Our Most Anticipated Movies of 2014!
2013 is so very close to done. Just a few more minutes in the oven, but keep the fork ready.
Do we, the obsessed movie watchers of the ScreenCrush community, take a break? Heck no! January brings the Sundance Film Festival and then we dive right back into a big year of with some really big movies. And, speaking of big movies, we present to you our list of the ten most anticipated films of 2104.
With any list, there are a few points of exception. These are only 2014 movies I haven’t seen yet. I saw Scarlett Johansson as a sex alien in ‘Under the Skin‘ at the Toronto Film Festival already, plus Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as vampires in Jim Jarmusch’s ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’. Those two, plus a Polish film called ‘Ida,’ are ones to watch out for.
Also, We’re only talking feature films here. If we were to talk films of any length at all – even in the, say, two minute range – then we’d argue the footage we’d want to see the most in 2014 would be the ‘Star Wars: Episode 7′ trailer we’ll get later next year. Trust us, there’s nothing we’ll be watching and analyzing more than that.
As you read this list, you’ll note the absence of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2,’ ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past,’ ‘Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier‘ and other major blockbusters. It’s not that we’re not excited for these movies, it’s just that everyone is excited for these movies. What remains are still largely mysteries.
'Jupiter Ascending' seemed, at first, like a it-for-tat after the strangeness of 'Cloud Atlas.' "Let us make this bonkers movie and we'll come back with something that'll be a hit like 'The Matrix'." After seeing the teaser trailer, I'm not so sure this'll go down as easy as all that.
Frankly, it has a whiff of 'John Carter' to it – a pulpy whiz-bang space opera adventure with zooming ships and a “regular person” (in this case Mila Kunis) suddenly discovering she is key to some interplanetary conflict. Based on the trailer, I really don't know what to expect – but I'm hoping it's dazzling and fun and has some way-out ideas. I also hope it doesn't collapse under its own weight the way 'Cloud Atlas' and the second two 'Matrix' films did.
I know for a fact that this two-part Lars von Trier sexcapade is going to annoy me. LvT's position as the top enfant terrible of the auteurist set was secure without this button-pushing, explicit tale of a fornicator's life. But, as someone who has been following the Danish madman's career since the 90s (yes, I saw 'Zentropa' in a theater) I can't very well look away.
By all reports 'Nymphomaniac' is an anthology film (split in two, 'Kill Bill'-style) about eight prurient episodes in a woman's life. Is it filth or is it art? Probably art. (Probably?) But, it will be art that, I'm sure, have moments that make us wonder if Lars isn't just pulling our leg. At least I hope that's our leg.
'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes'
In an era of namby-pamby reboots and prequels and general unoriginality, the 'Apes' series seems to be the one that's getting it right. By taking the "essence" of what made the original films cool but not chaining themselves to mythology, the truth is that we really have no idea what's in store for 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.' But, after the teaser trailer dropped, it's pretty clear that whatever is going on is going to be awesome. The final bridge fight from 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' looks to have spread across the globe, and leader of the simians Caesar looks to've gotten no less angry. While my head says I should side with the humans for self-preservation, my heart wants to see a world ruled by apes.
'Maps to the Stars'
David Cronenberg found a perfect vessel for 'Cosmopolis'' eerie, somewhat plasticine cruise through the apocalypse in Robert Pattinson. The pair have joined forces once again for a satire of celebrity culture and the Hollywood dream factory. Also starring Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Mia Wasikowska and Carrie Fisher (as herself!), 'Maps to the Stars' is bound to be bizarre – and if anyone can find something new to say about our obsession with fame and curious world of image-making, Cronenberg is the man who can do it.
Christopher Nolan's longtime cinematographer Wally Pfister takes a turn in the director's chair for what sounds like a classic sci-fi thriller. Johnny Depp stars as a genius computer scientist who is developing a centralized (and potentially sentient) repository of all intelligence. No doubt, things will go awry, especially after Depp tries to download his own consciousness into the database. Yeah, it's a pulpy idea that sounds pretty basic, but maybe that's just the type of premise a first time director needs to really spread his wings (think of Duncan Jones and 'Moon.') Paul Bettany and Cillian Murphy are also in the film – which sounds just about right.
'Exodus' / 'Noah'
Okay, so we're cheating by slipping in two films here, but a) we can't choose and b) chances are we're gonna confuse them in our memory anyway. 'Exodus' is Ridley Scott's take on Moses with Christian Bale, 'Noah' is Darren Aronofsky's take on the Flood with Russell Crowe. Normally, we'd expect Aronofsky's film to be a little less predictable, but after Scott's 'The Counselor' it's anyone's guess.
You can bet on one thing – both films are going to make sandals and rushing water and beams of light breaking through the clouds look beautiful.
Christopher Nolan is taking us to space. Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Matt Damon and Anne Hathaway are involved, too. The movie may involve wormholes? That's about all I know right now.
When Nolan goes full mind-scramble, few touch him. There are some who theorize he was sick to death of the superhero movies, but did them so the studio would finance films like this and 'Inception.' Who knows if that's really true...all that matters is that big budget, imaginative science fiction making its presence felt in 2014 and this will be one of the big rockets blazing the trail.
'The Grand Budapest Hotel'
'The Grand Budapest Hotel' looks to be the silliest, most madcap movie of Wes Anderson's career, and that includes what is ostensibly his "kiddie flick," 'Fantastic Mr. Fox.' Ralph Fiennes runs around like a lunatic through a number of gorgeously designed dioramas and whimsical tableaux. Is there a story? Yeah, and likely a bittersweet one, too. Adrien Brody, Jeff Goldblum, F. Murray Abraham and a host of other that guy! actors are also in motion and it all has something to do with a valuable painting that Tilda Swinton left behind in her will. It looks like this may be the summation of Anderson's visual quirkiness reaching its logical endpoint, and the haters will no doubt hate. I, however, will be eating it up with a rather perfectly selected place setting.
After decades of being the hippest man of letters, the notoriously secretive Thomas Pynchon is allowing a movie version of one of his books. That the book, the relatively recent 'Inherent Vice,' is a spin on L.A. detective fiction, is no doubt by design.
The adaptation comes from Paul Thomas Anderson, whose recent 'The Master' only gets better the more that you stew on it. Joaquin Phoenix will play the lead private dick and the cast features such awesome names as Martin Short, Benicio Del Toro, Michael K. Williams and Jena Malone. The setting is the late 1960s, so you can expect some intense costumes and set design if nothing else.
'Guardians of the Galaxy'
Just when you think you know what to expect with superhero movies, this one comes along. Is this Marvel's Kevin Feige's special “thank you” to the most extreme of nerdcore fans? By all accounts, this is a deep dive into Marvel's mythos, focusing on the weirder parts of the shared Universe. Bradley Cooper will play a talking badass raccoon, we'd like to you remember. Also: blue-skinned Yondu the Centaurian, the Nova Corps, the Elders of the Universe, the Infinity Gauntlet (possibly) and Glenn Freakin' Close. The simple fact that this movie is coming out with a wide release is only a testament to how much the geeks have inherited the Earth.