What's in store for 2014? My most anticipated movies - Part 1 (January through April)
The year ahead...
I love movie previews when I go to the theater. They never fail to whet my appetite for the coming year on the big screen and 2014 will be no different. Of course I'm looking forward to the next installments in the Star Wars saga and The Avengers and the Skrulls, but those won't be out for another year. So instead, I'll have to be content to see the movies slated for 2014. Here, I present to you my most anticipated features of the next four months. Each title will include a trailer if one is available. Release dates are not final and are subject to change based on Hollywood whims. Enjoy!
Release Date: January 17, 2014
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Stars: Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Jack Ryan is back for more action adventure in this fifth movie based on the characters and situations created by Tom Clancy. Chris Pine is the fourth actor to slide into the role behind Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck. Here Jack uncovers a plot by Russians to destroy the US economy. Sorry, Ruskies. Barack Obama beat you to it.
Release Date: February 7, 2014
Director: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Stars: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Channing Tatum
The Lego Movie
Okay, this looks just so stupid that it might actually be funny. After all, the video games are a riot and the genres and franchises that they take on in this movie look like they're ripped right from the games. Obviously, the final judgment call will come AFTER the movie's release, but I'm looking forward to it at the moment.
Release Date: February 7, 2014
Director: George Clooney
Stars: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Bob Balaban, Cate Blanchett
The Monuments Men
George Clooney leads an all star cast of misfit soldiers whose sole responsibility during the war is to recover rare and valuable treasures that were confiscated by the Nazis during World War II.
Release Date: February 12, 2014
Director: Jose Padilha
Stars: Joel Kinnaman, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Gary Oldman, Jay Baruchel, Miguel Ferrer
Ah, remakes and reboots. They're the proof that Hollywood has lost all original thought. This version of Robocop just looks cool, though. I loved the original with Peter Weller. And Michael Keaton and Gary Oldman are two of my favorite actors today. So, will it be good? Who can say? If the studio had faith in it, it would have been released during the summer. Then again, even the original was a sleeper hit and this one looks to be far less campy, which by itself is a very good thing.
Release Date: February 28, 2014
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Stars: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery
Liam Neeson is an air marshal and somewhere on board the plane, there is a killer who wants to try his patience. I don't know about you, but I'm betting on Neeson here. The only thing that troubles me, though, is the timing of the release. Then again, Taken did extremely well in January of 2009.
Release Date: March 7, 2014
Director: Noam Murro
Stars: Sullivan Stapleton, Rodrigo Santoro, Eva Green, Lena Headey, David Wenham
300: Rise of an Empire
The first movie was a visual feast, whcih was apropos given that it was based on a graphic novel. This time, though, Gerard Butler won't be the focus of the story - after all, his character died in the first. The new male stars hold no recognition for me...but then again, that's not always a bad thing.
Release Date: March 7, 2014
Director: Wes Anderson
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Saoirse Ronan, Jude Law, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson, Willem Dafoe
The Grand Budapest Hotel
From what I know of the story and what I've seen from the previews, this is going to be one entertainingly eccentric and surreal comedy. The cast list, though, is what mainly attracts me here. Quite a few names that I normally don't associate with comedic fare have signed on, and that always intrigues me.
Release Date: March 21, 2014
Director: James Bobin
Stars: Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey and a whole mess of Hollywood cameos
Muppets Most Wanted
Okay, so the Muppets aren't the same as they once were. But it's THE MUPPETS! What more can we ask for? The last film was very entertaining and with Ricky Gervais and Tina Fey heading up the human side of the cast, this can't be all bad. Guess we'll have to wait and see.
Release Date: March 28, 2014
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Stars: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkin, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman
It's been a while since we've seen a true epic of biblical proportions on the big screen. This one harkens back to the days of the Cecil B. DeMille gargantuan screen chomping excess that made him a household name around the spring holidays (The Ten Commandments, anyone?) Here, Russell Crowe takes on the role of the master ship builder at a time when immorality was at an all time high on Earth. Curious that filmmakers should update this story now given the rampant immorality so prevalent in today's society. Are they trying to tell us something?
Release Date: April 4, 2014
Director: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
Stars: Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford, Sebastian Stan
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The Captain was always one of my favorite characters in the comics I read when I was younger. He espoused the patriotism I always loved and respected, but he was also not a real "superhero" in the sense that he had outrageous powers. Sure, the superserum gave him strength, but his true "power" if you will, was bringing other heroes together. I'm looking forward to seeing the direction they take this franchise.
May Through August
Be sure to check back soon. My next installment in this series will be out shortly when I highlight the summer blockbusters I'm most looking forward to.