Traditionally, January has been a disappointing follow-up to the chock-a-block festive period which precedes it, but in this respect among so many others, 2014 looks to be a year of thrilling firsts. Its opening month brings with it loads of major entertainment releases that warrant fans' attention, yet as ever, here at On-Screen, we've seen fit to compile the five titles which show the most promise of all.
Party poppers at the ready? Right, then, let's wave sayonara to the year of 2013, and investigate what the coming five weeks of entertainment have in store!
5. THE WOLF OF WALL STREET- Leonardo DiCaprio nearly took the crown for 'Best Male Performance of 2013' in the role of Calvin Candy this time last year, and if the critics are right in the States, then The Wolf of Wall Street may bring him even closer to doing just that this year. Based on the true story of 1980s business extraordinaire Jordan Belfort, this cash-laden biopic has a lot to live up to if it is to match DiCaprio's finest performances, yet Django and Gatsby both confirmed that the potential remains for such an occurrence even decades into the star's career...(Friday 17th)
4. AMERICAN HUSTLE- The cracking cast line-up adorning David O. Russell's 80s crime drama American Hustle is enough to justify the price of admission alone, unless viewers can resist the temptation of experiencing Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner sharing the big screen. Beyond that, the movie is already up for its fair share of awards and accolades, evidence if any more was needed that O. Russell's latest effort will be a profoundly significant contribution to the film industry in 2014. (Wednesday 1st)
3. THE MUSKETEERS- Despite a mostly mediocre festive line-up, the BBC are welcoming a grand ensemble of esteemed dramas to the televisual fray in the coming weeks, including Nan (just kidding), Call The Midwife and this ten-part adventure series. The most engaging element of the latter? Its first run will feature Doctor Who's Peter Capaldi as Dumas' famed antagonist Cardinal Richelieu, although that Merlin's Santiago Cabrera is one of the show's lead stars is scarcely an ill omen either! (TBC- BBC One)
2. THE BOOK THIEF- Here in the UK, the wait for the cinematic version of Marcus Zuzak's hit World War Two novel The Book Thief has been more of an endurance test than usual, with the transfer delay period between the States and our humble realm consisting of a difficult two months. The time has thankfully arrived, though, and with Geoffrey Rush and Emily Blunt heading the subtle but talented team of actors and actresses tied to the project, it could deservedly be an utter pleasure to experience soon...(Friday 31st)
1. SHERLOCK- So, just how did Sherlock live? Season Two commenced broadcasting with The Reichenbach Fall on New Year's Day 2012, and two years on, our anticipation for Sherlock's latest run has never been higher. Three ninety-minute episodes await once more, The Empty Hearse, The Sign of Three and His Last Vow, as do new regular cast members Amanda Abbington (Mary Morstan) and Lars Miekellsen (Charles Augustus Milverton), and provided that the show's writers cope without the presence of Andrew Scott's incredible Moriarty, then Season Three will be a Great Game, indeed! (Wednesday 1st, Sunday 5th & Sunday 12th- BBC One)