2013 brought some incredible movies to the big screen. Dramas like 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club, and Gravity amazed with stellar acting and gripping visuals. Fans of The Hunger Games, Star Trek, The Hobbit and the Marvel Universe got their fill of big name franchises. Disney released a film that kids still cannot stop singing. And some indie flicks, like Fruitvale Station, Inside Llewyn Davis, and Philomena, made some waves for their intriguing stories and memorable characters.
This year, some significant series make their returns. 300: Rise of an Empire looks to bring the battle back to the big screen. Marvel released the successful sequel to Captain America and saw instant rewards from the box office. The Amazing Spiderman 2 appears to include a plethora of action with a variety of villains, which hopefully will not end up like Tobey Maguire’s Spiderman 3. The monster Godzilla gets another reboot. One of the most intriguing additions to its series, X-Men: Days of Future Past tries to make up for the somewhat lackluster First Class with arguably the most revered storyline of the X-Men comics.
Some new films are looking to make their impact on the field. Disney will release a live-action revisit of the story behind Sleeping Beauty. Seth MacFarlane will release another comedy to capitalize on the success of the oddly lovable Ted. Marvel has a new storyline to introduce that will step away from the more traditional superheroes that are well known by the average fans.
Now it is time to explore the best of the best, and some other randoms, that will grace the big screen this year…
Transcendence (April 18th): Starring Johnny Depp and Morgan Freeman, a scientist is fatally shot but has the technology to save his essence digitally. After becoming woven into the fabric of technology, he begins to evolve into something uncontrollable. This film is interesting in concept and may be a visual spectacle that also challenges the mind similar to that of Inception.
Brick Mansions (April 25th): In Paul Walker’s final film before his passing, this story follows a cop who is forced to enter into a forbidden part of the city because a gang leader has a missile aimed outside of their territory, holding the city hostage. With a combination of stunning fight scenes and the nostalgia of Walker’s final performance, it will at least be an entertaining film but not a stellar one.
Belle (May 2nd): In a film that looks at race and family in a much more conservative time, a young black girl, Belle, is adopted by a wealthy aristocrat and has to navigate a harsh and unforgiving world. The film appears to be a period piece with a lot of emotion and may capitalize on the themes of last year’s venture into the topic of race and society.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (May 2nd): Facing a barrage of villains from the Rhino to the Green Goblin to Electro, Peter Parker appears to have his hands full while trying to balance his life as a hero with his life as an average young adult. There are a number of things to get excited about with this film. It will hopefully have the same playfulness of the last film while embracing the story of Peter’s parents. Hopefully it will also not lose focus with too many big villains to put on display.
Godzilla (May 16th): Back to the tradition of the giant reptile monster against other freakishly monstrous creatures, this reboot of the classic sci-fi story is getting some better treatment with a cast more capable of providing more credit for reasonable acting to boost this film’s profile. Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Sally Hawkins star in this one.
X-Men: Days of Future Past (May 23rd): Although First Class had some charm, it was a flawed film that did not live up to the first X-Men films. To make up for this problem, Marvel has dug into the vault for the most intriguing and controversial story of the X-Men series. Having been highlighted in the comics and 90s cartoon, the live-action film has the potential to propel this series back to the forefront of the comic movie genre.
A Million Ways to Die in the West (May 30th): Pulling together actors like Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried, Charlize Theron, and Neil Patrick Harris, this film has a lot of appeal without even getting to the writing style of Seth MacFarlane. Taking a Blazing Saddles feel, this film is only just starting to build buzz for its campy and gun-slinging style comedy.
Maleficent (May 30th): Disney’s expansion of classic stores has taken them to a potentially dark place with this film. Angelina Jolie will star as the outcast evil queen and tell the story how she transformed into the hardened sorceress that terrorized the kingdom. With Chronicles of Narnia-style battles and dark Wizard of Oz-like creatures, this film will appeal to quite a large audience.
The Fault in Our Stars (June 6th): Shailene Woodley is a star on the rise. Getting the opportunity to stretch her dramatic acting chops, this story looks at a young woman who discovers the potential love of her life through a cancer support group. With their quality of life declining, they explore how to love when conventional romance is not really an option.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 (June 13th): After the success of the first film, the sequel looks to expand the world of dragons to greater heights and introduce Hiccup’s past to a greater degree. All of the voice actors are back and look to capitalize on the ongoing support for the story that has been supported by its transition to its television series.
Transfomers: Age of Extinction (June 27th): This feels like a sequel that has taken a series another film beyond its high point. The third installment was clearly a stretch and failed to live up to what made the first film so much better. With a new cast and different personality for Optimus Prime, here is hoping that Mark Wahlberg is better in the film than in the trailer.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 18th): Caesar returns for his movement against the human race. The first film was a gem, surprising critics for how well it was crafted. The second film has some serious expectations of being just as good, especially with a cast that includes Gary Oldman and Keri Russell, adding to the dramatic performance of Andy Serkis.
Jupiter Ascending (July 25th): Channing Tatum appears to be prepared for another multi-movie year and this may be his best of the group. The Wachowski’s have quite the task to make this story work, but Mila Kunis will get her chance of entering into the world of action sci-fi as the heroine set on ending the reign of the Queen of the Universe.
Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1st): This ragtag group of heroes is Marvel’s hidden gem. They combine the idea of extraterrestrial creatures with the fun of unanticipated heroism. The theme of the story is a little more humorous than the other superhero stories, but it looks to sneak into the Avengers storyline in some sort of unique way.
Lucy (August 8th): In an interesting opportunity to star in her own action/hero film, Scarlett Johansson plays a woman plagued with transporting illegal drugs that leak into her body and cause dramatic changes to her natural abilities. As she gains superhuman powers, she must take revenge on the men responsible for her fate. This thriller has a lot of potential and takes advantage of Scarlett’s experience with the Marvel universe.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (August 8th): This is a film that will likely disappoint before it comes out and have to make up for the bad press before making a true judgment of its quality. These are nothing like the live-action turtles of the 90s in look or attitude. It may also be a little off-putting to see Megan Fox as April O’Neil. Definitely hoping this will not be as big of a fail as it appears.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (August 22nd): In this long awaited sequel to the cult classic, another stellar cast has come together to tell this dark story. Included in this film will be Rosario Dawson, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Eva Green, Lady Gaga, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Jamie Chung, Josh Brolin, and Jeremy Piven. Looking forward to the gruesome and complicated dark thriller.
The Boxtrolls (September 26th): Having seem some great success with their stop-motion animation technique, Laika Entertainment has expanded on another children’s story to produce another Nightmare Before Christmas-type film. While the story is based on Here Be Monsters, it is still unclear what this movie will actually be about.
Gone Girl (October 3rd): Ben Affleck returns to working with a good director and with a better story in this film with Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, and Missi Pyle. Based on the novel, a woman goes missing on her fifth wedding anniversary and no one can seem to figure out what happened to her. Her husband’s shifty behavior draws attention to himself, but is he responsible for her disappearance?
The Hunger Games: The Mocking Jay Part 1 (November 21st): While it is very debatable how this story is going to be stretched into two films (similar to the final Harry Potter film), this story has captured the attention of the nation. Katniss has some real issues to resolve for herself as Peeta is missing and the mysterious District 13 is still alive and ready for war.
[Trailer not yet released]
Annie (December 19th): Reimagining the original Annie story, Quvenzhané Wallis takes the role as the title character and is prepared to impress similar to the way Jaden Smith stepped up to the challenge of The Karate Kid. With Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrn, and Cameron Diaz filling out the cast, this looks to be a very musical holiday season.
Into the Woods (December 25th): Looking to end the year on a high note, Disney has brought together a rather interesting cast, including Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt, Chris Pine, and Meryl Streep, to merge together multiple children’s stories using an evil witch to teach lessons to Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel. Not as dark as Maleficent, this film is based on the 1980s Broadway musical.
[Trailer not yet released]
Do you think that I missed any important films? Sorry to Hercules or Fast and the Furious fans, but those are not appealing to me. Tell me what I missed.