Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2014: What I'm Looking Forward to This Year

I've already given my top recommendations of 2013. And now it's time to look at what's ahead in 2014, and what I'm looking forward to the most in the areas of movies, books, TV shows, music and more.

(Photo Source: Columbia Pictures)
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (in theaters May 2)
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (in theaters July 11)
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (in theaters November 21)
The Hobbit: There and Back Again (in theaters December 17)
Thor: The Dark World (on DVD February 25)
The Giver (in theaters August 15)
Saving Mr. Banks
Captain Phillips (on DVD January 21)
Divergent (in theaters March 21)

There are so many movies I can't wait to see this year. Some of them were released last year, like Gravity, Saving Mr. Banks and Captain Phillips, but I haven't seen them yet.

As far as the to-be-released films go, I can't even pick just one as the movie I'm most anticipating. There's Spider-Man! And Planet of the Apes! And Hunger Games! And The Hobbit!

I'm a huge Spider-Man fan, and after seeing the trailers that have been released so far, I am pumped up for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, though I hope they don't bog the film down with too many villains a la Spider-Man 3. I'm pretty sure Electro is the main villain, but then we hear about other villain characters and I'm confused as to what's going on. But still, can't wait to see it.

I've never seen any of the original Planet of the Apes films (though I hope to remedy that some day). When watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes, I was blown away--at that time, it was one of the best movies I've seen in a long while. And the way it ended had me wanting the sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, right then and there.

For book to movie adaptations, Catching Fire last fall was beyond brilliant. And so I now am comfortable with having Francis Lawrence direct the rest of the series. Mockingjay may be the least favorite among fans, but I still enjoyed reading it and am interested in seeing how they approach the story and splitting up the book, starting with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.

Then there's the final Hobbit movie: I was so annoyed at some of the criticisms hurled at The Desolation of Smaug. Granted, some of it was understandable, but I think a lot of people didn't care what the movie was like and just decided to trash it by only talking about Peter Jackson splitting up the book into three movies. I don't care what the haters think, I'm still looking forward to The Hobbit: There and Back Again.

There's also Divergent. I'm a little on the fence, in a way. I enjoyed reading the book, but I wasn't blown away by it. There's been a lot of buzz surrounding this series, and so I had high expectations going into it, but ended up finding the story to be good but not great. Having said that, there are certain scenes in the book I am interested to see adapted, and there's a chance that it might be better as a movie than a book. We'll see.

Finally, The Giver. I loved this book as a kid, and this is one of those classics that we all hope they don't mess with when making the film. They've got some top-notch actors on board, so I have hope.

(Photo Source: HBO)
TV Shows:
Game of Thrones
American Idol
Breaking Bad
American Horror Story
The West Wing
Under the Dome
The Newsroom

Let me start off with the shows I'm catching up with: Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, The West Wing and The Newsroom. I haven't seen season 3 of GoT yet, but I've heard so many great things about it that I can't wait to watch it after I finish reading the third book. For Breaking Bad, I'm at the start of season 4, and plan on finishing the rest of the series this year in time for the spin-off, Better Call Saul, in the fall. I've only watched the first season of The West Wing, but now that I'm deeper into Breaking Bad, I haven't had time to do any more catching up on WW, so hopefully I have some time this year to do so. And for The Newsroom, I enjoyed season 1, and am looking forward to watching season 2 when it's released on DVD. (I don't have HBO, so all HBO shows I'm massively delayed on, as you can tell.)

As for the rest of the above shows, American Idol starts back up tonight. And with everything that we didn't love about last season with the drama at the judges' table, all that has been remedied and we all should watch it this year because it's going to be great. I've already seen the premiere and love the judges' chemistry and how hilarious they are, especially Harry Connick, Jr.

American Horror Story season 4 will be coming in the fall. And it'll be Jessica Lange's final season with the show, which is extremely sad, so I'm hoping Ryan Murphy has some big things planned for her.

And even though there were some people disappointed with Under the Dome last summer, I really enjoyed it and have it on my to-watch list this summer for season 2.

(Photo Source: AP)
Untitled Hillary Clinton book
A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire #3) - George R.R. Martin
Terminal (Tunnels #6) - Roderick Gordon/Brian Williams
The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern

No matter your political views, Hillary Clinton's upcoming book is surely the most anticipated political book of the year. We had originally heard it was coming out in June, but I thought I read something recently that it was being pushed to the fall. But no matter when it's out, I'll be there reading it as fast as I can.

On the fiction side, I recently started the third Game of Thrones book, A Storm of Swords, and am so far really liking it. I was a little let down by A Clash of Kings (it had its moments, don't get me wrong), but from what I've read so far of this book and what I've heard of season 3 of the show, I can't wait to delve more into this one.

Finally, Terminal and The Night Circus. The former is the final book in the Tunnels series--I've read and enjoyed all the books. And the latter is a book that I've had on my list of to-read books for a couple years now and for some reason haven't gotten around to it yet. Let's hope the third time's the charm.

(Photo Source: RCA)
Kelly Clarkson (country and/or pop)?
Taylor Swift?
Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett: Duets?

I have question marks by all of the above albums because we don't know for sure when they're coming out. We know Kelly Clarkson is working on both country and pop albums. I don't know if one or both is expected to be released this year. But I'm looking forward to both genres from the Idol Queen.

Last I heard, the Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett Duets album was supposed to come out on January 1, but that date has come and gone and we haven't heard anything since. I can't stand Tony Bennett, but I guess I can put up with him if Gaga's on the record.

And as far as the rest go, I have no idea if Adele or Taylor Swift are releasing albums this year, though I think it's expected they will be. If they are, I'm sure they're going to be just as fantastic as their previous work.

(Photo Source: Disney)
The Lion King

There are two Broadway shows that are at the top of my list of musicals to see. One is Wicked, the other is The Lion King. If I never see any others in my lifetime, that's fine as long as I can see these two. Wicked came to Seattle over a year ago and I'm still kicking myself for not getting tickets. So when I heard The Lion King was coming to the area, I jumped on that right away and secured tickets for March. The Lion King movie is one of my favorite Disney animated films, and every time I see clips of the musical or hear the music, I'm in awe of the little that I have seen. So I am beyond excited to finally be able to see it this spring.

Are there any movies, TV shows, books, albums, musicals or anything else that you're looking forward to this year?

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