2012 was one of the strongest years in film history. Heck, there were even some great January releases (“Haywire,” “The Grey”) that came out of nowhere. 2013 is already off to a grueling start with uninspired fare like “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters,” “Texas Chainsaw 3D,” and “Movie 43.”
Some of the movies that made my list last year got delayed for many reasons. “Gangster Squad” was moved following the Aurora shooting, and “Gravity” was moved for many reasons. I still have yet to see the former, but I’m hearing mixed things – so I think I will wait. Sorry, but I’m not spending money on something that isn’t getting good buzz; I have bills to pay.
Anyway, once we get past the bland months of January and February, 2013 looks to be very promising. Here are some of the films in which I’m eagerly, or kind of eagerly, anticipating.
“The Place Beyond the Pines” (Release date: March 20, 2013)
“Blue Valentine” was a swift kick to the emotional jugular. Though it had its flaws, Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams were both remarkable. Now, Gosling reteams with Derek Cianfrance for a crime drama. It may sound strange for Cianfrance to go from a shattering love story to a cop film, but it seems he is willing to tackle any genre. Also, Bradley Cooper looks like he might turn in another Oscar caliber performance. (Trailer)
“To the Wonder” (Release date: April 12, 2013)
Terrence Malick’s films have been known to divide people, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if this one does, too. “To the Wonder” looks to be along the same lines of “The Tree of Life” with Malick’s sweeping cinematography and an ambitious plot.
For his sixth directorial effort, Malick casts Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, and Javier Bardem. Though he usually takes a long break between films, it’ll still be interesting to see what Malick has to offer. (Trailer)
“Iron Man 3” (Release date: May 3, 2013)
Honestly, I’m glad Jon Favreau isn’t coming back for the third entry. Part two was good, but it wasn’t great. And then Favreau did “Cowboys & Aliens,” which had so much potential, and he went nowhere with it.
Shane Black (“Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”) seems to be taking the franchise in a much darker direction. And, of course, Robert Downey Jr. reprising his role as the very arrogant but loveable Tony Stark will be a treat. (Trailer)
“Star Trek Into Darkness” (Release date: May 17, 2013)
J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot was an incredibly thrilling joyride, and I predict the sequel will be as well. Abrams has been criticized for using a lot of lens flare, but that effect doesn’t really bother me a whole lot. His films have been pure, escapist fun, which is what summer movies are meant to be.
The great thing about this is we haven’t the slightest clue which character Benedict Cumberbatch is playing. He is the villain, yes, but we don’t know which one. No, it’s not Khan. His getup does kind of look like a droid, so I’m assuming he’ll play one of those characters from the franchise’s history. Many rumors suggest he is Noonian Soong, but we won’t know for certain until the movie’s release. (Trailer)
“Man of Steel” (Release date: June 14, 2013)
I honestly do not like Zack Snyder. Yes, I know I just upset all of the trolls out there. But I am curious to see how he and Christopher Nolan will handle the Superman reboot. The trailer has a very Malick-like approach to it, which is very unlike Snyder. (Trailer)
“Much Ado About Nothing” (Release date: June 21, 2013)
Joss Whedon pretty much fulfilled every comic book nerd’s dream with “The Avengers.” Could he do the same for Shakespeare fans? I believe so. It’s a modern take on the story many know and love, and it has Nathan Fillion and Clark Gregg. I’m sold.
“Monsters University” (Release date: June 21, 2013)
I’m glad that Pixar slightly rebounded with “Brave” after the horrendous “Cars 2.” As for a sequel to “Monsters, Inc.,” you bet I’ll put my butt in a seat for that. (Trailer)
“Pacific Rim” (Release date: July 12, 2013)
This is one about which I’m still a little uncertain. I like Guillermo del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Hellboy” franchise), but this looks a bit too ambitious for even him. The visuals look amazing, and it’ll be interesting to see how he handles the 3D effect, but I’m not entirely sold on the concept. I’ll give it a shot, but I wasn’t too impressed by the trailer. (Trailer)
“The Wolverine” (Release date: July 26, 2013)
James Mangold (“3:10 to Yuma,” “Walk the Line”) is the last person I could see directing a Marvel movie. But, unlike others, he uses practical effects over CGI. That could be a huge boost for the realism factor in this comic book adaptation. Plus, I enjoy Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, and something needs to be done to get the bad taste of the “Origins” film out of our mouths.
“Elysium” (Release date: Aug. 9, 2013)
Neil Blomkamp returns after the success of his directorial debut, “District 9.” His latest feature has a much bigger budget ($100 million) and a more recognizable cast, including Matt Damon; William Fichtner; and Jodie Foster. The set photos with Damon in costume look impressive. I’m not sure about the August release date, but it could be one of those rare times when a movie comes out that month and doesn’t suck.
“Gravity” (Release date: Oct. 4, 2013)
This was on my list of 2012 films to anticipate, but it was delayed to October of this year.
There isn’t much we know about Alfonso Cuaron’s first film since 2006’s “Children of Men.” Aside from starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, I haven’t even seen any set photos, and the movie is listed as “Completed” on IMDb. And don’t search “’Gravity’ movie” because the images will most likely be from “Solaris.” Anyway, given how impressive “Children of Men” was, I’m anxious to see what Cuaron has in store for us next.
Rumor has it that Cuaron went to James Cameron about this project, and Cameron said the idea was “insane.” Hopefully, Cuaron proves him wrong.
“Captain Phillips” (Release date: Oct. 11, 2013)
Paul Greengrass is one of the few directors who uses the shaky-cam technique well. He was able to turn “The Bourne Supremacy” and “The Bourne Ultimatum” into heart-pounding action flicks. He was also able to create one of the most harrowing and tear-jerking moments in film with the final scene in “United 93.”
“Captain Phillips” is based on the true story of the Somali pirates hijacking in 2009. Tom Hanks plays the titular character, and Catherine Keener plays his wife, Andrea.
“The World’s End” (Release date: Oct. 25, 2013)
This is Simon Pegg’s conclusion to the “Blood and Ice Cream” trilogy, which began with “Shaun of the Dead” and was followed by “Hot Fuzz” – both of which were great spoofs of their respective genres. “The World’s End,” as you probably figured out, is a spoof of the disaster genre.
“The Counselor” (Release date: Nov. 15, 2013)
“The Counselor” is Cormac McCarthy's first screenplay, and that alone has me excited.
Ridley Scott is really hit or miss for me. I wasn’t too thrilled with his version of “Robin Hood,” but I did find myself liking “Prometheus,” which was a film that irritated a lot of people. His lower budgeted, non-summer release films tend to be good (“American Gangster,” “Black Hawk Down,” “Matchstick Men,” “Thelma & Louise”), but there have been some that made me question why he was even attached to it (“Hannibal,” “Body of Lies”).
This one has a great cast, including Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, and Penelope Cruz. Yes, Bardem is in another McCarthy story. I’m not expecting it to be as phenomenal as “No Country for Old Men,” but it still sounds great.
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” (Release date: Dec. 13, 2013)
I was actually quite impressed with Peter Jackson’s first installment of the “Hobbit” trilogy. So, yes, you can expect me to not skip the second part.
“The Monuments Men” (Release date: Dec. 18, 2013)
George Clooney gets behind the director’s chair again. This sounds like an “Indiana Jones”-style movie, but I have a feeling it won’t be.
This is all the synopsis says on the IMDb page:
“In a race against time, a crew of art historians and museum curators unite to recover renowned works of art stolen by Nazis before Hitler destroys them.”
Clooney also stars in the film, along with Bill Murray; Matt Damon; Cate Blanchett; Jean Dujardin; John Goodman; and Daniel Craig.
“Inside Llewyn Davis” (Release date: TBA 2013)
It’s the Coen brothers’ first film since 2010’s “True Grit.” This one seems to have more of a “Serious Man” tone to it, but it still has that sharp Coen humor that we all love. (Trailer)
“Only God Forgives” (Release date: TBA 2013)
Hey, it’s Gosling again, and he’s re-teaming with another director. This time, it’s Nicolas Winding Refn, who made the criminally overlooked “Drive.” Well, OK, criminally overlooked by the Academy. It was the critics who knew what we were talking about. This time, Refn focuses on kickboxing in Bangkok. Count me in.
“The Wolf of Wall Street” (Release date: TBA 2013)
Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese team up again for this story of corruption and corporate banking. Terence Winter, creator of “Boardwalk Empire,” wrote the screenplay, which was based on the Jordan Belfort book of the same name.
The move also stars Jonah Hill; Matthew McConaughey; Kyle Chandler; Rob Reiner; Jon Favreau; and Shea Whigham.
“Nymphomaniac” (Release date: TBA 2013)
Lars von Trier (“Melancholia”) is rumored to feature the actors actually having sex in the film. That’s a ballsy move by any modern director. Expect this to be an NC-17 feature if that is true. “Melancholia” was a powerful film, and I’m eager to see what the controversial director has in store for his next project.
Shia LaBouef; Jamie Bell; Christian Slater; Uma Thurman; Connie Nielsen; Charlotte Gainsbourg; and Willem Dafoe all star in von Trier’s new film. The release date has yet to be determined for the United States.
“Noah” (Release date: March 28, 2014)
This is slated for a 2014 release, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Darren Aronofsky tried to move it to December 2013 for Oscar consideration. It’s currently listed as being in “Post-production,” so there is a possibility we can see it before next year.
Aronofsky released his previous two films, “The Wrestler” and “Black Swan,” in December and both were nominated for multiple awards. One would expect an ambitious project like this, with Russell Crowe as the lead, to go for awards consideration.
There are plenty more for which I’m keeping an eye out. Kimberly Pierce’s new version of “Carrie;” the new version of “The Evil Dead;” Danny Boyle’s “Trance;” and Terry Gilliam’s “Zero Theroem” are a few others. It also looks like Robert Rodriguez will release the long-awaited “Sin City 2” and “Machete Kills.” I’ve waited for way too long for “Sin City 2,” so I’m hoping it’s not a disappointment.
Are there any films you’re eagerly anticipating? Share in the comments section below.