2014 in Film Preview: Blockbusters

Our pick of the ten films likely to pull in the crowds in 2014

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Noah

Darren Aronofsky’s $130m Biblical epic arrives buffeted by Hurricane Sandy (which gatecrashed the production) and lashed by controversy (the director and studio have reportedly squabbled over the final cut). The omens are explosive and the anticipation is building. Russell Crowe looks on stentorian form as the pre-flood patriarch, reeling from portents of the apocalypse and determined to protect his wife (Jennifer Connelly), his adopted daughter (Emma Watson) and the animals of the world. But trouble is brewing; he’s going to need a bigger boat. 28 March

Godzilla

British director Gareth Edwards scored a low-budget breakthrough with 2010′s Monsters. Now he’s surging up through the gears to tackle arguably the biggest beast of them all. His remastered Godzilla finds the behemoth battling man-made goliaths while Aaron Taylor-Johnson strives (one assumes in vain) to maintain order. The eclectic supporting cast finds room for Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Sally Hawkins and Juliette Binoche. 16 May

Exodus

Bible study, book two. Ridley Scott leads Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Aaron Paul and Sigourney Weaver through the wilderness with his story of Moses and the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. Bale plays Moses, Edgerton is Ramses, while Almeria in Spain offers up the path to Mount Sanai. Likely epic, almost certainly bombastic. And – given it’s a Scott film – bloody as hell. 12 December

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Director Kenneth Branagh grabs another fistful of popcorn with his first film post-Thor. Chris Pine takes up the mantle of Tom Clancy’s super-spy, leaving past-Ryans Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck in his wake. Shadow Recruit has the young Ryan as a rookie analyst who stumbles upon a plot by sinister businessman Viktor Cherevin (Brannagh) to tip the world into economic crisis. Keira Knightley tags along for the ride as Ryan’s wife, who has no idea that his desk job has evolved into something a little more punchy. 16 January

Pompeii

Remake of the cheeky British TV sitcom that saw the Carry On lot romp … oh hold on, that’s not right. Let’s try again … Huge CGI-riddled take on the decimation of the Roman city by the 79AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Kit Harington of Game of Thrones plays Milo, a slave-turned-gladiator who must beat the arena and best mother nature to save his love, Cassia (Emily Browning). Plenty of bare flesh, loads of shonky special effects and a starring role for Keifer Sutherland as an evil senator. Perhaps this is borrowing Up Pompeii!’s enjoyable trashiness after all? 21 February

Captain America: Winter Soldier

America’s old school superhero continues his re-invention from second world war propaganda tool to righteous modern age ass-kicker. Likeable lunk Chris Evans is back in the red, white and blue corner as Steve Rogers/Captain America, still struggling to adapt to the modern world after his abrupt resurrection in last year’s Avengers Assemble. Over on the dark side is the Winter Soldier, a former pal of Steve’s who has been turned into a brainwashed assassin. Superhero stories are still huge business (Iron Man 3 was 2013′s highest-grossing film). No wonder Marvel keeps on churning them out. It’ll be only a matter of seconds before another… Oh! Look! … 26 March

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