The Movie Waffler TMW's Summer 2015 Movie Preview | The Movie Waffler

TMW's Summer 2015 Movie Preview

TMW ditches the sun tan lotion and looks ahead to spending another summer in a series of darkened movie theatres.

2015 has been billed as Hollywood's biggest ever year. In terms of the sheer volume of would-be blockbusters headed our way over the summer months, this certainly seems to be the case. There's a distinct lack of originality however - with most of the biggies being either sequels, remakes or adaptations - and whether audiences flock en masse to the cinema in favour of the beach remains to be seen. Of course, there are plenty of indie and foreign language flicks on the way if you're after something a bit more innovative. Here's our massive guide to what you can expect in your local multiplexes and arthouses over the next five months.

*Based on UK release dates.


Mad Max: Fury Road

Directed by: George Miller
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult

After a 30 year absence, Max Rockatansky is back on our screens, this time played by Tom Hardy, thanks in no small part to Mel Gibson being persona non grata in Hollywood these days.
The plot isn't dissimilar to The Homesman, with Hardy's Max hired by Charlize Theron to help guide a group of women across the post-apocalyptic hellscape.
Original director George Miller is back in the saddle, promising a "western on wheels" with old-school practical effects largely favoured over CG.
Miller's most recent work has been in animation, helming Happy Feet and its sequel, so let's hope he's not as rusty as the many beat up vehicles featured in Fury Road's bombastic trailer.

Far From the Madding Crowd

Directed by: Thomas Vinterberg
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaerts

From Tom Hardy to Thomas Hardy as The Hunt's Thomas Vinterberg takes the helm for this latest adaptation of the English author's most celebrated novel.
Carey Mulligan, who's been quiet lately, stars opposite Matthias Schoenarts, who's been everywhere recently. The fourth time Hardy's tale has been brought to the big screen, it remains to be seen if Vinterberg can breathe new life into the story.

Monsters: Dark Continent

Directed by: Tom Green
Starring: Johnny Harris, Sam Keeley, Joe Dempsie

It seems every time TMW puts together a preview, Monsters: Dark Continent makes the list. The sequel to Gareth Edwards indie gem has had its UK release date pushed back several times at this point, so who knows if its current scheduled date of May 1st will come to fruition?
This one moves the action from Latin America to the Middle East and follows a group of soldiers assigned the task of dealing with the title aliens, who have now spread across the globe.


Directed by: Levan Gabriadze
Starring: Heather Sossaman, Matthew Bohrer, Courtney Halverson

Previously known under the title Cybernatural, Unfriended sees a group of net obsessed youths haunted by a dead friend through the deceased's social network account.
As with the Elijah Wood starring thriller Open Windows, the entire movie plays out on the desktop of a PC. Let's hope director Levan Gabriadze can make this gimmick work better than Open Windows' Nacho Vigalondo could.


Directed by: Celine Sciamma
Starring: Karidja Toure, Assa Sylla, Lindsay Karamoh

Nope, it's not a rushed out sequel to Richard Linklater's Boyhood, rather a tale of a disenfranchised African-French teen who finds a new lease of life when she befriends three other girls.
Celine Sciamma scoured the streets for her amateur cast, who have won plaudits, as has the film itself, on the international festival circuit.


Directed by: Jon Stewart
Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal, Kim Bodnia, Claire Foy

Outgoing Daily Show host Jon Stewart makes his directorial debut with this - you guessed it - political drama.
Gael Garcia Bernal, who seems to only appear in politically tinged films these days, plays Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari, who spent 118 days in an Iranian prison following an appearance on The Daily Show in which he was critical of the Iranian regime.

Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead

Directed by: Kiah Roache-Turner
Starring: Jay Gallagher, Bianca Bradey, Leon Burchill

Oh great, just what the world needs - another bloody zombie movie! Yet this low-budget ($160,000) Aussie take on the overloaded genre has gathered many plaudits.
This particular zombie apocalypse is brought on by a meteor shower, and the movie follows a mechanic's attempts to find his sister amid the chaos. A sequel has already been greenlit.

Clouds of Sils Maria

Directed by: Olivier Assayas
Starring: Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, Chloe Grace Moretz

Kristen Stewart picked up a Cesar (the French Oscar) for her role as a personal assistant to Juliette Binoche's aging actress in Olivier Assayas' latest drama. Along with Moretz, the central duo have been praised for their performances in this Bechdel-busting tale, with the chemistry between Stewart and Binoche said to be particularly strong.

The Tribe

Directed by: Miroslav Slaboshpitsky
Starring: Grigoriy Fesenko, Yana Novikova, Rosa Babiy

Playing out entirely in sign language with no subtitles to guide the viewer, Miroslav Slaboshpitsky's film is arguably the most intriguing release of the summer.
The story is set in a boarding school for deaf kids, where cliques rule with an iron fist, and has been the talk of every festival for the past year or so.

The Age of Adaline

Directed by: Lee Toland Krieger
Starring: Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford

In what sounds like a cross between Dorian Gray and Superman II, Blake Lively plays a woman who stops aging following an accident but is given a choice between immortality and her love for Michiel Huisman. Both Katherine Heigl and Natalie Portman had been attached to the role before the casting of Lively, an actress who has drifted around Hollywood's periphery for some time now. Will this finally break her into the A-list?
Ellen Burstyn plays Lively's daughter. Wait...what???

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Directed by: Ana Lily Amirpour
Starring: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Marshall Manesh

Surely at this point we've seen every possible take on the Vampire genre? Maybe not; Ana Lily Amirpour's feature debut (adapted from her short of the same name) is billed as "The first Iranian vampire Western". Shot in monochrome, it features a female vampire who preys on the residents of an Iranian city (though it was actually shot in Los Angeles).

The New Girlfriend

Directed by: Francois Ozon
Starring: Romain Duris, Anais Demoustier, Raphael Personnaz

Francois Ozon enters Claude Chabrol territory with this gallic interpretation of a Ruth Rendell short story.
Anais Demoustier befriends the husband (Romain Duris) of her deceased friend only to discover he enjoys dressing in his dead wife's clothes. De Palma would approve.


Directed by: Gil Kenan
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jared Harris

Tobe Hooper's 1982 classic gets the 3D remake treatment (yes, we're silently frowning). Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt step into the shoes of Craig T Nelson and JoBeth Williams, and in a sign of how times have changed, the original's secular psychic has been replaced by Jared Harris's Irish priest. You can bet your house Rockwell and DeWitt won't be sharing any sneaky bedtime spliffs this time out.


Directed by: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead
Starring: Lou Taylor Pucci, Nadia Hilker, Vanessa Bednar

This 'supernatural horror romance' concerns a young American who travels to Italy, where he encounters and falls for a beautiful local girl with a dark secret. Some reviews have suggested it works better as a Before Sunrise style romance than a horror flick, but most are agreed it's an impressively atmospheric work.

Spooks: The Greater Good

Directed by: Bharat Nalluri
Starring: Peter Firth, Kit Harington, Jennifer Ehle

Based on BBC's hit spy show Spooks (retitled as MI5 in the US), S:TGG sees Peter Firth reprise his small screen role, with the cast buffed up by stars like Kit Harington, Jennifer Ehle and Tuppence Middleton.
It's a long time since a BBC drama has been translated successfully to the big screen, and whether this one will have the nous to compete with the summer's big-hitting spy movies The Man From UNCLE and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation remains to be seen.

The rest...

The Barden Bellas enter an international a cappella in sequel Pitch Perfect 2.
Previously known as Young Ones, post-apocalyptic drama Bad Land: Road to Fury has been shamelessly retitled to cash in on a certain other summer movie.
French woman Charlotte Gainsbourg falls for African immigrant Omar Sy in comedy drama Samba, from Intouchables directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano.
A true story of a racist prison killing is recounted in gritty Brit drama We are Monster.
US President Samuel L Jackson teams up with a Finnish youth when Airforce One is shot down in Rare Exports director Jalmari Helander's Big Game.
A WWII concentration camp survivor searches post-war Berlin for the husband who betrayed her in Phoenix.
Chris Rock is a comedian struggling to be taken seriously in Top Five.
A Royal Night Out sees the young Princess Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) hitting the town on VE Day.
Gangs clash in an alternate Japan in Shion Sono's Tokyo Tribe.
Following Pirates of the Caribbean, another Disneyland attraction gets a screen adaptation with Tomorrowland: A World Beyond.
Danny Collins has Al Pacino as the titular aging rock star, who questions his life upon discovering a letter written to him by John Lennon in his youth.
Kiwi historical actioner The Dead Lands gives us warring Maori tribes.
Mother nature squares up to Dwayne Johnson in San Andreas.
Timbuktu pits a peaceful farmer against jihadists in sub-saharan Africa.


Insidious: Chapter 3

Directed by: Leigh Whannell
Starring: Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, Lin Shaye

Director James Wan has departed for the Fast & Furious franchise, leaving series writer Leigh Whannell in charge of the hit horror series.
This one's actually a prequel to the first two movies.
Let's hope Whannell drops Wan's reliance on cheap jump scares and overblown set-pieces to give us some genuine chills this time out.

Listen Up Philip

Directed by: Alex Ross Perry
Starring: Jason Schwartzman, Elisabeth Moss, Jonathan Pryce

Jason Schwartzman has won praise for his portrayal of a misanthropic novelist in Alex Ross Perry's black comedy. The resurgent Elisabeth Moss and veteran Jonathan Pryce co-star as his photographer girlfriend and literary idol respectively.

Jurassic World

Directed by: Colin Trevorrow
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Judy Greer

Can audiences still be excited by CG dinosaurs, or is it impossible to take monster movies seriously in the post Sharknado world? All will be revealed in June when the belated fourth installment of everyone's favourite prehistoric franchise hits.
Having previously helmed a single indie comedy, Colin Trevorrow is an offbeat choice to helm one of the summer's biggest movies, and the money men will be hoping Chris Pratt can translate his Guardians of the Galaxy appeal to this sequel. Those domesticated raptors are worrying though.

She's Funny That Way

Directed by: Peter Bogdanovich
Starring: Owen Wilson, Imogen Poots, Jennifer Aniston

Peter Bogdanovich returns to the mainstream with this ensemble comedy. Boasting an all-star cast, it's the story of  a Broadway director (Owen Wilson) who interferes in the life of a hooker (Imogen Poots) while his leading man (Rhys Ifans)  attempts to seduce his wife (Kathryn Hahn). Also featuring are Jennifer Aniston, Lucy Punch, Will Forte, Cybill Shepherd, Quentin Tarantino, Tatum O'Neal and lots more.

Slow West

Directed by: John Maclean
Starring: Ben Mendelsohn, Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee

Writer-director John Maclean makes his feature debut with this western, teaming up Michael Fassbender's roguish outlaw with Kodi Smit-McPhee's teen, who's in search of the love of his life.
The snow-capped peaks of New Zealand and Scotland are said to be a more than convincing stand-in for the hills of Colorado.

The rest...

Ian Mckellen is an aging Sherlock Holmes in Mr Holmes.
Milla Jovovich is pursued by a villainous Pierce Brosnan in Survivor.
Tom Hardy plays a cabbie in true crime drama London Road.
John Boorman delivers a belated sequel to 1987's Hope and Glory with Queen and Country.
UK horror Unhallowed Ground gives us a haunted boarding school.
Entourage makes the move from the gogglebox to the big screen.
Les Combattants is an unconventional love story set in the French military.
Liv Ullmann directs the latest adaptation of Miss Julie, this one starring Jessica Chastain and Colin Farrell.
The Transporter series gets rebooted, minus Jason Statham, with The Transporter Legacy.
Irish horror flick The Hallow gives us demonic woodland creatures.
A pair of femme fatales screw with Keanu Reeves in Eli Roth's Knock Knock.


Terminator Genisys

Directed by: Alan Taylor
Starring: Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Arnold Schwarzenegger

In this reboot/sequel/prequel, Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) once again returns to '80s Los Angeles to save the life of Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke), only to find she's way ahead of him and under the protection of an aging terminator (an aging Arnie).
Is there any life left in this franchise or will this simply be a case of one too many trips back in time?


Directed by: Peyton Reed
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas

The Marvel cinematic universe expands (or should that be shrinks?) with this latest comic book adaptation. Paul Rudd is the titular teenie-weenie, a con-man with the ability to shrink in size while gaining super strength.
Fanboys erupted in fury when Peyton Reed replaced original director Edgar Wright, but the prospect of a post-credits stinger should prove too much for the most 'adam-ant' Wright fans to resist.

Magic Mike XXL

Directed by: Gregory Jacobs
Starring: Channing Tatum, Elizabeth Banks, Amber Heard

Channing Tatum bares his abs once more for this sequel to Soderbergh's 2012 hit. Amber Heard is the love interest this time around, and no doubt she'll be advising him to quit the stripping game and follow his dream of being a carpenter.
The horny housewife market should guarantee this one ends up with more than a few dollar bills tucked into its thong.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Alec Baldwin

The Mission Impossible series gets a fifth installment and the stunts just get bigger and crazier.
This time out Tom Cruise straps himself to an airplane as it ascends into the blue yonder, and can also be seen riding motorbikes at high speed and falling off European buildings. All in a day's work for the 52-year-old Cruiser.
Of the many spy movies hitting theatres in 2015, this should be the biggest.

The Rest...

A barely recognisable Jake Gyllenhaal stars in Southpaw as a boxer who goes off the rails when his wife is murdered.
A six-year long relationship between lovers Justin Long and Emmy Rossum is examined in sci-fi romance Comet.
Dustin Hoffman aims to do for choirboys what Robin Williams did for dead poets in The Choir.
Ted 2 sees Seth MacFarlane's foul-mouthed bear return, with Amanda Seyfried replacing Mila Kunis as Mark Wahlberg's love interest.
Nobody asked for the origin stories of Peter Pan, Captain Hook et al, but we're getting them regardless in Pan.
Ben Kingsley has his consciousness transferred into Ryan Reynolds' body (well who wouldn't?) in sci-fi thriller Self/Less.
Eden recounts the origins of France's '90s electronic dance music scene.
James Franco and Jonah Hill go all serious for the dark identity theft thriller True Story.
Hunting guide Jeremy Irvine finds himself on the wrong end of Michael Douglas's rifle in Beyond the Reach.
Korean thriller A Girl at My Door sees a young female cop caught up in the seedy underbelly of a small seaside town.


Fantastic Four

Directed by: Josh Trank
Starring: Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell

The comic book movies continue with this reboot of the Marvel quartet. With Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell and Michael B Jordan in the title roles, it's a decidedly more fresh-faced foursome than we saw in the much derided '00s iteration.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' Toby Kebbell is the villain, out to destroy the world by shining giant beams of light into the sky. Or something.

The Man From UNCLE

Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Alicia Vikander, Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer

The dreaded geezer Guy Ritchie takes the reins for this big screen reboot of the classic '60s spy show. Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer step into the shoes worn so brilliantly by Robert Vaughan and David MacCallum, while the ever present Alicia Vikander provides the love interest.
Unlike Mission Impossible, this one takes place in the original cold war time period of the original series.

Paper Towns

Directed by: Jake Schreier
Starring: Cara Delevingne, Nat Wolff, Halston Sage

Adapted from a novel by John Green, Paper Towns will hope to repeat the success of the last Green adaptation, The Fault in our Stars.
Teenager Nat Wolff investigates the disappearance of the girl next door (Cara Delevingne). If her turn in The Face of an Angel is anything to go by, Delevingne is going to be colossal, and this could be the movie that makes her name in Hollywood.

The Rest...

The creepy, ghostly kids of Sinister return for Sinister 2, minus Ethan Hawke this time around.
A teenager spend a year of Tuesdays with her transgender mother in 52 Tuesdays.
The young protagonist of The Diary of a Teenage Girl begins an affair with her mother's boyfriend, played by Alexander Skarsgard.
Al Pacino is a lonely locksmith with a troubled past in Manglehorn.
Jonathan Demme's Ricki and the Flash has Meryl Streep as an aging rocker returning to her hometown.
The YouTube sensation Pixels is expanded into a feature starring Adam Sandler and Kevin James.
Charlotte Gainsbourg gets wrapped up in a threesome in 3 Hearts.
Monty Python's Terry Jones directs the sci-fi comedy Absolutely Anything, featuring the final screen credit of Robin Williams in a voice role.
'80s hip-hop trio NWA have their rise to fame recounted in Straight Outta Compton.
Ryan Reynolds does yet another body-swap routine in Criminal.
Good People is a thriller with James Franco that sounds suspiciously like Shallow Grave.
Another reboot nobody asked for comes in the form of Hitman: Agent 47.
Amnesiac Ethan Hawke is accused of a crime he can't recall in Regression.
Judd Apatow teams up with writer-star Amy Schumer for Trainwreck.



Directed by: Cameron Crowe
Starring: Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bradley Cooper

After a string of duds, Cameron Crowe aims to get back on track with his latest romantic comedy. Set against the backdrop of Hawaii, Bradley Cooper plays a defence contractor who falls for Emma Stone's Air Force pilot.
Previously known under the dodgy titles of Deep Tiki and Volcano Romance.

Jane Got a Gun

Directed by: Gavin O'Connor
Starring: Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Joel Edgerton

Hot on the heels of The Salvation and Slow West comes another western in the guise of Jane Got a Gun. Natalie Portman plays a wife forced to take extreme measures to defend her family from the violent gang her husband made an enemy of.
This one has had a troubled production to say the least, with original director Lynne Ramsey leaving, along with stars Michael Fassbender, Bradley Cooper and Jude Law. Gavin O'Connor should prove a safe pair of hands though.

Triple 9

Directed by: John Hillcoat
Starring: Casey Affleck, Kate Winslet, Woody Harrelson

The Proposition director John Hillcoat has assembled an all-star ensemble for this heist thriller. Casey Affleck leads a crew of crooked cops who plan to murder a fellow officer and pull off a seemingly impossible heist.
This one's flown under the radar somewhat, but with the talent involved it's certainly piqued our interest.


Directed by: Brian Helgeland
Starring: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, Taron Egerton

We'll be seeing a lot of Tom Hardy this summer, and we'll certainly be seeing plenty of him in Legend, Brian Helgeland's biopic of the notorious cockney gangsters the Kray twins. Hardy plays both brothers, Reggie and Ronnie, which should make for a fascinating watch.
Helgeland's script is based on the book The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins by John Pearson.

Victor Frankenstein

Directed by: Paul McGuigan
Starring: James McAvoy, Daniel Radcliffe, Jessica Brown Findlay

This isn't part of Universal's reboot of their famous monsters, rather a new twist on an old tale. Here the story is conveyed through the eyes of Daniel Radcliffe's Igor, assistant to James McAvoy's titular determined scientist, as he witnesses Frankenstein's rise from medical student to maniac.

The rest...

The Maze Runner quickly turns around a sequel in the form of Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.
The resurrection of a tragic school play spells terror in The Gallows.
No Escape sees an American family headed by Owen Wilson swept up in a dangerous coup while holidaying in Asia.
A teen befriends a classmate with cancer in Sundance fave Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.
M Night Shyamalan returns to horror for The Visit.
Poetry professor Pierce Brosnan reassesses his life in How to Make Love Like an Englishman.
John Turturro heads to Italy to star in Mia Madre, the latest drama from Nanni Moretti.
In Anton Corbjin's Life, a photographer for the titular publication is assigned to photograph James Dean.
Enemy director Denis Villeneuve brings us Sicario, starring Emily Blunt as a CIA agent tasked with taking down a Mexican cartel.

Let us know in the comments below which movies you're most looking forward to this summer.