Special Feature: The must-see films of 2014

Happy New Year and a warm welcome to 2014! The last twelve months have offered up some mighty fine works to suit all cinematic tastes, from barn-storming Hollywood blockbusters such as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Star Trek Into Darkness to pioneering arthouse efforts such as Abdellatif Kechice’s Blue Is the Warmest Colour, Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing and Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty. But what does 2014 have in store aside from the usual slew of superhero movies and tent-pole titans? Below, CineVue’s Daniel Green, Patrick Gamble and Ben Nicholson pick a handful of their own personal must-sees. Don’t forget to give us your own selections via the comment box provided.

Bastards (dir. Claire Denis)
Slapped with a tongue-in-cheek Valentine’s Day release here in the UK by Artificial Eye following polarised reviews on the festival circuit, French director Denis looks set to stick two fingers firmly up to the not-so-fair sex in this brutal tale of suicide and sexual abuse. Read John Bleasdale’s Cannes Film Festival review here. Daniel Green

Carol (dir. Todd Haynes)
Haynes looks to continue his homage to the opulent melodramas of Douglas Sirk’s oeuvre with Carol, adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s groundbreaking novel (one of the first to address lesbian concerns) and starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Could coalesce Highsmith’s dramatic prose with Haynes lavish style to create one of next year’s most visually alluring experiences. Patrick Gamble

The Grand Budapest Hotel (dir. Wes Anderson)
Ralph Fiennes looks as though he is having a whale of a time in the screwy trailer for Wes Anderson’s latest deadpan comedy. Here’s hoping it can match the emotional punch of 2012’s Moonrise Kingdom. A Berlinale world premiere awaits in February – and so will we. Ben Nicholson

Godzilla (dir. Gareth Edwards)
The attachment of technically innovative British filmmaker Gareth Edwards (Monsters) as director of Legendary Pictures’ long-mooted Godzilla reboot was met with a healthy level of optimism when announced. Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen and French arthouse queen Juliette Binoche join Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn and Aaron-Taylor Johnson for the king of the kaiju’s return. DG

Hard to Be a God (dir. Aleksei German)
German’s 15-years-in-the-making Hard to Be a God will finally be released posthumously after the famed Russian director passed away earlier this year. Described by the director as “cinema reinvented”, the film’s loose yet complex narrative sees a group of scientists sent to a planet to help the locals progress past their own medieval phase. PG

Inherent Vice (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)
PTA’s follow-up to The Master is an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s eponymous novel, with Joaquin Phoenix starring again. A noir-esque 1970s detective story, the film’s title points to another examination of flawed masculinity and looks to combine Anderson’s raw and unflinching examination of the male psyche with the dense and calculated prose of Pynchon’s seedy counterculture novel. PG

Interstellar (dir. Christopher Nolan)
Written by brother Jonathan and based on a mindbending hypothesis belonging to American theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, another intelligent yet commercially lucrative blockbuster from Christopher Nolan would certainly appear to be on the cards. Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway and Casey Affleck are set to star. DG

Leviafan (dir. Andrei Zvyagintsev)
Zvyagintsev’s latest is purportedly based on the Old Testament story about the film’s eponymous mythical sea monster – with religious iconography a staple of his meditative work. Following The Return, The Banishment and 2012’s Elena, Zvyaginstev’s contemplative approach means this could be one of 2014’s most profoundly affecting releases. PG

The Lobster (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos)
From the curious mind of the Greek provocateur and starring our own Ben Whishaw and Olivia Colman, The Lobster is a futuristic romantic drama of-sorts that sees a group of lonesome singles forced into finding a companion or face the peculiar consequence of being turned into an animals and let loose into the woods. PG

Noah (dir. Darren Aronofsky)
After abortive attempts to apply his vision to beloved cult and/or comic book characters over the past few years, Aronofsky finally turns his attention to an iconic character in the form of Russell Crowe’s biblical flood survivor. BN

Snowpiercer (dir. Bong Joon-ho)
Genre-bending South Korean auteur Bong Joon-ho is currently locked in a disagreement with The Weinstein Company (who else?) regarding final edit, but hopefully Europe can see the original cut of this sci-fi epic next year. An uncut Berlinale appearance has been talked about by the director. BN

Under the Skin (dir. Jonathan Glazer)
Having been lauded at various festivals during 2013, Glazer’s Under the Skin arrives in cinemas in 2014. A poetic science fiction exploration as Scotland as an alien environ, it stars Scarlett Johansson as a visitor from another world. Read our five-star London Film Festival rave here. BN

What is your most anticipated film of 2014? Please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions in the box below, and a Happy New Year from all of us at CineVue.

Daniel Green