14 Films To Look Forward To In 2014

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Here we are guys—2014, and I couldn’t be more excited.  Though 2013 had its ups and downs, the final few months of the year kind of restored my passion for film, what with amazing products like Gravity, Captain Phillips, Inside Llewyn Davis, and Her peppering the past few weeks of cinema.  Right now there’s no telling if 2014 will be able to compete with 2013 but, hey, it’s the beginning of the year, so when’s a better time to delve into the next 12 months to find out?  Without further ado, here’s 14 films to look forward to in 2014.

No honorable mentions this year—let’s just get right on to it.

Godzilla-Poster14. Godzilla

Directed By: Gareth Edwards

Written By: Max Borenstein

Starring: Aaron Taylor Johnson, Elizabeth Olson, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, and Bryan Cranston

Warner Bros. and Legendary have been working very hard on this Godzilla reboot, and it’s a project we’ve been hearing about for years now.  Clearly these two studios want this reboot to succeed, and be a staple of the Summer 2014 Movie Season. And, so far at least, they’ve been doing everything right when it comes to Godzilla—a promising director in Monsters’ helmer Gareth Edwards. A world premiere at Comic Con 2012 that sent fanboys in a frenzy. A talented cast of folks such as Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olson, and Bryan Cranston. And finally, a pretty terrific teaser trailer that sent ripples throughout the internet. Who knows if any of those things will amount to something of value (it wouldn’t be the first time it didn’t, after all), but this project is certainly one to keep our eye out for in the coming year.  Here’s the trailer:

Godzilla hits theaters May 16, 2014.

Noah-Poster13. Noah

Directed By: Darren Aronofsky

Written By: Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel

Starring: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, and Anthony Hopkins

The mere buzz words of “Darren Aronofsky’s passion project” should be enough to garner interest in Noah, and really that’s the big reason to look forward to this film. Don’t get me wrong: actors like Russell Crowe, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson, and Ray Winestone will certainly elevate the project. But it’s Aronofsky’s vision that propels this film onto this list. Word from people involved with the movie peg it to be a hugely ambitious project for the director/co-writer, and he’s apparently juggling some very crazy stuff with Noah. Aronofsky being ambitious doesn’t always equal greatness (case in point the very disappointing The Fountain), but if Aronofksy can tap into any of the magic that made Black Swan happen, hopefully we’ll get something brilliant out of this biblical epic.  Here’s the trailer:

Noah hits theaters on March 28, 2014.

The-Lego-Movie-Poster12. The Lego Movie

Directed By: Chris Miller & Phil Lord

Written By: Chris Miller & Phil Lord

Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, and Will Arnett

Under much different circumstances, The Lego Movie wouldn’t be anywhere on this list.  I would merely shrug off such a blatant cash grab as family pandering filth…if it wasn’t for the involvement of Chris Miller and Phil Lord, that is.  The pair are easily some of the most talented comedy guys around, with stakes in projects like How I Met Your Mother, Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street, and their debut TV show Clone High.  The two work wonders with anything they have a hand in, and through the marketing for The Lego Movie, it’s already clear that their token “style” will be present in this CGI/stop motion hybrid.  It also helps that the film has an incredibly talented casts of individuals, with Chris Pratt as the lead and folks like Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, and Will Arnett supporting him.  It would be easy for this one to simply cash in on the legendary Lego brand but, from the looks of things, this could be another smash hit for Lord and Miller.

The Lego Movie hits theaters February 7, 2014.

22-Jump-Street-Poster11. 22 Jump Street

Directed By: Chris Miller & Phil Lord

Written By: Michael Bacall, Rodney Rothman, and Oren Uziel

Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Rob Riggle, and Nick Offerman

And speaking of Lord and Miller, here’s 22 Jump Street!  The action comedy sequel is once again being helmed by the pair, which makes them the only directors to have two films on this list.  As for why 22 Jump Street is on this list in the first place, I shouldn’t need to explain myself—just go watch the first one.  The irreverent, fourth wall breaking humor created one of the funniest comedies of the past few years, and the energetic and lively direction from Lord and Miller helped the entire project come alive brilliantly.  With them back at the helm and the surprisingly fantastic pairing of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as strong as ever, I expect this one to be just as good (if not better) than its predecessor.

22 Jump Street hits theaters on June 13, 2014.

X-Men "Days of Future Past" poster -- exclusive EW.com image10. X-Men: Days of Future Past

Directed By: Bryan Singer

Written By: Simon Kinberg

Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Patrick Stewart, and Jennifer Lawrence

X-Men: Days of Future Past is easily one of the most ambitious superhero films of next year, as it combines the world’s of the original X-Men and that of reboot X-Men: First Class in a way that’s never really been done before.  Anticipation is certainly high for the project and, with most of the cast of both series coming back, star power couldn’t be grander for this time travel adventure.  Days of Future Past is also based on one of the most acclaimed comic book arc in the entire X-Men franchise, making it a hot topic amongst comic book fans.  The only thing that worries me about this one is director Bryan Singer—well he did a fine job with the first two X-Men films, his track record as of late has been less than stellar.  Could this one be the man’s comeback film?  Let’s hope for the best, at the very least.

X-Men: Days of Future Past hits theaters on May 23, 2014.

Dawn-of-the-Planet-of-the-Apes-poster-550x8169. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Directed By: Matt Reeves

Written By: Mark Bomback, Scott Z. Burns, Rick Jaffa, and Amanda Silver

Cast: Andy Serkis, Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Keri Rusell, and Judy Greer

Rise of the Planet of the Apes was one of the most surprising sci-fi films of the past few years, as a project that pretty much no one had any expectations for managed to succeed both critically and commercially.  Which of course means we’re getting a sequel in the new-old series, once again starring Ceasar as the ape that changes the course of nature entirely and manages to conquer the entirety of the human race.  It seems most of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will be focused on the conflict between the two organisms, as humanity finds itself at its weakest and the apes find themselves at their strongest.  The entire human cast of the first film has been ditched in favor of franchise newcomers, but thankfully those newcomers (such as Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, and Gary Oldman) are talented thespians more than up to the task of helming the next entry in the franchise.  The same can be said about new director Matt Reeves who, after Cloverfield and Let Me In, hasn’t had a bad film yet.  The teaser trailer was short but great, and hopefully a prime indicator of a sequel that will be able to stand toe to toe with the best of the franchise.  Here’s the trailer:

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes hits theaters on July 11, 2014.

Guardians-of-the-Galaxy-Poster8. Guardians of the Galaxy

Directed By: James Gunn

Written By: James Gunn

Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, and Benecio Del Toro

Easily the most risky of Marvel Studios’ Phase 2 projects, Guardians of the Galaxy is a huge, strange space adventure featuring some…let’s just say less than standard character types.  You know, a talking tree, a rocket wielding talking raccoon, Chris Pratt.  Certainly not what you find in your usual superhero action film.  But that’s what makes Guardians of the Galaxy such an interesting project really—it’s new and unique, which is certainly something that the superhero movie genre could use at this point.  Guardians of the Galaxy could easily be a disaster for Marvel Studios but, hey, they’ve done a pretty solid job so far with the rest of their films.  And though director James Gunn doesn’t always make my favorite films (Super was one of my least favorite films of 2011 in fact), you can’t deny that the man has a unique style that should be a joy to see brought to this strange project.  There’s not a trailer just yet for the film, but it hits theaters on August 1, 2014.

How-To-Train-Your-Dragon-2-Trailer7. How to Train Your Dragon 2

Directed By: Dean Dublois

Written By: Dean Dublois

Starring: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Gerard Butler, and Cate Blanchett

How to Train Your Dragon is another film in recent years that came out of nowhere to become a huge hit, as the hokey trailers and Dreamworks brand didn’t lead anyone to believe the series would be of any worth.  But flash foward to 2013, and How to Train Your Dragon is one of the most beloved animated films of the millennium.  And though it took four long years to finally get a follow up, everything we’ve seen from How to Train Your Dragon 2 seems to indicate a project that’s very much worth looking forward to going into the new year.  I’m a little worried that co-director Chris Sanders is no longer involved with the series, but hopefully remaining half Dean Dublois is up to the task of continuing this saga.  At the very least, we’ll get some more amazing flight scenes out of it, right?  Here’s the still awesome teaser trailer:

How to Train Your Dragon 2 hits theaters June 13, 2014.

Captain-America-The-Winter-Soldier-Poster6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Directed By: Joe and Anthony Russo

Written By: Stephen McFeely, Christopher Markus

Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Samuel L. Jackson, and Robert Redford

Captain America: The First Avenger remains my favorite Marvel standalone film, which makes my interest in the sequel, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, pretty high.  Taking the character and throwing him into a Tom Clancy-esque political thriller is rather genius, and though I was worried intially about the hiring of TV vets Joe and Anthony Russo, the trailer for The Winter Soldier seems to indicate that the pair will bring the same knack for style and inventiveness they used on TV shows like Arrested Development and Community into the Marvel Universe with aploom.  And as the most S.H.I.E.L.D. centric film yet of Phase 2, you better bet it will set up a lot of things for the most very much anticipated The Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Unlike Iron Man 2 though, here’s to hoping we can still get a great standalone film out of it. Here’s the trailer:

Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens April 4, 2014.

Gone-Girl-Book5. Gone Girl

Directed By: David Fincher

Written By: Gillian Flynn

Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, Casey Wilson, and Neil Patrick Harris

Yes, you read that right—David.  Fincher.  Enough said.  Gone Girl hits theaters on October 3, 2014

Seth-Rogen-The-Interview4. The Interview

Directed By: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg

Written By: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg

Starring: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Lizzy Caplan, Randall Park, and Timothy Simons

This is the End remains my favorite comedy of 2013, as first time directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg managed to create a surprisingly ambitious, suitably insane disaster film (with the humor you would expect from the pair to boot.)  Now a short year later, the pair are back behind the camera with The Interview and, from the sounds of things, the crazy factor of This is the End will still be a strong element of The Interview.  Once again starring the always dependable pair of Seth Rogen and James Franco, the movie centers around a producer and his talk show star finding themselves in a huge plot to assassinate the prime minster of North Korea.  Oh yeah, bring on the LOLS.  Also, upon doing some digging, it turns out the female lead in the film is none other than Lizzy Caplan…so you know, it already has best comedy of 2014 in the bag already is what I’m saying.  I mean, look at that dog!  The Interview hits theaters on October 11, 2014.

The-Grand-Budapest-Hotel-Poster3. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Directed By: Wes Anderson

Written By: Wes Anderson

Starring: Ralph Finnes, Saoirse Ronan, Jude Law, Adrian Brody, Pretty Much Everybody Else in Hollywood

…Unless, of course, Wes Anderson has anything to say about it.  Anderson is on a career hot streak following Fantastic Mr. Fox and Moonrise Kingdom and, from the trailers we’ve seen of The Grand Budapest Hotel, the streak will continue in 2014.  The Grand Budapest Hotel just looks to be an absolute blast, featuring an absolutely insane ensemble who seem to be game for pretty much anything Wes Anderson throws at them.  And though some people have complaints about Anderson’s very very distinct style…uh, fuck those people.  The Grand Budapest Hotel is going to be great.

The Grand Budapest Hotel opens on March 7, 2014.

Interstellar-Poster2. Interstellar

Directed By: Christopher Nolan

Written By: Jonathan Nolan

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Casey Affleck, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine

GASP, a Christopher Nolan film NOT being my most anticipated movie of the year?  Say it ain’t so!  But in my defense, we haven’t seen much from Interstellar—though the teaser trailer was great, it was just some basic stock footage and a monologue from Matthew McConaughey, far from indicative of what the film will ultimately be.  But what the teaser did right was establish a tone for the project, a tone that is all too promising for Christopher Nolan and his equally talented brother Jonathan to tackle.  I want Interstellar to be amazing and, considering Nolan’s track record, wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if that’s exactly what it is.  And, as a side note, following The Dark Knight Rises, I kind of need a reminder at how brilliant this guy is.  Still so many mixed emotions with that one guys.  Anyways, here’s the trailer:

Interstellar hits theaters on November 7, 2014.

The-Raid-2-Poster1. The Raid 2: Berandal

Directed By: Gareth Evans

Written By: Gareth Evans

Starring: Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Raiden Integra, Donny Alamsyah, and Julie Estelle

But here we are, my most anticipated film of 2014.  For the first time ever, deciding my number one choice was actually pretty difficult—at the end of the day I want to see all of these films and, like most lists, the actual numerical order is pretty pointless.  But after some long, hard, and painful thought, I ultimately chose The Raid 2: Berandal as my most anticipated film of 2014.  Why?  Because The Raid: Redemption of course.  As an action movie lover that film is like candy to me, and I simply can’t wait to be wowed once again by the action movie prowess of director Gareth Evans.  It may not be based on a comic book property or as ambitious as something like Interstellar or Noah but, at the end of the day, the heart wants what the heart wants.  And at this point, my heart certainly wants The Raid 2: Berandal.  Here’s the trailer:

The Raid 2: Berendal opens on March 28, 2014.

And there you have—the films to look forward to in 2014.  Will all these films be worth the wait?  I certainly hope so.  Welcome to 2014 everybody!

-Matthew

  • Jared Russo

    This list is actually pretty good, considering it was written in January, but you completely whiffed on number 1 NOT being Inherent Vice.