Thursday, 6 February 2014

Blog: My most anticipated films for 2014

We're currently in 2014 and as of yet, the consensus is that there hasn't been a film release worth talking about, let alone venturing to the cinema to see. But we still have many months to go, packed with new releases, so here is my list of films i'm most anticipating for 2014 (one of which comes out very very soon).

Once again, I should point out that this is me voicing my opinion, not stating which films will be the best.

Honourable Mentions:

Nymphomaniac This 2 part examination of sex may be raking in the controversy for its subject matter, but being from Lars Von Trier, it'll be more thoughtful than titillating.
Sin City: A Dame To Kill For The long awaited sequel to the 2005 hit brings back (most of) the cast and crew to adapt more of Frank Millers comics, along with 2 original storylines included.
Jane Got a Gun A film whose existence wasn't even made aware of until the director quit one day into shooting, the talent assembled along with the intriguing plot sounds promising.
Life After Beth A zombie comedy that intrigues from its wonderful cast of Dane DeHann, Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick.
Edge of Tomorrow Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt headline this science-fiction film powered by an intriguing concept.

25. Horns

Release Date: N/A

Premise: In the aftermath of his girlfriend's mysterious death, a young man awakens to strange horns sprouting from his temples, which give him the power to compel people to unravel their deepest secrets

Why?: Daniel Radcliffe has proven himself to be a good actor as the titular character in the Harry Potter series, and continues to prove himself to critics and audiences alike in his efforts to prove he's an actor capable of more than just one well-known role. His next role looks to be his most intense, taking a dark storyline from acclaimed author Joe Hill (son of Stephen King).

Hint of Doubt: From the director of Pirahna and Mirrors...

F Word poster.jpg24. The F Word

Release Date: May 2nd

Premise: Wallace becomes infatuated with a girl named Chantry, only to discover that she's already dating another man, thus causing their relationship to be put in the "friend zone".

Why?: Having already praised Daniel Radcliffe in the previous entry, allow me to praise Zoe Kazan, who proved herself to be a wonderful actress in 2012's Ruby Sparks. The chance to see her work on another romcom is enticing, especially with the chance to watch Daniel Radcliffe flex his acting chops in a comedy from the director of 2012's underrated Goon.

Hint of Doubt: It could just be a retread of numerous romcom cliches, all building towards the predictable ending.

23. Birdman

Release Date: N/A

Premise: A washed-up actor who once played an iconic superhero must overcome his ego and family trouble as he mounts a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim his past glory.

Why?: The casting of Michael Keaton a "a washed-up actor who once played an iconic superhero" is inspired and worth the ticket price alone. The cast also composed of Emma Stone, Edward Norton and Naomi Watts, under the direction of the acclaimed director of Babel, is another plus.

Hint of Doubt: Alejandro González Iñárritu has so far made drama films, so his first foray into comedy may turn out to be a misstep.

Teaser poster22. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Release Date: May 2nd

Premise: Peter continues to balance his school life and his life as Spider-Man, while investigating into his fathers past and facing new villains.

Why?: The Amazing Spider-Man arrived with people crying "too soon" at the idea of a reboot, and won over most of the audience. The sequel looks to build upon some elements from the first film, while expanding Spidey's villain roster and giving a look into the villainous goings on at Oscorp. Plus, every Spidey fan is wondering whether one particular storyline will be adapted onscreen, and there's no faulting an appearance from Chris Cooper.

Hint of Doubt: As Spider-Man 3 showed us, multiple villains can be difficult to handle, so it's worrisome that this film also contains 3 villains. But we don't know in what capacity they will appear. Also, no emo Peter.

Maps to the Stars poster.jpg21. Map to the Stars

Release Date: N/A

Premise: The film concerns the plight of two former child-stars, while commenting on the entertainment industry’s relationship with Western Civilization as a whole.

Why?: I have only seen two films from acclaimed director David Cronenberg, A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, and with both those films I can see why the guy is so acclaimed. I am never not up for watching a satire of Hollywood, especially when it's helmed by Cronenberg and starring Carrie Fisher as herself.

Hint of Doubt: Cronenbergs last film, Cosmopolis, was not well received by audiences...

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.jpg20. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Release Date: July 11th

Premise: Eight years after the events of the first film, a growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed eight years earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth's dominant species.

Why?: Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a true surprise. Coming out of nowhere, from a long defunct franchise, in 2011, we were treated to one of the better films of that year. While it's a shame director Rupert Wyatt couldn't return, Matt Reeves is a good replacement, a cast of Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke and Keri Russell is a definite plus and the return of Andy Serkis is the best news of them all.

Hint of Doubt: If the film is like its predecessor, than the humans will be dull, uninteresting and have thin characterization.

19. Gone Girl

Release Date: October 3rd

Premise: A woman mysteriously disappears on her wedding anniversary.

Why?: David Fincher returns with an adaptation of the best seller by Gillian Flynn, who is also writing the films script. A cast composed of Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris and Ben Affleck. Also, due to fan hatred over the books ending, Flynn has written a new ending for the film.

Hint of Doubt: The changed ending may be worse...

Noah2014Poster.jpg18. Noah

Release Date: March 28th

Premise: The Biblical Noah suffers visions of an apocalyptic deluge and takes measures to protect his family from the coming flood.

Why?: Darren Aronofsky's latest looks to be a visual wonder, likely filled with symbolism and metaphors to get the mind working. It also helps that there's a reliable cast on hand, from wizened veterans like Russell Crowe and Anthony Hopkins, to young up and comers like Emma Watson and Logan Lerman.

Hint of Doubt: There has been controversy over changes made for the film, and especially with the final third. At the current moment, its unknown whether Aronofsky has given into the studios wants to change these controversial aspects, which could potentially split audiences, like the end of The Worlds End.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 poster.jpg17. How To Train Your Dragon 2

Release Date: June 13th

Premise: It has been five years since Hiccup and Toothless successfully united dragons and Vikings on the island of Berk. Hiccup flies away from Berk to explore new lands, and discover a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new species dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider. The two friends then find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace.

Why?: How To Train Your Dragon was a wonderful film that was one of the first films to prove Dreamworks had what it takes to meet Pixar head-on in the animated film department, so a sequel should prove to meet the same highs, especially since it's from the director and co-writer of Lilo and Stitch.

Hint of Doubt: The idea of the main characters mother suddenly appearing and being a protector of dragons could come off cliched, depending on how its handled.

16. How To Catch A Monster

Release Date: N/A

Premise: A single mother enters a dark lifestyle, while her son uncovers a road leading to an underwater utopia.

Why?: Ryan Gosling takes a step back from acting to write and direct. While we cannot predict how well he will be able to do either, the concept is enticing enough and coupled with one of the years best ensembles, including Saoirse Ronan, Christina Hendricks and former Time Lord Matt Smith.

Hint of Doubt: Goslings foray into writing and directing may turn out lackluster.

Bad Words (2013) Poster15. Bad Words


Release Date: March 14th

Premise: A spelling bee loser sets out to exact revenge by finding a loophole and attempting to win as an adult.

Why?: Jason Bateman has proven himself time and time again to be a magnificent actor with wonderful comedic timing, so to see him try his hand at directing seems like a good idea. Plus it helps that the script was on the black list, the list of the best unproduced scripts.

Hint of Doubt: The humor could end up largely relying on being overly juvenile and mean-spirited, like last years Grown Ups 2.

14. Jupiter Ascending

Release Date: July 18th

Premise: Set in the future where gods rule over humans, Jupiter Jones is an unlucky Russian immigrant who cleans toilets for a living. She encounters Caine, an interplanetary warrior whom the Queen of the Universe sent to kill Jupiter. Caine tells Jupiter that the stars were pointing to an extraordinary event on the night she was born, and that her DNA could mark her as the universe's next leader.

Why?: With Cloud Atlas and The Matrix, the Wachowskis have proven themselves a force to be reckoned with when it comes to building a unique world inhabited by remarkable characters, so the chance to see them build another such universe is wonderful. In recent years, Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis have proven themselves more to be reliable actors, and you can't go wrong with Sean Bean.

Hint of Doubt: The trailer currently portrays Jupiter as a damsel in distress and the focus seemed to be on a love subplot between the leads. Hopefully, the film will expand upon this and give us more of a reason to want Jupiter to succeed in becoming Queen, rather than just because of genetics.

13. Transcendence

Release Date: April 18th

Premise: A terminally ill scientist downloads his mind into a computer. This grants him power beyond his wildest dreams, and soon he becomes unstoppable.

Why?: The premise and the trailer makes this seem like a pretty interesting tale on the dangers of technology, with a cast of dependable actors. Plus, the chance to see Johnny Depp play a character that isn't his typical kooky character is a rarity in his recent films, so I relish the chance.

Hint of Doubt: It looks like the type of film where the plot could easily become convoluted, especially in regards to the A.I and sentient technology.

12. Calvary

Release Date: April 11th

Premise: After he is threatened during a confession, a good-natured priest must battle the dark forces closing in around him.

Why?: John Michael McDonoagh wrote and directed only one other film, 2011's fantastic The Guard. From that alone, my excitement levels for this film are high, and the trailer seems to be making this out to be a black comedy but with a more serious tone also, and it wouldn't be surprising if the fantastic Brendan Gleeson gave a career best performance here.

Hint of Doubt: It could be a disappointment, compared to The Guard.

22 Jump Street Poster.jpg11. 22 Jump Street

Release Date: June 13th

Premise: Officers Schmidt and Jenko go deep undercover at a local college to crack a crime ring within a fraternity. But when Jenko meets a kindred spirit on the football team and Schmidt infiltrates the bohemian art major scene, they begin to question their partnership. In addition to cracking the case, the two freshmen must figure out if they can have a mature relationship like real men.

Why?: 2 years ago, Phil Lord and Chris Miller released 21 Jump Street, which escaped its 'lazy revamp of an 80s show' came out of nowhere and became one of the best comedies of recent years. The sequel, which has a screenwriter and both directors returning from the first installment, looks to be a wonderful return to Schmidt and Jenko, especially with Rob Riggle making a return.

Hint of Doubt: You know what they say about diminishing returns.

10. St Vincent De Van Nuys

Release Date: April 11th

Premise: A young boy whose parents just divorced finds an unlikely friend and mentor in the misanthropic, bawdy, hedonistic, war veteran who lives next door.

Why?: Any film would have me at Bill Murray, but Bill Murray playing a nasty war veteran? I'll be there on opening night. Also starring funny people Melissa McCarthy and Chris O'Dowd, and Naomi Watts as a Russian prostitute, coming off a script that was on the black list, this looks to be a promising one.

Hint of Doubt: The main character could be too unlikable for audiences, regardless of what Ghostbuster plays him.

MockingjayPart1Poster.jpg9. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

Release Date: November 21st

Premise: Katniss Everdeen reluctantly becomes the symbol of a mass rebellion against the autocratic Capitol.

Why?: With two films under its belt, The Hunger Games franchise has managed to distance itself far from the idea of being the next Twilight, providing a strong social commentary, political undercurrent and a brilliant cast that makes it stand out among the other attempts at young adult franchises. Plus, with the way Catching Fire ended, how can you not be excited for this?

Hint of Doubt: Is it justified to split it into 2 films? Especially since Mockingjay has been considered the worst book of the 3. Also, it's unknown how the tragic passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman will impact the crucial scene of his which hasn't been filmed.


The Lego Movie poster.jpg8. The LEGO Movie


Release Date: February 7th

Premise: An ordinary LEGO minifigure, mistakenly thought to be the extraordinary MasterBuilder, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil LEGO tyrant from gluing the universe together.

Why?: Phil Lord and Chris Miller managed to deliver one of 2012's best surprises with the hilarious 21 Jump Street, and made their directorial debut with the underrated Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, so seeing them make a film about LEGO is a tantalizing idea full of promise, especially when the cast contains the likes of Chris Pratt, Will Arnet as Batman, Liam Neeson, Charlie Day, Nick Offerman, Morgan Freeman and Will Ferrell.

Hint of Doubt: This could turn into more of an advert for LEGO sets than an actual film, or lack in humor.

Godzilla2014Poster.jpg7. Godzilla

Release Date: May 16th

Premise: A giant radioactive monster called Godzilla appears to wreak destruction on mankind.

Why?: Godzilla is such an iconic creature, and the idea of him returning to cinema screens is an exciting one. Gareth Edwards is a solid choice for directing, after doing a good job with 2010's Monsters, a tense film that didn't constantly give money shots of the titular creatures destroying cities, but focusing on the aftermath and on the characters. Plus, with a script written by Frank Darabont and a cast composed of Elisabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe and even Heisenberg himself, Bryan Cranston, this looks to be a promising film that makes up for the sins of the '98 film.

Hint of Doubt: The weakest part of Monsters was when the monsters were finally revealed, due to how ultimately disappointing their look was. Considering Godzilla is such a well known and iconic creature, let's hope Gareth Edwards has learned from this.

X-Men Days of Future Past poster.jpg6. X-Men: Days of Future Past

Release Date: May 23rd

Premise: The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants.

Why?: Days of Future Past is one of the greatest storylines for Marvels mutants, so the chance to see such an ambitious storyline adapted to screen is nothing short of exciting. Combine that with Bryan Singer returning to the franchise he made into a household name, the chance to see both the casts from the original X-Men and X-Men First Class in the same film, plus conspiracy rumblings of Magneto being responsible for the JFK shooting make this a must see.

Hint of Doubt: The fact that the film will have to share its screentime among a massive cast leads me to wonder whether Bryan Singer has learnt to spread focus and development over the characters he has rather than on a select few. Plus it's disappointing that Cyclops won't return, he's an integral X-Men character and James Marsden was extremely underrated as him, the writing just let the character down.

Cheap Thrills poster.jpg5. Cheap Thrills

Release Date: March 24th

Premise: Craig loses his job and is threatened with eviction. In an effort to delay facing the music at home, he heads to a local bar and encounters an old friend. The two friends are roped into a round of drinks by a charismatic and obscenely wealthy stranger and his wife. The couple engages the two friends in a series of innocent dares in exchange for money over the course of the evening, with each challenge upping the ante in both reward and boundaries. It seems like easy and much needed money, but the couple's twisted sense of humor pushes just how far Craig and his friend are willing to go for money and cheap thrills.

Why?: The idea to see how far a person would go for money is not a new one, but the execution of this one seems promising enough from the trailer alone. It looks like it could be worth seeing for some black comedy.

Hint of Doubt: The film could be little more than a cheap thrill itself.

Captain America The Winter Soldier.jpg4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Release Date: April 4th

Premise: Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and battles a new threat from old history: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier.

Why?: Adapted from a damn good storyline, the next Captain America film appears to be taking more of a political thriller approach, which makes for an intriguing choice. Plus, the idea of Robert Redford in a Marvel film is too exciting to pass up. The Russo Brothers may not have been anybodys first choice for directors, but they'll apparently return for a third installment after impressive test screenings.

Hint of Doubt: The Russo's prior films weren't very well received, and the most experience they have in directing action is a Paintball episode of Community (which was fantastic, to be fair).

3. Foxcatcher

Release Date: N/A

Premise: The story of Olympic wrestling champion Mark Schultz and how paranoid schizophrenic John du Pont killed his brother.

Why?: From the trailer, this looks to be an intense and moody tale that's nothing short of compelling. Channing Tatum has constantly tried to prove himself to be a good actor rather than just a pretty face, so this looks to be his best opportunity to showcase his talents. Steve Carell is known best for comedic roles, but the chance to take on a more intense role looks to be one of the performance highlights of the next 12 months.

Hint of Doubt: Steve Carell's attempt at an intense role could come off as laughable.

Against a black backdrop, the title "Interstellar" starts with white letters. A white flare effect encompasses part of the backdrop from the right, and the title ends with black letters against the white effect.2. Interstellar

Release Date: November 7th

Premise: A group of explorers make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.

Why?: Other than the fact it's a Christopher Nolan film? The plot is largely kept under wraps, but the trailer managed to set the mood and stir enough intrigue to make you want more, by looking at mankind's achievements met through perseverance and declaring that our destiny lies above us. Plus, look at the impressive cast list.

Hint of Doubt: With little known about the actual plot, we could get something convoluted and not worth the hype.

1. Guardians of the Galaxy

Release Date: August 1st

Premise: In the far reaches of space, an American pilot named Peter Quill finds himself the object of a manhunt after stealing an orb coveted by the villainous Ronan. In order to evade Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a group of misfits including Gamora, Rocket, Drax the Destroyer and Groot. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand — with the galaxy’s fate in the balance.

Why?: Other than the fact this sounds like the most bat-shit insane Marvel film to date? The cast itself is a plus, with a reliable lead in Parks and Recreations star Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper voicing a talking Raccoon with a penchant for guns, Vin Diesel voicing a talking tree who only says one phrase, Glenn Close lathered in alien make-up, The Walking Dead's Michael Rooker painted blue with a mohawk, Star Trek's Zoe Saldana painted green, former Doctor Who star Karen Gillian with a shaved head. See what I meant about bat-shit insane? Thank goodness it's being directed by James Gunn, who has a good handle on insanity, judging by what he did with Slither and Super.

Hint of Doubt: This is Marvel's riskiest move since The Avengers, and there's every chance it could not pay off and be merely known as "That weird Marvel film".


What are your most anticipated films for 2014? Do you agree/disagree with my choices? Say so in the comments below

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