25. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Starring: Megan Fox, Will Arnett
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Writers: Josh Applebaum, André Nemec
Release Date: August 8
Even though I was born in the 80s, I grew up as a kid in the early and mid-90s. To say that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were my favorite thing ever when I was a kid would be an understatement. I used to watch the Secret of the Ooze every day when I was 9 or 10. So when word was out that they were finally starting up production on the new reboot after several delays with the script, I can't help but get excited. So far this movie has been met with nothing but vitriol and blasphemy from longtime fans. Accusations of childhood's being raped have been casually tossed out on message boards and comment sections (people who use that term to describe ANYTHING other than actual rape disgusts me. It's really not funny and those people come across as crass and self-absorbed). And this was all before the movie had even started to film. Michael Bay's involvement is irrelevant - he's producing, not writing or directing - so we can all calm down about that. Secondly, anything you hear on the internet about script details is probably false or misleading. They've done a good job at keeping the plot secret so that friend of yours or that blog you follow who claims to know someone on the set is blowing smoke up your ass. The film has been co-written by one of the co-founders of the actual first comic book, Kevin Eastman and he's been intimately involved in most of the production. The casting has been...interesting. Megan Fox would never be my tenth choice for April O'Neil, let alone my first. I don't know how much I'll care once I see the movie. But William Fichtner is playing Shredder and I am so giddy about this. He played the villain in The Lone Ranger and was by far the best thing about that movie. Jonathan Liebesman is neutral as far as I'm concerned - he's directed Battle: Los Angeles - which was excellent, but also was the director for Wrath of the Titans (although I don't blame him too much for that mess of a movie). TMNT is one of those movies that I'm definitely going to see, but I'm not so sure how the final product will pan out. It has a lot of promise and I have a lot of faith in the people involved to deliver something that will satisfy my nostalgia.
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley
Director: Robert Stromberg
Writers: TOO MANY (Seriously, 11 Writing Credits)
Release Date: May 30
It's no surprise that we're getting more fairy tale-themed movies next year. Maleficent is an interesting departure from the norm. It is a Disney movie, but it seems fairly dark and is told from the perspective of the villain instead of boring Sleeping Beauty. These fantasy movies have been hit or miss for the most part. I thought Snow White and the Huntsman was relatively good, while Jack the Giant Slayer was awful. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters got it right by going the R-rated route and being very tongue-in-cheek when it came to the violence and plot. So I'm hoping that Maleficent strikes the right chord between being serious and campiness. It could be disaster (did you see how many writers have had their hands on the script?) - first time director Stromberg is well-known for his production designs on Avatar, Alice in Wonderland and Oz, but that doesn't necessarily translate into good directing. I did enjoy the look of those films and from what I can gather from the trailer, the film is going to look fantastic. Now if they can deliver on a good story and characters, this could be an early contender for my top 10.
23. The Fault in Our Stars
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Willem Dafoe
Director: Josh Boone
Writers: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Release Date: June 6
The Fault in Our Stars was another book that topped everyone's list of must-reads from 2012. And it's quite a book. It's not set in some dystopian future nor does it involve teenage love triangles, but it has a lot of genuine emotion and laugh out loud moments and crying-your-eyes out sadness. I enjoyed the book, although maybe not as much as Maggie or any number of fans on the internet. It's very much like any of Nicholas Sparks' novel, but with much more with and charm, in my opinion. It's hard for me to be particularly objective about the subject matter (COUGHCANCERCOUGH) because of my affiliation with the dreaded disease. I didn't find myself nitpicking any details about the main characters' struggle with cancer - but it did bring up a lot of emotions. I'm looking forward to the movie mainly because of Woodley - she's shown that she can act with movies like The Descendants and The Spectacular Now. Her co-lead is played by a relative newcomer and I hope he has as much charm as the book's Augustus Waters, because that is some big shoes to fill. Josh Boone is a relative newcomer as a director, but it seems like these kinds of film based on well-written novels, are how they're translated onscreen. And the two writers involved are the guys behind the unabashedly joyous romantic comedy (500) Days of Summer. I think the movie is in safe hands and I'm looking forward to next summer with a box of tissues.
Voiced by: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett
Directors: Phil Lord, Chris Miller
Writers: Phil Lord, Chris Miller
Release Date: February 7
This movie needs a dose of Ritalin. There's so much going on in the trailer, but I love it! LEGO has proven to be a fertile ground for parody and satire - they've proven how adorably cute and funny LEGOs can be with all the video games they've done. I fully expect to be awash with tears of laughter during this movie. It's from the guys who directed 21 Jump Street and the Cloudy with a Chance movies, so you know it should be pretty tight. And the cast is great - Will Arnett was born to voice LEGO Batman. And Chris Pratt will have his year in 2014 - he's going to be headlining one of the biggest summer movies next year (Guardians of the Galaxy). I fully expect this movie to deliver the goods and February is shaping up to be a particularly good month, which is unusual.
21. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Starring: Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Andy Serkis
Director: Matt Reeves
Writers: Mark Bomback, Scott Z. Burns, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver
Release Date: July 11
I was completely surprised (well, maybe not completely) when Rise of the Planet of the Apes came out - it was a really fun movie that didn't mess with the original in any way and it was just a well-written, well-executed movie. Now we have a sequel with all new players (save Andy Serkis' return as Caesar) and a new director that looks to build upon the original. The plot takes place about ten years later as their is a growing nation of intelligent apes who are at war with the dwindling population of humans. Any more exact details are strictly under wraps, but I'm excited to see where the story goes. The cast sounds fantastic - Gary Oldman is always good no matter what and Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty, White House Down) has done fantastic jobs on his most recent movies. The movie has had some hiccups - Rupert Wyatt was set to return as director, but left due to concerns about having enough time to finish the movie. Enter Cloverfield's Matt Reeves along with a new script re-write from the guy that wrote Live Free or Die Hard, Total Recall and The Wolverine. So, I'm excited but a little skeptical - this could end up being disastrous or another solid sequel for the franchise. Either way, I'm lining up this time for a ticket.