It looks like 2014 could be a good year for the big screen. A bout of Biblical epics and dramas dominate the release schedule with a new Tom Cruise film of course, writes Joe Gill
Perhaps the most interesting is Darren Aronofsky’s version of the Noah story, starring Russell Crowe as the man who builds the Ark to save man and beast from the Great Flood. From the director of The Fountain and Black Swan, it promises to be a dark and intensely wrought epic.
Christopher Nolan takes a break from Batman for Interstellar, which sees a group of space explorers including Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway slipping through a wormhole into another universe.
Edge of Tomorrow
After the so-so Oblivion, Tom Cruise is back and opposite Emily Blunt in another sci-fi epic, Edge of Tomorrow, in which the life – and repeated deaths – of a super soldier mimics an endlessly looping computer game. Talking of big stars, in Transcendence, Johnny Depp takes off the pirate hat to play a terminally ill scientist who downloads his body into a computer, granting him incredible powers.
Joaquim Phoenix stars in Spike Jonze’s intriguing tech romance Her, in which a shy copywriter falls in love with his emotionally intelligent operating system. Well, of course he does – it’s voiced by the lovely Scarlett Johansson. She is also the star of Jonathan Glazer’s near wordless Under the Skin, which wowed the film festival circuit, playing a predatorial alien who scours remote highways looking for lonely victims to fall for her icy charms.
The original gothic horror gets a reboot in I, Frankenstein, with Aaron Eckhart starring as the patchwork monster who comes back after 200 years to save the humans from a race of demons led by Bill Nighy. On the subject of monsters, Godzilla is back causing mayhem again as Hollywood gives the Japanese lizard another crack after the disappointing 1998 effort. A quality cast and retro-vibe trailer promise good things.
While the third in the Hunger Games series is due for release, competing for the teen audience is Divergent, another young adult adaptation set in a future dystopia riven by factions based on personality types. Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) has to undergo a highly competitive initiation to join a new clique, while holding onto a dangerous secret. Familiar?
Andy and Lana Wachowski follow up Cloud Atlas with a new self-penned fantasy, in which a Ukrainian migrant to the US played by Mila Kunis is targeted by off-planet humans for being an exact genetic match for the Queen of the Universe. Channing Tatum plays her alien saviour. It sounds and looks awesome.
In a more mainstream vein, Twilight’s Kellan Lutz is cast as the Greek demigod in The Legend of Hercules, with an awful lot of muscle on display underneath his almost cherub-like face. He’s up against Dwayne Johnson, a natural for the part, in Hercules: The Thracian Wars, who badly needs to stomp the competition after a couple of flops in 2013.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
These days, three years is quite a long wait for a sequel. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes follows the 2011 debut of the movie reboot, which had its original controversial outing back in 1968. Andy Serkis returns as the intelligent simian Caesar leading the apes after a lethal virus has decimated humankind.