While I normally look forward to films, I suspect this is more and more becoming a list of films I will be lucky to see within a year of release, and films my friends-who-are-parents will be lucky to see sometime before social security.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Once upon a time, Alec Baldwin was an action hero, and he played Jack Ryan in The Hunt for Red October. He wasn’t bad, but when Harrison Ford became available, they moved him in, and he played a great Jack Ryan in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. Making sure to neglect that Sum of All Fears, which threw the franchise onto the rocks was ever made, the time would eventually come for Tom Clancy’s everyman-millionaire stockbroker-former marine hero to make a comeback. Who could follow up Han Solo in this role? How about Captain Kirk! Chris Pine plays Jack Ryan with Kenneth Branagh and Kevin Costner in support.
The Monuments Men
Loosely based on the real story. As the Allies establish themselves on the continent of Europe, a secret team of U.S. Army art and architecture experts is sent in ahead of the military to determine targets that must not be bombed, and to find art treasures of Europe that have been looted by the Nazis. It certainly sounds like it is not your usual military film, and the cast is strong: George Clooney, John Goodman, Matt Damon, and Cate Blanchett. That this film was moved from December to February might be saying that it is not as strong a film as original buzz was leading everyone to believe.
In future Detroit, lawlessness and poverty have taken over (maybe not so distant a future), and a corporation takes the dying body of a Detroit police officer and merges it with a machine to create the ultimate law-enforcement officer. There is a compelling cast which includes Samuel L. Jackson, Micahel Keaton, Gary Oldman, and Jackie Earle Haley. It very much looks like this RoboCop will not be walking at a snail’s pace as the action scenes looked ramped up. The original film had a strong satirical streak regarding big business and violence in media, and I suspect that this will be missing in this film, which is a shame.
Mr. Peabody and Sherman
Dreamworks finally gives the big screen treatment to that beloved and most intelligent of dogs and his pet boy as they travel in the WABAC machine to visit historic figures, only to find a need to repair history after it is damaged by Sherman and a girl he is trying to impress. Rob Minkoff is directing, and the last animated feature film he made was called The Lion King, and that wasn’t too bad! I have fond memories of Peabody and his pet boy, Sherman, and would love for this to be a solid film, if for nothing other than nostalgic reasons.
Take Gladiator and mix it with the Bible. Heck, they already did that … it was called Spartacus, and it was awesome! No … think Old Testament (to quote Dr. Ray Stantz: real wrath of God type stuff). Darren Arnofsky, the director behind the visionary short film Pi, and the only slightly less weird film Black Swan brings the Biblical story of Noah with 326% more kick-ass than you ever thought from a film based on the Bible. Playing Noah is none other than Russell Crowe. Anthony Hopkins takes the role of Methuselah, with Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson also starring. I’m not sure that the Southern evangelicals will embrace this film which is (I am guessing) going to divert more than a bit from the Biblical story. On the other hand, that crowd embraces NASCAR, so who knows?
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
While trying to fulfill the vow he took to the dying Captain Stacy, Peter Parker must try and balance his love and distance from Gwen while battling Electro (Jamie Foxx) and the Rhino (Paul Giamatti). I was fairly disappointed in the reboot a few years ago, and I am not sure that this will take the franchise back in a good direction, even though I will try and keep an open mind.
The last time an American studio tried making Godzilla, the result was putrid. Perhaps they have learned. Some of the design art released reveals that Godzilla will look a lot more like his traditional form than the American salamander version. Bryan Cranston and Ken Watanabe are set to star. One of the producers said that he wanted to take Godzilla back to its roots, and create him in the image of a force of nature, something like the vengeful right arm of God. With the music for this trailer, I think they are trying to establish that (the music is the otherworldly singing used over the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey). This finally could be the first serious treatment of the mutated reptile since the 1954 original, where Godzilla is a representation of humanity’s hubris rather than a monster version of the WWF.
X-Men: Days of Future Past
In a dark future (in which Professor X never died, apparently), the Wolverine is sent back into the past in order to convince the mutants of an earlier era to change history so that the dark future for men and mutants never occurs. Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Ellen Page, and naked Jennifer Lawrence are all back.
Edge of Tomorrow
A soldier preparing for a massive military operation has to try and warn his superiors that the operation will be a catastrophe because he he has relived it many times, each time a failure. Did I mention they were attacking aliens? Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt,and John Paxton star.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
After the critical success of the last Apes movie, they come back with a sequel starring Gary Oldman (and Andy Serkis back to play the Ape leader, Caesar). Set some time after the events of the last film, the human survivors of the simian plague mass for a final battle against Caesar and his army of intelligent apes. Should be a few monkey knife fights … with guns!
A young woman in Chicago not only learns that there is life in the universe more advanced than humanity, but that she is one of them … and that her life on Earth has been to hide her from assassins bent on killing her. This film comes from the team of Andy and Lana Wachowski, and stars Mila Kunis and Sean Bean (I really liked her in Black Swan).
Guardians of the Galaxy
Kind of like the Avengers made up almost entirely of aliens, and not as well known … but Marvel films have been quite good, so I am willing to give this a chance. Zoe Saldana, Djimon Hounsou, Benicio del Toro, John C, Reilly, Vin Diesel, Doctor Who‘s Karen Gillan, and Glenn Close (yes, that Glenn Close) all star.