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?
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.
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.
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.