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Thursday
Jan232014

We Can't Wait! (Preview)

Amir here to kick off We Can’t Wait!, a week-long series by Team Experience on our most anticipated films of 2014. The title is pretty much self-explanatory. We voted as a group and, starting tomorrow, each of us will cover one of the films that ended up on our top ten 14 list. Before that, however, let’s take a quick look at some of the films that were placed highly on our individual ballots but failed to make the final list. You may remember that I posted my own personal list of most anticipated films in this space previously. Let’s hear from the rest of the Team…

Untitled Public School Project (dir. Baumbach)
Noah Baumbach’s upcoming Untitled Public School Project, starring and co-written with his diligent muse and recurring collaborator Greta Gerwig, sounded to me like Greta-and-Noah’s Up the Down Staircase, a little-remembered 1968 drama in which Sandy Dennis stars as a fresh-faced, first-time teacher pushed out of her element and into the full and frenzied halls of a NYC public high school. This got me thinking that Greta Gerwig could very well be the Second Coming of Sandy Dennis, what with both actresses’ enchanting onscreen blending of quirky neuroticism, inspired mannerisms, and modest, effortless, and intelligent charm, subsequently causing crazy, giddy daydreams of Greta-as-Honey in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? I think I need to lie down...

Details are somewhat scant on this one, but the intriguingly untitled Frances Ha follow-up doesn’t sound much like what I’d envisioned. Instead, and in a vein seemingly similar to Frances, the film centers on the relationship between another of Greta’s determined New York hopefuls and her worshipful Barnard buddy, played by Lola Kirke, sister of Girls star Jemima. In this New Yorker article from April of last year, Baumbach likens the movie to both The Great Gatsby and Jonathan Demme’s Something Wild, which sounds both mind-boggling and marvellous. Then again, after Frances, I’d probably follow Noah and Greta into an Armageddon remake if it came down to it.
-Matthew Eng 

Godzilla (dir. Edwards)
The last time Hollywood tried to make a CGI epic out of Toho’s radioactive lizard, the results were deeply vile. But Gareth Edwards is no Roland Emmerich. And any doubts to the contrary evaporated when the teaser trailer bowed at the end of 2014; its grave tone, gorgeous pop-nihilistic visuals, and suggestive hints of creature design prove that the filmmakers at least know what film they should be making. Whether they’ve actually made it is something we’ll find out in May, but from this distance, it looks to me like the obvious frontrunner for King of the Summer Popcorn Movies.
-Tim Brayton 

Tammy (dir. Falcone)
The words were "Melissa McCarthy and Susan Sarandon road trip comedy". I was sold instantly. McCarthy's comic talents are supreme when the co-star chemistry works - Sandra Bullock yes, Jason Bateman no, which suggests the laws of cosmic comedy are a mystery. And it's been so long since Sarandon was a movie star that she needs to take this chance to cut loose as a profane, hard-drinking grandmother. McCarthy co-wrote the script with her husband Ben Falcone, who has first time directing duty here. So all in all, a volatile mix of untested and unpredictable - but that can often make for cinematic magic.
-David Upton 

Magic in the Moonlight (dir. Allen)
At the beginning of every new year I know little about what the 12 months will hold for me, but I know one thing for sure: I'll be first in line on opening night for the new Woody Allen movie. As usual, no one knows exactly what this one is about (and bless him for cherishing secrecy in this time and day when we know way too much about every single film before a trailer's out) other than "A-listers get together in new locale to make Allen film". All I can hope for is that the Woodsman will give us the next brilliant Emma Stone performance promised in Easy A and that it will be at least half as good as Blue Jasmine was last year.
-Jose Solis 

Interstellar (dir. Nolan)
Whenever Christopher Nolan makes a film, it is a must-see event. They're met with equal levels of anticipation by both fanboys and highbrow cinephiles alike, eager to devour and dissect the worlds he creates. Even if you find yourself admiring the craftsmanship rather than the finished product, he's one of the few directors making adult-oriented, thought-provoking blockbusters. With an Oscar-approved cast (Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Ellen Burystn, and Michael Caine, to name a few) playing scientists and explorers that delve into a newly discovered wormhole that allows time travel and journeys to new dimensions, it seems that Nolan is, once again, looking to push cinematic boundaries. And I'll be one of the first in line at the IMAX ready to have both my eyes and mind stimulated.
-Andrew Stewart 

A Man Most Wanted (dir. Corbijn)
John Le Carré novels have made some pretty good films in the past, from the steamy Tailor of Panama to the icy Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. This one, from the master of the spy novel's recent tome based on the true-life story of Murat Kurnaz, a Chechen Muslim and legal resident of Germany who gets caught up in the war on terror, boasts a stellar cast (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Daniel Bruhl, Robin Wright, and Willem Dafoe) and an inspired choice in the director's chair: Anton Corbijn, who directed The American, the most interesting spy film of the new millennium. And hey, if that doesn't interest you, IMDB says that you might like it if you liked ANY of the revitalized Ms. McAdams's 2013 efforts (Passion, To the Wonder, and About Time)! BONUS: Early word from Sundance is good, which only makes me more excited!
-Daniel Bayer 

Far From the Madding Crowd (dir. Vinterberg)
Matthias Schoenaerts stars as a young shepherd and Carey Mulligan as the young woman who becomes the object of his affection for some years in Far from the Madding Crowd. I’m excited but nervous about this adaptation of this Thomas Hardy novel. Literary adaptations too often end up as arid affairs despite any inherent zest and life of their source material. Nailing the weird but charming mix of comedy and tragedy from the text already seems like a difficult task and I can’t help but wish Tony Richardson were still alive to attach his irreverent adaptive skills to it. But the film is excellently cast from Juno Temple as servant Fanny to Michael Sheen as bumbling Boldwood. David Nicholl’s last script (Great Expectations) though occasionally surface-y was a fine condensation of a lengthy novel. And, sure, this 19th century country-romp seems a far cry from Thomas Vinterberg’s recent The Hunt but a director with a strong hand is always the best thing for a literary adaptation so I remain hopeful. Now, let us pray that in translation to the screen Mulligan’s Bathsheba retains her agency and feminist edge.
-Andrew Kendall 

Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (dir.Lawrence)
Sue me for becoming captivated by a tween movie trend. When a Burning Question asked, "Book or movie first?" I answered book, but Michael C. concluded movie. The first Hunger Games movie was my experiment. I read the book after (and decided Michael C. was wrong). I got hooked on the trilogy, and now I can't get enough of the films. They're imperfect, to be sure. They should dive more deeply into the social commentary, or at least choose between a message and appealing to an audience. But they're juicy fun, and it's easy to anticipate a film when I already know I love the content.
-Deborah Lipp

How To Catch a Monster (dir. Gosling)
Have we lost faith in Ryan Gosling or does his desire to quit acting for the time being after Gangster SquadOnly God Forgives and The Place Beyond the Pines -- back-to-back-to-back performances which weren't greeted as warmly as he's accustomed to -- speak well of his own keen instincts about how to manage his career. Will getting behind the camera rejuvenate him? Not all actors can direct but I'm intrigued by his choice of genre (urban fantasy) and especially his casting. Christina Hendricks stars as "Billy" a single mother who gets swept into a dark underworld. Since Hollywood proper seemed dumbfounded as to what to do when she broke on Mad Men, weirdly assuming that January Jones was the only Mad Woman worth pursuing as a movie star, it's a relief that a film star like Gosling gets it. The cast also includes Matt Smith as "Bully", Saorsie Ronan as "Rat" and Eva Mendes as "Cat" and if all those famous names playing weirdly matching character names for a movie star trying to become a writer/director don't make you curious, what could?
-Nathaniel 

Are you excited about these nine titles? If so, why?

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Reader Comments (36)

God, Susan Sarandon! I admire her refusal to go gentle into that good night, but good gracious, isn't there ANYBODY in Hollywood who likes her well enough to push for a project worthy of her gift? When is her Arenofsky coming with her Requiem For a Dream? Do we have wait a whole damn decade?

And she's still so hot, it just doesn't make any sense, really!

What has she done since her Oscar win, really? Her tiny bit in Arbitrage? Solid work in the little seen In the Valley of Elah? Second fiddle to Amy Adams' best work ever in Enchanted?

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen Sandiego

I can't wait for Tammy. How to Catch a Monster has my interest, as well.

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Who cares about Emma Stone when Woody is working with Marcia for the first time?

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Reading of the Chris Nolan epic's cast just gave me an orgasm. One of the best lineups I've seen in a long, LONG time.

I'm leery of this remake of Far From the Madding Crowd. As a fan of the Julie Christie/John Schlesinger version, I hope they don't mess this one up. Mulligan, just like in Gatsby, doesn't feel right for this story. I hope I'm wrong. But I agree with Andrew--Tony Richardson would have been perfect to adapt Hardy.

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Of course I'm eagerly awaiting all the movies with women as their driving force. Glad to see Madding Crowd included here. And hope that Miss Julie, Carol and Sils Maria are in your list too.

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

OMG that photo of Greta is so very much!

I'm conflicted about Emma Stone being in two of these features. Is 2014 gonna be the year when I learn to like Emma Stone?

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

Eh, I'm probably looking forward to Guardians of the Galaxy quite a bit more than Godzilla. Still, they're both looking like the summer hot tickets. As for me?

Ten most anticipated:

1. Guardians of the Galaxy
2. Big Eyes
3. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
4. Lucy
5. Bad Words
6. The Grand Budapest Hotel
7. How to Catch a Monster
8. Birdman
9. Interstellar (yes, I'll see it, but I'm not anticipating it as strongly because, well, because The Dark Knight Rises was a mess.)
10. Godzilla (Yeah, I'll see it. This one actually has at least a shot of being good, but I don't buy that there'll be much to it beyond hearty amounts of destruction. Still, THAT'S WHAT YOU SEE GODZILLA FOR. Not quite the same when one of the entites involved in committing that amount of destruction is SUPERMAN.)

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Oddly, my three most anticipated films right now are very outside of my wheelhouse: The Grand Budapest Hotel (confession: I don't find Wes Anderson movies all that amazing but this one seems like it'll do the trick), The Lego Movie (looks hilarious), and Neighbors (Seth Rogan and Rose Byrne together? Yes, please!).

Prestige-wise, I guess I'm curious to find out whether Into the Woods and The Last Five Years can capture the magic of their respective shows.

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

I'm a bit hesitant about the Far From the Madding Crowd remake. I'm worried it will be too grim and BBCish. One of the great things about the Julie Christie version is that Bathsheba had too much life and sexual energy to be neatly slotted into her social caste. And the three actors cast were so divinely sexy, each in their own way, that you could completely understand her curiosity about them (Terence Stamp, Peter Finch, Alan Bates). And the Christie-Bates pairing isn't about how people are really most comfortable with people of their own social class. In the four (or more?) movies they made together, the two are a perfect artistic match.

I'm still looking forward to the movie you lucky ones have seen already, Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton together. Another perfect pairing.

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteradri

Greta Gerwig could very well be the Second Coming of Sandy Dennis

Nothing about Gerwig says Dennis. The closest we have to Dennis today is Nicolas Cage. Would you like to write about their peculiar similarities?

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

adri--Julie, Finch, Bates and Stamp in the same movie...holy &$@#*(#^!!!!

and music by Richard Rodney Bennett and photography by Nic Roeg! Julie and Terence were a hot couple in reel/real life.

Sublime.

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Um, who is that gorgeous, gorgeous man in the photo with Greta Gerwig?

And Susan Sarandon as Melissa McCarthy's grandmother? That's ridiculous. June Squibb, sure but Sarandon? No way.

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

The three I'm really looking forward to (assuming US releases at all) are Princess Kaguya and Babadook. One is a gorgeous watercolor-style animated film from Studio Ghibli and the other looks like a better adaptation of We Need to Talk About Kevin with a literal monster and theoretical monsters.

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Sarandon has a rich, full life off screen and can afford to wait and take the projects she wants. That gives me hope for this one.

I'm hoping Calvary gets a distrib. I'm hearing wonderful things about it from my friends in Ireland.

Monster has an interesting cast. I hope it lives up to their talent.

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

brookesboy adri --- I too have those slight worries about FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD to some extent. I love (love, love) Carey Mulligan but I'd have never have thought of her for this (had Abbie Cornish in my head since 09) but I'm so intrigued at how much she refuses to play a specific type of character. She hasn't a played a Jenny Mellor type since, and as much as it could go wrong I'm really excited to see her tackle this role, nonetheless. She could be really interesting, in a good way, as Bathsheba.

I must admit, though, literary adaptations are like crack for me. Even if they devastate me, I keep hoping for the best.

(In a perfect world, ideal casting would be Helena Bonham Carter circa 97).

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndrewK

Todd Haynes' CAROL starring Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, and as of yesterday, Sarah Paulson. New Todd Haynes feature trumps all.

Honourable mention to A MOST VIOLENT YEAR because Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain.

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaurence

Laurence , I saw Jessica Chastain on Broadway in The Heiress . She was wooden , bland , awkward , and lousy- plus she comes fom Juilliard . Trust me , she was much worst than Scarlett Johansson in Cat In the Hot Tin Roof . I will always see Chastain differently after that painful performance .

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertina

Dave in Alamitos Beach - that's gorgeous, gorgeous Noah Baumbach.

Some of these look great, but Grand Budapest Hotel remains #1 on this list for me.

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

ScottC- You'll be very pleased to follow the rest of the series then :)

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

I don't mind the Tammy stuff. Nobody cared when Melissa Leo and Jane Lynch did it and Susan Sarandon is older than both.

A Most Wanted Man- This film is bound to get a near failing CinemaScore grade and the type of, 'We want smart spy movies, BUT NOT like this!!!!' That said, the positive reviews note it is smartly in keeping with LeCarre.

Baumbach's on my good side so yes to his next one.

Godzilla and Interstellar- ZOMG those casts!!!!!!!!!!! But Godzilla better not focus on Aaron Taylor-Johnson (BECAUSE BRYAN CRANSTON AND JULIETTE BINOCHE HAVE BEEN TEASED AS A MARRIED COUPLE!!!!) and Interstellar better give Hathaway and Chastain plum roles.

Magic in the Moonlight- Period Woody is fine but I am just not on the Emma Stone train.

Haven't heard about the Vinterberg film. Consider me interested.

Zzzzz on The Hunger Games.

I just hope Gosling's film is not 'fake rustic inspired realism' that I tend to find in Derek Cianfrance's films. But is also sounds like Refn rubbed off on him, the costumes in the stills and Benoit Debie as the cinematographer, and even as a Refn fan, I don't recommend that for anybody.

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Full thoughts on everything here:
Untitled Public School Project: I saw Frances Ha. It was good, but I don't exactly buy that lightning could exactly strike twice here. Maybe with the right reviews.
Godzilla: Yes. Summer. Spectacle. Exactly what you want out of Godzilla, that meaning prodigious amounts of destruction. (I know I, pretty much, said that already.)
Tammy: Are we sure it's "grandmother" and not just "mother"? Most people in their late 30s to early 40s, today, are close to losing the grandmother, if it hasn't happened already. Unless there's actually going to be a joke or plot point in the movie that her mother and grandmother were teen moms.
Magic in the Moonlight: Woody Allen is really hit or miss, so I anticipate the reviews more than the film itself.
Interstellar: Weird, trippy movie about exploring a multiversal concept. Well, as a new aside thought, this looks like Nolan's actually doing more to get us to a truly solid DC Cinematic Universe/Multiverse than the actual people in charge of the DC Comics films are actually doing.
A Man Most Wanted: Anton Corbijn (Control) is a sight less interesting than, say, Alferdson for Tinker Tailor. Still, the cast might help make it a bit better than that movie.
Far From the Madding Crowd: Katie J. just can't catch a break. THIS is what a BAFTA Award for Best British Film means? Uncast, even in projects that would complement the persona of your debut?
Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1: I have no real thoughts. Haven't seen Catching Fire to articulate my perspective on the direction.
How to Catch a Monster: Honestly, I kind of hope all the character names are distractions from what's really going on and that this is actually a DC Universe movie. (Specifically with Aquaman and Constantine cameos.) I know that's probably not going to happen, but can I at least hope for a few months that there's going to be a DC Comics movie that's not just Batman that DOESN'T suck?

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

THAT is Noah Baumbach?! Geez, does he always look like that? How did he not end up in front of the camera? Must google now....wow, he always looks good. Looks like Spike Jonze has some competition in the secretly hot director category.

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

Dave - he's even more gorgeous in person. Totally swoon worthy.

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSmith

Dave and Smith and ScottC--I got dibs on Alexander Payne...scorchin!

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

These lousy Hunger Games movies are just a step above those hideous Twilight films. Plus , I can't fathom watching and hearing the overrated and completely untrained Jennifer Lawrence try to act . The poor girl still doesn't know how to act with her eyes , and she acts with the most blank expression . Someone needs to teach Jennifer how to deliver her lines without sounding bored out of her mind . And, don't get me started on her painful attempt to pull-off her New York accent in American Hustle and her Philadelphia accent in Silver Linings Playbook . Lawrence is constantly over-praised , but all I see is an actress that needs acting lessons and voice lessons .

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBen

Can't wait for Far From the Madding Crowd. I adore the Julie Christie/Alan Bates version, funny since I hated the book, and hope this isn't a slavish recreation. I can't imagine that going well but a fresh take on the material will be fun to see and period pieces are one of my favorite genres. I think Carey Mulligan will be an interesting Bathsheba, her approach will have to be different from Julie's since she's pretty as opposed to breathtakingly beautiful as Julie was. I loved Julie's performance but she was so stunning that her beauty did some of the work for her, how could those three not fall for her? With Carey it will have been be a stronger inner energy that will have to attract them, she's great at that so I'm sure she's up to the challenge. As far as the rest of the cast, I had envisioned Tom Hardy as Gabriel Oak but Matthias Schoenaerts will be just fine, in more ways than one. I expect Michael Sheen will be super as Boldwood the only one I question is Tom Sturridge as Sgt. Troy. To me he's always rather meh and certainly not prime Terence Stamp.

adri-I agree Julie and Alan Bates were perfect screen partners. If you've never seen it you should try and catch their TV version of Separate Tables where they play both the estranged couple and the repressed spinster and the major. Hard to find but great stuff.

Among the others beside Madding Crowd I'm always interested in seeing how the new Woody Allen turns out and Interstellar could be fun.

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

joel, I've been trying for years to track down that version of Separate Tables. I've heard it's fantastic and that Julie's performance is one of her very best.

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

A great list!
I am very eager to see Far from the Madding Crowd. 2 days ago I viewed An Education for a second time and, God, isn't Carey Mulligan an incredible actress! I like her way more than JLaw. Lawrence is a great actress but I am afraid that she will be soon viewed as overrated if they don't stop talking about her/showering her with awards.

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel B.

Inherent vice and interstellar. I didn't even know other movies were coming out this year. Jk but a PTA film (been quite slept on so far) is a must see event. American Hustle was the most excited I've been for a movie in a while. Inherent Vice is like that times 6.

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLavon Woods

Carol, Miss Julie, Gone Girl, A Most Wanted Man, X-Men, Noah ,Exodus

January 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterManuel

As you know, I follow Mad Men cast news closely. Ryan Gosling talked in interviews about how impressed he was by Christina Hendricks when they worked together in Drive. How to Catch a Monster is putting his money where his mouth is.

January 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

Wow Ben, bitter much? Were you bullied by Jennifer Lawrence when you were a teenager or what?

I could name a hundred famous people in Hollywood that are less talented than Jennifer Lawrence. Yes she's not a KATHARINE HEPBURN but Meryl isn't either and I love her all the same.

I am so tired of the constant JLaw bashing... Her haters are getting ridiculous and boring fast.

January 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJay

My CAN'T WAIT list:

Top by a hundred miles: David Fincher's GONE GIRL. That is pure Fincher material right there. If Flynn masters the transition from novel to screen, that movie might be amazing.

2. PTA's Inherent Vice

Ditto for Paul Thomas Anderson and Thomas Pynchon's novel.

3. Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel

Great cast. Great director (what a great filmography, not a dud in sight and future classics like Rushmore, Tenenbaums, Fox and Moonrise). Looks like it's a wonderful story. Tilda in old-age makeup (I loved her in Benjamin Button too!)

4. Frank

From what I hear from Sundance, it's right up my alley.

5. Jeff Nichols' Midnight Special

I'd follow Nichols anywhere after near-masterpieces (for me) Take Shelter and Mud. Hope this one's the one that catches Oscar attention.

6. Vintenberg's Far From the Madding Crowd

I've yet to see Carey Mulligan picking a dull story for a project. Yes, even Never Let Me Go.

7. Miller's Foxcatcher

Because, duh.

8. Haynes' Carol

Blanchett, Mara, Todd Haynes, respected novel.

9. Innaritu's The Bird Man

I am curious about a Innaritu comedy starring Emma Stone, Naomi Watts and Michael Keaton.

10. The Rover

David Michod, Guy Pearce, Scoot McNairy, Robert Pattinson.

Runners-up: 2 Days, One Night (Cotillard + Dardennes) and Sils Maria (Assayas + Binoche).

January 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Rodrigues

@ Volvagia: No, McCarthy's mom is played by Allison Janney - more reason to be excited, although I don't imagine she'll be in it very much.

January 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

From afar, Interstellar, Carol, and Inherent Vice are dominating my horizon.

January 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

Jay , sorry to rain on your parade , but I am tired of being exposed to non-acting and untrained A-list stars that are constantly overrated because they are well-liked or popular . The number one prerequisite should always be the talent - not the popularity or likability . When I see Lawrence constantly receive undeserved Oscar nominations ( and a win over Riva & Watts ) , I find it to be too much . Jennifer was nominated over Marion Cotillard's turn in Rust & Bone , and recently nominated over the more deserving Sarah Paulson , Margo Martindale ( August: Osage County ) , and Melissa Leo ( Prisoners ) .

January 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBen

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