5 Sure-to-Be Great Movies to Watch in 2014

Welp, that’s all she wrote. Awards season is over. It was a great year, but every director, actor, producer, and studio knows full well that 2014 has already begun.

There’s always that dull period after awards season where it’s hard to know what to watch. No one wants to release a powerhouse film in January or February because it’ll get lost amongst the fray of mediocrity that studios put in an attempt to make a quick dollar before blockbuster season starts. I mean, were any of you really holding your breath for Pompeii?

This doesn’t mean that everything is a lost cause. They’re just harder to come by. Which is why you have me to give you some suggestions on what to watch in 2014.

The Raid 2; US Release: March 28, 2014

It is a firm belief of mine that watching The Raid with your bros is one of the best bonding experiences of all time. Seriously, the trailers for these movies pack more of a punch then most action films, so you can only imagine what the film is like. If you haven’t seen the first movie in this franchise you are doing yourself a great disservice. After taking a look at the trailer for the sequel, it appears that there’s going to be a more complex plot than what we saw in the first one, which is a relief: They easily could have just recycled the skeleton of the first movie, but instead it looks like they are taking a completely different direction. Also, baseball bat fight scene!!!

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; US Release: July 11, 2014

The modern-day damned dirty apes movies didn’t exactly set a high bar with the 2011 reboot. Yeah, people don’t forget, Mark Wahlberg. Be that as it may, I was pleasantly surprised by the origin story of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Andy Serkis made a strong argument that human-assisted CGI creations are deserving of awards nominations. Something as subtle as a raise of the eyebrow conveyed so much emotion in his role as Caesar the ape. Another thing that has me excited is the director: Matt Reeves is a relative newcomer to the game but I can attest that Cloverfield is one of those movies that got me into film. He has a good eye for the camera and is great at creating a tone. With a good cast there to back him up I have nothing but high hopes for this film.

The Grand Budapest Hotel; US Release: March 7, 2014

This is about as close as we will get to a prestige picture this early into the year. Be on the lookout for this to be the first movie garner award season talk, which is due mainly to the film’s writer/director Wes Anderson, and also his typically powerhouse cast.

Moonrise Kingdom was Anderson was on top of his game. I haven’t felt like that since Rushmore. So this film has some big shoes to fill. Anderson’s films are recognizable from is symmetrical camera and intriguing color pallets, which is apparent once again in the previews for The Grand Budapest Hotel, but what usually isn’t conveyed in the trailers is the stark emotion littered through his movies. This is usually a make-or-break element for me in his films, and certainly one to watch for.

Gone Girl; US Release: October 3, 2014

There has only been one picture released of the David Fincher-directed Gillian Flynn novel adaptation Gone Girl. What’s crazy is that even in this single image you can already feel the presence of Fincher’s directorial hand at work: The grainy texture, sharp lighting, and painfully emotive look on Ben Affleck’s face are all ingredients of Fincher creating a masterpiece. Between my mom and I’s conversations about how to hookup Netflix to her WiFi TV she kept raving about how I just had to read Gone Girl. I finally gave in and just couldn’t put it down. The book just moves seamlessly with a dynamic character change in practically every paragraph. Even while I was reading it, it seemed to bleed the sort of sustenance that Fincher thrives off of. This is my personal pick for most anticipated film of 2014 right now and I really can’t anticipate a disappointment.

Intersellar; US Release: November 7, 2014

It’s no secret how I feel about movie trailers. I really try to avoid them whenever I can. I hate a movie being spoiled for me, especially when it’s the movie’s goddamned marketing team that is doing the spoiling! I think that I can anticipate a solid film simply with its lineup. First, I’m never going to miss anything that has Christopher Nolan at the helm. He is Hollywood’s best argument that blockbusters can possess quality as well as quantity (quantity in this case being ‘splosions and space ships and stuff). Not to mention the continuation of the McConaissance who stars alongside Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, and (my personal favorite) Michael Caine. I know Nolan is too smart to allow a trailer to go live without approving it himself, which is probably a reason to not be scared to watch the trailer. But I refuse to watch the trailer for this film. I’ll let this all-star line up do the convincing for me, and it certainly has.

Luke Johnsen writes about TV and movies for BroBible.