2013 was a huge year for cinema; record numbers at the box office and a slew of critically acclaimed pictures at both ends of the financial and emotional spectrum, took care of it. That, and the fact that every studio seems to have earmarked 2015 as the year that we are all going to have a financial boom leading to lots of money slushing around for cinema trips, meant 2014 was always in danger of being an odd in-between year.
Nevertheless there is enough crammed in to the next 12 months to keep us all happy and distracted from the world descending into Armageddon….probably. So here, in no particular order, are our favourite movies and TV shows scheduled for release over the next 12 months
Of all of the recent remakes of 1980’s sci-fi classics that have either been mooted (Blade Runner) or actually made (the abominably dull Total Recall), Robocop is one that is ripe for being brushed off and updated to fit the current socio-economic climate.
Stepping into Peter Weller’s iconic boots, legs, arms, torso and helmet is Joel Kinnaman, known most notably until now for his captivating role as recovering junkie Detective Stephen Holder in the US version of The Killing. He has just the right amount of deadpan gravitas to portray Officer Alex Murphy and his robotic alterego, and Omincorp’s blunt tool of criminal justice. Early trailers look positive and the suit is 100% badass. Let’s hope it delivers as much as it promises and makes Kinnaman a star for the future.
(Robocop is scheduled for release 7th Feb 2014 UK & 12th Feb 2014 US)
Wolf of Wall Street
Early buzz on Wolf of Wall Street is that it is Scorcese’s best work since Goodfellas, and could be a dark horse for some Oscar nods. Certainly the trailers suggest it is one his most flamboyant and funny pieces of work in a while. And while his recent work (Hugo aside which sits outside of his normal body of work) hasn’t been totally devoid of humour this looks to be his most outright funny film since, well, dare I say The King of Comedy. As well as praise it has taken some heat from the victims of Jordan Belfort’s (Leo DiCaprio) original fraud. But like they say, if they’re not throwing rocks at you you’re doing it wrong. Or something. I don’t know. Either way it looks awesome and I can’t wait.
(Wolf of Wall Street is released 17 January 2014 UK)
Captain America 2: Winter Soldier
The first of two big releases for Chris Evans this year (Snowpiecer is previewed below) and the last of the round of post Avengers Marvel releases after Iron Man 3 and Thor grossed close to $2b between them worldwide in 2013. The first Captain America grossed $370m in 2011 and no doubt Avi Arad and Kevin Feige are hoping for another box office smash before Joss Whedon undoubtedly dominates summer 2015 with the next Avengers installment. Arad and Feige have put a lot of faith in Anthony and Joe Russo who, aside from disappointing comedies Welcome To Collingwood and You, Me & Dupree, have carved careers largely in TV sitcoms. Will be interesting to see how they handle a big budget franchise like Captain America.
(Captain America: Winter Soldier is released 28th March 2014 UK & 4th April 2014 US)
In stark contrast to Chris Evans’ other big budget effort there is a chance UK and US audiences will be limited in their opportunities to see Joon-ho Bong’s apocalyptic, dystopian railroad movie. Released to huge numbers in his native South Korea ($63m) way back in June 2013 it is still to be given a release date in the US and UK. The delay seems linked to a disagreement between Bong and Harvey Weinstein, with the megalomaniac film producer doing what he is famed for and trying to cut the original release by 20 minutes. Given the acclaim and anticipation that followed the original release it is unclear why Weinstein thinks that US and UK audiences need it cutting from a not unreasonable 2 hours to 1 hour 40 minutes. Especially given the length of the average blockbuster at the moment seems to regularly top 2 hours 30 minutes. Based on the trailers though it would be a shame if it was delayed and given limited release because it looks spectacular, with a stellar cast to boot. Lets hope everyone puts their differences to one side and gets it in the cinema ASAP.
(Snowpiecer will be released when Harvey Weinstein says it will be released and not a moment sooner)
Joe Carnahan has had a mixed bag of a career, starting with the excellent Narc (2002), before the underrated Smokin’ Aces and then disappointing big screen adaptation of The A-Team, looked they might have killed off the career of one of the most promising American filmmakers of the early 2000’s. He redeemed himself though with The Grey (2011), bringing a Nietzschean level of bleak and drawing one of Liam Neeson’s best performances in years. His latest project Stretch, starring Chris Pine (who was one of the highlights of Smokin’ Aces) and Patrick Wilson, promises to be closer to Carnahan’s comic output than Narc or The Grey. That said it’s unlikely to be family friendly with Wilson playing a chauffer driver whose life is made miserable by his billionaire playboy boss (Pine). If Carnahan gets it right it could be this years sleeper hit.
(Stretch is released 21st March 2014 in US & UK)
Draft Day could be for Kevin Costner what Moneyball was for Brad Pitt and bring him a surprise oscar nomination in 2015. The only thing that might get in the way is that it’s 80’s legend Ivan Reitman calling the shots, and not his indie comedy darling son Jason (Juno, Up In The Air, Thank You For Smoking). Reitman Snr’s output in recent years has been patchy in terms of consistency and quality (anyone remember My Super Ex-Girlfriend??), but Draft Day could be just the grounded project to put him back on the map. Especially with a resurgent Costner, building on his fine performances in Superman: Man of Steel and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, taking on the role of the Cleveland Browns GM trying to acquire the first pick in the NFL draft. For those of you that have watched an NFL draft the process of picking at the top of the board is pretty dull with people knowing more or less who is going where in advance for the first few picks. That said it is an area ripe for drama and tension. Hey, no one thought a film about baseball statistics would set the world on fire. If Draft Day falls somewhere between Any Given Sunday and Moneyball it could draw in a lot more than just Football fans. Unfortunately it is unlikely to get much of a release in the UK, so will probably be one to catch on streaming.
(Draft Day is released 11th April 2014 in US; no date set for outside of US)
House of Cards Season 2
House of Cards was one of my favourite moments of TV and film in 2013 and if season 2 can keep the pace and quality going then it will undoubtedly be a high water mark of 2014. We covered back in March 2013 how it marked a tidal change in TV as the first high quality Netflix original series with a true Hollywood cast and production team (Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright and David Fincher). For those of you who missed season 1, House of Cards (based on a short UK series from the early 90s) plays like a cross between The West Wing and Profit, with Kevin Spacey as the deliciously Machiavellian Frank Underwood, a senior Congressman determined to passive-aggressively screw over everyone who has gotten in his way. The 13 episodes were of a cinematic quality to rival anything HBO or Showtime have put out in recent years, and the slew of directors lining up to make episodes suggests that will only get better. One thing they need to change though; make the Sony product placement a little less smash-your-face-in obvious.
(House of Cards Season 2 is released across Netflix on 14th February 2014)
The Monuments Men
If George Clooney adds any more strings to his bow he’ll…….need a ….bigger bow? And I need to get better at analogies. But until then Clooney continues to add Great Director to his expanding repertoire. Following on from his previous efforts, including Good Night, and Good Luck and Ides of March, Cloontang’s next project is based on the true story of a little known US troop in WW2 sent into save as many cultural artifacts from the clutches of the Nazis as they could. What set them apart from their military peers was they were old enough to be their Dads/Grandads in some cases. There is a precedent for the old-gang-doing-young-mans-job comedy, but generally they are either average (Space Cowboys) or just sad (Wild Hogs). Thankfully it looks like Clooney is bringing a little bit of class to The Monuments Men and has put together a classic comedy cast of Bill Murray, John Goodman and Bob Balaban, with Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett, as well as Clooney himself, lowering the average age to below bus pass qualifying.
(The Monuments Men is released 7th February 2014 US & 21st February 2014 everywhere else)
22 Jump Street
As Anchorman 2 so pointedly proved last month, great comedies do not necessarily make great comedy sequels. 21 Jump Street took most people by surprise when it came out in 2012 by being smarter, funnier and more self referential than a lot of it’s counterparts. There was also a genuine comic chemistry between Hill and Tatum, a combo that before I had seen it I would have bet money on being atrociously annoying. Given it’s $140m box office haul it was less surprising that Sony almost immediately greenlit a sequel. The name, 22 Jump Street, may seem lazy but it is actually in keeping with 21 Jump Street’s knowing nod to the fact it was another update of an old 80’s TV show. Hopefully it doesn’t just recycle the jokes from the first one and hope we all laugh again without noticing.
(22 Jump Street is released 13th June 2014 UK and 21 June 2014 US)
I have already written enough about my excitement about Interstellar on Hooray For Movies to fill a small library and bore most of my readers. So I won’t rabbit on too long. Needless to say though the idea of Nolan placing human cost at the heart of theoretical quantum physics is quite possibly the greatest thing ever. The early trailers tell us little in terms of story but it’s clear there will be tears….and corn. Lots of corn.
(Interstellar is set for release 7th November 2014 worldwide)
Guillermo Del Torro is the latest Hollywood A-List director to take a stroll down to the world of television. Adapting it from his own source graphic novel that he co-authored with Chuck Hogan, The Strain is obviously hoping to tap into the Walking Dead/American Horror Story/True Blood market with it’s vampire epidemic storyline. FX have optioned it and shot a pilot starring Sean Astin and a whole load of other people I have never heard of. So FX are obviously hanging their hat on the quality of the action rather than the marketability of it’s cast. Which could be a very good thing indeed.
(The Strain is slated for release late 2014 US)
X-Men Days of Future Past
Brett Ratner nearly killed the X-Men franchise and all of Bryan Singer’s good work with Final Stand, before Matthew Vaughan breathed new life back into Marvel’s other other huge money spinning franchise with X-Men: First Class. Singer is going back to what he knows best after a succession of disappointments, not least 2006 Superman Returns, and he’s bringing the old gang with him. Basic economics would suggest it’s too many names to fit on one accounting sheet, what with the likes of Ellen Page, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender ever more bankable than when they first slipped into character. Yet somehow Marvel, with their seemingly bottomless pockets, have paid for everyone to return and it has the potential to give Avengers a run for it’s money in terms of ensemble comic book action. The trailers released so far suggest it is going to be closer to Vaughan’s emotional prequel than Singer’s originals.
(X-Men: Days of Future Past is released 23rd May 2014 UK and US)
Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
As seems to be the norm nowadays since Harry Potter and Twilight split their final movies to maximise revenue, the last installment of the Hunger Games trilogy will come in two installments. The first of the Mockingjay installments is due for release late 2014, with the second part in 2015 meaning we will have had a Hunger Games installment every year for four years. If it weren’t for the presence of Jennifer Lawrence and the willingness of the franchises producers to maintain the books’ darker tones it may be seen as overkill. Last years Catching Fire divided opinion more than the first, with some unhappy at the abrupt ending. However, the last three films, Catching Fire included, should be seen as three acts of the same story rather than three standalone installments. Hopefully by the time we get to Mockingjay Part 2 we wont be overly gorged on Hunger Games. Until then though I still have an appetite for another (sorry….).
(The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is due for release 21st November 2014 US and UK)
How To Catch A Monster
Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut looks as interesting as you’d expect from an actor who likes nothing more than working against his pretty boy image. This time though he is being upstaged by ex-Dr Who Matt Smith who is planning on making his Hollywood splash as Gosling’s shaven headed, pseudo-punk antagonist Bully. The synopsis pitches it somewhere between A Place Beyond The Pines and Lost City of Atlantis as a single mother (Christina Hendricks) is swept into a dark underworld while her teenage son (Iain De Caestecker) discovers a secret underwater town. As well directing the slightly bonkers sounding script, Gosling also wrote it but has refrained from stepping in front of the camera.
(How To Catch A Monster is yet to be given a release date but is scheduled for mid/later 2014)
Sin City: A Dame To Kill For
Given the quality and popularity of the first Sin City it’s remarkable that it took this long for a second installment. Maybe Rodriguez and Tarantino should have spent less time on their below average grindhouse homages and more time getting Sin City: A Dame To Kill For out in cinemas. All that aside, it’s finally here and looks to be picking up where the first one left off with the lashings of blood soaking the atmospheric monochrome living graphic novel. No Tarantino this time, but the cast has been expanded to include the always excellent Joseph Gordon-Levitt and, er, the always bat shit crazy Lady GaGa. If this one goes down well then we should get the third installment somewhere around 2023…
(Sin City: A Dame To Kill For is released 22nd August 2014 US and 29 August 2014 UK)
Better Call Saul
Breaking Bad was, and will probably remain for some years, one of the best written TV shows of all time. Gripping, darkly comic, honest, brutal and unashamedly heartbreaking. It’s lighthearted relief more often than not came in the form of Bob Odenkirk’s crooked criminal attorney Saul Goodman. Only ever supposed to be an occasional character, Odenkirk’s slippery litigator went on to become a fan favourite who has since earned himself a spin off to fill the Grand Canyon sized hole that Walter & Jesse left behind. Breaking creator and showrunner Vince Gilligan is behind it, which immediately gives it some gravitas, and he has claimed that while Saul’s world will exist on the Breaking Bad timeline, it will focus on his early days meaning there will be limited cross over with it’s parent show. TV history has a mixed record with spin offs but I am guessing it will be more Fraiser than Joey.
(Better Caul Saul is scheduled for release mid/late 2014)
Talking of Walter White, Bryan Canston will be taking a leading role in Gareth Edwards’ updated version of Godzilla, which based on the trailers and Comicon footage, looks to be the Godzilla we’ve been waiting for all these years. Having made his mark making a film called Monsters where the monsters were a backdrop (see it if you haven’t already, it’s a spectacular film), his Godzilla is a monster film with a whacking great monster front and centre. Cloverfield gave us a glimpse of what could be as far back as 2008, and despite being emotionally hollow, Pacific Rim set the standard for big robot vs monster fighting smashy smashy action. The footage so far suggests that Edwards Godzilla is much closer to Matt Reeve’s city smasher than Roland Emmerich’s 1997 damp squib. Plus it’s got Bryan Cranston in it so that alone is enough to get me in line for a ticket.
(Godzilla is released 16th May 2014 US and UK)
Dawn of The Planet of the Apes
Talking of Matt Reeves……(honestly I didn’t set these in any order when I jotted them down, this is all a marvelous accident), the Cloverfield and Let Me In protege of JJ Abrams is saddling up for the next installment of the Apes origin story. Following on 20 or so years from the end of the highly entertaining Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, Dawn… sees Caesar, now an elder statesman amongst his genetically modified simian brethren, with two generations of apes in a pitched battle against diminishing numbers of humans. In a bid to save the human race an all out war is sparked. Andy Serkis has once again volunteered to don a body suit and be covered in balls in the name of his art, which is very much for our benefit given the level of nuanced humanity he brought to the performance of Caesar before. Not good for James Franco when you’re out acted by a CGI monkey. This time round it’s down to the ever engaging, and Hooray For Movies favourite, Jason Clarke to try and save the human race.
(Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is released 11th July 2014 US and 18th July 2014 UK)
Edge of Tomorrow
Formerly known as All You Need Is Kill (which was a far far cooler name), based on Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel of the same name, Edge Of Tomorrow follows Tom Cruise’s Lt. Col. Bill Cage as he fights a losing war against an alien enemy of superior firepower. Cage’s one advantage is he is caught in a time loop meaning every time he dies he is able to reset and start the battle again. Each time he does he becomes wiser and better able to fight his enemy. Backing him up is Emily Blunt, also in full on gear (as modeled by Mr Cruise above) which makes Matt Damon’s Elysium suit look like a flimsy nightgown. It’s is an intriguing idea which was done in similar circumstances brilliantly and efficiently by Duncan Jones with Source Code. If Edge Of Tomorrow is anywhere near as smart and original (God I wish they had kept it as All You Need Is Kill…) then this could be the sleeper action movie of the summer.
(Edge Of Tomorrow is released 30th May 2014 UK and 6th June 2014 US)
Finally, but oh my by no means last, is quite possibly the film that I am most excited about not called Interstellar. Why? Because the only film I want to see a close second to a Christopher Nolan film, is the debut film from his genius DoP Wally Phister. Following in a long line of Cinematographers who have made the leap to director, Phister’s debut effort is likely to feel like a very Nolan affair. Johnny Depp is stepping into leading man duties as a terminally ill scientist who downloads his body into a computer which grants him unimaginable powers. Between this and Nolan’s foray into the world of black holes and time travel I would love to know what they were drinking when they both agreed on their latest projects. So far the trailers are mouthwatering and this could be the film that gives Depp the kick he needs after a few soulless blockbuster paychecks used up all his kooky goodwill. Needless to say whatever the weight of the story, it will probably be the best framed film this side of 7th November 2014
(Transcendence is due for release 18th April 2014 US and 25 April 2014 UK)
Is anything you are particularly excited about in the world of TV and cinema that you think we’ve missed? Let us know