Synopsis: For the first time ever, Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the gang we know and love from Charles Schulz’s timeless Peanuts comic strip will be making their big-screen debut; like they’ve never been seen before in a CG-animated feature film in 3D.
Release Date: November 6, 2015
Thoughts: Admittedly, I have a very soft spot in my heart for the simple hand-drawn animation that gave the early Peanuts films and TV specials such heart. And it’s a bit of a shock that it took so long for a studio to capitalize on the lasting impression the characters in Charles Schulz’s imagination have left on the public. Though the film isn’t due for release until late in 2015 and plot details are unknown, a teaser morsel has been released (which we’ll probably see before every animated film for the next 22 months) and while it may be a little too brightly fancy free, I’m looking forward to seeing the gang in a new film. After all, it’s been 34 years since Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Peppermint Patty, Sally, Lucy, Linus, and the rest have had a film in theaters. It’s time.
Synopsis: After losing her job and learning that her husband has been unfaithful, a woman hits the road with her profane, hard-drinking grandmother.
Release Date: July 2, 2014
Thoughts: Ok…let me just say something that no one seems really willing to say: Melissa McCarthy has not delivered on the promise put forth in her rightfully praised breakthrough (and Oscar nominated) performance in Bridesmaids. She just hasn’t. She hasn’t. You can disagree all you want but having watched McCarthy rehash the same character in films like Identity Thief, This is 40, The Hangover Part III, and The Heat not to mention her last severely awful hosting gig at Saturday Night Live I’m just not on her bandwagon anymore. Like The Heat, this first trailer for Tammy has zero laughs, finding McCarthy pulling the same shtick we’ve seen her do countless times. That’s depressing considering the impressive roster of actors involved with the movie like Susan Sarandon (Jeff, Who Lives at Home), Dan Aykroyd (This is My Life), Kathy Bates (Titanic: 3D), and Allison Janney (The Way Way Back). I’m actually dreading this movie.
Synopsis: An alien seductress preys upon hitchhikers in Scotland.
Release Date: April 14, 2014
Thoughts: Adapted from Michael Faber’s darkly comic novel from 2000, Under the Skin is a curious foreign product for star Scarlett Johansson (Her) finding her playing a beautiful alien who truly is a maneater. I’ve seen a few previews of the film over the past year and they’ve all been decidedly artsy and obtuse. I get the feeling that director Jonathan Glazer wants us to know that this isn’t your run of the mill horror film. OK…we get it. Now let’s see what ScarJo has up her alien sleeves…
Synopsis: A woman tries to exonerate her brother, who was convicted of murder, by proving that the crime was committed by a supernatural phenomenon.
Release Date: April 11, 2014
Thoughts: First things first…I appreciate that this is truly a teaser trailer. We all know how much I’m in favor of the less is more approach and while a longer version of this may be released before the film comes out in April, I have to say that this first look at another low-budget horror film from wunderkind producer Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity 4, Insidious, Insidious: Chapter 2, The Purge, Lawless, Sinister, Lords of Salem) gets the job done. That being said, these movies tend to open big (usually without advance screenings) and then sink like a stone once word of mouth makes its way around. One can only hope that Oculus will wind up being more ambitious than the rest and strike gold not only in the box office but with critics desperate for a good scare.
Synopsis: When her cop father is killed, a young woman tracks the murder with the apparent help of his ex-partner.
Release Date: TBA 2014
Thoughts: Adapted from the popular 1998 Japanese anime, the US version of Kite has been through some less than breezy days in its way to the big screen. Originally planned for 2008, the film lost some air when production details couldn’t be locked down. Then when there was a green light to move forward the original director (David R. Ellis) sadly passed away during filming in South Africa. With a replacement director wrapping things up Kite will get a chance to soar sometime in 2014 but fans are doubtful the overall impact of the original (which was heavy with the kind of sex and violence that would be next to impossible to secure in live-action format) can be matched no matter how flashy and amped up this first preview looks like the remake will be. I’m thinking this could be a nice little bit of high adrenaline distraction with the always interesting presence of Samuel L. Jackson (Oldboy, Django Unchained) keeping things grounded.
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: A sports agent stages an unconventional recruitment strategy to get talented Asian cricket players to play Major League Baseball.
Release Date: May 16, 2014
Thoughts: Let me start out by saying that I’m going to see Million Dollar Arm when it’s released in 2014 because I like this particular type of film. No one makes an underdog story with the right amount of schmaltz quite like Disney and it’s hard to find good PG material that doesn’t pander to tots and doesn’t induce eyerolls in adults.
I will say, however, that this film looks an awful lot like Cool Runnings, Disney’s 1993 film of another American Jo(h)n (Candy) that finds star athletes (a bobsled team) in a most unlikely location (Jamaica). Jon Hamm (Friends with Kids) seems like the right gent for the job but he’s yet to truly prove he can carry a theatrical film all on his own. There’s charisma to spare here but it’s not yet made the leap from TV to film…perhaps this sure-to-be feel good-er will seal the deal.
Synopsis: Moments before his comeback performance, a concert pianist who suffers from stage fright discovers a deadly note written on his music sheet.
Release Date: March 7, 2014
Thoughts: Taking more than a few choice notes from the likes of Hitchcock and De Palma (Passion), I’m hoping that Grand Piano is better than it looks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a taut thriller set in a confined space where our lead had to figure out a way to escape death without tipping off the killer but I’m not sure if Elijah Wood has that everyman quality that made Cary Grant and James Stewart so appealing. The trailer also makes the mistake of giving away the identity of protagonist which could be a risky move if there are no more surprises in store. Arriving On Demand before a theatrical release, this is one that may go down easier from the comfort of your own couch.
Synopsis: A group of explorers make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.
Release Date: November 7, 2014
Thoughts: With a director that has yet to make a bad film and a, well, stellar cast of A-Listers it’s not hard to see why Interstellar is already one of the most highly anticipated films of 2014. Director Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises) has tapped Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club), Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables), Jessica Chastian (Zero Dark Thirty), Ellen Burstyn, Michael Caine (Jaws: The Revenge), and Casey Affleck for his new film, details of which are still being kept tightly under wraps. Sources say it has to do with time travel and the race to save the food supply of our planet but if I know Nolan it’s about so much more. The first look doesn’t have a lot of footage to it (and you know I love my teasers) but it nicely places its stake in the ground as the movie we’ll be talking about in about a year.