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12 films you need to see before the end of 2014

From blockbusters to biopics, we look forward to the best films coming to cinemas between now and Christmas

1
Ida
1/12

Ida

In a nutshell: Artful, moving Polish drama.

Until now, the Polish born, British-raised director Pawel Pawlikowski has been best known for the British films ‘Last Resort’ (2000) and ‘My Summer of Love’ (2004) and has never made a film in his home country. That all changes with this startling, black-and-white, 1960s-set Polish-language drama about a young trainee nun confronting her family’s tragic wartime past. Every frame is clever and meaningful.

Bound to be compared to... Other recent films about crises of faith, like ‘Lourdes’ and ‘Love Like Poison’.

In cinemas now.

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2
Gone Girl
2/12

Gone Girl

In a nutshell: Hot book, hot director, hot film.

Please, please, please, let ‘The Social Network’ director David Fincher’s film of ‘Gone Girl’ be half as gripping as Gillian Flynn’s book. Flynn has written a new ending, while British actress Rosamund Pike plays anti-heroine Amy Dunne, who disappears on her fifth wedding anniversary. Ben Affleck is her husband Nick. ‘My fondest dream is that it will be the date movie that breaks up couples nationwide,’ says Gillian Flynn. Let that be a warning.

Bound to be compared to... ‘The War of the Roses’, ‘Fatal Attraction

In cinemas now.

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3
The Babadook
3/12

The Babadook

In a nutshell: A five-star fairytale freakshow.

If you believe the buzz, this old-school haunted house spooker is the year’s best horror film. From first-time Australian actress-turned-director Jennifer Kent, it’s the tale of a troubled boy haunted by the images in a creepy storybook.

Bound to be compared to... ‘The Others’, ‘The Woman in Black’.

In cinemas now.

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4
Fury
4/12

Fury

In a nutshell: Brad is back. And he’s brought his tank.

The original Inglorious Bastard, Brad Pitt returns to World War 2 as a battle-weary army sergeant named Wardaddy who leads his men into combat towards the end of the war. Expect grit, grime and cigar-chomping generals galore.

Bound to be compared to... ‘Saving Private Ryan’, ‘Band of Brothers’.

In cinemas now.

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5
Mr Turner
5/12

Mr Turner

In a nutshell: An extraordinary artist’s life, extraordinarily told.

Timothy Spall won the Best Actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival in May for his eccentric portrayal of the equally eccentric early nineteenth-century British painter JMW Turner. For veteran writer-director Mike Leigh (‘Secrets & Lies’, ‘Another Year’), it’s a story of creative rebellion and radically changing times that he’s been dying to tell for years.

Bound to be compared to... ‘Topsy-Turvy’, Mike Leigh’s earlier period film about Gilbert and Sullivan.

In cinemas now.

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6
Interstellar
6/12

Interstellar

In a nutshell: The sci-fi film of the year – probably.

Man of the moment Matthew McConaughey heads into space in Christopher ‘Batman trilogy’ Nolan’s hotly anticipated sci-fi – in the company of Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway. The level of secrecy surrounding this film is as high as it would be if it was an actual mission to save the world. All Nolan is saying is that it’s about ‘human beings and what it is to be human’.

Bound to be compared to... Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’.

In cinemas from Nov 7.

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7
The Imitation Game
7/12

The Imitation Game

In a nutshell: Wartime tale of a persecuted genius.

The British government’s treatment of Alan Turing is a national embarrassment – the wartime hero and precocious maths wizard who cracked the Nazi Enigma code was later shamed and nudged towards an early grave because of his sexuality. So who else to depict him on screen but Benedict Cumberbatch, already an old hand at playing complex, tempestuous superbrains like Sherlock Holmes, Julian Assange and Stephen Hawking?

Bound to be compared to... Most of Cumberbatch’s other roles.

In cinemas from Nov 14.

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8
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
8/12

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

In a nutshell: ‘The Hunger Games’ is back.

Katniss has destroyed the Games for ever, and the revolution that’s been brewing in the districts is about to explode. Jennifer Lawrence returns, of course, with Julianne Moore (looking downright scary) playing the rebel leader of District 13.

Bound to be compared to... The last two films.

In cinemas from Nov 20.

9
Get on Up
9/12

Get on Up

In a nutshell: Biting drama about soul legend James Brown.

Another year, another music biopic. But this movie about James Brown has been winning rave reviews in the US – especially for its little known lead actor Chadwick Boseman. Time Out New York critic Joshua Rothkopf was bowled over: ‘It’s not just that Boseman has the moves – he’s also got a hummingbird in his voice box.’

Bound to be compared to... ‘Ray’, ‘Walk the Line’.

In cinemas from Nov 21.

10
Winter Sleep
10/12

Winter Sleep

In a nutshell: Three-plus hours of Turkish angst. Wait, come back!

Winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes 2014, this talky, epic (yes, that means long) Turkish drama from Nuri Bilge Ceylan (‘Uzak’) examines fractious human relationships to the backdrop of an unforgiving rural landscape.

Bound to be compared to... Andrei Tarkovsy, Bela Tarr, paint drying.

In cinemas from Nov 21.

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11
Paddington
11/12

Paddington

In a nutshell: Please look after this bear, thank you.

Colin Firth consciously uncoupled from this CG-enhanced live action adaptation of the classic British children’s tale, unable to find the correct voice for the Peruvian bear. Enter the lovely James Bond star Ben Whishaw, who is clearly a fan of marmalade sandwiches.

Bound to be compared to... As long as it’s better than ‘Postman Pat: The Movie’, we’re happy.

In cinemas from Nov 28.

12
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
12/12

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

In a nutshell: It’s time to break the Hobbit. Yep, we went there.

This is it, the end of the road for furry-footed Bilbo Baggins and his precious. As elves, dwarves, goblins, orcs, men and one very hacked-off dragon all converge on the Lonely Mountain in search of treasure, the stage is set for the the year’s most impressive, knock-your-socks-off set pieces.

Bound to be compared to... Well, the third ‘Lord of the Rings’ movie nabbed nine Oscars.

In cinemas from Dec 12.

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