With January (and its requisite duds) now over, we can finally focus on the upcoming film year. 2014 promises to be a wild one in terms of franchise construction, superhero examination, and dramatic offerings, presenting moviegoers with opportunities to reteam with Captain America, traverse Middle-earth, ride a Dinobot, soar into the cosmos with Christopher Nolan, and stomp a major city with Godzilla.
What are you looking forward to this year?
Here are a few of the highlights (all release dates are tentative):
Returning to screens quickly after the surprise success of his 2012 charmer, "Moonrise Kingdom," writer/director Wes Anderson gathers his largest, most star-studded ensemble to date for this whimsical comedy set in an alt-universe 1920's Europe. Ralph Fiennes makes a rare comedic turn, joined by Anderson regulars Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Willem Dafoe (making up only a small portion of this enormous cast). Expect an exquisite production design, crisp timing, and traditional Anderson pithiness. Aspect ratio mischief is also on the menu.
Following a template established by "The Hunger Games," "Divergent" is the latest franchise contender inspired by young adult literature. Boasting thespian participation from buzzy star Shailene Woodley and powerhouse Kate Winslet, a post-apocalyptic fantasy playground of good vs. evil, and the promise of romantic entanglements that might carry over three chapters of author Veronica Roth's trilogy, and "Divergent" appears to carry all the ingredients other aspiring blockbusters have been missing.
Although one of the lower grossing movies to emerge from the Marvel Comics cinematic universe, 2011's "Captain America" achieved the impossible by making this complicated character viable as a big screen hero for a global audience. Cap's time with "The Avengers" didn't hurt his Q Score either. With "The Winter Soldier," Marvel hopes to introduce more of a mystery element to the series, trusting a little intrigue, paranoia, and a supporting turn from Robert Redford will lure ticket buyers now certain of the company's treatment of the patriotic hero.
The star of beloved monster movies and a pop culture icon, Godzilla hasn't lived up to his potential in recent decades, while the 1998 Roland Emmerich reboot successfully destroyed the promise of an Americanized lizard stomp. Director Gareth Edwards looks to restore a little rage for the character, assembling a harsh tone of destruction and an able supporting cast to bring Godzilla back with a bang. Also in the film's favor is a dynamite theatrical teaser trailer, triumphantly selling the scope and severity of this ambitious rebirth.
Deciding to reboot the Spider-Man series only a handful of years after director Sam Raimi finished his stint with the comic book hero, Sony's gamble paid off in a major way. Perhaps enthusiasm for director Marc Webb's first chapter was lacking, but box office was booming, paving the way for this hastily assembled sequel, debuting less than two years after the release of the original. Taking a page from "The Avengers" handbook, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" promises massive action and a league of baddies, bending the franchise toward a lucrative future of spin-offs and follow-ups.
To mark his return to the X-Men franchise after a decade away, director Bryan Singer has decided to throw a party, inviting every member of the comic book community that's legally possible. Mixing timelines, sequel ensembles, and hoping to satisfy fans, Singer pulls out all the stops for "X-Men: Days of Future Past," weaving an intricate story of higher purpose and global disaster while highlighting an amazing array of mutant faces. The big ticket for Memorial Day weekend, "Days of Future Past" looks to up the ante for superhero movies.
A continuation of the 2010 film (one of the year's best), "How to Train Your Dragon 2" arrives with lofty franchise plans from Dreamworks Animation, who hope to turn the concept into a four-movie arc, trusting the charm and imagination of the original film will carry far. It seems a safe bet, but to secure audience attention, the production has hired Cate Blanchett to voice a vital role in the sequel, and they've aged up the characters to lend the follow-up a more adult tone.
The recent Super Bowl television spot for "Transformers: Age of Extinction" showcased a sword-wielding Optimus Prime riding atop Dinobot Grimlock. I'm not sure the studio has to invest in any additional marketing for this super-sized sequel. Shedding Shia LeBeouf for Mark Wahlberg might help with the marquee value, but the franchise's fans aren't showing up in droves to see, ew, actors. They want hardcore transforming robot action. If director Michael Bay can keep his attention away from awful actresses and Decepticon testicles, there might be something to embrace here.
I don't think anyone was expecting much out of 2011's "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," but when it displayed considerable competence, audiences came out in droves to see it. Reviving the "Apes" legacy with a CGI take on a primate uprising, "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" continues the journey toward a potentially Heston-y future, offering audiences a glimpse of a futureworld where a truce between man and ape is about to end. This sequel promises big action, Gary Oldman instead of James Franco, post-apocalyptic expanse, and a love interest for hairy star Caesar.
After the flawed but fascinating bomb, "Cloud Atlas," the Wachowski Siblings return to their slam-bang roots with "Jupiter Ascending," an epic actioner starring Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis. While few expect another "Matrix," it's comforting to see the filmmaking duo feel around a fantasy playground again, bending a big budget with visions of genetically modified warriors and interplanetary shenanigans, sold with eye-crossing visuals.
Marvel has enjoyed quite a run with smash features based on their most popular characters. "Guardians of the Galaxy" pushes the company into an intriguing creative direction, trying to build excitement for a movie centered on characters few outside the hobby have even heard about. Director James Gunn is an odd choice to helm this summertime event, but his askew sense of humor seems fitting to bring this unusual team of misfit superheroes to life. Casting appears inspired and a tease of tone in "Thor: The Dark World" was intriguing, making this one of the larger question marks of the film year.
After experiencing a rough year at the box office, Sylvester Stallone returns to the business of surefire hits with "The Expendables 3," the next installment in the all-star mercenary saga. As the cliché goes, the boys are back in town, and they've brought Wesley Snipes, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, and Antonio Banderas along to help raise a little hell. The first two installments were big dumb fun, and this sequel suggests more of the same, albeit with a stuffed frame of middle-aged tough guys gleefully chewing the scenery.
It's hard to believe it's almost been a full decade since the release of the Robert Rodriquez/Frank Miller collaboration, "Sin City." For years, a sequel was rumored, promised, and teased, but now the time has come. Wading into the noir-scented toxic waste pit is a mix of new and old characters out to prove themselves particularly durable in this ultraviolent world. Rodriguez has been frighteningly hit and miss in recent years, but here's hoping a return to one of his major successes restores some of his lost directorial mojo.
Emerging from one of the most troubled productions in recent history, the western "Jane Got a Gun" merely has to be in focus at this point to wow audiences. Hit with directorial abandonment and a revolving door of actors, the picture, starring Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor, has seen its fair share of turmoil. It'll be interesting to see if director Gavin O'Connor is able to piece together anything of merit, though, considering the distinction of the professionals involved, perhaps it's too early to doubt the whole endeavor.
Gillian Flynn's best seller comes to the screen courtesy of director David Fincher, who's promised a slight reworking of the source material to maintain surprise for fans of the novel. While Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike take the lead roles, Tyler Perry pops up in a supporting part, making his appearance perhaps the most fascinating element about this production, displaying Fincher's mischievous side in full.
It's been two decades since Harry and Lloyd last flopped around on the big screen. They were missed. Feeling nostalgic and in need of a hit film, the Farrelly Brothers have dreamed up an all-new misadventure for Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey, unleashing an older but not necessarily wiser pair on a collection of hapless victims. The budget and expectations are suspiciously low for this long overdue follow-up, though something tells me there's going to be more demand for "To" than detractors are suggesting. EVERYBODY NOW: Mock…
Christopher Nolan returns to screens with this secretive (of course) sci-fi project. After putting Batman to bed with "The Dark Knight Rises," Nolan takes on the entire universe for his first post-superhero project, bringing Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, and Jessica Chastain along for the ride. Employing IMAX cinematography and immense scientific ideas, "Interstellar" aims big and will likely find its place as another Nolan brain-tickler with gargantuan production achievements. Mercifully, the helmer is playing this one close to the chest.
After proving its staying power with last holiday's "Catching Fire," "The Hunger Games" takes a tentative step toward a grand finale, splitting up the trilogy closer into two pictures for maximum profit. What was once a simple contest of death has turned into all-out war, with champ Katniss out to make the evil Capitol pay for all its crimes against humanity. Francis Lawrence returns as director, facing a difficult editorial task with the recent death of co-star Philip Seymour Hoffman, who, according to reports, still had a small chunk of filming left to complete on the two movies.
Move over, Broadway, here comes Jay-Z. The mogul and part-time rap star takes the reins of this update, which stars Quvenzhane Wallis as the titular orphan, while Jamie Foxx takes a Daddy Warbucks-style role, and Cameron Diaz portrays Miss Hannigan. Jay-Z songs will weave throughout established material, giving the update a bass-heavy curve it's never experienced before. The big holiday family movie of 2014, it's going to be interesting to see if audiences welcome this reimagining into their hearts.
Peter Jackson's marathon take on J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" draws to a close this December, staging a major showdown with dragon Smaug before launching into unknown terrain concerning the author's appendices, meant to give fans a major cool down period before saying farewell to Middle-earth forever (at least until the Jay-Z reboot in 2025). Surprisingly little is known about the picture outside a few key details. Perhaps this is due to fear of franchise fatigue. Perhaps they're making this one up as they go. Either way, Jackson's herculean cinematic effort finally comes to an end.
Looks like a fun and expensive year at the movies. Of course all of these big titles will be on blu-ray 3 months after their theatrical release all with extended cuts and scattered retailer exclusives that we all have to pick and choose from!
I'm looking forward to all of these, except not really "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" because the previous movie sucked balls, but I'll still see it. Just wish we could be on Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 5 instead or have had the rights revert to Marvel.
I'm also looking forward to:
-Franco-Algerian action film Algérie Pour Toujours, which will probably be not very good but stars one of my favorite people in the world
-Big Eyes => though a lot of people won't agree, 2012 was a great return to form for Tim Burton, with both Dark Shadows and Frankenweenie being his best films in nearly a decade. The subject is great and the stable of new actors for him gives hope this will be another great.
-Blended => The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates are two of my most favorite films ever. Here's hoping Sandler/Barrymore can make lightning strike thrice.
-Edge of Tomorrow => Tom Cruise. 'nuff said.
-Five Minutes to Live => Jan de Bont hasn't directed a film in over a decade. His comeback makes me curious, has a decent pitch and great actors.
-Beauty & The Beast => Christophe Gans is one of the greats.
-Lucy => a kick-ass action film from Luc Besson? Yes please.
-Maggie => Arnold Schwarzenegger. Zombies. 'nuff said.
-Omoide no Marnie => Arrietty was very good, looking forward to Hiromasa Yonebayashi's next
-Return => the return of Chinese master filmmaker Zhang Yimou
-Sabotage => Arnold Schwarzenegger. Ten Little Indians. 'nuff said.
-The Crossing => the return of Chinese master filmmaker John Woo. Plus adorable Japanese actress Masami Nagasawa!
-The Woman in Black: Angel of Death=> the first movie was fantastic. Here's hoping.
-Veronica Mars => the show is great. Anticipated.
And many more. Surprised Noah didn't make it on the "official" list, seeing how the Internet loves Aronofsky.
Out of the blockbusters, I'm most excited for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (I thought 2011's Rise was a pleasant surprise) and Jupiter Ascending, as I will gladly watch anything the Wachowskis make.
Otherwise I'm excited for Inherent Vice, Under the Skin, Gone Girl, Snowpiercer, and I will definitely see Dumber and Dumber To but with low expectations - there is just no way it can match the original, but I will give it a shot at coming close.
comm'on Hunger games is crap. And they're making now a Part 1 + 2. I found the first movie disturbing and brutal for kids. i'm just surprised that Peter Jackson didn't made The Hobbit There and back again Part 1 + 2.
Interesting could be Godzilla and might be better than Emmerich's one. One of the original actors from the japanese Godzilla movies has a Cameo in this new one.
I will also going watching Captain America and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. "Apes" is interesing as "Pre"-quel.
Looks like a good year, but it's a mere prelude to next year's blockbuster-fest.
-Star Wars IV
-Friday the 13th 2
-The Good Dinosaur
A year of blockbusters? Really? Just another year of tons of weak story-telling, CGI, comic book characters, and pointless remakes. Should rake in tons of money from the mindless movie-going youth. Gotta hand it to Hollywood, they do know how to make money......even if it's at the expense of making good films.
I see that vanscottie was voted down to having his comment hidden. Why, because the truth hurts? I guess 100 years from now, people will be excited about the 75th remake of 'Godzilla,' the 50th 'Transformers' sequel, and who knows how many remakes of every classic franchise since Hollywood is so damn pathetically devoid of originality now.
Here's the modern movie formula: Spend tons of money of CGI eye candy, plug in another generic "BRAAAAM" music score, get some poor chump who only technically passes for an actor, and slap a PG-13 rating on the whole package. BAM! Instant money maker. Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat. Do another thousand sequels, or do a bastardized remake of a classic from the 1980's, and the money will flow.
There's still some excellent films being released nowadays.
12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club, August: Osage County, Gravity, Blue Jasmine, Philomena were all remarkable in 2013.
I'm sure there are some films of that magnitude being released in 2014.
I agree that the majority will be PG-13 Hollywood "Blockbuster" sequel filler crap, but the rare diamonds in the rough are the ones to look out for and appreciate.
Well I won't be seeing any of those at the cinema, but to quote that old favourite "I think we're gonna need a bigger storage rack".
Anything that mentions Hotel, Western, Dumber, Spiderman or Jay-Z, will not be going in the collection though. Don't know much about Gone Girl, so I can't comment on that one.
@ Iron Eagle 74: This year's Godzilla, is only the 2nd remake of "Godzilla" since 1954. Unless you know of these fifty remakes that vanscottie said there's been. Yes, there have been off-shoots and sequels, but that's not what a remake is.
I have high hopes for Interstellar and the next Hobbit and maybe Gone Girl but the rest looks like bloated CGI junk. If the remainder are blockbusters, the film industry is in serious need of a reboot.
Not too many movies I am interested in for 2014. Jupiter Ascending might be worth it, but the W. bros are VERY hit and miss, so I'll wait for reviews before I go see it. The Hobbit is a no-brainer for me and my daughter, and I'll go see Godzilla simply for the nostalgia of my childhood. If Sin City is as good as the first film, then it will be awesome. Dumb and Dumber To will probably be worth a rental, as will X-men (might go see that one). As far as Interstellar goes, I'm convinced Nolan is not the end-all-be-all his fans proclaim, but rather the current master of the one trick pony. I won't waste a penny on any piece of crap Michael Bay is involved with--once you've seen one of his, you've seen all of them.
1-X-Men: Days of Future Past
2-The Hobbit: There and Back Again
4-Transformers: Age of Extinction
5-Captain America: The Winter Soldier
6-Guardians of the Galaxy
7-Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
X-Men: Days Of Future Past
Transformers: Age Of Extinction
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
Guardians Of The Galaxy
The Expendables 3
Sin City: A Dame To Die For
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
The Hobbit: There And Back Again
Additionally I am mildly interested in,
Dumb And Dumber To
Also, while not mentioned on this list, I am hoping "300: Rise Of An Empire" and "Son Of God" are ok, and I am really hopeful and excited for "Noah", "Exodus", and "Heaven Is For Real".
Captain America: Winter Soldier will be the biggest Spring release ever in early test screenings it got a 98% positive rating....Godzilla will be the biggest summer movie this year and Guardians of The Galaxy will be the sleeper hit of 2014 like Rush Hour and Hangover in the past.