My 14 Most-Anticipated Movies of 2014


After going back through my older posts here on the site, I realized that in 2013, I forgot to share my list of films I’m most looking forward to in the coming year. It may seem odd to post a list like this in May, but I find that’s usually when we’ve decisively moved into the summer movie season, and we’ve dispensed with the lacklustre releases of the late winter and early spring.

Without further ado, here are the 14 movies I’m most looking forward to seeing, along with a short explanation for each pick. Note that the list is arranged in descending chronological order, with the sooner releases higher up. Let me know which ones I missed and which titles you’re excited to see in the comments!

14 Anticipated Poster 11. Godzilla  –  May 16

If you read my Pacific Rim review last summer, you’ll know that I’m a sucker for giant monster/disaster movies. Rim was an example of the genre done right, with plenty of self-aware humour. Godzilla will likely be more serious, with themes of environmentalism and the dangers of scientific overreach, but there’s something about the early trailers that suggests director Gareth Edwards knows how to pull together a tense, thrilling action film. (View Trailer)


14 Anticipated Poster 22. Night Moves  –  May 30

Continuing the environmental theme from Godzilla (though in a wildly different execution) is the new film by Kelly Reichardt. The plot concerns a small group of eco-terrorists (Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard) who seek to blow up a dam, but whose partnership begins to fray ahead of the event.  I haven’t seen anything by the director yet, but advance buzz about the movie suggests it’s subtle, taut and original. (View Trailer)


14 Anticipated Poster 33. Edge of Tomorrow  –  June 6

I’d probably line up to see Edge of Tomorrow just for the director, let alone its cast. Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) helms the latest Tom Cruise-fights-aliens tale, which follows a newbie soldier (Cruise) who “hijacks” his enemies’ power and is reincarnated every time he’s killed on the battlefield. Emily Blunt (another instant win for me) helps Cruise’s character along through this sci-fi, which looks like a blend of The Matrix and 2011’s Source Code. (View Trailer)


14 Anticipated Poster 44. The Signal  –  June 13

In the event that Edge of Tomorrow disappoints, I’m holding out hope that The Signal can be a better June alien-invasion release. An indie science fiction film in the vein of Another Earth and Moon, The Signal is the story of a young man who has a terrifying encounter in the desert, and is put under the supervision of a government official (Laurence Fishburne). The trailer plays up the striking visuals and psychological undertones, and buzz from Sundance indicates it’s a cult film in the making, working for some and not for others. (View Trailer)


14 Anticipated Poster 55. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes  –  July 11

In 2011, I saw the reboot of the Apes franchise with only the 2001 Tim Burton remake as a real reference (outside of the YouTube upload of the famous end scene from the 1968 original). I was really impressed by Rise, and everything I’ve seen about Dawn so far has kept me excited.

We join up with humanity after a virus has decimated the population, and the humans have forged an uneasy truce with the apes led by Caesar (Andy Serkis). Plot complications are sure to follow, but I’m counting on Matt Reeves to deliver another installment that honours its predecessors while breaking new ground. (View Trailer)


14 Anticipated Poster 66. Boyhood  –  July 11

After a number of blockbuster summer films, Boyhood seems oddly placed in the lineup – its concept and cast seem better suited to the prestige-laced fall movie season. Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, School of Rock, the Before trilogy) has spent ten years working on this film, shooting with the same cast for short lengths of time to chronicle a boy’s transition into adulthood. Advance reports suggest it’s a cinematic triumph, and I’m thoroughly interested in finding out for myself. (View Trailer)


IO 17. I Origins  –  July 18

I’ve kept my eye on the career of writer/actress Brit Marling for a little over a year, ever since I watched her collaboration with director Mike Cahill on the subtle 2009 sci-fi Another Earth. Now Marling and Cahill re-team on I Origins, a new film that looks to be equally philosophical, creepy and imaginative as their earlier release.  Marling and Cahill’s style doesn’t suit everyone (with more than a few accusations of pretentiousness), but I’m still game.


14 Anticipated Poster 88. A Most Wanted Man  –  July 25

When forced at gunpoint to choose a favourite type of film, I’d probably fall back on espionage movies. So it should be no surprise that A Most Wanted Man, a new film based on a 2008 novel by John le Carré, is on this list. Add to that the film’s director, Anton Corbijn (of the fantastic assassin film The American), and I’m totally sold. The plot follows a young Chechen immigrant to Germany who becomes the focus of an anti-terrorism unit led by Günther Bachmann (Philip Seymour Hoffman, in one of his last roles). I have a feeling that I’m going to spend at least two screenings decoding this one. It's also encouraging to see more Le Carré adaptations making it to the screen, after Tomas Alfredson delivered with Tinker Tailor Solder Spy in 2011. (View Trailer)


14 Anticipated Poster 99. Guardians of the Galaxy  –  August 1

Guardians is a surprising choice for me, since I can’t say I’ve listed Marvel movies on my most-anticipated lists in the past. There’s something about the drier sense of humour and outer-space setting that have me paying more attention to Guardians as it gets closer to release. Perhaps it’s the fact that the Guardians team of bounty hunters is less well-known than their Avengers counterparts, and it’ll be fun to discover these characters for the first time. (View Trailer)


14 Anticipated Poster 1010. Gone Girl  –  October 3

Movie buffs know that director David Fincher is a dependable (if not outstanding) figure in the industry. He tends to pick darker, quieter movies, and obsesses over crafting each shot. The story in Gone Girl centres on a well-liked woman (Rosamund Pike) who goes missing, and the media circus that springs up to cover whether or not the woman’s husband (Ben Affleck) is responsible. By itself, the plot wouldn’t be the sort of thing to hook me, but Fincher’s involvement is more than enough to do the job. (View Trailer)


14 Anticipated Poster 1111. Interstellar  –  November 7

Like clockwork, two years have passed since Christopher Nolan’s last film, and here he is again with an original story and a star-studded cast. We still don’t know very much about Interstellar, except that it deals with humanity’s first journey into a wormhole. The script also apparently deals with gravity and relativity, two concepts that could certainly use more movie treatments.

Matthew McConaughey leads the cast, alongside Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and (of course) Michael Caine. I don’t need any more convincing than that, but I am wondering whether Nolan will provide the next true successor to 2001: A Space Odyssey, and my spine is tingling as a result. (View Trailer)


14 Anticipated Poster 1212. Fury  –  November 14

From what I can tell, David Ayer has quietly been building his filmography as a purveyor of gritty actioners set in southern California – titles like Harsh Times, End of Watch and Sabotage. Ayer returns this year to direct Fury, a Second World War film about the crew of a Sherman tank, with Brad Pitt as the crew’s charismatic leader. It feels like it’s been a while since we’ve had a straight-up war film, so I’m curious to see how Ayer translates his work set in the present day to a period film. A potential problem, though, is the rest of the cast, which includes Logan Lerman and *gulp* Shia LaBoeuf.


14 Anticipated Poster 1313. Inherent Vice  –  December 12

Just two months after David Fincher hits us with Gone Girl, Paul Thomas Anderson arrives with his latest film. Like Fincher, Anderson is a master craftsman, and his ability to both pick engaging projects and attract powerful casts makes his movies into must-sees for film buffs.

Here, Anderson is the first filmmaker to adapt a Thomas Pynchon novel, and will feature Joaquin Phoenix as a pot-smoking private eye who investigates the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend and her current boyfriend in Los Angeles. Aside from Anderson at the helm, I’m curious about the reported comedic side of the story, which should be a fun shift from the more recent Anderson works like There Will Be Blood and The Master.


14 Anticipated Poster 1414. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies  –  December 17

The final installment of The Hobbit trilogy likely requires the least explanation of any other film on this list. Peter Jackson will conclude his latest epic adventure, and it will either leave us feeling satisfied that the previous 6-7 hours of the story were worth it, or pining for the grandeur of The Lord of the Rings. Even though the previous two Hobbit films haven’t been as well-received as Rings, I can’t deny my inner Tolkien fan. I will be there on opening night, bathing in the high-frame-rate 3D like all the other die-hards.


That’s it! As of this writing, these are my most-anticipated releases for 2014 so far. Naturally, there will be other films (most likely Oscar contenders) that will also bow before December, but we’ll have to wait until they come out of the woodwork during the festival circuit.

UPDATE (July 18, 2014): After going back over this list, I realized that the release of the former #7 entry, Jupiter Ascending, has been bumped back to Winter 2015. As a result, I've swapped it out for another release I'm looking forward to, I Origins. The original write-up on Jupiter Ascending follows.

Jupiter Ascending

I feel slightly weird about placing the Wachowskis’ new movie on this list. On one hand, I’m hoping against hope that the siblings can deliver a sci-fi epic that both entertains and challenges us. But the recent trailer makes it look top-heavy with Wachowski-an nonsense, to the point that we’ll stop caring about the humble janitor (Mila Kunis) who’s whisked away by a mysterious alien hunter (Channing Tatum) to become the Queen of the Earth. Huge notes of cautious optimism for this entry.


What did you think of my list? Am I crazy to choose some of these movies? Did I miss one that you’re anxious to see? Join the discussion in the comments section, and if you liked this post, share it with your friends and followers!