Pop Off: Anticipated films of 2014
It saddens me to say that 2014 is shaping up to be a dull year for movies with many of Hollywood's most coveted directors absent from the year's release schedule. Spielberg, Scorcese, Tarantino, Ang Lee, the Coen Brothers and even the ubiquitous Steven Soderbergh are looking ahead to 2015 and beyond. But even the weakest years have a few gems-here are some of the most anticipated films of 2014.
"The Monuments Men": This film tells the story of Allied forces in World War II attempting to save important works of art from Nazi Germany before they are destroyed in the siege of Berlin. While this is easily the most interesting film set for release in the next two months, and is powered by Hollywood's biggest talents including George Clooney, John Goodman and Cate Blanchett, I'm very worried about it. It was originally set for a December 2013 release, and was seen as a Best Picture frontrunner. After all, a World War II movie where the focal point is not battle or politics, but art? That's not even Oscar gold, that's Oscar platinum. So why was this film pushed back to February? I can think of no reason other than it was a poor final cut, and Clooney didn't want to damage his reputation as a director.
"The Grand Budapest Hotel": I wonder how long Wes Anderson can continue to inflate films with his baroque, deadpan style before they become self-parody. Judging from its' trailer, the answer to that may be "The Grand Budapest Hotel." It looks to be redrawing elements from all his previous films, exotic locales, high art, wrongful accusations leading to a grand chase, and morbid comedy. Ralph Fiennes stars as a concierge known for sleeping with his clients, one of whom is murdered, leaving behind a portrait of him. This leads her son (Adrien Brody) to accuse him of the murder and vow revenge. Of course the usual Anderson troupe: Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman and Owen Wilson will all be featured. Whether Anderson is finding new ways to weave his old ideas, or is just running out of them, "The Grand Budapest Hotel" looks as charming and hilarious as the rest of his dazzling filmography.
"Boyhood": If there is any director that rivals Anderson in making films that are fascinating specimen no matter the quality, it's Richard Linklater. "Boyhood" begins with two parents (Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette) getting a divorce and follows the life of their son from the age of six through eighteen, and the evolving dynamic between him and his family. The movie began filming in 2002 and finished last year. While a trailer is yet to be released, it premiered at Sundance to glowing reception. Linklater is an immensely talented director who doesn't receive nearly as much recognition as he deserves, hopefully "Boyhood" will change that.
"Interstellar" and "Guardians of the Galaxy": Two of the year's most anticipated action features are space travelling adventures. "Interstellar" comes from Christopher Nolan, who is keeping almost every detail locked away. The initial trailer consisted of primarily stock footage and a vague monologue from Matthew McConaughey. What is known is the plot will focus on a group of astronauts who travel through a wormhole that is rumored to take them across dimensional planes. "Guardians of the Galaxy" is the newest Marvel Comics adaptation, essentially "The Avengers" in outer space. It stars Chris Pratt along with science fiction veterans Vin Diesel and Zoe Saldana, with James Guun ("Thor: The Dark World") directing. Marvel films have been on a hot streak, and I don't forsee that ending with "Guardians of the Galaxy."
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