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2014 Preview: From 'Nymphomaniac' to 'Gone Girl,' What Films Look Good, Great, and Troublesome This Year

Thompson on Hollywood By TOH! | Thompson on Hollywood January 30, 2014 at 2:50PM

With awards season still very much in full swing, it's still too soon to shake off 2013 completely. But a slate of great-looking films lies ahead on the horizon, as well as the theatrical releases of some of 2013's festivals hits that we've already seen.
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Russel Crowe and Jennifer Connelly in 'Noah'
Russel Crowe and Jennifer Connelly in 'Noah'

THE FILMS WE'RE ANTICIPATING:

1. February 12, 2014: "RoboCop." Yes, it's a remake, but judging from early footage, it has ideas in its head as well as the fabulous "Killing" star Joel Kinnaman. 

'The Grand Budapest Hotel'
'The Grand Budapest Hotel'

2. March 7, 2014:  Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel" looks like another gently humorous romp through period Europe with a stellar cast led by Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton and Edward Norton, all with tongues planted firmly in cheek.

3. March 21, 2014: "Bad Words" is a feature version of that documentary "Spellbound" a few years ago, except that Jason Bateman is a 40ish guy who uses a loophole to compete with the kids. 

4.  March 21, 2014: "Muppets" sequel. We're there. The team reunites from the last felt-covered entry, but sans Jason Segel and Amy Adams. But there seems to be a charming celeb-heavy cast in this one, too. (Trailer.)

5. March 28, 2014: Based on first trailersDarren Aronofsky's "Noah" looks to be a visually striking, poetic shake-up of the biblical origin story (as we'd expect from the director of "Black Swan" and "The Fountain"). Yes, he's tussling with Paramount over final cut. That's his job. 

6. April 4, 2014: Jonathan Glazer's "Under the Skin" starring Scarlett Johannsson landed mixed reviews at Telluride/Toronto, but we want to see it anyway based on Glazer's films "Birth" and "Sexy Beast" alone. (Trailer.

7. April 18, 2014. Christopher Nolan's go-to cinematographer Wally Pfister is making his directing debut with the heady tech sci-fi "Transcendence," starring Johnny Depp, Kate Mara and Morgan Freeman.

8. May 9, 2014: "Chef" marks director Jon Favreau's return to the land of low-bidget comedy, again starring Robert Downey Jr. but this time no bells and whistles. It oomes in at $15 million, and Favreau gets to play a chef too. It opens SXSW. 

Angelina Jolie in 'Maleficent'
Angelina Jolie in 'Maleficent'

9. May 30, 2014: Disney's "Maleficent" arrives. Though the film is undergoing re-shoots, suggesting some production trouble for art-director-turned-director Robert Stromberg ("Alice in Wonderland," "Avatar"), we hear that there's nothing wrong with Angelina Jolie as the wicked Sleeping Beauty villain. That's more than enough to entice us.

10. June  20, 2014: Clint Eastwood tackles a Broadway musical starring the music of the great Frankie Valle in "Jersey Boys." 

11. July 11, 2014: "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes." This new installment stars Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell and great mo-cap artist Andy Serkis as sentient ape Caesar. (Trailer; our TOH! interview.)

12. August 22, 2014: Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez return with "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For." Long-awaited and long overdue. 

13. August 29, 2014: "Jane Got a Gun." Can this tortured production pull out a win? Let's hope so. Gifted actors' director Gavin O'Connor ("Warror") came in to save the day after Lynne Ramsay ankled the day before the film started shooting. Natalie Portman is producing and "Warrior" star Joel Edgerton, Ewan McGregor and Rodrigo Santoro agreed to star after Michael Fassbender, Bradley Cooper and Jude Law left the show. 

14. October 3, 2014: David Fincher follows up 2011's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" with another buzzy bestseller adaptation, Gillian Flynn's mystery thriller "Gone Girl." The film stars Ben Affleck as an all-American husband whose wife (Rosamund Pike) goes missing on their fifth wedding anniversary, putting hubby in the hot seat. Fincher's sleek craftsmanship and taut style is always a welcome addition to any year's film lineup. Count us excited.

'Interstellar'
'Interstellar'

15. November 7, 2014: Christopher Nolan follows up his completed Batman trilogy with this secretive space project, "Interstellar," starring Matthew McConaughey, who's been on a roll. The elegant teaser doesn't give away much, but we're excited none the less.

16. November 21, 2014: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I." So far, so good.

17. December 12, 2014. Ridley Scott is helming one of the many Biblical epics in the works this year, with "Exodus." Christian Bale leads the way as Moses, with Joel Edgerton as Ramses, and Sigourney Weaver, Aaron Paul and John Turturro also starring. 

18. December 25, 2014: Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep in Rob Marshall's Stephen Sondheim fairy tale musical "Into the Woods"? Yup, we're there.

19. December 25, 2014: The new year will prove a big one for Jolie, who aside from headlining as Maleficent also has her second directorial effort hitting theaters, "Unbroken." Shot in New Zealand by go-to cinematographer Roger Deakins and based on the true story of a World War II soldier stranded at sea, it stars new face Jack O'Connell ("Skins"), who could be a breakout of the year.

This article is related to: Features, Nymphomaniac, Noah, Interstellar, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Divergent


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.