Oscar season is over and it’s been a few long months since anything fresh and great hit the screens. But the recent releases of The Grand Budapest Hotel and Nymphomaniac Vol. I are mere signs of the sheer magnificence ahead. 2014 is primed to be a runaway train of fantastic movies. Enjoy Exhibits 1-15 below.
Bethlehem – March 28th
BETHLEHEM Official US Trailer from Adopt Films on Vimeo.
Looks as taut and riveting as anything since Zero Dark Thirty, so much so that I was prepared to see Kathryn Bigelow’s name flash across the trailer. Alas, it’s just a homegrown war thriller highlighting the complexities of Israeli-Palestine military intelligence with glowing festival reviews.
Under the Skin – April 4th
Jonathan Glazer. Scarlett Johansson. The Scottish Highlands. Three ingredients for a perfect sci-fi mindfuck and the trailer can’t deny it. Early reviews are divided in the best way possible. Here’s hoping Glazer’s latest film will finally reach or transcend the brilliance he left behind a decade ago for Thom Yorke music videos and Sexy Beast.
The Double – May 9th
While I’m always weary about anything with an actor as repetitive as Jesse Eisenberg, no one seems more suited to use his talents than the nervy, cerebral Richard Ayoade. Yes, beyond his scene-stealing turns in average comedies such as IT Crowd and The Watch, “Maurice Moss” rips it at writing-directing (case in point 2010’s Submarine). This time though, he dials up the dry humor to a caustic, hypnotic boil.
22 Jump Street – June 12th
Its rare in the feature comedy game for franchises to retain its creators across installments. Those that didn’t (Austin Powers, The Hangover) well, they deeply disappointed everyone. 21 Jump Street was brilliant and yet again we have Michael Bacall penning and the Phil Lord/Chris Miller directing partnership. It looks incredibly similar to “21,” but that’s fine by me.
They Came Together – June 27th
David Wain is the patron saint of slapstick send-up comedy (by god if he could ever get Kevin James in one of his movies) Instead with we’re left with a promo poster of Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd cheesing behind a coffee shop window along with the tagline “He came… She came… They both came.” What looks like the most banal rom-com ever made is actually dripping with Wain-ist satire. While not even Wain could make another “Wet Hot American Summer,” at least we get his comic genius for more than one Children’s Hospital episode at a time.
The Rover – July 18th
Australian director David Michod’s debut film Animal Kingdom was my favorite film of 2010. Though my two favorite parts (Ben Mendelsohn and Jacki Weaver) are both missing from his sophomore effort, he’s still got the talents of stalwart tough-bloke Guy Pierce and the protean Robert Pattinson (is he good?) in tow, along with a cracking story. It’s the near-future. The Australian Outback is more dangerous than ever. And somebody stole Guy Pierce’s car.
Calvary – August 1
To me, the brothers Martin and Michael McDonagh are the same dude. They both excel at an extremely specific craft: writing and directing darkly brilliant Irish comedies. Though while Martin left his homeland to set his bloody sights on Hollywood in Seven Psychopaths (2012), Michael has stayed behind to shine a more somber light on the now classic rural Ireland of McDonagh legend. Of course Brendan Gleeson is front and center to restore order as a Catholic priest.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For – August 22nd
How to Catch a Monster – October 2nd
Ryan Gosling is making a movie and it’s really nothing that you would expect. Early reports tell of a dark neo-noir fantasy about a mother and her child entering separate underworlds. The cast (Eva Mendes, Ben Mndelsohn, Christina Hendricks, Saoirse Ronan) is no joke. The trailer is yet to be seen.
The Skeleton Twins – September 19th
Newcomer Craig Johnson takes SNL darlings Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig around a dark turn in their arguably first dramatic roles as suicidal siblings. It’s always surprising to see such indelibly comic actors commit to such bleak performances, and with perfect Sundance verdicts in hand, it sounds like high risk, high reward.
Interstellar – November 7th
The trailer looks deceptively simple, but the latest John and Chris Nolan story has astronauts using wormholes for interstellar space voyage. The truth is that no one packs as much conceptual punch up their sleeve as Chris Nolan, and Her cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema gets to have his way with Matthew McConaughey and Jessica Chastain’s ugly mugs.
Whatever Terrence Malick decides to release this year (Austin music scene movie – September 4th/Knight of Cups – TBA 2014/Voyage of Time – TBA 2014)
No one ever imagined Terrence Malick to have three feature films simultaneously in post-production, but here we are in 2014. Of course there is only vague plot details and blurry set photos, nonetheless all three movies have obscenely talented casts and are scripted and directed by Terry Fucking Malick. I guess it could all balance on whatever you thought of “The Tree of Life” and “To the Wonder,” but his poetically shot films never fail to satisfy the eye. Click through for some pictures on a fanblog of Ryan Gosling on set with Terry himself.
Inherent Vice – December 12th
For those unfamiliar, Thomas Pynchon is one of the most enigmatic yet genius writers of our time. His work explores characters lost in the fissures of American society, replete with screwball characters and paranoid digressions. Who better to bring Pynchon to screen than P.T. Anderson (Boogie Nights, The Master). This unity of genius was definitely a daydream I had in humanities class when I was 17. Now at 23 these guys have me daydreaming about what-exactly-in-the-fuck Joaquin Phoenix as an aging detective in Venice Beach during the 1960s will look like on 65mm film. Harpist/songwriter Joanna Newsom rounds out the eclectic cast of this seaside stoner romp. Now the video here is no trailer, but a promo for the novel voiced by Pynchon himself – just a hit of what’s to come.
Slow West – TBA 2014
I think we just need to look at the following on-set snapshot of lead Michael Fassbender.
Birdman – TBA 2014
Alejandro Gonzalez-Inarritu directed a comedy about a washed-up actor of a superhero franchise taking to Broadway to revitalize his career starring Michael Keaton. And it is coming to a theater near you, in this dimension of reality.
Honorable Mentions: Boyhood (Linklater), Magic in the Moonlight (Allen), Gone Girl (Fincher), Only Lovers Left Alive (Jarmusch), Neighbors (Stoller), Frank (w/ Michael Fassbender), The Interview (Goldberg), Maps to the Stars (Cronenberg), A Most Wanted Man (w/ Philip Seymour Hoffman), Mr. Turner (Leigh), A Most Violent Year (Chandor).
Disclaimer: We felt it redundant to course over the impending blockbusters already chafed and bloody from the incessant forum fapping of internet fanboys (wait…) so here’s a brief rundown of all the Moneybags McClusterfucks ahead: Noah, Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier, Godzilla, Hunger Games 3: Mockingjay (Part I), Guardians of the Galaxy, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. How to Train your Dragon 2, X-men: Days of Future Past.