2014 Movie Preview: The 40 Films We’re Most Excited About
Well, so much for 2013.
This past year had its cinematic ups (“Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Gravity,” “This Is the End”), downs (“Gangster Squad,” “A Good Day to Die Hard”), in-betweens (“Man of Steel,” “Star Trek Into Darkness”), and sweet surprises (“The Conjuring,” “Blue Jasmine”).
It was a fun year, but 2014 is looking to be even more of a thrill ride, filled with franchise-friendly sure things, swing-for-the-fences passion projects, sleeper hits waiting to be discovered and, of course, a few (okay, a lot of) superhero movies. And we can’t wait to get started.
Here are the 2014 films we’re looking forward to the most.
40. "The Expendables 3"
Release Date: Aug. 15
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford
Director: Patrick Hughes
The Scoop: Stallone and his gang of over-the-hill mercenaries are back, and this time they’re facing their most formidable foe yet: Mel Gibson, playing one of the original co-founders of The Expendables gone bad. Bruce Willis wanted too much money for a third go-round as the gang’s handler, so Sly brought in — of all people — Harrison Ford as his replacement, with other new cast members including Stallone’s “Assassins” co-star Antonio Banderas and his “Demolition Man” pal Wesley Snipes. This is all well and good, but when do we get the ladies-only version?
39. “Sex Tape”
Release Date: July 25
Starring: Jason Segel, Cameron Diaz, Rob Corddry, Jack Black
Director: Jake Kasdan
The Scoop: Director Kasdan reunites with his “Bad Teacher” pals Diaz and Segel and his “Orange County” buddy Black for this madcap tale of a married couple on a desperate search for their missing sex tape. Originally titled “Basic Math,” which sounds all sorts of kinky.
Release Date: July 25
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, John Hurt, Ian McShane, Joseph Fiennes
Director: Brett Ratner
The Scoop: Why yes, we would love to see a movie starring The Rock as the son of Zeus and the mortal Alcmene, the legendary Greek hero burdened with the Twelve Labors, which include such seemingly insurmountable tasks as slaying the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra, cleaning the Augean stables in a single day (hey, they’re huge and crazy filthy) and — hubba hubba — obtaining the girdle of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. You might think that the 41-year-old Johnson is getting a little long in the tooth for gigs like this, but really, he’ll probably be playing these kinds of characters until he’s 100. (Look for the first Herc movie of 2014, "Hercules: The Legend Begins" with Kellan Lutz, Jan. 10.)
Release Date: Dec. 19
Starring: Quvenzhane Wallis, Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne
Director: Will Gluck
The Scoop: The classic Broadway musical based on the long-running comic strip comes to the big screen for the second time with “Beasts of the Southern Wild” star Wallis in the title role, a scrappy little orphan who braves the Great Depression with a belief that, no matter what, the Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow. We’re especially looking forward to seeing Diaz riding her recent villain streak (following “Bad Teacher” and “The Counselor”) all the way to the role of corrupt orphanage manager Miss Hannigan, and her “Any Given Sunday” co-star Foxx will make a fine Daddy Warbucks … renamed here as ‘Benjamin Stacks.’
[Related: Photos from the Set of ‘Annie’]
36. “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For”
Release Date: Aug. 22
Starring: Josh Brolin, Eva Green, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jessica Alba
Director: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller
The Scoop: Whether anyone cares about a “Sin City” sequel almost 10 years after the release of the original film remains to be seen, but we’re there opening weekend if only to see Eva Green play Ava Lord, the ‘dame to kill for’ that makes fools of every man in town. The “Casino Royale” beauty playing Frank Miller’s be-all, end-all femme fatale is a sight not to be missed.
35. “Mr. Peabody and Sherman”
Release Date: March 7
Starring: Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Stephen Colbert, Stanley Tucci
Director: Rob Minkoff
The Scoop: The “Peabody’s Improbable History” segments of “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show” get the 3D computer animated treatment courtesy of DreamWorks Animation. In this new adventure, genius dog Mr. Peabody (Burrell) and his adopted boy Sherman (Charles) go back in time via the WABAC machine to interact with some of history’s most prominent figures … and, of course, end up needing to repair severe damage to the space-time continuum. Featuring additional voice work by Leslie Mann, Mel Brooks, Allison Janney, Ariel Winter … and, appropriately enough, “In a World …” star Lake Bell.
34. “Jersey Boys”
Release Date: June 20
Starring: Christopher Walken, Freya Tingley, Jeremy Luke, Kathrine Narducci
Director: Clint Eastwood
The Scoop: How did four blue-collar kids from New Jersey become one of the greatest successes in pop music history? If you haven’t seen the Tony Award-winning stage musical, you can find out with Clint Eastwood’s big-screen dramatization of the formation, success and eventual break-up of ’60s rock group The Four Seasons. We’re especially looking forward to seeing Walken’s interpretation of Gyp DeCarlo, the mob boss who becomes one of the band’s greatest allies, and Joey Russo as a young version of “Goodfellas” Oscar winner Joe Pesci.
33. “Edge of Tomorrow”
Release Date: June 6
Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Jeremy Piven
Director: Doug Liman
The Scoop: Tom Cruise follows up 2013’s underrated “Oblivion” with another futuristic sci-fi action film with a heck of an existential conundrum. Here he plays a soldier in a war against an alien race who finds himself stuck in a “Groundhog Day” kind of loop that sends him back to the start of the day he’s killed in a sneak attack … although that premise isn’t very clear from the film’s rather confusing trailer, which plays more like a hodgepodge of seemingly random sci-fi ideas and hero shots of Emily Blunt holding her own against her veteran genre co-star. Based on the Japanese novel “All You Need Is Kill,” which, as titles go, is about a thousand times cooler.
32. “Get On Up”
Release Date: Aug. 1
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Nelsan Ellis, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer
Director: Tate Taylor
The Scoop: All eyes are on Chadwick Boseman, who follows up his acclaimed turn as baseball legend Jackie Robinson in 2013’s “42” with playing another major 20th century icon: the Godfather of Soul himself, James Brown. Boseman will get on the scene like a sex machine in this biopic directed by Tate Taylor (“The Help”), which chronicles the music man’s life from extreme poverty to international superstardom as one of the most influential performers in the history of entertainment.
Release Date: TBD
Starring: Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Steve Carell, Sienna Miller
Director: Bennett Miller
The Scoop: Bennett Miller’s delayed follow-up to “Moneyball” (2011) is another true-life story, one more along the sinister lines of the director’s Oscar-winning “Capote” (2005) as it recreates the events surrounding the murder of Olympic Champion Dave Schultz (Ruffalo) at the hands of paranoid schizophrenic John duPont (Carell). Tatum plays Schultz’s brother and fellow Olympian wrestler, Mark, on whose autobiography this is based.
[Related: 10 Films We Were Supposed to See in 2013]
30. “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”
Release Date: July 11
Starring: Andy Serkis, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Jason Clarke
Director: Matt Reeves
The Scoop: Eight years after the events of the surprisingly quite excellent “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (2011), human survivors of the virus that’s wiped out a good chunk of humanity (so to speak) wage war against Caesar (Serkis) and his ever-growing ape army. Who will emerge as the planet’s dominant species? (Hint: It’s not the humans.) This round of evolution/revolution comes courtesy of “Let Me In” and “Cloverfield” director Matt Reeves.
Release Date: May 9
Starring: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Dave Franco
Director: Nicholas Stoller
The Scoop: No, this isn’t a remake of the 1981 comedy starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, nor is it an Americanized version of the popular Australian soap opera. “Neighbors” ‘14 depicts the epic territorial war between Rogen (as a conservative dad and family man) and Efron (as the alpha male of a rowdy fraternity house) as they traverse the unfortunate reality of living next door to each other. We assume there will be at least one scene in which college students drink a lot, and one in which some visiting sorority sisters go topless … probably much to the shock of Byrne as Rogen’s wife.
28. “How to Train Your Dragon 2”
Release Date: June 13
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Kristen Wiig, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett
Director: Dean DeBlois
The Scoop: The adventures of Hiccup (Baruchel) and Toothless continue as the boy and his dragon come across a secret ice cave that serves as home to hundreds of wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, a discovery that stirs up an epic conflict. Fun meta-casting: “Game of Thrones” star Kit Harington provides the voice of Eret, a dragon trapper.
27. “The Fault in Our Stars”
Release Date: June 6
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Willem Dafoe, Laura Dern
Director: Josh Boone
The Scoop: Just in case “Divergent” doesn’t do well, Shailene Woodley’s got another YA adaptation as back-up, and this one doesn’t take place in a dystopian future in which people wear ridiculous costumes. It is a tale of young love, though, one that — refreshingly enough — takes place in the real world, and involves teenagers with real problems. Let’s just hope “The Fault in Our Stars” doesn’t get lost in the whizz-bang-boom of the summer movie season.
Release Date: Dec. 25
Starring: Jack O’Connell, Garrett Hedlund, Jai Courtney, Domhnall Gleeson
Director: Angelina Jolie
The Scoop: Angelina Jolie’s second directorial effort (following 2011’s “In the Land of Blood and Honey”) chronicles the life of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini (O’Connell), who was taken prisoner by the Japanese army during World War II. The screenplay adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s book comes courtesy of the Coen Brothers, with Jolie once again providing the ‘dark’ alternative to more family-friendly Christmas Day moviegoing like “Into the Woods” — although this one hopefully won’t make us feel like jumping off a bridge.
25. “Transformers: Age of Extinction”
Release Date: June 27
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Stanley Tucci
Director: Michael Bay
The Scoop: Bring on the Dinobots. Oh, and at least a hint of planet-eating Unicron would be cool, too. That is all.
Release Date: May 9
Starring: Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman
Director: Jon Favreau
The Scoop: Favreau takes a break from blockbusters and goes back to his “Swingers” roots with this character comedy about a chef who gets fired from his restaurant job and starts up a food truck in an effort to get his creative flair back whilst taking up a side project of reuniting his estranged family. Along for this tasty piece of culinary cinema are Favreau’s “Iron Man 2” pals Downey Jr. and Johansson, and we wouldn’t be surprised if his old pal Vince Vaughn showed up in at least a cameo appearance.
23. “The Lego Movie”
Release Date: Feb. 7
Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Will Ferrell
Director: Phil Lord, Chris Miller
The Scoop: The world of Lego comes to life in this animated adventure in which a regular mini-figure (Pratt) is mistaken for the legendary MasterBuiler and becomes involved with a quest to stop the evil Lord Business (Ferrell) from gluing the universe together. Features other voice work by Jonah Hill, Nick Offerman, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson (as Good Cop/Bad Cop), Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Cobie Smulders, and Channing Tatum (as Superman), though we’re most looking forward to Arnett’s bass-heavy interpretation of the Dark Knight.
Release Date: May 16
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston, Juliette Binoche
Director: Gareth Edwards
The Scoop: "Pacific Rim" was cute ‘n’ all, but you just can’t beat the King. Gareth Edwards ("Monsters") is here to stomp all those bad Roland Emmerich memories into the ground as a resurrected Gojira wrecks havoc in San Francisco. The trailer is exhilarating, featuring Kick-Ass himself para-jumping onto the big beast with his military colleagues and the film’s A-list supporting cast running in terror before saving the money shot for last: the angry behemoth himself, letting out his familiar battle cry as he stands triumphant in the dusty rubble. !!!
21. “The Maze Runner”
Release Date: Sept. 19
Starring: Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario
Director: Wes Ball
The Scoop: More YA dystopian sci-fi, this one based on James Dashner’s pretty terrific 2009 novel about a group of young boys who wake up one morning to find themselves with no memories other than their first names and trapped in the Glade, a large expanse with a seemingly unsolvable maze beyond its stone walls. Then, one day, a girl shows up in the Glade, one who may be able to shed some light on the ‘why?’ of their situation — and, more importantly, the ‘how the heck do we get out of here?’
20. “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”
Release Date: Jan. 17
Starring: Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Kenneth Branagh, Keira Knightley
Director: Kenneth Branagh
The Scoop: The reboot of Tom Clancy’s CIA hero got pushed out of the holiday season in favor of a Christmas Day release for Paramount’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which makes “Jack Ryan” one of the classiest January releases to come out in years. Chris Pine follows in the footsteps of Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck for what could be called “Jack Ryan Begins,” which should feature a healthy dose of operatic theatricality courtesy of director Branagh (who will also chew scenery as the film’s villain).
19. “Jupiter Ascending”
Release Date: July 18
Starring: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne
Director: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
The Scoop: We have no idea just what in the heck the latest sci-fi extravaganza from the Wachowskis is about, as the eye-popping trailer slyly avoids revealing anything beyond a vague idea of the premise. We’re just glad that we’re finally getting another sci-fi extravaganza from the groundbreaking duo that brought us “The Matrix” — and bonus that it features a cast that includes Kunis, Tatum, Redmayne, and ever-grizzled Bean.
18. “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Release Date: March 7
Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Saoirse Ronan, Bill Murray
Director: Wes Anderson
The Scoop: Ralph Fiennes looks to be the best Wes Anderson actor ever in the trailer for the auteur’s latest bit of quirky cinematic preciousness as the charming concierge of a five-star hotel, displaying the kind of comic timing and lithe physicality he’s rarely able to show off when he’s playing big baddies like Lord Voldemort. Familiar Anderson faces make up the film’s ultra-impressive supporting cast, including Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Jason Schwartzman, Harvey Keitel, Willem Dafoe, Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Bob Balaban, and, of course, Bill Murray.
17. “The Interview”
Release Date: Oct. 10
Starring: James Franco, Lizzy Caplan, Seth Rogen, Randall Park
Director: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
The Scoop: The writing-directing duo of “This Is the End” (we’re still laughing at some of the gags in that one) return with a raucous comedy about a talk show host (Franco) and his producer (Rogen) getting caught up in an international assassination plot via a femme fatale CIA agent (Caplan). Even if “The Interview” ends up only half as funny as “This Is the End,” it’ll still qualify as a mini-classic … even without (we’re assuming) an appearance by a well-endowed demon, at that.
Release Date: Nov. 12
Starring: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Jon Bernthal
Director: David Ayer
The Scoop: One of two 2014 offerings from “End of Watch” writer-director David Ayer (the other being the Schwarzenegger vehicle “Sabotage,” which didn’t make our list), “Fury” takes place during the last days of World War II as a hardened American tank commander (Pitt) leads a unit of five soldiers behind enemy lines as Nazi Germany collapses around them. The film snagged some bad press when the rather explosive production made a ton of racket whilst shooting during the early hours of Remembrance Day, observed in Commonwealth countries in memory of those members of the armed forces who died in the line of duty.
15. “22 Jump Street”
Release Date: June 13
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Nick Offerman
Director: Phil Lord, Chris Miller
The Scoop: They taught at least one high school to Just Say No, and now Jenko (Tatum) and Schmidt (Hill) are deep undercover in college to fight more evil and tolerate more “You look a little old to be here” observations from their fellow, er, students. More red-band hijinks ensue, though this time without the added bonus of a Johnny Depp cameo … and, we have to admit, we’re gonna kind of miss Dave Franco this time around, too.
14. “Monuments Men”
Release Date: Feb. 7
Starring: George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Bill Murray
Director: George Clooney
The Scoop: Clooney’s latest directorial effort was originally scheduled for the 2013 holiday season but jumped ship from the overcrowded market for the much less competitive waters of early February, with an all-star cast comprising a WWII platoon of misfits assigned with rescuing priceless works of art from Nazi destruction. Clooney’s work as a director to date has been good, not great, but he definitely knows how to surround himself with A-list — and must-see — talent.
13. “The Hobbit: There And Back Again”
Release Date: Dec. 17
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Luke Evans
Director: Peter Jackson
The Scoop: Oh yeah, there’s still one more of these things to go! “The Desolation of Smaug” traded the bucolic charms of “An Unexpected Journey” for a stronger sense of narrative tension, ending with a cliffhanger — spoiler alert! — in which Smaug himself (Benedict Cumberbatch) flies off to spew his fiery wrath upon the citizens of Lake-town. “What have we done?” muses Bilbo (Freeman), perhaps speaking for director Peter Jackson as he might be wondering whether this whole make-it-a-trilogy idea was actually a good one. The jury’s still out with us, too, but we’re excited to see it through.
12. “Gone Girl”
Release Date: Oct. 3
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Missi Pyle, Neil Patrick Harris
Director: David Fincher
The Scoop: David Fincher returns to crime thriller territory with this adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestselling novel in which a recently laid off journalist (Affleck) is suspected of murdering his wife (Pike), who mysteriously disappeared on their five-year wedding anniversary. Plenty of twists and turns abound, unfolding under Fincher’s perfectionist supervision with everyone looking plenty pretty thanks to the cinematography of Jeff Cronenweth, who shot Fincher’s “Fight Club” (1999), “The Social Network” (2010), and “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” (2011).
Release Date: March 21
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Miles Teller
Director: Neil Burger
The Scoop: Hollywood takes another shot at the whole YA thing with this adaptation of Veronica Roth’s dystopian novel in which people are divided into five distinct factions based on their personalities and abilities. Challenging this way of life — and the force that might turn it on its head — is, of course, an attractive teenage girl (Woodley), accompanied by an equally attractive male counterpart (James). Will “Divergent” be ‘the next Hunger Games,’ that seemingly unattainable cinematic Holy Grail … or will it suffer the same fate of recent failed YA adaptations such as “The Host,” “Beautiful Creatures,” and “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones”? The odds are in its favor, thanks mostly to the fact that Woodley is a full-throttle movie star just waiting for the right flick to catapult her to the big leagues.
10. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
Release Date: April 4
Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
The Scoop: Steve Rogers gets the “Bourne” treatment as the star of his very own contemporary political thriller in which the First Avenger faces modern-day corruption in the government he once thought so infallible, soon discovering that his red, white and blue get-up really stands out in a world awash in shades of grey. Back for more Marvel action is Johansson as Black Widow, whilst Mackie is set to steal some scenes (and rule the skies) as Sam Wilson/Falcon. Also, Robert Redford is in it, which is all sorts of awesome.
Release Date: March 28
Starring: Russell Crowe, Logan Lerman, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson
Director: Darren Aronofsky
The Scoop: After the astonishing commercial success of “Black Swan” (2010), director Darren Aronofsky was given license to pretty much do whatever he wanted as a follow-up. He’d already done a slimmed-down version of his dream project, “The Fountain” (2006), so he opted for this epic disaster film featuring the Bible’s biggest action star (played by, appropriately enough, the “Gladiator” himself). No matter what you may personally believe when it comes to the Old Testament, you can’t deny that such a story is in good hands with this director and cast.
8. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”
Release Date: May 2
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Dane DeHaan, Jamie Foxx
Director: Marc Webb
The Scoop: Now that the by now all-too-familiar origin story is out of the way, the rebooted “Spider-Man” series comes into its own with a tale that introduces some of the wallcrawler’s most popular and powerful nemeses: the electricity-wielding Electro (Foxx), the brutal Rhino (Paul Giamatti in a mech suit) and what appears to be the Green Goblin, as personified by — we assume — Dane DeHaan’s wily and ambitious Harry Osborn. Carrying the film’s emotional weight once again is Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker, a charming smarty-pants who cracks wise so that he may not have a complete nervous breakdown.
Release Date: May 30
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Juno Temple
Director: Robert Stromberg
The Scoop: Angelina Jolie as Disney’s most terrifying villain? Yep, we’re there. Jolie gets wicked as the self-proclaimed ‘Mistress of All Evil,’ who first gave audiences nightmares in animated form in “Sleeping Beauty” (1959). Will we get to see Jolie turn into a black and purple dragon at some point in the film? Hey, Smaug can’t be the only fire-breather in town.
Release Date: April 18
Starring: Johnny Depp, Kate Mara, Paul Bettany, Morgan Freeman
Director: Wally Pfister
The Scoop: Christopher Nolan’s go-to cinematographer makes his directorial debut with this sci-fi film that looks like a classier version of “The Lawnmower Man” (remember that one?) as a terminally ill scientist (Depp) manages to transfer his consciousness to a computer, which gives him all sorts of god complexes and raises questions of who we are as human beings and where we’re going and the dangers of the thirst for knowledge and other heavy, pre-Summer Movie Season stuff. Give yourself one more brain tease before school’s out.
5. “Into the Woods”
Release Date: Dec. 25
Starring: Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick
Director: Rob Marshall
The Scoop: Stephen Sondheim’s beloved stage musical finally becomes a big-screen fairy tale courtesy of “Chicago” director Rob Marshall, sporting an A-list cast of crooners including Depp as the Wolf, Streep as the Witch (which also absorbs the stage role of the Mysterious Man), Blunt as the Baker’s Wife and Kendrick as Cinderella. Oh, you also get Chris Pine as the Prince, Tracey Ullman as Jack’s Mother and Christine Baranski as Cinderella’s Stepmother. Bring on those Oscar noms and soundtrack downloads!
4. “Guardians of the Galaxy”
Release Date: Aug. 1
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel
Director: James Gunn
The Scoop: And you thought “Thor” was a hard sell? The God of Thunder (or something) is about as mainstream as you can get compared to the bizarro lineup of Marvel’s intergalactic team of superheroes, which includes a gun-crazy raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper, at that) and a giant walking, talking tree (played by Vin Diesel) and is led by the guy who plays Andy on “Parks and Recreation.” Actually, the comedy-tinged “Guardians of the Galaxy” is so crazy, it just might work.
3. “X-Men: Days of Future Past”
Release Date: May 23
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender
Director: Bryan Singer
The Scoop: Talk about your Mutant Mania! The latest “X-Men” adventure incorporates the casts of the original trilogy and 2011’s “First Class” with a time-bending plot that involves Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) going back in time (courtesy of the phasing abilities of Ellen Page’s Kitty Pryde) to prevent a series of events that will lead to a catastrophic future. We’ll soon see if this falls into the same ‘too many mutants’ trap of “X-Men: The Last Stand” (2006), but with original “X-Men” (2000) and “X2” (2003) director Bryan Singer back calling the shots, we’re allowing ourselves to think “Days of Future Past” might end up being the best X-movie yet.
2.”The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I”
Release Date: Nov. 21
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Sam Claflin, Julianne Moore
Director: Francis Lawrence
The Scoop: "Catching Fire" surpassed its predecessor in pretty much every category, setting the bar pretty high for the two-part finale. Will lightning keep striking one of the few YA adaptations to actually command a "Twilight"-sized audience? The odds are … well, pretty good, as "Catching Fire" director Francis Lawrence is returning to call the shots and J.Law’s star is going to just keep burning brighter. Bonus: After Philip Seymour Hoffman’s sly turn as Plutarch Heavensbee, we’re now looking forward to his "Magnolia" and "Boogie Nights" co-star Julianne Moore joining the fray as Alma Coin.
Release Date: Nov. 7
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine
Director: Christopher Nolan
The Scoop: Nolan turns his attention from Gotham City to outer space with this sci-fi film about mankind taking more than just one small step in our continuing exploration of the cosmos. The film’s trailer promises something grand and majestic as McConaughey plays a self-described pioneer who takes space travel to the next level; Nolan is definitely swinging for the fences here, looking to create something worthy of being mentioned in the same sentence as Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Considering the fact that he’s Christopher Nolan, he just might pull it off.
Also Opening in 2014:
Things go bump in "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones" (Jan. 3); Mark Wahlberg goes behind enemy lines in "Lone Survivor" (wide Jan. 10); Kellan Lutz goes Greek in "The Legend of Hercules" (Jan. 10); Aaron Eckhart is "I, Frankenstein" (Jan. 24); Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet get all Nicholas Sparks-ish in "Labor Day" (wide Jan. 31).
"RoboCop" gets an upgrade (Feb. 12); students learn reading, writing and bloodsucking in "Vampire Academy" (Feb. 14); Colin Farrell gets reincarnated in "Winter’s Tale" (Feb. 14); Kevin Costner has "3 Days to Kill" (Feb. 21); disaster strikes in "Pompeii" (Feb. 21); Liam Neeson punches an airplane in "Non-Stop" (Feb. 28).
Muscles flex (in slow motion) in “300: Rise of an Empire” (March 7); video gamers have a "Need For Speed" (March 14); a master sleuth returns in "Veronica Mars" (March 14); things get started in "Muppets Most Wanted" (March 21); people get busy in "Nymphomaniac: Part One" (March 21).
Scarlett Johansson is out of this world in "Under the Skin" (April 4); Jude Law lives a middle-aged life of crime in "Dom Hemingway" (April 4); Kevin Costner trades baseball for football in "Draft Day" (April 11); Arnold Schwarzenegger shoots things in "Sabotage" (April 11); Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton get their vampire on in "Only Lovers Left Alive" (April 11); people get even busier in "Nymphomaniac: Part Two" (April 18); Cameron Diaz and Kate Upton are both “The Other Woman” (April 25).
Emerald City gets animated in "Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return" (May 9); Jon Hamm has a "Million Dollar Arm" (May 16); Seth MacFarlane teaches us "A Million Ways to Die in the West" (May 30).
Another legal 12-hour crime spree ensues in “The Purge 2” (June 20); the battle of the sexes continues in "Think Like a Man Too" (June 20).
Eric Bana takes on the Devil in “Deliver Us From Evil” (July 2); Melissa McCarthy hits the road with Susan Sarandon in "Tammy" (July 2).
Heroes in a half shell slam evil in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (Aug. 8); Scarlett Johansson and Luc Besson team up for "Lucy" (Aug. 8); Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep give us "The Giver" (Aug. 15); a house gets haunted in "Jessabelle" (Aug. 29); Natalie Portman shoots up the Wild West in "Jane Got a Gun" (Aug. 29).
Eli Roth returns to horror in "The Green Inferno" (Sept. 5); Jason Bateman and Tina Fey honor Dad’s last wish in "This Is Where I Leave You" (Sept. 12); Milla Jovovich shoots more zombies in "Resident Evil 6" (Sept. 12); Denzel Washington brings the action in “The Equalizer” (Sept. 26).
Roberts Downey Jr. & Duvall play son and father in the crime thriller “The Judge” (Oct. 10). A children’s classic comes to life in "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" (Oct. 10); Luke Evans grows fangs in "Dracula Untold" (Oct. 17); more things go bump in "Paranormal Activity 5" (Oct. 24).
Marvel gets animated with "Big Hero 6" (Nov. 7); Lloyd & Harry are older and no wiser in "Dumb and Dumber To" (Nov. 14); Cate Blanchett and David Mamet team up for "Blackbird" (Nov. 14); the working class blues continue in "Horrible Bosses 2" (Nov. 28).
Ridley Scott and Christian Bale get Biblical in "Exodus" (Dec. 12); a bear tells his tale in "Paddington" (Dec. 12); Ben Stiller continues to have the best job ever in "Night at the Museum 3" (Dec. 25).