The Most Anticipated Films of 2013

Whilst we spend the next three months catching up on the last of 2012, we look forward to the future! A brand new year, with lots of exciting titles! New films from Danny Boyle, Park Chan Wook, Lars Von Trier, Werner Herzogg, the Coen brothers, and Woody Allen. Every genre is offering something new and exciting. Here are the titles that have us the most excited:

Action: Only God Forgives

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Following the relative success of The Expendables all the old timers are out with new titles this year. Arnie’s new feature is “The Last Stand”, a relatively intriguing heist movie from the great Korean director Kim Jee-Woon. Stallone on the other hand is starting the year with the thoroughly underwhelming-looking “Bullet to the Head”. He’ll return later this year with “The Tomb” about a prison-designer who ends up locked into his own prison. We look forward to seeing him fuck that up later.

Franchises carry on, of course. “Die Hard 5” looks exciting, if not terribly original, and “GI Joe 2” is finally getting a release after a break-neck pull from theaters last summer. A new attempt to market Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan character (previously played by Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck) is being directed by Kenneth Branagh with Chris Pine in the leading role. Michael Bay is directing a new project, not based on a child’s toy, we await that like a trip to the dentist…for a penis scrape (they do that now).

However there are some intriguing projects. Keanu Reeves (after a long absence) is directing a martial arts movie entitled “Man of Thai Chi”. Ryan Reynolds is playing a dead cop, resurrected to find his murderer in “RIPD” (Rest In Peace Division). And Al Pacino is returning for an old-timers heist movie, called “Stand Up Guys”. All of these are interesting, but not the most exciting. Very shortly Ryan Gosling shall appear in “Only God Forgives”, directed by Nicholas Winding Refn (Drive). He plays a Bangkok police lieutenant who enters a boxing tournament to get revenge on a mafia boss. That concept is amazing, and the wealth of talent behind the project clearly makes it stand out as the most exciting action film of the year.

Drama: The Councillor

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Whilst we anxiously await the arrival of Spike Lee’s remake of “Oldboy”, lots of big names are working to distract us from our pain. “Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father” sees John Travolta and Ben Foster play a father and son in the Mafia with Al Pacino in tow, “How I live Now” sees rising star Saoirse Ronan hiding from war in the countryside (very much like “Tomorrow When the War Began”), and “Nymphomaniac” has Charlotte Gainsbourg being very promiscuous at the hands of Lars Von Trier.

We also have Steven Soderberg bringing us another two films, the first titled “Side Effects”, following a woman struggling with prescription drug addiction and the second film “Candelabra” is slightly trickier to describe, but also looks interesting (it’s about Liberace…seriously).  We also have Mathew McConaughey essentially playing Mathew McConaughey in the “Dallas Buyers Club”. But it’s a mixing of significantly more impressive elements that has us sweating in the night.

Someday an article about our favourite authors will unfold the true genius of Cormac McCarthy. You may know him as the author of the astonishing books “The Road”, “No Country for Old Men” and “Blood Meridian”. Well this is the first film developed from an original screenplay by the master author. It’s been directed by Ridley Scott and stars Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Javier Barden, Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz…ok those last two names aren’t particularly a badge of quality, but the cast is impressive and we relish the chance to see Bardem return to McCarthy material. The plot concerns a lawyer who becomes involved in Drug Trafficking and is easily our most anticipated drama film of the year. Bad scripts have been the bane of recent Scott films, surely this will break the trend.

Sci-Fi: Elysium

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Yes, it is indeed a good time to be a nerd. There are so many science fiction titles being released this year that it is very difficult to choose a favourite. There are sequels in the Hunger Game’s “Catching Fire” and the eagerly awaited “Star Trek 2”. There’s post-apocalyptic thrills in Oblivion (essentially Wall-E with Tom Cruise) and “After Earth” (essentially M Night Shyamalan roping in Will and Jayden Smith into his desperate attempt to prove he has some promise left). Less mainstream dystopia can be found in “Snowpiercer”, about a powerful bullet train that traverses a post-global warming landscape. “Robot and Frank” should offer some sweeter moments as an ex-jewel thief befriends a robot butler. Guillermo Del Toro is finally releasing his epic monster movie, Pacific Rim (with some somewhat dodgy look CGI) and Alfonso Cuarón is bringing us Gravity, the story of George Clooney and Sandra Bullock surviving a disaster in a space station. Our most anticipated film of this genre had to beat all of these, with an intriguing premise, an impressive cast and all the trappings of a cult classic (basically it had to be this year’s Looper).

“District 9” was incredibly impressive and became the best film of 2009 to many (except us. Bigelow rocks). His follow up feature is called “Elysium”, and stars Matt Damon as an ex-con who undertakes a mission to destroy a rigid class system that has arisen on a ruined earth. Joining Damon is the tragically seldom-seen Jodie Foster, the always entertaining William Fichtner, and the very enjoyable Sharlto Copley (who’s also due to appear in the Oldboy remake, crazily enough).

Fantasy: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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The success of the Hobbit has raised some interest in the fantasy genre (just as its predecessor had), and although we don’t have all that many titles, we can surely soon look forward to titles reminiscent of “Eragon” and “Dungeons and Dragons”…yeah. For now we have the continued march of fairy tales into darkness, this year with Jack the Giant Slayer and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. Hopefully both will be as fun as last year’s Snow White and the Huntsmen. The R rating on Witch Hunters certainly has our interest, as does Bryan Singers involvement with Giant Slayer. The second biggest fantasy film of the year comes from, the somewhat unlikely source of Sam Raimi. His “Oz the Great and Powerful”, will hopefully be delighting us later in the year (he certainly has the cast for it). But it’s fairly obvious what the biggest and most exciting fantasy of the film shall be.

“There and Back Again” managed to satisfy most, but left a great deal of room for improvement. If Jackson and crew can continue in the instantly iconic style, but introduce something more of the charm and tightness of the former trilogy then there’s every chance this film will be able to surpass the last. There’s a great deal of elements that we will just be happy to see again. The fine performances, the beautiful world and interesting reworking and expansion of the classic story. But most of all, we are looking forward to the Necromancer and Smaug, both of whom are to be voiced by the mighty Cumberbatch! Oh and Stephen Fry is in this one. Awesome.

Comedy: World’s End

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2013 sees some great comedy names returning to the screen. Richard Ayoade directs his second feature, “The Double” based on a Dostoyevsky story. Spike Jonze directs Joaquin Phoenix as he falls in love with his new operating system in “Her”. Joseph Gordon Levitt is directing for the first time with “Dom Jon’s Addiction” featuring himself as a womanising porn-addict who is taught how to have a more fulfilling sex life by Scarlett Johanson (this is the sort of film you can make when you make a name in Hollywood). “The Guard” director John Michael McDonagh returns with “Cavalry” which essentially sounds like “The Guard” except with a priest. There’s also “Frank” which is far too crazy to describe briefly and “This is the End” which sees a party of celebrities (all playing themselves) faced with the end of the world. However this is not the apocalyptic comedy that we’re hankering for.

It’s finally time for Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright to finish the cornetto trilogy. Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are quite unchallenged in their status as the funniest films of the past decade and the prospect of a third is truly exciting. As you would expect the supporting cast is fairly impressive, featuring British comedy legend Martin Freeman, Indy character actor Eddie Marsan, and all round crazy character Paddy Considine. The concept of a pub crawl to the end of the world is interesting and full of potential for the brilliant writing team. Everything about this film has firmly captured our interest.

Superhero: Iron Man 3

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The comics market continues to expand and the movies must reflect this. “Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For” is finally getting released, as to whether or not it can thrill the crowds like its predecessor did almost ten years ago remains to be seen. Other belated sequels include “Kick Ass 2” (which boasts all the same talent as the first but with a shiny new director) and The Wolverine is finally following the disastrous “X-Men Origins” (but with some pretentious promotional material this time!). But the big thrills this year seem set to come from the ever-escalating movie war between DC and Marvel. DC is hoping to finally launch a successful Superman franchise with “Man of Steel”. Although Zack Snyder has had a checkered past, the involvement of Christopher Nolan seems to have had an impact on the style of the film. It also has an incredible cast with names like Russell Crowe, Amy Adams, Lawrence Fishburne, Kevin Costner, and Michael Shannon!

But will it be enough to overtake Marvel which is now entering “phase 2” of its movie universe with titles like the enticing “Thor 2” (more Helmsworth and Hiddleston please!) and, most importantly, Iron Man 3! The first Iron Man movie significantly defined the direction and tone of every non-Nolan superhero film made since. The second was significantly lacking in that charm, but the third sees a new addition to the crew. Shane Black may be a familiar name to fans of Action. He wrote “Leathal Weapon” 1 and 2, “The Last Boy Scout” and “Kiss, Kiss Bang, Bang” (which he also directed). The humour he created with Downey Jr. in KKBB is very much consistent with what we’ve seen from Iron Man before, and should be enough to put the spark back into the series. We also have a very impressive cast including Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley, and Rebecca hall, not to mention the regulars; Downey, Paltrow and Cheadle. The plot is also interesting, pitting Iron Man up against his classic nemesis, The Mandarin. But there’s a lot for the comic book fan to look forward to this year.

Horror: Stoker

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Oh dear. It was going so well. Horror as a genre is definitely suffering these days. Last year the biggest horror release we could think of to look forward to was World War Z, which we should be getting this year (and is still fairly exciting). Most obviously we have the usual wave of sequels and remakes. Chloe Grace Moretz will be donning the pig blood in “Carrie” and the cast of “The Evil Dead” shall be donning plenty of real blood as the remake promises to use no CGI effects. You may have also seen the hilarious poster for the “Last exorcism 2” or the general sense of ill-will that’s following around “The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia”.

But let’s focus on the interesting releases! “Asylum” sees a riot squad trying to quell an uprising in an insane asylum with an occult twist. Warm Bodies promises humour as well as scares as a zombie attempts to keep his relationship working. And James Wan is bringing more supernatural thrills in the vein of Insidious with his new film “The Conjuring” with pretty much the same plot and some of the same actors.

So what has us really excited about horror this year? Well luckily one of our favourite directors is making his first English language film. Park Chan Wook, director of masterpieces like “Oldboy” and “ Sympathy for Mr Vengeance” and horror films like “Thirst” is bringing us “Stoker”. After the death of her father, Mia Wasikowska and her mother Nicole Kidman are joined in their home by a strange uncle, whom neither knew existed. What follows promises to be a psychological horror classic as our heroine finds herself not unsettled by this strangers mysterious nature, but thrilled by it! Hopefully this will be exactly what horror should be, as opposed to what it has become.

Historical: Inside Llewyn Davis

TInsideLlewynDavis1here is a lack of truly historical settings in films today. The only western on the horizon is “The Lone Ranger” and the furthest back in time we’re likely to go this year will be to Victorian times for Werner Herzog’s “Queen of the Desert” and Emma Thompson’s “Effie”. But there are plenty of films taking inspiration from recent history. “The Great Gatsby” is due to bring to life the vibrant 20s as only Baz Lurhman could (style hopefully not at the expense of content), “Kill Your Darlings” sees the beat poets of the 40s meet after David Kammerer’s murder, and “Lovelace” brings us to the sleazy 70s porn industry (much different from the sleazy modern porn industry).

Some important historical figures are getting cinema treatment, like Grace Kelly in “Grace of Monocco”, Steve Jobs in “jOBS”, and Princess Diana in “Diana” (as portrayed by Naomi Watts). However Lee Daniel’s “The Butler” offers the most impressive list of historical characters. It’s the true story of a White House Butler who served eight presidents (portrayed by the likes of Alan Rickman, Robin Williams, and John Cusack).

There are also several films taking inspiration from real life incidents. “Captain Phillips” details the capturing of a cruise ship by Somali pirates in 2009, “The Devil’s Knot” portrays the trial and conviction of two teenagers accused of the ritual murder of three children, and “The Bling Ring” offers some laughs as the “Hollywood hills burglar bunch” exclusively target celebrities as victims for their thievery.

But we’re choosing “Inside Llewyn Davis” as the most interesting historical drama of the year ahead. The Coen Brothers attempt to capture the spirit and style of the 1960s folk music scene. Anyone not excited by the period, should be interested by the talent involved. The Coen brothers will inevitably bring their unique sensibility and humour to the project and, as always, will be working with an interesting cast featuring Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake (and John Goodman, but that goes without saying, it’s a Coen Brothers film). The Coen Brothers don’t work often, but when they do it’s always worth seeing.

Foreign: Mood Indigo

HimagesCAMI9L7Cow can you generalise amongst an entire worlds worth of films? You just can! Especially when you arbitrarily decide you need ten categories (or if you’re the academy awards). So here’s a massively incomplete look at some of the films we can look forward to from overseas. Firstly from Japan we have Takeshi Miike’s “Straw Shields” which seems to see the director return to the Japanese underworld. Assuming he handles it in his trademark over-the-top, utterly baffling style then it’ll be as fun all his work tends to be. In a slightly lighter vein we have new Studio Ghibli film, “The Wind Rises”, which sees the return of Hayao Miyazaki and, bizarrely, documents the man who designed the fighter planes for the Japanese during WW2. From China we have “The Grandmaster” which, once again, tells the story of the martial arts master Ip Man, only this time directed by the fantastic Wong Kar Wai. We’d present the activities of our favourite South Korean directors but it seems they’ve all moved to America.

France has the usual promising names releasing titles. Luc Besson is all set to dash our hopes again with “Malavita”, a gangster film starring Robert De Niro and Tommy Lee Jones (for God’s sake, don’t mess this one up Luc). Jean Luc Godard is following his controversial “Film Socialisme” with the somewhat surreal “Goodbye to Language 3D” (that’s not a misprint, the world really is that crazy). Both of the stars of the Artist have exciting new projects. Jean Dujardin shall appear in “Möbius” in which he plays an FSB officer who falls in love with his agent (kind of like stakeout?) and Bérénice Bejo is set to appear in “The Past” which, honestly, we can’t find anything out about, except that it’s directed by Asghar Farhadi who brought us the wonderful “A Seperation”.

The most interesting of these films is definitely “Mood Indigo”. The quirky film from quirky director Michael Gondry, staring the quirky Audrey Tautou who, quirkily enough, has a flower growing in her lungs. Despite our fondness of art-house directors making superhero movies, we’re glad to see Gondry return to the indie scene after the fairly underwhelming “Green Hornet” and adapting Boris Vian’s classic novel should offer some very interesting results.

British: A Field in England

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For all this talk of sexy Hollywood and sexy France it’s time to return to our dreary isle to see what’s brewing on the home front. Aside from the aforementioned “World’s End” (Christ, it’ll be awesome), we have another comedy legend adapting to the screen in the form of “The Alan Partridge Movie”, which boasts the writing talents of both star Alan Partridge and the wonderful Armando Ianucci. We also have “Welcome to the Punch” which sees James McAvoy face off with Mark Strong, “London Project” which sees Tom Hiddleston working with Joanna Hogg again and Danny Boyle’s new project “Trance” which features James McAvoy (again) trying to remember where he hid a valuable stolen painting with the help of a hypnotist (played by Rosario Dawson).

The most exciting British film of the year comes from Ben Wheatley, who we previously gushed over in our favourite films of the year list thanks to his wonderful “Sightseers”. Wheatley is taking us to the civil war in what very much sounds like a British “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”, as three British soldiers leave the war to hunt for treasure…and find magic mushrooms. The cast actually includes a significant number of British comedy legends including Michael Smiley, Julian Barratt, and Reece Shearsmith. With his history of incredible visuals, great performances and very black humour, we eagerly await anything he has to other, but with such an intriguing premise, “A Field in England” has to have a place on our top ten list.

So, to summarise, our most anticipated films of the year (in order) are:

10. Stoker

09. Mood Indigo

08. Inside Llewyn Davis

07. Iron Man 3

06. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

05. World’s End

04. Only God Forgives

03. A Field in England

02. Elysium

01. The Councilor

Sorry, I got massively carried away during all that. Happy new…February.

P for possibly!

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We're Nerds, and man, do we get bored. Our Twitter: @nerdsgetbored

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