The 2014 Film Release Calendar: December

Every January, I preview all the films that are scheduled to come out for that year. Not all of them do, of course, and it gets a bit crazy every year in terms of changes, but basically the point of it all is to know what’s coming out, know what to get excited for, know what to start bracing myself for, and, selfishly, guess what I’m going to think about all the movies to see how accurate I was at the end of the year. And also see which movies surprised me, for better and for worse.

It’s gotten to be a whole great thing. Since at first it was just what Wikipedia’s year in film article said, plus a few others that weren’t scheduled that I just knew about. And then the year after that it was a few more films. And last year it was like, 200 or something. And now, it’s probably like 200 or something, plus all the ones from last year that I’m continuing to track. Eventually it’ll be to the point where really the only ones I haven’t heard about or previewed at some point are either foreign films, documentaries, and like 5% of those movies that just come out of nowhere.

What I’m doing is going over everything as it’s currently scheduled. I’m doing the first six months now, then taking a ten day break in between to go over some other stuff (Oscar nominations are going to be announced, the Golden Globes will happen — big stuff), plus allow for the later months of the year to maybe become more solidified, and maybe let a few changes happen, since I’ve discovered that a lot of things do get moved this time of year, often right as I’m putting the articles together. So it works twofold. I get to talk about other stuff and let the dust settle as much as possible so as not to make everything that much crazier come December.

Here’s December:

December

Exodus

Ridley Scott is making a movie about Exodus. Moses, the whole thing.

Christian Bale is Moses, Aaron Paul is Joshua, Joel Edgerton is Ramesses II, Ben Kingsley is in it, Sigourney Weaver, John Turturro — sure.

Normally, I’d be totally on board with this. My problem now is — Ridley Scott.

Ridley Scott may have passed the point of good moviemaking. I read an article that posited that Ridley Scott hasn’t actually made a good movie since Alien. Which is a legitimate case.

I’m not a huge fan of Blade Runner, and that movie went through so many cuts it’s impossible to know what it wants to be. Surely if it takes that many cuts to make a movie, it’s not a good movie. And then the rest of his 80s were forgettable, and then Thelma and Louise, which is a pretty overrated movie, all things considered. Then the rest of his 90s were forgettable (G.I. Jane, anybody?), and he rebounded with Gladiator, which I’ll admit to you, is an awesome movie. But is it a good movie? Probably not. It doesn’t really hold up under technical scrutiny (it’s a B movie plot with A movie visuals and budget), but we all love it because it’s awesome. So let’s call that a push. Then Hannibal. ‘Nuff said. Then Black Hawk Down, which people love, and he did a great job directing it, but is it a really good movie? And then Matchstick Men, which I actually like. That’s the one I’ll make an argument for. Kingdom of Heaven is a mess, because again, it requires multiple cuts. Then A Good Year, which I really like, but I also wouldn’t go out of my way to call it a good movie. Then American Gangster — not really that great a movie. A good movie, but mostly entertaining. Otherwise totally overdone and could have been shorter. Then Body of Lies — not great. Robin Hood — huge disaster. Prometheus — liked it a lot, but actually not a good movie. Then The Counselor. The less said, the better. So how can you have much faith in Ridley Scott?

I want this movie to be good. But, it’s Bible-based, and I don’t really go for those as much. It took Darren Aronofsky to make me want to see Noah. This — I’ll see it, but I’m not expecting it to be good, necessarily.

So, we’ll call it 3 stars, and hope it goes higher. I’ll take the hit if I’m wrong. I just can’t give a shit about a story about Moses directed by a guy with a recent history of giant, epic misfires.

Paddington

PADDINGTON follows the comic misadventures of a young Peruvian bear with a passion for all things British, who travels to London in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone at Paddington Station, he begins to realise that city life is not all he had imagined – until he meets the kindly Brown family, who read the label around his neck (‘Please look after this bear. Thank you.’) and offer him a temporary haven. It looks as though his luck has changed until this rarest of bears catches the eye of a museum taxidermist…

This could be pleasant.

I won’t assume anything, but since it’s British, let’s say 3 stars.

Like I said, it could be pleasant. I hope it is.

The Hobbit: There and Back Again

Well, these films are definitely on the up swing, and this third one is going to feature a giant battle, so that’s a big plus.

I assume this will end up being better than the previous two, since there will be less singing, less dinner parties, and less giant spiders.

We know it’s gonna be 4 stars, since I even gave An Unexpected Journey 4 stars. Maybe if it’s really good, I’ll go 4.5, but 4 seems right in line, and why should I expect more?

Annie

Starring Quvenzhané Wallis, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbajge.

I like that it’s a musical, I don’t like that it’s a rap musical. But I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

3 stars.

Look, it’s not that big a benefit, but it’s still a benefit. This has to prove to me that it’s good before I believe in it.

Everest

Oh shit, really?

Based on “Into Thin Air,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes and Jason Clarke.

I’m totally in.

I love Everest movies.

I loved Vertical Limit.

I’m so in for this.

4 stars.

Please let this be good enough to be an Oscar contender.

I have a feeling it probably won’t, but a man can dream, right?

Night at the Museum 3

Sigh.

2.5 stars.

Into the Woods

Rob Marshall is directing a musical.

What a stretch.

I’m also not a fan of Rob Marshall’s musicals. I thought Chicago was very poorly handled, direction-wise (hence why he didn’t win the Oscar) and I didn’t like what he did with Nine.

So that, and this not being a story I’m familiar with leads me to believe this won’t be great.

I’ll go 3.5 stars, because I love musicals, but I’m not confident about it.

He’s got a cast — Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Chris Pine, Lucy Punch, Christine Baranski — he’ got people. I’m just worried about the story. Isn’t this supposed to be a really adult story?

Sondheim wrote it, too.

So fuck it. Scratch the 3.5. We’re going 4 stars.

I hope I don’t regret this.

Only for Sondheim.

Unbroken

Angelina Jolie is directing a script by the Coen brothers about a story just begging to be made into an Oscar contender.

A chronicle of the life of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who was taken prisoner by Japanese forces during World War II.

I know a little bit more than this synopsis, but maybe it’s best if nobody knows anything. There’s some crazy shit that happens here. It sounds amazing. Laura Hillenbrand wrote the book about this. She also wrote Seabiscuit, which was amazing and was also turned into a Best Picture nominee.

So I have faith in this.

Domhnall Gleeson, Jai Courtney, Garrett Hedlund and Alex Russell are in this, and Jack O’Connell is the lead. Either way, I’m really looking forward to this.

4.5 stars. Fuck it. We’re going for it.

I really hope Angelina Jolie fashions herself into a great director. That would be so nice. If she went the Affleck route. She already did In the Land of Blood and Honey, which I didn’t see. (Which no one saw.) Hopefully that allowed her to learn how to direct and now she’s really swinging for the fences.

I hope she doesn’t miss.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow we go over the films that don’t have release dates.

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One response

  1. JamDenTel

    The difference between the BLADE RUNNER cuts is mostly limited to the differences (the narration, unicorn dream, and happy/ambiguous ending) between the theatrical cut and the “director’s cut”. Beyond those two cuts, the differences are mostly very minor tweaks–not enough, I’d say, to overshadow the film’s greatness. Unless, of course, you don’t consider a great film in any version.

    January 23, 2014 at 2:16 am

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