I love new years!
I am most definitely not one of those cynical old souls who reaches New Year’s Eve, harrumphs with Scrooge-like intensity and balefully glares at the next 365 days, convinced they will be just as awful as I imagine them to be.
While I am old enough, and hopefully wise enough, to know it won’t all be Pollyanna-upbeat and Anne of Green Gables-perky, I also know enough of it will be pretty damn good to be more than worth my time.
And naturally as a pop culture junkie, much of the year will be taken up with the movies, music, concerts, books and TV shows I love, which is why I have plucked 5 particular things or groups or things that I am most especially looking forward to.
Let the fervent anticipation commence!
There are a host of movies I am looking forward to in 2014, many of which I have been monitoring for some time as posters and trailers and snippets of plot synopses etc have leaked out and made their way onto the internet.
But I have picked 5, yes just 5 that have me so excited I just explode in a maelstrom of colour-Danish building bricks.
If that happens, please be careful where you put your feet.
I have played with LEGO all my life – OK not so much in the last 25 years or so but before that a hella lot – and so this particular cinematic offering has me dancing a jig in the streets.
It follows Emmet, “an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure who is mistakenly identified as … the key to saving the world. He is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant, a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously underprepared.” (source: thelegomovie.com)
Packed full of all manner of pop culture references, copious numbers of mirth-inducing one liners, and with voices provided by such luminaries as Chris Pratt (Emmet), Will Ferrell (the tyrant, President Business), Morgan Freeman (Vitruvius, an old mystic) and Elizabeth Banks as Wildstyle who mistakenly identifies Emmet as the would-be saviour, this is one movie that I CANNOT wait to see (but, you know, obviously will have to).
The Lego Movie opens in USA on 7 February 2014 and in Australia on 3 April 2014.
Yes I know I have been fixated on this one for many a long day but you would be too if you fell in love with The Muppets back in the ’70s on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show and craved as much Kermity goodness as you can get.
In this case you get twice as much Kermit as normal.
Well sort of – it’s more like Kermit and his doppelganger Constantine, international criminal mastermind, who manages to get Miss Piggy’s reluctant amour thrown into prison in Russia (with Tina Fey as a guard no less!) while he takes over the Muppets, who eventually, and in the most chaotic way possible cotton on to who he really is and do their best to stop his evil plans and free their pal from the gulag.
It will be riotously funny, madcap, crazy, silly and full of so many brilliant pop culture references that your sides may very well split from all the laughing.
Wocka wocka wocka!
Muppets Most Wanted opens in USA on 21 March 2014 and Australia on 3 April 2014.
If you are lucky enough to be in North America, you will get the latest quirky off beat offering from Spike Jonze before Christmas but here in Australia and the UK it’s a 2014 release, reaching us in January.
I have overheard patrons near me in the cinema when the short for this film has been shown as saying it looks “odd” and “strange” but I think that’s missing out on the wonder, heartbreak and joy of this film which wonders what would happen if a lonely, recently-divorced man (Joaquin Phoenix) were to fall in love with his apartment’s disembodied operating system voiced by Scarlett Johansson.
It looks like it’s a million shades of touching, a deeply human walk through the valley of loneliness and heartbreak and the hopeful emergence into a new and brighter place.
Who wouldn’t want to go on that kind of profoundly emotional journey?
Her opens in Australia on 16 January 2014.
I love me a good sci-fi film and this particular offering from Chris Nolan, who shown time and time again he can create movies that are both action-filled and narratively-rich with compelling characters (imagine that!), looks like being one to watch out for.
Starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, it examines what happens to a team of interstellar explorers when they venture into the nothingness of a rip in space time in search of a way to reverse the downfall of civilisation on Earth.
Details beyond that are sketchy at best at the moment but I have enough faith in Nolan as a director to bet this will be one of the standout films of the coming year.
Interstellar opens 7 November 2014.
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Ordinarily I find most comedy movies that Hollywood puts out insanely un-funny, with the jokes, set-up and characters all tending to the lowest common denominator (that’s not me being a snob; I simply find them more annoying than funny).
But the Farrelly Brothers seem to have some kind of magic touch because both Dumb and Dumber (1994) and There’s Something About Mary (1998) rank as two of my favourite movies of all time, and while there’s no word on whether Cameron Diaz will get to use some more unusual hair gel any time soon, both Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are back as Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne respectively in Dumb and Dumber To!
If you didn’t think I could be any happier about that news, consider that the Farrelly brothers are back in charge – let’s pretend Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003) never happened shall we? PLEASE – and the joy factor gets ramped up by a ridiculously high factor.
Let the idiocy re-commence … and um guys go to the toilet before you head out on your bike will ya?
Dumb and Dumber To opens in November 2014.
For a lovely, full long list of movies out next year that should be worth checking out, head on over to totalfilm.com.
While there are any number of amazing, exciting musical projects slated for release next year, of which you will hear plenty as I acquire them and play them to death, what has me really excited on the musical front is news that two of my favourite artists in the whole world, Sweden’s Robyn and Norway’s Röyksopp, are teaming up once again to record some new music AND tour together in the northern summer, 2014!
Having worked together before on Royksopp’s “The Girl and the Robot” from 2009’s Junior and “None of Dem” from Robyn’s 2010 release Body Talk Pt. 1, they are back in the studio cooking up some new, exciting music according to this tweet from Robyn:
No word yet on song titles or tour dates or locations (although Pitchfork is saying the tour will include North America and Europe, and hopefully, please music gods, Australia) but the fact there will be new music from this amazing pairing – well trio-ing really but that sounds kinda odd – and actual live concerts is exciting enough for now!
You can find out more about the Do It Again tour at doitaga.in
Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go and get my travel agent on emergency standby to book me in for a flight to whichever city I can make it to!
One gifted performer I know I will definitely be seeing next year, thanks to an unexpected pair of tickets given to me on my recent birthday by my lovely partner, is Miranda Hart.
Ever since I discovered this gifted comedian via her sitcom Miranda, which has the look, feel and good old fashioned humour of the ’70s classic British shows I love so much such as The Good Life and The Liver Birds, I have fallen in love with her goofy, delightfully idiosyncratic take on life, love and relationships and I am thrilled beyond belief to finally see her live in concert in 2014 as part of her Work in Progress tour (which are functioning as warm up shows for her My, What I Call Live Show UK tour).
While another season of Miranda is some ways off alas, she does have a new DVD out Miranda Hart’s Maracattack, which combines the hitherto unheard mix of fitness routines and comedy (and was inspired I am sure by the season 3 episode “It Was Panning”), an appearance in this year’s Call the Midwife Christmas special, and of course, should Miranda deprivation truly set in, I can always re-read her hilarious book Is It Just Me?
It will all be, what I like to call, SUCH FUN!
Miranda Hart appears in concert at the Seymour Centre in Sydney from 1-4 February 2014.
I will confess here and now that my enjoyment of awards shows waxes and wanes, mostly wanes, with my tolerance for endless backslapping, interminable patter and boring speeches, never great to begin with, diminishing as time goes on.
But there is one pairing of presenters that is guaranteed to have me sitting upright in my air, when I’m not slumped either on it or the floor laughing uncontrollably, and that’s the blessed by the gods coming together of Tiny Fey (30 Rock) and Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation).
They were damn near hilarious at 2013’s Golden Globe Awards, managing to be ridiculously funny without sacrificing the chance to skewer and parody the business of making movies and the people most visibly involved in the process – the actors and directors, screenwriters and producers all seated in their tuxes and evening gowns ready for some fervent self-congratulations.
If you want a great run down on what they said and to whom, check out this excellent recounting of the evening on croweknees.com
And now they’re back, hallelujah!, for the 2014 and 2015 ceremonies, and to give us a taste of what they have in mind for 2014/s hosting duties, they’ve released a promo video in which they sing delightfully off-key prepping for the song they have written to open the Golden Globes in style.
Of course they will be simply amazing but you’ll have to wait till 8/7c on Sunday 12 January 2014 when the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards screen on NBC to see just how awesome they will be.
I have a pretty good feeling that my interest in these particular awards at least will be waxing up a comically spectacular storm.
And if you can’t get enough of Amy Poehler and her partner in entertainment crime, Tina Fey, you may want to check out the recent December 13, 2013 issue of Entertainment Weekly which the talented twosome curated and which came with the amazing news that they will play Darth Vader’s mums, yes mums, in the new Star Wars movie!
Naturally it goes without saying that I am counting the days to the return of The Walking Dead on Sunday 9 February 2014 …
And Falling Skies in the US summer (hopefully with more consistent writing this time around) …
And the bound to be engrossingly impressive second season of Orphan Black on 19 April, 2014 …
And yes, the gloriously dysfunctional dystopian brilliance of Defiance which will darken our screens again with a new, more intense season in June 2014 …
But one show that has me really excited, and frightened out of my ever-loving brain (in a good way of course) is Helix, a show debuting on syfy on Friday 10 January, which centres on a virus that runs amuck at a secret research base in the Arctic, and could spell, according to the official synopsis, “mankind’s salvation or total annihilation”.
It has a whole X-Files meets The Thing vibe going on and of course being from the brilliantly fecund creatiuve mind of Ronald D Moore (Battlestar Galactica), it is going to be must see viewing!
* What shows/events/movies/albums etc are you most looking forward to in 2014?