As is the case every year, 2014 is set to offer a plethora of major Hollywood movies, which range from Oscar nominees to steaming garbage.
While some of these will be worth the inflated price of a ticket, others will make you give judging glances at anyone who spent their time and money supporting such a lousy film that deserved nothing but to bomb at the box office. Here are five films worth checking out and five to openly root against in 2014.
“Muppets Most Wanted” — March 21
I am an unabashed Muppets fan. Whether it’s the original “Muppet Show,” the “Muppet Babies” cartoon or even the awkward, immediate post-Jim Henson ventures, Muppets projects are guaranteed to bring laughs. I considered 2011’s “The Muppets” to be one of the funnier films that I’ve ever watched, family movie or not, so I am excited for this one. In addition to all the great Muppet characters paired with performances by Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell and Tina Fey, these films are always chock-full of cameos.
“Godzilla” — May 16
After the abomination of the first American attempt at a Godzilla film in 1998, the legendary Japanese monster went on hold for about 15 years until they decided to give it another go. I was originally afraid of a repeat of the last try, but the first trailer looks pretty great. And by that, I mean the quick shot of the monster at the end of the trailer looked amazing. I am pretty cautious on this one, but it has potential to be a great American monster movie, something we don’t get much anymore.
“X-Men: Days of Future Past” — May 23
Oh man, am I excited for this one. The X-Men film series has had a bit of a rough go since “X2” in 2003. The third film in the series, 2006’s “The Last Stand,” was terrible and the two Wolverine standalone films were unbearably dull. But 2011’s “X-Men: First Class” was an excellent prequel, and this one should blow that out of the water. Based on the 1981 “Uncanny X-Men” comic storyline, “Days of Future Past” merges the characters from their 1970s versions (led by James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Hugh Jackman) with their versions in the present (Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and, errrr, Hugh Jackman). One look at that loaded cast, which also includes Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Ellen Page and Peter Dinklage, among several others, along with many views of that unbelievable first trailer should make anyone want to watch this one.
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” — July 11
Much like what “Godzilla” is attempting to do, 2011’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” successfully rebooted a franchise after an abhorrent remake several years before. The 2011 reboot was surprisingly good, and I see no reason why this one won’t follow suit. The only qualm I have is the sometimes-distracting CGI on the apes, but it still features a compelling story and strong acting, especially from Andy Serkis, who plays Caesar.
“Interstellar” — Nov. 7
Definitely the riskiest pick on here. Why is that? We know absolutely nothing about it. Christopher Nolan directs it, and it deals with space travel (wormholes, to be exact). That’s all I can tell you. The teaser gave away absolutely nothing, but until Nolan’s run of excellent blockbusters ends, I’m giving him my full support.
Honorable mention: Captain America: The Winter Soldier — April 4
“The Legend of Hercules” — Jan. 10
What’s that? This came out last week? It grossed less than $10 million opening weekend? Very well then, carry on with not watching it. Maybe The Rock’s Hercules will have better luck in July.
“I, Frankenstein” — Jan. 24
An attractive, chiseled Frankenstein’s monster fights gargoyles and demons. Yeah, let that one marinate. It’s based on a graphic novel and stars the excellent Aaron Eckhart, so maybe it ends up being more fun than it has any right to be. But does that mean anybody will go see it?
“The Lego Movie” — Feb. 7
This doesn’t look very good, but the main problem I have with it is that it is computer animated. Is it so much to ask that a movie about Legos use, oh I don’t know, Legos? People have been making stop-motion Lego shorts for years, just look them up on YouTube. The laziness of this one misses out on a ton of potential charm and nostalgia factor. On a scale from stepping on a Lego while barefoot and building a Lego Death Star, this one falls somewhere in between.
“300: Rise of an Empire” — March 7
I want this to fail. I really, really want this to fail. I mean, come on. I probably would have groaned if this was made in 2009, but to come out with a sequel (or is it a prequel?) to “300” (which holds up horribly, by the way) now is just absurd. I guess a backstory for King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) could be interesting, but the fact that Zack Snyder wanted nothing to do with directing this one tells me all I need to know. This has the makings of a huge flop, or maybe a huge hit that makes me angry that it wasn’t a huge flop.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” — Aug. 1
I want this to be good. I really, really want this to be good. It’s the first risk the Marvel Cinematic Universe has taken, after guaranteed hits such as “Iron Man,” “Captain America” and, of course, “The Avengers.” Only people who are big comic book fans know who this team is. After all, they only began appearing in comics in 2008. Marvel is going to have to slip up at some point, and, though I hope I’m wrong, this should be the one.
Dishonorable mention: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” — Aug. 8