Films to Look Forward to in 2014

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After being "marked," Jesse begins to be pursued by mysterious forces while his family and friends try to save him.
Photo Credit: Open Road Films (II)
December 20th, 2013

Films to Look Forward to in 2014

Missing the season's biggest movie hits is an easy way to end up out of the loop at lunchtime conversations. Luckily, January is at the tail end of the holiday season, when Thanksgiving and C

hristmas blockbusters are winding down and families have a little free time to catch a few weekend films. Moviegoers who want to stay on top of Hollywood entertainment can start planning now with this quick list of films to look forward to in early 2014.

 

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"Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones"—January 3

Audiences are endlessly excited by strange encounters with the unknown, and the opening weekend of January delivers for horror and thriller fans. The year kicks off with "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones," a spinoff of the popular supernatural series. The demonic action continues in California, where a group of young partygoers wander into the home of a recently deceased woman. True to the "Paranormal" franchise, a battle with satanic forces begins after the movie's lead character, Jesse, finds a mysterious bite on his arm.

Series writer Christopher Landon takes the reigns as director for this new installment, which features a largely Latino cast. "The Marked Ones" is sure to dish up another dose of found-footage scares, ethereal demon figures, and children behaving oddly. Shifting the setting to another community refreshes the series with new characters and may cause the film to devote less storyline to the eternally possessed Katie Featherston.

 

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"Ride Along"—January 17

Anyone in need of a buddy comedy fix should buckle up for "Ride Along," an action caper starring comedian Kevin Hart. Producer Ice Cube costars as an Atlanta cop who takes his prospective brother-in-law along for a not-so-ordinary workday, hoping to scare him off. Hart brings nagging charm to every role with his fast, loud, trash-talking brand of funny. Ice Cube, on the other hand, is being touted as a more comedic and light-hearted version of Alonzo Harris in "Training Day."

"Ride Along" is a recipe for easy laughter and feel-good fun. Kevin Hart and Ice Cube seem like obvious fits for the roles, but the movie was first pitched with Ryan Reynolds and Dwayne Johnson leading the cast. The filmmakers are also in talks to make a sequel, which could turn "Ride Along" into an enjoyable franchise for action-comedy lovers.

 

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"The Nut Job"—January 17

Round up the family to see "The Nut Job," a Canadian animated film hitting the big screen midway through the month. The movie boasts an all-star cast of gut-busting comedians and veteran actors. Will Arnett steals the leading role as wayward squirrel Surly, who is exiled to the city and forced to leave his familiar park behind. To win back his place in the park, Surly plans to rob a local nut store to feed the forest animals.

Liam Neeson, Brendan Fraser, Maya Rudolph, Gabriel Iglesias, and Jeff Dunham are just a sample of the stars on board for this screwy alternative to the traditional Disney-style animated film. Instead of an eager underdog, Surly is a bad-tempered antihero with shaky morals. Parents get to enjoy the clever side jokes, while children are won over by the animals' hilarious antics. As Surly prepares for the heist, the store owners are planning an attack of their own, and the result is a fanciful journey through a human-sized world of rodent traps, metal fences, and electrical wires.

 

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"I, Frankenstein"—January 24

The recent success of graphic novels adapted into films and TV shows has paved the way for "I, Frankenstein." This fantasy horror film is from the creators of the "Underworld" series and features a similar war-torn city where immortal factions fight for control. Aaron Eckhart stars as Frankenstein's monster, known as Adam, while Bill Nighy leads the forces of darkness as a demonic fallen angel.

The film is based on a novel by Kevin Grevioux and directed by Stuart Beattie. New and old fans of this epic story can see battles between vicious gargoyles and power-mad demons come to life on the big screen. If Beattie's short directorial careers seems iffy, consider his screenwriting credits for major blockbusters such as "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl," "Collateral," and "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra."

 

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"That Awkward Moment"—January 31

The unofficial date movie of January might just be "That Awkward Moment." A trio of friends—Jason, Mikey, and Daniel—navigate the confusing line between dating openly and being exclusive. Despite its name, this quirky romantic comedy will most likely travel through many awkward moments as the charmingly childish characters try to define their relationships.

Every romantic comedy needs a heartthrob, and Zac Efron fills the role perfectly as Jason. Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller play his equally endearing friends, both of whom face their own frustrating ups and downs. Imogen Poots, Jessica Lucas, Lola Glaudini, and Addison Timlin add a hint of girl power to the mix and give the male actors a few amusing challenges to overcome along the way.