20. The Hobbit: There and Back Again
When You Can See It: December 17th
The Hook: Curiously, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug didn’t make our anticipated list last year, so I wonder if it earned back some good will for the bloated franchise. That seems to be the case all over — a lot of fans reinvigorated by a sequel that didn’t spend 45 minutes in the kitchen singing songs.
19. The LEGO Movie
When You Can See It: February 7th
The Hook: When news of a LEGO movie dropped, the cynicism took over and lambasted it as nothing more than plastic marketing, but with Clone High creators Phil Lord and Chris Miller at the helm, and a handful of absurd trailers, it seems like a crazy endeavor that could have all the right building blocks. I’m so, so sorry. Sincerely.
When You Can See It: April 18th
The Hook: Johnny Depp is everywhere. That’s a career reality, and the premise of the film. Tapping into Ray Kurzweil’s happiest fantasies, the real thrill of this picture is the man directing it. After years of stunning cinematography, Wally Pfister is putting on a new hat. We know it looks great, and with any luck he’ll have learned a thing or two about storytelling from Christopher Nolan.
17. Gone Girl
When You Can See It: October 3rd
The Hook: David Fincher directed it. You need more? Fine. It’s an adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s superb novel which focuses on the disappearance of a young woman (Rosamund Pike) on her wedding anniversary. Plus, it’s another chance to see Ben Affleck chew into a dramatic role before he puts on the Batsuit.
16. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
When You Can See It: November 21st
The Hook: We’ll end up waiting over a year to see what happens to Katniss Everdeen after the events of Catching Fire and its cliffhanger ending. It would be easy to be angry with the production team for splitting up the final installment, but so far each film has been a stark, compelling adventure with a bold hero, so some slack will be cut.
15. Jane Got a Gun
When You Can See It: August 29th
The Hook: All of the production drama aside, this Western project featuring Natalie Portman trying to save her husband from a ruthless gang is endlessly fascinating. Part of it lies in the passion for bringing it to the big screen — which has been no easy task — and part of it lies in seeing what Warrior director Gavin O’Connor can do with the material.
14. Sin City: A Dame To Kill For
When You Can See It: August 22nd
The Hook: We’re still not convinced that this is happening, although every sign points to either a movie release or the biggest cinema hoax of the decade. Here, like 300, is another case where a sequel should have been out years ago, but all of that frustration will hopefully melt away when the Peter Gunn-flavored beat drops and we’re back inside the noir gloom of Basin City.
13. Nymphomaniac (Parts 1 & 2)
When You Can See It: March 21st and April 18th
The Hook: Lars von Trier simply had too much movie to make it a singular experience, so we’re expecting the Charlotte Gainsbourg-starring flick to be the sexual equivalent of Kill Bill. Epic in scope, everything about it is tantalizing.
12. Jupiter Ascending
When You Can See It: July 18th
The Hook: You didn’t see Cloud Atlas! Why didn’t you see Cloud Atlas?! If you did, that message is for the person next to you because the low turnout for that masterwork was disappointing. Everyone will have another shot at doing right by the Wachowskis this summer as they dip back into Matrix-feeling fairytale territory with Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum.
11. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
When You Can See It: April 4th
The Hook: The first outing for the star-spangled hero was a fun throwback thanks to Joe Johnston. It’s unclear how the co-directors of You, Me and Dupree will fare on this scale, but so far everything looks appropriately epic. It’s one more outing before the new breed of Phase Two starts toddling forward.