Movies to Look Forward to in 2014

So every year, I go online and take a look at sites like RottenTomatoes, IMDB, and IMPAwards to see what's coming up next year so I know what I'm supposed to be geeking out about and when. It's every geek's conscientious duty to follow notables in their specific fandom and plan their days off to coincide with the various activities involving said subjects. Ticket line camp outs, midnight showings, crowded conventions, the occasional 72 hour gaming marathon, etc.

2014 looks like it's going to be a great year for cinema fans (especially for science fiction addicts), with some promising new titles, franchise reboots, and studio tent poles spread out through the seasons. Here are some of the ones I'm looking forward to, in order of announced release date.

Beyond Outrage
January 3

Technically, this was first released in 2012 for the Japanese and the Festival market, but next year it gets a wider release, so we'll actually be able to watch in a theater. It's is the sequel to the 2010 Japanese film Outrage, and the crackdown on organized crime has led to a full scale war between factions within the Yakuza. Takeshi Kitano (Beat Takeshi) directs and stars, and judging by the poster, he's still got it.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
January 17

Kenneth Branagh is one of my favorite directors, and I'm interested to see how he does a Cold War suspense thriller. I'm also interested to see how Chris Pine handles the character. We've already seen Alec Baldwin's, Harrison Ford's, and Ben Affleck's takes on Tom Clancy's superspy. Will Pine make the cut?

Knights of Badassdom
January 21

Peter Dinklage plays a hard-core LARPer. Need I say anything else? Ok. How about, "Summer Glau?"

There we go. Huzzah!

I, Frankenstein
January 24

Honestly, the synopsis sounds like Van Helsing 2, but with a cast including Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, and Miranda Otto, I need to see how it turns out.

The Lego Movie
February 7

One of the most awesome things about Lego toys is that you can mix and match universes as well as bricks. Batman vs Wolverine vs Sirius Black vs generic 60's robot. The upcoming movie featuring animated minifigs in a virtual Lego promises just that type of fun in it's trailer. If you have some time to waste, visit the official site and play some of the mini-games there, They are addicting.

A Fantastic Fear Of Everything
February 7

Very interested in this one as I haven't seen Mr. Pegg in many movies without his buddies, Mr. Frost and Mr. Wright. Having just seen The World's End, I'm eager to see if he can hold his own in something that isn't Star Trek or that boring jogging movie.

Robocop (2014)
February 12

Ok, I'm not looking forward to this one as much as I am curious on how the hell they enticed the cast into coming on to what seems to be an inevitable box-office flop. Like the Total Recall remake, the plot sounds the same, but looking at the footage on the trailer, this movie takes itself far more seriously than the original Verhoeven.

February 28, 2014

Liam Neeson stars in another movie in the same vein as Unknown. He plays a US Air Marshall on a non-stop flight across the Atlantic who starts to receive messages that say a passenger will die every minute unless the hijacker is paid.

Yes, we've see Neeson be the BAMF quite a few times now (there's yet another Taken movie coming out next year), but he's just so goddamn GOOD at it. It should be worth the time to see this one.

Veronica Mars (Movie)
March 14

The noir series, Veronica Mars, was something like Firefly in that like Whedon's, it was ultimately doomed by low ratings and cancelled after only a few seasons. Still, it was so good and had such a loyal fan base, that an Internet fundraising campaign started in March of this year was able to raise the targeted $2 million in 2 hours. In a month, when they ended the Kickstarter campaign, they had over five and a half million to seed the movie with.

It looks like everyone from the series came back (well, except for Amanda Seyfried, cause, you know, she died in the pilot), including the show's creator, Rob Thomas. While I love Kristen Bell in House of Lies, I still see her as Veronica Mars, so I am very much excited about this.

March 21

My interest in seeing this one is that I want to witness this Young Adult bubble finally burst. Hollywood bought up a lot of these stories when Twilight made such a killing, and for every Hunger Games, we get a Beautiful Creatures and a The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Though a friend who follows the Young Adult scene says the books are good, the series doesn't have as big a following as any of it's adaptation predecessors. To make things worse, there aren't any A-list stars attached this time around (guess they're learning), and the lead, Shailene Woodley, looks to have been hired to fill a Jennifer Lawrence shaped hole.

Muppets Most Wanted
March 21

If you didn't grow up on the Muppets, I truly feel sorry for you. Cold, emotionless CGI and flat, stiff cartoons like Dora the Explorer just can't compare to these insanely imaginative puppets. If you haven't already, go out and find a copy of The Muppets (2011) and find out what you're missing.

This sequel to that film isn't written by Jason Segel, but now that they're owned by Disney, I doubt this could possibly suck.

March 28

Darren Aronofsky's follow up to Black Swan is the story of Noah and the ark he built to survive the biblical flood. It's not the story that I'd expect from the director of Requiem for a Dream and The Fountain but that just makes me intrigued. This time he's got Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Jennifer Connelly, and Anthony Hopkins in his cast, so it's promising to be something to see.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
April 4

The original Marvel Studios' Captain America isn't really that high up on my favorites list. I always thought the character was too vanilla; like Superman. But this ninth piece of the Marvel Cinematic Universe puzzle is based on Ed Brubaker's Eisner-winning work on the book, so it's bound to have a nice pedigree. Marvel's also tasked another pair of nerds to act as directors (Anthony and Joe Russo of TV's Community) and we all know how good Whedon and Favreau turned out.

And they got rid of that ugly-ass uniform.

Rio 2
April 11

Blue Sky Studios is one of my favorite animation houses (after Pixar and Disney), and their Ice Age franchise has turned out to have pretty long legs. The four films in the series have remained pretty watchable, while their competitors' efforts get very dated very quickly. Likewise, 2011's Rio was a fun film that wasn't totally boring for adults watching it, with great voice work and superb animation. Next year, they've got a sequel where the two lovebirds decide to make for the Amazon to teach their children how to survive in the wild. Fun!

April 18

Johnny Depp in a movie that wasn't directed by Tim Burton! GASP!

Produced by Christopher Nolan (and directed by his cinematographer, Wally Pfister), and starring Depp, Kate Mara, Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy, and Morgan Freeman, this film is about a man who transfers his consciousness to the Internet. That's really all I got, and this has all the makings of a box office bomb, but I love me some sci-fi!

P.S the poster's in Chinese because apparently, DMG Entertainment partnered with the US companies to finance and distribute it, much like with Looper and Iron Man 3 (and I totally didn't just find that on Google two seconds ago)

Earth To Echo
April 25

A group of young kids tell their parents that they're being contacted by aliens through their cellphones. Naturally, they're told to stop being morons. So they decide that they'll have to go at this shit by themselves, take a camera with them and film their adventures.

God. I. hate. found. footage. fims.

Still, this looks like something that I might enjoy despite the handheld gimmick. It looks a lot like Super 8, so I imagine there's some feels somewhere in there for viewers.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2
May 2

I had to think twice about putting this one up. I didn't enjoy the first one at all. Despite it having relatively good actors and a decent script, it didn't have the heart that Sam Raimi's Spider-Man had. Andrew Garfield is kind of a dick, and although I like Emma Stone as the love interest far more than Kirsten Dunst, I never really felt connected tot he story in The Amazing Spider-Man.

It didn't help that the designs were farther from canon that it's predecessor either. Thankfully, the suit in the the second movie is closer to the traditional one, but now they've gone and the TOO MANY VILLIANS route again.

I figured I'd leave it here just in case.

Godzilla (2014)
May 16

Hell, yes I'm excited for this one! Did you see that trailer with the HALO jump into the hot zone? Fucken' fantastic!

This film looks like it's going to be a far cry from Emmerich's 1998 version, which I maintain was fun to watch. This one is far more serious. With both Gareth Edwards, director of the film Monsters, on board and writer Frank Darabont (director of the indescribably good The Mist) having given the piece a once over, it seems pretty clear that this is going to be a good movie, even though I can't predict how it's going to do in today's market (What the fuck, people? Why didn't you go see Pacific Rim?!)

X-Men: Days Of Future Past
May 23

I haven't really liked Fox' X-Men Cinematic Universe; they really don't feel like the books that I remember, where the X-Men were a family. While I like Hugh Jackman's Wolverine, the movies are so centered on him and a few others, that you get no sense of the closeness the team is supposed to have. Colossus is the little brother, Nightcrawler the older, wiser sibling, Storm acts like the den mother and Cyclops the dad, and Kitty (later Jubilee) was the baby, while Rogue was the rebellious teen. Singer was able to keep it together for the first two films, but then Rattner came on board with and fucked it up with X-Men: The Last Stand. They tried to salvage it, but I really didn't like what they did for X-Men: First Class, and how this new one seems to be fixing to ret-con the only GOOD movies in the series to make way for the Age of Apocalypse storyline.

Still going to watch it.

Edge Of Tomorrow 
June 6

When I first saw the trailer to this film, my immediate reaction was, "HOLY SHIT, STARSHIP TROOPERS!" My second reaction was, "Oh shit, it's Tom Cruise."

Tom Cruise used to have some nice movies in his filmography, a few of which are among my favorites (Legend, Mission ImposibleMinority Report), but lately he's been putting out some really crappy stuff. What the hell was that Jack Reacher shit? I'm hoping that this one, based on the Japanese light novel All You Need Is Kill (which someone told me was fantastic) will be something that turns things around.

How To Train Your Dragon 2
June 20

The cast returns for the second film in the planned trilogy, with Dean DeBlois coming back to direct the continuing adventures of Hiccup and Toothless. DeBlois is one of the directors I look up every now and then because I just loved his Lilo & Stitch feature for Disney. The first How to Train Your Dragon was another excellent outing, and based on some teaser footage for this one, we shouldn't be disappointed.

Transformers 4: Age of Extinction
June 27

I hate the fact that Michael Bay still has his hands on this franchise. I realize that he brought the franchise back to life, allowing us to see more toys and cartoons that are closer to the first generation we remember, but the way he did it was just so offensive to the nerd in me. Still, I can't NOT watch this film.

I hear the Dinobots are going to be in it, and hopefully a gestalt robot that doesn't have testicles. Both are good signs.

July 2

Angelina Jolie plays Maleficent, the bad girl from Disney's Sleeping Beauty, in a re-imagining of the classic film in which Maleficent is the good one whose motivations are just misunderstood by history.

Kind of like Wicked. But don't worry, she's not green and her hat is different, so it's a totally original idea. Robert Stromberg, the director, has won Oscars for Best Art Direction, so at the very least, this will have some fantastic eye candy.With Paul Dini and Linda Woolverton writing it, it should be fun.

Dawn Of The Planet of the Apes
July 11

Rise of the Planet of the Apes wasn't on my favorites list, but the trailer for this one looks so menacing that it's got me intrigued. Director Matt Reeves doesn't really have any films that of note to me, but Andy Serkis and Gary Oldman are in it, so it's got some talent to back up the franchise's nerdy pedigree.

Jupiter Ascending In Movie
July 25

Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, and Sean Bean with Andy and Lana Wachowski (who's Cloud Atlas was equal parts boring and facinating). Weird mix of people, but the trailer for this movie was all kinds of nice. The plot sounds a lot like Men in Black 2 or I Am Number Four or any other movie about one of the bajillion chosen ones, but this one has Spock ears, awesome action, and MILA KUNIS.

Guardians Of The Galaxy
August 1, 2014

The second of Marvel Studio's tent pole movies for 2014 is based on a comic about a group of superheroes that is not actively part of the Avengers. Though I'm familiar with some of the characters from their previous affiliations, I have to admit that I've never read the books. However, I love the look of the team and you can't go wrong with a talking animal. Right?

This seems to be a title where Marvel can go a little more science fiction, like they did with Thor: The Dark World. Director James Gunn (he wrote and directed Slither! Geekgasm!) has said they did as many practical effects as they could, and the cast looks to be very capable, so I'm really excited about learning more about this property.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
August 8

Or Adult Alien Pseudo-Reptilian Beings. I've got a sick feeling that I'm going to hate this one.

I've been reading up on the ups and downs that this movie had and it looks like the reaction from fans regarding Bay's alien origin comments last year changed the way the movie was headed. We won't see Krang or Dimension X in this one; instead, the Turtles will be going up against The Shredder. Whew.

It looks as if Bay has less of a hold on the creative process for this film, and the backlash from the leaked script, Bay's remarks, and other Internet goings on caused a re-think. Let's hope that we'll all be singing T-U-R-T-L-E POWER! when the lights come up.

The Expendables 3
August 15

Ronda Rousey, Victor Ortiz, and Kellan Lutz come aboard as a group of faster, stronger mercenaries that go at it with Stallone and Co. in the second sequel to The Best of Action Stars. Even if Jacky Chan, Milla Jovovich, and Nicholas Cage aren't on board, it still looks like this one is going to be just stupidly ridiculous fun with both Wesley Snipes, Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas, and Mel Gibson rounding out the cast.

Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For
August 22

It's almost a decade since Robert Rodriguez' and Frank Miller's Sin City came out, but Miller's iconic series is still the gold mine it was back in 2005. The new movie will have four more short bits about Dwight, Marv, Nancy and the rest of the gang, and knowing Rodriquez, they'll shoot for an R rating, so this will be appropriately violent. Some of the casting has changed, but it still looks like A-list (well maybe a few from B, but Jamie Chung as Miho!) actors.

The Maze Runner
September 19

Yet another in the long line of Young Adult "sensations" hoping for a piece of the Hollywood pie. This one is more Hunger Games than Twilight though, with a young man thrown into the middle of a maze with his memory erased. I haven't read the book and I don't know any of the people listed on the cast and crew, but I saw that image above and it sounds like it has all the makings of something like The Cube.

Of course, this being a YA property, it's unlikely that the studio would allow an R rating, so there will be a little less dystopia and and a lot more dysfunctional teenager in this one.

November 7

Christopher Nolan. Faster Than Light travel. Sold.

I first saw Matthew McConaughey in 1997's Contact, where he played a conservative Christian at odd's with Jodie Foster's devout scientist character. That movie is cemented in my head as one of the best science fiction films ever, and his character had some of the best lines in it.

From the trailer, Interstellar sounds like another movie in that same vein. I can't wait to see if Nolan can, just once, direct an uplifting film.

Mockingjay: Part 1
November 21

We all know what we're going to be watching Thanksgiving weekend next year. With the way Catching Fire turned out, it's hard to imagine anything else beating out the top contender for that Saturday.

Even if they've gone and split the last book of the trilogy into two parts, the retention of Francis Lawrence as director bolstered my confidence that this wouldn't be another bore like the last Twilight films or some parts of Harry Potter's last two movies. Really, guys, stop it na.

Bond 24
Thanksgiving 2014

This one's still a little raw, but thanks to the James Bond Movie Generator, we already know the title

So far, Sam Mendes is attached to direct Bond 24 and 25. It looks like Daniel Craig returns as James Bond, with Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, and Ben Whishaw on board to reprise their roles. Word is that even Adele will come back and sing the theme.

From early reports, it looks like the story won't be one of the remaining four titles from the Ian Fleming novels, but it will be connected in some way to the last film, Skyfall. This is one Hollywood trend I'm really loving: continuity.

December 12

Not much to know about this one other than it stars George Clooney, is directed by Brad Bird (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) and may or may not be, somehow related to the theme park. It also may or may not be related to Star Wars.

Probably the latter.

The Hobbit: There and Back Again
December 17

Having come out of the theater after the first Hobbit movie sorely disappointed, I'm glad to say that the second one really brought back the thrill of Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy. Smuag was great, and the pacing was far better than the first.

I'm hoping that means that this is a progression and that Jackson and company will be able to sustain the momentum to bring us all to a crushing climax at the end of the ride.

Night at the Museum 3
December 25

Like National Treasure and Indiana Jones, I really enjoy this series' mix of comedy and love of history. The first two are included in my small collection of movies that I never get tired of, and I can't wait to see how they continue it here. Ben Stiller may have had some misses in the past, but he seems to have so much fun in his films, you can't help but like him anyway.

The Raid 2
2014 (Release Date to be determined)

If you didn't see Gareth Evans' The Raid: Redemption back in 2011, I really recommend that you find a copy. Even if you've seen Dredd (which people say copied it's concept from the aforementioned film - or vice versa), it's different enough that you can still enjoy it. That is if you enjoy people beating the shit out of bad guys.

The sequel takes place 2 hours after the survivors of the battle in the gangster-controlled tenement walk out of the building.

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