rays: Vanilla Sky (my all-time fave Cruise title), and still holding out hope for the Jaws sequels to be announced (because WHERE THE %&$# ARE THEY???????)

    And of course, any Blu-ray reviews from the esteemed pen of Mr. Josh Zyber, Esq. here at HDD! (I realize it’s hard with two kids. I have two little boys myself.) Your thoughtful and informative reviews are always appreciated.

    Happy ’15 to all at HDD!

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