Off the beaten path – Three films to watch for in 2014

18 April 2014MoviesOpinion

Each year I have a list of films that I am highly anticipating, some of them blockbusters that most have heard of by now and other smaller films that many will never see even after their release. I would like to introduce you to three films that you are less likely to have heard of and that top my list of most anticipated films of 2014.

Midnight Special

The 35 year old American writer/director Jeff Nichols’ latest effort is Midnight Special following the critical success of his 2013 release Mud and 2011’s Take Shelter, my favourite of his work to date. In Midnight Special he once again casts Michael Shannon in the lead role, who has starred in all of his films to date. The partnership was recognized by The Playlist as one of the great modern day Actor/Director collaborations, in the same breath as DiCaprio and Scorsese.

IMDB plot summary:

A father and son go on the run after the dad learns his child possesses special powers.

The film is currently in post-production and scheduled to be released later this year.

A Most Violent Year

For me one of the most interesting and captivating films of 2013 was J.C. Chandor’s All is Lost, a film sparse on dialogue and relying largely on a commanding performance by Robert Redford, impressive set pieces, and efficient technical features. This was a complete departure from his first feature film Margin Call, which landed him an Oscar nomination in 2012 for best Original Screenplay.

Chandor has written and directed his upcoming film A Most Violent Year starring Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, The Help) and Oscar Isaac, who delivered a critically acclaimed performance in the Coen Brother’s last film Inside Llewyn Davis.

Chandor receives technical support on the film by Bradford Young, the Director of Photography, who did some stunning work on the relatively unknown Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, which won him the Cinematography Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Ron Patane, also responsible for the recent critical successes The Place Beyond the Pines and Blue Valentine, is editing the film.

IMDB plot summary:

A thriller set in New York City during the winter of 1981, statistically one of the most violent years in the city’s history, and centered on a the lives of an immigrant and his family trying to expand their business and capitalize on opportunities as the rampant violence, decay, and corruption of the day drag them in and threaten to destroy all they have built.

The film is scheduled for a November 18, 2014 release date in Canada.

Kill The Messenger

Michael Cuesta is largely known for his work as a director and producer of several award winning TV series (Six Feet Under, Dexter, and Homeland) but 2014’s Kill the Messenger marks his first feature film since 2005. The film stars Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker). It is based on the true story of the late Journalist Gary Webb who wrote the 1998 book Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion. Sean Bobbitt, responsible for the gorgeous cinematography in this year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture, 12 Years a Slave, is the Director of Photography.

IMDB plot summary:

Based on the True story of Journalist Gary Webb. The film takes place in the mid 1990s, when Webb uncovered the CIA’s past role in importing huge amounts of cocaine into the U.S. that was aggressively sold in ghettos across the Country to raise money for the Nicaraguan Contras rebel army. Despite enormous pressure not to, Webb chose to pursue the story and went public with his evidence, publishing the series “Dark Alliance”. As a result he experienced a vicious smear campaign fueled by the CIA. At that point Webb found himself defending his integrity, his family, and his life.

The film is scheduled for an October 10, 2014 release date in the US.