36 British films to look out for in 2015

UK cinema in 2015 has plenty to recommend it. Here are 36 UK films of all genres to look forward to this year…

Dig past the litterfall of Kray Brothers biopics and tales of nubile teens on camping trips gone wrong, and you’ll unearth plenty for the UK film industry to boast about in 2015. From sci-fi romps and thrillers like Robot Overlords and Ex Machina to dramas like High-Rise, comedies like War On Everyone, spy flicks like Spectre and kids’ films like Bill, there’s no shortage of inventive, highly promising cinema coming from these isles.

We’ve included a few choice co-productions in 2015’s pick of the year’s most interesting-looking pictures, which bolsters our list in both size and breadth (and mostly means we Brits can claim partial credit for ace-sounding dystopian flick The Lobster).

In alphabetical order then, here are the 36 UK (or UK-ish) movies we’re excited about seeing this year…

 

Ad – content continues below

A Hundred Streets (Jim O’Hanlon)

One of a clutch of 2015 films starring Luther, The Wire, Thor and mooted Bond actor Idris Elba, A Hundred Streets is a London-based drama weaving together a quartet of stories all set within the same square mile of the capital. It’s based on Square Mile: London, a 2012 short co-written by first-time feature writer Leon Butler, and is being sold as a slice-of-life UK picture. Elba’s role is that of a former rugby player estranged from his wife, played by Gemma Arterton, alongside Samantha Barks, Charlie Creed-Miles, Ken Stott and Jamie Foreman. The film marks the feature directorial debut of In The Flesh and A Touch Of Cloth’s Jim O’Hanlon.

 

Absolutely Anything (Terry Jones)

As Life Of Brian director Terry Jones tells it, sci-fi comedy Absolutely Anything, co-written with Gavin Scott, was lurking in a desk drawer for a couple of decades before he dusted it off and cast a bunch of his Python pals.

Eric Idle, John Cleese, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam (though sadly not, as planned, Robin Williams) all provide the voices for a group of extra-terrestrials who bestow limitless sci-fi powers on a secondary school teacher played by Simon Pegg. Given the ability to do ‘absolutely anything’, teacher Neil presumably gets into Bruce Almighty-ish scrapes, and hijinks ensue. Kate Beckinsale and Rob Riggle also star. Expect a July release date for this one.

 

Beyond Clueless (Charlie Lyne)

Billed on Kickstarter (where it successfully raised £12,005 of its £9,500 goal in January 2013) as “a feature-length odyssey through teen cinema 1995-2004”, documentary Beyond Clueless arrives in select UK cinemas on the 23rd of January. It comes written and directed by Ultra Culture and The Guardian’s Charlie Lyne, with narration from The Craft’s Fairuza Balk, and unpicks the twisted cores at the heart of post-Hughes high school and teen movies. Early reviews for this one, including those from its SXSW Festival debut, have been very promising.

Ad – content continues below

Watch the official trailer, here.

Bill (Richard Bracewell)

The prospect of a feature-length episode of the brilliant Horrible Histories should be enough to put Bill, from the creators and stars of the CBBC comedy and Yonderland, on anyone’s must-see list. Written by Ben Willbond and Laurence Rickard, Bill tells the story of William Shakespeare’s arrival in London as a would-be playwright and an attempt to stop some dastardly royal Spaniards in a plot to kill Queen Elizabeth I.

Mat Baynton, Simon Farnaby, Martha Howe-Douglas, Jim Howick, and writers Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond all appear alongside Helen McCrory, Damian Lewis and more. Expect proper jokes, great comedy performances, and very silly wigs. This one comes out in the UK on the 27th of March.

Watch the official trailer, here.

Brooklyn (John Crowley)

Nick Hornby’s screenplay for Brooklyn is his latest book-to-movie adaptation, following on from An Education and Wild. Based on Colm Toibin’s critically lauded 2009 novel about a young Irish immigrant to New York in the 1950s, Brooklyn stars Saoirse Ronan in the lead role of Ellis, with support from Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Jim Broadbent and Julie Walters.

Ad – content continues below

Boy A and Is Anybody There?’s director John Crowley is behind the camera for this tale of family, responsibility, love and culture shock, which debuts at the Sundance Film Festival this January.

 

Ex Machina (Alex Garland)

With so few straight-up sci-fi films coming from the UK this year, we couldn’t not snatch UK/US co-production Ex Machina for this list. An intense psychological thriller with a sci-fi bent, Ex Machina introduces AI bot Ava (Alicia Vikander) to coder Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) over the course of a week in the home of Ava’s creator, shadowy internet company boss Nathan (Oscar Isaac).

The film marks the directorial debut of writer Alex Garland (The Beach, The Tesseract, 28 Days Later), and all signs point to highly promising for this one. We don’t have to wait too long to find out, either, as it’ll be in cinemas in the UK on the 23rd of January.

Watch the latest trailer, here.

Eye In The Sky (Gavin Hood)

Alan Rickman alert: the Rickman’s only scheduled 2015 cinematic release comes in the form of UK-funded military thriller Eye In The Sky, in which he appears alongside Helen Mirren and Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul.

Ad – content continues below

The film, about a military drone mission to capture a terrorist group in Kenya that enters morally dubious territory when a nine year old civilian enters the target zone, comes directed by Ender’s Game and X-Men Origins: Wolverine’s Gavin Hood. The thriller was filmed in South Africa and is due for release at an as-yet unspecified date this year.

 

Far From The Madding Crowd (Thomas Vinterberg)

You’ll find this US/UK co-production topping many critics’ most-anticipated films of 2015 lists, and considering its director, writer, source material and cast, that comes as little surprise.

Thomas Vinterberg (The Hunt, Festen) directs this adaptation of the 1874 Thomas Hardy novel, from a screenplay by novelist and screenwriter David Nicholls (One Day, Us). Carey Mulligan stars as Bathsheba Everdene in a film about changing fortunes, youthful pride, tragic mistakes and secret love. Juno Temple, Michael Sheen and Tom Sturridge also star.

(Incidentally, David Nicholls’ next adaptation gig, a Channel 4 drama series based on Edward St Aubyn’s superb Patrick Melrose novels, should also be well worth keeping an eye out for.)

Watch the official trailer, here.

Ad – content continues below

 

Hamlet (Sarah Frankcom/Margaret Williams)

Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet might be 2015’s hottest theatre ticket, but Sarah Frankcom’s cross-cast production starring the terrific Maxine Peake (Silk, The Village, The Theory Of Everything) in the role comes highly recommended by stage types. Peake’s performance was filmed late last year for a limited cinema release, and is due out on 23rd of March 2015.

 

High-Rise (Ben Wheatley)

Director Ben Wheatley (A Field In England, Kill List, Down Terrace) made his impressive Doctor Who debut this year with Deep Breath and Into The Dalek and now returns to the big screen for this J.G Ballard adaptation. Ballard’s 1975 novel takes place in an affluent modern tower block whose wealthy tenants descend into a primal orgy of violence and destruction.

With a screenplay adapted by Amy Jump – Wheatley’s long-time collaborator and wife – High-Rise features a raft of top UK talent, from Tom Hiddleston to Jeremy Irons, James Purefoy, Keeley Hawes, Sienna Miller and Mad Men and Top Of The Lake’s Elisabeth Moss.

 

Ad – content continues below

Kids In Love (Chris Foggin)

Indie drama Kids In Love was shot for just £250,000 and marks the feature debut of rising star director Chris Foggin, who cut his teeth assistant-directing on a host of UK films from The World’s End to Effie Gray, I Give It A Year, My Week With Marilyn and many more. It’s also the first feature from screenwriters Sebastian de Souza (whom you may remember as Matty from Skins and Alfonso on The Borgias) and Preston Thompson.

Will Poulter (We’re The Millers, Son Of Rambow) stars alongside Alma Jodorowsky (Blue Is The Warmest Colour) in a story of young love in the capital. Plenty of new talent to watch here, we feel.

 

Kill Your Friends (Owen Harris)

John Niven has adapted his own horribly funny, excoriating portrait of the mid-nineties UK music industry for Owen Harris’ film of the same name, and after a lengthy development process, we’re finally about to see the results.

Kill Your Friends has Nicholas Hoult as lead A&R man Stelfox (think Patrick Bateman’s more self-absorbed Brit cousin), with support from Submarine’s Craig Roberts, Rosanna Arquette, James Corden, Tom Riley, Georgia King and more.

Director Owen Harris has terrific Python TV film Holy Flying Circus under his belt, alongside episodes of Black Mirror, Misfits, and Secret Diary Of A Call-Girl. Kill Your Friends will be his feature debut.

Ad – content continues below

 

Kingsman: The Secret Service (Matthew Vaughn)

A strong-looking comic-book adaptation from the writer/director team behind Kick-Ass, Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman, Kingsman: The Secret Service has been on our to-watch list for some time now.

After some jiggery-pokery with release dates, the action comedy starring Colin Firth, Samuel L Jackson, Mark Hamill and Michael Caine finally comes out in the UK on January the 29th. We’d wager this one has one or two real surprises up its sleeve.

Watch the latest trailer, here.

 

Life (Anton Corbijn)

Music video director-turned-cineaste Anton Corbijn’s next picture is a US/UK co-production drama detailing the friendship between US photographer Dennis Stock and actor James Dean. Robert Pattinson and Dane Dehaan play the Life Magazine photojournalist and Hollywood icon respectively.

Ad – content continues below

Corbijn’s new film follows up up his critically acclaimed recent drama – John Le Carré adaptation starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, A Most Wanted Man.

 

London Road (Rufus Norris)

On paper, the premise for Alecky Blythe’s 2011 musical about the Ipswich community’s response to the 2006 real-life murders of five women sounds inappropriately crass. The adoring five star reviews of Blythe’s sensitive verbatim play however, say nothing of the sort.

Rufus Norris, who is shortly to succeed Nick Hytner in his role as National Theatre director, directs the film version of Blythe’s stage musical, due for release later this year and starring Tom Hardy and Olivia Colman.

 

Macbeth (Justin Kurzel)

Australian director Justin Kurzel (Snowtown) shepherds a killer cast through this UK/France co-production of one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies. Michael Fassbender plays the Scottish lead, with Marion Cotillard as the calculating Lady Macbeth, supported by the impressive UK talent of Sean Harris, David Thewlis, and Paddy Considine. It may not be a solely British production, and it might not be classic geek territory, but who wouldn’t be intrigued by that cast?

Ad – content continues below

 

Monsters: Dark Continent (Tom Green)

The sequel to Gareth Edwards’ hugely impressive shoestring-budget sci-fi Monsters, Dark Continent is finally expected to arrive in UK cinemas on 27th of February 2015. Misfits and Blackout’s Tom Green co-writes and directs the creature feature, which takes place a decade after the events of the first film, when the alien-invaded ‘Infected Zones’ have spread globally. Expect Monsters meets Middle Eastern military conflict.

Watch the latest trailer, here.

 

Mr Holmes (Bill Condon)

Sherlock Holmes has never been out of fashion, but the Great Detective is particularly en vogue now, with a posh new exhibition at the Museum of London, a new BBC Cumberbatch/Freeman special on the way, as well as Mr Holmes, a UK/US film adaptation of Mitch Cullin’s novel of the same name, starring Sir Ian McKellan as the aged sleuth.

Long-retired and living in a Sussex cottage, Mr Holmes sees McKellan’s character haunted by an unsolved case from fifty years in his past. With an increasingly unreliable memory, Holmes attempts to piece together fragments of the case in this film directed by The Twilight Saga and The Fifth Estate’s Bill Condon.

Ad – content continues below

 

Our Kind Of Traitor (Susanna White)

The year’s obligatory John Le Carré adaptation comes written by Drive’s Hossein Amini and directed by Jane Eyre, Parade’s End and Bleak House’s Susanna White.

Ewan McGregor and Naomie Harris star as a young academic and lawyer on a tropical holiday that leads them into a tangled story of millionaires, the Russian mafia and British Intelligence. Damian Lewis and Stellan Skarsgard also star.

 

Robot Overlords (Jon Wright)

From the director of 2011’s terrific low-budget alien invasion comedy Grabbers comes Robot Overlords, a Spielbergian coming-of-age story set against the unimprovable backdrop of massive sci-fi robots. Gillian Anderson and Ben Kingsley lead the adult cast alongside a clutch of promising teen newcomers.

Robot Overlords screened at the 2014 London Film Festival and is due out on wider UK release on February 13th.

Ad – content continues below

Watch a featurette, here.

 

Shaun The Sheep (Mark Burton/Richard Starzack)

A post-Sony deal Aardman Films returns to the big screen with feature-length stop-motion animation, Shaun The Sheep. Justin Fletcher (aka CBeebies’ Mr Tumble) provides the voice of Shaun in a story that sees the flock go on holiday by accident to the big city.

Expect this one in Febuary 2015. We can’t wait.

Watch the latest trailer, here.

 

Ad – content continues below

Shooting Clerks (Christopher Downie)

Another crowdfunded success, this one. Shooting Clerks met its fundraising target in early 2014, realising its goal of telling the story of how Kevin Smith maxed out credits cards and more to make cult hit Clerks in 1994. The project received an extra boost last year when Kevin Smith announced that he would be appearing in the indie, both as narrator and in the role of a Canadian journalist.

The Sundance Film Festival was mooted as being Shooting Clerks’ debut platform, but there’s no word on a general release yet for this Christopher Downie venture.

 

Slow West (John Maclean)

A Film4 co-production, Slow West was originally slated for release in 2014, but is now expected to debut at this January’s Sundance Film Festival. It’s the directorial debut of musician and filmmaker John Maclean, and stars Michael Fassbender and Kodi Smit-McPhee as a pair of travellers making their way across 19th century frontier America.

 

Spectre (Sam Mendes)

Its title and casting confirmed in late 2014, Spectre is to be the 24th James Bond film, due for release on the 6th of November 2015.

Ad – content continues below

Sam Mendes is back in the driving seat in the US/UK co-production, joined once again by Daniel Craig in the lead role, with Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw and Rory Kinnear all back as Moneypenny, Q and Tanner respectively, alongside new casting additions Ralph Fiennes, Andrew Scott, Christoph Waltz, Dave Bautista, Lea Seydoux and Monica Bellucci.

 

Spooks: The Greater Good (Bharat Nalluri)

Game Of Thrones’ Kit Harington was seen last year leaping around London rooftops filming the Spooks movie, which comes from Life On Mars, Torchwood and The 100 director Bharat Nalluri.

The feature film sees Harington’s Will Crombie forced to team up with Peter Firth’s Harry Pearce to track down an absconded terrorist. Jennifer Ehle, Lara Pulver, Tuppence Middleton and David Harewood also appear in the film, which is scheduled for a May 8th release date in the UK.

 

Suffragette (Sarah Gavron)

Arriving in the UK in September is Suffragette, directed by Brick Lane’s Sarah Gavron and written by Shame and The Hour’s Abi Morgan. The historical drama relays the story of the UK women who fought for equality under the Suffragette umbrella, including Emmeline Pankhurst (Meryl Streep), Edith New (Helena Bonham-Carter), and Violet Cambridge (Anne-Marie Duff).

Carey Mulligan plays lead Maud, a young woman radicalised to fight for change, alongside support from Ben Whishaw, Romola Garai and Dominic West.

 

Testament Of Youth (James Kent)

Here’s another one starring Game Of Thrones’ Kit Harington, this time opposite Alicia Vikander, Hayley Atwell and Dominic West in James Kent and Juliet Towhidi’s adaptation of Vera Brittain’s memoir of life during WWI.

Testament Of Youth arrives in cinemas this January, following positive reviews from festival appearances.

Watch the latest trailer, here.

 

The Duke Of Burgundy (Peter Strickland)

Berberian Sound Studio director Peter Strickland returns to cinemas with a critically lauded erotic drama that, judging by early reviews, might not be the sort of thing you’d be comfortable seeing with your nan. The film made its debut in the UK at the London Film Festival last September and is out for wider release this February.

Watch the official trailer, here.

 

The Face Of An Angel (Michael Winterbottom)

Inspired by the book Angel Face, Michael Winterbottom’s cinematic follow-up to porn baron biopic The Look Of Love is based on the real-life murder of Meredith Kercher and the subsequent trial of Amanda Knox. It’s a UK/Italy/Spain co-production starring Kate Beckinsale and Cara Delevingne which delves into philosophical issues of guilt and innocence. Expect to see it in UK cinemas this March.

Watch a clip from the film, here.

 

The Falling (Carol Morley)

Carol Morley’s documentary Dreams Of A Life featuring Zawe Ashton, was a powerful reflection on death and modern living. Her next feature, The Falling, takes her careful eye back to the late sixties to tell a story about fainting schoolgirls and a “world poised on the brink of change”.

Game Of Thrones’ Maisie Williams plays the troubled young woman at the heart of The Falling, in which she appears alongside Morley regular Maxine Peake. Set in a British all-girl school in 1969, the Morley-written and directed film deals with a mysterious fainting epidemic.

We initially included The Falling on our UK films to look out for in 2014 list but it’s finally out this April.

 

The Legend Of Barney Thomson (Robert Carlyle)

Based on Douglas Lindsay’s cult comedy Scottish series of Barney Thomson novels comes The Legend Of Barney Thomson, which marks the directorial feature debut of actor Robert Carlyle. The story of a Glasgow barber trapped in a cycle of mediocrity before falling into the comically absurd world of the serial killer, this UK/Canada co-production stars Carlyle, Emma Thompson, Ashley Jensen, and Ray Winstone.

 

The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos)

The UK may only be one of a list of countries co-producing The Lobster, from director Yorgos Lanthimos, but we’ll take any flimsy excuse to blow this one’s trumpet.

The dystopian sci-fi marks Lanthimos’ English-language debut and creates a world in which single people are forced to pair off within a strict 45-day period. Should they fail to find a mate inside the stipulated time, they face, er, an extraordinary punishment.

Anyone who saw Lanthimos’ nightmarish 2009 film Dogtooth will need no convincing of the writer/director’s wildly inventive and disturbing talent. The cast for The Lobster is just as alluring, with Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw, Olivia Colman, Léa Seydoux and John C. Reilly all appearing.

 

The Messenger (David Blair)

The Street and The Accused’s David Blair directs Robert Sheehan, Joely Richardson and Lily Cole and  from a script by Emmerdale’s Andrew Kirk in supernatural thriller, The Messenger. Sheehan stars as a young man plagued by contact from the afterlife in this low-budget fantasy horror due out in 2015.

 

The Theory Of Everything (James Marsh)

Eddie Redmayne’s performance as cosmologist Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything comes so highly recommended that it seems a dead cert for an Oscar nomination when the time comes. There’s more than that to recommend this biopic from Man On Wire and Project Nim director James Marsh though, which you can see for yourself in the UK from the 6th of January.

Watch the official trailer, here.

 

The Woman In Black 2: Angel Of Death (Tom Harper)

Already out in UK cinemas is Hammer’s sequel to the box office success of 2012’s The Woman In Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe as the terrorised lead. Radcliffe and director James Watkins may have scarpered, but this sequel directed by Peaky Blinders and Misfits’ Tom Harper has plenty to offer fans of a traditional haunted house flick.

Watch the latest trailer, here.

War On Everyone (John Michael McDonagh)

Not a great deal is known about The Guard and Calvary director John Michael McDonagh’s next picture, War On Everyone, but simply having those two stunners in his back catalogue means that our ticket’s already paid for. We know the story is a comedy revolving around two corrupt cops in New Mexico whose game of extortion and blackmail reach a sticking point when they appear to bite off more than they can chew, and we can count on McDonagh’s characteristic wit and flair in the telling.