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Wednesday, January 1, 2014
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Top 25 Most Anticipated Films of 2014

By Terence Johnson
Managing Editor

Happy New Year everyone ! I hope that you had a fun night wherever you were and are enjoying 2014 in its infancy. We are just two weeks away from the Oscars announcing their nominees for the best of 2013. However, today I’m casting my gaze at the film year of 2014. So without further ado, here are my top 25 most anticipated films of 2014.

25. Get On Up
Dir. Tate Taylor
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Nelsan Ellis, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer
Synopsis: A chronicle of James Brown’s rise from extreme poverty to become one of the most influential musicians in history.
Reason: James Brown’s glorious music + Viola and Octavia in a movie together again + Chadwick Boseman’s rising star + Lafayette! (Nelsan Ellis for those not familiar with True Blood)

24. A Million Ways To Die In The West
Dir. Seth MacFarlane
Starring: Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson, Neil Patrick Harris, Seth MacFarlane
Synopsis: A cowardly farmer seeks the help of a gunslinger’s wife to help him win back the woman who left him.
Reason: Blazing Saddles nostalgia + Seth MacFarlane + Charlize Theron doing comedy (Young Adult anyone?)

23. Guardians of the Galaxy
Dir. James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Karen Gillan, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Benicio Del Toro, Djimon Hounsou
Synopsis: A jet pilot gets stranded in space, and must unite a diverse team of aliens to form a squad capable of defeating cosmic threats.
Reason: Marvel’s flawless business savy + something different from The Avenger’s aesthetic (Chris Pratt? a talking tree?)

22. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 1
Dir. Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Julianne Moore, Phillip Seymour Hoffman
Synopsis: Katniss Everdeen reluctantly becomes the symbol of a mass rebellion against the autocratic Capitol.
Reason: This book is like the other two books X 100 in terms of drama + intrigue about where they’ll cut the novel + Jennifer Lawrence

21. Jane Got a Gun
Dir. Gavin O’Connor
Starring: Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, Ewan McGregor, Rodrigo Santino
Synopsis: A woman asks her ex-lover for help in order to save her outlaw husband from a gang out to kill him.
Reason: A bit of showbiz voyeurism (all those production issues!) + that amazing cast (Portman, Edgerton, McGregor) + Duffield’s script

20. Gone Girl
Dir. David Fincher
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Missi Pyle, Tyler Perry, Scoot McNairy
Synopsis: A woman mysteriously disappears on the day of her wedding anniversary. Based on the novel, “Gone Girl.”
Reason: David. Fincher. + Affleck return to acting + Can he make me like the material more than the book did?

19. The Maze Runner
Dir. Wes Ball
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Aml Ameen, Ki Hong Lee, Will Poulter, Thomas Brodie Sangster
Synopsis: Set in a post-apocalyptic world, young Thomas is deposited in a community of boys after his memory is erased, soon learning they’re all trapped in a maze that will require him to join forces with fellow “runners” for a shot at escape.
Reason: Interesting YA sci-fi around a likable character and twisted monsters + my love for Teen Wolf’s Dylan O’Brien + This year’s Beautiful Creatures?

18. Dark Places
Dir. Gilles Paquet-Brenner
Starring: Charlize Theron, Chole Grace Moretz, Nicholas Hoult, Christina Hendricks, Corey Stoll
Synopsis: A woman who survived the brutal killing of her family as a child is forced to confront the events of that day by a secret society obsessed with solving notorious crimes.
Reason: That synopsis + the cast + I want to see the Gillian Flynn throw down with Gone Girl

17. Dear White People
Dir. Justin Simien
Starring: Kyle Gallner, Dennis Haysbert, Tyler James Williams, Teyonah Parris, Thessa Thompson
Synopsis: A satire about being a black face in a very white place. DEAR WHITE PEOPLE follows the stories of four black students at an Ivy League college where a riot breaks out over a popular ‘African American’ themed party thrown by white students.
Reason: The epic trailer + ripped from the headlines story + only movie on this list that sounds like my life

16. Jersey Boys
Dir. Clint Eastwood
Starring: Christopher Walken, Vincent Piazza, Jeremy Luke
Synopsis: Jersey Boys is a musical biography of the Four Seasons-the rise, the tough times and personal clashes, and the ultimate triumph of a group of friends whose music became symbolic of a generation.
Reason: My love for musicals + Clint directing one? + sure to be fun listening to all those tunes

15. Fury
Dir. David Ayer
Starring: Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Pena, Scott Eastwood
Synopsis: A crew of Americans in Nazi Germany toward the end of World War II embark on a brave mission.
Reason: Leftover love from End of Watch (which Ayer directed) + my eternal fandom for Brad Pitt + Shia LaBeouf and Logan Lerman stepping up their game

14. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Dir. Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Josh Brolin, Eva Green, Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson
Synopsis: The town’s most hard-boiled citizens cross paths with some of its more reviled inhabitants.
Reason: The excruciatingly long wait for the sequel + most of the original cast coming back + visually like no other film

13. Maleficent
dir. Robert Stromberg
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Imelda Staunton
Synopsis: The “Sleeping Beauty” tale is told from the perspective of the villainous Maleficent and looks at the events that hardened her heart and drove her to curse young Princess Aurora.
Reason: My favorite Disney villain + my favorite actress of all time (Jolie) + Disney deciding to tell a villain’s tale

12. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dir. The Russo Bros.
Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Redford, Sebastian Stan
Synopsis: Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and battles a new threat from old history: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier.
Reason: Chris Evans is my favorite Avenger actor + a Black superhero (Anthony Mackie as the Falcon) + a more expansive SHIELD universe

11. Godzilla
Dir. Gareth Edwards
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Juliette Binoche, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, David Strathairn
Synopsis: A giant radioactive monster called Godzilla appears to wreak destruction on mankind.
Reason: My inner kid’s inability to resist monsters destroying cities + that visually striking trailer + a cast that you’d think a blockbuster wouldn’t have

10. Nymphomaniac
Dir. Lars von Trier
Starring: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard, Shia LeBeouf, Christian Slater, Willem Dafoe
Synopsis: A self-diagnosed nymphomaniac recounts her erotic experiences to the man who saved her after a beating.
Reason: Explicit material + Lars von Trier and Charlotte Gainsbourg reteaming + what does a 5 hr sex addict film look like?

9. X-Men: Days of Future Past
Dir. Bryan Singer
Starring: Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Peter Dinklage
Synopsis: The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants.
Reason: My since childhood love for X-Men + Bryan Singer and everyone from the original film coming back + time travel + Dinklage as a villain

8. Unbroken
Dir. Angelina Jolie
Starring: Jack O’Connell, Alex Russell, Jai Courtney, Garrett Hedlund
Synopsis: A chronicle of the life of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who was taken prisoner by Japanese forces during World War II.
Reason: Jolie still proving herself as a director + new take on WWII + dynamic cast + Coen Bros screenplay

7. Into the Woods
Dir. Rob Marshall
Starring: Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt
Synopsis: A witch conspires to teach important lessons to various characters of popular children’s stories including Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel.
Reason: Beautiful, yet complex Stephen Sondheim music (first act is in iambic pentameter!) + Rob “I Directed Chicago” Marshall + fairytale musical with some heft

6. Neighbors
Dir. Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Dave Franco
Synopsis: A couple with a newborn baby face unexpected difficulties after they are forced to live next to a fraternity house.
Reason: Golden boy Zac Efron behaving badly + leftover love for This is the End + Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne teaming up against frat boys

5. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Dir. Matthew Reeves
Starring: Andy Serkis, Keri Russell, Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke
Synopsis: Survivors of the simian plague trigger an all-out war between humanity and Caesar’s growing forces.
Reason: That first reboot was so much fun + those visual effects will dazzle a second time + the 10 year time jump makes for an interesting plot

4. Interstellar
Dir. Christopher Nolan
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain
Synopsis: A group of explorers make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.
Reason: Space is the final frontier + Christopher Nolan + big budget scifi in December has yielded good results (Avatar, Tron: Legacy)

3. The Boxtrolls
Dir. Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi
Synopsis: A young orphaned boy raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors tries to save his friends from an evil exterminator. Based on the children’s novel ‘Here Be Monsters’ by Alan Snow.
Reason: Laika is on a roll (Coraline and ParaNorman are a hell of a 1-2 punch) + stop motion animation + that amazing trailer

2. Foxcatcher
Dir. Bennett Miller
Starring: Channing Tatum, Steve Carrel, Mark Ruffalo
Synopsis: The story of Olympic Wrestling Champion Mark Schultz and how paranoid schizophrenic John duPont killed his brother, Olympic Champion Dave Schultz.
Reason: I’ve had to wait an extra year to see it + great cast + Bennett Miller is 2/2 in his directorial output + Greg Fraiser is the DP

1. Jupiter Ascending
Dir. The Wachowskis
Starring: Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Sean Bean, Doona Bae
Synopsis: In a universe where humans are near the bottom of the evolutionary ladder, a young destitute human woman is targeted for assassination by the Queen of the Universe because her very existence threatens to end the Queen’s reign.
Reason: C-Tates (Channing Tatum) as a wolf-human hybrid warrior + the Wachowskis + original sci-fi blockbuster + Doona Bae

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  • Mike

    Aronofsky’s fantastical take on the story of NOAH? Anyone? Anyone?

    Also, The Fault In Our Stars and Sundance FF’s Jamie Marks Is Dead. Both are great books that are in the right hands.

    Good List, overall.
    But who else is pumped for 24 coming back to FOX? Looks like its going to be a good year.

  • Sam

    22 Jump Street?