I will be honest, when I first started to plan this article, I had a big speech prepared about how 2014 is merely filled with appetizers for the epic main courses which will be coming in 2015. But when I started looking through the films we have coming in the next twelve months, I actually got pretty excited.
We have some sequels, some “threequels” and some remakes. We have films adapted from comics, from stage shows, and from toys. There are intriguing dramas, hilarious comedies, and spectacular action. It is a pretty interesting year, overall, and I am here to give you 14 of the (hopefully) very best examples.
The Railway Man
Let’s kick off the year with something that shows off the Best of British.
Colin Firth has already shown us that with the right project he ranks as one of the greatest actors working today. His back-to-back Oscar nominations for A Single Man (2009) and The King’s Speech (2010), a role which he actually won Best Leading Actor for, is nothing short of tremendous. It could be that with The Railway Man, Firth is in line for a third nomination in 5 years.
Based on the autobiography of the same name, The Railway Man follows the story of Eric Lomax, a soldier in World War II who is captured by Japanese soldiers and forced to work on the Thai-Burma railway. Years later, in a bid to exercise his demons, he confronts one of his captors. Also starring Nicole Kidman and Stellan Skarsgard, this could be one of the standout dramas of the year.
Released – January 2014
The Lego Movie
For the token kids films of the piece, I present to you…The Lego Movie.
Now, I am not going to suggest that this will do anything new, other than use computer generated Lego pieces for the main characters and structures, but this does sure look like it could be a whole heap of fun.
Featuring the voices of Chris Pratt, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson, Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, Charlie Day, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, The Lego Movie tells the tale of Emmet, a regular joe who is believed to be the saviour who will prevent the universe being destroyed.
Very much like the Lego video games which have been hugely succesful of late, the film will technically be aimed at kids, but the trailers have shown that there will certainly be enough humour to keep the adults happy too.
Given the versatility of the toys, plus that nostalgic feel, this could represent a solid alternative to the Toy Story franchise.
Released – February 2014
The Monuments Men
Returning to World War II, The Monuments Men represents George Clooney’s latest directorial effort. I don’t know about you guys, but I have a huge amount of respect for Clooney. Not only is he one of my favourite actors in Hollywood, but also seems a natural behind the camera having directed such interesting films as The Ides of March and Good Night, And Good Luck.
The Monuments Men is the true story of an Allied platoon tasked with ‘rescuing’ fine works of art that have been requisitioned by the Nazi army. The group is seemingly put together by Clooney’s character, and despite the depressing setting, the trailer hints that this could have an ample amount of comedy thrown in.
Wait a minute. Clooney, as the head of an ensemble, planning heists? Ocean’s World War, perhaps?
An all-star cast, lead by Clooney, also includes Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Jon Goodman, Bill Murray and Hugh Bonneville.
Released – February 2014
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Speaking of directors we love, howsabout Wes Anderson? His style may not be to everyone’s taste, however he certainly has a strong following amongst the Amigo staff.
Anderson is no stranger to unusual and quirky tales, and The Grand Budapest Hotel seems to continue that tradition. Starring Ralph Fiennes as a famed concierge who inherits a painting, the main story seems to revolve around a revenge plot by the son of his one-time lover, who seeks to frame Fiennes for murder.
As is par for the course, expect Budapest to have two things in abundance; sub-plot and cast members. Amongst the most notable are Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel and of course Bill Murray, but there are numerous other fine actors involved, all of whom are likely to have significant screen time to explore their characters and motivations.
Released – March 2014
Over the past 10 years or so, Johnny Depp’s career has seen it’s ups and downs. Universally loved as Captain Jack Sparrow in those pesky pirate films, it seemed he was having a bit of an (Native) Indian Summer and was being hailed as one of the greatest actors of his generation. However, his many collaborations with Tim Burton, most of which have been sub-par, has taken some of the shine off of that love, but he is still a very fine actor when he puts his mind to it.
Enter Transcendence. Whilst we are still waiting for a trailer to see what sort of tone the film ends up with, there is no denying it is an intriguing project which could thrust Depp back into the hearts of critics.
A story which centres on an artificial intelligence researcher who wants to use his technology on himself, the film could have that rare quality of being entertaining at the same time as discussing the moral quandaries our society faces. Sometimes it’s not a question of “can we”, more “should we”?
Throw in the fact that the script is one of entries on the 2012 Black List, and this is definitely not one to miss.
Released – April 2014
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Given the luke-warm reception the first film received in 2012, you might be forgiven for being surprised that this film appears on my list. But wait, hear me out.
Whilst I am a fan of The Amazing Spider-Man, one of only a handful it seems, I will concede it had it’s faults. We didn’t need to see another retread of the origin story, and The Lizard wasn’t a strong enough villain. But you know what I do like? Mark Webb is building something here.
Where the first film did it with subtlety, I expect the sequel to throw Spider-Man lore at you by the bucket load. We already knew that there would be appearances from Electro, Rhino and The Green Goblin, but with a trailer which features nods to Doctor Octopus and The Vulture, it is clear Sony are looking to rival Marvel’s Avengers project.
Only time will tell whether they have bitten off more that they can chew, but I for one am impressed at their level of ambition, and look forward to seeing what they have done with the sequel.
Released – May 2014
I wasn’t particularly interested when they first announced a Godzilla film, but over time my intrigue has gathered steam.
Here is a film featuring a monster whose last big screen adaptation was largely panned. Thrown into the mix is Gareth Edwards, a director who has only helmed one other film before, Monsters, which only had a budget of $500,000. Although Monsters is a fine film, and in particular handles the human element perfectly, there is no denying he is working with a bigger lizard this time around.
There is a risk that this is another Godzilla film that goes south (possibly killing any notion of Hollywood reviving this franchise again) but having now seen the first trailer, and loving the tone and smart visuals, I am pretty confident we are going to get a treat.
It is a monster movie after all, and we may not get anything groundbreaking (other than Gozilla’s foot. Geddit?) in terms of story, but as with Pacific Rim, I am hoping at the very least it will be a great piece of popcorn entertainment.
Released – May 2014
X-Men: Days of Future Past
After the release of much maligned X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which followed the similarly awful X-Men: The Last Stand, the whole franchise looked like it had gone as far as it could go. Maybe we were all just a little too jaded on Professor X and his band of merry men?
But then X-Men: First Class came out in 2011, and suddenly it looked like the brand was revitalised. Here was a film which had a decent amount of action, but even more importantly had interesting characters. With a retro setting, amidst the Cuban Missile Crisis, strong acting and solid pacing, First Class was, in many ways, unlike any superhero film we had seen before.
Of course, it helped that Matthew Vaughn was behind the camera, and that you had an A-List cast including James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence, but it had much more than that.
With Bryan Singer returning to directing duties, having done a great job with the first two X-Men movies, and blending characters old and new with the help of some time travel, Days of Future Past could prove to be an even more satisfying film than it’s predecessor.
Released – May 2014
Yet another blockbuster coming our way in May 2014 is Disney’s Maleficent.
With the success of the Wicked musical, and this year’s Oz: The Great and Powerful, it has become increasingly vogue to “re-imagine” our favourite childhood films, usually putting a darker spin on some of the events we hold so dearly.
Latest to get the treatment is the tale of Sleeping Beauty, this time seen through the eyes of it’s villain, er, Maleficent. Starring Angelina Jolie in the main role, and Elle Fanning as Beauty herself, Aurora, it seems that we have misunderstood Maleficent all along, and she is merely a victim of circumstance. Tut, isn’t it always the way.
The recently released teaser trailer gave little away, however it did hint that this will be a much darker (both visually and thematically) film than Oz was.
Will Maleficent be magnificent, or will it send us asleep? Only time will tell.
Released – May 2014
Like them or loathe them the Wachowski siblings do things their way.
Their first big hit, The Matrix was an undoubting success which single-handedly changed the face of sci-fi action films. Whilst they may not have been able to hit that peak again thus far, the films they have been able to direct and produce have been nothing short of breathtakingly beautiful.
Next up for them is the sci-fi adventure Jupiter Ascending. The synopsis is still a little thin, seemingly centering on protecting Mila Kunis’ character Jupiter, but knowing these crazy cats the film will explore a myriad of other themes and characters.
Casting Kunis and Channing Tatum in lead roles may be a little surprising, given they don’t necessarily have the best of acting pedigrees, but look at what the Wachowskis did for Keanu Reeves in 1999.
Right now, all things point to this being another epic example of the Wachowski talent.
Released – July 2014
Guardians of the Galaxy
Now, I may or may not be alone in this, but right this very second there isn’t a film that I want to see more than Guardians fo the Galaxy (although it is tied with Episode VII) for a number of reasons.
Firstly, that cast. Wow. You have an impressive line up featuring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, John C Reilly, Lee Pace, Benicio Del Toro, Glenn Close and Vin Diesel. Outside of The Avengers, has any other Marvel movie been filled with that number of big name actors?
Secondly, the film is going to offer us something new. So far, the Marvel movies have been mainly based on Earth (and Asgard, obviously), however Guardians of the Galaxy will be a space adventure, following a group of intergalactic superheros which include a talking tree and raccoon. Could this succeed where Green Lantern failed?
I am throwing a huge barrel of kudos at Marvel for their willingness to explore their various characters, rather than sit on their laurels. They could have quite easily just churned out Iron Man sequel after sequel, but instead they have invested money into a franchise that, let’s be honest, hardly anybody has heard of.
My anticipation for this film is made up of fanboy excitement and perverse worry. So far, the Marvel blueprint has been largely succesful, and this is without doubt the riskiest move they have played to date. I am counting down the days to find out if this bold choice works.
Released – August 2014
I have already mentioned a couple of films which we are excited for simply because of the directors involved. Another example is Gone Girl by David Fincher.
Looking through his resume, one thing is clear. After he got over the semi-disaster that is Aliens 3, his line up of films is both diverse and pretty faultless. Anyone who can tell stories like Seven, Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo deserves, nay, demands respect.
Up next for Fincher is the adaptation of the novel Gone Girl starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. The plot concerns the disappearance of a woman, and whether or not her husband is guilty of killing her. I fully expect Fincher to nail this story with ease.
It is also likely to be the last acting appearance we see from Affleck before he dons the Batman cape. Whilst the subject matter may be completely different, I am sure the world will analyse his every twitch and inflection to see if he is up to scratch.
Released – October 2014
Speaking of Batman (subtle tangents are my forte!) Christopher Nolan is back everybody! Yay! Having moved away from Gotham-based adventures for good, he can now concentrate on bringing the world more complex character based dramas. You know, like he used to.
His next film is Interstellar. Not too much is know about it presently, other than it concerns explorers and scientists visiting a newly discovered wormhole and travelling through it, but one can only hope it represents a return to form for a director who came under some criticism for The Dark Knight Rises.
We all know by now that Nolan enjoys packing out his films with a strong ensemble, and this is no exception, as it features no less than Matthew McConaughey, Matt Damon, Michael Caine (as always), Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, Topher Grace, John Lithgow and Wes Bentley.
Let’s hope this doesn’t end up as a Lost In Space 2!
Released – November 2014
The Hobbit: There And Back Again
Rather fittingly, I end my piece with a film which will potentially see an end to Peter Jackson’s travels to Middle Earth.
Whilst it is perhaps fair to say the first two films in The Hobbit trilogy have not quite hit the same heights as The Lord of the Rings did, they have still been solid, well-made, enjoyable films and as such, the final part will be met with the anticipation it deserves.
This book, along with The Lord of the Rings trilogy, was once described as “unfilmable”, and so Jackson should be hailed for the fine job he has done on the five films thus far, with the final film surely set to be a great addition to the collection.
Released – December 2014
Well that’s it, my Amigos. Fourteen movies that you can feast your eyes and ears upon (perhaps even noses if the technology advances that much) over the course of the next 12 months. I have also listed some honorable mentions below. What did I miss? Would you have included something different? Let me know in the comments below, or via our Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Honorable mentions – Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Robocop, 300: Rise of an Empire, Veronica Mars, Muppets Most Wanted, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Neighbors, Edge of Tomorrow, 22 Jump Street, The Purge 2, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, The Loft, Dumb and Dumber To, The Hunger Game: Mockingjay – Part One. Horrible Bosses 2.