Me On The Movie's Choice of 20 (Alternative) Films to See in 2014

20 (Alternative) Films to See in 2014

After a series of post of 2013 Recap, now we see my choice of anticipated films of 2014. Well, probably you might already be familiar with my taste on movies, so you won’t see blockbuster films like Godzilla, I, Frankenstein, or Robocop which are released this year, in this list. I mean, I might see them but I’m not really excited with them. What I list here is mostly the films I found quite noteworthy to be kept under radar; the kind of movies directed, performed, or produced by people who already showed their quality in their previous works (phew!). Alternative choices, you know. Something like that.

For the record, if you are interested in big-budgeted, box-office wannabe films released in 2014, you can see them in a comprehensive list by The Playlist or a very detailed movie calendar posted by someone in 9GAG. You see, I’m probably also gonna see The Hobbit: There and Back Again although Desolation of Smaug was out of my expectation, or X-Men: Days of Future Past although I haven’t seen some of the films in this franchise (poor me!), but let’s just get right into my list. P.S: Pardon if there are wrong images.

In alphabetical order:


Receiving mostly positive reviews after its first screening at Sundance Film Festival, perhaps Boyhood is Richard Linklater’s most ambitious work to date. Boyhood takes 12 years of shooting to capture how the cast evolves and ages as the years go by (especially Ellar Coltrane, who was 7 when the shooting began and turns 19 when the film released). It perhaps a bit out of the narrative context, because what Linklater proposes in Boyhood is mostly an experience of watching film that fully inserts the dimension of time as the fuel of the plot.

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby is Ned Benson’s directorial debut. What is interesting from it is that we see how a story—the disappearance of someone called Eleanor Rigby—is separated into two different perspectives (his and hers) within two different movies. First screened at Toronto International Film Festival and receiving mostly positive reviews, the distribution of these films is already bought by The Weinstein Company which, until I write this post, has not clearly decided whether to release them as two separate films or a single combined film.

The Double

Capturing a psychological, bleak comedy about a man meeting his doppelganger, Richard Ayoade’s The Double features two most impressive young actors these days: Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska. It’s been around the festival circuit around the end of last year. The trailer shows a surreal and dark visual, with mild jazzy music in the background. Jesse Eisenberg is Simon, a casual worker with a series of misfortune in his life, who suddenly meets a person called James, who is physically similar but psychologically contrary to Simon.


Now there’s a little coincidence here (can I call it so?). From the story alone, Enemy is basically another version of The Double: it’s about a man (Jake Gyllenhaal) meeting his another self and finally deciding to seek for him. However, of course, each of them has different treatment. Enemy is more mystery-thriller because—well—it’s a Denis Villeneuve picture. Another crime too, perhaps, seen from its trailer.


Bennett Miller’s two previous works, Capote and Moneyball, have entered Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jonah Hill to the glam of Oscar’s acting nomination (even Mr. Hoffman won one for his role). And his upcoming Foxcatcher, a biopic of a gold medal wrestler Dave Schultz, might also be a pathway for Steve Carell, the leading role, to receive his very first Oscar nomination, too. Who knows? I have read somewhere that it will enter this year’s Cannes but I’m not really sure about that. What I’m sure about is, I smell Oscar here.

Gone Girl

I’m not ranking this list in any order but alphabetical, but if I were to rank it in the order of films I am really so excited to see, Gone Girl is on the #1 of the list. You know it so well: I’m a big fan of David Fincher! Adapted from the novel by Jillian Flynn (who also wrote the screenplay), David Fincher revealed the film will have a different ending from the book. And in this dark-themed thriller, Fincher is probably teaming back with his frequent collaborator, including Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross in the music department. So so very exciting.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson is back with his edgy, stylish comedy about a lobby boy (performed by newcomer Tony Revolori) who befriends with a concierge (Ralph Fiennes with drastic make-up and costume) in a crime situation that takes place within the hotel. It of course includes a super big ensemble cast (Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Jason Schwartzman, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Saoirse Ronan, F. Murray Abraham, Jude Law, and Tom Wilkinson) and it will have its first screening in Berlin Film Fest this February.

How to Catch A Monster

It was the last minute of me writing this post when I suddenly attracted to some info about Ryan Gosling direct his first film. How to Catch A Monster, Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut, is a thriller-fantasy that according to IMDb tells something about dark underworld or an underwater town—not really sure what it is. But it is also Ryan Gosling’s screenwriting debut. I hope it won’t be like last year’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt debut, because some random guy in its message board at IMDb says it’s like something made if David Lynch and Tim Burton collaborate (don’t buy it, of course!). Until now its cast lineup consists of Saoirse Ronan, Ben Mendelsohn, and Eva Mendes.

How to Train Your Dragon 2

I don’t like Dreamworks. But, if I were to list one or two Dreamworks animated films that I like, How to Train Your Dragon musts be in the list. Now, How to Train Your Dragon 2 is set to release in 2014. It’s kinda hard to imagine what this sequel will look like, and of course imagining it will be like Pixar’s Toy Story trilogy will be a huge exaggeration. In fact, Chris Sanders, who was a co-writer and co-director of How to Train Your Dragon, is not returning to take part in this sequel because of his involvement in some other Dreamworks project. It will not be the same again, but let’s just wait for it.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

My expectation to Mockingjay is 50/50. I was so pleased by Catching Fire mostly because of the superb adapted screenplay by Simon Beaufoy and Michael Arndt, and although Mockingjay is still helmed by Francis Lawrence, different screenwriter (Danny Strong) comes in. But Catching Fire left us hanging, and curiosity is still attracting us to ‘catch’ for the continuation. We’ll see if Mockingjay Part 1 and 2 will be another incredible ending for this best-selling series, just like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Inherent Vice

I have almost zero information about what Inherent Vice is about (except that it is an adaptation of a detective novel by Thomas Pynchon), but I know that beside of the super-fine art treatment by the masterful director, we have stellar cast in the acting department. Out of the names above, Inherent Vice also includes Reese Witherspoon, Maya Rudolf, Owen Wilson, Sean Penn, and Benicio del Toro. PTA fan out there, get thrilled to see a pic from Reddit that shows a 470-feet dolly track that he used to shoot a super long shot!


I hate to overexpect that 2014 will be another round for Fincher and Nolan to compete. LOL, it’s too far-fetched, right? Nevertheless, beside of another superb cast team (Anne Hathaway, Matt Damon, Casey Affleck, Topher Grace, David Oyelowo) and an ambiguous teaser featuring narration by Matthew McConaughey and some footages about farms, outer space, and human invention, Interstellar is gonna be a grandeur sci-fi story no one has clear information about. My question is, after we have the mesmerizing visual of Gravity, what kind of treatment will Interstellar offer to us?


I have already watched it, so can I still put it in this list? Oh of course I can, in case you guys haven’t seen it. I told everything I feel about Killers in this review, and to be short, I call it a nicely done personality study of a killer. Well it’s a half Indonesian, half Japanese film, but I am proud of it because at least finally we Indonesian have a future in this thriller genre. It’s been a great alternative for what I see as a monotone trend in our local film industry.

Knight of Cups

Or Voyage of Time, or any other Untitled Terrence Malick Project set to release this year. It’s just unexpected, you see, if IMDb listed that there are three movies by the cinema-artist coming this year. Last year’s To The Wonder was terrible; it has its beauty but no subtlety or poignant layers whatsoever to enjoy and absorb from—it was simply tiring. Perhaps because he should release movies in tight periods? I agree with that opinion. And with these three upcoming movies in one year, well, I won’t talk much. I just hope that Knight of Cups won’t be another ‘disaster’. Since The Tree of Life, I used to love his works but now I have time to reconsider it. Please prove me wrong.

The Monuments Men

Also with John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Cate Blanchett, and Hugh Bonneville. Yes. So, after its release date being postponed to early February and lost its chance to compete in this year’s award season (because George Clooney didn’t think the material is award-worthy?), The Monuments Men might also lost its chance to compete next year. I don’t know, the voters are easy forgetters, aren’t they? This is a war film, adapted from Robert M. Edsel’s book, that tracks down several art experts who look for a valuable art piece before the Nazis get it and destroy it. Sounds promising?


Darren Arofonosky, David Fincher, Christopher Nolan. If Tom Hooper has a film this year, it will be like 2010 award round right? Nah, just kidding. Look, I’m not really into epic movies but Noah would possibly take my attention, at least via its star. It has (forget Russell Crowe) Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Anthony Hopkins, and Jennifer Connelly. You all know Noah, right, from the bible or at least from that history book you might have read years ago when you’re in college? (Wait, can we call it a history?). You already know the story. So, what’s interesting. Well, imagine this: historical-religious story that made for big screen? It’s a very sophisticated way to give viewers some inspiring lessons, and I hope Noah will gonna be big!


Or I should call it NYMPH()MANIAC, with open and close brackets replacing its O to—in a way—resemble clitoris? Whatever. With one or two frames of real vagina, real penis-sucking, and other sexual activities in its trailer, it turns out that Nymphomaniac is not a porn; instead it will be another depressing story by Lars von Trier, following his previous works, Antichrist and Melancholia. I’m not sure about its initial reception by the critics (Did it open in some film festival days ago, in which its leading actor Shia Labeouf shows up with that I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE-written paper bag? Oh I loath cheap publicity) but, yeah, let’s just call it something worth waiting.

The Raid 2: Berandal

If you ask me, “Why no Indonesian movies in this list?”, I’d answer, “I did list them, but they have escalated themselves to international level so they didn’t appear as a local film.” Like Killers or, yes, The Raid 2: Berandal. I’m not sure should I mention it as an Indonesian film or not, but The Raid is surely introducing Indonesian martial art to the world (so if they said they want to remake it, they surely will lose its cultural value). I expect The Raid 2: Berandal’s action will be so bloody fantastic! There was that terrify or fear in me when I watched The Raid because, well, action film has never been this sharp and gore. But it also has value and story in it so it won’t end up being a showcase of pencak silat. I really expect something new, something fresh from The Raid 2: Berandal.


I can’t tell much from its acting department (I’m not really familiar with the names, only Jai Courtney, Domhnall Gleeson, ...) but it’s based on a screenplay written by Joel and Ethan Coen, plus Richard LaGravenese who recently wrote for the award-winning TV movie Behind the Candelabra. There is the astonishing cinematographer with eleven Oscar nominations but zero win, Roger Deakins, teaming up (look at these beautiful portraits!). There is also the masterful composer, Alexandre Desplat, in the music department. But who directs it? Angelina Jolie. Yes, Angelina Jolie. Adapted from a book, Unbroken is about Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who was taken prisoners by Japanese force during WWII.

The Wind Rises

Tell you what. Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises finally arrives in local theatre! This March The Wind Rises will be screened in selected cinemas so although its award round has finished by the time I watch it, I still enlist it as a 2014 release. Look at those colorful handdrawn animation! When most of today’s animation was largely made in 3D, with this last movie Hayao Miyazaki nails his trademark in the entire animation industry. But of course I expect more than just beauty of a painting: like usual, I expect beautiful layers of story of The Wind Rises. I’m not sure which version will come to local cinemas—the Japanese version or the Hollywood dubbed-version—but I prefer the original one.

So, folks, what films are you most anticipating this year?

Akbar Saputra

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  1. Nice, we shares some items, but no Magic in Moonlight ? TAS 2 ? Cameron Crowe untitled movie ? Yeah I am Emma Stone's fan.

    Serena, Into The Woods, The Fault in Our Star, A Million Ways to Die In West, Sex Tape, Frank, Child 44, Life After Beth, Big Eyes, Miss Julie, HAH many more....

    In fact, the only thing that I anticipate in 2014 is the M-word, M for money to watch all of these, haha

    1. Haven't really heard all of them. The M-word?? LOL!!! But I think most of them won't be screened in local cinema, though. So yeah you need more money for extra bandwidth :P

  2. Tons of good stuff (or potentially good stuff on tap for 2014). It also looks like a year with a lot of variety. I just hope it delivers.