#14 Transcendence April 18
It’s time to find out just how much Wally Pfister learned from Christopher Nolan and the other directors, such as Bennett Miller (Moneyball), during his time as a cinematographer as he sets out to make his feature directorial debut with the high concept techno-thriller Transcendence. The curiosity surrounding the possibility of a new director to get excited about is enough to anticipate this one highly.
Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is the foremost researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence, working to create a sentient machine that combines the collective intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotions. His highly controversial experiments have made him famous, but they have also made him the prime target of anti-technology extremists who will do whatever it takes to stop him. However, in their attempt to destroy Will, they inadvertently become the catalyst for him to succeedâ€”to be a participant in his own transcendence. For his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and best friend Max Waters (Paul Bettany), both fellow researchers, the question is not if they can… but if they should. Their worst fears are realized as Will’s thirst for knowledge evolves into a seemingly omnipresent quest for power, to what end is unknown. The only thing that is becoming terrifyingly clear is there may be no way to stop him.
#13 The Monuments Men February 7
[amz asin=”B002LHRLNE” size=”small”]I was anticipating it before it moved out of 2013 and it remains one to look out for now that it’s been relegated to an early February release, which I probably would have viewed as a warning sign ten years ago, but it’s clear Sony sought the same release date Martin Scorsese‘s Shutter Island sought back in 2010 when it moved out of the 2009 awards hunt. Nothing to worry about here… I assume.
Based on the true story of the greatest treasure hunt in history, The Monuments Men focuses on an unlikely World War II platoon, tasked by FDR with going into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and returning them to their rightful owners. It would be an impossible mission: with the art trapped behind enemy lines, and with the German army under orders to destroy everything as the Reich fell, how could these guys â€“ seven museum directors, curators, and art historians, all more familiar with Michelangelo than the M-1 â€“ possibly hope to succeed? But as the Monuments Men, as they were called, found themselves in a race against time to avoid the destruction of 1000 years of culture, they would risk their lives to protect and defend mankindâ€™s greatest achievements.
#12 Animal Rescue TBA
[amz asin=”B005GDZHB8″ size=”small”]The screenplay was written by Dennis Lehane (“Gone Baby Gone”, “Shutter Island”, “Mystic River”) and based on his short story from a collection of short stories titled “Boston Noir (Akashic Noir)” and with Bullhead director MichaÃ«l R. Roskam and a cast that includes Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Frecheville, Matthias Schoenaerts, John Ortiz and the late James Gandolfini how can you not want to see this film?
The story follows a bartender (Hardy) who discovers a discarded puppy in a garbage can and rescues him only to find himself the target of the dog’s abusive and mentally unstable former owner (which I believe is the role Gandolfini will play), while simultaneously getting caught in the middle of a criminal conspiracy playing out in his mob-controlled bar.
#11 Fury November 14
David Ayer didn’t exactly jump out of the box with a string of hits as his directorial debut (Harsh Times) and sophomore effort (Street Kings) hardly moved the dial. However, last year End of Watch ended up making my top ten of 2012 and I really can’t wait to see what he’s put together with Fury as I assume this won’t be just another World War II film and hope he can capture the intensity and camaraderie he so perfectly nailed with End of Watch. Granted, the success of that film was just as much about the performances of Michael Pena and Jake Gyllenhaal. Thankfully he’s stacked the cast for this one as well with Pena starring once again along with Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Scott Eastwood, Jon Bernthal and Jason Isaacs.
Fury is set at the very end of World War II, in April 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theater, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and outgunned, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.
That does it for this ten and tomorrow I’ll be here with my top ten most anticipated films of 2014. In the meantime, if you missed either of my previous two installments just click away on the links below.
Most Anticipated 2014 Navigation