2015 in Cinema

2015 films

Every year I make a list of films I’m looking forward to. Being a cinephile, I make an effort to seek out not only those movies that I know will be surefire hits (I’m looking at you, Avengers 2), but also those dark horses (Chappie, perhaps?).

2015 looks like our best year in film yet. It’s got one of the most anticipated films of the past decade (Star Wars Episode VII), the gritty setup for Marvel Phase III with Avengers 2, and a host of reboots that I can’t wait to get into the cinema and watch.

Without further ado, here’s my pick of films to look out for this year.

(Films marked with an asterisk are my must-see items of the year).

  • Mortdecai (Jan 23)
  • Jupiter Ascending (Feb 6)
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service (Feb 13)
  • *Chappie (Mar 8)
  • The Gunman (Mar 13)
  • Furious 7 (Apr 3)
  • *Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1)
  • Mad Max: Fury Road (May 15)
  • Tomorrowland (May 22)
  • *Jurassic World (Jun 12)
  • Inside Out (Jun 19)
  • Ted 2 (Jun 26)
  • Terminator Genisys (Jul 1)
  • Minions (Jul 10)
  • *Ant-Man (Jul 17)
  • Pan (Jul 24)
  • Pixels (Jul 24)
  • Hitman: Agent 47 (Aug 28)
  • Everest (Sep 18)
  • Victor Frankenstein (Oct 2)
  • St. James Place (Oct 16)
  • *Spectre (Nov 6)
  • *The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (Nov 20)
  • The Good Dinosaur (Nov 25)
  • The Martian (Nov 25)
  • Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (Dec 18)
  • Mission: Impossible 5 (Dec 25)

A lot of exciting films coming out this year, but a few notable mentions regarding this year’s selection: this is the first year that Pixar Animation Studios will be releasing two films in one year. Perhaps this will make up for last year’s lack of a single film from Emeryville, CA. I do hope they regain their classic touch, something I feel they’ve lost in recent releases.

Star Wars will be the biggest movie of this year. Yes, even bigger than Marvel’s “Avengers” sequel. That’s because there’s so much riding on this movie, such anticipation, and most of all: the great mysteries surrounding this release are sure to compel fans new and old to this franchise to check out what director J.J. Abrams has in store.

Then there’s Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, which will release sometime later this year (no official date yet). This revenge western set around the Civil War is another film I’m really excited about.

I will once again post my thoughts on some of the films above once I’ve seen them, and this year I will also write a few posts a month on cinema, the technical aspects of the industry and my thoughts on some of these upcoming releases, in anticipation of watching them.


What’s in the bag: the writer/architect/coder edition


My life is made up of many facets – due, perhaps, to multiple interests that influence my daily living. In writing this post, I decided to distill those many interests into three main areas: writing, architecting, and coding. Those are my principle fields, the ones I choose to spend my time in contemplating things and creating things.

I thought it’d be a fun exercise, both in practicing my vector drawing skills with Illustrator, and in collecting and thinking of the tools I use on a daily basis, to compile this post. These are items I depend on daily to get through my work; they are indispensable to who I am and the things I create.

(I might add that my EarPods are a part of this mix, but didn’t make it to the final cut – maybe because I forget to carry them around with me sometimes).



Music is a big part of my life. My trusy old iPod classic has been a longtime companion, but since I’ve become hooked on SoundCloud, I’ve been using it less. So now it’s mostly relegated to staying in my car, where it powers my driving soundtrack. My iPhone (and sometimes iPad) is the streaming surrogate for my SoundCloud obsession lately.


I write a lot, and find that analogue writing is a great way to distill thoughts and slow things down. My latest Moleskine is the Star Wars “Darth Vadar” edition ruled book, with the inspiring words “Don’t Underestimate the Force” embossed on the cover. I mainly write with a fountain pen in it (a Parker Sonnet with Sheaffer Blue/Black ink, a gift in my final year at high school), but when on-the-go, my trusty Parker Jotter does the trick. I have a great affinity for the Jotter – it’s the only model I’ve ever used since I was in Grade 4, and I carry it with me wherever I go.


As a designer, I keep a simple sketchbook with me for those moments when I need to sketch something to make sense of it. I’m not the best drawer, but little diagrams often help resolve some of the most complex problems, from graphic design ideas to large-scale buildings.

The Hub

My MacBook Pro is central to everything. It’s the machine I use to edit video, animate logos, design everything from wayfinding assets to website graphics to architectural projects for university, to writing blogs, short stories, essays and even my attempts at various novels. Everything I do feeds into this wonderful, dare I say it – magical, machine. Having an iPad Air helps tremendously as a second screen to display concepts or PDFs with tutorials, books or even web pages I’m using for reference. This allows me to keep the MacBook’s screen devoted to the task at hand. I generally run OS X with three desktop spaces to lessen the clutter that can arise from having many windows open at once.

I always maintain that it’s not the tools one uses, but how they use them, that should be important whenever art is concerned. But this setup is what makes me enjoy creating things, imagining things and bringing things to life. I’ll probably change many of these elements as the years go by, but for now I’m really happy with this workflow.

4 Future Box Office Giants


Every year I compile a list of film releases that I’m looking forward to seeing. So this is a mere interlude (I’ll still write the 2014 list either at the end of this year, or early next year), but I felt compelled to write it since there have been some major announcements for franchises that I enjoy, many of them remakes that I’m curious to see the modern interpretations thereof.

These movies are also sure to be box office smash-hits, given that they’re from existing (and successful) franchises. Whether they’re going to be cinematic masterpieces (highly doubtful in this realm of popcorn cinema) doesn’t matter: because they’re going to be damn fun to watch. I can’t wait.

Batman vs. Superman, or Man of Steel II

Starring Ben Affleck (aka Batfleck). ’nuff said. Also, it’s going to be the first time Batman and Superman share screen time together. I’m not expecting  Christopher Nolan-eque quality here, but I did enjoy Man of Steel and a sequel is much appreciated from this blogger.

Jurassic World

I’ll admit I was terrified of those CGI dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. But I was just a kid then. And the news that a new film in this franchise is under way is great news; it gives me a reason to re-watch the old ones (and marvel at how far we’ve come in CGI tech… and how inaccurate our ideas of dinosaurs were back then. Granted, they still won’t be 100% scientifically accurate in Jurassic World, but they’re sure to be 100% better animated this time round).

Star Wars Episode 7

Probably the most-contested film on this list, Star Wars Episode VII will be the first film produced under the Disney banner, without Lucas directing. There’s so much that could go wrong here (and as the picture above notes, “It’s a Mouse Trap”). But there’s also a lot to look forward to: J J Abrams, director of the reboot of Star Trek is, in my opinion, a good choice – as long as he lays off the lens flares. Lucasfilm is still involved (albeit with heavy steering from Disney this time), and hey – more Star Wars! That’s a good thing, right? I recently read that they’ve chosen to film it on 35mm film, and use physical models in lieu of CGI, in attempts to keep this sequel trilogy as visually consistent with the original trilogy. That’s a bold decision, but one I’m sure many fans will welcome after the smorgasbord of wham-pow! effects in the prequels. Whatever transpires, one thing is certain: this particular Star Wars film will be one of the biggest releases of 2015.


The kaiju to end all kaijus is coming back. And this time it’s set to be even better: this film will tell the origin story of the famous monster as a “terrifying force of nature.” Set to release on May 16, 2014, we can be sure to expect spectacular CGI. According to Legendary Pictures:  “An epic rebirth to Toho’s iconic Godzilla, this spectacular adventure, from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, pits the world’s most famous monster hero against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.” Sounds like fun.

So those are the films I’m really looking forward to in the long run. Be sure to check out my “2014 in Film” list, which I’ll post on Pixelated Thinking around December 2013/January 2014.