After the high caliber of films in 2012 there's a good chance that we could experience a hangover of quality in 2013. The forecast does look pretty good with multiple Terrance Malick films, a new Martin Scorsese picture and the beginning of Marvel's Phase Two after The Avengers. There are a bevy of big sequels as well as the return of talented filmmakers such as Sam Raimi, Alfonso Cuaron and Edgar Wright. The shadow of 2012 could be avoided and with so much on offer we've glanced over the lineup and picked the films that cannot be missed, the ones worth a look and the films that have our curiosity*. *please note if any of these films turn out to completely suck on our recommendation you can claim a compensation drink on us. Can only be claimed in person and only one drink per disgruntled filmgoer. Beer and whine only.
Chan-wook 'I directed Oldboy' Park is back. Stoker is his first mainstream English-speaking film and it's an exciting prospect. The script has been praised for a long time after its inclusion on the Black List of best unproduced screenplays in 2010. The cast includes Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska, Dermot Mulroney, Matthew Goode and Jackie Weaver. The film has been described as a family drama with elements of horror and mystery built into it. Park knows how to deliver plenty of shock and awe when telling a story so expect the unexpected with Stoker.
Only God Forgives
Writer/director Nicolas Winding Refn is back after the excellent Drive doing what he does best…beating the crap out of Ryan Gosling. The plot centers on a police detective and a gangster who settle their differences in a Thai boxing match.
The Place Beyond the Pines
The director of Blue Valentine, Derek Cianfrance has enlisted (surprise, surprise) Ryan Gosling as well as Bradley Cooper, Rose Byrne, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta, Ben Mendelsohn and Dane DeHaan for this crime drama. The films tells the story of a motorcycle stuntman (Gosling) who considers committing a crime in order to provide for his wife (Mendes) and child, an act that puts him on a collision course with a cop-turned-politician (Cooper).
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
It's the middle picture in Peter Jackson's trilogy of films based on J.R.R Tolkien's novel The Hobbit. After casting eyes on the lonely mountain at the end of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey it's time for Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and the company of dwarfs to take on the evil dragon Smaug and turn him into a handbag. After Smaug was kept in the shadows for most of the first film it will be exciting to see him come out and play. Even more thrilling is that Benedict Cumberbatch is voicing the dragon as well as providing motion-capture for the character in the same way Andy Serkis brings Gollum to life. Opinions were divided on the first film but even the haters will no doubt turn out to see the progression of this epic tale.
Marvel Phase 2 begins: Iron Man 3 & Thor: The Dark World
The Avengers finished off Marvel's beautifully executed Phase One series of films, and it's time for the curtain to be raised on the second act of the cinematic comic book universe. Two films are out in 2013 and it's Iron Man 3 that takes the honours of kicking off the next stage. All the surviving Iron Man gang is back with action film legend, Shane Black on directing duties and Sir Ben Kingsley is on bad guy duties as The Mandarin.
HBO television's directing hot shot, Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones, Mad Men and The Sopranos) will take the God of Thunder under his wing for Thor: The Dark World. The second Marvel film in Phase Two released in late 2013 will see Thor (Chris Hemsworth) taking on an evil group of Dark Elves who threaten to plunge the universe into darkness.
No doubt both films will see each character engulfed in their own plot lines, but it's the overarching story and how the films with be woven together on the path to The Avengers 2 and other planned Marvel films (Captain America: Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy) that will have most frothing at the mouth.
Star Trek Into Darkness
A long time ago…wait, wrong space franchise! In 2009 filmmaker J.J. Abrams successfully gave new life to the Star Trek brand, and close to four years later the sequel is ready to go. There are more rumours going around for this film than the cover of a gossip magazine as hardcore fans dig for new info so when they see the film it has absolutely no meaning to them. All the crew of the USS Enterprise is back and Benedict Cumberbatch will be the thorn in their side playing the villain. Beware of the internet with this film as spoilers and speculation is everywhere. It's common sense but going in as cold as possible with any Abram's film is always rewarding.
Man of Steel
It's a bird, it's a plane…no it's another gritty superhero reboot. Man of Steel demands your attention because it's Superman in the hands of filmmaker, Christopher Nolan who is on producing duties and mentoring director, Zach Snyder (300 and Watchmen). David S. Goyer and Nolan worked on the screenplay together after coming off three successful Batman films together. Newcomer Henry Cavill is playing supes with Russell Crowe, Michael Shannon, Amy Adams, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane and Laurence Fishburne rounding out the cast. Could this be the first step in Warner Brother's plans to make a Justice League film to mirror the success of The Avengers? We'll have to wait and see.
It has been almost 5 years since we've had a new film from Guillermo Del Toro. He walked away from directing jobs on At the Mountains of Madness and The Hobbit to make Pacific Rim and the giant robots fighting monsters and defending humanity looks to have been worth it. After three mindless Transformers films it's time for the genius of Del Toro to show the world that there is room for a gigantic robot film that doesn’t double as a car commercial. If this film is a hit expect Voltron and Neon Genesis Evangelion films to be rushed into production.
Neill Blomkamp finally delivers his follow up to District 9 and he's still playing around in the sci-fi sandpit. Matt Damon, Jodi Foster and Shartlo Copley are all on board.
Synopsis: Set in the year 2159, where the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth, a man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds.
Pixar very rarely do sequels with Toy Story and Cars the only films to get the honour. What's even rarer is Pixar doing a prequel, but that's what we're getting with Monsters University. The film will tell the story of Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman), and their days at the University of Fear. Monster University will be Pixar/Disney alumni, Dan Scanlon's first feature for the studio.
All hail the return of filmmaker, Alfonso Cuaron who is making a comeback after delivering the amazing Children of Men in 2006 (WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?) and the best Harry Potter flick, Prisoner of Azkaban. Gravity has been under a shroud of secrecy after it was supposed to be released in 2012 but was delayed with rumours of going for a run at awards season or being kept hidden for freaking out studio executives. The film features George Clooney and Sandra Bullock as two astronauts who attempt to return to Earth after debris crashes into their space shuttle leaving them drifting alone in space.
While Chan-wook Park is hopefully melting brains with Stoker, director Spike Lee will be delivering the American remake of Park's classic Oldboy. While most of Park's fans are probably planning to picket the remake, it's worth attention for the cast alone that features Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Shartlo Copley and Samuel L. Jackson. Also, the prospect of Lee behind the camera means that hopefully the edgier content of Park's film will be converted successfully for American audiences. Even if the film is a complete disaster it will at least shine the light on Park's version for the uninitiated to discover.
Saving Mr. Banks
The story of how Mary Poppins made it to the big screen will be told in Saving Mr. Banks. It took Walt Disney roughly 20 years to convince Australian author, P.L. Travers to hand over the film rights to her creation. The road to production was rocky and the drama continued long after the film was released because Travers was unhappy with the finished product. Tom Hanks will play Disney and Emma Thompson has been cast as Travers. The film has a whiff of The Kings Speech about it and is being released just in time to grab awards attention in the U.S.
The Wolf of Wall Street
Martin Scoreses is back. Need we say more? The film is based on the true story of a New York stockbroker (Leonardo DiCaprio) who refuses to cooperate in a large securities fraud case involving corruption on Wall Street, corporate banking world and mob infiltration. Joining Mr DiCaprio in the cast is Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Jon Favreau, Kyle Chandler and Jean Dujardin. The film spans the 1980s and 1990s so expect giant cell phones, plenty of cocaine and the general excess of the period. We can't wait to see what Mr Scorsese serves up.
Kick Ass 2
Kick Ass 2 will be the violent antidote to the righteousness of the serious superhero films out in 2013. Matthew Vaughn chose not to return to direct the sequel to him film Kick Ass, instead handing over the reins to director, Jeff Wadlow (Cry Wolf and Never Back Down). Based on the comic book by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. the film will follow the further adventures of the vigilante Kick Ass (Aaron Johnson). Chloe Moretz is returning as Hit Girl and Christopher Mintz-Plasse will continue down the villainous path as The Red Mist. All attention will no doubt be on Jim Carrey who is making a comeback of sorts playing the vigilante, Colonel Stars and Stripes in the film.
The World’s End
The finale in Edgar Wright, Simon Frost and Nick Pegg's "Blood and Ice Cream trilogy" (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz so far), tells the story of five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from 20 years earlier who unwittingly become humankind's only hope for survival. Expect all the usual suspects from Wright's previous films to show up as well as the madness that comes with these film geeks done good.
Worth a look
A Good Day to Die Hard
Bruce Willis is back as John McLane hanging out in Russia with his son (Jai Courtney) crashing helicopters into anything that moves.
Filmmaker Steven Soderbergh continues his bromance with Channing Tatum while Rooney Mara takes lots of prescription medication. Could be the perfect cocktail of chemicals in this psycho-medical drama/thriller while we all ponder whether Soderbergh is going to make good on his promise to retire and take up painting.
Tom Cruise running in space. Sold!
Oz the Great and Powerful
I had a dream that Sam Rami directed the prequel to The Wizard of Oz. And you were there, and YOU were there. Believe it, this ain't no dream.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2: Revenge of the Leftovers
The tastiest sequel of them all.
Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The shakiest sequel of them all? Gary Ross has given up the director's chair to make way for Francis Lawrence (Constantine and Water for Elephants). All the BFFs who love to fight each other to the death are back with Philip Seymour Hoffman joining the cast. Pass us the bow and arrow!
The curious bunch
The Lone Ranger
Gore Verbinski tries the Pirates of the Caribbean formula on westerns with Johnny Depp on hand to help out.
This is the End
Hollywood's comedy brat pack verses the end of the world. An out of date joke about the Mayan's prediction that the world will end in 2012 (it didn't) or a cracking comedy?
Four Terrence Malick films in one year: To The Wonder, Voyage of Time, Knight of Cups and Untitled Terrence Malick film with Michael Fassbender and Ryan Gosling
We're spoilt for Malick in 2013*
*SUBJECT TO EXTREME DATE CHANGE WHEN MALICK TURNS IN EACH FILM AS AN 8 HOUR CUT
The festival favourite throughout 2011 and 2012 is finally getting a general release. A modern slasher film that is said to revive the genre in a big way while delivering the scares.
Filmed in Australia and directed by local filmmaker/writer Stuart Beattie (Tomorrow When the War Began) that features Aaron Eckhart playing Frankenstein as a noir style detective.
The director of The Lincoln Lawyer, Brad Furman, tells the story of an offshore gambling operation that goes haywire. Cast includes Ben Affleck, Gemma Arterton, Anthony Mackie and *gulp* Justin Timberlake.
That's all the flicks on our radar. Let us know if we've missed anything in the comments.
Cameron Williams - follow Cam on Twitter here: @popcornjunkies