My Top 10 Films of 2014

     Hello everyone! With a new year comes a new slate of movies for audiences to enjoy. They will thrill us, make us cheer with excitement, and possibly make us shed a few tears.

     Whether you are looking for a sequel that continues the adventures of established heroes or that rare original film that we have been waiting for Hollywood to release, this year has something for everyone.

10) Divergent – March 21

Unless you have been living under a rock or haven’t been by a bookstore lately, this young adult book adaptation has the potential to reach the heights set by The Hunger Games film series. Based on the first book of this bestselling series, this sci-fi film, people are divided into five distinct factions based on their personalities in a futuristic Chicago. Beatrice “Tris” Prior (Shailene Woodley) discovers that she is Divergent, meaning that she does not fit into any faction, which is dangerous as she soon discovers a sinister plot brewing in her “perfect” society. With a strong following, Hollywood might have found another potential successful young adult franchise.

9) Transformers: Age of Extinction – June 27

Before you start to wonder, no; this is not a reboot. Now that I’ve gotten that out the way, this sequel is the fourth installment in the Transformers film series. Taking place four years after the invasion of Chicago, this film stars an entire new cast with Mark Wahlberg as Cade Yeager, a single father and struggling inventor and newcomer Nicola Peltz as his daughter. It will be nice to see the return of Transformers Optimus Prime and Bumblebee to the silver screen but little is known about this film. With Michael Bay directing, you could be sure there will be a lot of action and explosions. A lot of explosions.

8) The Fault in Our Stars – June 6

I had the pleasure of reading this young adult novel this past summer and was thoroughly impressed by John Green’s heartbreaking novel. This romantic adaptation tells the story of sixteen-year-old cancer patient, Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley), who meets and falls in love with Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort), an ex-basketball player and amputee, at a cancer support group. If you don’t go see this movie, you should definitely read the novel but I hope everyone will get to do both.

7) Sin City: A Dame to Kill For – August 22

After the success of the 2005 neo-noir classic Sin City, it feels like we have waited an eternity for this sequel to finally come to fruition. This film is based on the second book in the Sin City graphic novel series, titled “A Dame to Kill For.” Featuring an all-star cast with the likes of returning original stars Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson, and Bruce Willis teaming up with new comers Josh Brolin, Eva Green, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, fans of the original graphic novels, the first film, and myself hope that this long delayed film is worth the wait.

7) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – July 18

This sequel of the surprisingly successful reboot Rise of the Planet of the Apes is one of the most anticipated films of this year. Taking place eight years after the events of the first film, a growing nation of apes led by Caesar (Andy Serkis) is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus that was released during the first film. They have reached a fragile peace, but it is short lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of war to determine Earth’s dominant species. Co-starring Gary Oldman and Keri Russell, this film could break the records set by its predecessor.

6) The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – May 2

This superhero sequel features the return of the world’s favorite wall-crawler. In this adventure set two years after the events of The Amazing Spider-Man, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) continues to struggle with balancing his life as a high school student and his responsibilities as Spider-Man. As Peter begins to investigate into his parents’ past and their accident, thanks to the help of his friend Harry Osborn  (Dane DeHaan), he discovers that his new threats Electro (Jamie Foxx) and Rhino (Paul Giamatti) all have one thing in common: OsCorp. Co-starring Emma Stone as the beautiful Gwen Stacy, Sally Field as Aunt May, and Chris Cooper as Norman Osborn, this film is set to break records and expand the Spider-Man universe.

5) Captain America: The Winter Soldier – April 4

The ninth installment into the Marvel Cinematic Universe features the All-American Avenger in his second solo film. Set two years after the events of The Avengers, Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is living in Washington, D.C. and working with S.H.I.E.L.D. while trying to adjust to contemporary society. After a S.H.I.E.L.D. comrade is assaulted, Captain America teams with Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johannson) to uncover the mystery hidden in the nation’s capital while fending off hit men and the very dangerous Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). Co-starring returning franchise stars Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter and newcomers Robert Redford, Emily VanCamp, and Anthony Mackie playing The Falcon. This film is a perfect way to continue the success of the MCU and setting up the return of the Avengers in next year’s Age of Ultron.

4) X-Men: Days of Future Past – May 23

Bryan Singer’s return to the X-Men film franchise brings together his original cast of heroes with the young team that was established in 2011’s First Class. The X-men are fighting a war for survival across two time periods when Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellan) send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back to the past to team up with their younger selves (James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender) to stop the events of the past to save the future. Featuring an all-star cast of past and present X-Men film stars like Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Jennifer Lawrence, Shawn Ashmore, and newcomers like Peter Dinklage, this film is set to be the biggest film of the franchise to date.

And now, The Top 3…

3) Interstellar – November 7
Christopher Nolan returns to the director’s chair to helm this original science fiction film. When a wormhole is newly discovered, a team of explorers and scientists voyage through the anomaly to transcend the limitations of human space travel.  Starring a great cast with Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Jennifer Chastain, and Matt Damon, this top-secret movie might just add to Nolan’s greatness as a director, bringing another landmark and original film to audiences. 
2) The Hobbit: There and Back Again – December 17
Peter Jackson took a huge gamble by splitting Tolkien’s wonderful fantasy novel into three films but it has paid off him in epic fashion. Considering how well the other films have done, it is almost a guarantee that the final film in this trilogy will be nothing short of amazing. 
1) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 – November 21
And here is my number one anticipated film of this year. Considering the success that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire had as the highest grossing movie of 2013, the stage is certainly set for this sequel to surpass its predecessor and shatter records. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) reluctantly leads the districts of Panem in a rebellion against the corrupt Capitol. As the war escalates and the future of the districts of Panem are put in danger, Katniss must decide for herself who she can trust and what needs to be done, while all that she holds dear in her heart hangs in the balance. With returning stars Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, and Woody Harrelson and newcomers Julianne Moore and Stef Dawson joining Lawrence, I believe The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Parts I and II could reach success not seen since the Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows graced theaters. How fans respond to a short book such as Mockingjay being split into two films will be another story. 
Honorable mentions:

It’s safe to say there there is no shortage of good movies this year. I hope everyone goes and enjoys these films! Take care!

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