All eyes on film: the Big Movie Preview 2014
Donald Clarke and Tara Brady cast eyes towards the coming year’s cinematic treats
Welcome to our bumper guide to another year of sequels, remakes and leftfield experiments. The most comprehensive preview available is, for your convenience and ours, broken up into two digestible parts.
First, this writer takes you through the spill-off from Oscar season – pictures such as Inside Llewyn Davis and August Osage County – before addressing early shots in the silly season: Godzilla, Spider-Man and Captain America all make appearances.
Then Tara Brady plunges into full-on blockbuster mania and coasts towards another year-end orgy of expensive fun and looming awards bait. Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar is out there fanboys. You only have 10 short months to wait.
12 YEARS A SLAVE
Steve McQueen’s savage story of a free man abducted as a slave has already clawed up plaudits through the world and been installed as favourite for the best-picture Oscar. Chiwetel Ejiofor rings every emotion as the (literally) tortured hero.
Vince Vaughn travels the world in search of the many children that he sired remotely after donating promiscuously to a sperm bank. More sentimental and less lewd than it sounds.
THE RAILWAY MAN
In a touching true-life story, Colin Firth plays a former Japanese prisoner of war who, decades later, returns to confront his captor. Jeremy Irvine does a good impersonation as the hero in earlier times.
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
The latest film from Martin Scorsese – his longest ever at 179 minutes – stars Leonardo DiCaprio as financial fraudster Jordan Belfort. By all accounts, it’s loud, decadent and funny.
AUGUST OSAGE COUNTY
All the gang are on board – Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Benedict Cumberbatch, many others – for a potentially chewy adaption of Tracy Letts’s play concerning fraught family relations during a gathering in Oklahoma.
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
It’s finally here. The Coen brothers’ latest – a hit in Cannes seven months ago – follows a budding folk singer as he pads about New York City in the days before Dylan.
JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT
The bit after the colon sounds like one of those fake films from Seinfeld. Anyway, this is the latest attempt to disinter Tom Clancy’s glamorous spy. Kenneth Branagh directs Chris Pine.
This year’s Zero Dark Thirty perhaps. Peter Berg’s action picture follows the efforts of a Navy Seal team to kill a Taliban leader in Afghanistan. Mark Wahlberg and Taylor Kitsch are among the commandoes.
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB
The unstoppable Matthew McConaughey has been receiving raves for his performance as an Aids patient who, appalled at the authorities’ inefficiency, smuggles anti-viral drugs into the US from across the world.
Well, you don’t need to be told what this is. On this occasion, impressive Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman pulls on the helmet and grabs the big gun.
THE MONUMENTS MEN
George Clooney directs himself, Matt Damon, John Goodman and others in a study of the curators entrusted with rescuing works of art from Germany in the aftermath of the second World War.
THE LEGO MOVIE
What next? The Subbuteo movie? It sounds like an awful idea, but the animated feature from the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs people promises lots of snark and subversion.
NYMPHOMANIAC PART 1
Lars Von Trier wouldn’t be Last Von Trier without a smidgeon of controversy. His latest epic two-part shocker – the second episode arrives in March – stars Charlotte Gainsbourg as a committed sex addict.
ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE
Jim Jarmusch proves that, against the odds, there really is room for one more vampire movie. His charming drama stars Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as undead pals adrift in Detroit.
An air martial on a transatlantic flight receives a text telling him that, unless funds are transferred, one passenger will be killed every 20 minutes. Is it Statham? Is it Stallone? No it’s Neeson, you fool. Sounds awesome.
300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE
Shouldn’t this be called 301? Anyway, it’s not. The belated sequel to Zack Snyder’s ancient epic turns its attention to some other battle taking place in some other part of the Mediterranean.
GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
By Golly, Wes Anderson can attract a good cast. Fiennes, Dafoe, Keitel, Swinton, Ronan: and that’s just the people you’ll recognise from surnames alone. Advance images promise something delicious.
GRACE OF MONACO
Following the stunning success of Diana, this study of an earlier European princess was moved to allow that film time to exit. Hang on. That’s not right. Nicole Kidman plays the lead.
A stag party goes badly wrong in this promising Irish comedy. The ubiquitous Andrew Scott and the perennially charming Hugh O’Conor are among those falling over.