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The 100 Movies You Should See In 2014
Empire's preview of the year to come

There's a lot of chatter about the gigantic year that is 2015, but don't put yourself into suspended animation just yet. 2014 may not come wreathed in gigantic sequels (although it has a few) or boasting the return of a world-conquering space opera (although it may launch its own), but it has a wealth of original properties, exciting action and - hopefully - hilarious comedy. We profile the 100 best-looking prospects of the year for your edification.


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Release date: January 1
Director: Christopher Landon
Cast: Andrew Jacobs, Richard Cabral, Carlos Pratts, Gabrielle Walsh, Molly Ephraim

Plot: A woman dies in what appears to be a black magic ritual. Her upstairs neighbours head down to investigate, and one, Jesse (Jacobs) soon discovers an inhuman bite on his arm as strange forces begin to surround him. This probably isn't good news for anyone nearby.

Looks like: It should be another scary entry for the found footage franchise, even though it's a spin-off from the main series, so avoid if you're of a nervous disposition – especially the bit shown in the trailer involving things coming out of eyeballs. The latest entry in that, Paranormal Activity 5, is also out next year, on October 24.




Release date: January 3
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Cast: Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, Mary Steenbergen

Plot: As perennial bachelor Billy (Douglas) decides to marry a woman 30 years his junior, his old friends Paddy (De Niro), Archie (Freeman) and Sam (Kline) head to Sin City to see him off in style. But Archie's health is a worry, Paddy's nursing old grudges and Sam has a condom that he's determined to use...

Looks like: The plot may be as predictable as your grandad's taste in slippers, but it's obvious that there's chemistry between the quartet, who are all capable of doing this sort of breezy comedy in their sleep (maybe they did; they are getting on a bit). There should be some laughs too, mostly at the expense of the stars' advanced age.




Release date: January 3
Director: Justin Chadwick
Cast: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Tony Kgoroge, Riaad Moosa, Zolani Mkiva

Plot: An adaptation of the late, great Nelson Mandela's autobiography, Long Walk To Freedom, this tells his life story from his days as a boy in the countryside to his election as President following the long struggle to end apartheid. Elba plays Mandela with Harris as his second wife, Winnie.

Looks like: It's a lot of history to get through in a relatively short running time, but with Elba and Harris both turning in great performances this serves as a good introduction for those who would like to know more about the leader following his recent passing.



Release date: January 10
Director: Ken Scott
Cast: Vince Vaughn, Chris Pratt, Cobie Smulders, Jack Reynor

Plot: A wastrel, David (Vaughn), discovers that 533 children fathered from his donated sperm are suing to discover his identity. He fights the action, while fending off thugs trying to collect a debt from him, as he deals with his lawyer Brett (Pratt) and pregnant girlfriend Emma (Smulders).

Looks like: Ken Scott's remaking his own French-Canadian hit here, which was little-seen in these parts but highly regarded at home. The character would seem like a good fit for Vaughn's speciality in man-children, and crucially doesn't treat arrested development as a loveable trait, so this should be a return to form for the actor – and Pratt's always good value for money.




Release date: January 1
Director: Jonathan Teplitzky
Cast: Colin Firth, Jeremy Irvine, Nicole Kidman, Hiroyuki Sanada, Stellan Skarsgard

Plot: 1980, and railway enthusiast Eric Lomax (Colin Firth) meets, loves and weds Patty (Nicole Kidman). But he is still suffering trauma from his experiences as a young man (Jeremy Irvine), taken prisoner by the Japanese during World War II, and Patty encourages him to confront the past once more, which brings him into contact with the man responsible for his captivity (Sanada).

Looks like: A thoroughly classy literary adaptation that has Firth, Kidman and Irvine all on good form, with the latter in particular justifying all that War Horse hype. Fans of Bridge On The River Kwai might appreciate this as a companion piece of sorts.




Release date: January 17
Director: John Wells
Cast: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ewan McGregor, Sam Shepard, Dermot Mulroney, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Misty Upham

Plot: After patriarch Beverly (Shepard) goes missing, his wife Violet (Streep) and daughters (Roberts, Lewis, Julianne Nicholson) gather at the family home where drama ensues. It's all based on Tracy Letts' Pulitzer Prize-winning play, and adapted by the author himself.

Looks like: Check out that cast list – phwoar! We are contractually obliged to suggest that we hear the siren call of Oscars any time that Meryl Streep takes any job (even if she's a witch in Into The Woods) but that goes double when the film comes from such a respectably literary source and is loaded with supporting players this accomplished.




Release date: January 17
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Kyle Chandler, Jean Dujardin

Plot: Based on the memoirs of Jordan Belfont (DiCaprio), this is the story of a Wall Street criminal's meteoric rise and eventual fall. Expect yachts, champagne, dwarf tossing and all manner of bad behaviour as the FBI closes in, intent on shutting down the party.

Looks like: A blast! Scorsese seems to be emphasising the absurd in this tale, so those expecting GoodFellas with derivatives are likely to be disappointed. Those hoping to see Matthew McConaughey in an eye-catchingly eccentric supporting role or Kyle Chandler in a Fed suit trying to catch a flamboyant, hard-living DiCaprio, however, should be happy.



Release date: January 24
Director: Steve McQueen
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita N'yongo, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sarah Paulson, Paul Dano, Alfre Woodard, Garret Dillahunt, Brad Pitt

Plot: 1841, and musician Solomon Northup (Ejiofor) is abducted while working in Washington DC and sold as a slave. For 12 years he is forced to labour in the antebellum South, all the while hoping to escape home to his family, under the control of slave owners who range from relatively benign (Cumberbatch) to dangerously unpredictable (Fassbender).

Looks like: A must-see. The scale is wider than McQueen's last two films, Hunger and Shame, but his focus is still on both the best and worst in human nature. Ejiofor is stunning in the lead, imbuing Northup with righteous outrage and desperate stoicism, and the director's regular star, Fassbender, is electrifyingly scary as a slave owner.




Release date: January 24
Director: Peter Segal
Cast: Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Kim Bassinger, Alan Arkin, Kevin Hart, Jon Beranthal

Plot: Pittsburgh boxers Billy "The Kid" McDonnen (De Niro) and Henry "Razor" Sharp (Stallone) were all set to fight for the title when Razor retired the night before their big bout. 30 years later, with The Kid still trading on his fame and Razor back in the blue-collar world, they get a chance to settle the grudge at last.

Looks like: The pitch is a rather excitable "Raging Bull vs. Rocky!" which has considerable appeal, but given that the film is a comedy the tone won't match either of those giants of the genre. Still, we imagine there will be nostalgia value for fans of both, and boxing films are generally at least watchable.




Release date: January 24
Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Justin Timberlake, F. Murray Abraham

Plot: Folk singer Llewyn Davis (Isaacs) is effectively homeless, penniless and struggling to get by in 1960s New York. His own worst enemy, he crashes with friends like Jean (Mulligan) and Jim (Timberlake) and travels to Chicago for an audition with jazz musician Roland Turner (Goodman).

Looks like: Opinion is divided – as with most Coen films – as to whether this is utter genius or not quite as good as their most genius. Either way, everyone agrees that it has a haunting soundtrack and a riveting performance from Isaac, so even if you'd rather stick a fork in your eye than listen to folk generally, we recommend it.

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Your Comments

1 RE: RE:
Posted on Thursday January 23, 2014, 09:25 by waltham1979
L: artaylor It says 5 for Herzog and Kinski. Scorsese and De Niro: Mean Streets, Taxi Driver; New York, New York; Raging Bull, King of Comedy, Goodfellas, Cape Fear, Casino. 8 total. Looks like you are the one who is the shoddy researcher. t says notable parings; not every film they have done together. Looks like you are the one who cannot read. Read More

2 RE:
Posted on Wednesday January 22, 2014, 22:29 by artaylor
It says 5 for Herzog and Kinski. Scorsese and De Niro: Mean Streets, Taxi Driver; New York, New York; Raging Bull, King of Comedy, Goodfellas, Cape Fear, Casino. 8 total. Looks like you are the one who is the shoddy researcher. Read More

3 RE:
Posted on Wednesday January 22, 2014, 14:40 by waltham1979
L: Anthony Lynch Adam McKay and Will Ferrell have done way more than 3 movies. FIX THIS NOW. t says notable parings; not every film they have done together. FIXED. Read More

4 RE:
Posted on Sunday January 12, 2014, 17:23 by Tremendous_Ed
John Duigan has promised a third part to Year My Voice Broke trilogy that also included Flirting this year. Although it has been joked the Red Dog was actually the 3rd one. Read More

5 RE: Midnight Special!
Posted on Thursday January 9, 2014, 00:28 by Cat Lady
The 2014 Movie I am looking forward to the most is The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. Read More

6 RE: Anyone got any ketchup ?
Posted on Monday January 6, 2014, 13:56 by Timon
No Man From UNCLE? Read More

7 RE:
Posted on Sunday December 29, 2013, 20:41 by Helen OHara
L: Darren47 There is going to be a Maze Runner Movie?? Didn't know that, And I feel you're missing a movie here, Disney's animation Big Hero 6. ig Hero 6 is now slated for release in the UK in 2015, so I'm afraid we have to wait a little longer for that. However, there are also movies we couldn't find room for or which currently seem like they might drop to the following year. Read More

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