Feature: Film Guide
Attack of the Clones: Sequels vs. Remakes
Summer Film Guide 2014
They say there are no new ideas in Hollywood. And so long as remakes, reboots and sequels rake in millions of dollars over the summer, it will remain that way. So, with the Memorial Day to Labor Day blockbuster season looming large, who will reign supreme this summer: the comfortingly predictable sequels or the recognizably nostalgic remakes/reboots? Read through our handy movie guide to find out.
(Please note: All opening dates are subject to change.)
X-Men: Days of Future Past
The modern-day X-Men of X-Men (Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman) unite with the swingin ’60s X-Men of X-Men: Origins (James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicolas Hoult) to fight a future in which fascist robots have taken over the world. Yay, time travel!
Hoping to cash in on the massive momentum behind their 2004 team up, 50 First Dates, Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore play a couple of single parents forced together at a resort for families.
The illegitimate mixed-race daughter (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) of a Royal Navy Admiral is raised by her aristocratic great-uncle in this 18th-century costume drama. Based on a true story.
Angelina Jolie stars as the horn-y sorceress Maleficent in this live-action remake/prequel to Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.
A Million Ways to Die in the West
Seth McFarlane (Ted, “Family Guy”) writes, directs and stars in this raunchy comic Western about a cowardly farmer who must stand tall against a notorious gunslinger.
Edge of Tomorrow
What’s a summer without Tom Cruise blowing something up? Here he plays a futuristic soldier fighting in a war against aliens. The catch? He’s stuck in a time loop and keeps dying at the end of the day. So that’s what happens when you combine Independence Day and Groundhog Day.
The Fault in Our Stars
Based on the best-selling young adult novel by John Green, this much-anticipated teen drama introduces audiences two young people (Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort) who meet and fall in love in a cancer support group.
Brooklyn comedian Donna Stern (Jenny Slate from “Kroll Show” and “Parks and Recreation”) gets dumped, fired and pregnant just in time for the worst Valentine’s Day of her life.
22 Jump Street
Undercover narcs Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill return in this sequel to the comic reboot of the classic Johnny Depp/Richard Grieco high school cop show from the ’80s. This time around, they’ve actually graduated to college.
How to Train Your Dragon 2
DreamWorks Animation’s charming Vikings vs. dragons cartoon returns with man and beast fully united to fight a brand new threat to peace.
Words and Pictures
Juliette Binoche (The Unbearable Lightness of Being) and Clive Owen (Inside Man) star in this comedy romance about an art instructor and an English teacher whose students start a competition to decide whether words or pictures are more important.
In this low-budget, Sundance Film Festival-approved sci-fi thriller, a group of college students is lured to the middle of the desert by a computer hacker with a mysterious plan.
Think Like a Man Too
Steve Harvey’s comic marriage manual spawned a surprise 2012 hit, so it’s time for a sequel. All the squabbling couples from the first film (Kevin Hart, Gabrielle Union, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Taraji P. Henson) are back for a wedding in Las Vegas. “Misadventures” and “compromising situations” are promised.
The popular “jukebox musical” doo-wops off Broadway and onto the big screen. Oddly enough, it’s Clint Eastwood behind the camera, watching several unknowns sing the songs of iconic ’60s vocal group The Four Seasons.
Transformers 4: Age of Extinction
Mark Wahlberg buys a used semi, only to discover it’s a Transformer. Director Michael Bay ensures things explode on a regular basis in this third sequel in the popular robots-from-outer-space series.
Deliver Us From Evil
A New York cop (Eric Bana) and an unconventional priest (Édgar Ramírez) team up to exorcise a bunch of demons. Like all tales of ghostly/demonic possession these days, it’s “based on a true story.”
After losing her job and learning her husband has been cheating on her, a woman (Melissa McCarthy from Bridesmaids) hits the road with her foul-mouthed, hard-drinking grandmother (Susan Sarandon).
Earth to Echo
In this ’80s-esque E.T.-meets-Explorers sci-fi adventure, a group of kids investigates a series of mysterious text messages and discovers a cute little robot from outer space.
Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit), Keira Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean) and Mark Ruffalo (The Kids are All Right) star in this comedy/drama about a dejected music industry executive who forms a bond with a young singer-songwriter new to Manhattan.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2001) was a surprisingly decent reboot/prequel to the original 1968 sci-fi classic. Naturally there’s a follow up. Brainy ape Caesar (Andy Serkis) is now leading his genetically evolved primate army against the last band of human survivors. Who will end up as the dominant species? (Hint: The title contains a pretty big spoiler.)
The Fluffy Movie
Big-boy comedian Gabriel Iglesias (aka “Fluffy”) stars in this concert special/documentary, which aims to capture his “inspirational success story.”
And So It Goes
The comedy-romance continues in a slightly older age bracket when a self-centered realtor (Michael Douglas) enlists the help of his neighbor (Diane Keaton) when he’s suddenly left in charge of the granddaughter he never new existed. Rob Reiner (When Harry Met Sally...) directs.
In this latest sci-fi puzzle from the Wachowski no-longer-brothers (The Matrix, Cloud Atlas), Mila Kunis (“That ’70s Show”) plays Jupiter Jones, a seeming nobody who finds herself targeted for assassination by the “Queen of the Universe.”
The Purge: Anarchy
The politically tinged horror shocker The Purge was a surprise hit last year. So here’s the quickly assembled sequel. It’s still near-future America and gun-loving conservatives are continuing the tradition of the annual “Purge,” a 24-hour orgy of lawlessness and anarchy. Caught up in it this year is a young couple whose car breaks down on the city streets at exactly the wrong time.
Planes: Fire & Rescue
Planes seemed like a cheap and cynical way for Disney to extend Pixar’s Cars franchise. But it actually made money, so parents are once again forced to listen to a talking airplane voiced by Dane Cook.
The sword-and-sandal onslaught launched by Gladiator/300/Clash of the Titans continues. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is the latest beefcake to take on the role of legendary demigod Hercules, called upon to defend some innocent Greeks from an evil warlord.
A married couple (Jason Segel, Cameron Diaz) wake up to discover that the sex tape they made the night before has gone missing. Hijinks ensue.
Step Up All In
There’s clearly an industry in Hollywood dedicated to coming up with new titles for films in the dancetastic Step Up and Bring It series (both tied at five films apiece now). This one’s set in Las Vegas, if that makes a difference.
Wish I Was Here
Actor-turned-director Zach Braff follows up 2004’s Garden State with this Kickstarter-funded dramedy about a thirtysomething actor/father/husband (Braff, of course) still struggling to find his identity.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel Comics’ latest big-budget epic is a space-spanning action-adventure about a band of ne’er-do-wells trying to save the galaxy from a villainous warrior with a dangerous cosmic weapon. Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista are among our attitude-laden antiheroes.
Get On Up
Chadwick Boseman (42) stars in this funk-filled biopic about singer James Brown.
In this existentially minded black comedy, a tough Irish priest (Brendan Gleeson) is marked for death by one of his small-town parishioners.
James Cameron’s Deepsea Challenge 3D
Titanic filmmaker James Cameron can’t stay out of the water. So he made a 3D documentary about the time he’s spent on diving expeditions aboard the Deepsea Challenger submarine.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Producer Michael Bay didn’t exactly go broke messing with childhood memories in the Transformers series. So why not reboot the beloved comic book/cartoon/movie series about crime-fighting, karate-kicking turtles? Johnny Knoxville is Leonardo, because we can’t have anything good.
Scarlett Johansson stars as a woman forced to smuggle some experimental drugs into the country. Naturally the drugs leak into her system and give her godlike superpowers which she uses to get revenge on the bad guys. Luc Besson (Léon: The Professional, Taken, The Transporter) writes and directs with the expected level of style and bombast.
Into the Storm
I was wondering when we’d get around to the found footage. In this action-thriller, a group of high school students documents the events and aftermath of a town-trashing tornado.
The Hundred-Foot Journey
An Indian family moves to France and opens a humble family eatery across the street from a Michelin-starred French restaurant. Helen Mirren (The Queen) and Om Puri (from, like, 200 Indian films) are among the cast.
Let’s Be Cops
Two bumbling pals (Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr.) dress up as police officers for a costume party, accidentally foil a crime and somehow become “heroes” tangled up in a real-life web of big city mobsters and dirty cops.
The Expendables 3
Mel Gibson signs on as the villain alongside old-school (not to mention old) action stars Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, Dolph Lundgren, Wesley Snipes, Jet Li and Jason Statham.
Lois Lowry’s award-winning YA sci-fi novel gets adapted to the big screen. In a seemingly perfect future world without war, pain or suffering, a young boy is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the “real” world.
As Above, So Below
The corpse-filled catacombs beneath Paris are the setting for this horror thriller about a two archeologists searching for a lost treasure underground.
Life After Beth
Dane DeHaan (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) is a young man devastated by the death of his girlfriend (Aubrey Plaza from “Parks and Recreation”). Things improve (arguably), however, when she rises from the dead as a flesh-eating zombie.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Nearly 10 years after he adapted Frank Miller’s gritty graphic novel anthology Sin City, director Robert Rodriguez returns to tell more film noir tales of crime and punishment.
If I Stay
Young Adult novels are all the rage. So here’s another film based on one. Chlöe Grace Moretz (Kick Ass) stars as a Julliard-bound teenager who gets into a deadly car accident. Caught between life and death for one revealing day, she must decide her future and her ultimate fate.
When the Game Stands Tall
Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ) stars in this inspirational sports drama about legendary football coach Bob Ladouceur who took a losing high school football team and made them champions. (What else would he have done?)
An ex-CIA operative (Pierce Brosnan) is brought out of retirement to fight a deadly game against an old pupil of his. Roger Donaldson (Cocktail, Species, Dante’s Peak) directs.
After a horrifying car accident, a young woman returns to her childhood home in Louisiana—only to be haunted by a long-tormented spirit.
The campy-yet-popular horror series about a murderous leprechaun gets a reboot courtesy of WWE studios. Yup, that’s the diminutive wrestler Hornswoggle as our evil Irish imp.
Five friends who share an apartment for their extramarital affairs begin to question one another after the murdered body of an unknown woman turns up. James Marsden, Rhona Mitra and Wentworth Miller star.
Life of Crime
The Switch, Elmore Leonard’s variation on “The Ransom of Red Chief,” becomes a feature with Jennifer Aniston as an annoying wife who gets kidnapped—only to learn her wealthy hubby (Tim Robbins) would rather not pay the ransom.