'Muppets Most Wanted' features many Muppet regulars, including Scooter, left, Rowlf, Kermit, Walter, Fozzie and Gonzo, along with actors Tina Fey and Ricky Gervais. (Jay Maidment / Disney)
OK, 2013 was a great year for movies. But 2013 is over. Whaddya got for us now, Hollywood?
Actually quite a bit, as you can imagine, and there are sure to be a number of surprises along the way. Summer looks a bit empty-headed — really, another “Transformers” movie? — but there are plenty of potential jewels as we head to the year’s end.
Having only seen one of these films (“Bad Words”), this list is based mostly on conjecture, the talent involved and the source material. But these look like some of the most intriguing films heading our way:
“The Monuments Men” (Feb. 7): This was supposed to be one of the big blockbusters of the holiday season, but director George Clooney decided he wanted to take his time finishing it. The cast is killer: Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin all try to protect European art treasures from the Nazis during World War II.
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” (March 7): This new film from whimsical Wes Anderson (“Moonrise Kingdom”) follows a concierge (Ralph Fiennes) at a European hotel who befriends a lobby boy. As always, Anderson’s cast is amazing — Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Saoirse Ronan, Bill Murray, Lea Seydoux, Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jude Law ...
“Muppets Most Wanted” (March 21): If this follow-up even comes close to the last Muppets reboot, it will be welcomed by kids and adults alike. Tina Fey and Ricky Gervais join the gang, who somehow get caught up in a European jewel heist. Man it’s nice to have Kermit back.
“Bad Words” (March 21): In Jason Bateman’s directorial debut, he plays a grown man who somehow ends up competing against kids in the National Spelling Bee. In terms of raunch comedies, it simply can’t be beat, with Bateman at his deadpan meanest and the hilarious Kathryn Hahn offering strong support.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (April 4): Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) tries to adapt to the modern world while battling a Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier. So far Evans has been solid as Cap, let’s hope he can keep it up. It can’t hurt that Scarlet Johansson will be on hand as Black Widow.
“X-Men: Days of Future Past” (May 23): Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) travels to the past in this exercise that will unite the casts from the original “X-Men” franchise and its prequel reboot. Thus we get Michael Fassbender and Ian McKellen playing Magneto in the same movie, as well as Jennifer Lawrence, Ellen Page, Patrick Stewart, James McAvoy and simply too many other mutants to mention.
“The Equalizer” (Sept. 26): Denzel Washington stars in this reboot of the TV show about a retired spy who helps those in need. Reason one it’s interesting: It reunites Denzel with his “Training Day” director, Antoine Fuqua. Reason two: It also stars Chloe Grace Moretz and Melissa Leo.
“Gone Girl” (Oct. 3): Ben Affleck and the always-mesmerizing Rosamund Pike star in this adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s thriller about a woman who disappears on her wedding anniversary. Directed by David Fincher (“The Social Network,” “Fight Club”) this could be a major awards contender.
“The Judge” (Oct. 10): Robert Downey Jr. plays an attorney who returns to his hometown for his mother’s funeral only to find his estranged father (Robert Duvall) is under arrest for murder. This could mark a return to actual acting for Downey, which would be nice.
“Interstellar” (Nov. 7): Matthew McConaughey and Jessica Chastain traveling through space via a newly discovered wormhole in a new film by Christopher Nolan (“Inception,” “The Dark Knight Rises”)? The mind boggles at the possibilities.
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part I” (Nov. 21): The beginning of the end for the franchise that made Jennifer Lawrence a superstar. Katniss is now the full-on symbol of rebellion and a revolution is at hand.
“Exodus” (Dec. 12): Christian Bale playing Moses for director Ridley Scott (“Alien,” “Prometheus”)? It will either be monumentally good or monumentally bad. Since it’s being positioned for an awards run, obviously the producers think good.
“Into the Woods” (Dec. 25): Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt and Chris Pine star in the classic Stephen Sondheim musical about a witch teaching lessons to fairy tale characters. Directed by Rob Marshall (“Chicago”). Major Oscar bait.
“Unbroken” (Dec. 25) Angelina Jolie directs a cast of mostly unfamiliar faces in this adaptation (by the Coen brothers, no less) of Lauren Hillenbrand’s superb nonfiction book about an Olympic-bound runner who’s captured by the Japanese during World War II. Again, screams awards-contender.