Ten to see in 2014

7 January 2014

Every year, critics offer up their lists of the best movies they've seen in the last 12 months. We, on the other hand, try and predict that list in advance...  

But before we tell you what we think the top ten of 2014 might be, we have to, in the interests of full disclosure, take a look at last year's predictions...

We had a better year than the previous effort, despite claiming Flight would be the first big critical hit of the year. Sadly, it wasn't. Nor was Gangster Squad, which had looked so good in the build up to release. 

Our prediction that Die Hard 5 would get a two star rating may have been a little generous (decide for yourself if you haven't seen it - it's available on demand now), while conversely, who knew World War Z would stumble upon such a huge box office take and positive reviews? 

Other movies we underestimated included Thor 2, which raked in plaudits and money alike despite our claims it was a gamble to rely on the Norse god to advance the Marvel universe. As for Man Of Steel? Well, let's just say that director Zack Snyder is an acquired taste… 

So into 2014 we go. Read on to find out which movies are our tips for success this year. 

1. 12 Years A Slave

12-Years-A-Slave-DIDirector Steve McQueen's telling of this true story has sneaked into a bunch of 2013 lists after some advanced screenings back in December, but with a release date of January 10,  it's yet to hit the public conciousness. And when it hits, it will hit hard. 

An unrelenting depiction of life in pre-Civil War slavery, the plot revolves around Solomon Northup (Chitewel Ejiofor), a free man form New York abducted and sold into slavery, where he experiences 12 harrowing years, largely under the malevolent 'ownership' of Michael Fassbender's plantation owner. 


2. X-Men: Days Of Future Past

DI-X-Men-Days-Of-Future-Past-(1)Superhero movies are best when they're at their darkest. Bryan Singer has cottoned on to this, and for his next X movie, he's mixing up timelines and threatening the very existence of all mutants. Heavy stuff. 

We already know it's possible to have too many villains, but with only Peter Dinklage and his mutant-hunting robots on the bad side (plus, perhaps, the younger Magneto) it's going to be interesting to see how Singer handles so many heroes - young and old, as the plot follows Wolverine as his mind is reverted back to his younger self.
It's all a bit nuts.. but it might just work… 


3. Planet Of The Apes 2
The Apes reboot was a pleasant surprise, particularly after a trailer that dumbed down what was actually a very interesting plot. It was also a very good set up for what is to come; life after humans. 

But they're not all dead quite yet. The survivors of the plague that wiped out 90% of humanity are regrouping, and looking to avoid death by monkey. Meanwhile Caeser, James Franco's super-clever pet, has been building up an army of apes to launch the final assault. 

Original director Rupert Wyatt is out, Cloverfield director Matt Reeves is in. The teaser implies Reeves is on the same page as his predecessor. Let's hope this is a franchise that can continue to pleasantly surprise. 


4. Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow 1 DIWhatever you think of Tom Cruise, it's hard to fault his choice in scripts. Oblivion and Jack Reacher were not the commercial hits he's used to (it's all relative), but as usual, they were interesting, well-crafted genre pieces. 

We're expecting more of the same for Edge of Tomorrow, which finds Cruise playing a new army recruit dropped into the middle of a battle with aliens. His immediate death, however, is only the beginning. For Cruise is going to live that first day over and over and over again… 


5. The Wolf of Wall Street

The-Wolf-of-Wall-Street-DIRecounting the bad old days of banking (which, let's face it, could probably be last week for all we know) when tossing dwarfs and bedding hookers was par for the course, Scorsese's latest holds a mirror up to Wall Street and the bankers that cared so little of the lives they were destroying. It's Scorsese's longest movie yet, and has the most amount of F-bombs in any movie ever. And most importantly, it might be his best yet… 


6. Her

Her-DISpike Jonze's scripts are odd. There's no getting away from it. But in a world of Marvel characters, isn't that what we need? This one's about a lonely guy who's just split up with his girlfriend, and somehow found solace in his new laptop's operating system. As would most men, single or otherwise, if they found Scarlett Johansson  inhabiting their devices. 


7. The Motel Life

DI-The-Motel-Life-(1)Based on the debut novel by musician Will Vlautin, this tale finds Stephen Dorff and  Emile Hirsch as Frank and Jerry Lee Flannigan, a pair of down-on-their-luck brothers living in motel rooms as they eke out an existence in Reno. When Jerry Lee accidentally runs down a kid on his bicycle, he flees the scene, forcing the brothers to flee town. 

Mixed reviews Stateside haven't dampened our hope that Dorf has found a return to form, while Hirsch has a tendency to pick interesting scripts (The Darkest Hour notwithstanding). 


8. Lone Survivor

Lone-Survivor-3-DIPeter Berg lost a lot of credibility when he took on Battleship. And then he lost all respect when we SAW Battleship. So now the director show showed so much promise with Friday Night Lights, Very Bad Things and Hancock is back, with possibly his best movie yet. 

It's a true story based on a failed Navy SEAL mission to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden back in 2005, that left few survivors after a counter attack by the Taliban. Brutal, violent and unrelenting, Lone Survivor is a respectable antidote to Berg's previous cinematic military incursion. 


9. Dallas Buyers Club

Dallas Buyer's Club 1 DIThe Matthew McConaughey renaissance continues with possibly his career best performance as a guy diagnosed with HIV, who decides to risk his freedom obtaining and sharing life-extending drugs with his fellow sufferers. It's expected to do well in awards season, with advanced word putting McConaughey himself at the forefront of the campaign. 


10. Snowpiercer

DI-Snowpiercer-(2)We're really worried about this one, the movie with the most unique of set ups, for the release date has been pulled and nobody knows when we might get to see it. 

Directed by Joon-ho Bong, the director of Korean classics The Host and Memories Of Murder, the story takes place in a world where a global warming experiment killed most life on the planet, leaving a band of survivors to take solace on a train that never stops. A class system breaks out on the train, forcing those with nothing to fight back against those with everything.