Saturday, December 28, 2013

Top 25 Anticipated Films of 2014

This is a challenging task I attempt every year around this time. I inevitably miss some of the best films a year will eventually offer, and pick some stinkers out of an eternal optimism that doesn’t always pay off. It is a mixture of what looks entertaining and what will tickle my own particular taste, but ultimately a search for stories that will have something meaningful to say. Here are 25 for 2014:

25. Divergent 

The first five films on this list have a huge potential to be the top-five stinkers of 2014. If this is more “Twilight Zone” intelligent storytelling and less “Twilight” teeny-bopper mental-vacancy, it could be passable.

24. [Rec]4 Apocalypse 

The Spanish, zombie-epidemic-via-demonic-possession franchise is back. It has struggled to equal the quality level achieved in the first film, all the while peeling back more and more layers of the supernatural cause along the way. The hope is that things will start to mean something eventually, but that hope is fading fast.

23. Sabotage 

Arnold has failed to get me back into theaters since he quit politics, but maybe this loose adaptation (very loose) of Agatha Christie will do the trick. (I don’t have high hopes here.)

22. Dracula Untold 

I am a sucker for Dracula stories, only because the novel is so rich in meaning and symbolism. All the adaptations tend to let me down, but I keep coming back hoping for something fresh that is a fraction as good as the original.

21. Edge of Tomorrow 

Time travel stories are rich in potential, but also have the worst track-record for success in my book.

20. Jupiter Ascending 

An intriguing concept. Can the makers of “The Matrix” ever replicate the success of that first film?

19. Godzilla 

This is the kid in me contributing to the list.

18. The Wind Rises 

With no Pixar on tap for 2014, this is my second highest animation anticipation.

17. Labor Day 

This looks like a soap opera level of melodrama and romance, but Reitman deserves a chance.

16. Transcendence 

If this film is as rich in philosophical speculation as it looks, without being too preachy and on the nose, it could be an important film for our technological world.

15. The Monuments Men 

Ocean's crew meets World War II?

14. Captain America: Winter Soldier 

The first CA was one of the better films in Marvel’s first cycle.

13. X-Men: Days of Future Past 

This story looks like it could rescue the failing X Men franchise. Then again, there is time travel involved.

12. Jack Ryan 

This should be good. After all, it was on my list last year. The delay to this year worries me.

11. Guardians of the Galaxy 

My highest anticipated Superhero film of the year, because it is so un-superhero-like. It could, therefore, bomb terribly.

10. Winter’s Tale 

The trailer sucked me in. Hopefully the movie itself won’t just suck.

9. Son of God 

Is this going to be a great presentation of the greatest story ever told, or a poor quality effort like so many other “Christian” efforts posing as art?

8. Mr. Peabody and Sherman 

I had this one on last year’s list. My hope is the delay was technical and not quality related.

7. How to Catch a Monster 

From what I hear this looks like an original fantasy. That and it stars Matt Smith.

6. Gone Girl 

I always anticipate Fincher’s films.

5. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 

The original franchise was one of the better “thinking man’s” science fiction series of films. (Full transparency, though, I have yet to see the precursor to this version.)

4. Interstellar 

Nolan is another director I always give the benefit of the doubt.

3. Noah 

I don’t imagine this will be a Christian version of this tale. That being said, I am always interested in a Biblical Epic and the conversation it will generate.

2. Muppets Most Wanted 

This could have been number one, right?

1. Hobbit: There and Back Again 

But I will again give that slot to the latest 3 part story taking place in Middle Earth. It will likely be too long and annoying in parts, but the source material is just too good.

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