Movies of Note in 2014

Movie Theater SeatsEvery year, I post a list of films that I am looking forward to seeing at my local cineplex.  This year, the crop looks especially good.  From smaller films by Linklater, Anderson and Hornby to massive films (including two biblical epics!) by Jackson, Nolan, Scott and Aronofsky, this should be a really interesting season so long as you don’t limit yourself to the glut of superhero flicks.  Take a look below and tell me what you think.

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18 Upcoming Films that Either Intrigue or Excite Me

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Boyhood PosterBoyhood – (19 Jan 2014)  Some may argue with this assertion, but I believe Richard Linklater to be one of the most underappreciated voices working in film today (See: the Before Sunrise trilogy, Waking Life, etc…).  And in this movie, which he began shooting annually in 2002, he sets out to tell the 10-year story of a young boy growing through the divorce of his parents.

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hr_The_Monuments_Men_6The Monuments Men – (7 Feb 2014)  Based on a true story from World War II, The Monuments Men follows a group of art historians, museum curators, professors and others as they risk their lives in an attempt to save various cultural artifacts from the Nazi war machine.  Looks to be a great cast with Bill Murray, John Goodman, Matt Damon, and George Clooney.

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MV5BMTg4MDk1ODExN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzIyNjg3MDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_The Lego Movie – (7 Feb 2014)  When an ordinary LEGO minifigure is mistaken to be a Master Builder, he is recruited in a fight to stop an evil villan from gluing the universe together.  While I admit this could be awful, look at the talent pool they’ve gathered (Jonah Hill, Will Ferrell, Will Arnett, Liam Neesen, and Morgan Freeman) and tell me you didn’t smile.

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grand_budapest_hotel_a_pThe Grand Budapest Hotel – (7 Mac 2014)  There’s no doubt it: Wes Anderson is an acquired taste.  But I acquired the taste when I first saw The Royal Tenenbaums; and I’ve never been let down since.  If you’re looking for something offbeat – something completely different than most of what you see in a theater – give this a chance later this spring.

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a-long-way-down-nick-hornbyA Long Way Down – (14 Mar 2014)  When four people come together on New Year’s Eve on the roof of Topper’s House, they come for the purpose of ending their lives.  Sound depressing?  That’s because you haven’t read the novel by Nick Hornby, author of Fever Pitch, High Fidelity and About a Boy.  Bonus: Aaron Paul (“Jesse Pinkman”) of Breaking Bad stars in this film.

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Muppets-Most-Wanted-poster-2852062Muppets Most Wanted – (21 Mar 2014)  I’ll admit it.  I’m a sucker for Muppet movies.  I love everything about them.  So if you can still hear the faint strains of  “I”m a Muppet of a Man” running through your mind, you’ll want to take your kids to see this. Viva la frog!

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darren_aronofsky__s_noah_poster_by_paulrom-d5p5fl9Noah – (28 Mar 2014)  So here’s the $125 million question: what do you get when you take one of the most famous stories in all of Scripture and put it in the hands of one of the most experimental writer-directors working in film today?  Early criticisms notwithstanding, my money is on Aronofsky  (Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, Black Swan).  See the trailer here.

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Bill-murray-st-vincentSt. Vincent de Van Nuys – (11 Apr 2014)  When a young boy struggles to come to terms with his parents’ divorce, he makes an unlikely friend in the form of a misantrhropic, hedonistic war veteran who lives next door.  So why the interest?  Bill Murray.  Nothing more.

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transcendence-26973-poster-xlarge-resizedTranscendence – (18 Apr 2014)  This is one of those films that “intrigues” me more than it truly “excites” me.  On the downside, the story looks a bit like a second rate sci-fi flick.  But on the upside, this is the directorial debut of Wally Pfister, the man who was responsible for filming almost all of Christopher Nolan’s movies (e.g. the Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, etc.).

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x_men__days_of_future_past___fan_poster_2_by_superdude001-d60k72dX-Men: Days of Future Past – (23 May 2014)  In the aftermath of the poorly executed X-Men 3, the producers of this franchise rebooted the series by beginning anew in the past.  Now, armed with a classic time travel storyline, Days of Future Past stands poised to reunite the original films with the prequel, with the potential to “fix” the poorly received events X-Men 3.

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the_fault_in_our_stars_posterThe Fault in Our Stars – (6 Jun 2014)  When 16 year-old Hazel first meets Augustus at a support group for “cancer kids,” she is terminally ill, clinically depressed and obsessed with her favorite novel. So when the two set out to explore a relationship that will be measured in “days and weeks,” they do so with a kind of raw honesty that is as charming as it is elusive and rare.

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how-to-train-your-dragon-2-posterHow to Train Your Dragon 2 – (13 Jun 2014)  While I am not typically a fan of animated sequels (quick, can you name any other than Toy Story 2/3 that actually work?), How to Train Your Dragon was one of the best animated films of the past decade.  How could you not want to at least take a look?

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_8654418The Giver – (15 Aug 2014)  In a world where everything is perfect, where everyone is equal, and where everyone has been assigned a position by the Community, 12-year-old Jonas has been picked as the “Receiver of Memories.” With Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep signed on, this movie has fans of the book eagerly awaiting the end of summer.

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gone-girl-book-coverGone Girl – (3 Oct 2014)  On Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary, she goes missing.  So when Nick starts to become oddly evasive and the evidence begins to mount against him, we are forced to wonder: did he really kill his wife.  Based upon the runaway best-seller by Gillian Flynn, this adaption stars Ben Affleck and is directed by David Fincher.

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interstellar_poster_v1_by_francus321-d6126rsInterstellar – (7 Nov 2014)  With Momento, Insomnia, The Prestige, Inception and The Dark Knight Trilogy all behind him, is there any reason to believe that Christopher Nolan can’t or won’t deliver on his next film? I doubt it.  This is a filmmaker in his prime and once again, he has cut a masterful trailer looks fantastic.

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FFN_IMAGE_51225150|FFN_SET_60070409Fury/Wardaddy – (14 Nov 2014)  With its working title still in flux, Fury/Wardaddy tells the story of a World War II Sheman tank commander (Brad Pitt) on a mission to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.  For some odd reason, tank crews have been largely ignored in the long history of war films, so I’m hopeful that this film can capture something we haven’t seen before.

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MV5BNjI4NzMyODA3M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTkxNTc4MDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_Exodus – (12 Dec 2014)  As the second of two well-funded biblical epics to be released in 2014, this is by far and away the less controversial of the two.  To tell the story, Director Ridley Scott has assembled a top-flight cast including Christian Bale, Aaron Paul (getting some steady work on the heels of Breaking Bad), Sigourney Weaver, and Ben Kingsley.

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The-Desolation-of-SmaugThe Hobbit: There and Back Again – (17 Dec 2014)  By now, it’s all been said.  The Hobbit shouldn’t have been split into three movies.  Check.  The first installment was slow.  Check.  The second installment was much better (but less faithful to the book).  Check.  Time for this thing to close it out.  And for what its worth, I’d love to see Jackson tackle The Silmarillion.

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517gOImApNLUnbroken – (25 Dec 2014)  Based upon a highly acclaimed biography , this is the true story of Louis Zamperini, a one-time Olympic hopeful.  In May of 1943, when Zamperini’s plane was shot down, he and two other airman were left adrift in the Pacific Ocean with nothing but a raft and their wits between them.  What happened next is best experienced with no advanced knowledge.

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Films Expected to Do Well, But … I’m Not Really All That Sure

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Divergent-posterDivergent – (21 Mar 2014)  Poised as the heir apparent to The Hunger Games trilogy, Divergent is the latest in a wave of young adult fiction to be adapted for the big screen.  I haven’t read the source material, but from the book reviews I’ve seen, this looks like c-grade, derivative material at best.

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Captain-America-The-Winter-Soldier-PosterCaptain America: The Winter Soldier – (4 Apr 2014)  Hyped as the film that will bridge The Avengers and upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron, many expect The Winter Solider to do very well.  But Captain America has always been a thinly sketched figure in my opinion; and nothing in the first film convinced me that the producers had “cracked” the character.

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the-amazing-spider-man-2-poster-green-goblinThe Amazing Spider Man 2 – (2 May 2014)  So here’s the thing: I actually enjoyed the first film in this series.  What’s more, I actually thought it outshined all but the second film in the original Sam Raimi series.  But from the trailers they’ve released, this film looks … really bad.

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godzilla2014_poster2Godzilla – (16 May 2014)  For two straight years now, the producers of Godzilla have wowed the audience at Comic Con with unexpected and revealing footage of the film.  But even with its admirable cast, Godzilla is still arriving on the heels of  the disappointing Pacific Rim; and thus has its work cut out for it.

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edge-of-tomorrow-posterEdge of Tomorrow – ( 6 Jun 2014)  As hard as it is to believe, Tom Cruise is still a money in the bank.  Of his last ten films, five have topped $200 million in box office receipts, with three others just missing that mark.  And yet, to me, this looks like a cheap rip off of Elyssium crossed with Source Code (which is a fantastic film if you haven’t seen it).

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Dawn+of+the+Planet+of+the+Apes+Poster+(1)Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – (11 Jul 2014)  I’m not a fan of the original Planet of the Apes series; and I am certainly no fan of the Tim Burton remake (2001).  But Rise of the Planet of the Apes was surprisingly good; and it did very well on positive word of mouth.  I think people will give this a chance; and we’ll just have to wait and see if the producers pulled it off again.

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guardians_of_the_galaxy__2014__teaser_poster_by_dcomp-d5dxir2Guardians of the Galaxy – (1 Aug 2014)  To date, this will be the riskiest and most obscure film released by Marvel Studies.  Based upon largely unknown anti-heroes facing off against equally unknown villains, this will be the film that foretells Marvels future.  If they can pull this off, all the stops come out, and we’ll see films like the rumored Dr. Strange.  But if not …

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dumb-and-dumber-movie-posterDumb and Dumber Too – (unknown 2014)  It’s been almost a decade since the Farrelly brothers have released a comedic blockbuster.  To make matters worse, Jim Carrey has gone even longer without a hit.  But Dumb and Dumber is one of my favorite comedies of all time; and I’m truly hoping they can catch lightening in a bottle one last time.

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jupiter-ascending-movie-poster-2Jupiter Ascending – (18 Jul 2014)  In 1999, the Wachowski brothers gave us The Matrix.  Since then … not much.  So while the visuals in the trailer are actually quite striking, it’s going to take a  lot more than that to convince me to give them any more money.  I’m waiting for the reviews.

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600full-the-hunger-games-mockingjay-part-1-posterThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 – (21 Nov 2014)  Cards on the table: I loved The Hunger Games novels.  But having said that, I found the first film in the series to be very, very bland.  In fact, I found it to be so bland that I have yet to see the far-better-reviewed second installment in the series.  As for the third installment, why are they splitting it into two films?

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Why?!  Why would anyone inflict this upon themselves?

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Jack-Ryan-PosterJack Ryan – (17 Jan 2014)  If ever there was a need to explore Hollywood’s mishandling of an intellectual property, surely their efforts to adapt Tom Clancey’s novels stands as a case study.  From the repeated miscasting of the lead character to this latest effort to reboot the series without using any of the source material, this franchise seems doomed.

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hr_Son_of_God_10Son of God – (28 Feb 2014)  In March of 2013, the History channel aired a 10-hour mini-series called “The Bible.”  It averaged 15 million viewers per week and eventually became the top selling TV-to-DVD release of the past two years.  Now, the producers have edited the material down to two hours and are marketing it as a new film.  Can you say, “Shameless cash grab?”

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transformers-4-age-of-extinction-poster-north-america_1378254863Transformers: Age of Extinction – (27 Jun 2014)  This is a series of films that defies comprehension.  Filled with vacuous characters that spout nothing but unbelievable lines in the face of unrelenting chaos and violence, the time for this series has come and gone.  May in rest on peace.

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7 Responses to Movies of Note in 2014

  1. Josh The Younger says:

    Thoughts:

    Noah – this movie has gone from “*scoff* this is going to be truly terrible” to “hmm… this might actually be good” for me over the past couple of months. I’m… actually looking forward to this one.

    The Fault in our Stars – I have yet to read this book, but I read one of the author’s other works (Paper Towns) and absolutely loved it. I honestly think this movie will do well or poorly depending on how much creative input he (that is, John Green) was allowed to give.

    How to Train Your Dragon 2 – The first is one of my favorite animated films of all time (outstripping several Pixar films) so I’m willing to give it a shot. However, I share your wariness of animated sequels… or sequels-to-non-trilogy movies in general. P.S. I beat your challenge, coming up with 1.5 movies in five seconds flat: Shrek 2 and Kung Fu Panda 2 (that latter of which skated by in the positive range for me because I find that series so disarmingly charming).

    Interstellar… this will be fun. Matthew Mcconaughey + Christopher Nolan looks to be a match made in cinematic heaven.

    The Hobbit 3 – … I disagree with almost everything you say in that blurb up until the last part (who DOESN’T want to see Jackson do the Silmarillion?).

    Captain America – call me gullible… but the trailer has sold me on this one. I still have my doubts, but it looks far darker and more human than any of the efforts Marvel has put out so far. To Marvel’s credit, they haven’t made a BAD movie yet (since Hulk apparently doesn’t count as an Avenger despite his laughably terrible godlike moments in Avengers 1). That being said, I’m ready for something more meaty, and I’m holding out hope that Captain America can be that bridge between humanity and the musclebound, ale-swigging, iron-man-listening, effortlessly-god-smashing crowd.

    Spiderman 2 – yeah… I’ve never liked Spiderman

    Godzilla – I comment on Godzilla for no other reason than to reaffirm my love of that blessedly silly, amazingly awesome film–Pacific Rim.

    Edge of Tomorrow – Gritty, war-torn sci-fi setting with mechs and hints of a groundhog-day-esque time travel plot device? Sign me up.

    Planet of the Apes – Andy Serkis. I will watch it for Andy Serkis. *cries salty tears over the best supporting actor Oscar he should have won for Two Towers*

    Hunger Games – we agree on a lot of things, but the first hunger games movie is not one of them.

    • Not surprised by many of your comments save for those centered on “The Hobbit.” Did you not find the second film to be superior?

      • Josh The Younger says:

        I found them to be about equal. I thought the pacing on the second movie was far too rushed at the beginning and the set-pieces more than a bit overplayed at the climax. As much as I was surprised by how much I DIDN’T hate the addition of Legolas and Tauriel to the story (Kate from Lost as an elf… and vaguely working? What?!), I would have gladly chucked them out by their pointy ears to get a more fleshed out Beorn/Mirkwood sequence. The battle with Smaug in the mountain was also just too… Avengers-esque. I found myself wishing for a slower pace that would allow the story to breathe.

        That being said, the addition of Gandalf’s investigation scenes was amazing (LOVED the barrow scene and the battle with the -erm- … unnamed villain), and Laketown was a very well-designed setting worthy of the “original trilogy”. Bilbo was great again, and Smaug was truly “stupendous”. I really liked the movie, I just couldn’t shake a pining nostalgia for that opening scene at Bag End, for example.

  2. emptyjones says:

    Age of Extinction has promise; at least, more promise than any of the others. The entire cast has been renovated.

    Totally hyped for Godzilla and Guardians. Risky? Yes. But potentially the most fun parts of 2014. The Guardians clip in the Thor 2 credits was the best part of that movie. And Godzilla… Godzilla looks like the giant monster movie we’ve always deserved.

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