THE LONE RANGER

With 2013 about to end, it’s worth looking ahead to what’s coming, and what looks freaking awesome. But as we delve into the future, it’s worth noting that we can only go on the talent involved and what could be. On paper a lot of films sound awesome (like The Lone Ranger). On paper. That said, here’s what we can’t wait to watch in 2014.

Concession:

There are a number of big films we left off the list, but with something like X-Men: Days of Future Past, or Transcendence, it’s not that we don’t want to see those films, we also know that they could easily not work. So, if it needs to be stated, this is our opinion and mileage will vary. Also, we cheated, there’s a couple more than ten on here.

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Honorable Mention:  Terrence Malick’s Three or Four Movies

Right now the IMDb has three films slated for Terrence Malick to deliver in ’14: Knight of Cups, Voyage of Time and an untitled film. These films feature actors like Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Michael Fassbender and more, though knowing Malick’s editing choices it’s also possible that they’ve all been cut from these movies. Then there’s also the documentary that he’s made about the creation of Earth, or something like that, which is supposedly an Imax release. Whether these films will come out this year, whether they’ll be shown theatrically or released on VOD like To The Wonder, who knows, but we liked To The Wonder, so bring it.

Release Dates: Unknown (perhaps a tree will whisper the answer)

Guardians of the Galaxy

10. Guardians of the Galaxy / Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Marvel is coming off of an impressive year of two solid, if not great, comic book movies, so we almost take what they’re doing for granted. In fact, we expect a film like Captain America: The Winter Soldier to be a solid if not great action movie. But then there’s James Gunn‘s Guardians of the Galaxy, which could be the studio’s first comedy. We haven’t seen much from the film, other than the end credit stinger on Thor: The Dark World, but it is unquestionably the most out-there movie the studios made, possibly the riskiest in terms of characters, and features a talking tree and talking raccoon. How do you not want to see that right now?

Release Dates: Captain America 2 – April 4, Guardians of the Galaxy – August 1

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9. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

One of the most pleasant surprises of 2011 was Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which managed to tell an interesting story while also weaving itself into the fabric of the Planet of the Apes mythos without actively destroying it. The original series remains one of the best in Science Fiction cinema (last chapter and Tim Burton reboot withstanding), and one of the most subversive. Hopefully the sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes delivers on the first prequel. It ditches James Franco‘s character, so that’s a start.

Release Date: July 11

Bryan-Cranston-and-Aaron-Johnson-in-Godzilla-2014-Movie-Image8. Godzilla

Godzilla as a creature is fascinating, even if the majority of the films he’s appeared in have been less good. But that doesn’t stop us from anxiously anticipating what Hollywood does with him for the second time, having (hopefully) learned from the mistakes made in the 1998 version. With a great cast that includes Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Olsen, there’s a lot that can be done with this story, and we’re hoping this delivers.

Release Date: May 16

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7. Jupiter Ascending

The trailer for Jupiter Ascending was goofy and questionable, but it comes from the Wachowskis and they made The Matrix and Cloud Atlas, so we’ll be buying a ticket regardless (we’re even fond of their Speed Racer). If nothing else, it’s got a great cast with Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis, and it’s an original property, which could be a big breath of fresh air in the summer season.

Release Date: July 18

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6. The LEGO Movie/ 22 Jump Street

Chris Miller and Phil Lord have proved themselves to be great directors between the first Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street, so their 2014 double-header has us doubly excited. The LEGO Movie looked like it could just be Product Placement: The Movie, but every trailer and commercial has been winning, while the only thing that makes us a little nervous about 22 Jump Street is the speed to which it came together. But the re-teaming of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum is gold, so hopefully the directing duo will go 2 for 2 in 2014.

Release Dates: LEGO February 7, 22 Jump June 13

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5. Under the Skin

Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin has been getting rave reviews at the festivals it’s already played at, but it won’t be hitting America shores until April. With star Scarlett Johansson supposedly giving one of the best performances of her career, and a great sci-fi premise, we’re hotly anticipating a film that will be both loved and hated, and studied (and not just for the nude scenes).

Release Date: April 4

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4. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson seemed to realize that he could have the same tone, but tell a different kind of story with Moonrise Kingdom, and it seems to have broken him out of a rut. At least that’s what we hope, which is why we can’t wait to see what’s in store from The Grand Budapest Hotel, which — at least going by the trailers — may deal with a slightly batty leading man, but doesn’t seem to dwell on his family. With a wonderful supporting cast, this is our most anticipated film of the first half of 2014. Easily.

Release Date: March 7

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3. Gone Girl

David Fincher‘s latest Gone Girl is based on a best selling novel. But though his The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo hemmed a little too close to the source material, we expect this will be a much better ride. Starring future Batman Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, this is definitely something in the director’s wheelhouse, and we hope he knocks it out of the park.

Release Date: October 3

 

Inherent Vice

2. Inherent Vice

Paul Thomas Anderson directed Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood and The Master, so if we can’t wait to see what he does adapting Thomas Pynchon with star Joaquin Phoenix — who could be the greatest actor working today — it’s because even if we don’t like it, it’s going to be an event, and something worth chewing over. Plus it has Josh Brolin and Martin Short, and you never know what you’ll get from Anderson. How is that not exciting?

Release Date: Unknown, likely fall

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1. Interstellar

Christopher Nolan had to finish out his Dark Knight trilogy, but in between those films he made The Prestige and Inception, which are two of his best works. Now that he’s free of the bat, his next film is Interstellar, and we don’t know very much about it (there was a leaked script that was — from all word — completely re-written), other than that the film teams Nolan with Matthew McConaughey and Jessica Chastain, is about space travel on some level, and that man directed both Memento and The Dark Knight, which is — frankly — all we need to know.

Release Date: November 7