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FILM: Post BAFTA and pre-Oscars, MediaTainment Finance is looking ahead at the movies (not necessarily the award-winning ones) to watch out for in 2015.

Now that the UK’s BAFTA Awards are over, every film fanatic is counting down towards the 87th edition of the Oscars taking place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on 22 February.

Damjana Finci, a Hollywood Reporter alumnus and movie-industry trade media expert, picks the 10 films she believes should be in our must-see list of flicks to flock to the cinema for.

“I focused on what seems like solid yet quirky, clever, out of the ordinary, quality film-making, both mainstream and indie, both in English and foreign languages,” Finci says. “I deliberately omitted sequels (except for Spectre) and flicks with juvenile appeal as most of them will find a massive audience and make lots of money, anyway.” 

Below is her selection, including Crimson Peak (pictured), in chronological order, accompanied by trailers where available.

1. LIFE OF RILEY

Director: Alain Resnais
Cast: Sabine Azema, Sandrine Kiberlain

Alain Resnais’ Last Year in Marienbad in 1961 was a revolutionary film that changed film-making in a big way. The comedy drama Life of Riley being his very last film should be reason enough to attract fans all over the world.

Distributor: Eureka Entertainment
Release date: 6 March
Trailer

2. CHILD 44

Director: Daniel Espinosa
Cast: Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman

Based on the best-selling novel by British writer Tom Rob Smith, the film reunites Gary Oldman and Tom Hardy in this crime drama. Hardy is a police officer investigating a series of child murders in Stalin’s Soviet Union, 1952. ‘You have to realise, murder is a strictly a capitalist disease’ utters Vincent Cassel.

Distributor: eOne
Release date: 17 April
Trailer

3. A PIGEON SAT ON A BRANCH REFLECTING ON EXISTENCE

Director: Roy Andersson
Cast: Holger Andersson, Nils Westblom

Winner of the Golden Lion in Venice 2014. Andersson, a darling of the art house fans, has made another masterpiece, according to reviews. “It is a bit like a collaboration between Monty Python and Samuel Beckett,” wrote Robbie Collin in a review for London’s Daily Telegraph. A cineaste said: “If you are going to see only one film this year, it has to be Andersson’s masterpiece.”

Release date: 24 April
Distributor: Curzon Film World
Trailer

4. UNFRIENDED

Director: Levan Gabriadze
Cast: Cal Barnes, Matthew Bohrer

Supernatural horror about several friends who find themselves terrorised online by an anonymous person. Positive film festival reception and favourable test screenings for the film prompted Universal Pictures to pick up the film rights. It looks like a film for the New Millennium focus on online bullying.

Distributor: Universal Pictures
Release date: 1 May
Trailer

5. TOMORROWLAND

Director: Brad Bird
Cast: Britt Robertson, George Clooney

Walt Disney’s sci-fi film Tomorrowland with George Clooney is sure to be one of the big box office hits this year. Travelling through time and space, a teenage girl and a middle aged genius try to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place.

Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release date: 22 May
Trailer

6. TIMBUKTU

Director: Abderrahmane Sissako
Cast: Abel Jafri, Toulou Kiki

The film was in the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival 2014 and was nominated for the foreign language Oscar last year. The film depicts the horrors of the occupation of Timbuktu by foreign Islamic rebels.

Distributor: Curzon Film World
Release date: 29 May
Trailer

7. FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD

Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Cast: Carrey Mulligan, Michael Sheen

Based on Thomas Hardy’s acclaimed classic, it will be interesting to see the new version and compare it with John Schlesinger’s 1967 film starring Julie Christie, Terence Stamp and Alan Bates.

Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Release date: 1 May
Trailer

8. UNTITLED COLD WAR SPY THRILLER

Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Tom Hanks, Amy Ryan

Love him or loathe him, Steven Spielberg’s films are always in the focus of the international media and film enthusiasts. Tom Hanks and Spielberg reunite for their fourth movie. The film is based on a true story of an attorney who finds himself thrust into the centre of the Cold War when the CIA sends him to negotiate the release of an American U-2 pilot captured by the Soviets.

Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Release date: 9 October
No Trailer

9. CRIMSON PEAK (pictured above)

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska

A Halloween treat – the gothic horror drama set in a haunted house from the director who gave us one of the best films of this millennium, Pan’s Labyrinth.

Distributor: Universal Pictures
Release date: 16 October
Trailer

10. SPECTRE

Director: Sam Mendes
Cast: Daniel Craig, Léa Seydoux

Bond is back, as is his arch villain Blofeld. Director Sam Mendes did a sterling job with Skyfall, breaking box-office records in the process, so this new instalment is eagerly awaited by all Bond fans. Personally? Ralph Fiennes’ admirers are looking forward to seeing him again as M.

Distributor: Sony Pictures
Release date: 23 October
Trailer

ABOUT DAMJANA FINCI: Finci spent over 20 years working in the entertainment industry: first, in the acquisition department at TV Centre in Sarajevo, Bosnia. After she moved to the UK, she worked for nine years at Moving Pictures (a trade film magazine) as listings/film festival editor before moving on to the sales department as sales executive. This was followed by seven years with The Hollywood Reporter as an account manager in London.
Twitter: @DamjanaFinci

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