Synopsis: In the far reaches of space, an American pilot named Peter Quill finds himself the object of a manhunt after stealing an orb coveted by the villainous Ronan.
Release Date: August 1, 2014
Thoughts: I should start out by saying that I’m totally familiar with the Guardians of the Galaxy comic and all of the characters introduced within. Teased first at the end of Thor: The Dark World, the full trailer for Marvel’s latest “Hail, Hail, the Gang’s All Here” film has an awful lot of impressive looking images that we’ve come to expect from an effects driven superhero film. What I find it’s lacking, however, is some justification for being so tonally blasé. It’s seems preciously desperate to come across with the same structured sarcasm as Marvel’s The Avengers even though that blockbuster already earned its stripes by bringing characters together already established in solo films. With a meaty cast like Chris Pratt (Her), Zoe Saldana (Out of the Furnace), Lee Pace (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug), Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs), Bradley Cooper (American Hustle), and Vin Diesel (Riddick) on board the film isn’t lacking in star power…I just hope it’s not nearly as comic-booky as it looks.
Synopsis: A man seeks out his exact look-alike after spotting him in a movie.
Release Date: March 14, 2014
Thoughts: It was on the set of Enemy that star Jake Gyllenhaal and director Denis Villeneuve discussed the A-list actor coming on board Villeneuve’s next project: 2013’s highly effective (and high up on my best of the year list) Prisoners. So even though it was completed first, Enemy is just getting ready for a release in early March. A much smaller film that the Hollywood studio-backed Prisoners, Enemy suggests another moody puzzle of a film the director seems to have such a knack for. I wasn’t always the biggest Gyllenhaal fan but he’s taken on some dynamite roles in the last few years (see End of Watch if Prisoners didn’t convince you) and I’m getting a friendly vibe from this first look at Enemy.
Synopsis: Brought together by a vandalism incident at their children’s school, a group of single mothers from different walks of life bond, and create a support group that helps them find comedy in the obstacles of life.
Release Date: March 14, 2014
Thoughts: Make no doubt about it, mogul Tyler Perry is one smart businessman. Writing, producing, directing, and sometimes regrettably starring in his own films, Perry (Alex Cross, Star Trek) can make films for pennies that rake in millions. Though his films aren’t as boffo profitable as they once were, each turn a profit so as long as tickets are sold his movies will continue to be churned out. I just wish the films were as good as the casts he manages to assemble. In his latest picture he’s gathered what could be called a “B” cast of familiar character actors from television in a story that looks like it could be called The First Wives Club areWaiting to Exhale. These films aren’t my bag but I will admit to being interested in seeing what dramatic chops comedian Wendi McLendon-Covey has in her bag of tricks.
Synopsis: Peter Parker runs the gauntlet as the mysterious company Oscorp sends a slew of supervillains up against him.
Release Date: May 2, 2014
Thoughts: While I wasn’t married to the idea of Tobey Maguire being the one and only Spider-Man forever and ever, I wasn’t convinced in 2012 that Sony needed to reboot our webbed hero with The Amazing Spider-Man. The film, while impressive visually, was missing that special spark that all lasting superhero films need to stand the test of time. History has shown that some franchise films need to work out some bugs at first so I’m going to put faith in director Marc Webb and the creative time that this second go ‘round with Spidey hits the bullseye. Adding rising star Dane DeHaan (Lawless, Chronicle, The Place Beyond the Pines), Paul Giamatti (Saving Mr. Banks), and Jamie Foxx (White House Down, Django Unchained) to the mix, this special New Year’s Eve preview is shorter and more compact than the longer trailer released a month ago, truly teasing the audience with images of the nasty baddies that await them when the film is released in May.
Synopsis: After a bad blind date, a man and woman find themselves stuck together at a resort for families, where their attraction grows as their respective kids benefit from the burgeoning relationship.
Release Date: May 23, 2014
Thoughts: Wow…it’s hard to believe that it’s been sixteen years since Drew Barrymore (Big Miracle) and Adam Sandler (Hotel Transylvania) first worked together in the smash hit, The Wedding Singer! That 80’s set film was a pleasant retro flashback and succeeded because Barrymore was operating a peak charm and Sandler’s laid-back vibe had yet to be obliterated by a seemingly never-ending string of juvenile garbage films. After reuniting in 2004 for 50 First Dates, Barrymore and Sandler are joining forces again to see if lightning could strike for a third time. While Sandler’s films have miraculously made a boatload of money and Barrymore works consistently, neither has made a memorable film for ages…so could this pleasant (but very silly) looking comedy really work to their advantage? The Wedding Singer director Frank Coraci is back on board which could be a good thing…until you see he was also at the helm for dreadful efforts like Around the World in 80 Days, Zookeeper, and Sandler’s Click.
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Synopsis: The story of Texas electrician Ron Woodroof and his battle with the medical establishment and pharmaceutical companies after being diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1986, and his search for alternative treatments that helped established a way in which fellow HIV-positive people could join for access to his supplies.
Release Date: December 6, 2013
Thoughts: It’s hard to believe it now, but it wasn’t all that long ago when it seemed like Matthew McConaughy’s film roster was destined to be filled with an endless stream of forgettable romantic comedies. With three films that found the actor playing nearly the exact same character (Failure to Launch, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and (shudder) Fool’s Gold) I had all but written him off when McConaughy took a step back from the blockbuster-type money being waved at him and instead started showing up in roles that gave him room to stretch, breathe, and find artistic success with. After turning in strong supporting turns in 2012’s Magic Mike, Bernie, Killer Joe, and The Paperboy, 2013 may wind up even better for him with November’s The Wolf of Wall Street and this real life drama that could net him an Oscar nomination. Losing an extreme amount of weight to play an HIV addled man that isn’t content to roll over and die, McConaughy is pushing some limits here and that makes this a must-see. Check out Jared Leto too!
Synopsis: While on a tour of the White House with his young daughter, a Capitol policeman springs into action to save his child and protect the president from a heavily armed group of paramilitary invaders.
Release Date: June 28, 2013
Thoughts: Hot on the heels of February’s Olympus Has Fallen is White House Down, another action-thriller involving the hostile take-over of the residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. June’s White House Down is directed by Roland Emmerich who started off with the campy and enjoyable Universal Solider/Stargate one-two punch and has gradually gone the Michael Bay route of heading up pictures that were full of sound of fury and signifying nothing. The presence of in-demand star Channing Tatum (Magic Mike, Side Effects, The Vow) can’t hurt the chances of this taking down the competition at the box office in its first weekend – but let’s see if the film has any substance to go along with the explosions.
Synopsis: Amidst financial crises and unprecedented public school budget cuts, Brooklyn Castle takes an intimate look at the challenges and triumphs facing members of a junior high school’s champion chess team
Release Date: TBD 2012
Thoughts: Lord knows I love a good documentary and anything deal with school/education instantly has my attention. If only I knew how to play chess, perhaps I would be able to appreciate this David vs. Goliath more, right? Looking fairly run-of-the-mill, I may have to draw a line in the sand on these documentaries for the time being until there’s a new angle that will grab me.