This is the end of the back 25 (or is the front 25? This isn't golf, so let's just stick with the former). Just to recap there's been 6 sequels/reboots/remakes (I counted Pan as a remake FYI). The top 25? 12. I said at the beginning of this that this is the year of the fanboy - there's so much to get excited about with all the franchise movies coming out. Whether they turn out to be amazing, well, that's not my concern here. These next five movies showcase three of my favorite directors out there right now and all of them taking on original properties. And they all look fantastic.
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ansel Elgort
Director: Robert Schwentke
Writers: Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman
Release Date: March 20
Divergent, the film based on the wildly successful book trilogy, did well enough to warrant a sequel. While I was impressed by the movie, it's no Hunger Games or Harry Potter. Not that it has to be - it has a good story and the characters are well written. I just don't know where the story is going to go and this lame teaser trailer really doesn't help me understand anything. Apparently there's a new trailer coming out next Friday, so I'm a week too early with this. Kudos to the studio for not making the title The Divergent Saga: Insurgent or some such nonsense. Robert Schwentke, the man who directed RED but who also directed another acronym-titled movie, R.I.P.D., is on board and I don't know how I feel about that - I guess it's a wash because I can't really guess how the book would translate because I haven't read the books. The cast is great - I really am starting to dig Shailene Woodley and Theo James seems like just eye candy, but I thought he was pretty good in the first movie. There's two new writers on board, so it seems like the studio wants to get a fresh look entirely to the sequel. Which is cool but you lose a little bit of a sense of direction and cohesiveness when that happens (The first four Harry Potters were all over the place as far as tone and look). Despite all this nitpicking - I'm genuinely excited to see where this trilogy is headed.
29. Untitled Christmas Eve Project
Starring: Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lizzy Caplan
Director: Jonathan Levine
Writer: Jonathan Levine
Release Date: November 25
I don't understand why this film doesn't have at least a working title. I mean they could call it Happy Merry Funtime December 24. That would at least be better than this dull place holder of a title. Whatever, I'm super stoked about this movie - it's about three lifelong friends who party together every Christmas Eve but soon their tradition may be ending so they go on an epic quest to find the party to end all parties. I don't care what people say - I think Seth Rogen is hilarious. He's not a bad actor, either! Sure, he's got a certain type of stoner, slacker type humor, but it works and he's perfected it over the years. Plus you have the enormously talented JGL and Lizzy Caplan. This film is a solid hit in my book by the cast alone. But the movie also has a very great up-and-coming young director in Jonathan Levine (50/50 and Warm Bodies). This film will probably be toeing the line between sentiment and dick jokes, which I think Levine has good experience in with his previous movies. What more do you want out of a holiday movie? This should be a blast!
Starring: Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader
Director: Pete Docter
Writer: Pete Docter
Release Date: June 19
The second Pixar movie on my list and the second original Pixar movie this year as well. The movie takes place in the mind of little girl and showcase 5 separate emotions - Joy, Disgust, Fear, Anger and Sadness. The film's teaser already has me excited - you can get a clear idea of the tone and the humor of this story. And the voice cast is superb - Amy Poehler should be in all the movies, she just adds that extra bit of energy and comedy. With it being Pixar, you know they're going to make it great - plus you have a veteran writer/director in Pete Docter who's written 5 Pixar movies and directed two of them. There's really not much more to say than I am super stoked about seeing and reading more about this movie.
27. The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Starring: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Hugh Grant, Alicia Vikander
Director: Guy Ritchie
Writers: Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram
Release Date: August 14
I'm not to familiar with the 60s TV show that this film is based on, but it was extremely popular - it was certainly like a James Bond TV series. I dig spy thrillers and the movie takes place during the cold war in the 60s - so no modern re-telling, which I think will benefit the story. The TV show revolved around two agents from U.N.C.L.E. - a global organization whose mission was to maintain peace and stability and used multiple governments and nations to cull their best agents. These two agents are being recast with Henry Cavill (the new Superman) and Armie Hammer (the new Lone Ranger). The plot seems to revolve around the origin of THRUSH - UNCLE's main adversary - with plans on creating global chaos through nuclear proliferation. While I'm not a fan of the TV show and I've never seen a single episode, I am really psyched that Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes, Snatch) is co-writing and directing this movie. He's such a good director and has such a unique style and voice so I can't wait to see what he does with this genre. This should be a great late summer surprise.
Starring: Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writers: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Release Date: February 13
My first movie on this year's list that was on last year's list, Kingsman looks like a brilliant film. The cast is great - Firth, Jackson, Caine and newcomer Taron Egerton look terrific in the trailers. Also Mark Strong and Mark Hamill are in the film as well. And it's nice to see Jackson playing the villain along with Colin Firth kicking some butt (who knew the King of England could do such a thing?). Plus Matthew Vaughn - a director who hasn't, IMO, had a bad film yet (Layer Cake, Stardust, Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class) - so I'm stoked to see what he can do with another Mark Millar comic book (his first was Kick-Ass). The movie looks fun so I don't understand why the studio dumped this in February where it's probably not going to make much of a splash as it would have this past October. I like the world-building this movie is doing - I think it's cool that there's a secret British organization that uses umbrellas as shields and weapons. Awesome stuff, I hope the film is as good as the trailer.