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The 50 Indie Films Indiewire Wants to See in 2014

By Paula Bernstein, Peter Knegt, Eric Kohn, Nigel M. Smith and Alison Willmore | Indiewire January 9, 2014 at 12:44PM

Indiewire looks to the upcoming year with anticipated new movies from Wes Anderson, Joe Swanberg, Richard Linklater, Woody Allen and more.
29

"Ex Machina"
Director: Alex Garland
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander
Distributor: None as of yet
Release Date: TBD


Why It Might Be a Must-See: This psychological thriller marks the directorial debut of veteran screenwriter Alex Garland, whose scripts for "28 Days Later," Sunshine" and "Never Let Me Go" have been some of the most underrated and compelling to come out of Hollywood in recent years. Garland has also written the script for "Ex Machia," which follows a 24-year-old coder at an internet company who wins a competition to spend a week at the CEO's private mountain retreat. There he meets the first artificially intelligent robot that inhabits the body of a beautiful girl. Though the plot seems to cover some of the same ground covered in "Her," we're hoping this could be the breakout roles that make Domhnall Gleeson (best known as Bill Weasley from "Harry Potter" and Alicia Vikander household names. And did we mention Oscar Isaac plays the reclusive CEO?

"Everything Will Be Fine"
Director: Wim Wenders
Cast: James Franco, Rachel McAdams, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Marie-Josee Croze
Distributor: None as of yet
Release Date: TBD

Why It Might Be a Must See: Following up his remarkably successful, Oscar nominated 3D documentary "Pina," Wim Wenders returns to narrative filmmaking, but we'll still be wearing the 3D glasses. From a script by Bjorn Olaf Johannessen, the film tells the story of a writer (Franco), who loses control of his life after a car accident which kills a young boy. It follows him over a period of 12 years as he tries to find self-forgiveness, with McAdams (in a role originally set for Sarah Polley) playing his girfriend Kate. While clearly the plot does not sound like your typical 3D fare, leave it to Wenders to offer us an entirely new utilization of the format (as he did with "Pina").

'Far From The Madding Crowd'
'Far From The Madding Crowd'

"Far From the Madding Crowd"
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaerts
Distributor: Fox Searchlight
Release Date: TBD


Why It Might Be a Must-See: "A Celebration" director Thomas Vinterberg made quite the comeback at Cannes a couple of years back with "The Hunt," and he follows it up with this promising adaptation of Thomas Hardy's 19th century classic headlined by the ever reliable Carey Mulligan as a woman who inherits a large farm and becomes romantically entangled with three men (Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge and Matthias Schoenaerts). Vinterberg has proven adept at drawing out career best performances from his cast (Mads Mikkelsen took home top acting honors at Cannes for his showstopping turn in "The Hunt"), so signs point to this being a heated character study.

"Frank"
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Domhnall Gleeson, Scoot McNairy
Distributor: None, but its Sundance premiere seems all-but-assured to change that
Release Date: TBD

Why It Might Be a Must See: Just as he (surely) receives his first Oscar nomination for "12 Years a Slave," Michael Fassbender will show audiences at Sundance his very different follow-up. A comic take on the true story of Chris Sievey (Fassbender), a comedian who decides to front a pop band via his alter ego Frank Sidebottom (who hides under a cardboard head), "Frank" is a long ways away from "12 Years a Slave." Co-starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Domhnall Gleeson, the film is director Lenny Abrahamson's follow-up to the underrated "What Richard Did," and should definitely be high on the to-see lists of anyone heading to Sundance next week.

"Finding Fela"
Director: Alex Gibney
Cast: Fela Kuti
Distributor: None as of yet
Release Date: Debuts at this month’s Sundance Film Festival

Why It Might Be a Must-See: Fela Kuti, the late Nigerian musician who spawned Afrobeat and the political movement that accompanied it, has already inspired a successful musical and there's also a Hollywood biopic in the works. But his Kuti's story warrants the documentary treatment and Academy Award winning documentarian Alex Gibney ("The Armstrong Lie") is just the director to bring it to life. From his musical legacy to his political activism (Kuti was jailed on political grounds in Nigeria) to his love life (he had many wives), Fela Kuti's life should make a gripping documentary – and the music is guaranteed to satisfy.

This article is related to: Most Anticipated 2014, Sundance 2014, Movie Lists, Lists, News, Sundance Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival






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