Most Anticipated Films of 2014

Compiling this list each year is more difficult than one would think.  Obviously it can only be made of films that are already known to be coming out by the general public.  I'd like to think that the films on my list below will be pretty good, but who knows?  There may be much better films released in 2014.  In any event, these are the ones that have me the most excited here at the beginning of the year:

Honorable Mention (in alphabetical order): The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Dumb and Dumber To, Godzilla, Gone Girl, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Transformers: Age of Extinction.

10) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 18) - Some of my earliest movie memories from my childhood are of watching the old Planet of the Apes films with my dad.  2011's 'reboot' (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) was a prequel to the previously made films, and set in the same continuity.  This follow up looks to help fill in the gaps between Rise and the original Planet of the Apes from 1968.  Dawn boasts a cast that includes Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Andy Serkis (as Caesar), Jason Clarke, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Kirk Acevedo with Matt Reeves (Let Me In) directing.  Sounds like a strong sequel if you ask me!

9) Veronica Mars (March 14) - This theatrical continuation of the short television series (just three seasons) got its start thanks to a Kickstarter campaign.  I've only seen about six episodes of the series myself, but have thoroughly enjoyed what little I've seen.  Series creator Rob Thomas is directing and he managed to 'get the band back together' as far as the original cast.  I've got some work to do to finish up those three seasons before this film hits in mid-March, but I'm pretty excited about it as you can see by its inclusion on this list.

8) The Hobbit: There and Back Again (December 17) - This isn't the actual poster for There and Back Again (it is a foreign IMAX edition from An Unexpected Journey), but I needed something in this spot since there hasn't been a poster released for There and Back Again yet.  This marks the final installment in the trilogy that has become Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit.  I've gone on record as saying that Desolation of Smaug was a good movie, but that I had to keep myself from trying to compare it to the book as it differed so dramatically.  I'm very intrigued to see how this plays out, and how if at all, it makes its way back to the ending we all know from the book.

7) Interstellar (11/7) - A sci/fi, space program adventure directed by Christopher Nolan?  Yes please!  What's that?  The cast includes Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, Michael Caine, Topher Grace, Wes Bentley, John Lithgow, Ellen Burstyn, and David Oyelowo?  Do I really need to keep listing reasons why I can't wait until November to see this film?

6) X-Men: Days of Future Past (May 23) - The epic comic book tale gets adapted to the big screen in the cinematic X-Men universe.  Bryan Singer returns to the franchise that he launched with X-Men and X-2 (he also laid the groundwork for X-Men: First Class) and he's put together a monstrous cast, including most of the surviving mutants from the franchise in the process.  It'll be interesting to see just how much this version differs from the original Chris Claremont/John Byrne story.  It will undoubtedly be different because of the variations in the cinematic X-Men continuity, but if someone can tweak this story to fit into (and maybe even clean up) the film continuity while still honoring the original source material, it's Singer.

5) The Grand Budapest Hotel (March 7) - The Grand Budapest Hotel is the latest quirky, shenanigan-filled film from Wes Anderson.  I'm not sure that much else really needs to be said here.  Anderson's films are always entertaining and he has a great collection of actors and actresses to work with once again.  Some are veterans of previous Anderson films, and some are new to working with the director.  This film is also getting released on my birthday, so Happy Birthday to me!

4) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (November 21) - Led by Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games franchise has proven to be one of the most successful and well made book to screen adaptations out there.  This is the first of the two part finale (they are splitting the final book into two films), and looks to continue the trend of making the franchise even stronger than the previous entry by adding Julianne Moore, Natalie Dormer, and Robert Knepper to an already stacked cast.  Unfortunately, there's no trailer yet.  Not even a teaser.  But that's not much of a surprise considering Catching Fire is still in some theaters.

3) Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1) - This film is the first real surprise coming out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  This collection of characters is easily the least known of any that Marvel has based a film on.  If the teaser scene after Thor: The Dark World is any indication, Guardians of the Galaxy is going to be a crazy, odd, space opera, but with a cast filled with the likes of Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Lee Pace, Karen Gillen, John C. Reilly, Benicio Del Toro, Michael Rooker, Djimon Hounsou, Glenn Close, and Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel providing voices for raccoon-like and an tree-like aliens respectively, how could they go wrong?  Marvel has been pretty tight-lipped in regards to Guardians thus far.  No official trailer has been released yet.

2) Divergent (March 21) - I'm currently a few chapters into the final book (Allegiant) of the Divergent trilogy now and so far I've loved the whole series written by Veronica Roth.  It is often compared to The Hunger Games, and they are similar in that they are both YA tales set in dystopian futures, but they are definitely their own stories.  As far as the films go, Divergent appears to be following The Hunger Games' lead by putting together a strong cast in an attempt to make the best adaptation as possible.  If the film as a whole is as faithful to the source material as the trailer below is, fans of the franchise will be very happy.  I really hope that Divergent hits the mark and is successful enough to continue adapting the trilogy.  Casting Shailene Woodley (Tris Prior) and Kate Winslet (Jeanine Matthews) as two of the most important characters is certainly a step in the right direction!

1) Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4) - Captain America is my second favorite comic book character and this film is based on a portion of my favorite run on the book (written by my favorite comic writer Ed Brubaker).  So this one's a no-brainer for me.  Marvel using their different characters to make films of varying genres is brilliant and the combination of Cap with a '70's style spy-thriller is just perfect.  The top spot probably warrants a more detailed write up, but I don't want to repeat what I've already said in my Trailer Talk post (which can be seen here). it April yet!?!?

There you have it.  What films are you most looking forward to this year?  


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