Films to watch out for in 2014

Keep your eyes peeled for Gia's directorial debut, Cronenberg's Hollywood caper and Linklater's return to rule the roost

Jessica Alba
Jessica Alba in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For Courtesy of Lionsgate UK

Off the back of Cannes, 2014 is shaping up to be a tentpole year for great films. Gia Coppola is following the well-trodden footsteps of her family dynasty in her directorial debut, Richard Linklater brings his epic 12-years-in-the-making drama to the big screen, and Christopher Nolan's latest cerebral ship launches into space. So which flicks should you shell out for? Here's a short list of films we just can't wait for.

PALO ALTO – GIA COPPOLA

Sofia's niece and Francis Ford's granddaughter Gia Coppola is adding a branch to the family tree with her directorial debut about suburban disillusion. The new-gen filmmaker adapts James Franco's short stories, Palo Alto, which follow a floozy football coach (played by Franco) and his iffy relationship with his star player, April (Emma Roberts). If you grew up anywhere near North America, chances are you'll see your mistakes echoed in at least one of these eccentric high schoolers. There is stoner Bobby, who is trying to pick up the pieces of his life, and his asshole friend, Fred, who acts out to hide the fact that he's got a deadbeat dad. Soundtracked by Blood Orange, this languid suburban tale is everything we love about the US of A.

In UK cinemas 3 October 2014

BOYHOOD – RICHARD LINKLATER

This film is the double take of the decade – literally. Watch this and be blown away as Mason (Ellar Coltrane) grows up in front of your eyes. Filmed over a period of one week (give or take) for twelve consecutive years, this coming-of-age powerhouse is an early contender for an Oscar. Every cultural touchstone fissures its way into the film, verging on pop cultural documentary. So when it opens with Samantha (Linklater's daughter) belting out "…Baby One More Time", buckle up for the ride of your life.

In UK cinemas 11 July 2014

FOXCATCHER – BENNETT MILLER

Is that… Michael Scott? With a prosthetic nose? With his facial frontage and Bill Clinton whisper, Steve Carrell shines as Mark Schlutz's (played by Channing Tatum) wrestling coach. Tatum continues his own 'McConnaissance', trading in rom-com tripe for box office benevolence. This one is no different: Bennett Miller's Foxcatcher debuted at Cannes to a choir singing its praise. The grisly true story of a toxic wrestling mentor and a pair of Olympic wrestling champs looks to be another Academy Awards hopeful. If you've ever sat behind a vocal sports mom at her child's match then you'll have only the faintest inkling of just how insane a coach can get.

FINDING VIVIAN MAIER – JOHN MALOOF & CHARLIE SISKEL

"I found this box loaded with negatives," says real estate agent John Maloof. "I won it for $380." At a local auction, Maloof stumbled upon the most unlikely of treasures: 700 rolls of undeveloped film from near-reclusive former nanny Vivian Maier. Maloof was only looking for some photos for a history book about his neighbourhood. Although she was merely a nanny by day, Maier found post-humous fame as a leader who helped to shape street photography, with more than 100,000 photographs. This haunting tale reveals her biggest secret, and one that she would not be happy had gotten out.

In UK cinemas 18 July 2014

JOE – DAVID GORDON GREEN

If you can only faintly remember the Nicolas Cage of yester-meme – the one whose presence on screen was once pungently felt in films like Raising Arizona and Leaving Las Vegas – then set your watches for his big return as a dramaturge playing Joe, an ex-con and role model for 15-year-old Gary (Tye Sheridan). David Gordon Green's captivating southern narrative is a wild hog ride through Cage's emotional spectrum. Sheridan also steals the screen as Gary, and when they slowly warm up to each other, the story really gets going. Wade a.k.a. G-Daawg (Gary Poulter) plays Gary's reckless, drunken father whose fists always manage to find their way to his 'disappointing' son. Poulter was cast off the street and sadly past away after the film wrapped, but it's simply one more reason to see this well-timed and ultra-thrilling Cage comeback.

In UK cinemas 25 July 2014

SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR – ROBERT RODRIGUEZ & FRANK MILLER

This highly-anticipated follow-up to 2005's Sin City, Frank Miller & Robert Rodriguez's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For has already been blasted for its attempt to join the #FreetheNipple movement. Eva Green, who stars in the film, came under fire when an 'unapproved' poster went viral featuring Green in a white gown. It was banned by the MPAA due to the "curve of under breast and dark nipple/areola circle visible through sheer gown". What did they expect? Have they seen The Dreamers? While we don't know much about it yet, one of the smaller plots of the film centres on short story "Just Another Saturday Night", which is collected in Booze, Broads & Bullets, the sixth book in the Sin City comic series. We've already got shivers…

In UK cinemas 25 August 2014

MAPS TO THE STARS – DAVID CRONENBERG

We all saw Julianne Moore booze it up gracefully in Tom Ford's A Single Man, but now we finally get to see her lose control as she gets plagued by the supernatural. As Havana Segrand, an actress living in the shadows of her legendary actress mother, Moore managed to snag the Best Actress award at this year's Cannes. Cronenberg's Hollywood commentary intends to be the most compelling meta-caper to tackle the air-headed industry and – in true Cronenberg fashion – gets away with it.

INTERSTELLAR – CHRISTOPHER NOLAN

Michael Caine! Matthew McConaughey! An exploited wormhole into interstellar space! Christopher Nolan continues his career as perhaps the most ambitious filmmaker with this apocalyptic-feeling space launcher of a film (in IMAX, no less). A group of explorers find their way into deep space, beyond the frontiers of human exploration, after discovering a wormhole. No surprise, then, that Inception collaborator Hans Zimmer is scoring the film. In the way of notes, Nolan apparently gave Zimmer "one page of text" that "had more to do with (Zimmer's) story than the plot of the movie".

In UK cinemas 7 November 2014

NIGHT MOVES – KELLY REICHARDT

It may have a slight resemblance to enviro-heist The East, but festival darling Kelly Reichardt's thriller Night Moves is all kinds of nail-biting. Josh (Jesse Eisenberg) and Dena (Dakota Fanning) plot the protest to end all protests by blowing up a hydroelectric dam. It's the dynamic between their characters and the doubt cast on Dena's commitment that make this worth a watch.

In UK cinemas 29 August 2014

TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT – JEAN-PIERRE DARDENNE, LUC DARDENNE

Coming out of Cannes near the top of the list is the Dardenne brothers's Two Days, One Night. Sandra (Marion Cotillard), who has been battling depression, has to campaign to keep her job. She only has two days, and it ain't all that easy: Sandra must convince her coworkers to give up their €1000 bonuses in order for her to continue working. It's an emotional ride that will have your sympathy metre in overdrive.

In UK cinemas 22 August 2014

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