Summer 2014’s most promising releases.
With convocation weekend upon Sackville, graduates are told to consider their undergraduate years, with all their ‘interdisciplinary’ forms of learning, as a checkpoint rather than a destination (I presume). Well, if indeed you are headed elsewhere after the harrowing task of saying something unique and original to Peter Mansbridge, I hope you land in a place with improved movie offerings—maybe even some of these. Here are a few summer releases full of promise (even when paltry budgets will prevent a lot of them from acquiring wide release status):
Boyhood, dir. Richard Linklater – July 11
What an interesting concept: Twelve years ago, Richard Linklater cast a six-year-old boy in the lead role of his very far upcoming Boyhood, which he continued to film for over a decade. Now, with the project finally concluded, one has only to hope for a wide release (though that’s unlikely, in this writer’s opinion). Linklater’s second film with Ethan Hawke in two years has already received overwhelming acclaim, and accolades to match. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and later played at the Berlin Film Festival, where it won Linklater the best director award. Critics have compared it to Linklater’s impressive Before trilogy—particularly the deep emotional impact captured in a documentary style.
Jupiter Ascending, dir. Lana and Andy Wachowski – July 18
Coming off of their extremely ambitious yet ultimately underrated Cloud Atlas (2012) are the Wachowski siblings, back with yet another large-scale sci-fi epic which, despite the questionable casting of Channing Tatum in the lead role, could be the first great summer blockbuster.
A Most Wanted Man, dir. Anton Corbijn – July 25
This is the first of four films to be released featuring a posthumous performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman (two of which will be entries in the Hunger Games saga). A Most Wanted Man, which is Dutch director Anton Corbijn’s third feature film and his second venture into the spy genre, adapts a recent John le Carré novel and promises a textured narrative, adrenaline-pumping thrills, and tragedy in le Carré’s finally discovering a perfect foil of an actor for his character in Hoffman.
99 Homes, dir. Ramin Bahrani
Ramin Bahrani, whom Roger Ebert called “the director of the decade,” hasn’t made a bad move—or movie, for that matter—in his career. He is an exciting new presence on the film circuit and his films gracefully handle their subjects, most of whom are immigrants, like Bahrani’s Iranian-born parents. 99 Homes will tell the story of a father (Andrew Garfield, pictured) whose family is evicted by a greedy real estate broker, and who then works for said broker to try to purchase back his home.
Aside from these releases, the fall will again be replete with ‘Oscar bait’ films, movies for which studios will launch campaigns to help secure awards and, in turn, larger audiences. Here are some to look out for:
The Search, directed by Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist).
Foxcatcher, directed by Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball).
Inherent Vice, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia, There Will Be Blood) and adapted from a Thomas Pynchon novel.
Gone Girl, directed by David Fincher (The Social Network, Fight Club).
Interstellar, directed by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Inception).
Knight of Cups, or another untitled Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life, The Thin Red Line, Days of Heaven) venture.
Originally published May 8, 2014.