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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Top 5 "Oo, That Looks Good" Movies of 2014

The new year has arrived at long last; we only had to wait 365 days or so for it. And with the new year comes the long wait for the inevitable wave of summer blockbusters that arrive every June with the timing and grace of only the most punctual and voluminous menstrual sloughs.

There is never not a good moment to use this image.
Summer this year seems to be set to flood us like so much body-temperature uterus lining with a veritable smorgasbord of exactly the same movies over and over again. With lots of lasers and jumping and looking seriously into the distance, sci-fi and alien invasion seem to be the aim of the game, so be prepared for, well, lots of sci-fi and aliens; along with the obligatory kids animated movie sequels and another superhero movie, because we're totally not tired of them yet. Yay.

Why can't we all just wait patiently for Ant-Man?
That said, there's still plenty to be excited all through the year so, without further ado (or adon't), I give you my top 5 list of movies that, as the title suggests, make you lean over to your mate in the cinema and shout-whisper, "Dude, we need to see that." Let us begin with:

5. Nymphomaniac: Volume 1 (Release: 21st February)

Oh Lars. What are you like? First Antichrist, now this. What with these, your porn films and that Nazi joke at the Cannes Film Festival two years ago, I almost feel like you're trying too hard to be controversial. And after the cataclysmically awful melodrama of Melancholia I'm starting to worry that you've actually lost your film-maker's touch. What happened? Where's another Dogville?

Won't you think of the children?!
I'm not a man to give up hope, however, and so this is your last chance, Lars, to restore my faith in you. I'm always a fan of the films that steer a little closer to the bone and sexuality has always been something that the film industry has shied away from like a young actress from a Hollywood producer's fly (who said that?!), so I commend the steel balls it must take to make a film that's essentially a two-part, five hour long mainstream porn movie. Whether it'll actually be any good of a film or just there for the shock factor (see Antichrist again) will only be a matter of time. I just hope Trier has realised that a little bit of subtlety and room for interpretation can go a long way.

So, for those of you looking for plenty of sex, hamfisted imagery, disturbed characters and a little dash of Rammstein, this looks like the movie of the year for you. Here's the trailer (one of them was originally banned from YouTube), see if you can spot the subliminal vagina at the beginning:

4. The Lego Movie (Release: 14th February)

If you went to see Nymphomaniac and you now need a way to stop your children from crying inconsolably or worse, copying what they saw, you could take them to the next screen to see The Lego Movie. Yes, The Motherfucking Lego Movie. I'm a little too excited for this one as it's directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the directors behind the glorious 21 Jump Street remake (the sequel is also coming out this year, but sadly ranked at number six on my list) and the solidly alright Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, features Morgan Freeman as God, co-stars Will Arnett from Arrested Development as Batman and Liam Neeson is in there somewhere too. There's not a single part of the production or casting line-up that makes me too worried about this becoming yet another all-too-formulaic kid's movie and thank Morgan Freeman, because Warner Bros. have the imaginations of countless children and former-children at stake here.

"Put all your money in a bag and hand it over or another beloved household name gets ruined." - Warner Bros. Marketing Department
Almost all of us have fond memories of ourselves or a sibling spending a rainy Sunday afternoon meticulously building a world of colourful blocks complete with characters, stories, drama and heaps of action; then destroying everything with an alien invasion or massive Godzilla earthquake or with whatever other characters or toys you happened to have lying around. The trailer for this movie evokes exactly the same kind of sense of boundless fun and joyously nonsensical carnage of the childhood imagination. Even the animation style is reminiscent of a kid moving Lego men around like hopscotch players before making the calculated executive decision to curtail the hunt for the secret cave of awesome and swallowing the pieces instead.

"Oh my god, it ate the General! All is lost!"
If all goes well, this will be one part loose "save the world" story, a hundred parts hilariously unhinged chaos and all made from the brightly coloured little blocks of nostalgia that we all know and love. Hit it, YouTube embed:

3. Interstellar (Release: 7th November)

Never before has a poster looked so...Nolany.
Let's go all the way to the end of the year and look at Christopher Nolan's next pet project, Interstellar. It's no surprise that pretty much all anyone outside the production team and cast knows about the movie is that it's something to do with astronauts and wormholes. The cast have stayed tight-lipped about any further details, as is customary with a Nolan movie, so all we can do is wait. Something that will obviously build speculation, and hype, and money. You cheeky bastard, Nolan. You wouldn't get away with this if all of your movies weren't so bloody good.

Nearly all of them.
Looking at the crew, it's certainly going to make for an interesting film. There's the production designer from The Dark Knight, the editor from Inception and Elysium (expect lots of fast shots and not a lot of knowing what's going on) and the cinematographer behind the chilling Let the Right One In, which means we're probably looking at a complicated, fast-paced, creepy movie with lots of twists and turns. So, yeah, a Christopher Nolan film. I canny wait! We'll just have to wait and see what he churns out, as the trailer doesn't really shed any further light on things:

2. The Wolf of Wall Street (Release: 17th January)

I'm kind of cheating here seeing as The Wolf of Wall Street, Martin Scorsese's new biopic of another Henry Hill-type sleazeball called Jordan Belfort, came out in the good old US of We'll Show Our Movies a Month Before You Get Them Ner-nee-ner-ner on Christmas Day, but it doesn't come out over here until mid-January, so I think it still counts.

You wouldn't look so happy without all of your missiles and stupid premiers, would you? Noooooo.
A Scorsese movie is really best described by itself, so I present to you the trailer for Wolf of Wall Street and dare you to say that this doesn't have absolutely everything you want from a film in it, up to and including Leonardo DiCaprio's adorable smug-face (see poster above):

1. The Wind Rises (Release: Unannounced)

Hayao Miyazaki is retiring! Why, God, why?! His final movie, The Wind Rises, is a fictional account of the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the man behind the design of the Mitsubishi A5M fighter plane used by Japan during World War II, which eventually evolved into the famous "Kamikaze" A5M Zeros that were in that one good bit of Pearl Harbor. It's caused a bit of a stir over in Japan, what with a story humanising the designer of weapons of war seemingly going against Miyazaki's famously pacifist ideologies. The controversy is only fuelling my hunger for this film even more, however, as it has been hailed as Miyazaki's most personal film and apparently focuses on a healthy dose of adult themes not seen before in an anime that has hit number one on the Japanese box office for the whole of the year. It reminds me of another Studio Ghibli movie set in World War II Japan that featured pretty heavy themes and something about dead bugs...

If I think about it too hard I might start crying again.
Grave of the Fireflies is possibly one of the greatest and most devastating films ever made, and now the best anime director ever (Isao Takahata holds just as strong a place in my heart, mind) has made a new film about the same subject. I think it might kill me if I see this...

Worth it.
I would urge those of you who are a little dubious about watching cartoons (particularly anime) to give this a try, you'll be seeing the work of a master of an industry at his very best. Everyone loves him. As for me, I'll have to watch the trailer at least another 5 times before I can get through the whole thing without breaking the laptop from the resulting efflux of drool and tears of joy:

So, my little band of unholy abominations, what films are you looking forward to this year?

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