Nick Fury to Captain America: Look Captain, there's a whole new year of movies out there.
With 2013 coming to an end, it's time to look forward for a brand new year of 2014. And of course, no year would ever be complete without the mention of "movies". Likewise, tons of movies will be released out of the floodgate and here is our list of "20 Most Anticipated Movies of 2014" in their respective release date order:
"The Wolf of Wall Street"
Based on Jordan Belfort's memoir of the same name, the movie traces the rise and fall of a New York stockbroker Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio).
What's the big deal: Two things that matters the most: "Leonardo DiCaprio" and "Martin Scorsese". So far, their collaboration (beginning from 2002's "Gangs of New York" to 2010's "Shutter Island") proves to be fruitful. But the best thing of all is Martin Scorsese's refreshing comeback to the black comedy genre since 1985's "After Hours".
"Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit"
Chris Pine plays Jack Ryan, a young covert CIA analyst who uncovers a terrorist plot that threatens to cripple the United States economy.
What's the big deal: After a string of high-profile and successful releases of 1990's "The Hunt for Red October", 1992's "Patriot Games", 1994's "Clear and Present Danger" and 2002's "The Sum of All Fears", it's nice to see the "Jack Ryan" series made a comeback. From the look of the trailers so far, "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" looks more vibrant and energetic than its predecessors.
Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore, a lonely writer who forms an unlikely relationship with a female voice named Samantha (Scarlett Johansson) produced by an intelligent computer operating system.
What's the big deal: The synopsis above is more than enough to get one intrigued with this high-concept romance movie. In fact, it's already been listed by many critics in the United States as one of their Top 10's best movies of the year.
In this reboot of the 1987's Paul Verhoeven's sci-fi classic, "Robocop" centers on a police officer named Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman), who is seriously wounded in the line of duty but later resurrected as half-man, half-machine by the multinational empire OmniCorp.
What's the big deal: "Robocop" was no doubt one of the most iconic sci-fi movies ever made in the 1980s. With modern special effects and a bigger budget to boost, it's nice to see a "Robocop" movie made a comeback to the cinema. While comparison is inevitable, it's hard to ignore this reboot especially with all the talents involved - acclaimed Brazilian director Jose Padilha (of the two "Elite Squad" fame), popular Swedish export Joel Kinnaman (of "Easy Money" and TV's "The Killing" fames) and a line of veteran actors (Michael Keaton, Gary Oldman, Jackie Earle Haley and Samuel L. Jackson).
"The Lego Movie"
This animated feature involves an ordinary LEGO minifigure named Emmet (Chris Pratt), who is mistakenly thought as the Master Builder capable of saving the LEGO universe. His quest is to stop an evil tyrant named Lord Business (Will Ferrell) from gluing the LEGO universe together.
What's the big deal: One of the world's most beloved toy products has finally comes to life in the form of a big screen adventure! With a colourful cast of characters, vibrant animation and two can't-go-wrong directors duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller ("Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs"), "The Lego Movie" looks set to be one of the must-see movies for old and young viewers alike.
"300: Rise of an Empire"
A follow-up from 2007's "300", the movie centers on a Greek general Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) who battles an invading army of Persians, led by King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro).
What's the big deal: The stylized comic book-like visual, the endless gore and the blood-splattering violence are all here. Judging by the trailers so far, the battle scene which shifts focus to a naval engagement looks visually stunning.
The Winter Soldier"
Two years after the events of "The Avengers", Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America (Chris Evans) is still struggling to adapt his life in the modern world and battles a new threat in the form of a Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).
What's the big deal: It will be interesting to see how filmmaking duo Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, who is more known for comedies such as "You, Me and Dupree" and TV's "Community", handles their first action-oriented studio picture.
A remake of the 1989's "The Iceman Cometh" starring Yuen Biao, this 3D martial arts action-adventure centers on a Ming Dynasty imperial guard (Donnie Yen) and his nemesis (Wang Baoqiang) both stranded in a modern-day Hong Kong after getting caught in an avalanche and buried for centuries.
What's the big deal: It's one of the most expensive 3D Chinese movie productions ever made with the always-engaging Donnie Yen in the lead. Plus, he also in charge of the action choreography and backed by familiar faces including Wang Baoqiang, Simon Yam and Eva Huang.
"The Amazing Spider-Man 2"
Peter Parker a.k.a. Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) continues to struggle his responsibilities as a superhero while living a normal life as a high-school student. This time, Peter fights a bigger threat involving Electro (Jamie Foxx), Rhino (Paul Giamatti) and his shady friend Harry Osborn (Dale DeHaan).
What's the big deal: Unlike the first movie in 2012, the sequel looks more ambitious and fascinating especially with the inclusion of recognizable comic-book villains (Electro, Rhino and Harry Osborn). Plus, eagle-eyed viewers who have seen the first trailer for "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" will spot a hint of Sinister Six (at which in the comic, they are actually a group of supervillains consisting of Doctor Octopus, Vulture, Electro, Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio and Sandman!). This is certainly a major event for die-hard comic book fans of "Spider-Man"!
A reboot of the 1998's "Godzilla", the movie tells an epic rebirth of the giant radioactive monster, Godzilla, which threatens to wreck destruction on mankind.
What's the big deal: If you have seen then-unknown director Gareth Edwards' "Monsters", you'll be surprised how stunning he can do with the special effects on a shoestring budget. In his first big-budget studio production, Edwards is a perfect candidate to reboot the failed "Godzilla" franchise. The first teaser trailer that circulated in the internet recently is simply amazing and looks confidently better than the Roland Emmerich version.
"X-Men: Days of Future Past"
In this combined sequels to "X-Men: First Class" and the original "X-Men" movie trilogy, the X-Men ensemble battles a war for the survival of the species across two time periods.
What's the big deal: Matthew Vaughn may have departed the sequel after directing "X-Men: First Class", but die-hard fans will be rejoiced with the return of Bryan Singer, who made the first two original "X-Men" movies. Judging from the synopsis and all the cast from the current and past franchise combined together, "X-Men: Days of Future Past" is simply too irresistible to give this a miss.
"Edge of Tomorrow"
Based on a Japanese light novel "All You Need is Kill" by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, the movie centers on Lt. Col. Bill Cage (Tom Cruise), who is trapped on a time loop of his last day in the battle against the alien force. Cage keeps returning from the time loop over and over again to live out the same battle, but gradually gains more skill of defeating the enemy with the help of Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt).
What's the big deal: It's a sci-fi version of "Groundhog Day" set in the future! Plus, it has Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, while it's nice to see Doug Liman back on the big-budget studio picture ("The Bourne Identity", "Mr. and Mrs. Smith") as well.
"Transformers: Age of Extinction"
Set four years after the events of "Transformers: Dark of the Moon", this fourth instalment sees a new and returning threat between the Autobots and Decepticons, with a mechanic Cade (Mark Wahlberg) and his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) caught in the middle of war.
What's the big deal: It's nice to see a new lead (Mark Wahlberg) for a change after three "Transformers" movies headlined by Shia LaBeouf. Best of all (if that's true from all the hints shown in the preview), die-hard "Transformers" fans will finally get to see Dinobots in a live-action mode for the first time ever!
"Dawn of the Planet
of the Apes"
The sequel to "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" continues with a growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar (Andy Serkis) being threatened by a group of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. But the truce is short-lived and both sides are back on the war between two species.
What's the big deal: "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" was a surprisingly entertaining reboot of the once-popular franchise. Despite the absence of Rupert Wyatt from the first movie, the sequel gains a fine replacement in the form of Matt Reeves ("Cloverfield", "Let Me In"). Plus, judging from the synopsis and the title above, the sequel is set to be a bigger scale in an epic proportion.
The movie centers on Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), an unfortunate Russian immigrant who cleans toilets for a living. But her life abruptly changes when she becomes a target for assassination by the Queen of the Universe because her very existence threatens to end the Queen's reign.
What's the big deal: The Wachoswki siblings, best known for "The Matrix" trilogy, are back for another big-budget science fiction adventure after the underwhelming "Cloud Atlas". The first trailer looks visually engaging, and it will be interesting to see whether Mila Kunis is fit enough to become the lead action heroine.
"Guardians of the Galaxy"
An American jet pilot is left stranded in space, and must joins a team of aliens to form a squad capable of defeating cosmic threats.
What's the big deal: Based on the lesser-known Marvel comic book which is relatively unknown for the mainstream viewers, it's a huge gamble for the Marvel Studios. But it's also refreshing to see a comic-book movie as eccentric as "Guardians of the Galaxy" (which includes a gun-toting and talking Rocket Raccoon, voiced by Bradley Cooper)!
A team of explorers and scientists discover a new wormhole, and embarks on an interstellar voyage beyond the limitations on human space travel.
What's the big deal: Christopher Nolan's movies are often visionary and difficult to ignore. Likewise, "Interstellar" has been piqued with huge anticipation. The concept sounds intriguing, plus Nolan also assembles an ambitious cast including Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, John Lithgow and Ellen Burstyn.
"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1"
In this two-part finale (the second one will be released in 2015) of "The Hunger Games" franchise, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) reluctantly leads the districts of Panem in a rebellion against the corrupted Capitol.
What's the big deal: Two of the previous "Hunger Games" movies were both critical and box office success. Naturally, this first chapter of the two-part finale is going to be big for fans around the world.
"The Hobbit: There
and Back Again"
In this third and final movie in Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit" trilogy, the epic adventure traces Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and the Dwarves inside Smaug's lair. But will they get their gold and return home safely?
What's the big deal: Remember how Peter Jackson saves the best for the last in "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"? It's highly likely that this final chapter of "The Hobbit" trilogy will end the same epic grandeur on a high note.
Based on the Biblical story of Noah's Ark, the movie centers on Noah (Russell Crowe), who is given a divine mission to build an Ark and protect his family from the coming flood.
What's the big deal: This has to be the most stunning Biblical epic ever seen since Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments" in 1956 (at least judging from the teaser trailer). It's also interesting to see how director Darren Aronofsky, best known for award-winning movies of "The Wrestler" and "Black Swan", will handles his first big-budget studio production with three Oscar-winning actors (Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Hopkins) at his disposal.
Cinema Online, 30 December 2013