25.) Muppets Most Wanted
Talent involved: James Bobin. Ricky Gervais. Ty Burrell. Tina Fey. KERMIT. MISS PIGGY. FOZZIE. THE REST.
Description: Classic mistaken identity plot. Tons of celebrity cameos. Hopefully some musical numbers. Me in the theater opening night, and again the next day.
24.) The Imitation Game
Talent involved: Morten Tyldum. The Batch. Keira Knightley. Matthew Goode. Mark Strong. Charles Dance.
Description: The story of Alan Turing cracking the Enigma code during World War II. If you haven’t seen Tyldum’s Headhunters, do so.
23.) The Hobbit: There and Back Again
Talent involved: Peter Jackson. Bilbo. Smaug. Thorin. Legolas. The Kate from Lost Elf. FAT DWARF IN BARREL.
Description: The Desolation of Smaug ended with Smaug on his way to lay waste to the world of man. The final installation should give us more epic Peter Jackson goodness.
22.) 22 Jump Street
Talent involved: Lord & Miller. Channing Tatum. Jonah Hill. Ice Cube. Dave Franco. Nick Offerman. Peter Stormare. Rob Riggle. Richard Grieco. Jillian Bell. Johnny Pemberton.
Description: You liked the first. Everyone’s back, including writer and directors. You’re welcome, America.
21.) Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Talent involved: The Russo Brothers. Chris Evans. Frank Grillo. Sebastian Stan. ScarJo. Cobie Smulders. Dominic Cooper. Emily VanCamp. Robert Redford. Samuel L. Jackson. Anthony Mackie. Toby Jones.
Description: Captain America vs. The Winter Soldier. More Marvel goodness. Want.
Talent involved: David Gordon Green. Al Pacino. Holly Hunter. Chris Messina. Harmony Korine.
Description: Another small-town intimate David Gordon Green outing. After 2013’s Prince Avalanche was so good, this shot up the list.
19.) Magic in the Moonlight
Talent involved: THE WOODMAN. Emma Stone. Marcia Gay Harden. Colin Firth. Jacki Weaver.
Description: NEW WOODMAN. Doesn’t matter what it’s about.
Talent involved: David Gordon Green. Tye Sheridan. Nicolas Cage.
Description: An ex-con encounters the possibility of redemption after meeting a teenage boy. The second of David Gordon Green’s intimate outings starring larger-than-life actors this year– this one ranked higher, because CAGE.
17.) The Rover
Talent involved: David Michod. Robert Pattinson. Guy Pearce. Scoot McNairy. Joel Edgerton.
Description: A man hunting down the gang who stole his car. Michod’s follow-up to Animal Kingdom. Pattinson continuing to choose interesting post-Twilight projects.
16.) Resident Evil 6
Talent involved: Paul W.S. Anderson. Milla Jovovich. Ali Larter. Wentworth Miller. THAT CREEPY GIRL WHO PLAYS THE RED QUEEN.
Description: Supposedly the final installment in this franchise. Plenty mock it, but I will be sad to see it go.
15.) The Lego Movie
Talent involved: LORD & MILLER. Chris Pratt. Elizabeth Banks. Will Arnett. Morgan Freeman. Alison Brie. Jonah Hill. Channing Tatum. Cobie Smulders. Will Ferrell. Charlie Day. Nick Offerman. Liam Neeson.
Description: The classic tale of an ordinary guy mistakenly believed to be extraordinary. Except, you know, with Legos.
14.) Into the Woods
Talent involved: Rob Marshall. Meryl Streep. Anna Kendrick. JAMES CORDEN. Emily Blunt. Chris Pine. Johnny Depp. Lucy Punch. Christine Baranski. Tracey Ullman.
Description: The classic Sondheim musical comes to film. If they don’t do this justice, I will hunt down every person involved and… verbally berate them.
Talent involved: Lars Von Trier. Charlotte Gainsbourg. Stellan Skarsgard. Shia LaBeouf. Christian Slater. . Jamie Bell. Uma Thurman. Willem Dafoe. UDO KIER.
Description: Von Trier madness, chock a block with actors in flagrante delicto.
Talent involved: Nicholas Stoller. Seth Rogen. Rose Byrne. Zac Efron. Dave Franco. McLovin. Lisa Kudrow. Bobby Moynihan. Jason Mantzoukas.
Description: New parents vs. frat brothers. The trailer is outstanding. Efron is underrated as a comic actor– expect everyone to hop on his bandwagon after this.
Talent involved: Richard Linklater Ethan Hawke. Patricia Arquette.
Description: Linklater shot this annually for over a decade, so we watch the actors (including its young lead) mature and age. For all of the big budget films coming this year, this is the most ambitious film of 2014.
10.) Guardians of the Galaxy
Talent involved: James Gunn. Chris Pratt. Zoe Saldana. DAVE BAUTISTA. Bradley Cooper. Lee Pace. Vin Diesel. Michael Rooker. Glenn Close. Benicio Del Toro. John C. Reilly. Djimon Hounsou.
Description: By far the riskiest Marvel outing to date, it promises to be an irreverent, smart-assed intergalactic adventure, following a pilot who steals the wrong orb from the wrong Accuser.
9.) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Talent involved: Matt Reeves. Andy Serkis as Caesar. Gary Oldman. Keri Russell. Kodi Smit-McPhee. Judy Greer. Jason Clarke. Keir O’Donnell. Toby Kebbell.
Description: Human survivors wage war against Caesar. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was one of the best studio blockbusters in years. HAIL CAESAR.
8.) Under the Skin
Talent involved: Jonathan Glazer. ScarJo.
Description: An alien seductress feasting on Scottish men. Glazer always rules, and festival reviews have been glowing.
7.) The Cobbler
Talent involved: Tom McCarthy. Sandler. Steve Buscemi. Dustin Hoffman. Melonie Diaz. Method Man. Yul Vazquez.
Description: any McCarthy flick is an instant watch, but having Sandler as the star piles even more intrigue on top.
Talent involved: Wally Pfister. Clifton Collins Jr. Johnny Depp. Kate Mara. Rebecca Hall. Morgan Freeman. Paul Bettany. Cillian Murphy. Cole Hauser.
Description: A dying scientist uploads himself into a computer. Pfister’s feature debut has an incredible trailer and a terrific futuristic hook.
5.) The Boxtrolls
Talent involved: Laika. Elle Fanning. Simon Pegg. Ben Kingsley. Toni Collette. Nick Frost. Jared Harris. Richard Ayoade. Tracy Morgan.
Description: Laika’s stop-motion animation is a cinematic treasure, every time. The Boxtrolls will be no exception.
4.) The Trip to Italy
Talent involved: Winterbottom. Coogan. Brydon.
Description: The Trip was one of the funniest films in years. The sequel promises more meals, more verbal jabs, and more of Brydon’s godly impressions.
3.) Midnight Special
Talent involved: Jeff Nichols. Kirsten Dunst. Joel Edgerton. Michael Shannon. Adam Driver.
Description: Nichols has hit a home run with every outing. Midnight Special is his first foray into science fiction. Allow me to wipe up my drool.
2.) The Grand Budapest Hotel
Talent involved: *deep breath* Wes Anderson. Ralph Fiennes. Bill Murray. William Dafoe. Jeff Goldblum. Harvey Keitel. F. Murray Abraham. Bob Balaban. Saoirse Ronan. Jude Law. Tilda Swinton. Lea Seydoux. Edward Norton. Owen Wilson. Jason Schwartzman. Adrien Brody. Tom Wilkinson. Mathieu Amalric.
Description: A hotel concierge and his lobby boy engage in wacky misadventures. Anderson is at his best tackling comedy, and Fiennes crushes the rare opportunities he has to flex his comedy muscles.
1.) Inherent Vice
Talent involved: Paul Thomas Anderson. Joaquin Phoenix. Jena Malone. Reese Witherspoon. Owen Wilson. Josh Brolin. Benicio Del Toro. Maya Rudolph. Martin Short. Martin Donovan. Jillian Bell.
Description: PTA tackles noir with Joaquin as his detective. Um, yes please.