Just for fun, we'll do this backwards and count down towards Number 1. Only four of my 10 Most Anticipated 2015 Movies made it onto my Top 10 for the year, so let's see if I can predict greatness any better. This year, I'm including 20 films, just because there are a couple in the bottom 10 that I really wanted to mention.
20. X-Men: Apocalypse
Except for a brief thrill at seeing Bald James McAvoy, the trailer doesn't do it for me. Some of it is the smug way that Rose Byrne suggests that Apocalypse is the inspiration for world religions, but mostly it's the feeling that I've seen all this before. Still, I tend to enjoy these movies and I'm hoping that Oscar Isaac's immense charm shows through the layers of effects used on his character. I'm also excited to see how some of the new cast do, especially Tye Sheridan and Sophie Turner, but also Kodi Smit-McPhee.
Never played the game and I don't love the character designs, but I likes me a big fantasy movie and appreciate that the orcs have real personalities. My expectation are low, but I'm hoping to be surprised.
18. The Nice Guys
The red-band trailer promises more of the old ultra-violence than I'm ready for, but I love both these guys and it looks like an entertaining relationship.
17. The Jungle Book
I'm cynical about all of Disney's live-action remakes of old hits, but then I remember the late-90s/early-00s and all of those sad animated sequels from The Return of Jafar to Cinderella III. It could be worse. Besides, Disney's at least picking some excellent directors to head these up and I'm encouraged by Jon Favreau's involvement.
On the other hand, I can't help feeling like we've already been down this trail.
16. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
I totally skipped the first Michael Bay TMNT movie and had no interest in the sequel until I saw the trailer. This thing is going all-in on stupid references to toys and the first cartoon series. I mean, Rocksteady, Bebop, and the van that shoots manhole covers? Hoping for a Krang reference, at least as set up for the third one. Might be a lot of fun.
15. Knights of the Round Table: King Arthur
I mentioned that I still love Guy Ritchie, right? As dumb an idea as a Round Table Cinematic Universe sounds, I'm ready for Ritchie's take on Camelot.
14. Kubo and the Two Strings
I always like Laika movies. I never go completely ga-ga for them, but they're consistently entertaining and this looks like a good one.
I really enjoyed the first Ghostbusters movie, but the sequel and cartoon killed any idea of it as a sacred object. I'm for a film-maker like Paul Feig - who has a spotless record as far as I'm concerned - taking this and doing whatever the heck he wants with it.
12. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Jack Reacher was a pleasant return to old school action movies with a likable, lone, mysterious hero solving a mystery and saving some people without the entire world having to be at stake. I like my epic superhero movies as much as the next person, but I'm also very into more of this.
11. Bourne 5
We're finding out the title this weekend during some sporting event, but they can call it Bourne Again for all I care. Damon's back and I'm excited.
10. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
This is one where "anticipated" doesn't exactly equal "excited about." I'm skeptical about this endeavor, but also extremely curious and nervously hopeful.
9. Underworld 5
I love these movies. Huge fan of Beckinsale and the White Wolf role-playing games these are not based on, no sir, we promise you they are not.
8. The Legend of Tarzan
I'm still waiting for a movie that's at all faithful to the first novel, but this'll do in the meantime. Not a great fan of those pants, but everything else looks pretty good. And I need some live-action Tarzan in my life right now.
7. Captain America: Civil War
The Civil War comics made me hate Tony Stark. Robert Downey Jr made me love him. Matter and anti-matter are about to collide. Maybe that's why I'm not more excited about this than I am. Still, it's the next, big, epic Marvel movie and I'm a fan of the series.
6. Doctor Strange
I mentioned in my movie rankings for 2015 that I like the epic Marvel movies better than the "smaller" ones that explore other genres. But then I go and decide that I'm more interested in Doctor Strange than Cap 3. That's a lot because of Cumberbatch, but I think it's also because I've always wanted to like Doctor Strange comics more than I have. There's a lot of potential for some cool, spooky, magic realism in that concept, but most of the comics I've read have tended toward trippy fantasy. I was probably reading the wrong ones, but I'm hoping that - like with Iron Man - the Marvel movies are able to give me the version of the character that I've been craving.
5. Jane Got a Gun
As I'm writing this, I'm planning to see Jane Got a Gun tonight. I'm a fan of Natalie Portman and an even bigger fan of Westerns. This is part of some other plans to watch more Westerns in general. More on that later.
A young woman and a demi-god played by the Rock search for a fabled South Seas island. Hollywood is getting my letters!
3. Hail, Caesar!
I'm always interested in the Coen Brothers, but the films that I most adore from them are the ones like Raising Arizona and O Brother, Where Art Thou? where humor is a major focus. It's been a while since we had one of those and I can't wait for this one.
2. Star Trek Beyond
Justin Lin rescued the Fast and the Furious series and I have complete faith that he can do the same for Star Trek. Not that Star Trek really needs rescuing. It just needs to recover from Into Darkness which was a horrible misstep, but not a complete disaster. Even that had its moments and the new series has some great DNA that worked super well in 2009. It just needs someone like Lin (a confessed Trek fan who just so happens knows how to make exciting movies) to help it take its next step.
1. Rogue One
I'm not as pumped about this as I was about Force Awakens, but I'm still pretty excited. I don't care as much about the filling in of continuity holes as I do about a diverse cast of rogues trying to avoid Imperials while pulling off a heist. Sounds totally fun and a I'm hoping it proves that there are many kinds of great stories that can be told in the Star Wars universe.