10 Movies We Are Eagerly Anticipating in 2014


We haven't quite put 2013 to bed. Our top 10 lists are on the way at the beginning of next week. And, if you happened to miss them, you really should check our lists of the worst and most disappointing movies from the past year. But that's all beside the point. Like it or not, 2014 is here, and we're looking ahead to it just as much as we're celebrating the year that was. With that in mind, my esteemed colleague Steve Cimino and I put together a list of 10 movies we are very excited to see over the next 12 months. Now, this list is not meant to be authoritative by any means. It can't really be with the latter half of the year sketched ever so lightly in pencil. Hopefully, it can still give you a little last of what's to come.


A Million Ways to Die in the West (Release Date: May 30)

It hasn't been a good run for big-budget Westerns lately (looking at you Cowboys & Aliens and The Lone Ranger), and I'm not a huge fan of Seth MacFarlane's work on the whole, but with my love of the genre -- even its mediocre entries of late -- this one was always going to have a good shot of making my list. MacFarlane wrote and will direct and star in this comedy about a farmer who loses his girlfriend after pulling out of a duel and then turns to another woman to regain his confidence. Yes, I'm terrified MacFarlane will be out of his depth and unlikable in a starring role. But he did a great job with Ted, and the cast he's pulled together around him is stellar (Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Sarah Silverman, Neil Patrick Harris). When I fantasize about the film, I think it will restore the Western to its proper place in the American cinematic landscape. When I'm more realistic about it, I just hope it will make me laugh. It doesn't seem too far-fetched a notion. -- Andrew Johnson

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Old Caesar light

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Release Date: July 11)

My brother had to beg me to watch the first one, but I ended up being surprisingly impressed. And this one dumps James Franco for Gary Oldman, which is always a smart decision. Maybe it's Andy Serkis' killer motion-capture performance as Caesar (the titular ape who rises at dawn), maybe it's the idea of a big-budget tentpole that's relatively grounded (smart apes, sure, I can buy that) but I'm actually glad they made another one. Plus, having Matt Reeves (director of the dually underrated Cloverfield and Let Me In) in charge can't hurt. -- Steve Cimino


Exodus (Release Date: Dec. 12)

The biblical epic would appear to be back in 2014, what with Darren Aronofsky's Noah and Ridley Scott's Exodus. Though it's not exactly a popular opinion, I'll take Scott and his star, Christian Bale as Moses, over Aronofsky and his, Russell Crowe as (duh!) Noah. We don't know much about Exodus yet other than the obvious: it will detail the flight of Jewish slaves from Egypt and the powerful pharoah Ramesses II, who will be played by Joel Edgerton. Unbaptized heathen though I might be, I love a good sweeping epic set in antiquity (The Ten Commandments, Ben Hur, Cleopatra, Spartacus). Beyond that, the choice was simple really. Scott over Aronofsky. Bale over Crowe. Moses over Noah. -- AJ


Gone Girl (Release Date: Oct. 3)

The palpable anger I've felt and heard from fans of the novel, written by Gillian Flynn, about the decision to cast Ben Affleck in the lead role as Nick Dunne (and about a number of the other casting decisions) is almost enough by itself to merit inclusion. If they feel this strongly about the work, well then this must be quite the property. Here's all I need to know, fans of the book: David Fincher (Fight Club, Zodiac, The Social Network) is directing. That means your beloved novel is in very capable hands even if it seems like the actors playing Nick and Amy and Desi are all wrong. -- AJ


Interstellar (Release Date: Nov. 7)

Christopher Nolan is a director that demands attention. That's doubly so given that Interstellar is his first feature since wrapping up The Dark Knight trilogy, and it's triply so in the wake of Gravity, since said feature is about space travel. Nolan is famously secretive so even though there's a trailer out, it's hard to learn too much about the plot. Nolan's presence makes that fact mostly inconsequential and his pick of Matthew McCounaghey to star makes it completely so. McCounaghey has had a remarkable resurgence over the past few years, so pairing him with a powerhouse director like Nolan could really launch him in to the, ahem, stratosphere. -- AJ


Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (Release Date: Aug. 22)

Sure, it took seven years for this to emerge from Hollywood's primordial sequel ooze, but the first Sin City turned out to be one of the finest by-the-book comic adaptations around. And nearly everyone is back for round two (minus the handful of cast members who unexpectedly perished, including Michael Clarke Duncan) so there should be a very interesting degree of continuity. After Frank Miller's The Spirit flopped, the cinematic world seemed to a sour a bit on his prospects. But I'm optimistic that Robert Rodriguez will rein him in once again, and a cast that features Mickey Rourke, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis (best Looper buddies!) will live up to lofty expectations. -- SC


The Giver (Release Date: Aug. 15)

Lois Lowry's dystopian YA novel had a profound effect on me when I read it in grade school, introducing the dangers of totalitarianism and eugenics in a gentle and tragic manner. The film adaptation has some notable names attached, including Jeff Bridges as the titular character, Taylor Swift as Rosemary and Meryl Streep as Chief Elder. Ultimately, its success will come down to the chemistry between Bridges and Brenton Thwaites, the actor who will portray Jonas. I can't wait to see it come to life on screen. -- AJ


The Grand Budapest Hotel (Release Date: March 7)

As a fan of Moonrise Kingdom, I can't wait for this follow-up from Wes Anderson. For a while there (after the dreadful The Darjeeling Limited) it seemed like everyone was clamoring for Wes to break out of his self-imposed shell and direct something a little different. The one-two punch of Fantastic Mr. Fox and Moonrise, however, convinced me that he still has lots to say, style be damned. And look at this cast! Jeff Goldblum and F. Murray Abraham, together at last. The trailer is easy to mock, but I expect this to be another enjoyable romp. -- SC


The Monuments Men (Release Date: Feb. 7)

Is it a comedy? Is it a drama? I've seen two different trailers with two very different tones, so maybe the studio is also unsure. That's not usually a good sign, especially when your star-heavy film has already been pushed back from late 2013 (read: Oscar season) to early 2014 (read: the sad, sad doldrums). George Clooney has the reputation of a hitmaker, but Good Night, and Good Luck is only noteworthy thing he's ever directed. It's hard not to get excited about a movie that stars Bill Murray and Bob Balaban (Moonrise reunion!) but I reserve the right to say "told ya so" if it turns out to be garbage. -- SC


X-Men: Days of Future Past (Release Date: May 23)

The Wolverine spinoffs have been disasters, but I remain a steadfast fan of the X-Men team-ups (even The Last Stand had Kelsey Grammer's truly wonderful performance as Beast). And this is the biggest team-up of all: Fassbender, McAvoy, Stewart, McKellen, Jackman. The gang's all here, and they even brought Tyrion Lannister along! I don't know if this will live up to the high standards set by The Avengers, but Bryan Singer is 2-for-2 with mutants so far (and he has plenty to work with here). After 2013's summer of blah blockbusters, this should be a sight for sore eyes. -- SC