“The Monuments Men”
Directed by George Clooney
Written and directed by George Clooney, “The Monuments Men” is a World War II period piece that focuses on the efforts of a group of soldiers dedicated to rescuing and preserving works of art captured by Nazi troops. Together, the characters race to stop Hitler from destroying all the precious works. Starring Clooney, Cate Blancett and Matt Damon, “The Monuments Men” looks to be a political thriller, full of action and adventure, centered in a well-examined point of history. With a cast of war film veterans, such as Clooney and Damon, the film could be a potential Oscar nominee.
“The Wind Rises”
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
The last film directed by Hayao Miyazaki — director of animated films such as “Spirited Away” and “Princess Mononoke” — before his retirement, “The Wind Rises” explores the story of Jiro Horikoshi, who is known for creating the airplanes that the Japanese used during World War II. Keeping with Miyazaki’s trend of examining complex themes in his films, “The Wind Rises” explores the battle between pro- and anti-war sentiments in the Japanese Empire. The film features the vocal talents of Emily Blunt, Elijah Wood, Stanley Tucci and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Having won many critical awards already, the film’s U.S. release is eagerly awaited by Miyazaki loyalists and anime-lovers alike.
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Directed by Wes Anderson
Directed by UT alumnus Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is another quirky, colorful movie in the director’s filmography. The film’s plot examines the daily life of the patrons of an exquisite European hotel in the 1920s. Told from the perspective of a lobby boy, a murder mystery involving the employee’s boss unfolds along with the disappearance of a rare painting. The film features a wide cast that includes Ralph Fiennes, Adrien Brody, Saoirse Ronan, Bill Murray and Harvey Keitel. The movie follows in the footsteps of Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” with a fantastical setting and zany imagery, and may be gunning to make an appearance at the Oscars.
Directed by Neil Burger
Taking advantage of a year without a “Hunger Games” sequel, director Neil Burger’s “Divergent” aims to become the year’s biggest young adult novel adaptation. The story is set in a futuristic society where a girl fails to fall into any of the predisposed factions to which citizens are restricted, designating her as “divergent.” The movie promises both the action-adventure and the romantic aspects that have been used for similar book adaptations. Starring Shailene Woodley and Kate Winslet, “Divergent” could be a potential spring blockbuster for teenage audiences and fans of the book series.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, continues the adventures of Captain America after the character’s last appearance in 2012’s “The Avengers.” Here, Captain America, who is still recovering from the events of his last adventure, must face a new threat in the form of the KGB super-agent, known as the Winter Soldier. Chris Evans returns as the hero, along with Scarlett Johansson in her role as Black Widow. “Winter Soldier” is scheduled to be the last Marvel Studios film released before “Avengers 2” in 2015, giving superhero fanatics something to tide them over before the Marvel universe heroes assemble once again.
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2”
Directed by Marc Webb
While the leading member of the Avengers is fighting his own battles, Marvel’s other superstar returns in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” Directed by Marc Webb, the sequel to this reboot sees Spider Man facing Electro and Rhino in what’s described as his greatest battle, all while delving deeper into his family’s past. Andrew Garfield returns as the title hero, along with Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx and Paul Giamatti. The sequel is sure to introduce more villains and expand the mythology of the famed superhero. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is prepared to be the spring box office juggernaut and will likely become another successful entry into the rebooted franchise.