Top Ten Upcoming Releases
You know what’s boring? Well reasoned and insightful analysis. You know what’s fun? Idle gossip and conjecture about a barely known subject. So guess which one I’m going to do now? If you answered the second, take your cookie back to your desk and get ready for a speculative journey through the upcoming year’s release schedule. If you answered “baking soda volcano,” I need you to stay after class. That wasn’t even an option, you deviant.
Top Ten Anticipated Films for 2014
10. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April)
Marvel has been trying new models with each of their properties, commendably trying to blend established narrative archetypes with the usual silly costumed hero rigamarole. The first Cap Am was infused with a John Wayne style WW2 overlay, aping several conventions of the genre before getting to the required punching of the masked villain. At least the villain’s mask was of Hugo Weaving’s face, which is ten times cooler than DC’s idea to have Aquaman fight a baddy wearing an Ellen DeGeneres mask.
This time around, the Star Spangled Avenger is feeling Jason Bourne-ish, caught up in political maneuvers and a world of shifting targets. This of course means he must chase bad guys on foot through improbable locales, and engage in rapid-cut fight scenes with multiple assailants. Drawing from one of Cap’s better story arcs, this soldier looks ready for action.
9. The Giver (August)
Starring Meryl Streep (who has a handful of juicy roles this year) and Jeff Bridges, The Giver is yet another young adult lit. inspired movie. This should be a strike against it, as many of this genre have been mercilessly churned out to catch The Hunger Games inspired craze. Fortunately, this film is adapted from a classic and award winning work, featuring a genuinely nuanced and open ended take on personal liberty, social duty, and the acceptance (or rejection) of culturally imposed ideals. If the film can manage to stick to the source, expect an excellent film.
8. Particle Fever (March)
A documentary featuring the quest to unlock the deep underlying symmetries of the universe and to shed light on the fundamental nature of our universe, Particle Fever also delves into the high energy, high stakes nature of particle physics in the modern era. Theories, reputations, and an ungodly amount of money are on the line for many in the field. With funding scarcer than ever, can the latest round of atom smashers deliver the goods, or will we witness short-sighted austerity crush our hopes for a unified theory? Not destined for wide release, Particle Fever is however an excellent window into some of the most exciting science in our lifetime, Bill Nye re-runs not withstanding.
7. A Fantastic Fear of Everything (February)
Quirky does not begin to describe this film. Simon Pegg is a tortured writer, attempting to break out of a fluke career in children’s literature by writing Victorian-era crime stories featuring mass murderers. I know, you’ve heard that set up a thousand times. Obsessed with the macabre, Pegg develops a healthy and rational dread of every single thing in life. As the deadline looms for a big time movie deal for his script, Pegg attempts to confront his demons, which are apparently represented by a stop-motion stuffed hedgehog. From first hand experience, I can vouch that hedgehogs are Satan’s vile spawn, despite looking absolutely adorable. Look for this bizarre tale in limited release. And avoid hedgehogs. Seriously.
6. Godzilla (May)
He picks up a bus and throws it back down as he wades through the buildings towards the center of town. Go Go Godzilla. While American adaptations of the iconic green monster have been…what’s the appropriate term…the worst thing ever, we can always dream of a day that Hollywood get’s it right. Having Brian Cranston on staff is a start. Treating the big guy as an awe inspiring force of nature that dwarfs all other calamities is a second step in the right direction. Based on the trailer, we may have found a worthy successor to the Toho Studios biggest star. Just no Matthew Broderick or worms, please…unless it’s a scene of Jean Reno murdering Matthew Broderick with worms, in which case put it in the background somewhere.
5. Only Lovers Left Alive (April)
Jim Jarmusch makes films that appeal to a rather small segment of the population. A segment that likes tense visuals, pains-taking plotting, artistic violence, and amazing performances. So people who like awesome stuff. His latest outing features Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton as vampires. That is probably all I need to say at this point.
4. Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo (January)
This is the 3rd installment of a four part “rebuild” of the difficult, yet beloved, series about giant machines fighting extra-dimensional creatures dubbed Angels. It is hard to imagine Guillermo Del Toro wasn’t influenced by this series, as it has practically defined the mecha genre since it’s troubled release in the 1990’s. The original suffered from massive money issues, leading to a rushed and extremely low quality finish, which has left a loyal fan base eager to embrace a definitive version of the franchise. This film brings that dream of a cohesive story and satisfying end one step closer to realization.
3. RoboCop (February)
This year actually has two reboots I’m excited to see. Godzilla is nice and all, but I prefer a movie with more of a human touch. Like the touch of a human encased in a bad-ass robo suit as he pours ridiculous amount of bullets into bad guys. You know, a film with heart. Under a bullet proof chassis. Besides revitalizing one of my favorite guilty pleasures, it also may jump start Michael Keaton’s career, which we all need and deserve. Just go see this movie, or there will be…trouble.
2. The Grand Budapest Hotel (March)
Wes Anderson. Every star Wes Anderson has ever made a great movies with. Eccentric and bizarre happenstances. Willem Dafoe cold-cocking people. Tilda Swinton. If you’ve ever had a chuckle with a Wes Anderson film, this looks like the grand-daddy of them all. Bill Murray can just come collect the money from my wallet at this point.
1. Interstellar (November)
Despite the tremendous narrative power of Matthew McConaughey’s cheek bones, I have reservations about this film. Sure Chris Nolan pretty much just makes great movies. Sure McConaughey is currently having the career renaissance that would inspire lesser actors to murder. Sure the movie has John Lithgow. My heart want’s to believe this film will actually make a hard science sci-fi story with heart and imagination. But I’ve been hurt before. In my darkest moments, I doubt that anybody working in Hollywood these days can make the kind of aspirational movie I dream about when reading a great piece of science fiction. It all seems so senseless and cruel…and then…and then I hear that sweet southern lilt in the trailer, asking me to believe that we can be great again *cue sweeping Hans Zimmer music* and I dare to dream. Thank you, Matthew McConaughey’s cheek bones. Thank you.