The 2013 summer movie season looks to be on the quieter side this year, with only about five or six titles that I'm really curious about. I figured it was a good time to look ahead to other film projects that have been quietly coming together over the past few months. I've wanted to write about several of them individually, but it never felt like I had enough material, so I'm going to use this post to geek out about everything coming up in the near future that I'm really getting excited about. As usual for me, there's a lot of science fiction on the list. I'm a nerd. I admit it.
In March we're getting Darren Aronofsky's long-awaited "Noah" project, starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly. Then shortly after comes "Transcendance," the directing debut of cinematographer Wally Pfister, who is best known for working with Christopher Nolan. It's been described as a science-fiction neo-noir that will star Johnny Depp and Paul Bettany. Nolan will be helming his own original science-fiction movie, "Interstellar," which has something to do with time travel and will star Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. That one's currently dated for November. And a month later, we're finally going to see what Brad Bird's secret "Tomorrowland" project with George Clooney is all about.
Summer currently looks a little dire for original projects, but the Wachowski siblings will be returning with "Jupiter Ascending" in July, with Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis. We're finally learning a little more about it this week since filming has begun, and it sounds like a promisingly crazy space opera in the same vein as the Korean segment of "Cloud Atlas." And a week later, Disney and Marvel will be unleashing "The Guardians of the Galaxy," one of the pivotal Marvel Universe Phase 2 films. Everything I've read about this goofy-sounding tale of intergalactic space cops sounds ridiculous (alien raccoons?!) and I can't wait to see how they're going to pull this off. Will this finally break the curse of the movies with the word "Guardians" in the title? Either way, this is going to be a big one.
Most of 2014' s sequels don't interest me (Amazing Spidey 2, Jurassic Park 4, Fast and Furious 7, Transformers 4), and others are too sketchy to say much about yet (Apes prequel #2, Hunger Games 3, Captain America 2, 21 Jump Street 2, Hobbit 3), but one that I'm definitely looking forward to is "X-Men: Days of Future Past" that will be coming in July. Brian Singer is back as director, and will be combining the various X-men movie canons with the franchise's most famous time travel storyline. Matthew Vaughn, who did such a fantastic job with "First Class," is contributing to the screenplay. The press has been full of announcements about returning castmembers, and we're getting Peter Dinklage and Omar Sy to boot. Bring it on!
On the animation front, there are a couple of potentially interesting titles: "The Good Dinosaur" form PIXAR, "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" and "Happy Smekday!" from Dreamworks, and "The Boxtrolls" from Laika. We'll also be getting the highly anticipated sequel to "How to Train Your Dragon," which Dreamworks is counting on to become its next major franchise, so expect a lot of push behind that one.
Finally, some smaller movies with no set dates that we can only speculate are going to arrive in 2014 include Wes Anderson's "Grand Budapest Hotel," Terrence Malick's "Knight of Cups," Paul Thomas Anderson's "Inherent Vice," and the "Veronica Mars" movie. Note to self: go watch "Veronica Mars."
Only the really big studio productions get scheduled this far out in advance, mostly animated films and superhero movies. But by any measure, 2015 is going to be a big movie year. The main events, of course, will be "Avengers 2" and "Star Wars VII," but PIXAR also recently announced that their mysterious November, 2015 release was "Finding Dory." The fact that Disney is behind all three of these movies points to the strength of the studio's brand acquisition strategy over the last few years.
On top of that, we've got the final "Hunger Games" movie, the "Avatar" sequel, Edgar Wright's "Ant-Man," and an original PIXAR movie called "Inside Out." Probably only of interest to me are the just-announced "Pitch Perfect" sequel and "Kung-Fu Panda 3." I like "Dragons" very much, but I don't think the "Panda" franchise gets nearly enough credit.
The most intriguing "maybe" of the year, however, is still only in the planning stages: Warners' potential "Justice League" movie. Depending on how "Man of Steel" does, this project may or may not happen, and we may or may not be getting a superhero team showdown with "The Avengers 2," and it may or may not be a complete disaster for Warners.
And that may or may not be the best entertainment of all.