I like treks and robots fighting monsters and steel men as much as the next guy. But when it comes to making this list, I want to see other things a tad bit more. There’s a lot to look forward to but if you told me I could only see 10 new films this year, well the following would be my picks.
Director: Jeff Nichols
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Michael Shannon
Why: I really love the first two films written/directed by Jeff Nichols, Shotgun Stories (Seriously, why haven’t you seen this yet. I’ve told you many times) and Take Shelter. The plot follows two teenagers helping a fugitive avoid the law. The film already premiered at Cannes last year and the reactions were promising. It looks like McConaughey and Nichols will continue their hot streaks.
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz
Why: Brilliant author Cormac McCarthy (The Road) waltzed into Hollywood with his very first screenplay, about a lawyer caught up in drug trafficking, and a bidding war erupted. Ridley Scott has been admittedly spotty lately, but the director shines when handed a tight script (that he doesn’t tinker with). Even without that information, how could you pass up a film with Fassbender AND Pitt! (Bardem and Cruz ain’t bad either)
Director: Steve McQueen
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch, Garret Dilahunt
Why: What’s that you say? We’re getting two Fassbender/Pitt movies in one year? Holy crap! This is also McQueen’s follow-up to the provocative Shame. It’s about a free northerner kidnapped and sold into slavery fighting to get home. I’m happy to see Ejiofor handed such a meaty role and the whole cast is ridiculously good. I’m curious to see McQueen try something on a bigger scale than his first two films. This is very interesting indeed.
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Starring: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley
Why: Remember how awesome it was when District 9 came out? There was finally a novel sci-fi movie with interesting ideas mixed with cool creatures and bloody violence. That was great, right? Well, it’s happening again, but this time with Matt Damon. And instead of prawns, this new film deals with immigration and class warfare, but you know, in space.
Director: Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan
Why: This is about 5 friends reuniting and going on a legendary pub crawl when something sci-fi happens. But more importantly this is the completion of the Cornetto trilogy. What that means is this is the third film written by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, starring Pegg and Frost, and directed by Wright. The first two were Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, which are amazing. Wright also directed my number one film from a few years back, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. So count me in for anything he’s involved with.
Director: Spike Jonze
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Samantha Morton
Why: The story is about a man falling in love with a computer operating system. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s coming from one of my favorite directors, Spike Jonze (It’s also his first solo screenplay). Jonze isn’t working with his usual genius DP Lance Acord, but his new guy is Hoyte Van Hoytema (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Fighter). Plus, Phoenix and Adams, who were last seen being incredible in The Master.
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Starring: Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Alison Pill, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Song Kang-ho, Ed Harris, Ewen Bremner
Why: I already laid out how much I enjoy director Bong Joon-Ho here. In short, he’s great, and this is his big English debut. It’s a post-apocalyptic story about a train carrying the last remnants of mankind. So more sci-fi, and more class warfare, woohoo!
Director: Joel & Ethan Coen
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, Garrett Hedlund
Why: Coen brothers. Coen brothers. Coen brothers. Coen brothers. Coen brothers. Coen brothers. Coen brothers. Coen brothers. Coen brothers. Coen brothers. Coen brothers. Coen brothers. Coen brothers. Coen brothers.
Director: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill
Why: I could just say Scorsese over and over again. The master director re-teams with his late-career muse (DiCaprio) for this true stockbroker saga. Scorsese is also trying out a new DP, Rodrigo Prieto (Argo, Brokeback Mountain). I’m excited to see what images this new collaboration will bring.
Director: Alfonso Cuaron
Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
Why: It’s been 7 years since we got the masterpiece Children of Men. This year, we are finally getting a new Cuaron movie. It’s a sci-fi epic starring only Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Cuaron’s master DP Lubezski returns and early word says they’re taking single-take shots to crazy new heights. I cannot wait!
What are some films you are looking forward to?