Who: Nick Frost, Chris O’Dowd, Rashida Jones and Olivia Colman
What: A former salsa prodigy attempts a comeback in order to woo his new boss.
When: March 11th
Why: From “Spaced” to “The World’s End,” Nick Frost’s acting career has been mostly built around playing the sidekick to Simon Pegg. But in recent years, Frost has started to branch out on his own, with “Cuban Fury” marking his first leading role in a film. Though the movie’s premise is hardly original, the idea of Frost salsa dancing has enough comic potential that it’s easy to see why someone thought it would make a good film. Whether or not Frost has the chops to carry a movie on his own remains to be seen, but his performances have only gotten better with time, and he’s a natural comedian. Frost has also surrounded himself with a great supporting cast, and provided he can strike up the same onscreen chemistry with Chris O’Dowd that he has with good friend Pegg, “Cuban Fury” might just surprise a few people.
Who: Nicholas Cage, Ty Sheridan, Adriene Mishler and Ronnie Gene Blevins
What: An ex-con, who is the unlikeliest of role models, meets a 15-year-old boy and is faced with the choice of redemption or ruin.
When: April 11th
Why: It seems like every few years, Nicholas Cage delivers a performance so great that it almost makes people forget about all the crap that he’s done leading up to it, and this year, that movie is “Joe.” Of course, the actor stars in so many films that he’s bound to make a good one every now and again, though considering his talent, it really should happen more often. Director David Gordon Green is in a similar position coming off such duds like “Your Highness” and “The Sitter,” because although “Prince Avalanche” was a major improvement compared to those movies, he’s still yet to prove why he’s so loved among film critics. The story itself appears to be pretty straightforward, but that’s where Green usually does his best work, and judging by the early buzz following its run on the festival circuit, “Joe” could be his finest movie yet.
Who: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman, Paul Bettany and Cillian Murphy
What: A terminally ill scientist downloads his mind into a computer, which grants him power beyond his wildest dreams.
When: April 18th
Why: Wally Pfister has a resume that would make most people in Hollywood jealous, mainly because he’s served as Christopher Nolan’s director of photography on every one of his films since “Memento.” But while Pfister won an Oscar during that period (and was nominated for three more), it’s only natural that he’d want to try his hand at directing at some point. The Nolan connection has definitely given his directorial debut a much-needed boost in the talent department – with frequent collaborators Morgan Freeman and Cillian Murphy in supporting roles – but it’s hard to imagine that his own reputation didn’t play a part in convincing Johnny Depp and the other actors to come on board. And for as intriguing as its high-concept premise may be, there’s no denying that the main appeal of “Transcendence” is the cast. But with recent rumors that Warner Bros. won’t be screening the movie for critics, will that even be enough?