2014 is finally here and while we had some great films in 2013, we have just as many to look forward to this year. We take a look at some of the most highly anticipated movies of the new year
The Lone Survivor
Technically released on Christmas Day last week, it was only to two theaters in hopes of an awards push. It will debut nationwide January 14th. Starring Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch, Taylor Kitsch and Eric Bana, it tells the story of a botched SEAL mission in the hills of Afghanistan. It is based on the true story of Marcus Luttrell, the only member of the unit to live and tell what exactly happened. Early reviews have been strong, and this looks like a powerful story of courage, strength, and ultimately the horrors and dangers our troops face day in and day out.
The Monuments Men
George Clooney wrote, directed, and starred in this movie. It revolves around a specialized unit of soldier in the midst of WWII, who are tasked with locating and recovering timeless pieces of art that have been taken by the Nazis. They have to do all this before the Nazis destroy the art, and erase precious culture and milestones of history. With a stellar cast that includes Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, and Bill Murray, it is enough to compel one to go and see it. A combo of Goodman and Murray alone is enough to warrant my interest. But it will be interesting to see how Clooney works together the triple threat of duties with this one.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
It is at a point where a comic book movie automatically falls into “anticipated.” Chris Evans returns to adventure as the patriotic soldier. This time, Marvel has added the legendary Robert Redford to the cast, along with Anthony Mackie to play “The Falcon,” one of the first African American superheroes. Even though I thought the first movie was the weak link of the Avenger standalones, Marvel has pretty much lured us all in to seeing every one of their movies; even it is just for sake of keeping up with the greater universe’s storyline, or the post credit scenes that accompany all the releases. (Ironically, some look forward to those more so than the actual movie in full)
This one is interesting. It is Wally Pfister’s directorial debut. Pfister is best known as Christopher Nolan’s cinematographer, (literally did it for all Nolan’s movies). He puts this feature together with Johnny Depp leading the charge. It could be refreshing to see Depp tackle material that isn’t Disney oriented or “The Tourist.” The story revolves around technology and artificial intelligence. Depp’s scientist believes in creating a machine with all the knowledge ever known complete with full human emotion. He is of course wanted ousted by anti-tech people, and then an accident allows him to fully embrace his own ideas and research firsthand. A bit confusing and strange right now, but throw in Nolan as a producer, and his frequent collaborators in Morgan Freeman, Cilian Murphy, and newcomer Rebecca Hall, and I’ll go see it based on the reputation of this crew.
The Amazing Spiderman 2
Andrew Garfield returns as Peter Parker, alongside Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy. It’ll be interesting to see if this sequel can overcome to problem that destroyed the first Spiderman trilogy, which was too many villains in the third movie. Here, we’ll have Jamie Foxx’s Electro, Dale DeHaan’s Harry Osborne (Green Goblin), and Paul Giamatti’s Rhino. Not to mention the elder Norman Osborn, who was also the Green Goblin before his son was. Sony has already announced this film will set up numerous sequels and spinoffs, including the notorious sinister six. So, how they execute and lay bricks for the future with those gigantic plans makes this movie worthy of being hotly anticipated.
It has been nearly 16 years since the horrid project that was a “Godzilla” remake with Matthew Broderick hit us in 1998. Legendary pictures are hoping they can reignite the interest and power of this storied monster that originated in Japan. What they’ve done is brought about writer Frank Darabont to pen the script (“Walking Dead,” “Mob City”). They’ve also added Elizabeth Olsen, and Aaron Taylor Johnson, who are both rising up the grid. Throw in, yes, Bryan Cranston, who has a strong cult following due to “Breaking Bad’s” success, and you can pretty much assure this movie will have a decent turnout based on the Walter White devotees alone.
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Yet another Marvel comic movie. “First Class” was a huge success. So what Fox did was bring back Bryan Singer, who helped helm the successes of the original trilogy, and also brought those actors along with him. The result is the combination of incredible young and old talent of both X franchises, making use of one of the most beloved X-Men storylines: Days of Future Past. It involves time travel and altering history. The movie will use Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine as the man tasked with traveling and accomplishing this mission, working with both characters from both series. It was also recently announced that the Apocalypse storyline would be following this project, with Singer returning. In short, this is yet another comic feature with epic proportions and a future on the line.
22 Jump Street
“21 Jump Street” turned out to be an enormous success, critically and financially. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum turned out to be a great team, and the movie was an awesome, funny update to the late 80’s Johnny Depp TV series. Phil Lord and Chris Miller return to direct, along with the aforementioned acting duo. The movie promises more vulgarity, comedic insanity, and straight craziness that made the first one enjoyable. It will follow Hill and Tatum as they proceed through college. Ice Cube also returns as their Captain, after a rollicking performance in the first entry.
I had to include this one just because of bias. I’m a Frankie Valli and Four Seasons fan. Clint Eastwood, interestingly enough, is directing this story based off of the hugely successful musical stage play that was put on across the country. It’ll obviously be a film version of the founding and rise of one of music’s most successful and beloved early pop acts. Christopher Walken also stars, and the band members will be played by up and comers.
(No trailer released yet)
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
The sequel to 2011’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” this will star Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, and Andy Serkis reprising his role as ape leader Caesar. It is set 10-15 years after the original, where the virus has decimated human population. The enhanced apes have also been breeding, and a new generation has risen behind them. This sets the stage for an all out war between the remaining humans and apes for planet Earth.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel’s last release before “Avengers 2” hits in 2015, this is based off source material only true comic buffs will know. To be quick, it involves a human who travels to deep ends of space to defend the galaxy, and a bunch of other space players. The cast includes many big names, including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Benicio Del Toro, John C Reily, Glenn Close, Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel. Thanos, introduced in post credits Avengers, is supposed to be the villain. Del Toro is “The Collector,” decked out in some riotous gear. Cooper plays a talking, marksman raccoon, and Diesel will play and voice a fighting tree. You did in fact just read those last two statements.
(No trailer released yet)
Last, but certainly not least, Christopher Nolan returns. His first post Batman movie is Interstellar. In true Nolan fashion, plot details are shrouded in mystery and kept in secret. What we do know is that it revolves around a wormhole, and a group of space travelers who pursue it and redefine what humanity knows about space exploration and limitation. Nolan is at a point in his career where everyone in the world wants to get on board with him, and everyone in the world wants to watch. The cast includes Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Casey Affleck, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, and Matt Damon to say the least. It will be released in November, in the heart of awards season. It seems Nolan may finally be in play for Academy recognition. All this makes this movie, in my opinion, easily the most anticipated of 2014.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1
Jennifer Lawrence and the continuance of her massively successful Hunger Games franchise. Enough said.
(No trailer released yet)
The Hobbit: There and Back Again
Peter Jackson’s finale to his “Hobbit” trilogy, his prequels to the milestone “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. The diehards will flock to it, families too, warranting it a place on this list.
(No trailer released yet)
“300: Rise of an Empire”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Lego Movie”
“How to Train Your Dragon 2”
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”
“Sin City: A Dame to Kill For”
“Dumb and Dumber To”
“Into the Woods”