Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olson, Bryan Cranston
Director: Gareth Edwards
Writers: Max Borenstein
Release Date: May 16
I think most people have forgotten about the attempted reboot of Godzilla in 1998. I think the studio was trying too hard to create Jurassic Park more than an actual Godzilla movie. I vaguely remember Godzilla being a female and it lying eggs under Madison Square Garden. Horrible. Just horrible. Here we are, 15 years later and Godzilla seems to be suffering from post 9/11, post Katrina traumatic stress disorder. Godzilla is a force of nature - as the makers of the film would like you to know. I don't know how a monster movie/summer blockbuster is going to give us a critical look at how we've handled climate change and disaster relief, but it seems like that's what this movie is going for. And boy does it look bleak. The trailer reminds me a lot of War of the Worlds - I remember sitting down to watch that movie thinking everyone, including Tom Cruise, was going to end up dead. There was a sense of doom and despair in that movie that I'm seeing in this trailer. I like the cast - Elizabeth Olson is shaping up to be the NEXT BIG THING starting next year and Aaron Taylor-Johnson seems poised to breakout as well. And Gareth Edwards is no stranger to a monster movie - he directed the wonderfully thrilling Monsters - a low-budget monster movie that was way better than a lot of big-budget sci-fi movies. I'm excited for this movie and I'm doubly excited because Guillermo del Toro has expressed interest in doing a crossover with Godzilla and Pacific Rim - which would be spectacular indeed! Fingers are crossed.
Starring: Kit Harrington, Carrie-Anne Moss, Emily Browning
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writers: Janet Scot Batchler, Lee Batchler, Julian Fellowes, Michael Robert Johnson
Release Date: February 21
A disaster movie set in ancient times - how is Roland Emmerich not involved in this movie? Instead we get Paul W.S. "Resident Evil" Anderson whom I will admit I'm not a big fan of. He's done two good movies in my opinion and those were 16 years ago when he didn't have W.S. stuffed in between his names (Mortal Kombat and Event Horizon). He's almost the definition of mediocre - his movies aren't going to be critical darlings or make tons of money for the studio, but they do enough business and create enough fans for studios to keep hiring him. Pompeii made my list despite Anderson - it just seems like a fun disaster flick and it's got a decent cast. I'm not expecting much else from this movie except for there to be some hot lava action. This movie is a lot like Titanic in that you know what's going to happen - most everyone will turn into fossils for use modern citizens to ogle at and point and laugh at how stupid people were back then. The trailer tries to remedy that situation by letting you know THERE ARE SURVIVORS and who will make it? Will it be the pretty girl? Or the meathead who tries to save the pretty girl? It's one or the other, folks. One or the other - that's life according to Hollywood.
28. Gone Girl
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Missi Pyle
Director: David Fincher
Writer: Gillian Flynn
Release Date: October 3
I'm almost sick of hearing about this movie that I was debating whether to put this movie on or not. But I can't not have Affleck on this list. Nor can I resist the pull of Fincher. HOW IN THE HELL has he not won an Oscar?!? I think I bring this up every time I've mentioned his name, but this is a sad fact. Gone Girl is based on the best-selling novel of the same name that was on the top of everyone's must-read list last year. It's a thriller about a woman who mysteriously disappears on her wedding anniversary. Obviously, her husband is the main suspect and there is supposed to be a good amount of twists and turns. I do not doubt Affleck will play the hell out of this role. And this genre is in Fincher's wheelhouse, who has a certain knack for turning critically acclaimed novels into really well-made movies (Zodiac, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Fight Club). I hope this turns out to be another great movie - hell it could be an Oscar contender next year! I'm keeping my distance - I don't want to get too excited if it turns out to be just okay.
Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson
Director: José Padilha
Writers: Joshua Zetumer
Release Date: February 12
Another year, another round of reboots that try and capture the same glory and magic as the original. Now seems about the right time for a Robocop reboot, anyway. Not only is 80s and 90s nostalgia at its peak, the dire straits that is the national economy and the bankruptcy in Detroit seem all the more ripe for a satirical glance at a near future where robots are the hot new industry. A young and upcoming foreign director is at the helm, much like the original with Paul Verhoeven. I really like Joel Kinnaman - he's the best part of AMC's The Killing and I think he'll do a great job as the title character. The supporting cast is exceptional as well and I think this could be an early surprise next year. I'm hopeful that the movie isn't just a bunch of noise - that there's a heart and soul to this movie much like the original. I hope it brings up a lot of questions, too. Questions about humanity and robotics, capitalism, corporate America and a host of other themes. This doesn't have to be a dumb action movie. Do we need another reboot of an 80s franchise? No, but the timing seems right for Robocop to be a break from the normal ho-hum reboots.
26. Transformers: Age of Extinction
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Nicola Peltz
Director: Michael Bay
Writer: Ehren Kruger
Release Date: June 27
I wrote in my preview for the previous Transfomers movie if it failed to be anything better than the second installment (the dreadful Revenge of the Fallen), I wouldn't shell out any money for the inevitable fourth installment. But I was pleasantly surprised with Dark of the Moon - it made amends mostly for the previous movie. It actually had a coherent plot and it was just way more fun than anything else. Now we're back with a brand new cast (thank god no more pot brownie parents!) and while the movie should be about as good as the last film, I just can't get too excited for this franchise anymore. It sounds like more of the same, really. Mark Wahlberg plays Cade, a mechanic who discovers something along with his daughter that will get the attention of the Autobots, Decepticons and the government. If this doesn't sound exactly like the first movie, you must have not seen the first movie. As much as I love giant robots fighting, it's hard to pique my interest when once again, the Autobots have to save Earth and humanity again. Once you go there in a franchise, it's hard to up the ante anymore than that - so there's nowhere to go but run in place when it comes to plot points. Hopefully the characters will be at least interesting (Stanley Tucci is involved!!) and not irritating like Ken Jeong's character from Dark of the Moon. So count me in for this one, I just don't think this one will land any where near my top 10 for next year!