10 best films slated for release in 2014

2014-01-05 14:00

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Gayle Edmunds picks the 20 of 500 hours of movie-watching she thinks she’s going to enjoy the most this year

1 iNumber Number

iNumber Number

Director Donovan Marsh, who brought John van der Ruit’s Spud to the big screen, has been having much success overseas with iNumber Number, his crime thriller filmed on location in Soweto and Hartbeespoort.

It has met with so much success that the remake rights were snapped up by the North Americans after its debut at the Toronto Film Festival in September.

Sadly, the remake will not star the South African cast, which includes Presley Chweneyagae and S’dumo Mtshali, or be directed by Marsh. The script will be also reworked by another writer.

The South African version will hit local screens in March.

2 Maleficent


We’ve heard from the princesses, now it’s time to get the story from the dark side. I can’t wait for this live-action creation that imagines the back story of Maleficent – the scary fairy from Sleeping Beauty. Who better to fill her devilishly good-looking curves than Angelina Jolie? Sharlto Copley, the South African actor who went to Hollywood on a District 9 ticket, also co-stars; as does Elle Fanning as Aurora. It opens in June.

3 Saving Mr Banks

Saving Mr Banks

I love Mary Poppins, so it’s a no-brainer that I have my popcorn ready for this January release. Emma Thompson is PL Travers, the creator of the world’s most magical nanny and Tom Hanks is the great Walt Disney.

The film is about the adaptation of the book into the timeless movie in which laughing too much makes you float up into the air and you can dive into art scenes drawn on the street. What’s not to love about this?

4 The Lego Movie

The Lego Movie

The guys who make Lego are so sure that kids (and their parents) are going to love this stuff that they didn’t bother to give it a name.

A regular Lego guy is accidentally recruited into an elite force (including Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern) to save the universe from being glued together.

It boasts a host of great voices, including those of Morgan Freeman and Liam Neeson. This film opens in March and will no doubt reignite little fingers’ love

of building.

5 Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Jack Ryan

It’s been 20 years since the last Jack Ryan film, Clear and Present Danger. Although this one isn’t based on an actual Tom Clancy novel, it’s hard to resist a film that tells the back story of the agent whom Harrison Ford first immortalised in Patriot Games.

Chris Pine tackles the role of a young Jack while Keira Knightley is Cathy, his wife who was played by Anne Archer in the 1990s films. I like a good secret agent thriller – that it’s Jack Ryan is a bonus. This film opens this month.

6 Noah

With Darren Aronofsky in the director’s chair, I am guessing that this isn’t quite what the Bible says. Aronofsky’s last film was Black Swan. Before that, he made The Wrestler and he directed the magnificently bleak Requiem for a Dream.

The best part  for me is that Russell Crowe is building the ark as he takes the lead as Noah – that’s after finishing up two historic parts last year as Jor-El in Man of Steel and as Javert in Les Misérables.

This star-packed production also features Anthony Hopkins, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson and Jennifer Connelly. It opens in March.

7 Into the Woods

Into the Woods

This hit Broadway musical gets the on-screen Disney treatment with Meryl Streep as the witch dishing out lessons to the Grimm brothers’ creations.

It’s long past due for fairy tales to get a good twist (it is becoming a big trend in Hollywood) and it is nice to see the women – so often cast as damsels in distress or out-and-out baddies – getting their word in.

This film has a cast worthy of Streep – Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick, Johnny Depp and Tracey Ullman. It’s a bit of a wait, though, as it’s only set to be released next Christmas.

8 Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow

After Oblivion, easily the best sci-fi film of 2013, it is with glee that I await Tom Cruise’s 2014 sci-fi outing with the in vogue Emily Blunt.

Edge of Tomorrow is kind of like Groundhog Day in an apocalyptic future. Cruise is a soldier who must eternally refight his last day in a war with aliens. It sounds like a bit of a curse, but on the positive side he gets better every day before dying and starting again.

The release date is yet to be announced.

9 Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy

Let’s hope director and writer James Gunn can shoot the lights out with this one as promised. This is the latest from the Marvel Universe and it is about a jet fighter who is stranded in space and must gather a disparate group of aliens to fight a greater enemy.

There’s not much new in the premise, it sounds an awful lot like The Avengers in space; but the makers should make up for this with whiz-bang special effects in the Milky Way.

The star of this out- of-this-world adventure is Vin Diesel, who is used to dealing with nasty aliens (Riddick). Zoe Saldana, another space cadet (Star Trek), joins him, as do Bradley Cooper and Glenn Close. This film opens in August.

10 The Book Thief

The Book Thief

This film adaptation of Markus Zusak’s award-winning book looks very promising. It was on the New York Times bestseller list for 230 weeks in 2005 and is narrated by Death as he tells the story of an orphaned Jewish girl in Nazi Germany (a place Death notes where he was very busy indeed).

The film stars Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson, with award-winning English actor Roger Allam landing the plum role of Death’s voice. The film opens this month.

»?Follow me on Twitter @GayleMahala

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