Now that 2013 is behind us, it's time to get ready for what will hopefully be another year of great films. Here's the 15 I'm currently most looking forward to.
I should note that while Terrence Malick has 3 projects in the post-production phase; none of them have a solid release date or they would definitely be included in this list.
#15 - Life Itself
First up is a documentary about the story and struggles of film critic Roger Ebert, based on his memoir, Life Itself, that's being put together by director Steve James. There's no trailer yet but here's a clip of Martin Scorsese talking about the project. If it's good enough for Marty, it's good enough for me.
#14 - The Judge
This next film is by director David Dobkin. I would agree with most people that his only good film is Wedding Crashers, however, the cast really interests me. The Judge is a drama about a successful lawyer who returns to his hometown for his mother's funeral only to discover that his estranged father, the town's judge, is suspected of murder. Starring Robert Downey Jr, David Krumholtz, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, Robert Duval, Vincent D'Onofrio, and Balthazar Getty.
#13 - Maleficent
This prequel to Disney's excellent animated film from 1959, Sleeping Beauty, is another one I'm not 100% sold on but Angelina Jolie certainly looks the part and it'll be interesting to see how this turns out.
#12 - Snowpiercer
Director Joon-ho Bong is currently battling the The Weinstein Company to deliver the film uncut from South Korea. They're reportedly trying to slice 20 minutes from it for ADD/action loving Americans but after you could feel that something was missing from the last foreign film they hacked, 2013's The Grandmaster, I hope they leave it alone. Stars Chris Evans, Kang-ho Song, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, and Ed Harris.
#11 - Big Bad Wolves
Another acclaimed foreign film (Israel) that should finally see a run in the U.S. beyond the occasional festival showing, Big Bad Wolves is about a vengeful father and a vigilante cop who capture and interrogate an accused serial killer.
#10 - Interstellar
The trailer doesn't reveal much but it's from Christopher Nolan and stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Wes Bentley, Topher Grace, John Lithgow, and Ellen Burstyn. I'm in.
#9 - Gone Girl
There's not a lot of info yet on David Fincher's Gone Girl but it's based on the novel by Gillian Flynn and stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in a story about a woman who mysteriously disappears on the day of her wedding anniversary.
#8 - Jodorowsky's Dune
I'm hoping that Jodorowsky's Dune finally gets released here in 2014. Being a huge fan of Frank Herbert's Dune novels, I'm eager to see this doc about director Alejandro Jodorowsky's failed film adaptation of the science fiction novel.
#7 - Only Lovers Left Alive
Director Jim Jarmusch's latest film is Only Lovers Left Alive. Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, and Mia Wasikowska star in a tale about two vampires who've been in love for centuries.
#6 - Like Father, Like Son
Possibly the best director in Japan today is Hirokazu Koreeda and his film Like Father, Like Son was shown at last year's Chicago International Film Festival. A successful businessman driven by money learns that his biological son was switched with another child after birth. He must make a life-changing decision and choose his true son or the boy he raised as his own.
#5 - Inherent Vice
Paul Thomas Anderson delivered the best film of 2012 with The Master. He returns this year with an adaption of the novel Inherent Vice in which a drug-fueled detective investigates the disappearance of a former girlfriend. The cast includes Joaquin Phoenix, Jena Malone, Martin Short, Josh Brolin, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio Del Toro, and Owen Wilson.
#4 - Godzilla
If anyone can bring Godzilla back to theaters and earn back some of the respectability lost by the 1998 failure, I believe it's director Gareth Edwards, Aaron Taylor Johnson, Bryan Cranston, and Elizabeth Olsen.
#3 - X-Men: Days of Future Past
Ever since the launch of the viral site thebentbullet.com; I've been increasingly excited to see Bryan Singers's return to the X-Men franchise. He directed what I believe is the best of the Marvel comic book adaptations in X2 and having the casts of X-Men: First Class and the original trilogy together is intriguing to say the least.
#2 - The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet
Jean-Pierre Jeunet, one my favorite directors, returns with his second American film (after having a difficult experience making Alien Resurrection.) I just may have to see this one in 3D since if anyone can make the format work for me a second time (after 2013's Gravity by Alfonso Cuaron); it's Jeunet, whose films are always full of gorgeous images.
#1 - The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Grand Budapest Hotel looks funny and beautifully shot. Seeing as how it's a Wes Anderson film that's of zero surprise. The film stars Ralph Fiennes, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Lea Seydoux, Jude Law, Willem Dafoe, Saoirse Ronan, Tony Revolori, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman.