Top Five: Looking Forward to 2014

Amanda Kirkham

Another year has come and gone and soon enough we will start seeing Oscar predictions for the best performances, directors, and movies of 2013. While everyone picks apart the past year’s best films, I would like to take a moment to look forward to the new ones this year will be offering. There are so many that promise to deliver, including That Awkward Moment and The Other Woman, a couple of comedies that look like they just might be funny, and the incredible ensemble historical epic, The Monuments Men that was pushed back to a 2014 release. Then there are the superhero sequels, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and X-Men: Days of Future Past, that strive to outperform their originals. And let’s not forget Disney’s ambitious Maleficent, or the Rise of the Planet of the Apes sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, featuring Andy Serkis and his amazing performance capture acting style. These are all films I am looking forward to seeing but the following list consists of my Top Five Most Anticipated Films of 2014.

5. Godzilla (May 2014)

It has been so long (too long) since we have had a good Godzilla film. In fact 2014 will mark the 60th anniversary of the original film. That’s pretty nice planning on the part of the filmmakers, considering how hard it has been to try and put this film together. All of the Hollywood politics aside, after the release of the first trailer, it looks like we may just get the solid action/monster flick we, the audience, have been demanding. It also bodes well that they’ve lined up a pretty good cast of actors, including Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass), Juliette Binoche (Chocolat), and Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene). Hopefully this will launch the summer blockbuster season with a big bang.

4. Muppets Most Wanted (March 2014)

The Muppets made a huge comeback in 2011 (another franchise that was gone for too long) and the announcement of a sequel to the film was met with great enthusiasm, at least on my part. I could go on about the cast on this film as well but that would basically take up the entire post (seriously, check out this lineup). Suffice it to say that there are some outstanding actors making appearances in the film. The Muppets are one of those rare entities in entertainment that combine comedy and heart without being either R-rated or childish. They are family fun – good and wholesome and at times tongue-in-cheek. I think it’s good to have the Muppets around to remind us that you can be funny, while being appropriate and enjoyable for kids of all ages. You might have to work a little harder to make that kind of comedy work but I think that’s a good challenge to meet, and I am excitedly anticipating Muppets Most Wanted.

3. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014)

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has been hailed as this generation’s Empire Strikes Back. It was wildly successful and ended on one of the best cliffhangers in modern film history. Of course, we don’t have to wait three years for the next in the series because the first of the last two films is set to come out late in the year, most likely in November (we are, afterall, the generation of instant gratification). There has been a lot of discussion about whether or not the book needed to be adapted into two films. It is a rather complicated chapter of the story, the final one at that, and I could argue that the filmmakers are just trying to do right by the books (which I kind of believe) but really it’s a money grab. They could have condensed the story into one film but then it wouldn’t be as fun. Isn’t it more exciting to have two films to look forward to? I am very interested to see how the story, which is rather dark, and incredibly depressing, is adapted for the screen. I am a fan of the series but I understand the difficulty the filmmakers are facing with the next two films, and I have very high hopes.

Since there isn’t any official material available yet for the film, here’s a review of Catching Fire to hold you over. *WARNING SPOILERS*

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 2014)

Captain America: The First Avenger was my favorite of the standalone Avenger films, and he is my favorite superhero of the bunch. Needless to say, I am very eager, and nervous for this film. I want it to succeed but I also worry about the curse of the sequel. They always aim to surpass the original but rarely even live up to it. That being said, there are a lot of things this film has going for it. The trailers look spectacular, the cast is so good it’s almost ridiculous, and it is a Captain America film. If they keep the essence of the character true, that’s all they really need to guide the film. If they let him be the traditional hero he is, struggling to fit into a world that doesn’t understand him, they will have made an outstanding film. I’m sure the filmmakers recognize this and will make a wonderful movie, so I should stop worrying and just look forward to watching it in theaters this April.

1. How to Train Your Dragon 2 (June 2014)

How to Train Your Dragon was one of the biggest surprises of 2010 for me. The animation, score, and story blew me away. I’m such a fan that I even saw the live show, which by the way, was pretty innovative and spectacular itself. Talk of a sequel to the film has been buzzing around for the last three years and the release of the teaser a few months ago confirmed it. I’m hoping that the lapse in time between the two films is a sign that Dreamworks has been working hard on a story good enough to be tied to such a charming set of characters. The animation looks just as beautiful and the hint of music in the trailer promises to be just as grand as the original score.

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