2013 is coming to an end. We’ve had some great movies. Some have not yet been released for wide audiences or in foreign territories. That always happens. So before I get into my most anticipated films of 2014, I’d like to mention the 2013 films that I’ll only get to see next year at this point. Some of these will be (or are already) available for my American friends by the end of the year, but not in sad and small Switzerland. Here it goes: Catherine Breillat’s Abuse of Weakness, Spike Jonze’s Her, Kim Ki-duk’s Moebius, Alexandre Payne’s Nebraska, Lukas Moodysson’s We Are the Best, Sono Sion’s Why Don’t You Play in Hell? and Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. As you can tell from this list I base my anticipations for a film mostly on the director. Now then, let’s see what 2014 has in store for us.
Far From the Madding Crowd (Thomas Vinterberg)
Why I’m Excited: After his acclaimed film The Hunt, starring the amazing Mads Mikkelsen, Danish auteur will be back with what looks to be another engaging drama about “a beautiful young woman maintains a relationship with three very different men” (IMDb).
Why I’m Worried: While Vinterberg wrote all of his movies up until now (and that of course includes my personal favorite The Celebration), David Nicholls will be adapting Thomas Hardy’s novel. The novel has been filmed before 1967. Also, the film won’t be in Danish, though so far he hasn’t really proven great results when working with a foreign cast and crew.
Why I Still Hope: I like the cast (Carey Mulligan, Juno Temple, Michael Sheen) all great actors. Plus, you know that premise sounds really intriguing and I’d love to see Vinterberg doing a period drama with fancy costumes and shit.
Fast & Furious 7 (James Wan)
Why I’m Excited: I am a big fan of the Fast & Furious franchise. To be honest it’s one of the few franchises I really care about and go see in theaters whenever a new film comes out. I know that makes me pretentious and pedantic, but I don’t care, because most of the Hollywood blockbusters are empty, but this one is different. It’s fun and it doesn’t care that it’s silly.
Why I’m Worried: Paul Walker (RIP). How are they going to handle the real-life departure of one of the franchise’s leading characters? A lot could go wrong. The story will have to change. The plans they had for the next Fast & Furious films must be adjusted. It could get messy.
Why I Still Hope: The franchise has been said to be doomed before in the past and yet it rose from the ashes like a fucking phoenix with Fast Five. It was beautiful. I sure hope they can invent something for this installment. With some new blood, James Wan, I think they’ll be able to do something fresh and interesting, that hopefully also honors Paul Walker.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson)
Why I’m Excited: I’ll always look forward to the next Wes Anderson film. This one has an incredible cast (OMG!), an interesting color-palette (brown/purple) and an intriguing 1920s setting (which looks gorgeous). It should be the perfect Wes Anderson film.
Why I’m Worried: The plot looks a bit complicated from those trailers. It seems like a lot happens. I can easily see how the film could get confusing or be unsatisfying like something à la ‘Life Aquatic’. Also, Anderson’s film seem like they’re a bit too self-aware lately, over-stylized and overall feeling too Wes Anderson-y.
Why I Still Hope: Almost all of my apprehensions are based on the brief trailers we’ve gotten so far. It’s not fair to judge a film based on its trailer alone. Moonrise Kingdom, Anderson’s last film to date, was one of my favorites of his (so far), so he definitely proved that he’s still got it.
Noah (Darren Aronofsky)
Why I’m Excited: Once again it’s mainly because of the director. I love Aronofsky’s films. Black Swan my second favorite movie in 2010 and The Wrestler is one of my favorite films. Looking at the cast, I love Jennifer Connelly and the other people he cast are great too.
Why I’m Worried: As a Christian I have no illusions that the story will be changed slightly from the “source material” (the Bible story). He already invented a new character in Noah’s daughter. I just hope that he can keep the same spirit and message of Bible story.
Why I Still Hope: Obviously Christian audiences are a big market in the States and the studio probably wouldn’t release a movie that big without trying to please them as well. Don’t get me wrong I still hope that Aronofsky has final cut, an uncompromised artistic vision is always the most important thing, I just hope they can work out something that pleases both the art lover and the believer in me. Yes, I do realize that’s asking a lot.
Nymphomaniac (Lars von Trier)
Why I’m Excited: Melancholia was my favorite film of 2011. There I said it. With Nymphomaniac he should be concluding his unofficial trilogy of depression (which includes both Antichrist and Melancholia). The cast of this film is incredible as well. You’ve got Charlotte Gainsbourg, one of my favorite actresses, Stellan Skarsgård, Willem Dafoe, Jamie Bell, Udo Kier and so many other great actors.
Why I’m Worried: This is my most anticipated film of 2014. High expectations are what worries me, not the film itself. Will the movie be able to live up to the perfect film I’ve created in my mind (but sadly doesn’t exist)? I should really stop with those appetizers
Why I Still Hope: I’ll try not to think about the movie so much and maybe my excitement level will drop to reasonable expectations, but I sincerely doubt it. Forget about it. I’m just too jazzed for this flick!
Magic in the Moonlight (Woody Allen)
Why I’m Excited: Seriously? Have you been paying attention here? The only director I mention almost as often as Sofia Coppola is Woody Allen. I love the guy. He’s my hero. He’s been experiencing some sort of rebirth and at this stage of his career it’s most impressive. Blue Jasmine will definitely be on my top ten list for 2013, and I sure hope that Magic in the Moonlight will end up on the 2014 list.
Why I’m Worried: Lately, Allen has done a good movie one year, immediately followed by a not so good (but still charming and interesting) movie the next year. While this isn’t a math thing, next year should be the year where he puts out the not so great one.
Why I Still Hope: I hope this doesn’t sound mean or disrespectful, you know I adore the man, but the “not-so-good” movies he put out lately all starred him in some kind of role. It doesn’t look like he will be in this one though. On a more upbeat note I am excited to see him work with Midnight in Paris cinematographer Darius Khondji again. That was definitely one of is most beautiful looking films.
Tokyo Tribes (Sono Sion)
Why I’m Excited: Tokyo Tribes is based on a manga and will be directed by my favorite Japanese director Sono Sion. If the name doesn’t ring a bell: He’s the genius behind movies such as Suicide Club, Strange Circus, Love Exposure, Cold Fish, Guilty of Romance and Himizu more recently. I’ve been a fan of his for a long time and haven’t seen a bad movie from him yet.
Why I’m Worried: I’m not big on sci-fi or action and this looks to be just that. Personally, I’m convince that Sion’s best work is in drama. As a poet I think that’s what he expresses best. Though I’m sure the film will have dramatic elements, I just hope that the action/sci-fi will look good, because I don’t imagine this will be a big budget film.
Why I Still Hope: Based on Sion’s track record and the fact that he previously surprised me with his adaptation of another sci-fi/action manga adaptation (Himizu) I hope he’ll do the same here.
Transformers: Age of Extinction (Michael Bay)
Why I’m Excited: This might definitely be my oddest pick for a lot of people, but if you know me, you know I love action auteur Michael Bay and his passion for explosions. Pain & Gain was pretty great this year. This is his last entry in the franchise and even though I love Bay, I want him to move on to better things as much as any die-hard Transformers fanboys.
Why I’m Worried: I’m worried that he doesn’t care and he’s going to make a film just because he has a contract uphold (a contract that allowed him to do Pain & Gain). Yet, it might also be his craziest Transformers flick, because he’s so over it that he just masturbates allover the screen and gets all self-indulgent. I’m not sure I’d love that either, sometimes he could use a little restraint.
Why I Still Hope: There’s going to be Dinobots, they’re going back to Asia (Hong Kong) and Mark Wahlberg seems to inspire Bay. Those three reasons right there give me hope that it might be better than the last two Transformers movies. I really did like that first one. Second one’s okay. Third one’s just too, I don’t know… “Dark” (visually)?
White Bird in a Blizzard (Gregg Araki)
Why I’m Excited: Gregg Araki is an interesting filmmaker, who I feel never really got his due. A lot of people, fans included, take him for granted. A lot of people haven’t even heard of him. He makes crazy movies, but I love them because he makes them mainly for himself. White Bird in a Blizzard is about a 17-year-old girl whose mom disappears and so she goes out to look for her.
Why I’m Worried: From the trailer it didn’t really seem like a Gregg Araki film. I know that sounds weird, but like with franchises, auteurs guarantee brand consistency to art house audiences. That being said, I always appreciate a director doing something different and trying out new things. This looks like a relatively “serious” film for Araki, possibly in the same vein of Mysterious Skin. Maybe he’s trying to prove that he can make a “good” movie by critics’ standards if he wants to? Who knows.
Why I Still Hope: I have high hopes for Shailene Woodley. She’s a splendid young actress with a lot of promise and I really want to see her succeed. This film could be a great vehicle for her if it turns out to be an indie sensation. Another reason I look forward to this one is the shoegaze soundtrack, I know it’s silly, but not many films use that music genre in their films anymore.
Untitled Cameron Crowe Project (Cameron Crowe)
Why I’m Excited: The film doesn’t even have a title yet, but of course being a Cameron Crowe film there isn’t much else I need to know. Of course it also helps that Emma Stone and Bill Murray have been cast for this. The film will be an adventure/comedy/romance, which sounds great. Crowe is great at romantic comedies and I look forward to hear more about the adventure part.
Why I’m Worried: Lately Crowe hasn’t exactly been on top of his game. Of course every director has a couple so-so films in their filmography, but when’s the last time he made a truly great film? 2000? That’s more than a decade!
Why I Still Hope: Like Crowe I’m a hopeless romantic, so whatever he did in the past that was only “okay” is in the past. Contrary to most people I don’t really believe in the “You’re only as good as your last movie” cliché. I look at the filmography overall and overall he’s still one hell of a director.
Well, then that was longer than expected, but I guess I had a couple things I wanted to get off of my chest. So these are my ten most anticipated films for 2014 at the moment. Of course my expectations will be adjusted as new films get announced, new trailers surface on the internet, festivals proclaim their latest unknown darlings and other auteurs announce new material or release dates. On that note, and knowing that my elitist views only reflect a narrow segment of the film viewing public I’d love to hear about every one else’s most anticipated films of 2014. Please do leave a comment with a list of the films you are most excited about in 2014. And if you read all this: Thanks and wow.