Here’s a look at some of the new music, movies, television, shows, and books to look forward to in the coming months.
Happy 2014 Aleteia readers!
As we journey forward into 2014, here’s a look at some of the new music, movies, television, shows, and books to look forward to in the coming months.
Be sure to check out CALL, Aleteia’s arts, entertainment, and culture page, for detailed reviews and analysis of many of these releases throughout the year.
– Matisyahu – Akeda (Spring): Jewish rapper and singer Matisyahu made headlines in 2011 when he posted a clean-shaven photo of himself on Twitter and declared: “no more Chassidic reggae superstar.” But beard or no beard, Matisyahu has continued to make compelling, genre-defying music about faith, hope, and love. His newest album, Akeda (“binding”), promises to be “more dark and gritty,” and takes as its central theme the story of Abraham and Isaac.
– U2’s New Album (TBD): A veil of mystery surrounds U2’s first album release in 5 years. However, Bono and the lads have been spotted heading into the studio with both Chris Martin and Danger Mouse, and an announcement about the album will reportedly be made during the Super Bowl in February.
– Transcendence (April 18): This freaky flick stars Johnny Depp as a terminally ill scientist bent on merging his consciousness with computer technology. But is this mere science fiction? Ray Kurzweil, a self-styled prophet of “the singularity” who now works at Google, has been talking about human immortality and “transcendent man” for years. Whatever the case, this Faustian tale of knowledge and power is sure to raise all kinds of important moral and philosophical questions about the human person in the digital age.
– Knight of Cups (TBD): Terrence Malick, arguably one of the greatest living American filmmakers, is not exactly known for his prolificacy. He directed only five major films in 40 years, including his theological magnum opus The Tree of Life. But since 2012, Malick cranked out To the Wonder, produced The Better Angels (an Abraham Lincoln biopic), and has been busily working on a documentary and two new films. One of the two, Knight of Cups, will star Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, and Freida Pinto, and is slated for a late 2014 release.
– True Detective (January 12): With an impressive marquee for television (Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson co-star) and a literary academic fond of Faulkner at the helm, HBO’s new crime noir True Detective is shaping up to be one of the big hits of the year. Like other “arts of darkness,” its grim, gruesome pass through the shadowy depths of the human condition may point to a quest for redemption.
– Believe (February): This collaboration between J.J. Abrams (Lost) and Aflonso Cuarón (Gravity) revolves around a group of people – including a death-row inmate sprung from prison – trying to protect a young girl with supernatural abilities from evil forces. Believe is slated to premiere on NBC sometime after the Winter Olympics.
– Les Misérables (March 23): Cameron Mackintosh’s critically acclaimed new production of Les Misérables is what inspired Tom Hooper to create his stunningly intimate 2012 film adaptation. (In my humble opinion, the film was better than Argo, and Hugh Jackman gave Daniel Day-Lewis a run for his money.) The show has had successful runs in the U.K., France, Spain, Japan, and Korea, but will finally be revived on Broadway this year.
– Of Mice and Men (April 16): James Franco has been nothing if not eclectic the past few years: he bungled his Oscar hosting duties, starred as Riff Raff’s doppelgänger in Spring Breakers, and directed films based on books by Cormac McCarthy and William Faulkner. This year, he’ll star in a Broadway revival of John Steinbeck’s classic Of Mice and Men, set to open in April at the Longacre Theater.
– St. Peter’s B-List: Contemporary Poems Inspired by the Saints (March 24): This collection of over one hundred poems, which includes a foreword by novelist Ron Hansen, “awakens readers to the beauty and humor in the broken, imperfect striving of the saints for holiness.”
– Lila (Fall): This new novel from Marilynne Robinson returns to Gilead, Iowa, where a homeless young woman weds the aging minister John Ames. Robinson, whose Gilead won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, is consistently praised as a master of religious fiction. “I have read and loved a lot of literature about religion and religious experience,” writes Mark O’Connell in The New Yorker. “Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Flannery O’Connor, the Bible – but it’s only with Robinson that I have actually felt what it must be like to live with a sense of the divine.”
– Saints and Social Justice: A Guide to Changing the World (March 12): We often hear the phrase “social justice” used in politics and culture. But what does it mean in Catholicism? With the help of fourteen saints, blogger and author Brandon Vogt looks at the Catholic Church’s teachings on issues like personhood, the poor, and the environment, inviting readers to embrace an “authentic social justice that sets the world on fire.”
– A Broken Hallelujah: Rock and Roll, Redemption, and the Life of Leonard Cohen (April 14): Leonard Cohen’s latest album Old Ideas – and indeed much of his corpus, including classics like “Hallelujah” and “Suzanne” – invites the listener into a genuine quest for the divine with poetry and grace. This biography of the enigmatic singer-songwriter promises to be “a portrait that is as psychologically astute as it is philosophically attuned.”