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Looking Ahead: Ethan Picks His Top 14 Most Anticipated Films of 2014

by
January 8, 2014

14 Most Anticipated Films of 2014

We've already had one week of new theatrical releases in 2014, but there are dozens more to come, with much better movies than the dismal offerings that January holds. After delivering my personal picks for the 15 Best Movies of 2013 (make sure you check out Joey & Jeremy's Top 10 of 2013 as well), it's time to look to the future. Much like last year, I've composed a list of the films that I'm most excited to see this year. Honestly, this list could be endless, but these are the ones that I just can't wait to see. There's not really any indies, because it's hard to tell when most will get released, and next week, I'll be checking out a lot of hopefuls at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival anyway. So here's my 14 Most Anticipated Films of 2014.

#14. The Monuments Men (February 7th)

The Monuments Men

This is a holdover from last year, since the film ended up being delayed from its original late 2013 awards season release, but with George Clooney directing a story from the pages of history, I'm still very much excited to see how this film turns out. Any hopes of Oscar love are pretty much dashed unless it can pull of some wizardry like Silence of the Lambs (which received a February release and took home Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay). With a cast that includes Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin and Cate Blanchett (along with Clooney himself), the film may have a small chance, but I'll just be happy to finally see it in February.

#13. The LEGO Movie (February 7th)

The LEGO Movie

When this movie was announced at Warner Bros., like many viewers who are sick of films based on every toy, game, book and older movie under the sun, I was very skeptical. But my interest took a slight turn when directors Phil Lord & Chris Miller (21 Jump Street, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) were brought on board to bring the film to life. The teaser trailer and full length theatrical trailer have only increased my excitement, as the film seems to have the brand of comedy that made Lord & Miller's previous comedies so damn good. Plus the idea of having superheroes like Batman & Superman in the same world as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and other random LEGO figures, well, that's just awesome.

#12. A Million Ways to Die in the West (May 30th)

A Million Ways to Die in the West

We only just recently got our first look at this western comedy from Seth MacFarlane, but having thoroughly enjoyed Ted, the "Family Guy" creators sophomore effort behind the camera already has my attention. The film has been said to be in the same vein as Blazing Saddles (a classic that's hard to top), and since genre parody films just aren't good anymore, I'm very excited to see what a skilled comedy writer and director like MacFarlane can do. It also helps that MacFarlane will be joined on screen by Neil Patrick Harris, Amanda Seyfried, Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Giovanni Ribisi and Sarah Silverman. Here's hoping we see a trailer soon.

#11. Dumb & Dumber To (November 14th)

Dumb & Dumber To

While the chances are slim that this sequel will be anywhere near as good as the surprising 1994 comedy hit starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, I'm hoping that Peter & Bobby Farrelly can get back to their roots with another fun, dimwitted bit of fun. If anything, the prospect of Daniels and Carrey together again as the bumbling duo of Lloyd and Harry will be worth some of the 20 year wait when all is said and done. But it would be nice if the film was at least as funny as Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues when compared to its comedy original from nearly 10 years ago.

#10. Big Hero 6 (November 7th)

Big Hero 6

Marvel and Disney teaming up for their first animated feature? That's about all one needs to know about this forthcoming comic book adaptation, the first since Marvel was picked up by The House of Mouse. It'll be nice to have a Marvel film in a different style, and one that doesn't have to tie in to Marvel's cinematic universe in which The Avengers exist. Though we're still waiting for a voice cast for this superhero team, the style from the tease of the fictional setting of San Fransokyo and the concept art is enough for us to see that this will be a unique comic book adaptation, and Disney might have a superhero hit that could rival The Incredibles. They just got a new co-director, so we hope the film doesn't end up being delayed.

#9. The Interview (October 10th)

The Interview

Here's a comedy that we haven't seen much of, but the film has been shooting in Vancouver with Seth Rogen and James Franco reuniting yet again after their successful collaboration in Pineapple Express and This is The End. Back behind the camera is Rogen with his longtime friend and writing partner Evan Goldberg. Considering the fact that This is The End made a lot of people's Top 10 lists from 2013 (it was really hard to cut it out from my own list), this will be one to keep an eye on. Again Rogen and Goldberg aim to bring their comedy brand to a new genre, this time with a plot that turns a TV producer and talk show host into assassins for the government. Plus Lizzy Kaplan is in this one too, so that's cool.

#8. The Grand Budapest Hotel (March 7th)

The Grand Budapest Hotel

If there's a new film from Wes Anderson being released, you can bet it will be one of my most anticipated films of the year. Anderson has an almost flawless filmmaking record (The Darjeeling Limited was a bit of a letdown), and with new faces like Ralph Fiennes, Jude Law and Saoirse Ronan joining the filmmaker's previous collaborators like Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Edward Norton, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Tilda Swinton and Jason Schwartzman, this has the potential to be just as good as The Royal Tenenbaums. That's a pretty tall order, but as someone who loves Anderson, I'm hoping for the best.

#7. Neighbors (May 9th)

Neighbors

Who would have thought that teaming Zac Efron and Seth Rogen would be a good idea? Efron showed plenty of comedic potential in 17 Again, and has proven his acting chops in The Paperboy and Me & Orson Welles. But teaming up with one of the top comedy talents today is something completely different. Fortunately, the red band trailer and the more recent theatrical trailer look hilarious. It's frat boy versus family man, and we're happy to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall director Nicholas Stoller tackling R-rated comedy again. And aside from the leads, Dave Franco and Christopher Mintz-Plasse will make this even more of a laugh riot.

#6. X-Men: Days of Future Past (May 23rd)

X-Men: Days of Future Past

With a superhero ensemble that rivals that of The Avengers, this comic book adaptation of one of the most iconic storylines in the X-Men universe is bringing together the casts of the original X-Men film franchise, and the prequel series that began with X-Men: First Class. Time travel, sentinels, Peter Dinklage and plenty more mutants promise to make this the biggest X-Men film yet, and with a lead-up to X-Men: Apocalypse in 2016, there's no reason not to be excited about this one. The teaser only gives us a brief glimpse into the sequel that will push some deeper sci-fi and a new timeline into the X-Men world, and we can't wait to see more. It helps that Bryan Singer is back, but it's all the X-Men that makes it epic.

#5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4th)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Since Captain America: The First Avenger was my favorite individual Marvel universe film after Iron Man, the sequel was always going to be on this list. But with a change in setting and style, Captain America: The Winter Soldier looks just as good as any acclaimed action thriller that doesn't have a superhero in the driver's seat. With Robert Redford as a questionable S.H.I.E.L.D. director and a timely story about pre-emptive attack and fear mongering in the name of patriotism, the film has the relevancy and action that made comic books great to begin with. And let's not forget about how bad-ass the action looks too.

#4. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 11th)

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Not to brag, but I have a little bit of a leg up on the excitement surrounding this prequel-sequel after visiting the set last year. I can't reveal any specific details, but the scale is much bigger, and the cast of humans and apes seems to make this a vast improvement over the already impressive first film. Jason Clarke leads a team of humans, struggling to survive in a desolate San Francisco where much of the human population has been killed by the Simian flu that began spreading during the credits of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. When the humans have to deal with Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his evolved, revolutionary ape brethren, that's when things get complicated, and another face-off between humans and apes brews. If you're not excited yet, you should probably watch the short but sweet teaser trailer right here.

#3. 22 Jump Street (June 13th)

22 Jump Street

Nick Offerman said it best in the first red band trailer for this sequel, "No one gave a shit about the Jump Street reboot." But Jonah HIll and Channing Tatum made for one of the best buddy cop comedy team-ups in a long time, taking only the basic concept from the original TV series that inspired the film, and giving it new life, thanks to the talents of Phil Lord & Chris Miller behind the camera. Now the sequel continues the self-aware nature of the original, and mixing things up by sending out undercover duo to college. In the trailer, the plot seems eerily similar to the original film, but I'm betting that's just a small part of the sequel, and we'll be dealing with something completely different this time.

#2. Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1st)

Guardians of the Galaxy

Now that Marvel has gotten comfortable with their superhero ensemble, The Avengers, it's time to shake things up with a more bold, lesser known team. Guardians of the Galaxy has a little bit of The Avengers mixed with Star Wars, all with a rough-around-the-edges package that will make this something truly interesting to behold. With director James Gunn taking on his biggest film ever, and an odd assembly of talent featuring comedian Chris Pratt as the leader Starlord, wrestler Dave Bautista as a buff tattooed alien, Zoe Saldana as a sultry assassin, and a talking raccoon and tree voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel respectively, this is going to be Marvel Studios most outlandish project to date. The first look photo is a great tease, but the footage at Comic-Con was truly impressive, and got me on board with this film.

#1. Interstellar (November 7th)

Interstellar

Needless to say, it's the filmmaking genius of Christopher Nolan that has everyone truly excited for this film. With the shroud of mystery that has accompanied all of his films since The Dark Knight, we're not entirely sure of what to expect other than a sci-fi adventure involving wormholes and unprecedented space exploration. With Matthew McConaughey in the cast, this almost feels like a spiritual sequel to Contact, and the vibe from the teaser trailer feels similar to the sci-fi flick starring Jodie Foster from the late 90s. But we're sure there's something in this film that's going to be truly mesmerizing and just might inspire a whole new generation to look to the stars for inspiration yet again.

Honorable Mentions: Welcome to Yesterday, Bad Words, Muppets Most Wanted, Noah, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Godzilla, The Fault in Our Stars, Edge of Tomorrow, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, The Maze Runner, Gone Girl, Horrible Bosses 2, The Hobbit: There and Back Again

That's it for my anticipated films of 2014. Early next week, we'll dive into some of the indie films that myself and Alex Billington are excited to see at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, which kicks off on January 16th next week. In the meantime, it's your turn. What films are you most excited to see in 2014?

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  • dz7
    300 RoAE, MAGIC IN MOONLIGHT, THE JUDGE
  • Neuromancer
    I'm looking forward to see how Wally Pfister will fare with Transcendence. Actually a bit surprised it isn't on there somewhere. But then again, 2014 is looking to be a big year with a ton of interesting films, can't list 'm all!
    • avconsumer2
      Indeed. Such a solid DP. Excited to see how he'll direct.
  • Tey
    Gone Girl?!
    • http://www.firstshowing.net/ Ethan Anderton
      It's in the Honorable Mentions. I love David Fincher, but I haven't read the book and there's nothing about the story that has be absolutely pumped to see it. I'm sure that will change when I see a trailer.
      • http://twitter.com/#!/Nanisimo Emilio Doménech
        If you read the book this list will change completely, I can assure you.
  • FincherFan
    I know your list is subjective and all, but no mention of Jupiter Ascending? Not even in the honorable mentions? As an original sci-fi space opera from the Wachowskis (who I thought you were a fan of), I expected it to be for sure on your list. Maybe I'm thinking of Alex instead.
    • http://www.firstshowing.net/ Ethan Anderton
      I do enjoy the work of the Wachowskis, but the trailer didn't really do much for me to get me excited for the film. I'm interested, and I'll definitely see it, but just pumped for it or anything like that.
  • dab394
    Monuments Men was my most anticipated of 2013 and it will remain my most anticipated of 2014.
  • Guest
    Edge of Tomorrow would be in my list
  • Guest
    Dumb and Dumber 2 seems so forced...it's kind of pathetic to be honest
  • Greg dinskisk
    My #1 is Maps to the Stars... But I'm a massive Cronenbergian guy, so that's probably why. Gone Girl hopefully will be great. I have faith in the Fincher. PTA's new film is something to get excited about, I think. Also, strangely enough... I'm halfway hopeful about Interstellar... I'm not a big Nolanite, but MM's involvement is exciting, and the trailer was relatively mysterious, which is nice.
    • Guest
      halfway hopeful? yeah...Nolan has such a track record for disappointing movies
      • Greg dinskisk
        Having said, "I'm not a big Nolanite," one may infer that I haven't enjoyed a lot of Nolan films as much as others. So yes, I think he has. I haven't really liked anything he's done since The Prestige.
        • ProjectionistHP
          Most of his movies are at least reasonably good, so betting that interstellar will be worth the money. It remains to bee seen if it is worth the hype...
        • Guest
          Not being a Nolanite is potentially like someone saying "I liked the new Star Trek movies but I'm not a trekker". A Nolanite infers fanboy. One can be a fan without being a fanboy. So no, it's not safe to simply assume that you didn't like the movies because you're not a Nolanite. If you honestly haven't liked The Dark Knight, Inception or the Dark Knight Rises then I think your taste in movies is so foreign to me that I wish I could filter your posts out seeing as I will get nothing out of them...no offense of course.
          • Greg dinskisk
            Fair enough with that first paragraph. That was a rush of judgement on my part. I just get sick a lot of the time of people talking about him so much... Second paragraph: kind of a dick move, but fair enough, I guess, there too... They just don't do much for me. The Dark Knight has solid writing and acting for The Joker, but I feel it falls flat everywhere else. Inception I find to be complex plotwise but not intellectually. The Dark Knight Rises I think is pretty much a mess. It's message is clustered, clustered, clustered. Plus I don't care for his style... I find it to be pretty bland... This new one looks okay thus far, though. I won't be watching any more trailers so I won't know what to expect or have any layer of anticipation, but I'll see it, in theaters probably. The type of film I go for is typically on the more arthouse side of cinema... I haven't really enjoyed a blockbuster in awhile...
  • Micheal Kinane
    Gone Girl and Edge of Tomorrow are must sees for me
    • Gerard Kennelly
      is Jack Reacher 2 gonna happen ? ? ?
  • The Walking Cuban
    No TASM 2?
  • CrossBullet
    • Gerard Kennelly
      president clooney acts again !!!!!!!
  • Wafffles
    I got a little deja vu when I saw this list - it feels like just last week I was reading the 2013 most anticipated list. Then I got a lot more deja vu when I saw Monuments Men on the most anticipated list again. I do feel like this is somewhat of a dropoff from this past year. I mean, forget this years "entertainment" or "action" movies - The Hobbit, Star Trek, Man of Steel - and forget popular horror movies like The Conjuring and Comedies like The Worlds End and documentaries like Blackfish. On top of all those great movies, there were also so many critical darlings, from 12 Years a Slave to American Hustle to Wolf of Wall Street to Gravity and beyond. Yes, some of the anticipated movies were letdowns, but not that many, and so many others that were barely on the radar turned out to be amazing. I just don't get that same vibe for 2014, sadly. Perhaps it's just different types of movies coming this year, or perhaps there really is something of a lull before 2015 ramps up - or, I suppose, maybe I'm just way off base on this opinion, probably because I'm still catching up on 2013 movies.
  • Flazhphone
    Interstellar hell yeah!!!!
  • DAVIDPD
    YES! Excited for all of these too! But I agree, needs more TRANSCENDENCE!!!
    • Micheal Kinane
      Trailer looked meh
  • ff
    most of this list seems pretty meh. Intersteller about the only one interesting.
    • Fuckyoubitch
      Oh, come on, what about days of future past?
      • ff
        Hard to say. The trailer looks good but Singer doesn't instill much faith. Everything after Usual Suspects is forgettable.
        • Fuckyoubitch
          True, but I personally like Bryan singer's adaptation of the xmen franchise so I'm looking forward to it and how can they go wrong with that cast
    • ProjectionistHP
      Most of it seems interesting. Neighbours thou doesn't look that interesting
  • Gerard Kennelly
    ones i am looking forward to,, A MOST WANTED MAN NON STOP GONE GIRL
  • avconsumer2
    Jupiter Ascending... just to see if the Wachowski's can get back on the horse.
    • Buzzfunk
      I loved Cloud Atlas. Hope its good!
  • Buzzfunk
    Fewer superhero movies. Good. Hoping that most of these wont suck. Jump street was hilarious. Looking forward to that sequel. But as much as people lust for more Nolan, Matt Reeves is by far the better director. Apes will rock. No doubt. Of course, that said, I wouldn't mind to be proven wrong with Interstellar. Who doesn't want a good scifi flick?
  • dz7
    No HOBBIT ??????????
  • Chris Groves
    1. Interstellar 2. Godzilla 3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier 4. Guardians of the Galaxy 5. The Hobbit: There and Back Again 6. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 7. X-Men: Days of Future Past 8. Jupiter Ascending 9. Sin City: A Dame To Kill For 10.Edge of Tomorrow
  • dk
    1. Heaven is for Real 2. Planet of the Apes 3. Everything Else

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