2015 is going to bring us some huge movie events, including the second outing of Marvel’s super team in The Avengers: Age of Ultrona return to an iconic theme park in Jurassic World, and new chapters in a galaxy-spanning saga of Star Wars with The Force Awakens – but you aren’t going to see ANY of that fun stuff until later in the year!

As 2015 kicks off, we’ll have the usual slew of lackluster sequels and studio dumping ground offerings, peppered with the occasional breakout or surprise hit. Our Winter Movie Preview is a good way to know which films are coming – and which are worth leaving your wintertime hibernation to go see.

January

 

[REC] 4: Apocalypse

Rec 4 Apocalypse Winter Movie Preview 2015


Jan 2nd

Ángela Vidal (Manuela Velasco), the spunky young television reporter that entered the building in 2007 has exited with the swat team. Little do they know that she carries the seed of the strange demonic infection. She is taken to an oil tanker miles off shore which has been especially equipped for the quarantine.

OUR TAKE: After [REC] 3‘s pitiful attempt to push the franchise in a new direction, [REC] 4 thankfully brings us back around to the where the franchise started – with a somewhat bigger sandbox to play in. That doesn’t guarantee we’ll get a fourth installment on par with the first one, but at least we can say the potential is once again there.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

The Woman In Black 2: Angel of Death

The Woman in Black poster excerpt Winter Movie Preview 2015


Jan 2nd

40 years after the first haunting at Eel Marsh House, a group of children evacuated from WWII London arrive, awakening the house’s darkest inhabitant.

OUR TAKE: The Woman In Black adapted a classic English myth to reasonable success on the big screen – albeit more so in the UK than the US. A January release date for the sequel is smart, as lack of competition in the horror genre (and a genuinely creepy trailer) will be a lure for fans.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Inherent Vice (Wide)

Inherent Vice Movie Reviews Winter Movie Preview 2015


Jan 9th (Wide)

In 1970, drug-fueled Los Angeles detective Larry “Doc” Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) investigates the disappearance of a former girlfriend.

OUR TAKE: While the film will have very limited appeal for casual moviegoers, Inherent Vice is great genre entertainment for intellectual and/or cinephile types. FULL REVIEW HERE

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Selma

selma trailer Winter Movie Preview 2015


Jan 9th (Wide)

The unforgettable true story chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement.

OUR TAKE: A lot of people may think that this movie is some kind of MLK biopic, but in actuality this movie memoir’s central character is an issue of race, society and policy that’s ironically now at the forefront of our culture once again. Hopefully director Ava DuVernay can convey the message of how Dr. King used hope, faith and non-violence (keyword) to sway minds and quell injustice.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Taken 3

taken 3 preview poster Winter Movie Preview 2015


Jan 9th

Liam Neeson returns as ex-covert operative Bryan Mills, whose long awaited reconciliation with his ex-wife is tragically cut short when she is brutally murdered. Consumed with rage, and framed for the crime, he goes on the run to evade the relentless pursuit of the CIA, FBI and the police. For one last time, Mills must use his “particular set of skills,” to track down the real killers, exact his unique brand of justice, and protect the only thing that matters to him now – his daughter.

OUR TAKE: If you’ve been a fan of the Taken series through the inspired first chapter and less-inspired second chapter, you’re already signed on for this third go-round. However, if you’re on the fence because you liked the first and didn’t care for the second? This third installment is directed by the guy who did the second film (Olivier Megaton). Take that how you will.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

American Sniper

american sniper trailer poster Winter Movie Preview 2015


Jan 16th (Wide)

Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle’s pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can’t leave behind.

OUR TAKE: Clint Eastwood is a masterful director, and this film’s trailers (see below) have been uniquely structured to showcase moments of high tension and dramatic thrills. In short, American Sniper looks like it could join a tradition of great modern warfare films like Zero Dark Thirty or Black Hawk Down.

(WATCH THE TRAILER

Blackhat

blackhat 2015 trailer chris hemsworth Winter Movie Preview 2015


Jan 16th

A man is released from prison to help American and Chinese authorities pursue a mysterious cyber criminal. The dangerous search leads them from Chicago to Hong Kong.

OUR TAKE: After the Sony and North Korea hacking incident, we have a feeling that Blackhat is arriving on a wave of public interest in its subject matter. Chris Hemsworth (Thor) is also a leading man with pull, so this film could find legs at the January box office.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Paddington

paddington 2014 trailer Winter Movie Preview 2015


Jan 16th

A young Peruvian bear with a passion for all things British travels to London in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone at Paddington Station, he begins to realize that city life is not all he had imagined – until he meets the kindly Brown family, who read the label around his neck (‘Please look after this bear. Thank you.’) and offer him a temporary haven. It looks as though his luck has changed until this rarest of bears catches the eye of a museum taxidermist.

OUR TAKE: Paddington is a favorite across the pond, but it remains to be seen if American audiences respond enough to boost this animated feature to box office success.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Still Alice

Still Alice Moore Stewart Winter Movie Preview 2015


Jan 16th (Wide)

Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children, is a renowned linguistics professor who starts to forget words. When she receives a devastating diagnosis, Alice and her family find their bonds tested.

OUR TAKE: It’s Julianne Moore in an Oscar-bait dramatic role, with co-stars like Alec Baldwin, Kate Bosworth and Kristen Stewart, to boot. If you’re up for this kind of well-acted tragic drama, this film is a good pick.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

The Wedding Ringer

The Wedding Ringer Trailer 2 2015 Winter Movie Preview 2015


Jan 16th

Doug Harris (Josh Gad) is a loveable but socially awkward groom-to-be with a problem: he has no best man. With less than two weeks to go until he marries the girl of his dreams (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting), Doug is referred to Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart), owner and CEO of Best Man, Inc., a company that provides flattering best men for socially challenged guys in need. What ensues is a hilarious wedding charade as they try to pull off the big con, and an unexpected budding bromance between Doug and his fake best man Jimmy.

OUR TAKE: Kevin Hart is practically unstoppable at the box office right now (Think Like A Man, Ride Along), so this movie should already have a strong head-start towards success. Meanwhile, Sony will be happy to put out a comedy that WON’T likely start an international incident.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Black Sea

Black Sea Movie Preview Trailer Jude Law 2015 Winter Movie Preview 2015


Jan 23rd

In order to make good with his former employers, a submarine captain takes a job with a shadowy backer to search the depths of the Black Sea for a submarine rumored to be loaded with gold.

OUR TAKE: Kevin MacDonald has directed some great films (Last King of ScotlandMarleyState of Play), but also some films like The Eagle. This one has a pretty strange premise, and the fact that this is the first feature-film for writer Dennis Kelly really keeps it on the fence.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

The Boy Next Door

The Boy Next Door Movie Preview Jennifer Lopez Winter Movie Preview 2015


Jan 23rd

A divorced woman (Jennifer Lopez) falls in love with the young man (Ryan Guzman) who moves in to the street and finds he has a dark secret.

OUR TAKE: Remember when this film was called Fatal Attraction, Fear, Swimfan or countless other films of the like? This particular telling seems like it will pale in comparison.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Mortdecai

Johnny Depp as Charlie Mortdecai Winter Movie Preview 2015


Jan 23rd

Juggling some angry Russians, the British Mi5, his impossibly leggy wife (Gwyneth Paltrow) and an international terrorist, debonair art dealer and part-time rogue Charlie Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) must traverse the globe armed only with his good looks and special charm in a race to recover a stolen painting rumored to contain the code to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold.

OUR TAKE: Johnny Depp playing yet another zany, strange character – and Gwyneth Paltrow putting on an English accent? Not really a winning combination for us, per se, but it’s easy to see this flick landing well with family audiences.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Strange Magic

Lucasfilm Animation Strange Magic Winter Movie Preview 2015


Jan 23rd

A fairy tale of goblins, fairies and imps meeting for the first time and the consequent confusions and conflicts the culture clash causes.

OUR TAKE: At this point it’s unclear whether or not the tagline “From the mind of George Lucas,” is a good or bad thing. Still, it’s from ILM and has names like Kristin Chenowith in the voice cast, so it’s really about the subject matter capturing people’s attention. See for yourself:

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Black or White

Black or White Movie 2015 starring Kevin Costner and Olivia Spencer Winter Movie Preview 2015


Jan 30th

Black or White is the story of a grandfather (Kevin Costner) who is suddenly left to care for his beloved granddaughter. When the little girl’s paternal grandmother (Octavia Spencer) seeks custody, a legal battle ensues that forces the families to confront their true feelings on race, forgiveness and understanding. Anchored by an all-star cast and based on real events, the movie is a look at two seemingly different worlds, in which nothing is as simple as black or white.

OUR TAKE: Race is once again at the forefront of American culture, but whereas a film like Selma may provide critical looks at how history repeats itself, the question here is whether or not feel-good material like Black or White is actually contributing to the conversation. You decide:

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Project Almanac

project almanac trailer Winter Movie Preview 2015


Jan 30th

As a group of friends discover plans for a time machine, they build it and use it to fix their problems and personal gain. But as the future falls apart with disasters, and each of them disappear little by little, they must travel back to the past to make sure they never invent the machine or face the destruction of humanity.

OUR TAKE: This movie has been a long time coming, but we got a glimpse of it during a special Comic-Con 2014 event, and were pleasantly surprised. For a lot of movie fans, this could be the next Chronicle.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

February

 

Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter Ascending Poster Winter Movie Preview 2015


Feb 6th

Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars, but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning toilets and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along – her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos.

OUR TAKE: After a nearly half-year delay, the new film from the Wachowskis (Matrix Trilogy) arrives -and honestly, the latest trailers have looked pretty promising. A truly unique and original sci-fi adventure. Still, Tatum’s dog-warrior is a borderline silly idea, and with such a big budget, Jupiter Ascending remains a big risk at the box office.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Love, Rosie

Love Rosie Movie Poster Winter Movie Preview 2015


Feb 6th

Rosie (Lily Collins) and Alex (Sam Claflin) have been best friends since they were 5, so they couldn’t possibly be right for one another…or could they? When it comes to love, life and making the right choices, these two are their own worst enemies.

OUR TAKE: Collins (Mirror, Mirror) and Claflin (Hunger Games 2 – 4) have been young stars on the breakout for some time… might as well hedge your bets and team them up, right? But is a romantic story with the most cliched-sounding premise the right vehicle for that pairing? The popularity of the source book, Where Rainbows End, suggests so.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Seventh Son

seventh son movie trailer poster Winter Movie Preview 2015


Feb 6th

Young Thomas Ward (Ben Barnes) is apprenticed to the local Spook Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges) to learn to fight evil spirits. His first great challenge comes when the powerful Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore) escapes her confinement while the Spook is away. How can Thomas stand a chance against Mother Malkin?

OUR TAKE: While the potential for Underworld-style mythos and fantasy/action fun is there, the delays in release, sound of Bridges still pulling his Rooster Cogburn act, some questionable CGI effects, and of course the ominous release date all have us wondering if this won’t be the 2015 I, Frankenstein.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

spongebob movie out water trailer poster Winter Movie Preview 2015


Feb 6th

SpongeBob goes on a quest to discover a stolen recipe that takes him to our dimension, our world, where he tangles with a pirate.

OUR TAKE: Look, this one is straight-up weird. Should attract an interesting mix of small children, parents, stoners and psychedelic drug enthusiasts.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey tie Winter Movie Preview 2015


Feb 13th

Literature student Anastasia Steele’s life changes forever when she meets handsome, yet tormented, billionaire Christian Grey. Christian admits he wants her too, but on his own – very unique, specific, and unorthodox – terms.

OUR TAKE: The book series is already a phenomenon, so those who don’t show up on Valentine’s Day to see what all the fuss was about will show up to see how the book they read made it to the screen – while others still will come (pun) just to see some skin and BDSM body heat. In other words: CHA-CHING.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Kingsman: The Secret Service

kingsman secret service red band trailer Winter Movie Preview 2015


Feb 13th

Based upon the acclaimed comic book and directed by Matthew Vaughn, Kingsman: The Secret Service tells the story of a super-secret spy organization that recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius.

OUR TAKE: While the movie has largely flown under the radar, having the creative team behind Kick-Ass (Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman) once again handling material by comic book creator Mark Millar is actually pretty exciting. And for skeptics, the earliest reviews all agree that this is a fun and inspired take on the James Bond mythos.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

The Gunman

The Gunman Movie 2015 Winter Movie Preview 2015


Feb 20th

An international spy (Sean Penn) must clear his name in order to save himself from the organization that he used to work for.

OUR TAKE: A new film by Pierre Morel, the man who directed the original Taken. Add to that a cast that includes Penn, Javier Bardem, Ray Winstone and Idris Elba. We’re intrigued.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Hot Tub Time Machine 2

Hot Tub Time Machine Red Band Trailer Winter Movie Preview 2015


Feb 20th

When Lou, who has become the “father of the Internet,” is shot by an unknown assailant, Jacob and Nick fire up the time machine again to save their friend.

OUR TAKE: The cast is back (for the most part) and the director is back, so… pretty much more of the same? Although comedy sequels haven’t been all that great in recent years (Hangover 2, Horrible Bosses 2), one must account for that rare gem to possibly come along (22 Jump Street).

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

McFarland, USA

mcfarland usa trailer poster Winter Movie Preview 2015


Feb 20th

A cross country coach (Kevin Costner) in a small California town transforms a team of athletes into championship contenders.

OUR TAKE: Oh look, Kevin Costner in another Americana sports tale (brought to you by Disney)! Think there will be any metaphors about going the distance; how life is a long race; or how we help each other keep pace? Anyway, the audience for this knows who they are, and how to enjoy it.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

’71

71 Movie 2015 Jack OConnell Winter Movie Preview 2015


Feb 27th (Limited)

A young British soldier is accidentally abandoned by his unit following a terrifying riot on the streets of Belfast in 1971. Unable to tell friend from foe, the raw recruit must survive the night alone and find his way to safety through a disorienting, alien and deadly landscape.

OUR TAKE: Jack O’Connell was a breakout hit in Unbroken, and it’s curious to see him in yet another tale of wartime hardship so soon.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Focus

focus 2015 will smith margot robbie Winter Movie Preview 2015


Feb 27th

A veteran grifter (Will Smith) takes a young, attractive woman (Margot Robbie) under his wing, but things get complicated when they become romantically involved.

OUR TAKE: Look, if the chemistry between Smith and Wolf of Wall Street‘s Robbie isn’t enough of a sell (it is), the fact that they’ll soon be starring in DC Comics’ Suicide Squad together (as master assassin Deadshot and Joker’s girl, Harley Quinn) will definitely put increased focus on this movie (sorry…).

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Maps to the Stars

Julianna Moore in Maps to the Stars Winter Movie Preview 2015


Feb 27th

A tour into the heart of a Hollywood family chasing celebrity, one another and the relentless ghosts of their pasts.

OUR TAKE: David Cronenberg’s latest is as weird and ominous as so many of his other works – with the added bonus of taking a jab at Hollywood. Fans may show up to see Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska or John Cusack, but they’re going to get something much weirder.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

The Vatican Tapes

The Vatican Tapes poster Winter Movie Preview 2015


Feb 27th

A leaked video tape reveals a Vatican exorcism gone very, very awry.

OUR TAKE: A cast starring Djimon Hounsou, Michael Peña, Dougray Scott, Kathleen Robertson and others sounds promising – but having one half of the  Ghost Rider 2 director team (Mark Neveldine) at the helm is less encouraging.

 –

That’s it for the movies coming to theaters during the darkest and coldest segment of the year – see anything that will brighten that downtime for you? Or will you be saving your coin for the upcoming slate of huge movie titles being released in spring/summer?

Follow us and talk movies @screenrant – and have a happy and safe New Year’s lead-in to 2015!