Just because Hollywood is still in the grip of Awards Season, that doesn't mean we can't start getting excited about what the next 12 months have in store for movie fans. While we have to wait to see what indie and prestigious fare shake out of Sundance, Cannes and the rest of the festival circuit, you can mark your calendars with these now.
It's encouraging to know that after not nearly enough people gave "Cloud Atlas" a shot, Larry and Lana Wachowski aren't playing it safe. Instead, they're doubling down on the bizarre and grandiose science-fiction fare that they're known for. Give Channing Tatum's wolf ears a chance.
While this musical starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan isn't necessarily the best date movie — it chronicles a couple falling in and painfully out of love — it's definitely a better Valentine's Day choice than "Fifty Shades of Gray."
Let's face it, all these Marvel movies are cool and all — and 2014's two entries were very, very cool — but it's all fun and games until Joss Whedon returns to the scene with the studio's flagship. Bonus points for James Spader voicing an evil killer robot. Even if you're suffering from Superhero Movie Fatigue, at least make room for the cream of the crop.
It's been a pretty depressing few years of attempted revamps of '80s action franchises — "Total Recall" and "Robocop" come painfully to mind, and yet another "Terminator" movie looks like the worst yet — but this? This gives us hope. Mostly because "Road Warrior" guru George Miller is behind the wheel. And because of that jaw-dropping trailer.
We're not really sure what's going on with this movie, and that's part of what makes it so exciting. George Clooney, a young female protagonist and Brad Bird directing? Count us in. Let's just hope co-writer and "Lost" alum Damon Lindelof doesn't let us down.
This might be a terrible, terrible mistake, but we're willing to be cautiously optimistic. For now, at least. Director Colin Trevorrow's previous indie work gives us some hope, as does Chris Pratt on a motorcycle flanked by velociraptors. Come on, Pratt. Don't let us down.
Here's all you need to know about "Inside Out." It's Pixar's first original movie in years, and it's about different personified emotions fighting each other for control of a young girl. Right?
Again, some cautious optimism. But director Joe Wright has earned the benefit of the doubt with his spectacular and varied work on "Pride and Prejudice," "Atonement" and "Hannah." While a "Peter Pan origin story" sounds like a very cynical, Hollywood idea, the trailer gives us hope.
The closer we get to the end of the year, the less convincing we need to get excited for big releases. Case in point: The next James Bond film, with "Skyfall" director Sam Mendes sticking around for another go. They've barely been filming a month and it's due in theaters in November. You've got to at least admire the work ethic.
No other 2015 film really embodies the term "anticipated" quite like this one. The more tiny bits of information J.J. Abrams lets out about the project, the more secure we feel in its awesomeness. It's going to be one crazy Christmas.
Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter: @nedrick