With the end of 2013, we look ahead to the promising new year with high hopes for a great year at the movies. The promise of kaiju, martial arts, samurai, gangsters, and some good old fashioned drama has hopes at a high level for 2014. Here at Film Smash, these are the movies we’re most excited to see and why.
Once Upon a Time in Shanghai – Fans of modern kung fu have waiting for this for quite a while. Sammo Hung and Yuen Woo Ping reuniting in a martial arts film featuring Andy On, Philip Kwok, Fung Hak-on, Jiang Luxia, and Yuen Cheung-yan. An explosive trailer and some hard hitting and tight choreography should have fight film fans salivating.
Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Arc – The very entertaining first film just may be the best live action adaptation of an action manga/anime ever. With a great returning cast and the promise of a certain bandaged swordsman who is in my opinion one of manga’s greatest antagonists, I am psyched for the opportunity to see Takeru Sato take on Kyoto and Shishio in flesh and blood.
The Little House – Two words: Yoji Yamada. The legendary director’s latest arrives in less than a month and his track record concerning period drama is nothing less than stellar. With a great cast including Chieko Baisho and the ever lovely Matsu Takako, this is an opportunity to see one of the best classical Japanese directors working in the subject in which he helped define: human relationships.
The Monkey King 3D – The mega budget epic stars a veritable who’s who of Chinese talent. Donnie Yen, Chow Yun-fat, and more highlight a promising new vision of one of my favorite childhood tales, The Journey to the West. Following the exploits of Monkey and the monk Tripitaka, trailers and images coming out from the production promise a fantasy epic unlike any ever seen before in the history of Chinese cinema.
Godzilla – This American adaptation hopes to add to the legacy of the King of Monsters where the last effort, in 1998, detracted. Starring Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, look for Godzilla to lead the charge as a major summer tentpole release and one of our must see films. Kaiju fans have a lot of hope in this. After Pacific Rim, could kaiju he making a resurgence in a major way?
The Tale of Iya – This Japanese film has its stupendous trailer and beautiful imagery to thank for making this list and it has become one of my most anticipated dramas of the new year. Featuring karate butt kicker Rina Takeda in one of her first serious roles, this looks to be her opportunity to step into mainstream success, even within a small-scale production.
When Marnie Was There – Studio Ghibli’s upcoming animated feature is directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi who follows up his excellent Secret World of Arriety with another literary adaptation, this time based on the novel by Joan G. Robinson. While info is fairly scarce at this time, I, and many other animation fans, wait with baited breath for the next generation of Studio Ghibli animators aand directors to step out from the monstrous shadow of Hayao Miyazaki.[/one_half] [one_half_last]
Big Match – Just starting production recently, not much has been revealed for the upcoming film starring Lee Jung-jae as a martial arts star framed for murder and put into a survival game by Shin Ha-kyun. Two of my favorite Korean actors in a Running Man/Hard Target style film has my interest piqued as does the casting of music superstar BoA in a role simply as “Mysterious Woman.” (Picture from Asianwiki)[/one_half_last] [one_half]
A Mole’s Song – The latest from Takashi Miike looks like a return to the absurb and extreme humor which earned him his notoriety. While it does not seem to be of the ultraviolent sort, with Miike who can be sure? The trailer looks absolutely bonkers and with Miike putting out the best work of his career these days, this one looks like a hell of a lot of fun.
The Raid 2 Berandal – Anticipation is building for tye follow-up to one of the best action films of the last decade. Welsh-born director Gareth H. Evans put Indonesian action on international radar in a big way with his satisfying and blisteringly paced Merantau and The Raid. With returning actors Iko Uwais and the terrifyingly intimidating Yayan Ruhian along with some highly recognizable Japanese faces, everything feels bigger and more intense. This isn’t one to miss.
And there you have it, the movies we’re most excited to see this year. What are your most anticipated films of 2014? Let us know in the comments below!