Top Ten Most Anticipated Movies of 2014

Top Ten Most Anticipated Movies of 2014

It's become quite obvious what draws me to the theater more than anything, the work of directors I've come to admire, appreciate and expect great things from. Certainly a film's subject matter adds to that excitement, but most often it's because the directors I most anticipate tell stories I most want to see brought to life.

However, what today's list of my top ten most anticipated movies of 2014 illustrates is that even when the subject matter isn't necessarily something in my immediate wheelhouse, the thought of a new movie from one of my favorite directors makes such subject matter immediately more interesting. Or, as in the case with one particular film on this list, the subject matter, the development of the film itself and the talent involved makes it an obvious choice for my top ten, which we'll get to right now...

If you've missed any of the previous installments on this year's list of most anticipated movies you can use the navigation below, which is also available at the bottom of the final page of this post.

Most Anticipated 2014 Navigation

#1-10 | #11-20 | #21-30 | #31-40

March 28

Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe in Noah
Photo: Paramount Pictures

I absolutely cannot wait to see Darren Aronofsky's Noah while at the same time I feel a massive amount of trepidation and concern it may be an absolute failure, a word I would never think to associate with Aronofsky's work.

The film is sure to be controversial as it started just as filming was beginning to take place when faith-based screenwriter Brian Godawa's October 2012 blog post headlined "Darren Aronofsky's Noah: Environmentalist Wacko" hit the Internet. Of course, any real kind of controversy is more-or-less ludicrous if those making the argument are looking at the Bible as some sort of 100% fact based book, but people are allowed to draw their own conclusions. I just hope drummed up controversy doesn't become the topic of conversation over what I hope will be an amazing film.

Noah is a close adaptation of the Biblical story of Noah's Ark. In a world ravaged by human sin, Noah (Russell Crowe) is given a divine mission: to build an Ark to save creation from the coming flood. The screenplay was written by Aronofsky and Ari Handel and revised by Academy Award-nominated screenwriter John Logan (Gladiator, Hugo).

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd pictures
Matthias Schoenaerts and Carey Mulligan in Far from the Madding Crowd
Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Director Thomas Vinterberg's The Hunt made my list of Top Ten Movies of 2013 and so a certain level of excitement for his follow-up, an adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd (which you can buy for your Kindle for free by clicking that link), seems only natural, especially give the cast he's lined up for this one.

Starring Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge and Juno Temple, I expect this one will play the 2014 Cannes Film Festival as it has already been acquired by Fox Searchlight Pictures for release. Should The Hunt manage to win Best Foreign Language Picture at the Oscars this year it will only help raise the profile of Vinterberg's latest.

Based on the literary classic by Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd is the story of independent, beautiful and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan), who attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), a sheep farmer, captivated by her fetching willfulness; Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), a handsome and reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), a prosperous and mature bachelor. This timeless story of Bathsheba's choices and passions explores the nature of relationships and love – as well as the human ability to overcome hardships through resilience and perseverance.

Inherent Vice

I started reading Thomas Pynchon's novel almost as soon as I learned Paul Thomas Anderson was setting out to film an adaptation and, I'll be honest, I still haven't finished it. This isn't to say I don't like it as I can easily see the attraction Anderson had to it and I love the idea of Joaquin Phoenix in the lead role as P.I. Larry "Doc" Sportello, but I just get distracted easily nowadays when attempting to read fiction and if I get distracted from a book for a week or so I tend to have a hard time going back to where I left off. This one, I expect I'll finish before Inherent Vice finally hits theaters and at the moment I expect it to have a Toronto Film Festival debut.

By the way, along with Phoenix, the film co-stars Benicio del Toro, Kevin J. O'Connor, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, Jena Malone, Martin Short, Josh Brolin and Maya Rudolph. Yeah, try and not get excited with a cast like that.

Based on Thomas Pynchon's novel "Inherent Vice", the story follows 1960s stoner P.I. Larry "Doc" Sportello who is hired by an ex-girlfriend to investigate the disappearance of her wealthy lover.

  • SmartFilm

    Boyhood was my number one as well, can't wait to see what becomes of it.

  • G-Man

    Wow - I hadn't even heard of Boyhood, haha.

    Great Top 40, Brad!

  • Adu

    I like the idea of Boyhood & commend the comittment behind it but can't help get this 'that should just be a documentary' sort of vibe...but hey, I am always happy to be surprised.
    Woody Allen films just dont get me excited at all despite popping out every single year with his unique style...I dont mind his movies, just never have a desire to re-watch them.
    As for Gone Girl & Interstellar, I'd be surprised if they dont make my year-end top 10 given the talent behind the camera.

  • LukeM

    Brad, when do you make your early Oscar predictions for the next year?

  • andyluvsfilms

    Nice top ten, im really looking forward to Mr Turner, Interstellar and Foxcatcher.

  • Winchester

    'Boyhood' sounds intriguing from a conceptual angle and the commitment made in filming it, and I've read one or two things about 'Mr Turner' that have made me aware of it, so I'll keep those in mind.

    Woody Allen has always been far too hit and miss for me to ever actively look forward to his films, but it'll probably at least be a rental.

    As for the rest, 'Foxcatcher' is of interest (loved 'Capote' and admired but didn't feel much for 'Moneyball') and while I will inevitably go and see 'Gone Girl' and 'Interstellar' I can't join the choruses of having been very blown away by their respective director's last few films, so I'll just wait until I see them and then decide how excited to be.

  • Driver

    Great Top 10, six of those are in mine. By the way Brad, did you mention Snowpiercer in here?

    • Brad Brevet

      No Snowpiercer, my interest has waned.

  • Gautam Anand

    Hey Brad, Not interested in Inarritu's Birdman ? A lot of talent involved - Michael Keaton, Naomi Watts, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis.

    Then there's Noah Baumbach's While We're Young starring Naomi Watts, Ben Stiller, Adam Driver, Amanda Seyfried.

    I am not sure if you considered them and decided to skip mentioning or they just didn't catch your attention..

  • awnuce360

    Brad Brevet - Concerning Noah

    "Of course, any real kind of controversy is more-or-less ludicrous if those making the argument are looking at the Bible as some sort of 100% fact based book, but people are allowed to draw their own conclusions."

    Why? Because anyone who believes the Bible is more than myth is obviously too unintelligent for their opinion to matter?

    Most Christians believe that it takes just as much if not more faith to believe the world came to be by purely natural causes. We feel that anyone who insists that Creation is not a viable explanation for the world, despite the lack of compelling evidence for evolution, is being intellectually dishonest.

    I'm not hear to start a debate about the merits of evolution as opposed to creation. My point is that you shouldn't be so dismissive of what Christians believe simply because you disagree. It's tempting for Christians to do the same to those who believe in evolution, but if and when we do it, we are greeted with shouts of "intolerance" and "willfully ignorant." Think what you will, but I think the world will be happier in the long run if we treat other people and their ideas with respect regardless of how "ludicrous" we think they are.

    How would you like it if I said that your believe in evolution was "ludicrous?"

    As to controversy, I don't think there can help being controversy about this film when it's being marketed to Christians and Jews who will find the heavy-handed environmental messages, harsh depiction of God, and general lack of respect for Scripture to be completely at odds with their prospective faiths.

    • Ian

      Because clearly environmental messages have to be completely at odds with Christianity. Oh wait, they're just at odds with American conservatism. Which, unfortunately, is what most of evangelical Christianity has transformed into: a religion of conservative republicanism. And this is coming from a Christian who is becoming increasingly frustrated with this issue.

      • TheOneWhoKnocks

        This is far too simplistic an assessment. There are legitimate criticisms that can be raised against environmentalism.

        • Ian

          Except that wasn't the point he was making, nor the point I was arguing against. I was simply stating that there is no reason for environmentalism to be fundamentally at odds with Christianity.

          • TheOneWhoKnocks

            And I agree. However, the Right is not turning evangelical Christianity into something radical. Politicians are merely using the faith as a means of propagating their own political agendas and appealing to prospective voters. This has been going on since time immemorial.

            • Ian

              Agreed, but I think it goes both ways. I think many churches and denominations are becoming increasingly political.

              • TheOneWhoKnocks

                And is that really surprising? Religious leaders have political beliefs. Their parishioners have political beliefs. It's only natural for churches to hold political beliefs.

                In no way am I defending religious zealotry or faith-based ignorance, but dismissing this issue as an instance of loony backwoods Christians attacking do-gooder environmentalists is far too simplistic. Having not seen the film, I can't judge it. But I think that the world can survive without another heavy-handed protect-the-environment sermon. I say this not because I hate the environment (one of my favorite pastimes is ecology), but because most movies with a pro-environment messages accomplish nothing other than feeding the egos of the liberal filmmakers who made them.

          • awnuce360

            My personal frustration is more that the environmental message doesn't make sense in the context of the story. I haven't really investigated the environmental movement enough to know how consistent or inconsistent its message is with the Bible, but can we agree that it's not fitting to shoehorn such a heavy-handed political agenda into a story where it clearly doesn't fit and that doing so detracts from the real themes of the story in question?

            • Ian

              It depends on how it's done and how much it actually plays into the story. Neither you nor I know what that will actually look like until the movie is released. And I'd rather him take a well-known story and do something thematically interesting with it than just retread a story most everyone is at least generally familiar with.

              • awnuce360

                The script is available online and there are comprehensive reviews of the film by secular and Christian film reviewers. I already know what the environmental message is going to look like and it's not pretty.
                Now, my Christian faith aside, I don't think it's respectful to take any text upon which people's faith is built and choose to alter the events described within its pages to suit one's own agenda. Picture the controversy and uproar one would encounter using a similar tack on a film adaption of a story from the Koran.

              • Ian

                Given the well-documented confrontations between Aronofsky and Paramount over what the final movie will look like, making sweeping judgments based on the script (which has undergone at least one official rewrite, was the version you read pre- or post-John Logan's involvement?), and test screenings (there have evidently been two vastly different cuts shown) seems a tad alarmist. And as I said, I'd very familiar with the Biblical story of Noah. But I'm also aware, as anyone should be, that the Bible does not give details on every single aspect of his life. Also as I've already said, I'd rather see a thematically interesting story told than one that just repeats what everyone already knows.

                Since we've started going in circles, I'll finish by saying the most interesting about this project so far is how defensive other Christians are getting when they hear a Biblical story is being imbued with a theme of environmentalism.

              • awnuce360

                Good thoughts. I've enjoyed discussing this with you, Ian.

              • Ian

                And given that the movie about to win the box office this weekend focuses on the "heroics" of a group of men in a war to slaughter Muslims, I'm not sure your comment about the Qu'ran holds much weight overall.

              • awnuce360

                Your comment about Lone Survivor seems out of place to me. I think that you're trying to point out that Hollywood doesn't seem concerned with offending Muslims in the making of this film. However, the comparison isn't valid because the film isn't purporting to be the retelling of a story central to the Muslim religion. Nor does the film attack Muslims directly. It's a war film that simultaneously questions why we're engaged in a conflict in Afghanistan and lauds the bravery of the soldiers in the conflict. The film doesn't demonize Muslims but merely retells a factual occurrence from the American point of view.

              • TheOneWhoKnocks

                This is something I can agree with you on. As I've said before, Hollywood liberalism is not above celebrating American militarism and socioeconomic imperialism. I can certainly understand Brad's enjoyment of the film, but I do not find the film quite as emotionally resonant. Especially given the fact that I don't buy into the simplistic narrative that the U.S. military is fighting for its citizens' freedoms overseas.

            • TheOneWhoKnocks

              I agree, although I also believe that a filmmaker has the right to create a movie about any topic he or she desires, without having to tread lightly when it comes to potentially controversial political or religious issues.

          • TheOneWhoKnocks

            Of course not.

  • TheLastEquivocationofBrist

    A lot to look forward to here! Maybe 2014 will be a better year than I initially suspected.

    I read that AMA with Ethan Hawke a few months back, seems like an awesome guy.

  • Ian

    Interstellar is my most anticipated of the year. I'm expecting it will end up being less of an action film and more divisive than Nolan's recent works. Boyhood sounds amazing. Foxcatcher has been in the discussion for a long time now which is starting to become worrisome. Gone Girl sounds very pulpy but I enjoy pretty much everything Fincher does. Inherent Vice is way up there for me, as is Grand Budapest. Woody Allen has a couple of solid efforts in the bag that make me anticipate his latest more than I would have a few years ago. And I honestly don't have much excitement for Noah. It just seems to have studio-controlled disaster written all over it, and I highly doubt the final cut will be Aronofsky's even if he officially oversees it, which means we might never know the difference.

  • blackbeanie

    Surprised to see that The Rover from David Michôd didn't make it, it's on almost all lists of anticipated movies of 2014. His debute Animal Kingdom was a very good, acclaimed movie and his next one promises to be excellent and original as well.
    Looking forward to many films on this list, escpecially Far from the madding crowd with Schoenaerts, a talented actor, living very close to me :)

  • Stringer Bell

    Great list. I really hadn't heard of a couple of these, but my interest is certainly piqued.

  • Ron Oneal Fresh

    Gone Girl: Dragon Tattoo was a major disappointment for how paint by the numbers of a remake it was. Hopefully Fincher learned from it and decides not to marry himself to the source material.

    Inherent Vice: PTA doing a comedy ensemble. Sign me up.

    Foxcatcher: Trailer gave me chils. I like Capote, lukewarm on Money Ball but this film hopefully will be the Bennett Miller film that I love.

    Big Eyes: New Burton film with Amy Adams & Christoph Waltz, I sorta trust Adams with picking decent scripts so I guess I'm hedging that this will be Good Burton instead of well...let's not talk about Dark Shadows or Alice In Wonderland.

    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Really like the first film, not sure why I didn't love it. Nothing was particularly wrong with it hopefully with the cast and new director it will be better somehow.

    Noah: I'm very curious about it, by yeah I'm worried Aronofsy vision will be hatchet by the studio to pacify religious audiences.

    Interstellar: New Chris Nolan movie.

    Dom Hemingway: I like crude British comedies, anything being compared to Bronson is a must see for me.

    22 Jump Street: I love the first firm, kinda disappointed that I missed out on seeing it on the big screen with a bunch of people, laughing our asses off. I usually do go for that often but I'm willing to do so for this film.

    X-Men: Days of Future Past: Love the comic and I'm excited to see with Bryan Singer back at the helm where he made the best X-Men movies, I expect this to be no less of a great comic book film.

    By the way Laremy "Days of Future Past" is an excellent title.

    Films I'm dreading, not because I won't easily not see them but walking past the posters at the theaters will be enough to annoy me.

    - Jupiter Ascending: I feel like The Wachowskis make weird films for the sake of it, never seems theirs much underneath the makeup.

    - Transformers 4: Rain of building debris and unfollowable action set pieces.

    - Guardians of the Galaxy: Staring a racoon and a tree, August 2014

    - RoboCop: Hollywood is throwing a remake dart at the wall hoping it sticks.

    - Captain America: Winter Soldier: Is this Marvel film not destined to be forgettable? I think that may just be their model to get people into the theaters every single time

    The Hobbit Trois: I guess I should be grateful this is the last we'll of see of Tolkien world, until the 2035 remake of the LOTR & Hobbit series.

  • TheOneWhoKnocks

    INHERENT VICE is my most-anticipated film of 2014.

  • Matthew Furtkamp

    I am also very interested in seeing Noah. I think the final product will be very interesting due to what has been happening with Darren Aronofsky and Paramount. I work at a theatre that has had two research screenings for it and the cuts were drastically different.

    The first time it was shown there was a religious and non religious screening in two different auditoriums. Both movies disliked the movie very much. That is when I started reading all the problems that Paramount had with the film and wanted it cut and a lot changed in it.

    We had another research screening of it and there were two different auditoriums again and it tested a lot better. The movie however was only about 90 minutes long, compared to the first screening which as about 2 and a half hours. It will be very interesting to see what the final film will end up like and if both parties can agree on the cut.

    • Ian

      So pretty much it sounds like Paramount forced him to butcher the movie and the result was more appealing to audiences. Regardless of what the final movie looks like, I don't think I could possibly be less interested after hearing this.

  • Mikey

    Awesome list Brad. My top 10:

    1. Interstellar
    2. Gone Girl
    3. Inherent Vice
    4. Boyhood
    5. Foxcatcher
    6. The Grand Budapest Hotel
    7. Noah
    8. Unbroken
    9. Rosewater
    10. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

    I'd say 1-4, 5-7, and 8-10 are all more or less interchangeable amongst themselves.

  • JAB

    This is very loaded list with Benett Miller's next movie after the excellent "Moneyball". "Foxcatcher" looks very promising. Of course, any film from David Fincher is going to attract a lot of interest.
    However, far & away the most anticipated movie of 2014 is "Interstellar". I can on & on about Christopher. The only fim of his that didn't bowl me over was "The Prestige" (I'll have to see that again). "Inception" still dazzles after several viewings & now he is going out into Arthur C. Clarke/Carl Sagan territory. "2001" & "Contact" are in my all-time top 10. I'd glady jump into a wormhole to FF through time to see this film.

  • topyxyz

    Thanks for introducing Boyhood, very intriguing. I loved Before Midnight and can't wait to learn more about Boyhood.

  • CrossBullet
  • Brad

    "The question is, can director David Fincher elevate the story to something worthwhile? "

    So you haven't read the book but you want the director to "elevate" it, as if it needs improvement?

  • SmartFilm

    Here's my top 30

    30. How to Train Your Dragon 2
    29. Jupiter Ascending
    28. Chef
    27. Dumb and Dumber To
    26. Only Lovers Left Alive
    25. Wish I Was Here
    24. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
    23. Locke
    22. Edge of Tomorrow
    21. Godzilla
    20. Dom Hemingway
    19: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    18. X-Men: Days of Future Past
    17. Exodus
    16. Guardians of the Galaxy
    15. Sabotage
    14. Big Hero 6
    13. The Raid 2: Berenthal
    12. The Monument's Men
    11. Transcendence
    10. Map to the Stars
    10. Snowpiercer
    9 Fox Catcher
    7. Inherent Vice
    8. Gone Girl
    6. Fury
    5.The Grand Budapest Hotel
    4. Chuck Hank And The San Diego Twins
    3. Noah
    2. Interstellar
    1. Boyhood

    For in depth Top Ten coverage,

  • Monster Fortynine