2014's Most Anticipated: The Runners-Up

Yep, I'm feeling bullish.
The List: 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-20 | 21-25 | 26-30 | 31-35 | 36-40 | 41-45 | 46-50 | Runners-Up

It's that time of year again! Time for me to naively over-indulge my expectations for next year's movies. Some will no doubt not live up to the hype that I spread about on this blog. Hell, some will come out of nowhere and wrap me up in warm fuzzies (I'm looking at you, About Time!). Most will, however, be just okay. Which is the worst. But the best part of doing this is just like watching the trailers before the movie - it's the idea of what can be. I'm a dreamer folks, I love to dream and unlike my private dream journal, I'm deciding to share my most intimate thoughts. Hey, I'm a Millennial, so I might as well air out all of my emotions onto the internet.

But before we get to the top 50 (yes 50 is a lot, but I love movies. I probably watch at least 100 every year. So 50 isn't really that big of a number to me), I do have some Runners-Up, listed in alphabetical order that piqued my interest but just don't really have me all that excited. So let's bring the noise!

Big Hero 6
Director: Don Hall
Writers: Don Hall, Duncan Rouleau, Steven T. Seagle
Release Date: November 7
When Disney acquired Marvel a few years back, they had encouraged their divisions to look for any properties that may suit Disney's profile. Enter Big Hero 6, a Marvel comic series from the late 90s and onward. The movie is more X-Men and Fantastic Four than The Avengers. In fact, the universe Big Hero 6 occupies is one where there are no big green hulking men or savvy billionaires with metal suits. Well, sort of. This will be the big test for Disney and Marvel. The Avengers films and universe is chugging along nicely, but if Disney can make a solid entry outside of Iron Man and friends, then it opens the door for a lot more interesting characters from the Marvel Universe (Guardians of the Galaxy kind of has a similar fate attached to it, but we'll get to that later). The test footage shown so far is dazzling in its beauty, but the movie needs more than that to make it a success. Big Hero 6 plans to combine both Eastern and Western culture (most notably by the main city San Fransokyo) and while I'm not a fan of anime, I think this blend could really work in introducing something unique as far as animation goes (and possibly storytelling). The story seems oddly familiar to the Avengers: a group of six superhumans and mutants are recruited by the government to stop an evil force threatening the city. This one I'm keeping an eye on - the plot is ho-hum, but the characters and setting are intriguing, to say the least.

The Boxtrolls
Voiced by: Simon Pegg, Elle Fanning, Ben Kingsley
Directors: Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi
Writers: Irena Brignull, Adam Pava
Relese Date: September 26
Laika is like the Pixar of stop motion animation. They have an excellent track record and all of their movies have been funny, unique and beautiful. And since Pixar doesn't have a release next year, you can expect this at least fill those shoes. So it's no surprise that The Boxtrolls almost made it on the list. The plot sounds pretty good: A young orphaned boy, raised by cave-dwelling trash collectors tries to save his friends from an evil exterminator. Although I know the movie is going to look beautiful and the humor will be aplenty, I just cannot muster up much excitement. It's going to be good and worthy of seeing, just not a must-see at the theaters for me.

Dracula Untold
Starring: Luke Evans, Dominic Cooper
Director: Gary Shore
Writer: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless
Release Date: October 17
While I am getting tired of Vampires, Zombies and Witches, it seems that I'm all alone in that sentiment. Still, I do get excited from time to time about these things (Warm Bodies and World War Z I thoroughly enjoyed this year!). And Dracula Untold is interesting enough to get my attention. Said to blend the real story of Vlad the Impaler with Bram Stoker's iconic character, Dracula Untold seems to be going for a more traditional vampire story than most others lately. Which is cool - but this movie could lean too much on heavy melodrama and boring history (like Ridley Scott's Robin Hood) and end up being much ado about nothing. The movie has a lot of green faces - first time director Gary Shore is at the helm and the two writers have zero credits before this movie. The movie has potential, but I'm hesitant to get excited about this one.

Dumb and Dumber To
Starring: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels
Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
Writers: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Sean Anders, Mike Cerrone, John Morris, Bennett Yellin
Release Date: November 14
Dumb and Dumber is a classic and when you mess with classic movies, it tends to be the opposite of great (they already did a sequel and it was loathsome). Even though this movie sounds like it is going to be awful (and let's be honest: the Farrelly brothers haven't made a decent movie since Fever Pitch): 20 years after the first movie, Lloyd and Harry try to seek out their alleged daughter in order to procure a kidney. But Jeff Daniels is near and dear to my heart and Jim Carrey, despite his recent dust up with Kick-Ass 2, can still be funny and Lloyd is one of his best characters ever. So I have a little bit of faith in this project - but I won't be surprised if this ends up being a dud.

Grace of Monaco
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Tim Roth
Director: Olivier Dahan
Writer: Arash Amel
Release Date: March 14
This would probably be in Maggie's top 10 for next year - she absolutely loves Grace Kelly, Princess Diana; pretty much anything to do with Royalty. She even suffered through the dreadful Killing Kennedy because it was about the Kennedys. The movie focuses on just a part of Grace Kelly's life - during a time when their was a looming invasion from France. The script was number 1 on the Hollywood Blacklist from 2011 - a list of the most liked unproduced screenplays, so you know the movie is well-written. I'm not a big fan of Kidman, but she's done some amazing movies and I think she is a good fit for the title role. It's surprising that this movie isn't being released near Oscar season in the fall because this could be a strong contender - so I wonder if the studio has some reservations. Which gives me reservations - I'm still looking forward to it, it's just that it didn't quite make the cut.

I, Frankenstein
Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Miranda Otto
Director: Stuart Beattie
Writers: Stuart Beattie, Kevin Grevioux
Release Date: January 24
Based on the graphic novel of the same name, I, Frankenstein looks to continue what Priest started a couple years ago: take a little known graphic novel and make something mediocre out of it. Seriously, this movie looks like Priest and Underworld (it is written by the guy who wrote all the Underworld movies, so...). That's not to say this movie is going to be bad, it just doesn't look like it's going to be that good, either. The plot sounds all sorts of whack: Frakenstein's monster becomes involved a centuries-old war between two immortal clans in an ancient city. And the trailer is all over the place: Is Aaron Eckhart Frankenstein or his monster? Are we in the real world? What the hell is going on? It's a messy trailer that doesn't explain a whole lot. Which is why I can't put it on my list. But color me intrigued - it could be some cheesy fun come January.
Warning: Red Band Trailer
The Loft
Starring: Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Eric Stonestreet
Director: Erik Van Looy
Writers: Bart De Pauw, Wesley Strick
Release Date: August 29
An American remake of the hit Belgium (I know, Belgium!) film, The Loft is about four wild and crazy guys who share a loft to have affairs with their respective mistresses. But once they find a murdered lady in the loft, they start to suspect each other. Through a series of flashbacks intertwined with the present, the truth gets revealed. The film has an exceptional cast - Karl Urban actually replaced Patrick Wilson during pre-production (which is a plus in my book!) and James Marsden is horribly underrated as an actor. It's hard to judge anything besides just casting - but it has the same director as the original so it won't stray far from the original. I'm keeping an eye on this one.

This is the official book trailer - not the movie!
Maze Runner
Starring: Will Poulter, Dylan O'Brien, Patricia Clarkson
Director: Wes Bell
Writers: James Dashner, Grant Pierce Myers, T. S. Nowlin, Noah Oppenheim
Release Date: September 19
Yes another post-apocalyptic young adult novel gets translated to the big screen. And yes, it doesn't sound promising, but you never know! The Hunger Games was just another YA franchise that didn't seem that special and damn if it didn't turn out to be awesome. The Maze Runner may not reach the lofty heights of its brethren, but it could be decent. Set in a dystopian future, Thomas is deposited in a community of boys after his memory is erased. They soon find out they're living in a maze and Thomas is forced to join fellow "runners" to make a break for it. It sounds oddly compelling, but this maze better be filled with cool and dangerous traps and minotaurs and axe-wielding Jack Nicholsons. I'm not to confident with the casting - it's fine to get a bunch of young, new faces for the main roles, but the movie lacks any strong supporting cast aside from Patricia Clarkson. That may be due to the plot - it is about boys in a maze, after all, and there may not be any reason to go beyond the central cast. I have not read the book, so this will be an intriguing film to see and I can't wait to see a trailer.

Warning: Red Band Trailer
That Awkward Moment
Starring: Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan, Miles Teller
Director: Tom Gormican
Writer: Tom Gormican
Release Date: January 31
The trailer hasn't yet sold me on this one. But the cast has - I really think Miles Teller is going to blow up very soon - he was amazing in The Spectacular Now and Michael B. Jordan, or as any Friday Night Lights fan would know him as Vince, has convincingly become a critical darling thanks in large part to Fruitvale Station. The movie looks like a good blend of R-rated comedy and heartwarming romantic cliches. I use the term cliches in a good way here - as long as the film knows what it is (a romantic comedy) and the performances are great, this should be an early success. Otherwise the film could have an identity crisis - being too crass or too schmultzy would make it a disaster. It won't be long to find out which!

Vampire Academy
Starring: Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Gabriel Byrne
Director: Mark Waters
Writer: Daniel Waters
Release Date: February 14
This sounds like Twilight, but with a little more bite (pun totally intended and I hope enjoyed). I don't know what to make of the trailer - it seems like Heathers, but with vampires (the screenplay is written by the dude who wrote Heathers and I swear I didn't know that until after I wrote the previous sentence!). So I would say that this could be awesome and totally fun, but it's still a big question mark simply because VAMPIRE OVERLOAD. As with Dracula Untold, supernatural stuff is all the rage right now, but I can dig something unique and Vampire Academy certainly looks unique. The blend of Mean Girls and Twilight sounds like a perfect match, but who knows?  I can't shake the vibe right now that Zoey Deutch is a weird hybrid of Ellen Page and Anna Kendrick, which isn't a bad thing, but it seems a little off - like she can't find her own voice for the character. Whatever, maybe I'm reading too much into this YA vampire movie.

The List: 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-20 | 21-25 | 26-30 | 31-35 | 36-40 | 41-45 | 46-50 | Runners-Up

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