Film: New Movies for Spring 2014

Spring Arts 2014

April

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER — Superhero season kicks off with the sequel to 2011’s Captain America. Come for Chris Evans (or Scarlett Johansson), stay for the popcorn-friendly, big-budget thrills typical of Marvel’s cinema offerings. (4/4)

RIO 2 — With above-average reviews and above-average box office returns, someone at Blue Sky Studios thought animated film Rio worthy of a second outing. Good for them, but I still won’t be watching. (4/11)

ST. VINCENT DE VAN NUYS — Very little has been leaked or shown of this comedy, starring Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts and Chris O’Dowd. That cast alone, though, should be enough to pique your interest. The screenplay, about a boy whose parents have recently divorced striking up a friendship with his war-veteran neighbor, was rumored to be one of Hollywood’s best unproduced films, but we’ll have to wait and see. (4/11)

TRANSCENDENCE — Christopher Nolan’s cinematographer steps behind the camera for the first time with this sci-fi thriller starring Johnny Depp and Morgan Freeman. Depp plays a researcher intent on creating the first sentient machine. He incurs the wrath of extremists opposed to technological advancement. Maybe they just really like Windows XP? (4/18)

BEARS — Disneynature gets ready to make us laugh, cry and squeal like delighted children with a documentary that follows the lives of a mother and her cubs over the course of a year in Alaska’s wilderness. It’s going to be breathtaking, and arrives in theaters in time for Earth Day. (4/18)

HEAVEN IS FOR REAL — No, it isn’t. That’s the skepticism facing Colton Burpo, who wakes up from emergency surgery and shares details on the procedure and his family history that he claims to have learned by visiting heaven. Based on the best-selling Christian novel, Greg Kinnear stars as Colton’s father, navigating his family through the drama of coming to terms with their religious beliefs. For non-believers, Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey airs April 20 on TV. (4/18)

WALK OF SHAME — Elizabeth Banks is incredibly watchable. That alone should help this comedy rise up from what seems like a rather middling premise. Banks stars as a reporter stranded in downtown L.A. after a one-night stand, who has eight hours to reach a job interview with no ID, car or phone. Let’s hope the walk is all that’s shameful about this film. (4/25)

THE OTHER WOMAN — Cameron Diaz teams up with Leslie Mann and Kate Upton to seek revenge on her boyfriend, who transpires to be Mann’s wife and who’s also Upton’s lover. They’re all the other woman… get it? (4/25)

May

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 — If this sequel follows the trajectory of the Sam Raimi-directed Spider-Man trilogy, it will be even better than the first, while the second sequel, due in 2016, will be more The Mediocre and Uncomfortably Awkward Spider-Man. Presumably, they’ll avoid calling the third sequel, greenlit for 2018, The Rather Shit Spider-Man, but you never know. (5/2)

NEIGHBORS — Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen are new parents. They’re young, they want to go out, but all that baby stuff is cramping their style. What could make things worse? Why, a fraternity moving in next door, that’s what! Okay, so the premise sounds cringe-inducing, but the actual film looks to be a pretty decent R-rated comedy. Zac Efron gets shirtless a lot, if that’s your thing. (5/9)

GODZILLA — If your mind immediately jumped to a hulking dinosaur stampeding through Japan, please leave. Your outdated references have no place in this modern reimagining of the oft-told tale. Anyone remember the 1998 film of the same name? No? Okay, then this is probably for you. Expect all the CGI destruction you could possibly want as this giant beast stomps its way past the $160 million budget. (5/16)

Million Dollar Arm

Million Dollar Arm

MILLION DOLLAR ARM — Jon Hamm is all the reason you need to see this. I think there’s a really uplifting and inspiring true story about a sports agent recruiting Indian cricketers to play Major League Baseball, but I’m not sure as I was too busy looking at Jon Hamm. Did I mention Jon Hamm is in it? Jon Hamm. (5/16)

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST — This film carries a lot on its mutant shoulders. Attempting to be a sequel to X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: First Class, it’ll also follow-on from Wolverine. How is this possible? Time travel, of course! Present day Wolverine travels to the ’60s, and meets the gang from First Class in an attempt to stop a war occurring in both timelines which threatens to destroy mutants. Heavy stuff, but there’s an incredible cast on offer here, so it should be pretty decent watching. (5/23)

BLENDED — When Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler team up for a comedy, you know it’s going to be incredible. Said no one, ever. (5/23)

MALEFICENT – Yes. Angelina Jolie takes on the role of one of Disney’s most formidable antagonists, Maleficent, who cursed Princess Aurora to die by the prick of a spinning wheel’s spindle. A live-action re-imagining of the original animated tale, it will follow the chain of events that led to Maleficent’s pure heart turning to stone. Jolie was reportedly so scary in full make-up that only her own daughter was able to play young Princess Aurora, as she wasn’t frightened of her mother. This is going to be good. (5/30)

A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WESTFamily Guy, American Dad, Ted. All good. The Cleveland Show. Bad. Dads. Atrocious. A slice of Seth MacFarlane’s canon, but it shows that his content can vary greatly in quality. A Million Ways to Die in the West could be a golden nugget, it could be horse droppings. (5/30)

June

EDGE OF TOMORROW — Tom Cruise will run a lot, that much we can be sure of. This sci-fi action film is a bit like Groundhog Day, in that its main character is stuck in a time loop, forced to repeat each day. It slightly differs from Bill Murray’s comedy in that Cruise repeats his last day in a battle between humanity and aliens. Okay, it differs quite a lot. Still, it’s a nice, CGI-filled take on the old ”humanity is dooooooomed” humans vs. aliens premise of many sci-fi films. (6/6)

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS — Hazel, a 16-year-old cancer patient, meets and falls in love with 17-year-old amputee and cancer survivor Augustus at a support group for children living with cancer. Be ready to cry in front of strangers. (6/6)

22 JUMP STREET — Sequel to surprise hit 21 Jump Street, starring Channing Tatum and double-Academy Award nominee Jonah Hill. (No, we didn’t think we’d ever write that, either.) Expect more R-rated antics as the duo find themselves undercover at a local college. (6/13)

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 — I’ll go ahead and say it, How to Train Your Dragon is my favorite non-Disney/Pixar animated film. The original had everything: humor, heart, action and it was beautifully animated and scored. I didn’t want Universal to turn it into a cash cow, but here we are. I hope it’s as brilliant as the first one. If not, I’m taking my pitchfork and torch to L.A. (6/13)

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION — Blah blah, Michael Bay, blah blah, big explosions, blah blah, CGI, blah. (6/27)

July

TAMMY — Melissa McCarthy, who’s lost her job and found her husband cheating on her, hits the road with her profane, alcoholic grandmother, played by Susan Sarandon. Not quite Thelma and Louise, but we’ll take it. (7/4)

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES — This will mark the eighth film in the Planet of the Apes franchise, proving above all else that when there’s nothing original to make, Hollywood will beat that dead horse for every last cent. (7/18)

JUPITER ASCENDING — Mila Kunis, starring in a big-budget sci-fi film, written and directed by the Wachowskis. Something about this all sounds very good. Kunis is a lowly janitor, discovered to have the same genetic make-up as the Queen of the Universe. This makes her a prime target for assassination, and this film a prime launchpad for more Mila Kunis in our theatres. (7/25)

HERCULES: THE THRACIAN WARS — Dwayne Johnson stars as Hercules, Zeus and Achilles in this film centered on the Grecian demi-god (Hercules, not Johnson). It’s like The Nutty Professor, but with more death and classical references. (7/25)

August

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY — A film with a premise so fantastic it’s a wonder Disney greenlit production, but I’m glad they did. Chris Pratt takes the lead (with his new, rippling torso in a supporting role) as Peter Quill, who finds himself hunted after stealing an orb coveted by the film’s antagonist, Ronan. Quill, along with Groot, a tree-like humanoid; Rocket, a genetically engineered raccoon; Drax the Destroyer, a muscular warrior; and Gamora, a bright green former-associate of Ronan. Together, they’ll save the galaxy — and we’ll all have a true spectacle to behold. (8/1)

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY — Will the same bored housewives who loved the saucy novels be willing to watch the film? Who cares? They forced the beautifully scruffy Jamie Dornan to shave for his role as Christian Grey, so I’m already out. (8/1)

THE GIVER — Stop chuckling at the title. This is a very serious film based on an award-winning book, and stars Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges. It follows 12-year-old Jonas, who lives in a utopian society free from racism, sickness or conflict. However, he gradually learns that his world is a dystopia, one devoid of emotional depth — the price paid long ago for a seemingly perfect society. (8/15)

SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR — The sequel to 2005’s Sin City features an incredible cast, and takes its inspiration from the second book in Frank Miller’s series of graphic novels. Several characters return from the original film, while newcomers such as Eva Green, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Lady Gaga round out the rest of the cast. Fans of the first film’s slick visual style will likely find much to love. (8/22)

THE LOFT — We end our list with a pretty good pick. The Loft is a remake of a Belgian film of the same name, and follows five married friends who share an upmarket loft apartment. They each use the space to meet and sleep with their mistresses, until the body of a murdered woman is discovered in the bed. The men’s lives unravel as they accuse each other and those around them of the murder, with the film utilizing flashbacks to tease the plot to its end. An interesting concept — let’s hope it doesn’t join the list of ”remakes that were inferior in every way to the film that preceded them.” Hollywood has a lot of them. (8/29)

Rhuaridh Marr is one of Metro Weekly's contributing editors and covers cars, technology, gaming and world news. He is usually found with a game controller in one hand and a smartphone in the other and can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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