Monday, December 23, 2013

2014 at a glance

All dates are subject to change, but here's a look at what I find worth looking at in the year ahead:

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (1/17)
I have yet to see any of the previous Jack Ryan movies, but that doesn't diminish my appreciation for their considerable cinematic legacy, and this one features a stellar cast (Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner) and a terrific director (Kenneth Branagh).

Ride Along (1/17)
Kevin Hart seems destined to be a huge star, and this will be his biggest test to date, buddying with Ice Cube in a movie directed by Tim Story.

I, Frankenstein (1/24)
Aaron Eckhart finally seems to be making some forward momentum from The Dark Knight.

Labor Day (1/31)
Jason Reitman, Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin...Another dynamo combination right there.

The Monuments Men (2/7)
It kind of seems wrong to speak of WWII in terms of other than the Holocaust or all the fighting, but if there's a worthy story elsewhere this is probably it, the struggle to rescue the culture Hitler was also busily smashing along the way.

Winter's Tale (2/14)
With films like The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and Odine under his belt, Colin Farrell is fast locking in a new career as a star of modern fantasy.  This may be the movie where audiences take notice.

Pompeii (2/21)
Paul Anderson's genre credentials seem to be expanding with this effort.  Could be very interesting.

3 Days to Kill (2/21)
Kevin Costner returns to starring roles.  I figure that's a good thing.  And this one's directed by McG, who became widely unappreciated far too quickly.

300: Rise of an Empire (3/7)
We'll see the true appeal of this budding franchise as it forges ahead without Gerard Butler.

Grace of Monaco (3/14)
It only figures that Princess Grace would eventually find herself back in the movies.  And Nicole Kidman is about the right person to make it happen.

Muppets Most Wanted (3/21)
Kind of sad Jason Segel isn't back for this one (on the whole, I think Forgetting Sarah Marshall was still a better Muppets effort than his actual one), but I'm always game for these guys.

Stretch (3/21)
Directed by Joe Carnahan?  Check.  Excellent cast?  Check (Chris Pine, Jessica Alba, Patrick Wilson, Ray Liotta, James Badge Dale, who's still looking for that breakout role he richly deserves; Carnahan could very well help him achieve that).  It's worth noting that one of Pine's most interesting roles to date was in a Carnahan movie already (Smokin' Aces, wildly underappreciated as a whole).

Noah (3/28)
The last time Darren Aronofsky tried something hugely ambitious (The Fountain), he come incredibly close to pulling it off.  This one stars Russell Crowe.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (4/4)
One of the Avengers movies I'm most looking forward to, although I'm wondering if they're going to lose the real appeal of the last one trying to make it funnier.  I love the pedigree of Anthony and Joe Russo (Arrested Development, Community), but that's the wrong direction for a premise that seems can't-miss for comic book fans already familiar with the material, arguably the strongest of this character's long history.

Dom Hemingway (4/4)
Ten years ago Jude Law starred in every movie that was released for an entire year.  It seems wrong that he's had to wait so long for a comeback.

St. Vincent De Van Nuys (4/11)
Another actor who hasn't starred in his own movie for a long time (the curiously can't-miss misfire of playing FDR in Hyde Park on the Hudson from last year doesn't seem to count) is Bill Murray.  And this seems like about as classic a Bill Murray movie as you can get.

Transcendence (4/18)
This Johnny Depp movie is getting Inception buzz.  Depp's yet another actor vying for a comeback in 2014.  Was this planned or something?

The Other Woman (4/24)
Cameron Diaz is in on the act, too.  I think it's downright criminal how her career fell off the public radar, after an early millennial bid to become arguably the best actress in the industry.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (5/2)
It's a testament to this rebooted franchise that the buzz surrounding this effort has nothing to do with how it compares to the Raimi/Maguire/Dunst era.

Belle (5/2)
Can we all agree that Gugu Mbatha-Raw deserves to be a star no matter how complicated her name is?  Keep it at Gugu if you have to.  She's awesome.  Make her stardom happen already!

Chef (5/9)
Jon Favreau and Robert Downey, Jr. reunite.

Godzilla (5/16)
Will this be the one that makes this franchise actually relevant to American audiences?

X-Men: Days of the Future Past (5/23)
The movie where 20th Century Fox finally realizes it had the Avengers formula before Disney did.

Blended (5/23)
If you're a really big fan of 50 First Dates, you might love this Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore reunion.  Oh, and this also counts as a Barrymore comeback.  The trend continues!

Maleficent (5/30)
This Angelina Jolie project based on Sleeping Beauty has been building buzz for a while now.

A Million Ways to Die in the West (5/30)
His Oscars hosting gig seemed to sabotage Seth MacFarlane's mainstream push.  Can he win it back in a Western?

Edge of Tomorrow (6/6)
Tom Cruise in another opulent sci-fi spectacle.  This one also features Emily Blunt!

22 Jump Street (6/13)
Sequel to the surprise original, and apparently part of Channing Tatum's own bid for a comeback.  Although, seriously, that 2012 track record would be hard for anyone to duplicate.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (6/13)
Loved the first one.  Expect to love the second one.

Transformers: Age of Extinction (6/27)
The fourth in this series has a brand new cast.  Could be very interesting.

Tammy (7/4)
Apparently Melissa McCarthy's passion project, which might go a long way to answering the question of how long she can remain a huge star.

Fast & Furious 7 (7/11)
This was always going to be a hit.  After the passing of Paul Walker, probably expect the franchise's biggest hit yet.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (7/18)
Needs to be leagues better than the last one.  I hated that one.

Sex Tape (7/18)
Jason Segel!  Cameron Diaz!

Jupiter Ascending (7/25)
It's the Wachowskis.  Either they find their popular mojo again, or this will be next summer's After Earth.

Hercules (7/25)
Dwayne Johnson as Hercules.  Or as the Klumps matriarch might put it, "Hercules!  Hercules!"

Guardians of the Galaxy (8/1)
Pound for pound, the ensemble put together for this gamble in the Avengers cycle might be the best yet.  It will need to be.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (8/8)
Could be very interesting!

The Expendables 3 (8/15)
The casts for these movies just keep getting more interesting.

The Giver (8/15)
I've never read the book, but the movie might finally help me correct that.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (8/22)
I'm game for this in a big, big way.

The Loft (8/29)
With a cast boasting the likes of Rhona Mitra, Karl Urban, James Marsden, and Wentworth Miller, I'm salivating.

Search Party (9/12)
The same goes for one with Krysten Ritter and Alison Brie, two brilliant stars of hugely unappreciated sitcoms.

The Equalizer (9/26)
More than a decade after Training Day, Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua finally reunite?  I'm there.

Selfless (9/26)
Directed by Tarsem?  I'm already penciling it in as one of my favorite movies of the year.  The man is a genius.  It also stars Ryan Reynolds, who might be the star capable of finally explaining that to everyone else.

Gone Girl (10/3)
David Fincher previously got me to experience a much buzzed-about book as a movie with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  He's going to be doing it again with this film.

Dracula Untold (10/3)
Could be the movie where Luke Evans finally distinguishes himself.

And as always, there are bound to be a few surprises along the way, too.  But I think 2014 is looking pretty darn good already!


  1. Replies
    1. Does he roar with a British accent (or is he more of a Katy Perry)?

  2. I HAD A WHOLE COMMENT full of cogent points about Bryan Cranston and Godzilla and Jude Law and things, and then I tried to click it and something went wrong and now I am not going to retype it all. I will summarize:

    Bryan Cranston: making Godzilla for the $$, should admit it.
    Cameron Diaz: annoying.
    Jude Law: good but surprisingly forgetful.
    22 Jump Street: no reason for existing, should be taken out back in an alleyway and unceremoniously thrown in a dumpster, the first one was SO bad.

    1. Cranston is still looking for projects as relevant to his talents as Breaking Bad. This is not surprising. It's not as if people were banging down his door with that kind of work previously, either.

  3. Some of these movies sound really great!