Thursday, March 6, 2014

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Top 25 Most Anticipated of 2014

You've probably noticed that I'm behind on everything so far. I don't think I've even updated since my nominations in January. Ah, well -- here's my most anticipated for 2014....

25. Ping Pong Summer
Release: June 6
It's not just because the cast and writer/director Michael Tully appeared on a show I produced during the Sundance Film Festival -- I'm genuinely intrigued by this 80s-set coming-of-age tale, as I am by most coming-of-age tales (you may remember my very vocal adoration of Super 8 and The Perks of Being a Wallflower). This one happens to feature the lovely Lea Thompson, awesome Amy Sedaris, and two-time Hollmann Award Nominee Susan Sarandon (In the Valley of Elah, Speed Racer).

24. 22 Jump Street
Release: June 13
The first one did not disappoint -- it won my prize for Best Ensemble, and earned a handful of other noms -- so why would I not be excited for this one?

23. Gone Girl
Release: October 3
Heard a lot of buzz around the book, which I have not read and have been trying to remain ignorant of. Keep me fresh for the film. This is Fincher's first film since 2011's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (three years already!), which was a decided improvement after the abysmal Swedish original. Of course, he's been on a roll since Zodiac in 2007, so here's hoping this makes for a flawless set of five.

22. The Fault in Our Stars
Release: June 6
From skeptical synopsis-reader to tear-stained trailer-viewer! The Perks of Being a Wallflower vibe doesn't hurt, either (see #25). And, of course, Shailene Woodley impressed me with her open and quietly sad performance in The Spectacular Now, so I'm thrilled to see what she's got in store for us next.

21. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Release: July 11
I loved Rise of the Planet of the Apes  -- and by the way, premise-wise, it seems like the titles should be switched, right? Anyway, I am excited for the further adventures of Caesar.

20. Jersey Boys
Release: June 20
Somehow, Clint Eastwood keeps convincing me to see his movies even though the most they can ever aspire to be is fine, and even that hasn't happened since Gran Torino. But a musical about the Four Seasons is just unexpected enough to intrigue me. I've never seen the show, but have heard almost universally high praise.

19. Grace of Monaco
Release: Some time after Cannes, I guess
Especially after that sumptuous trailer! Va-va-voom! Never saw My Own Love Song, so my faith in Olivier Dahan has not dissipated -- I was a big fan of La Vie en Rose.

18. Devil's Knot
Release: May 9
Last year, this was my Number Four most anticipated -- but I suppose time will do that to you. That and the promise of shiny new things.

17. Get On Up
Release: August 1
Somehow, a bio of James Brown was always going to interest me, but tell me Chadwick Boseman (42) is the man himself and on this list it goes. Boseman's a real talent -- I only hope he gets to sing (or lip-synch, I have no idea what they're doing) "Down and Out in New York City."

16. Paddington
Release: December 12
Fond Childhood Memories slot.

15. A Million Ways to Die in the West
Release: May 30
Fan of Ted. And it doesn't hurt that this (a) looks genuinely funny, and (b) features the holy trifecta of Hollmann Award Winner Charlize Theron (Young Adult), Hollmann Award Nominee Liam Neeson (Schindler's List), and Future Hollmann Bride Amanda Seyfried (2019).

14. Into the Woods
Release: December 25
I've only ever heard the first song from the Bernadette Peters production, and know very little else about it. And seeing as how my musical fandom is getting me excited for a Clint Eastwood flick, it only makes sense that I also look forward to an all-star production directed by Rob Marshall (haters gonna hate, but I like Chicago, Nine, and Memoirs of a Geisha) and featuring MERYL.

13. Annie
Release: December 19
And I also have found myself excited for this one since Willow Smith was attached. I'm no big fan of the original musical, either, though I do like a lot of the songs. Maybe it's the modern setting? The casting (Quvenzhane! Rose Byrne! Jamie Foxx!)? The screenplay -- three separate writers, but each with a place in my heart? That infectious trailer?

12. Maleficent
Release: May 30
Sleeping Beauty is my favorite Disney movie, and it's like they tailor-made this for me. Actress I admire Angelina Jolie looks like she's having a delicious time, facing off against actress I adore Elle Fanning, all while chanteuse I cherish Lana del Rey performs "Once Upon a Dream"! Disney, you do care! 

11. Inherent Vice
Release: December 12
The Master aside, I am a longtime fan of Paul Thomas Anderson, and this sounds like he's about to deliver some Altman-Long Goodbye entertainment. The more work for Jena Malone and Martin Short, the better for us all.

10. The Giver
Release: August 15
One of my favorite books to read as a kid finally gets to the big screen. The actors are much older than the characters should be, but they're also easy on the eyes, so who am I to complain? The real story, of course, is MERYL as the Chief Elder.

09. Nymphomaniac
Release: March 6 - Volume I; April 4 - Volume II
Haha, yep, this is out already, at least on VOD. Well, I don't do VOD unless I have no other option to look forward to, and I fully intend to get as much bang for my buck as I can out of Las Von Trier's sex epic.

08. Foxcatcher
Release: Fall, I expect
Still waiting. Still excited.

07. The Railway Man
Release: April 11
That trailer breaks me every time.

06. Jupiter Ascending
Release: July 18
In 2008, the Wachowskis made Speed Racer, one of the greatest contributions to cinema in the history of the medium. In 2012, they teamed up with Tom Tykwer to make Cloud Atlas, quite obviously the best movie of the year, and again -- one of the greatest contributions to cinema in the history of the medium. In 2014, can they go 3 for 3? Probably!

05. Godzilla
Release: May 16
Before the trailer -- which, OK, may just be selling me a lot of hooey -- Godzilla sat at Number 10, so I clearly have a lot of excitement building for this guy. You have to wonder, what kind of screenplay for this would attract Sally Hawkins and Juliette Binoche?

04. Magic in the Moonlight
Release: Late Summer, I expect
Woody Allen Fandom slot.

03. The Grand Budapest Hotel
Release Date: March 7
"Jeez, Walter, this comes out today. Not much anticipation." Whatever. I love Wes Anderson films. 

02. Noah
Release: March 28
The Biblical Epic is one of my favorite subgenres -- it's big, it's magic, it makes for great speechifying. And no one does the Noah story, except for that one TV Movie that had pirates or something. Darren Aronofsky is another director I adore -- he's the only person to have won two Best Director Hollmann Awards (The Wrestler, Black Swan). Fortunately, I won't have to wait much longer.

01. Exodus
Release: December 12
This is my second favorite Bible story, a result, no doubt, of repeated viewings of The Ten Commandments as a kid. And sure, The Counselor was terrible, but Ridley Scott's fantastic with visuals -- what better spectacle can there be than in a Biblical Epic?

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