January is over, people—which, for film buffs, means the good stuff (you know, releases you’d actually get out of your house and pay money to see) will soon start hitting theaters. The cinematic calendar for the next 11 months promises sex addicts, sexy vampires, sexy co-eds—not to mention the indies that made a splash earlier this month at Sundance and artfully concocted big-budget fare.
The Grand Budapest (March 7): Wes Anderson hops over to Europe for this color-popping chronicling of the adventures of a smooth-talking concierge (Ralph Fiennes), notorious for sleeping with elderly guests, and new lobby boy (Tony Revolori). The writer-director has explored oddball father-son dynamics excellently in the past (Rushmore, Bottle Rocket, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou), and his ambitious presentation of Budapest in three aspect ratios has us curiously excited.
Nymphomaniac (Volume I March 21; Volume II April 4): No topic is off limits for Lars von Trier. But the consistently—seemingly gleefully—controversial auteur, despite depicting sex at its, let’s say, most uncomfortable, has yet to come out with a film just about fucking. Until Nymphomaniac, his five-hour saga—split into two separately, erm, releases—about the travails of sex addict Joe (played by Charlotte Gainsbourg as an adult, newcomer Stacy Martin as a youngster). Oh, and just to up the crazy factor: Shia LeBeouf and Christian Slater are in this thing.
Only Lovers Left Alive (April 11): Laconic, ever-cool director Jim Jarmusch is probably the last person we’d expect to tackle the whole vampire phenom. And that’s a good thing. (By the way, is vamps’ pop-cultural moment over yet? And if not, can it be?Please?) Only Lovers Left Alive, starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as a hip, shades-wearing centuries-old couple, promises retro soundtrack picks, nudity, dry humor and desolate urban landscapes—in other words, pretty awesomely left-field ingredients for a vampire flick.
22 Jump Street (June 13): The boys are back, brah! Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill reconvene for more mismatched-cop antics, wherein the 21 duo graduates to go undercover at a college. Keg parties, frat dudes, spring breakers and sundry co-ed wildness should ensue. For our money, it’s pretty commendable that co-writer Hill, even after his Best Supporting Actor nom in The Wolf of Wall Street, is going full-on-goofball again.
Boyhood (July 11): Talk about a novel—if ridiculously time-consuming—approach: For this coming-of-age drama, Richard Linklater spent a whopping twelve years intermittently capturing actor Ellar Coltrane between ages six and 18 to concoct this coming-of-age flick about a boy settling into the world while dealing with divorced parents (Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette).
Gone Girl (October 3): Gillian Flynn’s New York Times bestseller—about a writer (in the film, played by Ben Affleck) coping with the suspicions surrounding of his wife’s (Rosamund Pike) disappearance—is right in director David Fincher’s gripping, dimly-lit wheelhouse. We’re not expecting another Zodiac or anything, but—assuming it’s granted an R rating—we’re optimistic, as the guy can whip up one helluva psychological thriller.
Intersteller (November 7): From the teaser, it’s tough to tell just what Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic is about. (Matthew McConaughey’s narration, mixed with the retro space program footage, has the stately feel of an ad for NASA.) But with this filmmaker at the helm, we’re pretty jazzed about this big-budget telling of a wormhole exploration.
The writers of Ed Wood, to us Tim Burton’s last bona fide masterpiece (and last biopic, for that matter), team up again with the director for this true tale of coupled artists Margaret and Walter Keane (Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz), the latter a popular “painter” in the ’50s and ’60s who took credit for his wife’s creations. Burton is an avid collector of her work (famous for their “big-eyed” depictions), so this has all the signs of a personal passion project from a filmmaker who could desperately use one.
Birdman (TBD): Keaton. The dude’s one-two punch in Beetlejuice and Batman give him a lifetime pass in the acting department, as far as we’re concerned. And we’re absolutely smitten with the meta premise of the latest from Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel, Amores Perros), in which the not-so-hot actor who used to be a big-screen superhero plays … a not-so-hot actor who used to be a big-screen superhero attempting a Broadway comeback.
Inherent Vice (TBD): Is there a working American director as consistently impressive P.T. Anderson? (Seriously, as people who are still contemplating the meaning of The Master, we’re asking. The guy makes movies that feel classic the first time you see them.) Whatever the case, Anderson’s highly anticipated latest—an adaptation of the literary heavyweight Thomas Pynchon’s early-’70s-set, druggy L.A. detective novel—has all the hallmarks of this year’s most promising film. Can’t. Wait.
The One I Love (TBD): Man, is indie-film fave Mark Duplass a busy guy or what? (At last count, the actor-producer-writer has his hand in more than half a dozen projects coming out this year.) In Charlie McDowell’s directorial debut, he and Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss star as a married couple who, at the insistence of a therapist (Ted Danson), escape to the country. Reportedly, some weird, we-won’t-say-anything-’cause-it-will-spoil-the-movie twist goes down, turning the dramedy on its head.
The Skeleton Twins (TBD): Why journalists are always surprised when really funny folks make really great dramatic actors, we’ll never know. According to the backflips scribes had at Sundance, it looks like Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader—arguably SNL’s best recently departed cast members—do just that in this indie about estranged twins, co-penned by Mark Heyman (Black Swan).
The Trip to Italy (TBD): Hell yes. The only frustrating thing about Michael Winterbottom’s The Trip, the largely improvised road movie about Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon touring haute northern U.K. eateries, is that we could’ve gone for a second course. And here it is, a sequel where the beloved British comedians take to the Boot for more tastings, squabbles and Michael Caine impressions. As with the first one, expect some oddly touching notes about maturity to seep in between the banter.
Two Days, One Night (TBD): Cannes Film Festival darlings the Dardenne Brothers are some of the best deceptively simple storytellers out there. (For evidence, check out their moving, seemingly straightforward features The Kid with a Bike and The Child.) The jury’s out on just what this newbie will cover—but with the always-fetching Marion Cotillard in the lead role, we’re there.