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Lifestyle

January 12, 2014

2014 film forecast

In a year full of sequels and remakes, these 14 feature films promise to stand out

Everything old is new again at the movies this year. And we’re not just talking about sequels.

For 2014, Hollywood has taken its “rely on established ‘brand’ names” thing to the next level.

So we have a new “Hercules” (opened Friday) and a new Jack Ryan (Chris Pine, “Shadow Recruit,” Jan. 17). Aaron Eckhart is a new Frankenstein (“I, Frankenstein,” Jan. 24).

There’s a new “Godzilla” (May) and a new “Annie” (December) to go along with that rebooted “Spider-Man” (May) duking it out for box office supremacy with those new “X-Men” (May).

And if you think about it, “Divergent” (March) could be the new “Hunger Games,” with Shailene Woodley taking a sci-fi turn to match Jennifer Lawrence’s big bow-and-arrow payday.

Skipping past the almost Biblical deluge of sequels, from “Captain America” (“The Winter Soldier,” April) to “Madagascar” (“Island of Lemurs,” April), “The Hunger Games” (“Mockingjay, Part 1,” November) to “The Hobbit” (“There and Back Again,” December), ignoring even the last desperate gasp of Jim Carrey and the Farrelly Brothers (“Dumb and Dumber To,” November), there’s still a lot to look forward to on the big screen.

The engaging documentaries and breakout foreign films will find their way to us more indirectly. But here are 14 titles with firmer release dates, films tempting enough to tease us through 2014.

“The Monuments Men” (Feb. 7) would have gotten lost among the other Oscar contenders over Christmas. So say good-bye to its Oscar chances, but “hello” to having a potentially artsy and cerebral action film with George Clooney leading John Goodman, among others, as they try to save Europe’s cultural treasures from the Nazis and combat damage in the last days of World War II. A true story.

“300: Rise of an Empire” (March 7) is not the only sequel to have history (Greco-Persian conflict) as its subtext. But this brawny, two-fisted “How the Greeks Saved Western Civilization” could have more going for it than “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” where the mutants, um, save mutant Western civilization.

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