Five movies to look forward to in the new year
The back end of December can seem like one big rush from the Hollywood studios to promote the hit movie of the Christmas season. Family-oriented films are the order of the day and, although many of these make for great viewing for parents too, they can be a little sentimental which most grown-ups tend not to like. Kids’ movies tend get their release dates in British cinemas to coincide with the coming of the school Christmas holidays, in December. For films which are aimed at a more sophisticated cinema-going public, it is usually best to wait until after Christmas and we are firmly into the New Year.
This is not just because serious filmmakers are looking to tap into the Christmas season audience, but because they are already eying the potential windfall that can follow Oscar success. Savvy producers know when a movie is likely to get a look in – when it comes to the Academy Awards – and January, it seems, is the perfect time to release a movie if you are seriously in the running for a prize.
This New Year will be no exception to the rule. There are plenty of cinematic treats to look forward to in 2014. Hotly anticipated is 47 Ronin, Keanu Reeves’ latest vehicle. Set in the 18th century, the Carl Rinsch directed action-film tells the true tale of the 47 leaderless samurai legends. This movie will be distributed in 3D as well as at conventional screenings. To enjoy it as the director intends, a 3D screening is going to be best – without any doubt – as the action adventure genre of the film features plenty of swordplay that really works within the format. Try seeking out a 3D showing at a large cinema chain, like Cineworld, who have invested heavily in technologies such as RealD, which makes three dimensional movies come alive. It is best to book ahead when you want to watch 3D films at Cineworld as not all screenings will use the three dimensional format, and you don’t want to be disappointed on arrival at the cinema.
Another keenly anticipated movie release is The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which is to be shown in cinemas from Boxing Day. Ben Stiller directs and also stars in the eponymous role in what is an inspirational tale about a daydreamer who goes on to have incredible adventures. A visually stunning cinematic feast, Walter Mitty is rated PG and suited to a family audience but gets into engaging dramatic territory without patronising its audience. It is funny too, and Stiller can expect plenty of audience plaudits as well as those that have already come from many a critic.
With a cast that features Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and no less a screen icon as Robert De Niro, you might expect a film of high quality. Released on New Year’s Day, American Hustle fits the bill and is a jaw dropping crime thriller that is based on a real life story. In the movie, which is expected to be one of the hits of the January cinema season, a conman is recruited by the FBI. The hustler is subsequently drawn into a dangerous world where the government and the mafia collide, with not everything being as it might seem.
Chiwetel Ejiofor stars in 12 Years a Slave, another true story to be released in cinemas in the New Year. It is a movie that has already been tipped by many who have seen it at pre-screenings for Oscar success. Set in 1851, it features a free black New Yorker who is kidnapped and subsequently transported South as a slave. Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender both put in excellent supporting roles, but the movie’s star, Ejiofor, and its director, Steve McQueen, are the ones who have attracted the most attention in terms of Academy Award buzz.
Another big screen adaptation based upon real life which is due for release early in January, is Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom. Based on the former South African president’s own testimony, from his must-read autobiography, the film stars Idris Elba who plays the title role. With a screenplay by William Nicholson, who previously penned Gladiator, the film is thought to be a shoe-in for an award or two in 2014. Naomie Harris puts in a sterling performance as Winnie Mandela, the ANC leader’s wife of many years, and few would bet against her picking up one of the big prizes.
Whichever movie catches your eye this January, the chances are that we are going to hear a great deal more about it later in the year, when the awards are handed out.
The editorial unit