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by Eric Kohn, Andrew O'Hehir and John Powers
January 11, 2014 1:05 PM
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Critics Debate the Highs and Lows of 2013 -- And What to Expect in 2014

OK, so we’ve analyzed 2013 to bits. Now riddle me this: What are you looking forward to seeing in 2014? Critics may not have crystal balls -- though many like to pretend they do -- but even if you can't single out one movie you're anticipating more than any other, are there trends, filmmakers or mentalities that you hope to see reflected in the movies this year?

JP: I'm not sure that I can spot any new trends on the horizon, but here's what I'm looking forward to seeing.  At the top of the list is "Snowpiercer” by Bong Joon-ho, who is my favorite director to have emerged in this millennium -- he's made the best crime movie, “Memories of a Murder" (which recalls but surpasses “Zodiac”), the best monster movie, "The Host," and the best critique of Korean sentimentality toward motherhood in "Mother."  I'm just dying to see "Snowpiercer" -- and yes, I'm talking to you, Harvey Weinstein. Please release it. 

"The Grand Budapest Hotel"

I'm almost as stoked about Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of Pynchon's “Inherent Vice,” which seems ripe for greatness -- Anderson working in a loose mood on his native turf of LA, and doing it with an enjoyable minor novel that there's no need to feel reverent about. Along with Spike Jonze, PTA is the good American director who does the most unpredictable work. Speaking of which, I would say I'm looking forward to seeing "The Grand Budapest Hotel," but because I work long-lead, I've already seen it and producer Scott Rudin made me sign a release saying that if I talked about it in advance, I agreed to having my family killed, our ancestral home burned, and the soil beneath it covered with salt. So heck, let's play it safe:  I'm really looking forward to the new Wes Anderson. 

I'm kind of revved up, too, by the two big, possibly wacky Biblical adaptations, Darren Aronofsky's "Noah" and Ridley Scott's "Exodus" with their respective laugh-a-minute stars, Russell Crowe and Christian Bale.  And to finish, if you're not looking forward to "Nymphomaniac," there's just no hope for you.

AO: I think that's an awesome list of 2014 possibilities, although I hold out zero hope for anything Ridley Scott touches these days -- did you actually sit through "The Counselor," John? -- and my money is on Aronofsky's "Noah" joining the soggy pantheon of "Waterworld." I'm looking forward to seeing both the authorized North American release of "Nymphomaniac" and von Trier's longer Danish version, like a true film geek.

There are a whole bunch of things at Sundance this year I can't wait to catch, from the new documentary about Nick Cave to Anton Corbijn's John le Carre adaptation "A Most Wanted Man" to Gregg Araki's "White Bird in a Blizzard," with Shailene Woodley. If that's not enough, there's also Quebec director Denis Côté's rural lesbian experimental thriller "Vic + Flo Saw a Bear." Oh, and "Muppets Most Wanted," absolutely.


  • trustie | January 15, 2014 3:34 PMReply

    Great discussion. Perhaps Indie should make this feature more frequent.

  • marsha mccreadie | January 13, 2014 5:48 PMReply

    And how did the quote marks get transcribed to those little "a"?

    Apologies for my program.


  • marsha mccreadie | January 13, 2014 5:42 PMReply

    How great to see a thoughtful discussion like this, and get a peek at some of the intellectual backstory that goes into critic selections. I was especially gratified to see the mention of Caesar Must Die, though I must say it gave me a pang or two, as I had wanted to list it in my 2013 “10 Best” for, but had listed it the year before. At the time I was writing for the Voice, and asked my then-editor, who had requested “Bests,” if I could list a film I had seen at the NY Film Festival that fall. His response was “Sure, if you saw it last year.” Well, yeah . . . Technically yes, though it still didn’t seem quite right. Though of course a great film in any year, aesthetically innovative, wonderful acting.

    The listing did get me a pull quote alongside A.O. Scott’s in an ad for the film last February, so I guess you could say I was extremely early (or an unwitting cheat) in listing Caesar Must Die as a “10 Best.” It does point up the problem of a movie which opens so early in the year that it can get trampled in your memory bank by other more recently released, even aggressively marketed, movies. And of course brings up the over-all the issue of dating, and opinion-making, for movies which have opened in other spots, some time ago. Did somebody say Nymphomaniac?
    Marsha McCreadie
    Reviewing these days for and Film Journal International. And much more carefully checking “theatrical release dates.”

  • fernand | January 13, 2014 2:31 PMReply

    Gravity is bit more than a publicity stunt.

  • ernest | January 13, 2014 11:46 AMReply

    Great piece. Thanks.

  • afsahsadgf | January 12, 2014 12:16 PMReply

    Gravity is overrated as shit take away the 3d and you have ok acting a terrible story and some of the most basic symbolism ever seen

  • LS | January 11, 2014 7:04 PMReply

    Confused. How is Frances Ha related to I Am Sam? If you wanted to argue it was a pretentious Woody Allen rehash, sure, okay. Did a name get confused?

  • David Ehrenstein | January 11, 2014 4:52 PMReply

    Grievously ignored: "Hannah Arendt," "Kill Your Darlings," "You Ain't Heard Nothing Yet," "The Happy Sad," and "What Maisie Knew."

  • pam | January 11, 2014 3:11 PMReply

    Andrew O'Hehir, can you please explain how the Iron Man movie & Catching Fire can have similar "reassuring outcomes"? I thought John Powers comments on Iron Man were accurate & devastating, (& you seemed to agree with him). That is a movie featuring a wealthy white man who acts to preserve the world in which he lives & to maintain the status quo. In Fire a young poor white woman opposes poverty & a despotic government, (& she does not get to do this from within an iron suit!). How can you not include Fire as one of the movies exploring the
    "issue of social and economic inequality in America"?

  • Lawrence | January 11, 2014 1:26 PMReply

    Wonderful read. Just one thing--unrelated to film: is it possible for you guys to have a "view as single page" button? It just makes it easier when viewing on mobile or when I want to use an app like Pocket to save it for later.