While I am still a fair distance from completing my “worst of” and “best of” lists for 2013, I am already getting very very excited about the movies that are going to hit our screens in 2014. This year promises to be an epic one in terms of big screen blockbusters, much-anticipated sequels and remakes, high-profile projects of top directors and some intriguing fresh stuff. I’m excited.
Without further ado, these are my 15 most anticipated movies of 2014, ranked in descending order. Stick around after the list for an even longer list of movies that missed the cut (that I really want to and will probably see anyway) and more!
15. Jupiter Ascending
The Wachowskis (The Matrix, Cloud Atlas) always tackle big, ambitious projects, which is why I am really looking forward to their next one, Jupiter Ascending, about a universe where humans are at the bottom of the evolutionary ladder. It stars Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum and Sean Bean, who will almost certainly die in it.
14. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
The second installment in the Spiderman reboot should be better than the first, which I felt was a little too similar to the Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire one from just a few years ago. I do like Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone as the leads more, and this time the villains are played by favourites Jamie Foxx (Electro) and Paul Giamattie (The Rhino). Also good to see the kid from Chronicle (Dane Dehaan) score the Harry Osborne role. The trailer looks awesome too.
13.Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Even though I had anticipated it to be lame, I ended up really enjoyed the first Captain America, and I think the sequel, set after the events in The Avengers, has the potential to be even better with an old buddy coming back as the enemy and the addition of screen legend Robert Redford. I think it will dovetail nicely into The Avengers sequel and provide more grit and emotional impact than its predecessor. Despite all of this, I wouldn’t have put it in my top 15 had I had seen the trailer, which blew me away.
12. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1
No trailer out yet but if the first two films in The Hunger Games trilogy are anything to go by, then the first half of the finale, Mockingjay, promises to be one heck of an ending. I must admit, this was close to missing the list because I had already read the book and I’m still peeved that it has it been split into two parts for greedy reasons. And the second reason makes me concerned that there could be a lot of fillers and not a lot of action. Still, I am really looking forward to it. Besides, anything with Jennifer Lawrence in it makes this list.
11. The Hobbit: There and Back Again
After about 100 hours of on-screen drama and action, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit will finally conclude, and I don’t doubt that it will be awesome. Admittedly, some people have been disappointed with the first two installments, but I remain highly intrigued as to how Jackson will continue to expand the LOTR universe and bestow upon us the final chapter, which is where all the action is — at least in the book — anyway.
10. Edge of Tomorrow
Tom Cruise may be certifiably insane, but he still knows how to pick good roles in blockbuster movies. Edge of Tomorrow is pretty much Independence Day meets Groundhog Day/Source Code — a soldier fighting against aliens is caught in a time loop of his last day. It could be bad, but it could also be spectacular, and my guess is leaning to the latter. Check out the trailer and try to tune out the annoying music.
I know, I know, Godzilla has been done a gazillion times and the last time Hollywood gave it a go in 1998 it was widely panned. But there is cause for optimism this time because it is directed by Gareth Edwards, maker of the critically acclaimed Monsters from 2010, and stars Kick-Ass himself, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, as well as Heisenberg, Bryan Cranston. And after a slew of successful monster movies in recent years such as Cloverfield and Pacific Rim, it may be that Hollywood has finally figured out how to tackle the iconic beast.
The premise is a bit iffy — a terminally ill scientist downloads his body into a computer — but because it stars Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Kata Mara, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy and Paul Bettany I’m very interested in seeing how Transcendence pans out. At the very least it should be a visually stunning film as it is directed by Wally Pfister, cinematographer of Inception and The Dark Knight. If they approach it intelligently it has the potential to be this year’s Inception or a stylish cult classic.
It’s no secret that I think Taken is one of the best action flicks of all time, which is why I am sooooo looking forward to Non-Stop, which may have a lame title but reunites Liam Neeson and director Jaume Collet-Serra. In short, this is shaping up to be Taken on a plane (and all the passengers are Maggie Grace), and while I doubt it can re-capture the magic of Taken it should still be a white-knuckle adrenaline ride that promises to feature a lot of serious ass-kicking.
I’ve been hearing about the Robocop remake forever, and this year it’s finally hitting our screens. The original is a classic and one of the films I loved as a kid, and reports claim that this will be a clever reboot that is fresh while paying homage to its predecessor at the same time. And of course it will have spectacular special effects and tremendous action sequences. The trailer definitely raises the expectations.
Director Ridley Scott, Christian Bale, Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul, Sigourney Weaver and Joel Edgerton. There’s no trailer yet and not a lot of information about it, but Exodus is gearing up to be one epic “interpretation” of the exodus of jews from Egypt as led by Moses. Batman, by the way, is Moses! I’m not exactly sure what to expect from this but I am definitely intrigued because the names attached to the film indicate that it should be totally excellent.
Anything Christopher Nolan makes, I watch. And how’s this for a synopsis: “A group of explorers make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.” Oh, and the film stars Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain and Michael Caine. ‘Nuff said. Could be the movie of the year.
3. Gone Girl
One of the best books I read last year was Gillian Flynn’s psychological thriller Gone Girl, which promptly made me go out and read her other two books, Dark Places and Sharp Objects. I was interested when I heard about a film adaptation and exploded with excitement when I heard David Fincher was directing it. Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck, believe it or not, seem like excellent casting choices too. Done right, this story about a housewife who disappears and leaves her husband as the prime suspect could leave my jaw on the floor just like the book did.
2. X-Men: Days of Future Past
I’ve been a fan of all the X-Men movies and thought the “young version” with Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class) was the best one yet. This one promises to blow all of them away. It’s an extremely difficult and ambitious project to include pretty much all the characters from the old and new franchises — yes, that includes Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Ellen Page and everyone else — but if director Bryan Singer can pull off the time travel concept it has the potential to be the best superhero movie EVER.
1. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Of all the films coming out this year, there is one I want to see more than any other — and it’s not even close! After the mindblowing awesomeness of Rise of the Planet of the Apes — which was surprisingly my favourite film of 2011 — can you blame me? There’s no James Franco this time but Andy Serkis’s Caesar still is, and he’s joined by the likes of Gary Oldman, Kerry Russell, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Jason Clarke. With improving special effects, the apes are looking better than ever, and the action appears ready to take off from the get-go. I can’t wait!
Read on to see the 21 movies that missed the cut.
Missing the cut (in no particular order)
The Lego Movie
Those who have played those Lego video games will know that this has the potential to be one of the funniest movies of the year. With voice cast including Chris Pratt, Morgan Freeman, Elizabeth Banks Liam Neeson, Will Ferrell, Channing Tatum, Charlie Day and Will Arnett, there’s a lot of star power behind it. I was totally ready to put this in my top 15 until I saw the trailer and realised how lame and unfunny it looked. Now I think it could be a huge disappointment
So there are two Bible movies this year. I put Exodus on the list and left Noah — starring Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman and Jennifer Connelly — even though it’s directed by Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, The Wrestler). It could well be the better film, but the Noah’s Ark story just doesn’t really cut it for me (I mean, it had been done before in Evan Almighty already, right?), but I do expect the special effects to be spectacular. As long as Russell Crowe doesn’t sing and Logan Lerman doesn’t turn into Percy Jackson it should be pretty awesome.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
I must admit I don’t know much about the iconic Tom Clancy character Jack Ryan (haven’t seen ANY of the movies), who has been portrayed by the likes of Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck. This time, it’s Chris Pine, and his version of a young Jack Ryan is joined by Kevin Costner and Kiera Knightley. Most of all, it’s directed by Kenneth Branagh, so expect there to be some depth and emotion.
The Monuments Men
Looks very promising — George Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett and Bill Murray star in a film about a WWII platoon tasked with rescuing art pieces from Nazi thieves. True story too, apparently, AND it’s directed by George Clooney, so it’s guaranteed to be classy.
Another WWII movie, about a group of Americans in Nazi Germany. This time it’s with Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman and Shia LeBeouf. Directed by David Ayer (End of Watch, Training Day), so you know it’s going to be gritty and realistic. Not a lot of info about it right now but I’m sure more will be unveiled in due course.
300: Rise of an Empire
This would have been near the top of my list a few years ago, but I think it’s been far too long since the original 300 (released 2006) and a lot of the excitement has worn off, especially since this film has been in the woodwork for so long. But hey, the trailer looks interesting and even though it won’t be as fresh as 300 the action should be equally stylish and brutal.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Similar to 300: Rise of An Empire, this one has also been unreleased for far too long (the original Sin City was released in 2005). And there’s STILL no trailer, which is a bit of a concern. On the bright side there are some big names being added to some of the returning cast, including Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin, Eva Green, Jeremy Piven, and yes, Lady Gaga.
Transformers: Age of Extinction
After the last two sorry installments in this franchise it’s hard to get up for yet another Transformers movie, but this one looks like a reboot with Shia LeBeouf out of the picture and Marky Mark Wahlberg as his replacement. That alone gives the film more potential, but since it’s still going to be directed by Michael Bay I’m going to have to keep my expectations firmly in check.
Need for Speed
I’m not a racing or car fan, so this usually wouldn’t be the type of movie for me. But it IS headlined by one of my favourite dudes in the whole world, Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul, so I guess I’ll just have to support it.
22 Jump Street
It’s predecessor, 21 Jump Street, based on the Johnny Depp TV series from the late 80s, was a surprise hit for me. Who would have thought that Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum would make such a great comedic duo? But these type of sequels rarely live up to expectations so I’m not going to get my hopes up.
The Raid 2: Berandal
The Raid: Redemption is one of the greatest action flicks ever. If you haven’t seen this Indonesian flick about a cop stuck in a slum filled with psycho badasses then I recommend you stop whatever you’re doing right now and check it out. So naturally, this sequel, supposedly set shortly after the events of the first film, is generating a lot of hype, but it’s hard to imagine it living up to it. The trailer looks decent but is perhaps too stylized.
Not to be confused with the Kellan Lutz movie The Legend of Hercules, which is about to be released soon and is likely to be complete trash. This one has The Rock, and that immediately makes it a lot more enticing, though not a lot of info has been released thus far.
Hands of Stone
The boxing fan in me is looking forward to this one, about the legendary Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran. Gael Garcia Bernal plays the titular legend while Usher plays Sugar Ray Leonard. The Raging Bull himself, Robert De Niro, is also going to be in this one, so that makes it all the more promising.
Luc Besson directs Scarlett Johansson in this movie about a drug mule who gains supernatural powers. This film has sparked a lot of buzz in Taiwan as part of it is filmed there, though the local paparazzi damn near drove them out.
Jake Gyllenhaal film about LA’s freelance crime journalism world. Sounds very interesting but not a lot known about it so far Iit’s in post-production) except that it’ll be the directorial debut of Dan Gilroy, who did the story for Real Steel and the screenplay for The Bourne Legacy. He’s doing the screenplay for this as well.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The turtles will always have a special place in my heart, and I thought the puppet version made in 1990 was pretty good. This new reboot will have computer animated turtles (motion capture) with Megan Fox as April O’Neill, which lowers my expectations, though William Fichtner has signed on to play Shredder, so that evens it out a little. Rumor is that Krang, Beebop and Rocksteady could be in it as well!
Another fairytale re-imagining, this time of Sleeping Beauty. The titular character and villain will be played by Angelina Jolie, with Sleeping Beauty to be played by Dakota’s sister, Elle Fanning (from Super 8). The trailer looks a little meh if you ask me, but I think it will be better than the likes of Red Riding Hood and Snow White and the Huntsman.
Before I Go to Sleep
Based on SJ Watson’s bestseller (which I have not read), this is about a woman who has that same syndrome as Drew Barrymore in 50 First Dates (she loses her memory every time she goes to sleep), but for some reason I don’t think this is a comedy. It stars Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong. Could it be like Memento?
Guardians of the Galaxy
Yet another Marvel superhero movie about a bunch of very weird looking and cartoonish characters. I know nothing about this franchise but it looks it’s targeting younger audiences. It stars Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana and VIn Diesel, but I imagine they could be unrecognisable under their make-up and/or special effects.
Angelina Jolie directs this war drama about Olympic athlete Louis Zamperini, who becomes a prisoner of war during WWII. The Coen brothers wrote the script so it could have a real edge to it. Sounds promising.
Dumb and Dumber To
Last, but not least, the official sequel to Dumb and Dumber, made exactly 20 years ago. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels will reportedly be back to reprise their respective roles as Lloyd and Harry. The first film is kind of a guilty pleasure/cult classic so I admit I am looking forward to some stupid laughs.
Sabotage — DEA vs drug cartel action thriller starring Arnie and Sam Worthington.
The Equalizer — Denzel stars as a veteran covert operative seeking redemption. Also stars Chloe Grace Moretz and Melissa Leo.
Serena — Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper team up again for a Depression era drama.
The Grand Budapest Hotel — adventures of a hotel concierge, starring Ralph Fiennes, Jude Law and Saoirse Ronan.
I, Frankenstein — Aaron Eckhart stars in this Frankenstein re-imagining action flick.
Draft Day — NFL drama starring Kevin Costner.
3 Days to Kill — Kevin Costner again as a dying Secret Service Agent trying to rekindle his relationship with his daughter.
The Creed of Violence — Christian Bale stars as an assassin in the early 1900s.
Knight of Cups — Christian Bale, Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett star in this Terrence Malick flick.
The Expendables 3 — no explanation necessary.
A Million Ways to Die in the West — comedy western starring Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson and Neil Patrick Harris; directed by Ted’s Seth MacFarlane.
Divergent — adaptation of the international sci-fi bestseller starring Shailene Woodley and Kate Winslet.
Everest — Benedict Cumberbatch takes on the tallest mountain in the world.
How to Catch a Monster — Ryan Gosling directs this fantasy thriller starring Saoirse Ronan, Christina Hendricks and Eva Mendes.
Jane Got a Gun — Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor star in this western drama.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon II: The Green Destiny — yes, they are making a sequel, this time with Donnie Yen, but it won’t be directed by Ang Lee.
Resident Evil 6 — more of the same.
Solace — a psychic works with the police to track down a serial killer. Stars Colin Farrell, Abbie Cornish and Anthony Hopkins.
The Captive — Ryan Reynolds plays a father trying to track down his kidnapped daughter. Directed by Atom Egoyan.
Horrible Bosses 2 — yawn.
Welcome to Yesterday — teenagers build a time machine, for real.
Child 44 — a disgraced agent looks into a series of child murders. Stars Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace.
Pompeii — epic set in 79AD starring Kit Harrington from Game of Thrones, Emily Browning and Kiefer Sutherland.
Reasonable Doubt — Samuel L Jackson stars in this film about a district attorney involved in a hit and run.
Into the Woods — fairytale re-imagining starring Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt and Chris Pine.
A Most Wanted Man — terrorism movie starring Rachel McAdams and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Vampire Academy — based on the books.
Annie — remake of the classic, starring Rose Byrne, Cameron Diaz and Jamie Foxx.
Magic in the Moonlight — Woody Allen flick starring Emma Stone, Colin Firth and Jacki Weaver.
Let the watching begin!