Seeing as I like to keep my fellow outlaws apprised of all the latest and greatest geek fare taking place in the world—but mainly because I have nothing better to do—I’ve put together a list of 14 upcoming new film releases in 2014 (see what I did there) to keep an eye on. Now, I’m by no means endorsing these movies as good or bad, but I figure anything that might pique my interest may pique yours too. Nevertheless, I have been wrong before… many, many, MANY times so, as always, your mileage may vary. Regardless, enjoy the list and don’t hesitate to throw out any suggestions the Outlaw community should keep their radar on.
The LEGO Movie (February 7)
From the moment I laid eyes on the preview for this toy-line-turned-movie at last summer’s SDCC, I was in love… in that surprisingly impressed by the trailer kind of way. Not impressed by what you’ve seen yet? Note that from the clouds to the water, every single on-screen element you see in the movie is made from the infamous Lego blocks. Now, if the blockheads that created this movie can maintain the level of humor and visual awe of Legos come-to-life displayed in the teaser for an entire film, then we are all in for a major treat. (Mind you, I have been burned by trailers before: see my R.I.P.D. review for proof.)
RoboCop (February 12)
On the other hand, when I saw the exclusive first look for the new Robocop reboot during the same SDCC panel, I almost lost my previously ingested $11 pretzel. Again, trailers don’t tell all, so this reboot could either be a bombshell hit, or just a disastrous bomb like that other Verhoeven classic you might “Recall,” whose remake was a “Total” waste of time. Based on all the previews I’ve seen thus far, the part-man part-machine tune-up looks to be headed towards the same fate. All that said, being that I’m a glutton for punishment, I will still be in attendance opening night, and you can “buy that for a dollar.”
Muppets Most Wanted (March 21)
Unlike its latest film title, the Muppets weren’t even wanted by the Salvation Army until Jason Segal almost singlehandedly brought them back from the brink by making fun of the very fact they were washed up. Thanks to some fresh humor, a catchy soundtrack, and a story that managed to poke fun at their downtrodden residence in current pop-culture, The Muppets reboot was an unexpected hit in 2011. Being a Muppets fan myself from the time I can actually remember walking, the film reignited my love with the furry yet loveable Henson creations. The upcoming follow-up film has my interest piqued already, especially knowing there will be a certain Loki star (Tom Hiddleston) making a cameo.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4)
Of all the Avengers, Steve Rogers (aka Cap) is by far my favorite of the bunch due to the fact he is the most patriotic, most selfless and most clueless of the bunch. In many ways, he’s a lot like me, with the added bonuses of an indestructible shield and super-human strength. The first entry of the film series wasn’t too shabby, but Joss Whedon really brought out a personable aspect to the character—as he did with all the Avengers—and my hope is that momentum carries over into the sequel. What I’ve seen so far has got me standing at attention with my right hand over my heart and my flag at full mast (wait, I think that came out wrong). Oh yeah, did I mention it has more of Scarlett Johansson wearing a tight black one-piece?
Amazing Spider-Man 2 (May 2)
Anyone that read my review of the original Amazing Spider-Man reboot starring Andrew Garfield knows I was none too thrilled with his portrayal of Peter Parker and Spider-Man, let alone the movie in general. Mind you, this is coming from someone who loves the wall-crawler more than any other superhero alive, assuming they actually were alive. While I’m by no means head of the Toby Maguire fan club, the actor’s turn as Parker and Spidey were by far more accurate to the comic world form which I grew up with. Still, I’m willing to give Mr. Garfield another chance, and on viewing the trailer, this entry has the potential to be better than the first (but that wouldn’t be much of a stretch). Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 proved to be the best of his trilogy, so maybe #2 will be successful for Amazing Spidey this time too. (By #2 I mean the second movie.)
Godzilla (May 16)
Who doesn’t love a giant lizard that smashes things and fights giant insects? Let me rephrase: who, besides the Japanese people, don’t love that kind of thing? Almost 15 years after the Mathew Broderick-starring Godzilla got laughed at by the American public (I think I may be the only one who has admitted to enjoying it), in true Hollywood procedure, the remake of the remake is now set for release later this spring. This time around, the creators have returned to the thunder lizard’s roots in look and feel, but with a more realistic tone. They’ve even included an infamous flying moth and a meth-cooking actor (Bryan Cranston) is set to star. Consider my attention officially captured.
X-Men: Days of Future Past (May 23)
Had executives managed to fit the word “present” into the film’s title, I would have been all over this flick like blue on Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique. Who am I kidding? I’m going to be all over this film opening day regardless of title, and any color would be all over Jennifer Lawrence if given the chance. Speaking of, the beautiful Hunger Games Star will be back in this chapter of the X-Men film saga along with most of the cast from First Class and original series. Add in the element of time-travel along with Wolverine tearing up everything with his indestructible finger nails, and this just might be enough to send a nerd into sensory overload. Luckily I’m just a geek, so the sight of J-Law in blue paint will be more than enough for me.
Edge of Tomorrow (June 6)
What many don’t realize is that Tom Cruise is quite the science fiction buff, as witnessed from his recent roles in films like War of the Worlds and Oblivion. That shouldn’t be too shocking to many, as his religion is pretty much rooted in the sci-fi genre as well. Despite his “interesting” spiritual beliefs, there is no doubt the sofa hopper is an extremely entertaining actor and has starred in some great action flicks. I had the pleasure of seeing the preview for this at the last SDCC and, needless to say, this alien invasion film with a Groundhog Day twist looks very intriguing. So on June 6th campers, make sure to rise and shine and don’t forget your booties ’cause “it’s gonna be cooooold out there.”
Transformers: Age of Extinction (June 27)
No matter what your opinions are of Michael Bay and what he has done with the Transformers property, you gotta give it to the guy, he loves to blow crap up. While many have complained about his odd take on the film representation of the robots in disguise, there is no arguing with the fact that people love watching him blow crap up, too. The box office numbers don’t lie when it comes to the infamous shape-shifting machines as apparently people can’t get enough of large robots kicking the ever-loving circuitry out of each other. It’s what made the Transformers so popular in the first place, so if it ain’t broke, why fix it? For the fourth installment, Bay has succumbed to the will of fans everywhere by giving us Grimlock and the rest of his Dino crew. My favorite dinosaurs that turn into robots now in a live action movie?! I’m already standing in line.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 11)
Even taking into account my general dislike of everything James Franco has done—outside of Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy and This is the End—I still managed to thoroughly enjoy Rise of the Planet of the Apes in spite of his presence. Needless to say, this is one of the franchise reboots I’m really enjoying seeing as it takes a much more realistic and updated look at the original series made famous with the help of the late great Charlton Heston. Having just taken in the preview for the newest entry of the storyline, I’m admittedly even more excited to see the battle between Neanderthals and monkeys taken to the next level. My main curiosity still remains: will movie number two see the monkeys flinging number two? One can only hope.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (August 8)
If you are one of the ones disgusted with Bay’s treatment of the Autobots, then you may already be working up your hate letters for his fresh live-action take on our beloved pizza-eating foursome. It has all but been confirmed that the new-look turtles will also have a new-look back-story, one that revolves around them being aliens from space. Yes, you read that write. Don’t get your panties too much in a knot though, as you may very well see Megan Fox in her panties at some point as she takes on the role of popular news reporter April O’ Neil. Whether or not she can act, I’m always open to seeing her give the profession her best on the big screen. Add to the fact that Bay loves his dynamite, and this turtle film could be the adult version of the loveable TMNT we’ve been waiting for.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (November 21)
As most of you have already figured out, the latest trend in Hollywood is converting the final novel from a book series and breaking it up into two films. Of course the first thought that enters into one’s mind is the fact that this is an obvious attempt to drag out a popular franchise and rake in as much moolah as possible. On the flip side, if done properly, it can allow for the written story to be translated to film in a more accurate way without having to sacrifice important elements of the source material. Obviously, we all pray for the latter reasoning, but we know that in Hollyweird it’s all about the Benjamins, baby. Conversely, when it comes to the Hunger Games, more specifically Jennifer Lawrence, getting to see more of Katniss in IMAX isn’t the worst of propositions. In addition, with the excellent adaption of Catching Fire, I’m more than happy to spread the Hunger Games love over a couple more movies. It’s also two more chances to re-send my marriage proposal to the lovely victor herself.
The Hobbit: There and Back Again (December 17)
On that same note, if there was an award for stretching a book out into multiple movies, Peter Jackson’s adaption of The Hobbit would take home the precious prize. While I haven’t read the book myself, most I have talked to have noted that there was no need to drag out the relatively short story—in comparison to Lord of the Rings anyway—to three movies, each bordering on a third of a day in length. As it goes with anything in Hollywood though, where there is no need, there is a way. That’s not to say the first two films haven’t been entertaining in their own right, but both have had their slow moments… several slow moments. Alas, if Evangeline Lily is back and kicking ass once more in the final chapter as she did in part two, not all will be Lost.
Night at the Museum 3 (December 25)
I know, I know. You are thinking, what is the Outlaw smoking, and how do I get some? There are arguably more unique and ground-breaking geek movies coming out this year, but this one caught my eye because, well, I like this series. As it goes with most franchises, the first entry was the best of the two so far, but the sequel was also an entertaining venture. Albeit goofy in premise, the effects are solid, the premise is unique and (gasp) somewhat educational, but most importantly, the films make me laugh. I was shocked to see that a third was on schedule for this year, so I added it to my list based on the sheer surprise factor of what could be an unexpected holiday treat. Maybe this time around, they will have the museum exhibit at the Playboy mansion come to life. If so, here’s to hoping (or praying) they release this one in 3D.