Hollywood has cleared the way for some decent quality films this Winter/Spring!
A year ago we provided a commentary on how Summer Blockbusters were moving further up the calendar each year. 2014 doesn't bolster the same amount of quality earlier in the year titles as 2013 did, but anytime you have Marvel Studios releasing a film before May it feels like Summer is coming just a little bit early. So what titles can you count on to warm you up this Winter and escape to when the temperatures begin to rise? Find out after the break....
#10: Noah, March 28th, Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
What could an Darren Aronofsky Noah look like?
A big budget biblical film with a release date close to Easter and an A-list actor like Russel Crowe in the lead, Noah has a chance to be huge at the box-office this Spring. There is, however, a major wild card with director Darren Aronofsky. How will the man who is regarded as one of the most violent directors in Hollywood mix with biblical material? Could Aronofsky's style combined with the fact the he based the film more off of Ari Handel and Niro Henrichon's graphic novel more than the Bible potentially alienate a major portion of Noah's audience? We can't wait until March 28th to find out!
#9: The Lego Movie, February 7th, Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller
The Lego Movie is sure to have families and collectors running to the box-office February 7th!
The Lego Movie seems like it has the perfect formula to become one of the breakout hits of 2014 by combining America's most lovable toy line with some of America's most beloved characters, then getting really famous household names to voice those characters. The Lego Movie boasts a cast that includes : Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Nesson, Allison Brie, and Charlie Day. If directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller can find the perfect balance of humor, both kiddie and adult, as well as just enough heart, Warner Bros. may have a Pixar quality franchise on their hands!
#8 Need for Speed, March 14th, Directed by: Scott Waugh
Could Scott Waugh have us speeding to the box-office this Spring?
Hoping to capitalize on the recent monster success of The Fast and Furious franchise comes what could be America's next great racing franchise. While the film doesn't have the star power that The Fast and Furious films boast, it does have the name of the popular video game racing franchise attached. Just remember: No one knew who the late Paul Walker or Vin Diesel were before the first Fast and the Furious. Hopefully this film can turn Aaron Paul and Dominic Cooper into household names just as it did for those guys over ten years ago. Add in the fact that is has Michael Keaton and not much could keep us away!
#7: 300: Rise of an Empire, March 7th Directed by: Noam Murro, Produced by: Zack Snyder
Could 300: Rise of an Empire out battle every other film at the box-office this Spring,
despite an R-rating, just like the original did?
Zack Snyder's 300, based off of Frank Miller's graphic novel, made "green screen" a common term among film fans and catapulted the director to super stardom. This time around Zack Snyder is back to produce with new comer Noam Murro directing. The original 300 may have changed the film industry, but looking back probably not in a good way. 300's introduction of complete green screen film making has soured the once beloved film in many fans eyes. While 300: Rise of an Empire looks like all the worst tendencies of the first film with the absence of at least an interesting director like Snyder, the hope is that it has a chance to capture audiences with pure spectacle the way the original did in 2007. It's that hope that still has us really looking really looking forward to it.
#6 Monuments Men, February 7th, Directed by George Clooney
Monument's Men has a chance to be an Oscar worthy film even with a February release!
When talk of 2013 Oscar contenders begin to circulate, buzz already began to surround George Clooney's Monuments Men, a film about the search for stolen art during World War II. Starring Clooney himself along with Bill Murray, Matt Damon, and John Goodman was considered the odds on favorite to win best picture. A visual effects delay, however, pushed the film from December 18th to February 7th making it ineligible for this years Oscar's. The fact that Clooney chose to get the film right rather than rush it for Oscar consideration combined with this epic cast has us eagerly anticipating this one.
#5: Non-Stop, February 28th, Directed by Joume-Collet Serra
Nothing says Non-Stop Action like Taken on a plane!
When the trailer was first released for Non-Stop from director Joume-Collet Serra (the man who gave us the House of Wax remake back in 2005) I honestly thought it was the trailer for Taken 3. Non-Stop looks pretty much like Taken on a plane. While it may not yet be Taken 3, Universal can gladly take our money just for the chance to see classic Liam Neeson on a plane boarded by terrorists action!
#4: Robocop, February 12th, Directed by: Jose Padilha
Let's hope one of Robocop's prime directives is to entertain the public!
While we in no way think this Robocop film will live up to Paul Verhoeven's original due to it's lack of an R-rating, there are still many things that have us eagerly anticipating the remake such as getting to see Sam Jackson, Gary Oldman, and Michael Keaton all in one Robocop film. Will people actually care about this character in a post Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man World or is Robocop simply an obsolete character? Will this version of Robocop try to truly be a Robocop for a new generation or will it just be a less bloodier and less interesting rehash of one of the greatest sci-fi action films of all time? All questions that have us anxiously waiting until February 12th to have answered!
#3: Captain America The Winter Soldier, April 4th, Directed by The Russo Brothers
Could Cap 2, be the best Marvel film of all time?
Acclaimed comic book writer Ed Brubaker recently called Captain America: The Winter Soldier the greatest Marvel film of all time after seeing a screener; some very epic praise in a post Avengers world. Since the script was first being written the Russo brothers have claimed that Cap 2 will be the most serious film to take place within the Marvel cinematic universe. This proclamation has primarily been made because the Russo's believe they have a true classic political thriller on their hands with Cap 2 rather than simply another superhero film. Our hope that Captan America The Winter Solider can transcend the Marvel cinematic universe beyond just pure blockbuster status makes it not only one of our most anticipated movies of the Spring, but of 2014.
#2: Transcendence, April 17th, Directed by Wally Pfister
Could Wally Pfister be the next Christopher Nolan?
For the better part of the past decade Wally Pfister has been one of the best, if not the best, cinematographers in Hollywood. Pfister, who has been Chris Nolan's cinematographer since 2000's Memento, has turned in shooting masterpieces time and time again, even more impressive that all of these masterpieces were shot on film and in the case of The Dark Knight, Inception, and The Dark Knight Rises, true IMAX. Due to his accomplishments in the cinematography world Pfister has been handed a first time directing gig like none other. Transcendence combines the talents of Johnny Deep, Morgan Freeman, Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy, Rooney Mara, and Rebecaa Hall for what looks like a truly original sci-fi film about the the consequences of artificial intelligence and cyber terrorists hell bent on stopping it. So is Wally Pfister Hollywoods next great director? We can't wait until April 17th to find out!
#1: The Raid 2: Berandal, March 28th, Directed by: Gareth Evans
Could The Raid 2, be the greatest action film of all time?
Acclaimed film critic Germain Lussier of Slashfilm recently deemed The Raid 2 to be the greatest action film of all time after a screening of the film at the 2014 Sundance film festival, very lofty praise from an industry vet. While Gareth Evan's original The Raid Redemption was one of the better action films of the last decade, calling the upcoming sequel the greatest action film of all time is something different entirely. While there is no one in the critical community I respect more than Lussier, it would be something to see if The Raid 2 can truly surpass the likes of the original Die Hard and Terminator 2. One thing is for sure: We can't wait until March 28th to see if Lussier is right! The only negative thing about having The Raid 2 at our top spot is the lack of wide release it might get considering it is technically an Indonesian film. Hopefully the hype out of Sundance and the success the first film enjoyed in the U.S will push XYZ films to make this a wide release. In the meantime we will just have to repeatedly watch the the first Raid to occupy our time. If you have never seen the original, stop reading and order it right now! Watch it and we guarantee the sequel will be one of your most anticipated films of 2014 as well!
Don't worry! Summer movie season will be here very soon,
starting with Marc Webb's The Amazing Spiderman 2 May 2nd!
While the above list may not compare to the Summer blockbusters we will see from May through August, early 2014 still looks pretty epic. You could even argue once again that perhaps Summer movie season is here just a little bit earlier. We will be back in late April with our top 10 most anticipated blockbusters of Summer, so stay tuned!