Jan. 2nd, 2014

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Here we are at the start of a brand new year with a big list of upcoming films to look forward to. Right now, the possibilities are wide open, and there's a lot to be optimistic about. Others have been helpfully writing up lists of the films they're anticipating or they intend to keep an eye out for. I plan to write my own soon enough, but as with most things movie-related, I tend to lag a bit behind the crowd. However, I've already got a pretty good idea of which major movies I want to avoid.

I know that nobody sets out to make a bad movie and a bad premise and mediocre talent can sometimes result in something great, but there are more than a few upcoming titles that I can't imagine being worth anyone's time. So here's the list of my least anticipated films of 2014, and if 2013's list was any indication, it will be the last time you see discussion of any of them on this blog.

Michael Bay Muddles On - This summer will welcome not one, but two new Michael Bay franchise films. He's directing the fourth "Transformers" movie, "Age of Extinction," and producing the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" live action reboot in August. Even with the replacement of Shia LeBeouf with Mark Wahlberg, I don't have much hope for "Transformers" as long as Michael Bay and screenwriter Ehren Kreuger still retain creative control. As for "Ninja Turtles," I'm appalled that this project even exists, though I'm no great far of the Turtles. Director Jonathan Liebesman has a resume full of disappointing horror and action films that demonstrate no discernible talent, and do I even need to mention that Megan Fox has somehow landed herself the female lead role?

Bad Reboot Redux - This year's crop of questionable modern takes on familiar characters includes a hunky Frankenstein's monster played by Aaron Eckhart in "I, Frankenstein," a black-armored new "RoboCop" who looks like an extra from the '90s era "Power Rangers," a new "Dracula" with Luke Evans, and two different "Hercules" movies. One is directed by Renny Harlin and stars Kellan Lutz. The other is directed by Brett Ratner and stars The Rock. The one with the Rock that comes out in the summer has a better shot at turning out decently, but does anyone really expect that Brett Ratner can pull off a large-scale fantasy-action film? The last time he tried, we ended up with "X-men: The Last Stand." And no, I still haven't forgiven him for that one.

The Usual Suspects - Paul W.S. Anderson is somehow still at it. This year he's putting out his own swords and sandals epic, "Pompeii," because "The Three Musketeers" apparently didn't dissuade him from period films. Eli Roth too, who's back with cannibal horror film "The Green Inferno." Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer have their next spoof in the works, a "The Fast and the Furious" parody called "Superfast." Horror comedy "A Haunted House" apparently did well enough to warrant "A Haunted House 2." We're also getting two "Paranormal Activity" movies this year, one in January, delayed from last year, and one in October, just in time fro Halloween. Speaking of horrible horror movies, do you think "The Purge 2" is actually going to do anything with the concept of the Purge this time around?

Pity the Parents - This looks like another bad year for kids' movies. If the aforementioned Michael Bay's films weren't enough, also on their way are a slew of sequels to crummy films, including "Rio 2," "Planes 2: Fire and Rescue" (yes, already), and "Step Up: All In." Then there are the ones that may come out decently, but nobody is really clamoring for like "Dolphin Tale 2" and "Night at the Museum 3." And, I really hope that Dreamworks' "Mr. Peabody and Sherman" is better than its trailers, but I'm not expecting much. When you've somehow made Jay Ward characters look less appealing than talking Lego figures, you're in trouble.

Wishful Thinking - Perhaps foolishly, I'm holding out hope that the latest Adam Sandler movie "Blended"/"The Familymoon" won't be awful, because his collaborations with Drew Barrymore tend to be more tolerable than the ones where he's just goofing off with his friends. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have established a perfectly awful track record (yes, I still hate "This is the End"), but their next project, "The Interview," has a promising premise at least: two idiots get mixed up in a plot to assassinate the prime minister of north Korea. Finally, there's "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For." Conventional wisdom says that a massive delay like the one this movie had is a very bad sign, and Robert Rodriguez's output lately has been dire.

But you never know. Maybe this one will buck the trend.
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