Wednesday, September 3, 2014

2014 Watch List: Final Third

Well, the second third of the year is over and it is time to post my anticipation list for the final four months of the year.  This was considerably harder, since this is the time of the year when all of the studios are releasing their Oscar hopefuls, and so narrowing this list down to 13 was really hard...and then again, maybe not so hard.  There are a few names left off, but overall I feel like these 13 are the ones that I'm most excited to see and pretty much cover most of the bases.  I'm anticipating all of these films for various reasons.  Some of my anticipation has cooled, some has grown, but all of them have been on my radar from the year's beginning, so I'm happy that I can post the entire list now.  I'm wondering how many of these I'll actually see, at least in the theater (or on VOD).  From the first two batches (26 titles in total), I've only seen 13 of the films I was 'anticipating', but I have a feeling that I'll see a pretty big chunk of these in the theater.  Winter is my time to visit the cinema.

13 ~ The Boxtrolls

If this were a few months ago, when the only thing I had to go on was that glorious teaser trailer, this would be ranking MUCH higher, but since then we've had some lackluster trailers dropped and some mixed reviews out of Venice, so my anticipation has cooled somewhat.  Still, I really want to see this and judge for myself (as should be the decision made by all on anything) and so it's still here, in my top 13, by the skin of its teeth.

12 ~ Into the Woods

This is, honestly, here for the cast itself more than anything else, since I'm really eager to see them chew some scenery.  I'm also on a real Disney kick as of late, and so this interesting spin on the classics has me interested in the outcome.  I wasn't overly impressed with the script, but tone is everything, and tone can't really be decided until you see the finished product.  I'm all for a Blunt ascendance to stardom, because she wholly deserves it, so bring on December and bring on the Oscar campaign!

11 ~ The Interview

I do shamelessly love Seth Rogen, but in all honesty, I'm mostly anticipating this to see if it results in war with North Korea. 

10 ~ Tusk

This is a great example of amazing advertising, because I knew nothing of this film before I saw this incredible poster, and since then it's been all I could think about.  The return of Haley Joel Osment doesn't hurt either, since his sudden fall from grace has always upset me.  

09 ~ Nightcrawler

So...what happened to Jake Gyllenhaal?  He seriously went from hot potential to absurd obscurity and then, all of a sudden, he's choosing some of the most interesting roles out there and working with some really interesting directors and nailing performances left and right, even in messy films.  This looks bizarre and exciting and terrifying, and his performance looks so committed.  I can't wait for this.

08 ~ The Drop

Early word isn't very good on this, but this is James Gandolfini's final film role, so for that alone this ranks higher than it would otherwise.

07 ~ Interstellar

The Gravity of 2014?  Not so sure about that, considering that Nolan, as a director, can be a little heavy handed, and yet he is also a visually stunning filmmaker, and this cast and premise looks really promising.  I'm hoping for more than a visual feast, and early word on the script is that this is very much a thinking man's film, and I like those.

06 ~ Unbroken

The trailer may have looked like pure Oscar bait and a lot of cheese, but in all honesty, I have a lot of faith in this being something so much more than that.  Remember the initial trailer for 12 Years a Slave?  We all walked away from that scratching our heads and thinking, 'this is going to be awful' and yet, it was much darker and harsher than expected.  With Jolie (who is a competent filmmaker), the Coens (who can write a script) and technicians like Deakins and Desplat on board, this has the potential to be incredible.

05 ~ Leviathan

The Cannes reaction speaks for itself, and the controversy over in Russia is also cause for attention, but the main reason I'm all about seeing this film is that the only other films I've seen from Andrey Zvyagintsev (The Return & Elena) were incredible, and so the idea of seeing another one of his films has me really excited.

04 ~ Foxcatcher

Miller knows how to make a movie.  He's also been responsible for getting Hoffman his Oscar and for providing Jonah Hill a platform to reach for better projects.  The reaction from Cannes was unanimous, and the fact that Tatum seems to be reaching his full potential has me excited.  This looks absolutely chilling, and I really like chilling. 

03 ~ Big Her 6

Disney is on a roll.  Since 2010, they've been knocking it out of the park left and right, and this looks so charming and fun.  Disney doing Super Hero is pretty freaking awesome, and the fact that I have another film to take all the kids too (and one that hopefully my son will wig out for) has me anticipating the countless amounts of dollars I'll be spending on toys and shirts and pillows and...oh, wait...crap...this is gonna cost me a lot more than $10.

02 ~ Gone Girl

David Fincher.  Enough said.  But there is more.  I've read the script and it's pretty incredible.  The cast is pitch perfect (yes, even Affleck) and the potential to be the movie of the year is too much to ignore.  But really, David Fincher.  Enough said.

01 ~ Birdman

Sorry, but the trailer for this film is still the greatest thing I've seen all year, period.  It's just incredibly cut, and the idea behind the film mixed with the unique way in which the film is shot (supposedly like one long scene with no breaks) has me so excited to see this film.  It could be the technical achievement of the year!  The cast is also so rich, and the idea of Norton and Stone in the Oscar race has me really, really happy.  


  1. Great list! I'm excited to see Gone Girl, Birdman, Interstellar, Big Hero 6 (the trailer looks fun) and Into the Woods as well, although I'd have to wait until next year for some of them.

    1. Most likely I won't be seeing at least half of these until DVD...

  2. Fantastic list! I'm looking forward to nearly all of these. I always tell myself that I'll see things when they come out in the cinema but time just runs away with me and before I know it the DVD is out! The Imitation Game would be on my list too :)
    - Allie

    1. I'm intrigued by The Imitation Game more than I'm actually excited for it...

  3. Have you heard the studio is now afraid and censoring The Interview? Jesus, the world we live in. Pics of cooch and censorship is movie world now.

    1. I understand the fear...I mean...North Korea is crazy!

  4. No Inherent Vice? That's the one I want to see the most. It's Paul Thomas Anderson.

    1. I had a momentary brain fart and completely forgot about that film!

  5. Nice list! I'm anticipating all of these, especially Interstellar, Birdman, Gone Girl, Foxcatcher, Unbroken, and Into the Woods. Also, The Drop and Nightcrawler look to have great performances.

    This year is shaping up to be another awesome one. I just watched Frank, Only Lovers Left Alive, and Palo Alto today, and I loved all three! There will be so many snubs on my ballot, yet again.

    1. I've heard that Maggie is remarkable in Frank. I'm dying to see that performance!

    2. She's very good (as is Gleeson), but I was most impressed by Fassbender. Who knew he had that in him? I've got him in Supporting, and I don't see him missing my final 5.

    3. I'm so excited for it now!