Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Movie Guru's Fifteen Most Anticipated Movies for the rest of 2014

The first half of 2014 has come and gone and we've already been treated to some great films. This is definitely the best year that I've seen so far in my years as a film critic. I'm a little late creating this list, but with only five months left in 2014, we've still got a ton of great-looking films left in store. Here are the fifteen films that I'm looking forward to the most.

15. THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES- December 17

The Hobbit franchise has been subjected to a lot of hate over the years, mostly because director Peter Jackson decided to turn a simple 300 page fantasy book into a three movie epic. The first film was dreadfully slow and long, but the second film is a very thrilling fantasy flick. Therefore, I'm actually really excited for The Battle of the Five Armies. The first trailer was appropriately epic and I have a feeling that this film will be more like a Lord of the Rings film. I know that it's going to be stretched out to three hours again, but I don't care. I'm very excited to see this trilogy wrap up.

14. BIG EYES- December 25 (limited release)

Big Eyes is the rare Tim Burton film that is actually considered an Oscar contender. It's the story of Margaret Keane and Walter Keane (Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz), two famous artists in the 1950's. Adams and Waltz are two of the best actors working today and it's always interesting when Burton does a drama. The story and the period visuals will probably be spectacular. It's definitely a front-runner for many Oscar categories already and it's one of my most anticipated for the rest of the year.

13. UNBROKEN- December 25

I've heard nothing but good things about the book off of which Unbroken is based on and the movie looks stunning. The only reason it isn't higher on this list is because I'm not sure how different it's going to be. Is Unbroken just going to be another inspirational biopic? My hope for that lies in the fact that Angelina Jolie directed and that the Coens wrote the script. That definitely gives me a lot of hope for this film, but even if it is a standard inspirational film, it still will be a good movie. Jack O'Connell is an early Best Actor favorite in my book.

12. FURY- November 14

With the exception of the poorly reviewed Sabotage, David Ayer's wheelhouse seems to be quality emotional films with a hard, gritty edge. End of Watch was considered by many to be one of the best films of 2012 and one of the best cop dramas ever and I think that Ayer's new film, Fury, can be a classic film as well. The last time Brad Pitt was in a World War II movie, it was called Inglourious Basterds. That's one of my favorite films and although Fury definitely looks different, I'm still excited to see Brad Pitt playing a soldier again. Not to mention the eclectic supporting cast led by Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal and Logan Lerman. I'm hoping for this to be a great war film and from what I've seen so far, it will be.

11. EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS- December 12

Ridley Scott seems to specialize in old-fashioned epics (he directed Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven) and Exodus: Gods and Kings looks like another great addition to that category. Granted, the title is terrible and the whitewashed cast is somewhat troublesome, but this film simply looks epic. The first trailer highlighted the visual scope of the film and it looks terrific. Not to mention that Christian Bale is probably one of the best actors alive and can do almost anything with a role. This is definitely one to watch.

10. FOXCATCHER- November 14 (limited)

Moneyball was one of the most unique sports films ever made and I have a feeling that director Bennett Miller's Foxcatcher can be unique as well. The trailers have painted the film as a psychological sports drama and if you know the full story, then you know that this movie isn't going to end well. However, the actors are the biggest reason to get excited about this movie. Steve Carell is already an Oscar front-runner and Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo looks great as well. The buzz out of Cannes was deafening and I simply can't wait until I finally see it.

9. INHERENT VICE- December 12 (limited), January 9 (nationwide)

I've tried reading the book Inherent Vice before, but it's simply too weird and too different for me. However, I'm still really looking forward to the movie. Paul Thomas Anderson has directed some great films before and the cast he's assembled for this one is amazing. Joaquin Phoenix is perfect for the lead role and Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin fit their supporting roles perfectly. The 1960's Los Angeles setting is infinitely appealing and I just can't help but think that this is going to be an awesome movie. It's playing at the New York Film Festival as the centerpiece as well, so that's a great sign.

8. BIG HERO 6- November 7

Disney is once again the top animation studio in Hollywood and their last two films (Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen) were both on my top ten list for 2012 and 2013, respectively. So why would I not be excited for Big Hero 6, the studio's next film? The trailer was awesome and it's their first true team-up with Marvel, so there's even more to get excited about. I love the animation style and Baymax, the large white blob thingy, looks hilarious. This movie looks awesome.

7. KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE- October 24

I recently caught a little bit of Matthew Vaughn's Kick-Ass on FX and I loved what I saw. I definitely intend on finishing the movie at some point. And I do consider Vaughn's X-Men: First Class to be one of the best films of that series and one of the ten best superhero films ever (hint: there's a post like this coming). So I have to say that I'm super excited for his new film Kingsman. It looks like a cross between Edgar Wright, James Bond and the brutal stylized violence of Vaughn and if that doesn't get you excited, I don't know what will. Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson and Mark Strong round out the cast. Count me in.

6. THE INTERVIEW- October 10

Seth Rogen and Nicholas Stoller's Neighbors is one of the best films of the year so far and I couldn't be more excited for Rogen's next directorial effort, The Interview. Rogen has evolved as a comedic artist over time and The Interview looks like his most stylized and interesting effort yet. Plus, the story is infinitely appealing. Rogen and James Franco go to North Korea and assassinate Kim Jong-un? This looks hilarious and entertaining and I absolutely can't wait to see it.

5. KILL THE MESSENGER- October 10

Argo was and still is my favorite film of 2012 and although Kill the Messenger involves nobody from that film, its style appears to be almost identical. And that's only part of the reason why I'm excited for this film. The big reason is because the trailer was magnificent, highlighting the great-looking performance of Jeremy Renner and the exciting detective story involving cocaine, drug smuggling and the US government. This looks awesome and it looks to be the kind of movie that I love.

4. NIGHTCRAWLER- October 17

Nightcrawler is a dark thriller set in the underground world of LA crime journalism that stars Jake Gyllenhaal. Seriously, what's not to like. The trailers have been cryptic and hypnotic. Gyllenhaal looks appropriately insane. And the cinematography looks stunning. After seeing the brilliant Prisoners last year, Gyllenhaal is among my favorite actors and I really think that he can pull this role off. Nightcrawler looks like the kind of noir that Hollywood just doesn't make anymore.

3. GONE GIRL- October 3

David Fincher is one of Hollywood's premier directors. He never fails to deliver a unique and thrilling vision. Fight Club is still one of the most amazing films that I've ever seen and The Social Network is probably one of the most interesting biopics in history. The pulp novel Gone Girl might not seem like great material for Fincher, but from the look of the trailers, it will fit him perfectly. The film looks dark and gritty and also very engaging. Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike are great actors and I have no doubt that this will be one of the year's best films.

2. BIRDMAN- October 17 (limited)

Birdman is one of the early favorites for Best Picture and Best Actor and it's one of my most anticipated of the year. Why? For one, it looks awesome. A film with Michael Keaton as a washed-up superhero who tries to put on a Broadway play is an amazing idea. Plus, the rumors that the film was edited to look like it was filmed in one take make the film sound only more enticing. Finally, the cast includes Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis and Naomi Watts. Seriously, what's not to like?

1. INTERSTELLAR- November 7

Christopher Nolan is the best mainstream director alive. He might just be the best director period. And that's why Interstellar is my most anticipated film for the rest of the year. It was my most anticipated at the beginning of the year and it still is now. Nolan's new film looks amazing. The space epic looks like a traditional Nolan film with mix of Spielberg and Kubrick thrown in. The visuals look awesome, the cast is amazing and this looks like Nolan's most relatable and heartfelt film next. November 7 can't come soon enough.

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