With the year in film that was 2013 now a thing of the past (my top ten and year-end awards are coming soon), it’s now time to look ahead to those films set for release over the course of the next twelve months. While a few of my most anticipated films from 2013 will show up here after being pushed back, there will also be many other films to highly anticipate, which include new efforts from some of Hollywood’s most sought-after auteurs. Although it’s safe to say the process of getting down to just ten films was difficult, these are without question the films I am most anticipating in the coming months. Here’s hoping, when all is said and done, that 2014 is even half as good as 2013 was to us film enthusiasts.
Note: I have not included those 2014 releases I was fortunate enough to catch early at this past year’s Toronto International Film Festival. So no Joe, Under the Skin or The Sacrament to be found here.
Honorable Mentions: Ryan Gosling’s How to Catch a Monster, Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young, Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla, David Ayer’s Fury, Phil Lord & Chris Miller’s 22 Jump Street, Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-man 2, Richard Ayoade’s The Double, Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy, David Gordon Green’s Manglehorn
Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel
If shown a single frame from any one of his films, you’d probably instantly recognize the signature of its author, Wes Anderson. The Grand Budapest Hotel, his follow-up to 2012’s Moonrise Kingdom, is Anderson’s eighth feature-length outing as a director and once again sports an incredible ensemble cast featuring many of the usual suspects. Bill Murray, Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman are all there, supported by Anderson newcomers that include Jude Law, Saoirse Ronan and Ralph Fiennes. Fiennes plays Gustave H, a hotel concierge who becomes friends with a lobby boy, albeit while the theft of a priceless Renaissance painting sets chaotic events into motion. Using various aspect ratios and a truly Andersonian color palette, here’s hoping the overt quirkiness of the concept leaves enough room for the characters to breathe. I’ve been impressed with Anderson’s ability to really bring some really powerful human emotion to his last few films, so here’s hoping he brings more to The Grand Budapest Hotel. It hits theaters March 7th.
Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past
2014 marks Bryan Singer’s official return to the helm of the X-Men franchise with Days of Future Past, one of the most ambitious comic adaptations yet. Combining the original cast of mutants with the younger versions of themselves from 2011’s X-Men: First Class, this new sequel sends Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) into the past to team up with younger Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) in order to prevent future events that spell certain doom for the mutants. Adapting one of the most popular comic book storylines of all-time is never an easy task, but with Singer having proven himself with 2003’s X2, one of the absolute best superhero movies, it’s safe to say that I am expecting big things from this one. It hits theaters May 23rd.
Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups & Untitled Music Scene Project
It’s always hard to predict when any given Terrence Malick film will actually be released. It’s even harder when he’s got multiple films in post-production at the same time. The first of these projects is Knight of Cups, starring Christian Bale as a man who deals with temptation, celebrity and excess. Mysterious enough for ya? It co-stars Natalie Portman and a bunch of other famous people. The second is untitled and revolves around two intersecting love triangles, set in the Austin, Texas music scene. It stars Bale, Portman, Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender and many other famous people. Knowing Malick, some of these actors will not even make the final cut, but here’s hoping for Gosling and Fassbender to complete one of my many fantasies and…act opposite each other. There’s a third Malick project believed to be an off-shoot of The Tree of Life with Brad Pitt narrating, but one can only anticipate so many Malick films at one time. The films’ release dates are undetermined, but with Malick, we’ll be lucky to see them by 2020.
James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy
A comic book adaptation of a wholly different kind, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy aren’t exactly the household names that many of their superhero brethren are, which is precisely why so many cinephiles are actually looking forward to this latest blockbuster from James Gunn. A tree voiced by Vin Diesel? A talking, gun-toting raccoon voiced by Bradley Cooper? Chris Pratt, action star? Good god, nothing else needs to be said. I’m ready for August 1st now!
Richard Linklater’s Boyhood
After completing his flawless meditation-on-love trilogy with this past year’s Before Midnight, Richard Linklater has again teamed up with Ethan Hawke for Boyhood. It’s an incredibly ambitious project that spans twelve years in a boy’s life. For the project, Linklater has gotten together with his cast and crew and filmed for a short amount of time each of the past twelve years. Hawke and Patricia Arquette play the boy’s divorced parents, while Ellar Coltrane plays the boy. It’s certain to be a unique movie-going experience as seeing actors grow right along with their characters is not something audiences are particularly accustomed to in the span of one film. Boyhood premieres at the Sundance Film Festival this coming Sunday.
David Fincher’s Gone Girl
Any new film from David Fincher is an event and such is the case with Gone Girl, his adaptation of the Gillian Flynn novel about Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck), a man who reports the mysterious disappearance of his wife (Rosamund Pike) on their fifth wedding anniversary. Of course, a police investigation follows and as things unravel, those around Nick begin to wonder if he may responsible for her disappearance. David Fincher has directed two of my favorite films of the last ten years (Zodiac and The Social Network) and seems to be the perfect fit for this dark material. We can expect it in theaters October 3rd.
Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher
With only two feature films under his belt to date, it’s hard to believe what an impact director Bennett Miller has had on the medium. His first film, Capote, earned Phillip Seymour Hoffman the Best Actor Oscar, as well as provided the film with a nomination for Best Picture, as well as a directing nom for Miller himself. His second film, Moneyball, is one of my favorites of the past few years and earned a Best Picture nomination as well. His third film, Foxcatcher, was one of my most anticipated films of last year until it got pushed back to 2014 at the last minute. It stars Steve Carell as schizophrenic wrestling coach John du Pont who comes into conflict with Olympic wrestling champions Mark (Channing Tatum) and David Schultz (Mark Ruffalo). Carell is a hugely talented actor and I expect him to prove once again that comedians often make the best dramatic actors. Foxcatcher will be released sometime this year.
Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar
The McConaissance is in full effect and Mr. “Alright, alright, alright” is now ready to get his blockbuster on. It’s been quite a last few years for Matthew McCounaughey, and with an expected Oscar nomination on the way this Thursday and fresh off the heels of his Golden Globe win, you’d probably think things couldn’t get any better for him. You’d be wrong however, because his latest project is Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, a sci-fi epic about a group of explorers who use a wormhole for space travel. Nolan is perhaps the biggest filmmaker on the planet and I for one am incredibly excited to see what he does in his post-Batman career. Interstellar sports a supporting cast that includes Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and the incredibly underrated Casey Affleck. If you don’t know much about the project, I implore you to check out the fantastic teaser trailer below. Interstellar hits theaters November 7th.
Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac (Volume I & II)
The crazy, controversial Dane is back with a two-part sex epic that spans the erotic life of a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac (Charlotte Gainsbourg). Lars von Trier may be known around the world for the controversial statements he makes from time to time, but I know him as perhaps the best art-house filmmaker working today. His last film, Melancholia, is one of my favorite films of the last few years and his 2003 film, Dogville, is one of my favorite films of all-time. Lars is a writer-director who is always provocative and pulls no punches and Nymphomaniac is sure to be one of the most talked about films among cinephiles this year. The first volume of Nymphomaniac hits theaters March 21st while Volume II hits theaters April 18th. Watch the trailer below, if you dare.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice
Surprising absolutely no one, my most anticipated film of 2014 is Inherent Vice, the latest film from my absolute favorite filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson. It is an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s novel of the same name and is about pot-smoking private eye Doc Sportello, who investigates his ex-girlfriend’s disappearance in 1970s Los Angeles. Joaquin Phoenix plays Doc and if it’s half as good as his performance in The Master it’ll be one of the best of the year. I’ve read Pynchon’s novel which is absolutely fantastic, and PTA is the perfect fit for the source material. It’s a film noir by way of a pot comedy and an ensemble piece that will probably be more Boogie Nights than anything else in Anderson’s filmography. Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson and Benicio Del Toro co-star. There is no release date yet, but it’s expected sometime this Fall.
Up Next: I reflect on the year in film that was 2013 and reveal my Top Ten Films of the Year.