All eyes on film: the Big Movie Preview 2014

Donald Clarke and Tara Brady cast eyes towards the coming year’s cinematic treats

Film correspondent Donald Clarke previews the movies he's getting excited aobut in 2014.

 

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.

 

JANUARY 10TH

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.

DELIVERY MAN
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.

JANUARY 17TH

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.

JANUARY 24TH

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.

JANUARY 31ST

LONE SURVIVOR
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.

FEBRUARY 7TH

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.

LABOR DAY
Jason Reitman continues his eclectic career with an adaptation of Joyce Maynard’s novel concerning a single mum who harbours a dangerous criminal. Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin star.

ROBOCOP
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.

FEBRUARY 14TH

HER
The latest from postmodernist Spike Jonze finds Joaquin Phoenix falling in love with
his computer’s operating system. Scarlett Johansson voices the software.

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.

FEBRUARY 21ST

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.

 

FEBRUARY 28TH

NON-STOP

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.

MARCH 7TH

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.

MARCH 14TH

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.

THE STAG
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.

THE ZERO THEOREM
Terry Gilliam’s latest is, by all accounts, no less odd than his earlier work. Christoph Waltz and Mélanie Thierry are pinballed about a characteristic dystopia.

 

MARCH 28th

CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER
Tradition has it that we get a holding-pattern blockbuster in the weeks before Easter. This time round it’s the man with the shield. The first Captain America film was actually somewhat underrated.

MUPPETS MOST WANTED
The sequel to the delightful reinvention of the Muppet franchise takes in an appearance by this newspaper as it tours Europe. Ricky Gervais and Tina Fey are among the humans involved.

NOAH
It’s a straight-up version of the biblical myth starring Russell Crowe as the ship-building prophet and Ray Winstone as his enemy. Does director Darren Aronofsky know what he’s up to?

THE PAST
Asghar Farhadi, director of A Separation, tells another tale of a marriage in crisis. Bérénice Bejo won best actress at Cannes for her performance.

APRIL 4TH

DIVERGENT
Is it The Hunger Games or is it The Mortal Instruments? Hollywood’s latest attempt to turn a teen fiction franchise into a hit turns to Veronica Roth’s clever dystopia.

RIO 2
Once again, you know what this is. The first film about the nervous Macaw was only okay, but made a fortune. So, here we are.

APRIL 11TH

LAST DAYS ON MARS
Irish director Ruairí Robinson sends Liev Schreiber to space for a tense, low-budge thriller that played to some acclaim at Cannes.


CALVARY
John Michael McDonagh’s follow-up to The Guard casts Brendan Gleeson as a good priest in a difficult situation.


APRIL 18TH

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2
Part two of the revamped franchise finds Paul Giamatti playing the Rhino and Jamie Foxx as Electro. Sounds plausible.

APRIL 25TH

TRANSCENDENCE
The great cinematographer Wally Pfister makes his directorial debut with a tale of artificial intelligence starring Johnny Depp and Rebecca Hall.


MAY 9TH

FRANK
Lenny Abrahamson’s follow-up to What Richard Did sounds deliciously weird. Michael Fassbender wears a huge false head throughout as a rock singer with flavours of the late Frank Sidebottom.


MAY 16TH

GODZILLA
Wait. Come back. The latest take on the Japanese behemoth features Gareth Edwards – director of the excellent Monsters – back behind the camera. We’re foolishly optimistic.

MAY 22ND

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
There’s no reason the second part of Muppet Babies: X-Men shouldn’t be as tolerable as the opening episode.

MALEFICENT
Which, if you haven’t been paying attention, is the wicked queen in Sleeping Beauty. Angelina Jolie makes with the raised eyebrows.
JUNE 6th

22 JUMP STREET
We barely remembered the TV series, but the first buddy comedy was so funny it hardly mattered. More of the same would do all right.

A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST
Seth MacFarlane’s Ted was a big hit. Can the prankster make sense of a western comedy? There have been worse ideas.


JUNE 20th

THE PURGE 2
It will be interesting to see how they fashion a sequel from the first underrated high-concept musing on violence in contemporary America.

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort are chained together. After messing up the future in Divergent, they, erm, converge for this keenly-anticipated dying-young romance.


JUNE 27th

MRS BROWN’S BOYS
Do you resent Brendan O’Carroll’s belated success with the naughty family comedy? Then you’re a f@&€ing b&@%#d. More of the same, but bigger, I bet.


JULY 4th

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2
Another sequel to a surprisingly delightful hit, the second comic fantasy need only turn up to boss the multiplex. Made good (if too dark) use of stupid 3D last time.


JULY 10th

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION
Extinction? If only. Oh let’s not be cruel. Our own Jack Reynor turns up in the fourth chapter. Expect the occasional detonation.


JULY 17th

DAWN OF PLANET OF THE APES
Now, here’s a sequel we’re actually looking forward to. The first was great. The trailer suggests some Heart of Darkness atmosphere and much ape-on-man violence.


JULY 25TH

JUPITER ASCENDING
The latest from the Wachowski siblings – creators of The Matrix – focuses on an ordinary person who discovers they may have extraordinary potential. Sounds familiar. Mila Kunis is at the centre of sci-fi mayhem.

AUGUST 1ST

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
This is a bit of a strange one. Just outside the Marvel mainstream, we find a gang of intergalactic ex-cons seeking some sort of mysterious object. Experts tell us the film is based on the reboot of the original comic.


AUGUST 6TH
 

THE INBETWEENERS MOVIE 2
The first adaptation surprised even the most educated film expert by going ballistic at the box office. But they have problems with this sequel. Much of the cast – supposedly college age – is now closing in on 30.

THE EXPENDABLES 3
Let’s face it. You’re not interested in the plot. All you want to know is which old geezers have been summoned forth to join the gang. Mel Gibson and Harrison Ford to name but two. Apparently, Willis wanted too much money.


AUGUST 22ND

LUCY
Luc Besson – emperor of Euro-flash – directs Scarlett Johansson in the tale of a drug mule who, after taking her produce, turns into a “metahuman”. If you say so M Besson.


AUGUST 29TH

SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR
Oh there you are! The second film in the comic-book noir has been on and off the schedules since Philip Marlowe was in work. Jessica Alba is back. Josh Brolin joins the hard-boiled team.


SEPTEMBER 5TH

SEX TAPE
Nothing provocative about that title, then. Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel are the couple trying to track down a naughty video that has got into the wrong hands. It’s not the most tasteful notion. But it’s astonishing nobody thought of it before.


SEPTEMBER 12TH

BOXTROLLS
Nice to see some stop-motion animation in the calendar. This family entertainment from the Laika Studio is based on a popular book by Alan Snow. Expect something in the vein of Colarine.

OCTOBER 3RD

GONE GIRL
After delivering the only modestly successful Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, David Fincher again gets to direct a film of the era’s most voguish thriller. Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike take the leads in this take on Gillian Flynn’s twisty mystery.


OCTOBER 10TH

THE EQUALISER
Yes, that’s right. It’s a much-belated big screen version of the TV thriller that made such good use of the late Edward Woodward. Who dares step in those shoes? Why Denzel Washington, of course. He’ll do just fine.


OCTOBER 17TH

DRACULA UNTOLD
Luke Evans stars as the great vampire in a film that takes us back to his origins as Vlad the Impaler. Much of the picture was filmed in and round Belfast (which is surely far too sunny and merry for Transylvania).

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
They had to be called “Hero Turtles” in the UK, you know. It’s produced by Michael Bay’s company, so we can expect a gentle, quiet, measured take on the material. Maybe.

POPEYE 3D
Is this half-term or something? It’s an animated version of the notorious Robert Altman film that nearly ruined Hollywood. This time Paul Thomas Anderson directs. No he doesn’t. It’s a cartoon.

OCTOBER 24TH

THE MAZE RUNNER
And Hollywood takes yet another crack at a young adult novel sequence. Dylan O’Brien and Kaya Scodelario are among those seeking to translate the popular books by James Dashner. Does another franchise beckon? (See also: Divergent)

NOVEMBER 7TH

INTERSTELLAR
Haven’t heard of this yet? Trust us, you will. After polishing off the Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan embarks on a science fiction adventure involving wormholes through space and time. Not much else is known. But the ubiquitous Matthew McConaughey is on board. That’s the law, these days.

NOVEMBER 14TH

NATIVITY 3: DUDE, WHERE’S MY DONKEY?
Well, Christmas is a time for miracles, I suppose. How in the name of heaven did this feeble British comedy series make it to a third episode? Have you met any fans? Anyway, here it is.

NOVEMBER 21ST

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1
Hollywood finally found a fresh franchise when it tackled Suzanne Collins’s tale of warring young people. The second film was even better than the first. So there no pressure on young Ms Lawrence then.

NOVEMBER 28TH

PADDINGTON
A fascinating documentary on the west London station. Not really. It is, of course, a big-screen adaptation of Michael Bond’s charming books concerning a polite Peruvian bear. Colin Firth voices the hero. Julie Walters makes the marmalade sandwiches.

HORRIBLE BOSSES 2
Some of the bosses are back. Others are not. Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman head-up this sequel to a tolerably amusing workplace comedy. The twist is they’re now self-employed.

DECEMBER 5TH

EXODUS
No, it’s not another take on the Leon Uris book. It’s not any kind of metaphor. Ridley Scott really is tackling the biblical story of the Israelites. Christian Bale is Moses. I don’t fancy their chances if Noah fails earlier in the year.

DECEMBER 12TH

HAPPY SMEKDAY!
AKA Home. Some of you may have heard of the children’s book by one Adam Rex. Well, now it’s an animated film from Dreamworks. Tim Johnson directs.

DECEMBER 19TH

DUMB AND DUMBER TO
Yes, that’s really what it’s called (funny title, actually). The faltering Farrelly brothers return to characters from one of their earliest hits. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are back on the bike. Jennifer Lawrence brings her stardust to a smaller role.

THE HOBBIT: THERE AND BACK AGAIN
What’s this? Let’s check Wikipedia. Apparently it’s some sort of fantasy thing starring the blokes from Sherlock. To be fair, the second one wasn’t bad. Now, it’s time for Peter Jackson to do something else.

DECEMBER 26TH

NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 3
Well, that’s your treat for the undemanding offspring sorted a whole year in advance. Ricky Gervais, Ben Stiller and Robin Williams are back for more frolics after hours.

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