There are two years that have long been regarded as producing some of the greatest films in cinematic history.
There was 1939, which saw the release of Gone with the Wind, Of Mice and Men, The Wizard of Oz and Wuthering Heights.
Then there was 1984, which brought us gems like Ghostbusters, This is Spinal Tap, Footloose, Splash, The Breakfast Club and The Terminator.
This year might just rival the both of them.
The year ahead promises an almost endless marathon of movie gold – a mixed bag of wonder in which there exists something to please even the pickiest moviegoer.
There are big-budget sequels – for which “highly anticipated” doesn’t quite cut it – plus some brilliantly written small fries and a host of long-awaited directorial comebacks on the cards.
Here are just 15 of the many movies we’re excited about in 2015.
Remember what Bridesmaids did for female comedians? Trainwreck is about to do it again, but bigger. Writer and star Amy Schumer has become somewhat of a tour de force in the United States and Australian audiences are sure to discover her this year in a big way.
The wisecracking comedienne has teamed up with Knocked Up powerhouse Judd Apatow to deliver a wry take on the dating world, featuring a delightfully unrecognisable Tilda Swinton.
If the trailer is anything to go by, this is going to be one of those movies you’ll be quoting at cocktail parties for years to come.
Release date: July 23
2. Jurassic World
It’s been 13 years since the last Jurassic Park film and the pressure is on for director Colin Trevorrow to deliver on Stephen Spielberg’s timeless legacy.
Set 22 years after the events of the original, the film takes place at an elaborate dinosaur park where, of course, things backfire to a disastrous degree.
In case you need convincing (unlikely), there are three reasons to go see this movie on the big screen.
Firstly, it stars Chris Pratt, who may just be Hollywood’s new favourite nice guy. Seriously, the guy is so likeable he makes George Clooney look like Charlie Sheen.
Secondly, special effects have come a long way since the 1993 original. Expect massive action scenes that literally jump off the screen thanks to their 3D format.
Finally, it’s about dinosaurs. Dinosaurs never get old (figuratively).
Release date: June 11
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3. Mad Max: Fury Road
The second huge sequel of the year, Fury Road promises post-apocalyptic action so intense even the trailer is an emotional journey of epic proportions.
Budding action star Tom Hardy and Hollywood favourite Charlize Theron attempt to restore humanity to a war-ravaged world as Max and Furiosa.
Not only does the film look stunning – a dusty dystopia on steroids – it’s got a stellar cast featuring a couple of Aussies (we see you, Megan Gale).
It’s already scored itself an R-rating from the MPAA for “extreme violence”. We wouldn’t expect anything less.
Release date: May 15
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4. The Martian
Thanks to Ridley Scott we have films like Alien and Blade Runner – sci-fi flicks that have defined their genre and set industry standards.
His newbie, The Martian, should be no exception.
Starring Matt Damon and based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Andy Weir, The Martian follows an astronaut stranded on Mars with no food, no human company and no way out.
Think Gravity: Part Two – cinematographer Dariusz Wolski will ensure it’s just as visually stunning.
As if Damon alone wasn’t enough to pull you in, Hollywood heavyweights Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Jeff Daniels also star.
Release date: November 25
5. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
It was one of the most closely guarded secrets of 2014 and, now that the cat’s out of the bag, the seventh Star Wars movie is set to break records in 2015.
The cast reads like a “Who’s hot in Hollywood” list, with indie favourites Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson and Adam Driver joining the returning Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher.
With a look and feel that pays tribute to the original, plus some J.J. Abrams-mandated slick action, this is almost guaranteed to be both a cash cow and a critical success.
Oh, the Force is going to awaken alright.
Release date: December 18
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6. Knight of Cups
Sure, Terrence Malick isn’t for everyone. His 2011 mind trip Tree of Life was one of the most contentious films of the year.
Knight of Cups is similarly left of centre, but with a cast that could sell ice to an eskimo.
Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Natalie Portman and Antonio Banderas join forces in this tale of a Los Angeles screenwriter attempting to make sense of the bizarre events going on around him.
We predict Oscars all round.
Release date: December 11
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7. Pitch Perfect 2
If you haven’t seen the first version of this charming, hilarious acapella comedy, do yourself a favour and watch it this weekend.
That way, you’ll be sufficiently excited for when all-girl group The Bellas hit the stage again to offer a delightful medley of pop covers.
Go for the singalong soundtrack, stay for Aussie actress Rebel Wilson as “Fat Amy”.
Release date: May 14
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8. The Hateful Eight
Steel yourselves, thinking public. Quentin Tarantino is making a Western.
Those familiar with the director’s blood-spattered prior work – Kill Bill, Django Unchained, Inglorious Basterds – will know what this means.
The cast of this bounty hunter film includes Channing Tatum, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Kurt Russell.
Expect a spectacular blood bath.
Release date: TBA
Director David O’Russell is back writing for his muses Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in Joy, the true story of Joy Mangano, a single mum who became one of America’s most successful entrepreneurs.
The trio have a now time-honoured tradition of teaming up for critically acclaimed kook-fests, starting back at Silver Linings Playbook and ending most recently with last year’s Serena. And it’s a tradition because the combination just works.
Lawrence will, of course, play the lead role and probably score herself another awards season’s-worth of accolades.
Release date: December 25
You may not think you want a big-screen version of the Shakespeare play, but when you hear that Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender are involved you might change your mind.
Cotillard and Fassbender play the murderous duo at the centre of this Scottish power play.
We have a feeling Macbeth is about to get some sex appeal.
Release date: late 2015
Bond is back – what more do you need to know?
Daniel Craig, plus new additions Monica Bellucci, Lea Seydoux and Christoph Waltz, could make this the best 007 movie yet.
Regardless, car chases through Austrian ski fields spell box office hit.
Release date: November 6
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Since Back to the Future, the world has been noticeably lacking in futuristic family-friendly adventures with class.
Tomorrowland has arrived to fill the void. Rising star Britt Robertson takes on her first (albeit impressive) lead role alongside George Clooney as a young woman who stumbles upon an alternate universe.
Clooney tackling young adult films? We’re intrigued.
Release date: May 22
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13. While We’re Young
Finally, a mid-life crisis movie with a twist.
Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts play a middle-aged couple whose life is turned upside down by a pair of 20-something hipsters, played by Amanda Seyfried and Girls star Adam Driver.
This will be quirky (director Noah Baumbach is the man behind Frances Ha), beautifully written and hilariously insightful.
Release date: March 27
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14. Child 44
It’s a big year for Tom Hardy, first he plays Max in Mad Max: Fury Road, next he takes on a far different role as a disgraced member of the military police investigating a series of gruesome child murders in Stalin-era Soviet Union.
Also starring Gary Oldman, Joel Kinnaman and Noomi Rapace, this bleak thriller looks appropriately creepy, a sensation heightened by some seriously impressive Russian accents on behalf of its stars.
Release date: TBA
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Baldwin. Stone. McAdams. Cooper. Hawaii. All wrapped up in a Cameron Crowe special.
We’re not quite sure if Aloha is a romance, a comedy or an action film but something about the tale of a military man navigating old love and new flames is so intriguing we can’t wait to see how it all ends.
The only problem: we can’t decide which actress we’re rooting for as the love interest, Emma Stone or Rachel McAdams?
It’s a pretty wonderful dilemma.
Release date: May 29
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