The time for blockbuster movies has come again - seemingly ahead of the warm weather, this year. While fans try to ride out the final up-and-down climates of spring, movie theaters everywhere will be heating up with a slew of big films that fans have been waiting all year (if not longer) to see.
In the superhero genre the big three of summer 2014 are Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past and Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy; those looking for laughs have the sequel 22 Jump Street or new celeb-heavy comedies like Neighbors and Sex Tape, while films like Godzilla, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers 4 will try to turn nostalgia into box office gold.
So while 2015 might offer a bigger lineup of films - everything form Avengers 2 to Jurassic World - there are still plenty of films in 2014 that need to be part of your budgetary planning. Read on for a listing of release dates, explanations of each film, our take on whether or not the film is worth your time and money - plus, new images and trailers for your viewing pleasure.
Release Dates By Month
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) continues to struggle with balancing his life as a high school student and his responsibilities as Spider-Man. When Peter begins to investigate more about his father’s past, thanks to the help of his friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), he begins to realize that the new threats of Electro (Jamie Foxx) and the Rhino (Paul Giamatti) all have one thing in common: OsCorp.
OUR TAKE: There so many big things coming from this franchise - an epic Amazing Spider-Man 3 showdown, Venom and Sinister Six movies - that it puts massive amounts of pressure on this second film to be both an improvement on the first, and a wide spring board for this expanding franchise universe. Can ASM2 deliver on both fronts? Well, early reviews provide mixed answers to that question...
Walk of Shame
A reporter's (Elizabeth Banks) dream of becoming a news anchor is compromised after a one-night stand leaves her stranded in downtown L.A. without a phone, car, ID or money - and only 8 hours to make it to the most important job interview of her life. James Marsden (X-Men), Gillian Jacobs (Community) and Sarah Wright (21 & Over) co-star.
OUR TAKE: Elizabeth Banks is one of the funnier comediennes headlining movies these days - and we love those "long oddessy to a single destination" comedy flicks in the vein of Quick Change. But even with a raunchy red-band trailer this film looks more forgettable than memorable - and it could easily get tangled in Spider-Man's box office web.
A chef named Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) who loses his restaurant job starts up a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, while piecing back together his estranged family. Robert Downey Jr. Dustin Hoffman, John Leguizamo, Amy Sedaris, Oliver Platt, Bobby Cannavale, Sofia Vergara and Scarlett Johansson all co-star.
OUR TAKE: It looks like Jon Favreau is back to writing and directing his own indie-style films (in the vein of Swingers) - and we are not at all mad about it. A nice lineup of friends/collaborators/co-stars adds more incentive to check out this smaller summer offering.
Upending the conventional wisdom of why we gain weight and how to lose it, Fed Up unearths a dirty secret of the American food industry: far more of us get sick from what we eat than anyone has previously realized. Filmmaker Stephanie Soechtig and TV journalist Katie Couric lead us through this potent exposé that uncovers why-despite media attention, the public's fascination with appearance, and government policies to combat childhood obesity-generations of American children will now live shorter lives than their parents did.
OUR TAKE: We've seen it. You need to watch it. Your eating habits may never be the same.
Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return
Dorothy (voice of Lea Michele) wakes up in post-tornado Kansas, only to be whisked back to Oz to try to save her old friends the Scarecrow (Dan Aykroyd), the Lion (James Belushi), the Tin Man (Kelsey Grammer) and Glinda (Bernadette Peters) from a devious new villain, the Jester (Martin Short). Wiser the owl, Marshal Mallow, China Princess and Tugg the tugboat join Dorothy on her latest magical journey through the colorful landscape of Oz to restore order and happiness to Emerald City.
OUR TAKE: With films like Tangled and Frozen redefining classic "damsel in distress" tales for a modern feminist era, we're just hoping Legends of Oz can keep step with the changed times, and still deliver an animated movie experience on par with Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks.
Mom's Night Out
All Allyson and her friends want is a peaceful, grown-up evening of dinner and fun - a long-needed moms' night out. But in order to enjoy high heels, adult conversation, and food not served in a bag, they need their husbands to watch the kids for a few hours ... what could go wrong?
OUR TAKE: A family-friendly comedy about how hard moms work, and how dad taking care of the kids is a disaster in the making? If this was the mid-1980s, this movie would be totally rad; in a 2014 world, it just looks two-dimensional and dated. And sorry, having names like Sarah Drew (Grey's Anatomy) and Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings) as your headliners isn't exactly drawing us in...
Kelly (Rose Byrne) and Mac (Seth Rogen) are settling down in a quiet neighborhood with their newborn child, until frat brothers move into the house next door; Teddy (Zac Efron) is the President, and Pete (Dave Franco) is his right hand man. Night after night, Mac asks Teddy to lower the fraternity's noise, eventually accepting an invitation to the party. When Teddy eventually goes back on his word to keep the partying down, Mac calls the police to deal with the problem. And so, the war begins.
OUR TAKE: If we had to place a bet on that big comedy hit of the summer, this would be the frontrunner.
In this modern reboot, a giant radioactive monster called Godzilla appears to wreak destruction on mankind. A soldier (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), his wife (Elizabeth Olsen), and other human characters (Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe) try to survive the mayhem of a world overrun with monsters.
OUR TAKE: This was our #1 Most Anticipated Movie of 2014 - and from the looks of the promo materials, we chose wisely. :-)
Million Dollar Arm
A sports agent (Jon Hamm) stages an unconventional recruitment strategy to get talented Asian cricket players to play Major League Baseball.
OUR TAKE: A sports drama biopic with a feel good angle, featuring an all-American leading man. Do summer and baseball go together? Oh really? Then yeah, there will definitely be an audience for this.
After a bad blind date, a man (Adam Sandler) and woman (Drew Barrymore) find themselves stuck together at a resort for families, where their attraction grows as their respective kids benefit from the burgeoning relationship.
OUR TAKE: Is anyone still hoping for that Wedding Singer lightning to strike again? Anyone? ANY ONE???
X-Men: Days of Future Past
The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The characters from the original X-Men film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from X-Men: First Class in an epic battle that must change the past - to save our future.
OUR TAKE: This is the biggest gamble that the X-Men movie franchise has ever taken, with an inflated budget and a cast jam-packed with two series' worth of X-Men characters and actors. Monumental things are expected from this quasi-rebooting, universe-expanding installment; whether it will deliver all that it needs to, remains to be seen.
A Million Ways to Die in the West
As a cowardly farmer (Seth MacFarlane) begins to fall for the mysterious new woman in town (Charlize Theron), he must put his new-found courage to the test when her husband, a notorious gun-slinger (Liam Neeson), announces his arrival.
OUR TAKE: The merits of Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane's comedy have been heavily debated in the last few years, but there's no denying that his first feature-film effort, Ted, was a success (half a billion worldwide on a $50 million budget). Westerns aren't what they used to be, but MacFarlane's brand is strong right now - as is his cast, which also includes the likes of Neil Patrick Harris, Amanda Seyfried, Sarah Silverman and others.
A vindictive fairy (Angelina Jolie) is driven to curse an infant princess (Elle Fanning) only to realize the child may be the only one who can restore peace.
OUR TAKE: Fairytale re-imaginings like Alice In Wonderland, Snow White and the Huntsman and Jack the Giant Killer haven't exactly been new classics - but a few of them (i.e., the ones under the Disney banner) have made money. With one of the biggest stars in the world headlining, a Disney marketing push and little competition in the genre, we expect Maleficent to do alright for herself. Will it be a good watch? Recent history says that the animated Sleeping Beauty won't be upstaged by this new version.