I realize spring doesn’t technically start for a while. But I separate the movie year into 3 “seasons.” “Winter/Spring” starts January 1st and runs until the first “Summer” movie. (This year, it’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on May 2nd.) Next… the “Summer” movie season starts and runs through August 31st. Finally, the “Fall” season starts September 1st and runs until the end of the year.
Now traditionally, the Winter/Spring movie season isn’t great… Summer movies are outrageously good… and Fall usually starts slow and rallies towards the holidays. But 2014 has a number of movies in the first four months with huge potential. Studios are hoping to repeat recent success stories like Fast Five (released on Apr. 29, 2011), The Lorax (Mar. 2, 2012), The Hunger Games (released on Mar. 23, 2012), Oz: The Great and Powerful (Mar. 8, 2013), and The Croods (Mar. 22, 2012). Obviously, there are billions of dollars to be made… at least in March and April. Here are the 8 upcoming Winter/Spring movies I’m looking forward to the most.
#8 – ROBOCOP – Feb. 12
I wasn’t too excited about the potential for a RoboCop reboot, but take a look at that trailer. Basically, my excitement comes from the trifecta of acting legends in the supporting roles: Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, and Michael Keaton. In particular, you watch Keaton in the trailer and think, “Where has this guy been??? He’s awesome!” Oldman and Jackson seem to be doing riffs on those characters they’ve often crushed in the past, but I would go on Feb. 12th to see Keaton alone. More Keaton!
#7 – MUPPETS: MOST WANTED – Mar. 21
Oh, the first “reboot” wasn’t a masterpiece, I guess. But it was good enough to make me lovingly go back to that time where I thought the Muppets were brilliant on almost every level. If Muppets: Most Wanted is less than the 2011 movie (which I admit is likely), I’ll be disappointed. But if this movie can improve on the first, I’ll be very excited. Tina Fey, Ty Burrell, and Ricky Gervais all look goofy in the trailer, and not necessarily “good goofy.” But it’s a Muppet movie with Tina Fey, Ty Burrell, and Ricky Gervais! That could be amazing.
#6 – NOAH – Mar. 28
This movie could – ironically – be an epic mess. And really… logically speaking it probably should be an epic mess. Basically, it’s a story about a guy who builds a giant boat and then herds animals onto it. Yikes. On the other hand… it could also be Darren Aronofsky’s great disaster movie. The movie where Aronofsky shows Roland Emmerich how it’s done. And it stars Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Ray Winstone and Anthony Hopkins. Noah could be an epic mess… and it could be the best movie of the year.
#5 – JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT – Jan. 17
Chris Pine, obviously, stars in the one of the greatest reboots of all time. Maybe the greatest reboot of all time. Kenneth Branagh directed, among other things, Thor – a movie that shouldn’t have been good… and yet was great. Kevin Costner is brilliant in nine different movies (challenge that at your own peril – I just counted). Given all that, the question is… why isn’t Jack Ryan higher on this list? Well, I guess it’s because the trailer just looks so darn cerebral. Or maybe pedestrian. Kind of like a Mission: Impossible or Bond movie… without any fun. If Jack Ryan is boring, that’s going to be hard to watch. Any movie with Pine, Costner, and Keira Knightley… directed by Branagh… should be one of the most exciting movies of the year.
#4 – TRANSCENDENCE – Apr. 18
I admit it. I have no idea what this is. I watched the trailers. I studied the trailers. And honestly, I can’t give you much. I know it’s got Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman, and Paul Bettany (wow!). I know they’re trying to position it in the same club as Inception and Looper (I’m in!). On the other hand, is this going to be “Nolan-lite”? I don’t know. Probably. Is this going to be “weird-bad-Depp” vs “weird-awesome-Depp”? Most likely. But I have hope, dammit. Anything even attempting Inception or Looper is a welcome film experience.
#3 – THE LEGO MOVIE – Feb. 7
A truly great “blockbuster” film often is both wildly unique and brings to life some of your childhood fantasies… both at once. I’m thinking The Avengers, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Toy Story… really every classic animated movie. That’s exactly how I feel when I watch the trailer and clips from The LEGO Movie. On the one hand, it’s so obvious! Of course this movie should have been made ages ago. And of course it looks exactly like it did in my mind every time I pictured a “LEGO” movie. But on the other hand… it’s so much better than I would have imagined. So much more complete than I would have guessed possible. Is that Batman, Wonder Woman, a Ninja Turtle, and Abraham Lincoln??? All in the same movie??? I quote the song that’s been stuck in my head since the first time I heard it in The Lego Movie trailer… everything is awesome.
#2 – THE MONUMENTS MEN – Feb. 7
Keep in mind 2 things. 1 – I’m a huge George Clooney fan. Enormous. I’m not sure exactly when that happened, but it did (I think right around 1999). 2 – Two of my favorite movies of all time are Ocean’s 11 and Ocean’s 13. (Ocean’s 12 never happened.) At one point, I read somewhere that Monuments Men was essentially Ocean’s WWII. Now that sounds like one of the greatest movies in history. Watching the trailer… well… maybe the whole “if you save the art, you save their soul” thing goes too far. But I’m up for an Ocean’s prequel starring Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, and Cate Blanchett. This could be the giant sleeper hit of the season.
#1 – CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER – Apr. 4
Boom. And Marvel has done it again. Another movie season, another moment where I’m looking at the upcoming releases and thinking, “I can not wait for that next Marvel movie.” I’m such a sucker for Captain America. He should be boring, and yet that first movie was so good. He should be the least interesting Avenger, and yet I just love everything about him. And yes… I’m a sucker for that crap they’re serving up where this movie is supposed to be a “'70s style conspiracy thriller meets superhero movie.” I love it! Where’s the line for Captain America? I’m getting in it.