As the harsh winter sends us all scurrying indoors, I’m looking forward to some promising movies in the first half of 2014. Don’t be too disappointed in me if the vast majority of these are sequels, prequels, or adaptations. They’re the ones that I know more of what to expect (I’ve been well-trained by the Hollywood Hype Machine!).
In February, we get to see an updated (and even cooler looking) Robocop (Feb 12). This time, the cybernetic policeman sports some sleek, black armour and looks a like a cross between a Cylon and Apple’s new Mac Pro. On one hand, I want to see what Joel Kinnaman (from TV’s The Killing) will do with the role. On the other, I still can’t get rid of the bad taste of Colin Farrell’s Total Recall remake. On Feb 21, we’ll see the wide release of animation master Hayao Miyazaki’s last film before retirement, The Wind Rises. While the based-on-true story of a Japanese aviation engineer sounds ironically more grounded than previous flights of fancy such as Howl’s Moving Castle, or Spirited Away, I don’t want to miss Miyazaki’s swan song.
March is looking good with one of my most anticipated movies of the year, Veronica Mars finally making it to the big screen. While I mildly care about how this labour of love was funded by fans of the show via Kickstarter, I’m more excited that Kristen Bell gets to return to her best role ever, as the young girl detective (now grown up) and a whole bunch of her friends, frenemies, and other acquaintances are popping up too. Note to self: “Rewatch the TV series before March 14”. Before Miss Bell returns, another of my favourite actresses gets to loom large on the screen. Eva Green chews the scenery as Persian naval commandatrix Artemesia in 300: Rise of an Empire (Mar 7), another chapter in the 300 saga (frankly, I don’t know if it’s a sequel or a prequel or neither). I doubt it will be as good as the Zack Snyder original, but I’m a huge fan of the over-the-top fantasy epic. Finally, Divergent seeks to be the next Hunger Games on March 21, when it brings another beloved, young-adult, dystopian series to the big screen. I haven’t read the book (about a future society where people are divided by personalities and a group of mutants … I mean “divergent” … seek to challenge the system) but it seems a little derivative. Nevertheless, I like this kind of stuff, and another one of my favourite actresses (Kate Winslet) is in it.
Captain America: Winter Soldier (Apr 4), brings back Chris Evans as the star-spangled Avenger, but now he has to contend with his abandoned-for-dead former-protege (played by Sebastian Stan) who has returned all hard and bitter (Why do they always have to get that way?) as the Winter Soldier.
The supers just keep coming in May as Andrew Garfield returns in Amazing Spider-man 2 (no subtitle). I loved the first film, so I am very very excited about this sequel (even though I think the way they’ve done Jamie Foxx as the shocking villain Electro is really strange looking). I’m also pumped for the latest X-Men movie, X-Men: Days of Future Past (May 23) because it picks up one of the most interesting of the X-Men comic book story arcs. Time travel is involved, which conveniently brings together casts from both generations of X-Men movies. Since seeing the little teaser at the end of The Wolverine, I am really looking forward to this one. At the end of May, Angelina Jolie vamps it up as Maleficent (the villain from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty). This live-action prequel continues to mine Disney properties for more gold like the two Once Upon a Time series do on television, so I fear that it might be as story-thin as those shows are as well. We shall see.
June brings us another original, non-sequel sci-fi from Tom Cruise (keep’em comin’ Tommy Boy!). Edge of Tomorrow (Jun 6) features some of my favourite things: time loops, battle armour, Bourne Identity director Doug Liman, and another favourite actress Emily Blunt. I’m not crazy about the fact that it’s set during a war, but at least it’s a war against aliens. Finally, it’s been four years since we last saw Toothless and Hiccup on the big screen, so naturally now the Viking boy and his trained dragon are a bit grown up in How to Train Your Dragon 2 (Boy, I wish there had been a better title for this one.) Despite the fact that there’s a TV show to tell the story of their adventures, it seems like they are going to be able to really expand the scope of this fantastic world with new characters and awesome animation. It’s going to be great to see them take things up a few notches.
Those are the movies I’m looking forward to over the next months. New Cineplex slogan: Come in for the warmth, but stay for the exciting new movies! (or something a little catchier)