Each yeah, United International Pictures invite us to get a sneak peak of their major upcoming projects for the year. UIP is a joint venture between the massive film studios of Universal and Paramount to distribute their films outside of the USA. UIP was happy to note that the two highest grossing films in South Africa of 2013, Fast and the Furious 6 and Despicable Me 2, were both distributed by them; and they hope that 2014 will be equally successful. Owing to recent events however, it has been stated that Fast and the Furious 7 will more than likely be postponed for a considerable period of time, and will not be released in 2014 as hoped. As for the rest however, what we learned about each from their trailers was:
Films from Universal Studios
47 Ronin – A fantastical retelling of the Japanese tale of the 47 masterless samurai who team up to defeat the forces who betrayed their master. Plenty of CGI and Keanu Reeves as a leading man; along with some very dynamic fight scenes.
All is Lost – Robert Redford plays a man lost at sea after his yacht is damaged by debris; and how he must psychologically deal with the isolation and survival needs. I hesitate to describe it as a more realistic version of Life of Pi, but at the moment it seems to deal with a similar concept. Redford’s performance is noted as apparently very impressive.
The Best Man Holiday – A sequel to the 1999 film The Best Man, starring an ensemble cast of returning figures from that title, along with several newcomers, as a comedy/drama about clashing family and friends at Christmas time.
Ride Along – A buddy cop comedy starring Ice Cube as a grizzled detective, and Kevin Hart as his wisecracking prospective brother-in-law, who must spend a night on the streets fighting crime to prove himself worthy to marry his sister.
Endless Love – A remake of the 1981 film of the same title, about a young sheltered rich girl, and her love affair with a more rebellious, bohemian young man; and her family’s opposition to their love. Footage in the trailer seems to show it will be more Young Adult than teen marketed, but definitely one to put down for Valentine’s Day, if nothing else.
Neighbors – A Seth Rogan comedy where he plays the husband in a peaceful suburban home in a peaceful suburban neighborhood; who finds his life in upheaval after a college fraternity moves next door; and soon after, a war is declared between them. Looks very raunchy and potentially 18-rated; but very funny.
The Boxtrolls – A cute stop-motion children’s movie about peaceful little monsters who live inside of boxes, and would seem to have very sweet and heartwarmingly comical adventures. One for the kids.
Films from Paramount Pictures
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues – The sequel to the cult classic comedy of 2004, Ron Burgundy and the team are now in the ‘80s, and are attempting to host the world’s first rolling 24-hour news station. Expect lots of quotable lines and guest actors all making an appearance; hopefully the magic from the first one will have been maintained over a decade.
The Marked Ones – A spin-off of Paranormal Activity, holding to its same philosophy of handheld cameras being used to capture the action. A young man is “marked” in his sleep; and must uncover what this means, as he becomes increasingly more aware of dark forces around him. Personally, I am looking forward more to this than Paranormal Activity 5, as this is different enough to be interesting again.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – An adaptation of the character and work of Tom Clancy. Expect lots of action, evil Russians, explosions, beautiful women, spy shenanigans, shooting, fast cars, and so on and so forth. Time will tell if it can compete with Mission Impossible or the Bourne Movies.
Labor Day – Kate Winslet is a young, single mother who is ostensibly taken hostage in their home along with her young son by an escaped convict, played by Josh Brolin. However, the time spent together allows the two to find their common humanity again, and to eventually fall in love. Both actors are very good, and hopefully this movie will pleasantly surprise some audiences.
Noah – The big summer blockbuster for next year; an account of the biblical story of Noah’s Ark, done on a grand, epic scale. Russell Crowe plays the lead, and Emma Watson and Anthony Hopkins play supporting figures, this may be a surprisingly exciting CGI heavy piece, and I remain optimistic about it. Directed by Darren Aronofsky, of Black Swan fame.
Aside from these pictures where we saw footage, a few others were mentioned in passing as being in the pipeline, to excite us already. These include the Michael Bay-produced version of live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; the next installment in the Mission Impossible Franchise, and lastly, Transformers 4: Age of Extinction; which no longer has Shia LeBeouf and instead has the Dinobots, transformers that turn into dinosaurs. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a movie.