2014 has given us plenty of great films worth seeing in the theaters and adding to personal film libraries. The final fourteen weeks of the year look like there are still plenty of options in store for both main stream and limited release films. Some of the films on the list have already been released in selected cities, but have yet to come to the Miami Valley. This list is in no particular order. There are plenty of anticipated films not on the list yet, so feel free to comment and make recommendations. Here is a link to all of the trailers:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDPTmaYQHjiOHgkmwUppMoaFuRDFQornb
Hector and the Search for Happiness. This film could be really insightful or it could be a self indulgent male midlife crisis dramedy. Hey, it has Simon Pegg so it gets points. Even if the script is weak, he’ll be enjoyable to watch as he always is. Hector and the Search For Happiness Trailer (Credit Movie Clips Trailers). The Film is Scheduled for Release on September 19.
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby. There are somewhat superficial reasons to want to see this film like the title is based on one of the greatest Beatles songs and James McAvoy is quite good eye candy. He’s also a very talented actor. Jessica Chastain is a very talented actress and they should work well together. The ensemble cast includes Viola Davis, Bill Hader and Ciaran Hinds, so points for the ensemble. It doesn’t appear to be for people looking for a nice feel good love story, but it has an intriguing premise. It was shown as a work in progress at TIFF in 2013 with separate Her and Him segments. It has been released in select cities already as a “whole” film (Them) and will theaters nationwide (in Arthouses) over the next few weeks. This is a film interested parties will have to make an effort to actively seek out. Hopefully the DVD/BluRay release will include the Him and Her work in progress. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby Trailer. Credit: MOVIECLIPS Trailers.
The Maze Runner. It’s based on a book that is marketed to teenagers. This writer has started reading that book and it’s not bad. It’s not quite as much of a page turner as The Hunger Games or Divergent, but it’s a good read so far. This is certainly one of those films that could go either way. A few years ago, a September release date wasn’t the greatest omen for a studio’s effort or faith in a film. Film’s based on popular book series are often done as cash grabs by studios wanting stories to sell, rather than by people who love the stories and want to bring them to life on the big screen for a wider audience. The box office success of the first Hunger Games film with a March release date as well Captain America, The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy is showing studios that they don’t have to put all of their eggs (potential hits) into so few baskets (release dates). Thomas Brodie Sangster is among the cast of the film, so that’s to its credit as plenty of films based on books popular with teens will cast big names for the adults, but not necessarily the best actors for the protagonists. This film could be memorable like the Harry Potter films (even if some of the adults were cast more for their names than being right for the parts and plenty of important details from the books were left out) and The Hunger Games (even though there is too much Donald Sutherland) for forgettable like The Giver, The Mortal Instruments, and The Golden Compass films. It will be in theaters September 19th and audiences can decide. The Maz Runner Trailer, credit: 20th Century Fox.
The Skeleton Twins. Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader play twins who haven’t spoken in ten years. They attempt to repair their broken relationship and put their lives back together after failed attempts to end them. Luke Wilson and Ty Burrell play supporting characters. It looks like it could have plenty of laugh out loud and genuinely touching moments. People in Dayton will have a chance to see for themselves when the films comes to the Neon on September 26th. The Skeleton Twins trailer, credit: MOVIECLIPS Trailers.
The Boxtrolls. It’s a Focus Features release. That company tends to distribute passion projects over cash grabs. It also has Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as voices for characters as well as Ben Kingsley. There are good selling points for people who want to see intelligent films-yes family films can be intelligent when they don’t beat people over the heads with their messages. From the trailer it looks like it will tell a good story that children and adults alike will enjoy. It will be in theaters September 26th. The Boxtrolls trailer, credit: The Boxtrolls on Youtube.
The Equalizer. Denzel Washington isn’t in the Expendables movies because he’s not desperately trying to prove that he still has it and there was always more to him than a tough guy. He plays a tough guy vigilante type in The Equalizer, and judging by the trailer he does it well. Chloe Grace Moretz has shown herself as a force to be reckoned with as a young actress. It will be in theaters September 26th. The Equalizer trailer, credit: JoBlo Movie Trailers.
Laggies. In the trailer, Keira Knightley seems to be concentrating really hard on her American accent. That may wear a little thin in a feature length film. Keira Knightley has enough charm that audience members may not notice after a while. Sam Rockwell has good comedic timing and Chloe Grace Moretz should effortlessly deliver another good solid performance. Plenty of people can relate to trying to figure out what to do with their lives and the fear of making the wrong choices, which seems to be the premise of this film. It will have limited release starting in late October and people will have to actively seek it out. Laggies trailer, credit: MOVIECLIPS Trailers.
Wild. Reese Witherspoon will have to mostly carry this film about a woman who decides to walk a thousand miles after the end of her marriage and losing her mother. Sandra Bullock had to carry a much higher percentage of Gravity so that shouldn’t be a problem. It looks like a spiritual journey film, and a possible Oscar contender (probably Best Actress and Best Screenplay). It fits the type. It is based on memoirs writer by Cheryl Strayed, so people can google her and check the book out before the film is released. There are less than three months to do so as the film will be released on December 5th. Wild trailer, credit: MOVIECLIPS Trailers.
St. Vincent. Bill Murray plays a curmudgeonly old man who befriends his young neighbor. Melissa McCarthy gets to show a little range (at least judging from the trailer) and it should be a nice break from the crass characters the studios want to use to pigeonhole her. The trailer provides plenty of laughs. It looks like Bill Murray and Jaeden Lieberher work well together. It will be in theaters October 10th. St. Vincent trailer, credit: MOVIECLIPS Trailers
Horns. Daniel Radcliff plays a young man who begins growing a pair of horns that give him the power to induce people to share their deepest secrets with him. There is also the murder of his girlfriend that will be a mystery for audiences to attempt to solve throughout the film, but will possible be a MacGuffin. It looks like a film that people will need a pallet cleaser (a comedy) after watching and before they go to bed. Horns trailer, credit: MOVIECLIPS Trailers.
Dracula Untold. There have been plenty of “new twists on old tales” movies in the past several years. Some have been good, while others have followed generic formulas. From the trailer, Dracula Untold at least looks better than most of the CGI heavy movies, which have been mostly darker fairy tales. The legend of Dracula (the historic Vlad the Impaler) is no fairy tale. Luke Evans is certainly a capable actor who could give a unique interpretation of Count Dracula. It could go either way, but hopefully it will be awesome. The release date has been changed a lot for this film, but as of now it is set to hit theaters October 10th. Dracula Untold trailer, credit: MOVIECLIPS Trailers.
Foxcatcher. This is based on a true story. Captain Obvious to the rescue: this film will probably be really disturbing. Steve Carell seems to lose himself in the role judging by the trailer, so people will likely want to watch episodes of The Office and his old Daily Show clips to remind themselves he was just acting in Foxcatcher. It also stars Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum, both of who are certain to give great performances as well. The film will be released on November 14th (Captain Obvious to the rescue again, it will be as an Oscar contender rather than a feel good holiday film. Foxcatcher trailer, credit: Movie Trailers on Youtube.
Gone Girl. Ben Affleck plays a man suspected of murdering his wife (Rosamund Pike) when suspicious diary entries turn up after her disappearance. Perhaps this film will reduce the number of Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne naysayers. Stranger things have happened. It is based on a novel by Gillian Flynn, so people wanting to read the book first have a couple of weeks before the October 3rd, release date. It will look at the sensationalism of the media getting in the way of facts and truth. If it is effective it will have people guessing until the final reveal (if there is one). David Fincher directs this and he is good at raising serious questions in his films. Neil Patrick Harris plays a supporting role in this film and it will be nice to see him do something that will show his talent; as studios have been putting him in mediocre comedies in the past few years. Gone Girl trailer, credit: JoBlo Movie Trailers.
The Imitation Game. It’s based on a true story that is relevant to the politics of today. Plenty of people have tried to take away the rights of homosexuals (jobs, marriage equality, the right of services) or said hateful things only to turn around and cry foul when people dare to call them homophobic. The polite way is to say that they are just exercising their “right to free speech” or expressing their “Christian Values.” (Pope Francis has a stronger argument for being persecuted when he’s called a Communist for saying that humanity has a responsibility to care for the poor, where’s the outrage on that?) People who hide behind cries of “Religious Freedom” fail to understand history. Before the Mid 1960s the Legion of Decency insisted that the Production code authority mandate that gay characters in film had to die. Alan Turing himself, despite cracking a code that saved countless lives was forced to take hormonal drugs or go to prison. More recently there is the death of Matthew Shepard whose family was one of the victims of the Westboro Baptist Church. There are still parents who put their gay children into “therapy” to change them. Considering how many gay teens have been driven to suicide, it’s a form of child abuse. Critics who have seen this film at festivals, have given Benedict Cumberbatch high praise, though that’s no surprise. It will be in theaters November 21st in North America. The Imitation Game trailer, credit: MOVIECLIPS Trailers.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1. So far, the filmmakers have done a decent job adapting this terrific series to the silver screen, even if Donald Sutherland is a “big star” who gets more screen time than necessary. Plenty of books fans were not thrilled with the final installment, but these last two films should still be good. The book was pretty graphic, but violence in the film will be toned down for the PG-13 rating. It’s target audience is teens so studios won’t want the R rating. It will be in theaters November 21st. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 trailer, “The Mockingjay Lives” credit: The Hunger Games on Youtube.
Rosewater. Jon Stewart felt guilty that journalist Maziar Bahari was arrested Iran and his captors used a Daily Show interview in one of Jason Jones’ segments against him while he was imprisoned. It is clearly a passion project for Jon Stewart. Despite the fact that he is a comedian, people turn to him to put a little sanity on the insanity of punditry and sensationalism in the news. When he gets angry about some type of injustice, he doesn’t hold back (much-there was congress filibustering a 9/11 first responders medical assistance bill, the coverage of the events in Ferguson, and lawmakers trying to pass a bill to allow businesses to refuse service to certain groups based on “religious conviction”-a term that sounds nicer than bigotry-to name a few). It should be interesting to see what he does with his directorial debut. It will be in theaters November 21st. Rosewater trailer, credit Clevver Movies.
Big Hero 6. The trailers and teasers have been highly entertaining so far, no reason to think the actual film won’t be so as well. It looks like it’ll be one of those films that parents and children will enjoy equally and it will probably have good legs and people like to see funny and touching movies multiple times. Big Hero 6 trailer, credit: MOVIECLIPS Trailers.
The Penguins of Madagascar. It will probably have a lot more silliness thant Big Hero 6, but ditto otherwise. It has the honor of the Thanksgiving release. The Penguins of Madagascar trailer, credit: Movies Coming Soon.
Interstellar. Christopher Nolan blew Audiences away with the first two films of the Dark Knight Trilogy and Inception (and plenty of more limited release films like Memento in the previous decade). He may have blow away fewer critics and general audience members with The Dark Knight Rises, but the film was still impressive even though it didn’t clear as high of a bar as its predecessors. Interstellar should be pretty awesome. Plenty of people will say that it and Nolan are overrated, but that happens with every massively successful, highly praised film. It looks like the lead with be another tormented man, but the journey and destination should make for an incredible cinematic experience. It will be in theaters November 7th. Interstellar trailer, credit: JoBlo Movie Trailers.
Annie. It’s a modern take on the classic musical about an orphan who warms the heart of a wealthy man. The little girl in the trailer is absolutely adorable. Jamie Foxx and Rose Byrne look like they’ll be good in it. It should be a fun time. It will be in theaters on December 19 and should make for a nice, feel good holiday film. Annie Trailer, credit: FilmTrailerZone
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. This film will probably get very silly at times, but it probably won’t be so silly that it causes headaches and the death of brain cells. Ben Stiller, the dearly departed Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, and the rest of the cast have worked well together so far. The addition of Ricky Gervais and Rebel Wilson should enhance that. It will be in theaters on December 19th. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb trailer, credit: MOVIECLIPS Trailers.
Kingsman: The Secret Service. It’s based on a comic book with plenty of action as well as tongue-in-cheek moments. It has Colin Firth. There’s a good hook. The trailer uses one of the greatest Doors songs, points there. It looks like it’ll just be a lot of fun. It will be in theaters October 24th. Kingsman: The Secret Service trailer, credit: Movie Trailers on Youtube.
The Hobbit the Battle of the Five Armies. There has been no shortage of complaining and parroted talking points over the past few years about a book that is less than 300 pages being stretched into three films. Well, this Geek and Middle Earth fan is thrilled. Frankly after watching so many great books being butchered by cash grab screen plays, casting “big names” over people who are right for the parts, and important plot points and great scenes being cut out altogether, Peter Jackson and company making the book into three films and including some of the stuff from the appendixes is refreshing. Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens also have a lot of affection and encyclopedic knowledge of the source material, so their primary desire is to *tell* the story as opposed to *selling* it. This could be the last time Middle Earth is in a medium outside of the original novels and short stories, so why not tell as much of it as possible. Given the box office success, there are obviously plenty of people who don’t mind. There is also the fact that Jane Austen novels like Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility have been made into 4-6 hour miniseries and still did not cover the entirety of those novels, so there really isn’t a reason to complain about the Hobbit being extended. Maybe there are too many Orc scenes, but it’s nice to see care go into the rest of the characters. Why cater to people with short attention spans (those who only like films that fit into the 90 minute Valenti structure, and dismiss anything different as stupid). There are plenty of films tailor made for that crowd. If Peter Jackson was really all about the money, he would not have delayed production and the original release date so that Martin Freeman could play Bilbo Baggins. Once a film is finished, it is finished forever, so people who care about telling a story more than selling it want to get it right. Unlike actors who have played beloved characters in other popular books adapted to film, Martin Freeman actually took the time to read the book when he took the part and it shows in his wonderful performance. It is also nice to see the dwarves, lead by the marvelous Richard Armitage as Thorin, be more proactive fighters and have more distinctive personalities than they do in the books. Tauriel is a wonderful addition and making Bard a more rounded character than he is in the books is a great way to enhance the film as well. Audiences do have more Smaug to look forward to in the final installment as well as some sure to be great moments from Cat Blanchett as Galadriel and Ian Mckellan as Gandalf. The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies trailer. credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.
Into the Woods. It has a good cast. The special effects and cinematography both look excellent in the trailer. It’s a twist on classic fairy tales without being a a generic dark twist with mediocre special effects. It’ll be in theaters Christmas Day. Into the Woods trailer, credit: MOVIECLIPS Trailers