It’s a new year and film fans are looking forward to this year’s crop of movies. Some are more anticipated than others. Here is an alphabetical list of 14 of my most eagerly awaited films for 2014.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2: The first of several planned sequels to The Amazing Spider-Man ups the ante this time with three villains: Electro (Jamie Foxx), the Rhino (Paul Giamatti) and the Green Goblin (Chris Cooper). There is also a rumor that Felicity Jones may be playing the Black Cat. In the film, our arachnid hero learns more about the mystery of his parent’s deaths while the threat from Oscorp and its reclusive owner Norman Osborn begins to grow. Andrew Garfield reprises his role of the heroic Peter Parker/Spider-Man, and Emma Stone is back as his lovely love interest Gwen Stacy. Marc Webb directs. The film comes out on May 2 nd.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier: The living legend of WW2 is back in the sequel to Captain America: the First Avenger. The Captain is adjusting to life in the 21st century, but a close friend from the past will become a deadly enemy in the present. Like the Spider-Man sequel, this one has a more crowded playing field than the original. Aside from Chris Evans returning as the Red, White & Blue Avenger, the film also stars Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow; Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury; Sebastian Stan as Bucky/the Winter Soldier; Anthony Mackie as the Falcon; Toby Jones as Arnim Zola; Frank Grillo as Crossbones; Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill; and Robert Redford as Pierce. Anthony and Joe Russo direct. The movie comes out on April 4th.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: The first film in the series, Rise of the Planet of the Apes was one of those rare reboots that does justice to the original film (it was based on Conquest of the Planet of the Apes). The new film (which is based on Battle for the Planet of the Apes) will pick up the thread from the last film, with a growing nation of genetically-evolved apes led by Caesar being threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating plague unleashed 15 years earlier. They reach a tenuous peace but it proves short-lived and both sides are brought to the brink of war. Andy Serkis is back in motion-capture mode, playing Caesar. Keri Russell and Gary Oldman co-star. Matt Reeves takes over the directing chair. It opens on July 11th.
The Expendables 3: Sylvester Stallone’s actions franchise rolls on, adding new muscle to the cast. This time, the team faces off against Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), who co-founded the group years ago before leaving to become an arms dealer. Along with Sly and Mel, the cast includes Jason Statham, Jet Li, Antonio Bandaras, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Kelsey Grammer, Harrison Ford and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Patrick Hughes directs. The movie comes out on August 15th.
Godzilla: This is the most eagerly awaited movie of 2014 for some of us here at Cinelinx. To celebrate his 60th birthday, (the original Gojira came out in 1954) Godzilla is stomping back to theaters in a big-budget reboot, which will take place partially in America. Let’s hope this one helps erase the memory of the 1998 TriStar debacle. The film stars Aaron Taylor Johnson, Elisabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston and Ken Watanabe. It’s directed by relative newcomer Gareth Edwards. Godzilla comes out on May 16th.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Marvel/Disney is taking a calculated risk by making a film out of this rather obscure group of comic book heroes. If it pays off, it will add a cosmic element to the connected franchises, such as the Avengers. The story concerns a human pilot (Chris Pratt) who ends up in space and gets caught up in a universal conflict. He goes on the run with intergalactic fugitives who have something everyone wants. The film also stars Zoe Saldana, Michael Rooker, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Benicio Del Toro, John C. Reilly, Glen Close and the voices of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel. James Gunn is directing. The film will be out on August 1st.
The Hobbit: There and Back Again: The third and final part of the Hobbit trilogy will come out next year. Don’t expect anything the caliber of the Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, but it should be entertaining. Because the series is being stretched out far beyond the material from the book, it won’t be an accurate interpretation of the last part of the novel, but let’s hope it’s as imaginative a revisioning as the first two parts. The film stars Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Cate Blanchett, Sylvester McCoy, Evangeline Lily, Stephen Fry and Benedict Cumberbatch. As with the entire trilogy, Peter Jackson Directs. The third Hobbit film comes out December 13 th.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1: The third chapter of the highly successful franchise will be out in 2014, only one year after the previous installment (Currently in theaters). In part three, young heroine Katniss Everdeen reluctantly becomes the symbol of the rebellion against the autocratic Capitol. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Natalie Dormer and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Francis Lawrence is in the director’s chair. The film is scheduled for November 21 st.
Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return: Dorothy Gale is back in Oz again in this CGI adaptation of a book written by Roger Baum, grandson of original Oz creator Frank Baum. In this one, Dorothy (voice of Lea Michele) is magically transported back to the land of Oz and finds it decaying and empty. As she journeys to find her missing friends from her previous trip, she encounters new companions and faces a villain called the Jester. Along with Michele, the film boasts the voices of Patrick Stewart, Dan Aykroyd, Bernadette Peters, Martin Short, Kelsey Grammer, James Belushi and Oliver Platt. The directors are Will Finn and Dan St. Pierre. It’s due out on May 9th.
Maleficent: Fairy tale revisions have been all the rage over the past few years, and Maleficent is the latest. It retells the story of Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of the story’s usual villain Maleficent (Angelina Jolie). Elle Fanning plays the sleeping beauty Aurora. The co-stars include Sharlto Copley, Imelda Staunton and Miranda Richardson. Robert Stromberg is the director. Maleficent will be out on May 30th.
Robocop: This remake of the original Robocop (1987) will apparently have less of the social commentary of the original and will focus more on the internal trauma of a man finding himself turned into a robot. In this version, set in 2018, Omni-Corp is the king of robotics and has become hugely successful making military drones. Their idea to use their robot-tech in the domestic drug war comes to fruition when honest cop and family man Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is shot down in the line of duty and thus turned into Robocop. They see him as a crime-fighting robot but there is still a man with a soul inside the machinery. The co-stars include Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earl Haley, Miguel Ferrer and Samuel L. Jackson. Directing duties are handled by Jose Padilha. Robocop comes out in theaters on February 12th.
300: Rise of an Empire: This long-delayed sequel to 300 will take a different approach from its predecessor and focus on the naval battles between Persia and Greece. After a victory over Spartan King Leonidas' 300, the Persian Army under the command of Xerxes comes to conquer the other cities of Greece, but Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) attempts to unite all of Greece in the defense of the country and jumpstart the creation of the Greek Empire. Other cast members include Lena Headley, Eva Green, Rodrigo Santoro and David Wenham. Noam Murro directs the film, which opens on March 7th.
Transformers 4: Age of Extinction: Say what you want about this quality of the Transformers films, the franchise keeps steamrolling along, making a profit. Original franchise stars Shia Labeouf and Megan Foxx are gone and now Mark Walhberg is going for the big paycheck, taking on the lead role. In this installment, humankind is cleaning up the debris from the conclusion of Transformers: Dark of the Moon. The Autobots and Decepticons are apparently gone from the planet, but a group of powerful businessman attempt to copy the Transformer tech and push the boundaries of technology beyond what they can control. Meanwhile, a new, powerful Transformer threat is heading to Earth. Along with Walhberg, the cast includes Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Stanley Tucci, Bingbing Li, Sophia Myles and Kelsey Grammer. As usual—for better or worse—the film is directed by Michael Bay. Look for it on June 27th.
X-Men: Days of Future Past: The latest and most ambitious installment in the X-Franchise serves as a sequel to the original X-Men trilogy, as well as to X-Men: First Class and The Wolverine. The film unites cast members of the previous X-films in an epic time-travel saga based on the popular 1981 comic book storyline by Chris Claremont and John Byrne. In the film, Wolverine is sent into the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in catastrophe for both humans and mutants. The large cast includes Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Hugh Jackman, Ellen Page, Halle Berry, Nicholas Hoult, Shawn Ashmore, Peter Evans, Omar Sy and Peter Dinklage. Bryan Singer is in the director’s chair. The film opens on May 23rd.
These are some of the films I'm looking forward to checking out most this year. What are yours?