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Variety Pack — Superheroes, Muppets, book adaptations headed to big screen in 2014

Kermit his usual crowd journey overseas “Muppets Most Wanted” opening March 21.  |  WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

Kermit and his usual crowd journey overseas in “Muppets Most Wanted,” opening March 21. | WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

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Updated: April 14, 2014 4:47PM

Whether you prefer big-screen adaptations of your favorite books or are awaiting the return of a wall-crawling superhero, 2014 offers a wide variety of movies to enjoy. Here are some to look out for in the new year (release dates are subject to change).

“Winter’s Tale” (Feb. 14): Set in 1916 as well as modern day, Akiva Goldsman’s feature directorial debut is a supernatural drama about thief Peter Lake (Colin Farrell), who’s on the run from an Irish gangster (Russell Crowe); the dying girl (Jessica Brown Findlay) with whom Peter falls in love, and his equine guardian, a white horse named Athansor.

“Muppets Most Wanted” (March 21): Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and the gang go global when they run afoul of Kermit’s criminal-mastermind doppelganger, Constantine, his henchman Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais), a French Interpol operative (Ty Burrell) and a Russian Gulag officer (Tina Fey).

“Divergent” (March 21): This adaptation of the popular dystopian novel finds the people of Chicago divided into factions based on their human virtues. Teenager Tris (Shailene Woodley) learns she has three qualities instead of just one — meaning she’s “divergent” — and discovers dark forces are afoot in the city during her initiation process.

“Transcendence” (April 18): After being shot, a dying scientist (Johnny Depp) working to create a machine with human emotions has his mind uploaded into a computer by his wife (Rebecca Hall) and best friend (Paul Bettany). He then becomes a nearly unstoppable sentience hungry for power.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (May 2): Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) continues his superhero education as Spider-Man but stumbles across nefarious secrets of the organization Oscorp and how it connects to new villains, including Rhino (Paul Giamatti) and Electro (Jamie Foxx).

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” (May 23): In the latest X-Men adventure, clawed mutant mainstay Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is sent back in time by Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) to change the past and save their younger selves (James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender) and the future.

“Maleficent” (May 30): A prequel of sorts to Disney classic “Sleeping Beauty,” this live-action tale shows the early days of Maleficent (Angelina Jolie), her connection to the cursed Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning), and how she’s betrayed and put on a path to becoming one of fantasy’s most evil femme fatales.

“A Million Ways to Die in the West” (May 30): In his latest directorial effort, a Western comedy, Seth MacFarlane also stars as a timid sheep farmer who is dumped by his girlfriend (Amanda Seyfried) after backing out of a duel. He finds another love interest (Charlize Theron), though she’s married to a wanted outlaw (Liam Neeson).

“The Fault in Our Stars” (June 6): John Green’s popular novel comes alive with the tale of Hazel (Shailene Woodley), a 16-year-old living with cancer. She’s forced by her parents into a support group, where she meets and falls in love with a former basketball player, amputee Gus (Ansel Elgort).

“Gone Girl” (Oct. 3): Director David Fincher’s adaptation of Chicago author Gillian Flynn’s novel stars Rosamund Pike as Amy Dunne, who disappears on her fifth wedding anniversary. Husband Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) becomes the prime suspect after he’s found to have used his wife’s trust fund to open a bar and increased her life insurance.

Gannett News Service

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