No matter how much the internet will argue over which film should win which award, everybody can admit that it’s been a good year for film . 2014 looks to be just as packed with potential.
To be fair, most of these are big studio films- it’s harder to find information on indies, though I’m sure there are many out there I’m overlooking. Oftentimes, I’ll include a movie just because I like its cast or tagline. There’s no real way to predict the future, but here we go.
The Lego Movie (February 7)
My brother and I were raised on Legos. The coolest thing about them was the ability to take whatever pieces you want and mash them up- ninjas vs. pirates, rock monsters vs. medieval knights, and so on. Combine the comedy skills of writer/directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord with every franchise in Lego’s history, an A-list cast, and a cool, stop-motion influenced animation style, and this looks like a great movie. Plus, Will Arnett as Batman.
Robocop (February 12)
The anticipation for this one has been mixed, mostly due to the disinterest in a remake. However, I still have hope, due to the cast including Michael Keaton, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, and Joel Kinnaman, who was one of the only good parts of the awful The Killing. The remake has the potential to examine the current state of military/surveillance technology, much like Her did for consumer/personal computing and relationships. It’s hard to tell.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (March 7)
Wasn’t a big Moonrise Kingdom fan, but Wes Anderson’s next looks really good. I love how each shot looks flat like a diorama, but the depth is used to great effect.
Grand Piano (March 7)
Elijah Wood plays a pianist forced to keep playing without making any wrong notes by an assassin. Looks like it has a very Hitchcockian flair for the theatrical.
Muppets Most Wanted (March 21)
Though I had mixed feelings about the first movie, the trailer for the sequel looks to be much funnier, taking the gang back to the more action-packed mode of The Great Muppet Caper.
Noah (March 28)
Pi, Requiem for a Dream, and Black Swan have cemented that I’ll always be in for whatever Darren Aronofsky wants to do. I’ve been staying away from spoilers on this one, but I’m excited.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4)
While I’m a bit biased on this one, I have a feeling it’s going to be something cool. Even though only a bit was shot in Washington, D.C., it’s very D.C. centric, and from the trailer, it looks like the action from the first one continues to be awesome while giving the Captain a new status quo as a man out of time.
Oculus (April 18)
Indie horror about an evil mirror starring Karen Gillen of Doctor Who fame. Mostly just included for Karen Gillen, but the premise sounds cool too.
Neighbors (May 9)
The trailer for this one was surprisingly funny, and I’m a fan of director Nicholas Stoller’s Get Him to the Greek and Fun with Dick and Jane (I’m pinning my disappointment with The Muppets mostly on Disney). Plus, it features a Robert DeNiro-themed frat party.
X-Men: Days of Future Past (May 23)
More excited for the combined cast from the original movies and First Class on this one than the movie itself. Is that weird?
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 11)
The sequel to 2011’s prequel, Dawn trades in James Franco for Gary Oldman and Jason Clarke, while featuring a suitably apocalyptic director in Cloverfield’s Matt Reeves. The fact that the studio has faith for Reeves in hiring him for the next one bodes well.
Jupiter Ascending (July 18- hey, my birthday!)
Mixed feelings about the trailer/stills released so far, but Cloud Atlas was amazing (my favorite movie of 2012), so I’ll give the Wachowskis the benefit of the doubt. Their new Netflix show sounds really cool, though.
Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1)
Marvel takes a chance on a weirder property, featuring Andy from Parks and Recreation, a green-skinned female assassin, a talking Scottish raccoon, and a living tree. Definitely not the Avengers, and if the footage during the end credits of Thor: The Dark World is any indication, James Gunn is going to make this as weird as he can.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (August 22)
I’m always up for a Robert Rodriguez film, even if his latest films- Machete Kills and Spy Kids 4- haven’t exactly pushed the bar. Hey, did you see that Rodriguez is directing and producing a television series based on From Dusk Til Dawn? That sounds fun, as does a “Latin James Bond” series also in development for his new television network.
The Green Inferno (September 5)
“A group of student activists travel from New York City to the Amazon to save a dying tribe but crash in the jungle and are taken hostage by the very natives they protected.” Sound fun.
The Boxtrolls (September 25)
If you haven’t seen 2012’s Paranorman, go out and see it now. Animation studio LAIKA’s last film tempered the creepy vibe of Coraline with plenty of humor, and their next looks to continue the trend of beautifully animated stop-motion flicks.
Gone Girl (October 3)
Fincher’s been on a roll lately with The Social Network, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and directing/producing House of Cards (though I’m a bit biased on that last one). Looking forward to his next.
The Interview (October 10)
A talk show host (James Franco) and his producer (Seth Rogen) find themselves in over their heads when they get involved in a plot to assassinate the leader of North Korea.
The Judge (October 10)
A successful lawyer (Robert Downey Jr.) returns to his hometown for his mother’s funeral only to discover that his estranged father (Robert Duvall), the town’s judge, is suspected of murder. Interested to see how Downey does in a drama outside of the superhero sphere.
The Hobbit: There and Back Again (December 17)
The second part of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy improved on the first by adding more danger, a dragon, and a darker tone. Here’s hoping the final film will continue the trend.
Into the Woods (December 25)
Back when I was a kid, I did a lot of musical theater camps, including playing “Sleeping Beauty’s Prince” in “Into the Woods, Jr.” However, I eventually learned that Into the Woods is extremely dark, a Sondheim musical mashing up fairy tales and throwing characters into existential crises of aging, death, and betrayal. The cast, including Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, and James Corden, should be interesting to watch, though director Rob Marshall has a shaky track record lately (Nine, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides). If Disney is faithful to the musical, it could either be good, but the alternative could be a hell of a mess.
Sometime in 2014
Danny DeVito directs an “apocalyptic thriller about three people trapped in a hospital,” starring William Fitchner, Lance Reddick (who is awesome), Constance Zimmer (Janine on HOC), and Lawrence Gilliard, Jr. (D’Angelo on The Wire). Read DeVito talk about the movie here and just try not to get excited.
Last but not least, here’s the trailer for a movie I worked on two summers ago by Penn State’s own Rod Bingaman and Maura Shea. It’s a musical about a 1960’s band (think The Beatles or Herman’s Hermits) accidentally sent into space, where they land on a planet in the midst of a war between the men and women. It’s in post production now, and I can’t wait to see how it comes out!
Update: Inherent Vice
I forgot about this one because no release date has been set yet, but it will most certainly be on my list to see. Paul Thomas Anderson directs an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s novel about a stoner private eye navigating the seedy Los Angeles of the late 70’s. Anderson reunites with The Master’s Joaquin Phoenix and composer Jonny Greenwood, as well as longtime cinematographer Robert Elswit, in what is sure to be a visually amazing, sprawling epic.
Update: Boyhood (working title)
Richard Linklater’s been working on this one for twelve years, and for good reason- the story follows the relationship between a boy and his parents from ages 6 to 18, using the same actors as they age through natural time. It’s sure to be an interesting experiment.
Update: The Zero Theorem
I’m not sure when Terry Gilliam’s next movie will be released, but I’m always excited for his films. This one sounds like Brazil for a new age- a computer hacker (Christoph Waltz) attempts to discover the reason for human existence while dealing with interruptions from the bureaucracy.
Update: Mood Indigo
Continuing the trend of filmmakers I like with films in release limbo, Michel Gondry’s next looks like a return to his imaginative roots.
Update: Bad Words (March 28)
Jason Bateman directs and stars in a very R-rated comedy about an adult who decides to hijack a national spelling bee. NSFW trailer here.
For a look back at my favorite movies of 2013, click here. You can find a complete list of all my reviews here.