After looking back at 2013 in film last week, I am kicking things off this week with a quick look forward at the coming year. It is always hard to guess which films will truly deliver. Looking back at my most anticipated list for 2013, only one (To The Wonder) made my top ten and the rest were a bit of a mixed bag. I think part of the reason that not many make my top ten is that my anticipation is usually for bigger budget event films, whilst the films on my top ten often sneak up on me. Anyhoo, on to this year’s list. Who knows if these will be any good, but in alphabetical order, these are the films I’m most excited for this year.
The Armstrong Lie
I continue to enjoy the films of Alex Gibney more and more, so I am definitely keen to check this one out (a film I know has already opened in a bunch of places). I am a moderate cycling fan and even aside from that, the rise and fall of Lance Armstrong is one that I think is pretty interesting to everyone. His mystique has all come crashing down around him and I am hoping that this film gives more of an insight into the lying and bullying side of Armstrong.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
I am a little anxious about this one. I was a massive fan of the first one, and Marvel seems to be doing very little wrong with all of their properties. However, so much of my enjoyment of the first film came from the fact that it was a period film, boldly setting the action in World War II. Given the timeline of events, that is obviously no longer possible. So here is hoping that this is still a cracker from Marvel.
A Godzilla reboot sounds like a terrible idea on paper. Until you write the name Gareth Edwards on the paper as the film’s director. Monsters (2010), directed by Edwards, was a monster/alien flick that was really original and had a fair bit of heart about it too. Who knows if he can bring all that out in this reboot, with presumably a lot of studio interference. But I am such a fan of Edwards that I have high hopes he can. This is possible my most anticipated film of the year.
The Hunger Games: Mockinjay – Part 1
The second film in the Hunger Games series really blew me away. The character of Katniss has evolved into an incredible heroine with an arc that is epic and interesting. I am not really familiar with what happens at the conclusion of the Hunger Games story so am really excited to take a look at this one. So impressive was the second film, I’m not even that fussed that they have taken the now standard route of splitting the adaptation of the final book in two.
When I was cutting down this list, it came to a point where I had to choose between this forthcoming Lana and Andy Wachowski film or Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. The quality of the Wachowskis exceptionally difficult adaption of Cloud Atlas got this one in. I’m psyched for Nolan’s film, but any time these two turn their eye to sci-fi, something exceptionally interesting and pretty generally happens.
The Lego Movie
I have no idea how this will end up. But if they can stretch out the joyful tone found in the trailers into a cohesive full length effort, this could be one of the real surprises of the year. There is a fantastic voice cast and what looks like a delightful sense of abandon and off-kilter humour going on as well. You just have to look at the appearances of Batman in the trailers so far to see that.
Why the maybe? Lars von Trier is one of the most challenging directors our there. His films are not always successful or easy to watch. But they always make you think. The maybe is because I don’t know if I will have the chance to see this film on the big screen, in von Trier’s preferred, uncensored version. I won’t see it if it is censored, I have major problems with approaches to film and distribution like that. But I really hope that someone in Aus takes a punt on distributing this properly. I think it will be a challenging watch well worth making the effort to see. Even the truly disturbing character posters such as the one above haven’t totally put me off.
These Final Hours
This Aussie flick came from no where to take the critics prize at last year’s Melbourne International Festival. On the strength of that, it managed to wrap up a very strong cinematic distribution deal, an increasing rarity for local films. The film, made in Western Australia, is an apocalyptic tale of relationships formed during the last day on earth. Apocalyptic films can go either way, based largely on how the filmmakers deal with the looming end. I have high hopes this one will get it right.
Whatever Terrence Malick releases this year
Depending on the source/scuttlebutt you believe Terrence Malick will release somewhere between zero and three films this year. Due to the unsure nature of any release I was going to leave the great man off this list. But I shamelessly stole the idea for this entry from Germain Lussier’s list over at Slashfilm. It is worth keeping a spot open for Malick too, he is probably my favourite director of all time and every film of his I have seen is an absolute work of art. Here’s hoping we see something, and that it manages to get a wider release than the fantastic To the Wonder.
X Men: Days of Future Past
I thought that X Men First Class was one of the better comic origin stories of recent times. So I have been keenly awaiting this next instalment, especially as so much of the really impressive cast names are back on board. Of course, this will cross over with the later set, but earlier made X Men films in a narrative that will either be utterly brilliant, or totally befuddling to those of us who have not read the comic book arc. We shall find out soon.
What do you guys think about my choices? Any you would add, or any of these that you are not at all fussed about?