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The JoBlo.com 2014 Movie Preview!

2014 is shaping up to be another killer year at the box office. Over the next twelve months we can expect two Marvel Studios epics, a huge X-Men sequel that brings original director Bryan Singer back into the fold, another epic from the Wachowskis, a new David Fincher movie and much more. And if you think 2014 is going to be big, just wait until 2015- a year that promises a new 007 movie, more from THE AVENGERS, and the return of STAR WARS! Good things are on their way, and the following is a list of the movies that have us got us here at JoBlo.com particularly excited for the year to come.

1. Interstellar

It's still a little early to say just what exactly Christopher Nolan's INTERSTELLAR is going to be, with only the vague teaser trailers giving us any clues. Apparently, Nolan's script (co-written with his brother Jonathan) has to do with space travel via wormholes. Does it really mater though? This is Christopher Nolan we're talking about, and given his track record I think we can safely assume his next one will be a game changer. Matthew McConaughey- who plays the lead- will likely come out of this a bigger star than ever.

2. X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST marks a major shift in the X-Men movie universe. To say the series so far has been inconsistent is an understatement. For every FIRST CLASS, there's an X3, and as far as sequels go this is complicated as it's technically a sequel to no less than three movies (THE WOLVERINE, FIRST CLASS, and X3). What makes it so exciting is that Bryan Singer, who arguably started the superhero movie wave with his first two X-MEN movies, is back behind the camera. Boasting a major budget and a fan-favorite plot line which sends a post-apocalyptic WOLVERINE back to the Cold War seventies, DAYS OF FUTURE PAST promises to be an event.

3. Godzilla

Remember the last time they tried to reboot GODZILLA? Roland Emmerich's 1998 flop was enough of a disaster that other than imports like GODZILLA 2000, the big green guy's been off North American screens for awhile. With PACIFIC RIM studio Legendary Pictures on board, director Gareth Edwards' reboot promises to be a radically different take on the monster. The early buzz is excellent, and the teaser trailer promises a cool movie, bolstered by a strong cast including Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olson, Ken Watanabe, and the great Bryan Cranston. If you've seen Edwards' MONSTERS, you'll know he's a fresh sci-fi voice, and will no doubt pull off an interesting, wildly entertaining film.

4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Marvel's CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER was kind of underrated as far as Marvel movies go. Adopting a kind of retro vibe to suit the WW2 setting, director Joe Johnson's film stood apart from the pack. Now that Chris Evans' Steve Rogers is firmly in the present, the retro vibe no longer works. New directors Anthony and Joe Russo have gone on record saying the follow-up, THE WINTER SOLDIER, is more of a techno-thriller, picking up on Rogers as he works alongside SHIELD following THE AVENGERS. Scarlett Johansson is back as The Black Widow, as is FIRST AVENGER's Sebastian Stan, who played Bucky and- following the comics- is now back in a far darker part.

5. Noah

Darren Aronofsky's NOAH is one of the biggest mysteries on this list. Following BLACK SWAN, I doubt anyone would have assumed Aronofsky's long-gestating dream project was a fresh take on Noah's Ark, but apparently it was and now it's Paramount's big Easter release. There's only one problem- the conservative religious audience the film would seem to be perfect for are not happy with the early footage, and reportedly the studio is exerting some pressure on Aronofsky to get it more in line with what they want. Hopefully Aronofsky will be allowed to deliver a film he's happy with, and anyone that's seen any of his films could have told you that if his movies are anything, they're far from conventional or conservative. No matter what happens, NOAH promises to be a visual feast, and it's nice to see Russell Crowe back in a period epic as no one seems to suit the genre like him.

6. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Marc Webb's THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN divided fans. Many thought the idea of a Spider-Man reboot so soon after Sam Raimi's blockbuster series was a ridiculous example of a studio so desperate to hang on to their character licence from Marvel that they just put anything into production. However, many- including myself- thought it was a unique new spin on the franchise. It looks like Sony poured obscene amounts of cash into this sequel, which they apparently hope spawns spin-offs to keep this web-slinging money maker slinging for years to come. Hopefully the eye candy won't overwhelm what made the first film so effective, which was the chemistry between stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.

7. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

While it's a drag that director Rupert Wyatt declined the chance to continue what he started in RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, which became the blockbuster sleeper hit of 2011, with Matt Reeves of LET ME IN & CLOVERFIELD behind the camera, fans of the first film have reason to be enthusiastic. Andy Serkis, who came close to being nominated for an Oscar for his motion capture performance as Caesar the Ape, is back as Caesar continues the ape conquest of Earth. Jason Clarke of ZERO DARK THIRTY plays one of the human parts. I'm really excited for this one.

8. Guardians of the Galaxy

With James Gunn's GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, Marvel's attempting to launch a new superhero franchise with will tie into future AVENGERS films, and hopefully launch a whole new line of superhero stars. This one looks pretty zany, with the psychedelically coloured teaser from the end of THOR- THE DARK WORLD promising a wild ride (and lots of scenery chewing by co-star Benicio Del Toro). Chris Pratt leads the cast, which also includes voice parts for Vin Diesel as Groot (a kind of walking tree) and Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon, which- yes- is a pistol packing raccoon.

9. Gone Girl

David Fincher is back. Following his Steig Larsson adaptation THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, Fincher's tackling yet another piece of popular fiction, this one being Gillian Flynn's GONE GIRL. Ben Affleck stars as a small-town bar owner whose wife (Rosamund Pike) disappears on their wedding anniversary. I haven't read the book, but apparently it's a wild, unpredictable ride and more than the simple whodunit it might sound like. I have faith Fincher will make this great.

10. Exodus

Ridley Scott teams with Christian Bale for this mega-budget biblical epic, starring the former caped crusader as Moses, as he leads the Hebrew slaves to freedom from their Egyptian oppressors. Given that THE TEN COMMANDMENTS is still an Easter ratings powerhouse, clearly the studio behind this is hoping this will be a crossover success, embraced by a multi-faith audience. Bale is always worth watching, and the idea of Ridley Scott making another period epic is cool. Hopefully this will be more along the lines of KINGDOM OF HEAVEN than the Cecil B. DeMille epic, and I have my doubts we'll see Bale parting the Red Sea anytime soon.

11. Edge of Tomorrow

Following OBLIVION, Tom Cruise is back in the sci-fi tentpole game with EDGE OF TOMORROW. Here he plays a soldier caught in a time-loop that uses his new power to acquire the skills required to repel an alien invasion, and save the planet (along with- natch- the woman he loves, played by Emily Blunt). I’m an unabashed Cruise fan, so count me in. The choice of Doug Liman to direct is intriguing (let’s all forget JUMPER) and this could be a biggie for 2014.

12. Dumb & Dumber To

Twenty years later, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are finally back as numbskull duo Harry & Lloyd in the Farrelly Brothers sequel. They may be older, but they probably aren’t any wiser. This is a sequel I’ve been hoping to see for years, and I’m glad it’s finally being done. Carrey and especially the Farrelly’s (who haven’t done a good movie since ME, MYSELF & IRENE) need a good comeback movie. This could be it.

13. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Hey- wasn’t this movie also on my list for 2013? After being pushed back a whole year at the last minute, Robert Rodriguez’ long awaited SIN CITY sequel finally hits the big-screen. Josh Brolin takes over for Clive Owen as Dwight (read the comics and you’ll understand why) as he falls for A DAME TO KILL FOR, played by Eva Green, who I’m sure will all agree is exactly that. Mickey Rourke is back as Marv.

14. The Equalizer

The eighties drama THE EQUALIZER used to be one of my favorite shows. Back in the nineties, A&E used to run it every day after school and I became a big fan of Edward Woodward as retired spy Robert McCall. The premise is great, with McCall trying to redeem himself after years as a government killer by using his spycraft to fight urban crime as a sort of avenger of the downtrodden. Denzel Washington seems like a perfect fit for the big-screen version, and with OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN director Antoine Fuqua at the helm, this could be the start of a killer franchise.

15. The Expendables 3

Stallone, Statham, Couture, Crews, Li, and Lundgren are back, joined once again by Schwarzenegger (a busy guy this year)- not to mention Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes, Kelsey Grammer (???) and even Mel Gibson- who plays the antagonist this time. I had a blast with the first two movies, which I’d chalk up in the “dumb but awesome’ category, and I’m sure this one will be another much-needed summertime jolt of adrenaline.

16. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

THE HUNGER GAMES is back, so I guess that means we can all expect another Jennifer Lawrence media blitz towards the end of 2014. Does she ever rest? All kidding aside, I love JLaw, and I’ve actually grown quite keen on the series, which has proven itself to be far from the TWILIGHT clone we might have assumed before the first one came out. Lawrence elevates these movies, and I’m sure MOCKINGJAY PART 1 will be a lot of fun.

17. Robocop

This is a movie I’ve been dead-set against since it was announced. ROBOCOP was one of the movies I grew up on, and a watered down PG-13 version of Paul Verhoven’s classic seemed to be the worst idea since- well- the PG-13 watered down version of TOTAL RECALL. The only thing that gives me any hope is ELITE SQUAD director Jose Padilla, but I dunno, this just feels like a movie that shouldn’t have been made.

18. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson’s THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL is right up there as one of the movies of 2014 that I’m all but sure to enjoy. Wes Anderson’s never let me down, and MOONRISE KINGDOM was a full-on masterpiece. BUDAPEST looks even better, with Anderson regulars Bill Murray, Adrien Brody, Edward Norton, Owen Wilson, Tilda Swinton, and more joining Ralph Fiennes as the head of the title hotel circa 1930. The trailer for this promises another delectable treat.

19. Fury (aka Untitled Brad Pitt WW2 Tank Movie)

David Ayer’s second movie in the list seems a little more polished than his Schwarzenegger vehicule SABOTAGE. Tentatively titled FURY, this one puts star Brad Pitt back into WW2 action as the head of a tank crew on a dangerous mission in Nazi Germany toward the end of the war. Sounds like a blast, and I’m a sucker for WW2 movies. The much-maligned Shia LeBeouf co-stars, along with Jon Bernthal, Logan Lerman and Michael Pena.

20. Hercules

Although he’s been part of the ensemble of a number of big action franchises lately (FAST FIVE, FAST & FURIOUS 6, G.I JOE RETALIATION) Dwayne Johnson has yet to really find a franchise of his own, where he’s the main attraction. That all changes with HERCULES. A gritty reimagining of the Greek Myth, Johnson stars in the title role, and the early artwork and still from the film are promising. The only thing that gives me pause is Brett Ratner as director. Thing is- I don’t hate Ratner. That said, I’ve all-out hated most of his movies. My fingers are crossed that he knocks this one out of the park, as Johnson deserves that film that rockets him to icon status.

21. Sabotage

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s comeback didn’t really pan out in 2013. THE LAST STAND was fun, but it all but died at the box office. ESCAPE PLAN, which teamed him with Sylvester Stallone didn’t fare much better in North America (although it was a blockbuster overseas). SABOTAGE was supposed to come out in 2013 but was delayed to 2014. Coming from END OF WATCH director David Ayer (who has another film on this list), SABOTAGE puts Arnie at the head of an ensemble cast that includes Sam Worthington, Olivia Williams and Terrence Howard, with Ah-Nuld being the head of a DEA-squad that runs afoul of a Columbian drug-lord. The trailer for this one is awesome, so I’m hoping it turns out to be the comeback vehicle Arnie deserves.

22. Transcendence

Christopher Nolan DP Wally Pfister makes his move into the director’s chair with TRANSCENDENCE. A mega-budget sci-fi thriller starring Johnny Depp as a scientist who finds his consciousness transferred to a super computer, this one could either be an all-out nightmare or some kind of sci-fi masterpiece. One thing is for sure, with Pfister as the director it’ll be gorgeous. Several Nolan regulars, including Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman, and Rebecca Hall co-star.

23. Jupiter Ascending

The Wachowskis are back with JUPITER ASCENDING. While CLOUD ATLAS didn’t make much of a dent at the box office, it had its fans (I’m one of them) and this one looks like an even more “out-there” style sci-fi action romp, with Mila Kunis apparently playing the savior of the galaxy, and a Spock-like Channing Tatum being the genetically modified hero sent to protect her. Sounds wild, and the Wachowskis are nothing if not interesting.

24. Transformers: Age of Extinction

Michael Bay continues or “reboots” his TRANSFORMERS series with this, the fourth installment of the series, dubbed AGE OF EXTINCTION. Knowing Bay, this will be another gargantuan, action packed piece of fluff. Like him or hate him, Bay knows how to deliver action and while the films have been silly (with the second close to unwatchable) I’m curious to see how the franchise fares minus leading man Shia LeBeouf, with a full-fledged star- Mark Wahlberg- taking the lead.

25. The Hobbit: There & Back Again

In December 2014, Peter Jackson’s second Middle Earth trilogy, based on The Hobbit, finally wraps up with THERE & BACK AGAIN. Through my reviews, I’ve made no secret about the fact that I’ve- for the most part- found this new series lacking. The big problem is that the material feels too thin for a three-movie epic, with each part running close to three hours. Still, I am curious to see how it wraps up, and I’m sure the legions of fans that have made this series a multi-billion dollar grosser will once again turn out in droves.

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