2013 is going to down as one of the greatest years in film history for America. At a time, where the era is being heralded as a golden one for TV, it seemed like the movies last year said "Hold on, we can be gold too". It is always hard to live up to such colossal promise, but 2014 holds some incredible promise; here is a list of 14 movies to look forward to in the coming months. Book your tickets and hold on to that popcorn.
The story: Very little is known about master director Christopher Nolan's sci-fi epic. Some theories suggest it is about a bunch of space travelers who travel through wormholes.
The maker: This is Nolan's follow-up film post The Dark Knight Rises, which is already a modern classic. This is the guy that gave you Memento, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception and The Prestige. Enough said.
The cast: As a Nolan trademark, this movie features an ensemble cast. Flavour of the season Matthew McConaughey headlines the cast co-starring with talent like Michael Caine, Ellen Burstyn, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain. The teaser launched last year, which contains a voice over along with retro space footage created waves.
The USP – Nolan is unarguably the best contemporary filmmaker in the world. Matthew McConaughey is embarking on an incredible career path – just to see the two of them collaborate is reason enough for you watch it, apart from the fact that it's Nolan's take on theoretical physicist Kip Thorne's theories on time travel.
The story: Gone Girl is about the mysterious disappearance of a woman, on the day of her wedding anniversary. It is a psychological thriller about how the husband goes about looking for his missing wife, wherein he is the prime suspect. On the face of it this movie is a thriller. In essence it really is about a broken marriage.
The maker: I refrain from watching movies, if I have read the book prior to the movie releasing. I made an exception in 2012, when I went ahead and watched The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Reason being, the director David Fincher. He is a magician with adapting literature to screen. Look what he did with Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club, or Fitzgerald's The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, or The Social Network (adapted from Ben Mezrich's The Accidental Billionaires).
The cast: Ben Affleck headlines the cast as the husband in search of his missing wife. Bond Girl Rosamund Pike plays the wife, and Neil Patrick Harris.
The USP: They say, the only inevitable occurrences in a filmmaker's career is a bad film and/or a flop film. David Fincher in a career spanning two decades has made neither. He is the only one I can think of in that category. Gone Girl, apart from being the best book one has read in over a year, is also a best selling novel remaining at the top of lists for months. What if your wife disappears mysteriously off the face of this earth on your anniversary, and you are the prime suspect? What happens then? Watch to know.
The story: It is a comedy about an actor, who is famous for portraying an iconic super hero and is struggling to mount a Broadway play, as he navigates himself on a crazy recovery course with love, family, career, friends and finally himself.
The maker; Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu returns to direction after the gritty underworld drama Biutiful (2010). His filmography includes absolutely brilliant movies, namely – Babel, 21 Grams and the highly acclaimed Amores Perros.
The cast: Michael Keaton headlines the cast playing the title role. It will be exciting to see him play a character that once played a legendary superhero in the film. Remember the first Batman series? Yes. Keaton played Batman. The rest of the cast includes – Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis and Naomi Watts.
The USP: Superhero movies come every year. Lots of them. They all do well (mostly) and we all love them (mostly). How can you make a super hero movie differently? Birdman is the answer. While it is not a traditional super hero movie, it will be great to see a fading actor try and reclaim lost glory through the super hero he once was. I always believe that nothing gives an audience more pleasure than see an underdog win. Because at the end of the day we are all underdogs in the aisles, wanting to be superheroes. Also the filmmaker par excellence Inarritu, tries his hand at a lighter genre for the first time. Can't wait to watch what he has in store.
The story: It tells the story of a divorced couple, trying to raise their young son and his relationship with them as he grows.
The maker: Richard Linklater. His credits include the cult Before Sunrise trilogy, School Of Rock and A Scanner Darkly amongst others.
The cast: Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette & Ellar Coltrane – who is the real hero of the movie. This is a movie that chronicles his reel life from the time he was 6 till the time he turns 18.
The USP: This movie has been made over a period 12 years. Intentionally. Yes. You read that right. Director Richard Linklater started filming in 2002 and finished shooting in 2013, because he wanted to chronicle the child actor's growing up years. To me this is the single most exciting film experiment in recent history. Imagine a scene in the movie that says "2002" and then you realize – this WAS shot in 2002.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The Story: Well admit it, if you grew up in India in the 90's, and you spoke about Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello, clearly the renaissance was hardly the topic of discussion. Yes the Ninja Turtles finally get their own movie.
The Maker: Jonathan Liebesman (Wrath Of The Titans, Battle LA) directs while box office magnet Michael Bay serves as producer.
The Cast: Well it's got Megan Fox playing fearless journalist and a permanent ally of The Turtles - April O'Neil, and before I go further - well it's got Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, Splinter and Shredder, nothing else matters.
The USP: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a huge brand. Unfortunately it never got the movie it deserved until now. TMNT are in my opinion among the most loved fictional characters of all time. This movie will give you a nostalgic trip, also this is the first episode in a part of the franchise they intend to build.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
The story: The final book in The Hunger Games trilogy, is going the Harry Potter way. It will be split into two parts, one releasing this year and its final installment next year.
The maker: Francis Lawrence, the same guy who directed Hunger Games: Catching Fire returns to helm the adaptation of the last book.
The cast: Heartthrobs Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson reprise their roles from the previous installments. The rest of the cast includes Woody Harrelson, Liam Hemsworth, Julliane Moore, Stanley Tucci and yes – Philip Seymour Hoffman.
The USP: The Hunger Games franchise has proved to be groundbreaking in more ways than one. Apart from its gigantic box office success, it has proven that female superhero movies done well can outdo their male counterparts. This was also the last movie talented actor Philip Seymour Hoffman shot for before his tragic death a few months ago. If for nothing else, it must be watched to see this fantastic actor one last time on the big screen.
The story: This is a multi million dollar extravaganza account of Moses's hand in leading the Israelite slaves out of Egypt.
The maker: Master director and living legend Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Alien, Blade Runner) finally gets his dream project about Moses leading the Israelites to the Promised Land, on the ground and ready for release.
The cast: Christian Bale goes from playing Batman to playing Moses. If that is not reason enough, this one even stars Aaron Paul (Jesse from Breaking Bad yo!) as Joshua, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley, Joel Edgerton and John Turturro.
The USP: Looking at the numbers for the opening weekend the recently released Noah has raked, at the American box office as well as Indian cinema halls - it seems to me that Bible stories may just be the flavor of the season. Also I believe in the old masters. Ridley Scott is a master storyteller, they simply don't make film makers like him anymore. This is a project that has been very close to his heart for a long time. It must be more than worth the effort.
Guardians Of The Galaxy
The story: Guardians Of The Galaxy is a superhero film based on the Marvel comic superhero team of the same name. It is about a mission led by an American pilot in the far reaches of space, along the way he has to form an uneasy truce by an unlikely bunch of misfits.
The makers: Marvel & Disney.
The cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel & Bradley Cooper. Yes you read that cast right.
The USP: Ever since the footage of this movie has been released in the form of trailers from the makers, audiences world over have been waiting for this one with baited breath. It emits a vibe of a ragtag sci-fi smash hit. I sense this one spawning a massive movie franchise with multiple sequels to follow. You want to be a part of it from the first movie itself. Trust me.
The Expendables 3
The story Stallone and his gang of mercenaries are back, and this time they're facing their most formidable foe yet.
The maker: Australian film director Patrick Hughes takes over the directorial reins of this badass action movie franchise that we all love so much. No other franchise is as much as fun as this one according to me. And like its predecessors this one is written by Sly too.
The cast: I told you how the mercenaries encounter their toughest foe yet in this installment. That foe is Mel Gibson. Apart from him Stallone has managed to rope in Harrison Ford to join the ever-expanding star cast that includes Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Wesley Snipes and Antonio Banderas among others.
The USP: Old school action, as a genre is dying. It now only appeals to the generation that grew up to it, from the 1970's since its inception to the 90's – when it peaked. This is one movie franchise that keeps the quintessential real men with guns and machismo flavour alive in the movies. And who doesn't like men over 60 still kicking ass in the way only genuine movie stars can.
Edge Of Tomorrow
The story: A man and a woman team up to fight a hostile alien race in the near future. This alien race has hit the earth in an unrelenting assault, unbeatable by any military force in the world.
The maker: Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr & Mrs Smith, Jumper) directs this summer blockbuster based on the cult Japanese light novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka.
The cast: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton and Jeremy 'Ari Gold' Piven.
The USP: Watch the trailer. You will realise how cool this movie looks. Gamers (especially young adults) across India will know what it means when I say – that it has a very strong Gears Of War vibe to it as well. Imagine you are stuck in a time warp, and can relive each bad decision, all over again to try and rectify it. Forget all the action, and the extravaganza, this movie gives you the vicarious pleasure of rectifying your regrets, or at least offers the hope.
The story: Chef is a comedy about a man who has failed while opening a restaurant. A chance encounter with his ex wife makes them go on a cross-country road trip to reclaim his lost success.
The maker: Jon Favreau (still better known as Monica's software magnet boyfriend from Friends) returns to direct a comedy that does not have superheroes or anything-extra terrestrial. After directing the box office busting Ironman trilogy he is choosing to tell this story. There must be something special in it.
The cast: Robert Downey Jr, Dustin Hoffman, Scarlett Johansson, Sofia Vergara & Favreau himself.
The USP: This is a good old-fashioned underdog, slice-of- life comedy. In a year that is packed with action heroes, and larger than life period pieces, comes a contemporary romantic road trip comedy. And with a cast like that, you GTG first day first show.
Magic In The Moonlight
The story: Nobody knows anything about this movie except that it is a comedy about an Englishman set in the 1920's on the French Riviera. Blame Woody Allen's extremely strict policy on not revealing anything about his movies till they are ready to be marketed.
The maker: Woody Allen has directed 49 movies in a career spanning 48 years. He has released a movie every year since four decades now. Why should this year be any different?
The cast: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Jacki Weaver
The USP: Do you need convincing to watch a Woody Allen movie? Especially when it is set in the 20's, I can't wait to see how Colin Firth fits into a movie written and directed by Woody Allen. Oscar bait. Confirmed. I am telling you this now. Remember me when the Oscar nominees come out a year down the line.
The story: Fury is an action-drama war film set in the last months of the Second World War. It is about a final heroic mission to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.
The maker: David Ayer directs this five men behind enemy lines mission. The same guy who wrote Training Day, The Fast & The Furious and directed End Of Watch and Sabotage.
The cast: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf and Jason Isaacs among others.
The USP: World War 2 has spawned thousands of stories over the years. If this story has compelled Brad Pitt and Shia enough to star in it, there must be reason enough for us to watch it. Also the most interesting plot line is what the makers have kept under wraps. This one is supposedly based on the last mission that ever took place to thwart the Nazis. I think there's more than it meets the eye to this one.
The story: Fading Gigolo has been hailed by critics world over (since its screening at the Toronto International Film Festival) as vulgar and ludicrous, but even its harshest critics have accepted that it is extremely funny and entertaining, especially because of the magnetic chemistry its leads share. It's essentially about a man who decides to become a professional "Don Juan" to help his cash strapped friend, and the crazy trials and tribulations they face along the way.
The maker: Highly talented actor-director John Turturro helms this crazy comedy.
The cast: Woody Allen. Yes Allen very rarely has starred in movies outside of his own direction and writing. It also stars John Turtorro, Sofia Vergara, Sharon Stone and Liev Schreiber.
The USP: This is probably going to be the last time we get to see Woody Allen on the big screen. Don't watch it once. Watch it more times than that for that simple reason.