|"I wanna dip my balls in it!" "Louie! Louie! Louie!"|
Starring: Johnny Depp, Kate Mara, Morgan Freeman
Director: Wally Pfister
Writers: Jordan Goldberg, Jack Paglen, Alex Paraskevas, Wally Pfister
Release Date: April 18
If you don't know who Wally Pfister is, I'm sure some Christopher Nolan fanboys (like myself) could tell you he's been the go-to cinematographer for all of Nolan's movies. Now it's time for him to make the jump to director. I'm excited to see what the dude can do, especially since it's in my favorite genre, sci-fi. I'll let Wikipedia explain the complicated details of the plot: Dr. Will Caster is an artificial intelligence researcher who strives to create a machine that possesses sentience and collective intelligence. Extremists who oppose technological advancement target him, but their actions drive him toward his goal. Caster also wants to become part of the new technology, and his wife Evelyn and his best friend Max Waters, also researchers, question the wisdom of this drive. Caster's goal to acquire knowledge becomes one to acquire power, and he seems to be unstoppable. As much as I love me some science fiction set in a dystopian or apocalyptic future, my favorite sci-fi films are always about the ingenuity and limitless possibilities of the human brain/spirit and our rapidly evolving technology (Moon, Blade Runner, 2001, Minority Report all come to mind). Plus the cast is excellent - it will be refreshing to see Depp back in a normal role instead of caked in make-up. His last two fairly normal roles (The Rum Diary and The Tourist) were just ho-hum. He's also got an excellent cast around him with Freeman, Kate Mara (House of Cards), Paul Bettany and Rebecca Hall. The script has been through rewrites, with Pfister himself lending a hand, so it will be interesting to see how well the story and characters hold up through a script written and re-written mostly by a bunch of newbies.
19. The Giver
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Taylor Swift
Director: Phillip Noyce
Writers: Michael Mitnick
Release Date: August 15
20 years after it's initial release, The Giver, the YA novel that probably started my love for all things science fiction, is poised to become a movie. This is probably going to be one of the hardest books to convert to a film. Part of the reason is that there is so much mystery in the book that slowly gets revealed. Mainly because the book is told through the eyes of Jonas, a 12 year-old boy. He accepts his role in the utopian society that he's grown up in. In fact, he's poised to inherit the role of the community's Receiver of Memory - a position of power where the Receiver has all the memories of the world before it achieved "harmony." A world in which there was war and poverty, but also choice and freedom. I may have spoiled a little bit of the story, but it's a powerful book - and I'm hoping the movie can do it justice, albeit in a different way. First time screenwriter Michael Mitnick has adapted the book for the screen and veteran director Phillip Noyce, best known for political and spy thrillers like Patriot Games and Salt, is slated to sit behind the camera. I think Jeff Bridges in the role of The Giver is a wise move and Meryl Streep is going to play the strict Chief Elder, which seems fitting. There are three other novels Lois Lowry wrote after The Giver and if they handle this movie right, I think it would be awesome to see the rest put on the big screen.
18. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Starring: Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Rosairo Dawson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Director: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
Writers: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, William Monahan
Release Date: August 22
This film was slate for a fall release this year, but the studio made the decision to bump it until next August! That is crazy - I think I've heard about this film being made for at least 6 years now - which in Hollywood time, is fairly quick. Robert Rodiguez has claimed that Sin City was always slated for 2014 - they just kept the release date in October as a holding spot for Machete Kills. I don't know if I'm buying what he's selling, but I do know that if they keep the same level of grittiness and fun from the original, A Dame to Kill For is going to be awesome! There's two stories from the comic books and two other original stories exclusively written for the film - so even the fanboys won't be able to complain about half the movie and how they got it wrong. I'm excited to see the return of Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson and several others from the first film along with newcomers Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin, Christopher Meloni and even Lady Gaga. This should be an entertaining romp through Sin City. Everyone who was involved in the first film is back, so I can't imagine this not delivering the goods.
Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton
Director: Doug Liman
Writers: Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth
Release Date: June 6
Yes, Tom Cruise is in another science fiction movie. And yes, he is playing a man who seems to not know what's going on. While Oblivion was a fairly solid, if somewhat dull, science fiction action movie, Edge of Tomorrow looks to be at least a little bit more visceral. Combining the appeal of Bill Murray's Groundhog Day with the epic war film Saving Private Ryan and setting it in the same universe as Oblivion or Battle: Los Angeles or District 9 (or pretty much any science fiction movie the past 5 years) - Edge of Tomorrow is about a soldier, who, on the first day on the job, finds himself getting killed, wakes up to see himself inexplicably repeating the day before. Based on a Japanese novel called All You Need is Kill (possibly a poor translation - maybe All Your Base are Belong to Us couldn't get copyrighted). I really think it's awesome that Emily Blunt is playing a badass military hero, although I sense a distracting romance plot in this movie that could just reinforce gender stereotypes. Then again, Emily Blunt is a badass (as she's shown in the movie Looper), so I hope the role transcends the typical guy saves the girl routine. Doug Liman is at the helm for this movie and he's been a fairly consistent and diverse director (Swingers, Bourne Identity, Fair Game) - so I'm confident he can make an awesome film out of the script. And the script should be solid - it's written by McQuarrie, who wrote The Usual Suspects and Valkyrie (although he did write the atrocious Jack the Giant Slayer). It's actually been re-written a half a dozen times according to Wikipedia, so here's hoping they got it right the 10th time! I hope this is an intense as the trailer makes it out to be.
Starring: Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, Ty Burrell
Director: James Bobin
Writers: James Bobin, Nicholas Stoller
Release Date: March 21
While The Muppets movie from 2011 brought back the fuzzy stars back to relevance, Muppets Most Wanted aims to keep them in the limelight. The Muppets was fantastically funny and ultimately a great satire and parody (and somewhat meta) of the Muppets themselves. It was a hoot and the director is back along with one of the writers from the 2011 movie! The plot should be a good jumping point for lots of shenanigans and great jokes (Kermit is being replaced by an exact replica, save for a tiny mole!). I love the Muppets so much that this should be amazing and the songs should be just as good (Even Celine Dion is doing a song - hopefully she's willing to make fun of herself!). There should be an awesome and even more insane amount of cameos in this movie. Now that The Muppets are cool again, I'm guessing they landed quite a decent bevy of Hollywood celebrities to join in on the fun. This is going to be great, I can feel it!