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Year ahead in movies and music

01/24/2014
Andrew Milliken
Staff Writer

MOVIES

2013 was an extremely successful year for movies on the silver screen. Ranging from massive box office hits such as “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” to smaller scale, art-house productions in the vein of “Nebraska” and “Fruitvale Station,” there was no shortage of quality film for any viewer’s taste.

2014 promises to be another strong year for movie fans, with several house­hold-name directors releasing new fare.

“The Monuments Men”

George Clooney, who directed and starred in the political thriller “The Ides of March” in 2011, is back behind the camera with “The Monuments Men.”

The film centers on a group of his­torians, artists and scholars recruited by the Allied Armed Forces to protect important works of art from destruc­tion at the hands of the almost-defeated Nazi party. The film stars Clooney, Matt Damon (“The Bourne Supremacy”) and Cate Blanchett (“The Lord of the Rings”), and is set to release on Feb. 7.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel”

The newest film from Academy Award-nominated writer/director Wes Anderson (“Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Moon­rise Kingdom”), is a stylistic, charming look at the lives of a host of characters.

Set between the World Wars at a fa­mous European hotel, the film follows the concierge, Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), and his lobby boy, Zero (Tony Revol­ori), as they seek to conceal a painting bequeathed to Gustave by a murdered patron from authorities. Edward Norton, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody and other notable actors also appear in the film. The release date is March 7.

“Interstellar”

Christopher Nolan, director of the acclaimed Dark Knight Trilogy and “In­ception,” is set to release the sci-fi ad­venture “Interstellar” on Nov. 7.

Starring Matthew McConaughey (“The Wolf of Wall Street”), Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”) and Anne Hathaway (“Les Miserables”), the film follows a team of explorers as they seek to utilize a wormhole as a means for human travel for the first time.

“Godzilla”

It’s back to terrorize the people of Earth on May 16! Directed by Gareth Edwards, who has only directed one other feature-length film – the 2010 sci-fi thriller “Monsters” – the classic giant reptile is given its first American film since 1998’s “Godzilla,” which was al­most universally panned by critics.

Starring Elizabeth Olsen (“Martha Marcy May Marlene”) and Bryan Cran­ston (“Breaking Bad”), the film’s trailer hints at a dread-filled, straight-faced look at just how much ruination can be achieved by a lizard the size of several skyscrapers.

“The Hobbit: There and Back Again”

The final installment of Academy Award-winning director Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” trilogy, titled is due out Dec 17. Fans of the first two “Hobbit” films are sure to be delighted by the conclusion to the “Lord of the Rings” prequel. The film directly follows the events of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” and reunites viewers with Bilbo and company as they attempt to stop Smaug from destroying Lake-town and recover the treasure hidden within the Lonely Mountain.

The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch (“Sherlock”), Martin Freeman (“Sher­lock”) and Ian McKellen (“X-Men”).

MUSIC

Several colossally popular artists re­leased new albums last year, such as Arcade Fire’s “Reflektor,” Katy Perry’s “Prism,” Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories,” Drake’s “Nothing Was the Same,” Kanye West’s “Yeezus” and Be­yonce’s surprise online-only album “Be­yonce.” 2014 boasts new material from artists of the same caliber, however, and music fans have much to look forward to in the coming year.

“Ultra-Violence”

Lana del Rey, whose song “Young and Beautiful” was featured in last year’s film adaptation of “The Great Gatsby,” revealed the title of her follow-up effort to 2012’s “Born to Die” to be “Ultra- Violence” in December.

Unfortunately for fans, the title ap­pears to be the only confirmed informa­tion about the album available at this time, although the term “ultra-violence” appears in Anthony Burgess’s classic novel “A Clockwork Orange,” perhaps hinting at thematic material that could be present on the album.

“Pink Slime”

Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller is col­laborating with producer Pharrell Wil­liams (heard on Daft Punk’s hit and big­gest song of the summer “Get Lucky”) on a new project titled “Pink Slime,” referring to a controversial beef additive.

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Miller said the the album will drop by the end of 2014. “All we gotta do is sit down for a few days and knock out songs,” explained Miller. Fans hope that Miller’s recent hair color change to hot pink is a statement about how near the release date of “Pink Slime” may be.

“The Art of Letting Go”

Mariah Carey is still at work on her 14th studio album, “The Art of Letting Go.” Carey indicated that she had be­gun work on the album all the way back in 2011. Four songs from the album have been released so far, and the lead single, “Beautiful,” featuring Miguel, peaked at No. 15 on the U.S. Billboard Top 100. “The Art of Letting Go” is due out in the spring with a new single to be released this Valentine’s Day.

“Cheek to Cheek”

Lady Gaga, who released her third studio album “Artpop” on Nov. 11, is releasing a collaborative effort with the 16-time Grammy-winning singer Tony Bennett.

The album is set to include songs from famous jazz composers such as George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Ir­ving Berlin. Gaga and Bennett recorded “The Lady is a Tramp” as part of Ben­nett’s album “Duets II,” and afterward Gaga expressed interest in recording an entire jazz album with Bennett. The al­bum is due out on March 18.

Albums that (as of the date of this publication) do not have titles have been confirmed by Adele, The Foo Fighters and Kanye West.

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