If you want the gravy…

…You've got to get the biscuits!

2014: Most Anticipated Films (REVISED)


It’s time to update the list. First, I’ve removed all the films I’ve seen, purchased, or which have been released already (I’ll be seeing Snowpiercer next week, for example, so I pre-emptively removed it). Films that have been pushed back to 2015 will also come off. And I’ll be re-evaluating each film already on here, taking off those that really aren’t of much interest to me.

And I’ve scoured the Internet for films I might have overlooked, and factored in films I didn’t yet know about (especially festival releases), to create something more like a definitive list for the rest of the year.

The list is not precisely ordered, but by and large the higher up the list, the higher the priority it is for me to see it. (UPDATE 12/8: films with an asterisk (*) are films I’ve now seen.)

    • Inherent Vice: P.T. Anderson, Joaquin Phoenix, Thomas Pynchon. That’s all I need.
    • *Boyhood: I wasn’t blown away by the trailer, but the reviews and the sheer ambition of this make it a must-see for me.
    • Maps to the Stars: Cronenberg, good reviews out of Cannes, Julianne Moore won Best Actress, now in the hunt for an Oscar. This I need to see.
    • *Birdman: Trailer looked great. Rumors that it might be structured as one long take have me intrigued. Great cast, big director, fascinating premise. I have to see it. (Also, I love that it has a surtitle.)
    • *Gone Girl: I trust Fincher, plus the trailer looked good. I also now own the book, so I need to read that before October (I also need to read Inherent Vice).
    • Foxcatcher: Pretty glowing reviews (and a Best Director award) from Cannes. Considered a major Oscar contender. I’d have to see it even if I weren’t already fascinated.
    • *Guardians of the Galaxy: Hopefully it’ll be a little more stylistically distinguished than other MCU films, and the trailer gives me some hope (along with the choice of director).
    • The Better Angels: It just sounds fascinating to me. I think the festival reviews were in the good-but-not-great range, but I’m giving this one a shot regardless.
    • A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence: Please, can this come out this year? If it doesn’t, it’s going on the 2015 list (and might be #1).
    • *Interstellar: I had some issues with the trailer (the whole “Murphy’s Law” bit shows Nolan’s weakness with casual dialogue), but there was also a lot of promise there. Plus, this is a big enough deal that I’ll have to see it, so I might as well look forward to it.
    • Mr. Turner: Excellent trailer, excellent reviews (especially for Timothy Spall), probable major awards player. Bring it on.
    • Leviathan: Also a Cannes winner, which received rapturous reviews. I haven’t seen a major new Russian film in a while. I have high hopes.
    • Winter Sleep: Palme d’Or winner. I loved the director’s last film. This is a must.
    • Big Eyes: Please, Burton, don’t fuck this up.
    • *Fury: Trailer looked good. Not incredible, but I’m certainly going to see this.
    • Knight of Cups: It’s Terrence Malick.
    • Mommy: This was a huge critical darling at Cannes. I only know a little bit about it, and I’d like to keep it that way. I just want to see it.
    • Norte, the End of History: Cheating a bit with this one, since it technically opened a week ago. But God knows when this’ll come anywhere near me. Oh, it’s a four-hour long Filipino film that seems to be loosely based on Crime and Punishment. I think. It’s supposed to be really good and it’s 250 minutes long. That’s all I need to know.
    • The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: I’m not wild about the way they’re releasing this (in a condensed cut along with the full version as two films), but I’m still very eager to see this.
    • The Interview: If nothing else, for the sheer gall of it. It’s about assassinating Kim Jong-un, after all–and he’s calling the film an act of war. It also looks pretty funny, but this might be the film that starts World War III, so I have to give it a look regardless.
    • The Boxtrolls: I loved ParaNorman. Maybe I’ll love this too (though I’ve cooled on it a little; the story seems a bit blah).
    • *Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Great trailer, strong early word. I’m ready to go ape.
    • *Big Hero 6: Trailer looked cute, but kind of silly. And I’m still kind of worried that this might tread into weird racial territory. But I’ll give it a shot at least.
    • Unbroken: The sheer pedigree of it makes it a strong Oscar contender. Let’s hope it’ll be a good one.
    • Book of Life: I’m a bit concerned that this will get stereotypical (that “All-you-can-eat churros” line in the trailer made me wince), but the animation looks quite lovely, and Guillermo del Toro is usually trustworthy.
    • Selma: I hope this is actually good, and not watered-down awards bait. Middle of Nowhere was supposed to be quite good, though (when will I get to see that?), and the fact that this is opening on Christmas suggests the studio has faith in it. So we’ll see.
    • Farewell to Language: Normally, I really don’t like Godard, but this was apparently fascinating, plus it’s in 3D. I’ll do it.
    • The Imitation Game: I’d like this to be good. It’s Cumberbatch as Turing. That should at least be interesting.
    • Child 44: The premise and setting (30s Russia) and the cast have me intrigued. Will it be any good? Will it even come out this year? Who even knows.
    • A Most Violent Year: I liked All is Lost, I like Oscar Isaac, I like Jessica Chastain, plus it’s kind of a period piece (1981). Let’s see what we get.
    • The Voices: It just sounds so fascinatingly bizarre.
    • *Frank: Great reviews, plus Michael Fassbender in a weird fake head. I have to.
    • White God: Please, let me see this somehow. It’s a political allegory about a canine uprising. It’s apparently great. Let me see it.
    • *The Zero Theorem: Why not?
    • *Calvary: J.M. McDonagh did well with The Guard. I trust him.
    • *Mood Indigo: Might be too mannered, might be delightful. It looks weird enough for me to be interested.
    • Into the Woods: I’m not a huge fan of the musical, but I want to give it a shot.
    • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies: The second one was actually not bad. Maybe this could be legitimately good?
    • *The Equalizer: I actually quite liked the trailer. Looks pretty well shot. I’m giving it a shot.
    • Miss Julie: Strindberg’s play, directed by Liv Ullman, starring Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell, and Samantha Morton. If this comes off, it could be incredible. Or it could be heavy-going. But I’m optimistic.
    • The Trip to Italy: This looks funny as shit. The Trip was supposed to be great, so I should see that, too.
    • Jauja: This was at Cannes and sounds really fucking interesting. So I want to check it out when it gets here.
    • *Dear White People: Looked a bit heavy handed from the trailer, but the Sundance reviews were really strong, so I’ll give it a look-see.
    • The Homesman: The reviews out of Cannes were on the mixed side, but I still want to give this a shot.
    • Rosewater: The true story of an Iranian-born journalist who was held and tortured by the Iranian authorities. Written and directed by Jon Stewart. Obviously a big deal.
    • *The Judge: Now we start getting into the gray area of “really want to see” versus “might want to see” and “should see because it might be up for awards”. I was intrigued by this, but the trailer doesn’t look that good. Not that a great trailer means a great film (Under the Skin, Godzilla) or that a weak trailer means a weak film (The Descendants). It’s got a good cast and pedigree, I’m just afraid they went the sappy route here.
    • *A Most Wanted Man: Mostly I want to see this for PSH. I like Le Carre films, but something about this doesn’t galvanize me. But I might see it.
    • Exodus: Gods and Kings: Remember how making a Biblical film with all white actors worked out for Noah? Well, now Ridley Scott’s doing it too. And given how bad The Counselor was (or, for a more direct comparison, how incredibly boring The Kingdom of Heaven was), I can’t assume this will be very good. So this is based more on morbid curiosity.
    • The Cobbler: Sandler gives serious acting another try. I really hope this works out, but it could also be a dud. So we’ll just wait and see.
    • Manglehorn: Pacino, trying to get back to basics? It’d be nice. Given that David Gordon Green has been getting his own career back in order, I have decent expectations for this one.
    • *Lucy: I hope this is good enough to overcome the problematic aspects of the trailer. Certainly it’s got a cool premise. And the trailer looks good in many particulars. But will it be enough?
    • *Hercules: Honestly, it could be fun in its own way. If it has some personality, I might actually like it. I won’t assume that to be the case, but I’m willing to give this one a shot.
    • *Get on Up: A James Brown biopic from the director of The Help? Yeah, I’m a little dubious too. But Chadwick Boseman looks like he’s doing a good job, and it looks like it could at least be fun.
    • Lost River: Ryan Gosling’s supposedly disastrous directorial debut. I still want to see it. It looks weirdly fascinating.
    • (I’m going to go chronological for a bit) Sex Tape: I want to see how badly it gets social media (and modern technology in general) wrong. If it’s actually good (which I’m not banking on), that’s just gravy. And you know what you need to do to get the gravy.
    • The Hundred Foot Journey: Uh…sure? The trailer looked pretty silly, but the pickings are slim in early August.
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: I never watched the show, the movies, or anything like that. I have no sentimental attachment to this franchise whatsoever. So why would even bother? Morbid curiosity, I guess. The fact that they cast Megan Fox as April O’Neil is bizarre.
    • Let’s Be Cops: On the off-chance it actually makes use of its premise. The trailer actually showed some (I say “some”) promise. So…we’ll at least see how the reviews pan out.
    • The Giver: Just for the use of B&W to show the “fake” world and color to show what’s real. I haven’t even read the book, but I’m curious. Plus it has a good cast.
    • *Sin City: A Dame to Kill For: Maybe this should be higher. Because I’ll definitely see this. But I don’t know if it’ll be good or not. I’m thinking yes, but you can’t be too sure.
    • The November Man: Decent director, good cast. I like a good spy thriller. So why not?
    • Life of Crime: Elmore Leonard book, good cast, got good reviews at Toronto last year. Should be fun.
    • The Green Inferno: New Eli Roth movie. Never seen any of his stuff. Maybe I’ll start here.
    • *The Drop: Director (and star) of Bullhead. Also Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini in his last role, and Noomi Rapace. I’ll check this out.
    • No Good Deed: IDRIS!!!
    • This is Where I Leave You: Trailer didn’t look too hot, and the choice of director isn’t very good, but it’s got a good cast and it’s a film about sitting shiva. So I’ll probably sit through it.
    • A Walk Among the Tombstones: I think I saw the trailer and it looked solid. So I’ll roll the dice.
    • Hector and the Search for Happiness: Sure? I like Simon Pegg, and the supporting is pretty good, plus the premise is at least interesting.
    • Left Behind: It’s a Left Behind film starring Nicolas Cage. The end.
    • The Good Lie: Sounds awards-y. I might have to.
    • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day: It’s Disney doing a classic kids’ book. It’s probably going to be at least okay. For the nostalgia, if nothing else.
    • Kill the Messenger: This should be higher, just…this will probably be up for awards, but in of itself I’m not all that interested. So it could be like Captain Phillips and be a good thriller that’s also a respectable awards film, or it could be kind of generic.
    • Dracula Untold: Just for Sarah Gadon. And to see just how they spent $100 million on yet another vampire film (a Dracula origin story). by a first-time feature director, without any A-listers in the cast. This is going to be interesting.
    • St. Vincent: Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy. Her movie choices have been pretty bad, but this might be a good one. I’ll hear it out.
    • Theory of Everything: Stephen Hawking biopic starring Eddie Redmayne. I’m game.
    • *Beyond the Lights: For Gugu Mbatha-Raw. I want to see her go places.
    • Dumb and Dumber To: Eh…you know, I’m not especially a fan of the first one, but I did find parts of the trailer funny. Just for the curiosity factor, I’ll go.
    • McFarland: Inspirational sports film, but it’s got a solid director and Kevin Costner, who seems to be mounting a comeback. So it might be worth it.
    • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay–Part I: Yeah, I wasn’t as blown away by the last one as everyone else was, but I’ll have to see this.
    • *Horrible Bosses 2: The first one was really funny. So maybe this’ll be good?
    • Penguins of Madagascar: Madagascar 3 was great. And the voice cast includes Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich. Given the relative death of good animated films, I’m certainly game.
    • Wild: I wasn’t a huge Dallas Buyers Club fan, but I thought the direction was pretty solid. I’m not wild (ha ha) about the premise, but again, it’ll probably factor into the awards season, so I might as well be prepared. (I predict this is going to be a weird Oscar year. I’m not quite sure why, but this year seems to be light on “Oscar” films.)
    • Annie: The trailers gave me some pause (Cameron Diaz looks fucking terrible here), but Quvenzhané Wallis looks to be giving a good performance, and she might have a good dynamic with Jamie Foxx, so…
    • Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb: Saw the first two. Might as well.
    • Paddington: Just to see how much of a mess it is since they apparently took out Colin Firth’s voice.
    • Untitled Cameron Crowe Project: Please, please let them release it with that title (the original title, Deep Tiki, is…yeah). Also, the premise sounds weird. This could be disastrous, so I’m at least interested.
    • (Now for more random stuff) Serena: Period melodrama with a logging background. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence (who is rumored to be badly miscast). Shelved for a while. No release date, so it might not come out this year. But I’m curious. I’m definitely curious.
    • Suite Française: Might get bumped to next year. But it’s a pretty big prestige picture based on a well-regarded novel. It’s got Michelle Williams, whom I like, and Matthias Schoenaerts, who’s having a good year. So if this comes out this year, I’ll need to see it.
    • *Pride: A film about UK gay rights activists supporting striking miners in the 80s. Well received at Cannes (it won the Queer Palm).
    • Trash: New Stephen Daldry film, about kids in the Third World. Rooney Mara plays a nun. This is pegged as an Oscar contender, but I’m not holding my breath.
    • Love and Mercy: A Brian Wilson biopic starring, as Wilson, both Paul Dano and John Cusack. Paul Giamatti is Dr. Eugene Landy. Elizabeth Banks is Melinda Wilson. Might be a mess, but I’m really interested.
    • The Two Faces of January: Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, and Oscar Isaac in a period thriller. I’m down.
    • The Last Five Years: I’ve seen the stage show. It’s an interesting little piece. And Anna Kendrick is good. No release date, though, which is worrisome.
    • *Men, Women & Children: New Jason Reitman, which is good. Another potentially good role for Sandler. Again, no release date, so I’m thinking this might go to summer 2015. But you never know.
    • 99 Homes: New Rahmin Bahrani film, starring Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon, and Laura Dern. Apparently it involves revenge via foreclosure (or some kind of real estate manipulation). The cast alone has my attention.
    • Born to Be King: Written and directed by Peter Capaldi (Malcolm Tucker! Doctor Who!), another doppleganger-ish premise (there are a lot of those this year), starring Ewan McGregor and Kate Hudson. For Capaldi, I’ll check it out.
    • She’s Funny That Way (Squirrel to the Nuts): New Peter Bogdanovich! And it stars Owen Wilson, Imogen Poots, Jennifer Aniston, Will Forte, Eugene Levy, Cybill Shepherd, and Rhys Ifans. It’s also set around the theater. I’m at the very least intrigued.
    • I Origins: This looks amazingly pretentious. Like, I expect, if I see this, to laugh my ass off, or at least spend the whole time facepalming. I want to see this in expectation of that.
    • Cymbeline: The Shakespeare play, with a modern-day setting and a cast as follows: Ethan Hawke as Iachimo, Dakota Johnson as Imogen, Ed Harris as Cymbeline, Milla Jovovich as the Queen, and Anton Yelchin as Cloten. It might come out next year, and in any case might be a self-conscious dud (the poster trumpets the inclusion of bikers, which seems silly to me), but how often do you see this play done at all, let alone filmed?
    • Dark Places: It’s a thriller set in small-town Kansas. It’s got Charlize Theron, Christina Hendricks, Nicholas Hoult, Chloë Grace Moretz, Tye Sheridan, and Corey Stoll. It’s coming out in September, which isn’t a great sign, but I’ll keep an eye out for this.
    • Eden: French film, starring Greta Gerwig, about 80s electronic music. This I need to see.
    • Two Days, One Night: It got good reviews out of Cannes. I like Marion Cotillard, generally. It seems a bit blah to me, but I might check it out.
    • Every Thing Will Be Fine: A Wim Wenders drama in 3D, starring James Franco, Rachel McAdams, and Charlotte Gainsbourg. I have to.
    • A Fall From Grace: New Jennifer Lynch (David’s daughter), a thriller set in St. Louis, starring Vincent D’Onofrio. I at least want to see what the reviews are like.
    • Ang Sugo: The Last Messenger: A biopic of a Filipino religious leader considered by his followers to be the last prophet of God. Certainly of note as a story that you would never otherwise hear about in this country. No release date–and who knows what kind of release it’ll get here–but I’m curious.
    • Welcome to Me: Kristen Wiig headlines a film about a woman with borderline personality disorder who wins the lottery and gets a talk show. Could be incredible or incredibly exploitative.
    • War Book: A thriller about political machinations in London after a nuclear attack. Sophie Okonedo (who was Paul Rusesabagina’s wife in Hotel Rwanda) stars. Has potential.
    • True Story: James Franco is a murderer. Jonah Hill is the reporter whose identity he appropriates. And it’s based on a true story (duh). I’m intrigued.
    • God Help the Girl: A musical based on a Belle & Sebastian album. Got decent reviews at Sundance. I’m curious.
    • Slow West: A Western starring Michael Fassbender. That’s worth something. Will it come out this year, though?
    • Forsaken: Another Western, starring Kiefer and Donald Sutherland, along with Demi Moore. I’ll at least see if it’s worth seeing.
    • The Girl Who Invented Kissing: It stars Zachary Quinto and Natalie Dormer. Premise sounds a little gooshy, but…for some reason, I’m interested. Might be a nice little character piece. Probably not, but why not at least keep an eye out for reviews?
    • Good People: A thriller starring James Franco, Kate Hudson, Omar Sy, and Tom Wilkinson. Written by the co-writer of Snowpiercer. This sounds weird enough.
    • The Gunman: Sean Penn, Idris Elba, and Javier Bardem in a thriller. Might be totally forgettable, but the cast makes it interesting.
    • And So It Goes: New Rob Reiner. That doesn’t mean so much anymore, but it’s Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton (and Frankie Valli, of all people). I can’t say I’m not interested.
    • Happy Christmas: Another film by the maker of Drinking Buddies (which I haven’t seen yet). It’s got Anna Kendrick and Lena Dunham, and it’s set in Chicago, so it has my attention. Plus, solid early reviews.
    • Wild Card: Jason Statham is a compulsive gambler in Vegas. Script by William Goldman. Co-starring Stanley Tucci, Sofia Vergara, and a ways down the cast list, Cedric the Entertainer. I’ll let it prove itself.
    • Cooties: The reviews from Sundance were mixed, but it has a premise and a cast (Elijah Wood, Alison Pill, Rainn Wilson, Jack McBrayer) that I like. And the poster is awesome.
    • Madame Bovary: Mia Wasikowska is Emma Bovary, Paul Giamatti is in it, and it’s by the director of Cold Souls (which I’ve never seen but am curious about). Not sure if it’ll come out this year, but I’d like to check it out.
    • Maggie: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin as father and daughter in a horror thriller. That…sounds fucking weird.
    • The Curse of the Buxom Strumpet: An 18th-century set horror comedy with Gillian Anderson, Ian McKellen, and Imelda Staunton. As a British comedy buff, I’m intrigued, though it might be too arch for my tastes.
    • Merry Friggin’ Christmas (A Friggin’ Christmas Miracle): A Christmas comedy (aimed at adults, I’m thinking), starring Robin Williams, Joel McHale, with Oliver Platt and Candice Bergen…and Jeffrey Tambor as the voice of a snowman. Yeah.
    • The Devil’s Harvest: A Canadian film, an epic set, it appears, in Soviet-era Russia, with Max Irons, Samantha Barks, Barry Pepper, and Terence Stamp. I’m not expecting greatness, but the setting and the fact that it seems to be going for the old-fashioned romantic epic style is at least interesting to me.
    • Mojave: Another doppleganger film! This one has Garrett Hedlund, Oscar Isaac, and Mark Wahlberg. And it’s directed by the writer of The Departed.
    • Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List: A teenage girl and her gay best friend fall for the same boy. Might be a nice little slice-of-life comedy. Might be totally throwaway. But I like the title. I want to give this one a chance if I can.
    • Dynamite: A Cautionary Tale: Another title I like, this one a thriller set in 1968 New York, involving underground pornography. Directed by a guy who did special effects makeup for a bunch of films (including Sharknado 2), with Evanna Lynch (best known for playing Luna Lovegood) and Carol Kane, who hasn’t been up to much lately. So we’ll see where this goes.
    • Eliza Graves: A period thriller based on a story by Poe, directed by the director of The Machinist, with Kate Beckinsale, Jim Sturgess, Michael Caine, Ben Kingsley, David Thewlis, and Brendan Gleeson. That’s a good enough cast to make me think this might be worth checking out.
    • *Nightcrawler: Jake Gyllenhaal “stumbles upon the underground world of L.A. freelance crime journalism”. Directed by the writer of The Fall, who also wrote the story for Real Steel. I trust Gyllenhaal.
    • Jamie Marks is Dead: A supernatural young-adult film, starring Liv Tyler and Judy Greer. Got a couple of good reviews out of Sundance. Might be worthy.
    • The Keeping Room: A Civil War-set thriller starring Hailee Steinfeld, Sam Worthington (I was wondering what happened to him), and Brit Marling. Shot in Romania (!), directed by the guy who did Harry Brown. I’m…I’m curious. I don’t know if this’ll be at all good, but I’d like to find out.
    • Kill Me Three Times: From IMDb: “In the Australian surfing town of Eagle’s Nest, a young woman is the thread that binds three tales of murder, blackmail and revenge.” With Teresa Palmer, Sullivan Stapleton, and Simon Pegg. The interwoven-narratives aspect definitely has me interested. And Simon Pegg…yeah, I doubt he’d get involved if there weren’t something there. I’ll watch out for this one.
    • The Labyrinth: This has 8 directors, 7 writers, and the cast includes Matt Lucas, the voice of James Franco, and Flavor Flav. I have no idea what the fuck this is, but I need to find out.
    • A Little Chaos: A film directed by Alan Rickman, set in the court of Louis XIV. Rickman plays Louis, and Kate Winslet, Stanley Tucci, Matthias Schoenaerts, Jennifer Ehle, and Helen McCrory are in it. It’s a drama that has to do with the design of a fountain. Sounds great.
    • Young Ones: A science fiction film set in a water-deprived future–sort of reminiscent of The Man Who Fell to Earth, no? Directed by Gwyneth Paltrow’s brother, starring Nicholas Hoult, Elle Fanning, Michael Shannon, and Kodi Smit-McPhee. The reviews from Sundance were mixed, but they all suggested it was interesting–including one critic who said it was insanely bleak. Plus, the poster is awesome. So I’m really intrigued by this.
    • Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter: Based on a story of a Japanese woman who supposedly went looking for the buried treasure from Fargo and froze to death. Got great reviews from Sundance; stars Rinko Kikuchi. Won an award for its score. If this is as good as I’m thinking, Kikuchi might contend for my Best Actress award.
    • Spring Break ’83: A spring break comedy, co-directed by Mars Callahan, who did Poolhall Junkies, a film I’m interested in seeing. Apparently it was shot in 2007, but since the cast and crew had not been paid, the unions blocked the film from release. The cast includes Jamie Kennedy, John Goodman, Robert Davi, Joe Pantoliano, Lee Majors, Morgan Fairchild, Joe Piscopo, and Erik Estrada. God knows if it’s remotely good, or if it’ll ever see the light of day, but even though it doesn’t sound too good, the backstory is fascinating enough to warrant a look.
    • Staten Island Summer: One of those little slice-of-life films, about a couple of high school grads working as life guards. Might be generic, might be decent enough. Has an interesting cast: Gina Gershon, Method Man, and Jim Gaffigan all appear.
    • The Water Diviner: Russell Crowe’s directorial debut, about a father searching for his sons in the aftermath of the Battle of Gallipoli. Crowe plays the father; Olga Kurylenko co-stars. Period pieces are always worth a look.
    • London Fields: Billy Bob Thornton is a terminally ill writer who’s had writer’s block for 20 years. Co-starring Amber Heard and Jim Sturgess, with Johnny Depp in a cameo. Based on a novel David Cronenberg was going to film at one time. I’m game.
    • Little Accidents: A mystery set in an Appalachian mining town in the aftermath of a disaster. Elizabeth Banks, Chloë Sevigny, and Jacob Lofland (from Mud) are in it. Got good reviews out of Sundance.
    • Low Down: A film about the jazz pianist Joe Albany and his struggles with drug addiction. John Hawkes is Albany, Elle Fanning is his daughter, Lena Headey is, I’m guessing, his wife, and it’s also got Glenn Close, Peter Dinklage, Burn Gorman, and Flea in it. Between the jazz aspect and the cast, I’m all over this.
    • Suffragette: It’s a film about the suffragette movement, with Meryl Streep as Emmeline Pankhurst, along with Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Ben Whishaw, and Brendan Gleeson. Should be a big deal. Might not come out here till 2015 (it opens in the UK in January), so until there’s a release date I’ll keep it here.
    • Shelter: A romance between two homeless people. The people? Anthony Mackie and Jennifer Connelly. Paul Bettany wrote and directed. I like Anthony Mackie, Jennifer Connelly can be good…it’s Bettany’s debut in both fields, which could be a red flag, but I’ll look out for it.
    • Rudderless: William H. Macy’s directorial debut, in which Billy Crudup plays a grieving father who begins performing the songs his late son wrote. He then forms a band with Anton Yelchin. Reviews suggest it’s a decent little character piece. So I’m game.
    • The Salvation: It’s a Danish Western with Mads Mikkelsen, Eva Green, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Jonathan Pryce. Reviews have been all over the place. I’m curious to see a Danish Western.
    • The Last Knights: A period action film starring Morgan Freeman, Clive Owen, Aksel Hennie (the lead in Headhunters), Ayelet Zurer, and Shohreh Aghdashloo. Might be one of those films that takes forever to come out (and goes straight to DVD), or it might be a decent little adventure film.
    • Pawn Sacrifice: A film about the Bobby Fischer-Boris Spassky rivalry. Tobey Maguire is Fischer, Liev Schreiber is Spassky. Directed by Edward Zwick. Written by Steven Knight, who wrote and directed Locke. This seems like it could be a big deal. But it might get pushed to 2015 (though, the way Oscar season is shaping up, I don’t know). But I want to see this.
    • The Riot Club: British thriller, directed by Lone Scherfig (who made An Education). Cast is pretty B-list, but Scherfig is usually trustworthy.
    • The 33: Based on a Chilean mining disaster and the rescue of 33 (duh) trapped miners. Antonio Banderas stars; from the director of Under the Same Moon. All righty then.

And a few more I overlooked:

    • The Last of Robin Hood: Kevin Kline playing Errol Flynn. Dakota Fanning is his girlfriend, Beverly Aadland. Susan Sarandon’s also in it. The trailer looked decent. I’ll check it out.
    • Life After Beth: It’s a zombie comedy about a guy whose girlfriend is killed and comes back as a zombie. The girl? Aubrey Plaza. So that alone piques my interest.
    • *Love is Strange: John Lithgow and Alfred Molina are a long-time couple who get married; after word of this gets to Molina’s Catholic employers, he gets fired, and they endure many trials (including having to live apart). It’s had glowing reviews, plus…Lithgow and Molina. This could actually be a decent awards contender.
    • Starred Up: British prison drama which has received fantastic reviews to date. Good cast, too–Ben Mendelsohn and Jack O’Connell (who’s the lead in Unbroken).
    • The Guest: A psychological thriller from the director of You’re Next, which was good. This has been getting great reviews. Hopefully it doesn’t pull the meta twist that You’re Next did (which keeps it at the level of “good”).
    • Timbuktu: Won the Ecumenical Prize at Cannes. Deals with strife in the titular city. Might not get here this year, but if it does, I’m catching it.
    • *The Skeleton Twins: Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader play twins in a black comedy-drama. It, too, is getting good reviews. So I would fain see it.
    • The Hero of Color City: Because what the blue (ha ha) fuck is this? Why are Christina Ricci, Rosie Perez, Craig Ferguson, Arsenio Hall, and Wayne Brady doing voices for an animated film that appears to be about talking crayons? Just…why?
    • *Whiplash: This won the main prize at Sundance. I’m amazed it wasn’t already on here. It stars Miles Teller as a jazz drumming student. J.K. Simmons is his super intense teacher. This is probably a must-see.
    • White Bird in a BlizzardNew Gregg Araki film, with Shailene Woodley and Eva Green. It’s also got Gabourey Sidibe and Angela Bassett. And the reviews have been solid–certainly not indifferent.
    • Why Don’t You Play in Hell?: I love the premise of this: “An amateur film production crew and a yakuza boss try to make a movie during a decade-long battle between two crime lords.” It’s apparently good, and it’s being released by Drafthouse Pictures, whom I usually trust.
    • Charlie’s Country: Rolf de Heer! David Gulpilil! Well received at Cannes–I’m more than a little interested.
    • Black Coal, Thin Ice: Won the Golden Bear at Berlin this year. Was recommended to me by a commenter. It’s a Chinese thriller that the director spent 8 years writing . Pretty essential.
    • Wild Tales: An Argentinian comedy, co-produced by Pedro Almodovar. Got really strong reviews out of Cannes, where it was in competition. I’m certainly game.
    • Life of Riley: Alain Resnais’ final film. Also recommended to me. Also won a major prize at Berlin. I think I’ll have to.

Two articles that helped me immensely in creating this article:

All of the B+ Movie Blog’s articles on upcoming films are worth reading as well.


4 thoughts on “2014: Most Anticipated Films (REVISED)

  1. Amazing list. I’m glad you followed some of my recommandations 🙂

  2. Pingback: THE DROP Review – *** | If you want the gravy...


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