Malaysians will probably not get to see these films in cinemas this year, or ever.
But for cine-addicts in this part of the world who have waited through the year for the (U.S.) fall and winter season when the more serious and artistic films are released for their bid at the awards, we are faced with one troubling notion; how many would we be able to see in its full screen glory by the time their names are announced on Oscar night, without having to resort to the dirty Internet?
While there are certainly a few exceptions, there is so many more films that we are missing out, not only because of their violation of our conservative censorship standards, but also the subjects and themes explored are too heavy to be comprehended more as an art than entertainment.
So we've compiled a list of movies that already have a scheduled release date elsewhere in the world, but have yet to be picked up by our distributors for a local release, as we can only guess for their reasons.
That is not to say that we won't see these movies in the future in cinemas, but these are currently undated on our Coming Soon list and there's still hope!
Based on the novel by Thomas Pynchon of the same name where a detective is assigned to find a missing person who happens to be his ex-girlfriend.
"Inherent Vice" is the next outing from director Paul Thomas Anderson who is once again collaborating with his lead from "The Master", Joaquin Phoenix, alongside strong names like Josh Brolin, Benecio del Toro, Reese Witherspoon (a name you would want to look out for), Martin Short, and Owen Wilson. While violence didn't stop "There Will Be Blood" to be shown in our screens, it did extremely poorly at our box offices. So now we're back to only seeing that other Anderson's "Pompeii" or the next "Resident Evil". Still, we think there is something inherently wrong with our taste for "Inherent Vice" to be missing in our release schedule.
Zoe is a happily married woman to the perfect man, a bustling career and three gorgeous children. When Zoe meets a handsome stranger, she falls into an addiction that will ruin her marriage and endanger her life.
An adaptation of Zane's erotic novel by music-video director Billie Woodruff, "Addicted" is a close-up look on the consequences of adultery and lust. Naturally, those two words would be frowned upon by any uptight censor, even if they do send a warning. So that means we are also not getting our hopes up for "Fifty Shades of Grey".
When a successful but scrupulous lawyer returns home for his mother's funeral, he is faced with the challenge to defend his estranged father as a suspect for murder on the same court his father has presided over as a judge.
This clean family and courtroom drama about the broken relationship between father and son by David Dobkin ("Shanghai Knights", "Wedding Crashers") could be one of the most accessible films on this list. Carried by a dramatic Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall as the father and son duo, we would expect to see some fine performance on tough love and forgiveness. However, the not so well received reception it was sentenced with at the recent Toronto Film Festival may have hurt its chances to be shown here, or maybe our distributors think that the only suit we want to see Robert Downey Jr. in can fly and fires repulsor beams.
Kill the Messenger
Based on two autobiographical books on journalist Gary Webb, "Kill the Messenger" tells the shocking true story of Webb's expose of a conspiracy by the CIA to smuggle and distribute cocaine into the United States, in order to fund resistance groups against the Nicaraguan government. For his expose, the CIA would then launch a smear campaign against Webb, which resulted in his death in disgrace.
The story of "Kill the Messenger" may be an intriguing one, but Jeremy Renner, who plays as the lead, may not be a strong pull to audiences here who may know him more for his role as Hawkeye in "The Avengers" than the war junkie in "The Hurt Locker". The film has not been running in any of the festival circuits, so the lack of buzz may have pushed it down the barrel for worthy serious films to consider. Hopefully that would change when early reviews for it appear shortly after its wide release in the States in October. [Update 23 Sep: GSC Movies has confirmed that the movie will be released this 9 October 2014]
When a bunch of thugs rob a man's car and kills his dog, they would soon find out that the man's name is John Wick; a laid low hitman who now has something personal against his robbers.
Besides, a pure actioner like this should have been in cinemas a couple months ago, but that shouldn't stop it from being shown to the bloodthirsty audience we have here. We were quite impressed with the first trailer afterall.
With her life turned upside down, Cheryl Strayed decides to go on a soul searching trek across the country for 1,000 miles to find herself again.
Based on Strayed's own memoir, this road drama is directed by Jean-Marc Vallee, following last year's "Dallas Buyers Club", that brought Matthew McConaughey his first Oscar. "Wild" seems to be bringing that possibility once again for Reese Witherspoon, who has been making some serious appearances in some of these fall releases, but this is her main showcase that could win her that next Oscar since "Walk the Line". However, distributors might think there is little appeal in watching a woman just walking, but thought it was okay to let everyone remember her in "This Means War".
Exodus: Gods and Kings
An epic adaptation of the book of Exodus, when Moses led his people out of Egypt as they escape from the watchful eyes of the Pharaoh.
Ridley Scott goes back to his large scale filmmaking roots since "The Gladiator" and brings in an ensemble cast that can only up the scale with Christian Bale as the biblical prophet, Joel Edgerton as Pharaoh Rameses, Sigourney Weaver as Queen Tuya and Ben Kingsley somewhere in the mix. However, like "Noah" earlier this year, "Exodus: Gods and Kings" is most assuredly to be banned in our cinemas on religious grounds. Here's to hoping that it would get a small pass like the animated "The Prince of Egypt", although the spectacle would be profoundly reduced on a smaller screen.
A remake of the 1974 film of the same name, "The Gambler" centers around a professor who gets into a gambling problem and gets into deeper trouble with gangsters.
Once a prodigious project to be made by Martin Scorsese, "The Gambler" was later passed off to numerous hands before it landed on Rupert Wyatt, who last made "Rise of the Planet of the Apes". Mark Wahlberg will star as the professor with Brie Larson in the female lead, but aiming for a limited release to be in the running for the Oscars means that we can only expect to see this on its wide release next year.
Chris Kyle is the deadliest US Navy SEAL sniper who has racked up more than 300 recorded kills. Two years before his 40th birthday, Kyle was murdered on a Texas shooting range.
Based on a true story, "American Sniper" was one of the projects to be taken up by Steven Spielberg after he had completed "Lincoln", before it was passed off and went to Clint Eastwood, which is not a bad replacement by any standards. With Bradly Cooper in the lead as Kyle, there is some strong award potential here if both director and actor can find the bullseye. Only slated for a limited release during Christmas to qualify for the Oscars, "American Sniper" would have its wide release in 2015. Even so Malaysian distributors have already passed on real-life sniper stories like "Blue Caprice", so there might be a lack of traction for audiences here.
A self-styled television journalist and his producer are given an exclusive opportunity to interview the new leader of North Korea, but are hired by the CIA to assassinate him instead.
This comedy with James Franco and Seth Rogen has already stirred up enough controversy when it has provoked the People's Republic to declare war if it is ever released. While that doesn't give us any less reasons why we would want to see it, but given that it's directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen (whose "This is the End" never made it here), this bound to be hilarious but still raunchy comedy is most likely not going to pass our censoring regime. Or perhaps we just don't want to offend the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur (look it up).
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
Connor Ludlow and Eleanor Rigby are a young married couple who live in New York. When a life-changing event tears them apart from each other, the dissolution of their marriage is seen from the different perspectives of those who witnessed it.
"The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby" actually comprises of three films, each providing a perspective of the same story from the viewpoint of the dissolving couple and those around them, making this a much talked about debut film from director and writer Ned Benson. The trilogy stars James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain as the distancing couple, supported by Viola Davis, William Hurt and Bill Hader as the witnessing bystanders. One part of the trilogy has already been shown at Cannes, while the remaining two were seen as a work-in-progress at the Toronto Film Festival. However, aimed for a limited release in certain art houses afterwards means that we won't get to see it here, not that we got to see any of the "Before" trilogy by Richard Linklater.
When a young and talented Jazz drummer is inducted into a prestigious music school, he is pushed beyond his emotional and musical limits by an instructor who uses traumatising methods to bring out his true potential.
Winner of the Audience and Grand Jury award at this year's Sundance, this indie effort from director Damien Chazelle has managed to maintain its momentum throughout the year. Highly rated for setting up Miles Teller as more than that face in "Divergent" or "That Awkward Moment", it is the bursting intensity of J.K. Simmons that caught our attention. But alas, indie-efforts rarely make it our screens, even if they did come out big out of Sundance.
A biopic centered on the last 25 years of British painter JMW Turner's life, when he struggles through the artistic revolution he was leading in landscape painting, his exploitation of his housekeeper and finding love.
Went into competition at this year's Cannes, "Mr. Turner" came out winning the Best Actor award for Timothy Spall, who has come a long way for his first major international award after a lifetime worth of magnificent performances. With director Mike Leigh giving life to his own film like a painting, it only saddens us that we would not be able to appreciate the fine art of filmmaking and performance on the same screen.
Based on a true story of John DuPont, an American millionaire who sets up an Olympic class training facility for wrestlers but suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. When DuPont grooms a young wrestler to become the next Olympic champion, his paranoia brings him and his young would-be gold medalist to some murderous consequences.
Bennett Miller's followup after 2011's "Moneyball", this one boasts another strong cast with Chaning Tatum, Mark Ruffalo and a breakout performance by Steve Carrell, who plays as the unstable and patriotic DuPont. "Foxcatcher" also went into competition at Cannes, leaving Miller with the Best Director award for the festival, which just increases our desire to see this even more. However, the Miller's films have been steeped deep in Americana, so playing to an audience who aren't well versed in it might turn up more confusion than poignancy.
When British journalist Maziar Bahari enters into Iran to cover its presidential election, he is mistaken for a spy and taken into custody for a harrowing 100 days, while being tortured and interrogated by its ruthless authorities.
Based on the true story of Maziar Bahari after he was released from detention, the film is titled after the only thing he could remember about his captors, their smell of rosewater. "Rosewater" is written and directed by Jon Stewart, which was shown at both the Telluride and Toronto Film Festival, giving it significant buzz about its awards potential. However, Malaysian distributors have strangely shied from movies with difficult topics such as tortures in imprisonment (most recently "Zero Dark Thirty"), and also films set in the Middle East, which makes this a tough sell to Malaysian audiences.
Cinema Online, 19 September 2014