Having recently polished off the list of the best things from the last year, here’s a bundle of things I’m getting excited about this year…
Inside Llewyn Davis - I love the Coen brothers so so much. And critics keep talking about this as a similar kind of film, in tone, to A Serious Man which I actually think is a masterpiece, even if no one else actually saw it. Bleak and brooding Coen brothers films where the women get to tell at the men are totally my bag (there’s a reason Miller’s Crossing is my favourite).
Captain America: Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. Yes, the Marvel pair. I think I’m especially looking forward to Winter Soldier, as the trailers have been really really juicy, and it would be nice if someone could question the ‘blow up cities first, reflect after’ tendency of modern security in action movies, even if it is only Captain America in a cinema near you.
Twelve Years A Slave - basically no one has said a negative thing about this one, and I’m so glad to see Chiwetel Ejiofor in a big leading role.
Her - Spike Jonze, say no more. But the premise sounds so fascinating, and the trailer has completely got me.
X-Men: Days of Future Past. The X-Men were my first superhero blockbuster movie love, and my entry point into comics. I have affection. Plus, Bryan Singer is back. If this is as good as the timey-wimey trailer suggests, I might even forgive him for leaving X-Men 3: The Last Stand for Supes (a bit).
Grand Budapest Hotel - Wes Anderson. Even less needs to be said than for Spike Jonze. I love his whole aesthetic and his storytelling, and this brings Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton and Soairse Ronan to the party.
Veronica Mars - yes, I’m a marshmallow. I want to be Veronica Mars. This is one of my all time favourite shows (despite season three, which jumped the college shark like so many shows), and I helped fund it into a movie. I have the t-shirt and everything. The trailer looks like it has a pretty strong story to tell me, and Logan Echolls is still, Logan Echolls.
Only Lovers Left Alive - weirdy, dark vampires, with Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston? In.
Snowpiercer (if it ever emerges intact and in the UK from whatever hellish limbo Harvey Weinstein’s currently got it in). It’s the future. Humanity lives on a hierarchical train. Tilda Swinton is from Yorkshire and she’s Queen (they probably don’t call it queen, but still, it’s about bloody time), and there’s going to be a rebellion. And by the looks of it Chris Evans has to make sure other people don’t fall off a train to their snowy deaths.
Not all the books I’m looking forward to reading are getting published this year - I’m pretty behind on a bunch of things.
The six-odd foot of unread books-on-shelves includes the last couple of Iain M Banks’ Culture Novels, Surface Detail and The Hydrogen Sonata, plus Curtis Sittenfeld’s American Wife, which was my London Book Club secret santa, and Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy. I’m also finally getting my mitts on Tash Aw’s Five Star Billionaire, which has just come out in paperback. I enjoyed his first a lot, and this sounded amazing when it came out last year.
Talk of Joshua Ferris’ new book, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour in every ‘Coming This Year’ List has told me enough about his earlier books to me want to pick up his first, And Then We Came to the End as a taster.
There’s a new Jonathan Lethem called Dissident Gardens. The American cover is better, annoyingly, but the author himself is usually a treat. He’s one of those authors I have to buy in hardback because I’ve run out of their paperbacks now.
Another two of those are Haruki Murakami - whose latest is coming out in translation as Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage later this year - and David Mitchell, with The Bone Clocks. Yes, I totally have them on pre-order - what else did you think I had planned for August and September?
Well, this bit of the list actually started last night, with a trip to the Barbican to see the RSC’s Richard II, which was a really great production and made me think thoughts about the weirdnesses of monarchies and the divine right of kings.
January appears to be the month of Shakespeare, as there’s Simon Russell Beale as King Lear at the National in my diary, and hopefully the Donmar’s Coriolanus - in the cinema via the magic of modern technology if I can’t get paws on a last minute ticket.
It’s also a month of ballet - I’m especially looking forward to Giselle (the only ballet that has made me properly cry), at the Opera House with Steven McRae and Roberta Marquez, and The Wind in the Willows, which sounds joyous. Later in the year I’m looking forward to the English National Ballet’s Lest We Forget, in memory of the first world war, and hoping to get my hands on tickets for Christopher Wheeldon’s new ballet, A Winter’s Tale and Liam Scarlett’s Sweet Violets.
Later in the year, there's some music in the diary: Seth Lakeman (finally!) at St James’ Picadilly in February - I think I’m looking forward to the venue as much as the music. One Direction, live at Wembley. Oh yes. This will be the pop-cultural event of my year and I embrace it. Arcade Fire, at Earl’s Court. They are so good live, that I’m to be willing to have to dress up and disco dance to see them.
I'm also looking forward to going and seeing the new look at the Tate Britain, as I've not been since it's been done, and the new great gallery at the Wallace Collection. And then the Vikings will be at the British Museum...