5 most anticipated films of 2014
Once again, the new year in film looks set to be dominated by big budget sequels, safe box-office bets for the studios. Along with a slew of comic book adaptations, including The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and X-Men: Days of Future Past, there is also going to be a fourth Transformers film, which was probably on nobody’s Christmas wish list. But 2014 promises some exciting cinematic prospects too, with a number of notable directors releasing films this year: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh have films imminent, John Michael McDonagh teams up again with Brendan Gleeson as he did for The Guard, Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) directs an epic adaptation of the story of Noah. And there are some long-awaited cerebral blockbusters coming: the Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending and the reboot of Godzilla. There will be plenty to keep us at the box office in 2014, and here are the five most anticipated films of the year to come:
How To Train Your Dragon was something so extraordinary that its sequel deserves a place in this list. There are clichés, certainly – Hiccup is dorky, he gets the girl and saves the day, but it does not feel formulaic. Its distinctive animation and witty script are clearly a labour of love. The teaser trailer for the second film consisted only of Hiccup and Toothless flying, but that was exciting enough. And with John Powell scoring, Dean DeBlois resuming his role as director and a promising trailer, this looks like it could measure up to the phenomenal first film.
Distinctive style is something that suffuses every Wes Anderson film and there are many elements that are easy to parody: Futura font, pastel colours, Bill Murray, straight faces and a fantastic soundtrack. The trailer for The Grand Budapest Hotel promises all of these, as well as Anderson’s uniquely deadpan humour. The main character is played by Ralph Fiennes, whose performance in In Bruges proved that he can do comedy just as well as his more serious roles. Anderson’s last film, Moonrise Kingdom in 2012, was a brilliant combination of charm, innocence and intelligence – hopefully this latest project will be just as good.
Iron Man may have been little-known when Marvel made their film adaptation in 2008, but it was the spark that the Marvel cinematic universe needed. Guardians of the Galaxy is even more recondite and risky. Marvel churn out films like a factory but they have so far resisted complacency by choosing interesting directors, like Kenneth Branagh for Thor. They move characters forward, and reward their fanbase with a sprawling, interconnected universe. This will be a real test of how much faith viewers put into the brand – whether they will still turn up to see a raccoon and a tree fight for the freedom of the universe.
Although based on a young readers’ book featuring teenagers in an angsty love triangle, the Hunger Games films stand far apart from the teenager-oriented bilge produced for the cinema: they are about as adult and Orwellian as they come. The first two films have been unrelentingly grim and brutal adaptations of the books. On top of that, they are moody, well-acted action films. The final instalment has been split in two – hopefully it will provide the time and space to bring a suitably dark and climactic end to the series in the same well-crafted manner that has defined the first two films.
Christopher Nolan can do no wrong. His approach to filmmaking is meticulous and peerless. His lack of reliance on CGI, his excellent casts (who else would cast David Bowie as Nikola Tesla?), his refusal to patronise the audience – these elements combine to create stunning, memorable films. This is why Interstellar makes the list, even though next to nothing is known about it. It features Matthew McConaughey and a team of scientists going through a wormhole in space – all other information is being kept secret. But it will attract the crowds, and, judging on past performance, it is fair to assume that it will be very good indeed.