Now that we have survived the Mayan apocalypse, 2013 looks very promising as to what we will see in theaters this year. With Phase 2 of Marvel Studios’ movie timeline about to begin, The Hunger Games proving successful, and The Twilight Saga – hopefully – finally over, 2013 should be a great year to go to the cinema. After the jump, take a look at my top 20 most anticipated movies of 2013.
Needless to say, 2012 was a pretty lackluster year to go to the movies. Nothing completely left me breathless and there were many films that fell short of what was expected of them. Cross my fingers 2013 will be a helluva lot better. Cinephiles will see more sequels, remakes, and adaptations of course, but many show potential – there are also a lot of interesting original stories this year too.
Honorable Mentions: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Oz: The Great and Powerful, Pain & Gain, The Great Gatsby, Oblivion, Movie 43, Much Ado About Nothing, Saving Mr. Banks, The Place Beyond the Pines, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hangover Part III, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
Without further ado, let’s begin shall we (dates subject to change):
47 Ronin [Releases December 25, 2013] – (Directed by Carl Rinsch) Starring Keanu Reeves, Tadanobu Asano, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Rinko Kikuchi
Where has Keanu Reeves been? The last big feature we saw him in was the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still back in 2008. 47 Ronin’s production has seen its fair share of road bumps – with an original 2012 release date. Good news is 47 Ronin is due for a late 2013 release.
The story centers around a group of samurai who must honor their late master and restore dignity to their names. It’s like 13 Assassins on steroids. First time feature-length film director Carl Rinsch feels right for this project (his work can be seen in shorts such as The Gift). Based on his visionary style, my trust is with Rinsch, but for now we can only wait until the first trailer is released.
Gravity [Releases October 18, 2013] – (Directed by Alfnso Cuarón) Starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney
It’s been six years since we last saw Alfonso Cuarón in the director’s chair. His new project, Gravity, was suppose to release in 2012 too, but was also delayed. Gravity places Bullock and Clooney in space trying to make it back to Earth alive after debris hits their shuttle. If you enjoy Children of Men and Cuarón’s work in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Gravity should excite you. I believe this film will be one of the best original movies of the year.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation [Releases March 29, 2013] – (Directed by Jon M. Chu) Starring Dwayne Johnson, Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis, Adrianne Palicki, RZA, Ray Parks, Byung–hun Lee, and Jonathan Pryce
Here’s another movie that was suppose to release in 2012 and never saw the light of day. After some rumored negative feedback at test screenings, Retaliation jettisoned its summer 2012 release and went back to production. Supposedly, the movie was held back to add post-converted 3D, but after the successful 2012 that Channing Tatum had (Magic Mike; The Vow; Haywire; 21 Jump Street), his star power may be a reason for reshoots that include more footage of him.
The trailer looks like a fun ride and far removed from the unbearable silliness that is Rise of Cobra. It also helps that the director behind Step Up 2: The Streets is the one calling the shots – don’t laugh, have you seen the choreography in that movie, it’s pretty fantastic.
Ender’s Game [Releases November 1, 2013] – (Directed by Gavin Hood) Starring Harrison Ford, Abigail Breslin, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Viola Davis, and Ben Kingsley
Not being familiar with the franchise, all I know is that Ender’s Game has been demanded as a film adaptation for quite some time. That is reason enough for me to be interested in. Based on the book by Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game is set 70 years after a horrific alien war, when an unusually gifted child is sent to an advanced military school in space to prepare for a future invasion. The cast is packed full of stars and should be a big contender for your dinero. My only concern is that it is coming from the director who brought us X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Let’s hope that was a hiccup in his career.
Anchorman: The Legend Continues [Releases December 20, 2013] – (Directed by Adam McKay) Starring Will Farrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell, and David Koechner
One of the most quotable films of all time is finally seeing its overdue sequel. There really isn’t much to say about Anchorman 2 that won’t get you into theaters. Despite Will Farrell dishing out some pretty terrible work after the first Anchorman, I will give him a pass because it’s Ron Burgundy and the original Channel 4 news team. Sixty percent of the time, it works every time.
After Earth [Releases June 7, 2013] – (Directed by M. Night Shyamalan) Starring Will Smith and Jaden Smith
If you watch the trailer, little did you know, After Earth is directed by M. Night Shyamalan – whose name never appears once in the promo. Although it being a Shamalamadingdong picture, the trailer captured my attention with its great visuals and unique tone. Will there be a twist? We already know they have crash-landed on Earth, so look forward to a possible reveal in a way that only an M. Night film can deliver.
The Wolverine [Release July 26, 2013] – (Directed by James Mangold) Starring Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Brian Tee, and Hiroyuki Sanada
As long as Fox continues to dish out X-Men movies, we will continue to see them. One day Marvel Studios will retain the rights to the property, and we will rejoice, but for now we play the waiting game. Fox is batting a .600 with their X-Men films, which isn’t bad, but The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine are still pretty terrible. I loved the idea of Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan; Requiem for a Dream; The Wrestler) directing, but alas we have James Mangold (Walk the Line; Knight and Day; Kate & Leopold), who isn’t the worst candidate. They better stick with whatever continuity is left in the franchise. The production team should have learned from Marvel Studios how to set up a successful superhero universe. Regardless, Wolverine is a wonderfully tragic character and I am interested to see where they take him in this Japan storyline.
Monsters University [Releases June 21, 2013] – (Directed by Dan Scanlon) Starring the voices of Billy Crystal, John Goodman, and Steve Buscemi
Pixar needs Monsters University to be incredible. As brilliant as the studio is, their latest releases (Brave and Cars 2) have been pretty underwhelming and haven’t lived up to the reputation we know and love. Monsters Inc. is a fantastic animated feature and I expect this prequel to abide by the same standards of genuine storytelling. What concerns me is who will be the glue – without Boo, what’s going to give this movie the emotional Pixar edge it needs to succeed? Monsters University should be good, but I won’t hold my breath.
Elysium [Releases August 9, 2013] – (Directed by Neill Blomkamp) Starring Matt Damon, Jodie Foster and Sharlto Copley
After the insane Oscar nominated breakthrough debut that Niell Blomkamp had with District 9, his sophomore effort, Elysium, should be high on your radar. Sharlto Copley returns to the world of Blomkamp, bringing Matt Damon and Jodie Foster along for the ride. The entire project has been pretty hush hush, and that can only build my anticipation. With the limited budget for District 9 and the astounding results it produced, I can only imagine how blown away we will be when Elysium releases.
The World’s End [Releases October 25, 2013] – (Directed by Edgar Wright) Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, and Rosamund Pike
There seems to be a lot of original pictures coming out in 2013, but Edgar Wright’s final tale of the Blood and Ice Cream trilogy has the highest potential of them all. Its two predecessors, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz have gone on to be cult comedies, which carries high expectations for The World’s End. You can never go wrong with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and with Wright’s vision we can only believe that this will be his funniest film yet.
Frozen [Releases November 27, 2013] – (Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee) Starring the voices of Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel
Wreck-it Ralph Pixar’d audiences in 2012, and with how fun Tangled is, Disney Animation Studios is a force not to be reckoned with lately. With music from one of the minds behind The Book of Mormon and with the fantastical elements involved with this story, Frozen sounds like a winner already. We’ve had our first look, and presumably more visual elements will be coming as we head closer to Comic-Con and D23 Expo this year.
Man of Steel [Releases June 14, 2013] – (Directed by Zack Snyder) Starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Kevin Kostner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, and Russell Crowe
The Amazing Spider-Man proved to audiences how reboots can under-perform when completely unnecessary and The Incredible Hulk showed us how reboots are able to work when given decent direction. With Zack Snyder behind Man of Steel, after seeing the first trailer, my faith is pretty high. Sure Sucker Punch is almost unwatchable, but that was a Snyder original. He has proven he is the master of reboots/adaptations with 300, Watchmen, and Dawn of the Dead. Not only is Man of Steel a big tent-pole for 2013, but if all goes well, everyone will get on board for the Justice League movie that has a tentative release of 2015.
Pacific Rim [Releases July 12, 2013] – (Directed by Guillermo del Toro) Starring Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kukuchi, Idris Elba, Ron Perlman, and Charlie Day
Giant robots. Giant aliens. Giant robots fighting giant aliens. How could Pacific Rim go wrong? As another original sci-fi epic of the year, all eyes are on Guillermo del Toro to bring us the next big franchise. The scale shown in the trailer is massive and the main lead actors relatively unknown, but the feel of Pacific Rim only sends positive vibes. Watch out Michael Bay, Transformers is about to have nothing on Pacific Rim.
Thor: The Dark World [Releases November 8, 2013] – (Directed by Alan Taylor) Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Kat Dennings, Tom Hiddleston, Zachary Levi, Idris Elba, Christopher Eccleston, Stellan Skarsgard, and Anthony Hopkins
Let’s face it, The Avengers is one of the most inconceivably successful movies of all time. No one ever expected Marvel Studios to pull off such an amazing feat by bringing together five separate films and funnel them into a singular story. Now that Phase 1 is over, we have Phase 2 to look forward to – and with that comes Thor: The Dark World. Assume there will be more outer space drama to add to the Marvel cinematic universe which will open doors to future superheroes to come. This year will test Marvel/Disney as to how well they can ride the gravy train to The Avengers 2 in 2015.
This is the End [Releases June 14, 2013] – (Directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen) Starring Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, Jason Segel, Michael Cera, Mindy Kaling, Emma Watson, and Martin Starr
Hermione Granger is starring in a comedy with Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, and Kenny Powers where they will be portraying themselves. This will be the directorial debut of both Rogen and Goldberg – the duo grew up writing Superbad and Pineapple Express together. Based on the short film, Jay and Seth Versus the Apocalypse, I look forward to seeing a full-length feature adaptation. I love the idea of this movie and the fact that everyone is playing themselves makes it more hilarious to see on screen. Sure there will be some supernatural element to the movie, but with all these funny actors coming together in one big comedy is something you cannot miss.
Star Trek Into Darkness [Releases May 17, 2013] – (Directed by J.J. Abrams) Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch, Alice Eve, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, John Cho, and Karl Urban
Looking back, Star Trek may not have been the most thought out movie of all time, but damn is it entertaining. You really couldn’t ask for a more fun picture to see in theaters. J.J. Abrams took characters that only sci-fi geeks loved and seamlessly brought them into the mainstream without losing any franchise integrity. Based on the trailer, Star Trek Into Darkness has the same grand scale and appeal that the first film did, but with a darker tone. This could be J.J. Abrams’ answer to The Empire Strikes Back for Trekkies. Assume you will be blown out of your seats when this comes to theaters.
Iron Man 3 [Releases May 3, 2013] – (Directed by Shane Black) Starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Kingsley, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, and Jon Favreau
The first entry of Marvel Studios’ Phase 2 is Iron Man 3. Besides 2009, Marvel Studios have given us new superhero movies each year since 2008 and are scheduled to continue up through 2015. Will we burn out? The trailer for Iron Man 3 doesn’t feel like it. Everything about Iron Man 3 feels fresh, as if it is the new beginning to characters we already know and love. The teaser trailer showed us how dark the tone will be and I cannot wait to see how well they’ll pull off a Marvel superhero film without the rest of the Avengers.
Oldboy [Releaes October 11, 2013] – (Directed by Spike Lee) Starring Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, and Sharlto Copley
If you haven’t seen Chan-wook Park’s original 2003 mystery-drama-thriller, Oldboy, than immediately login to Netflix Instant right now and watch it. Oldboy is one of the most frightfully, disturbing dramas you could ever see. Not only does the story captivate, but the whole premise keeps your full attention. As far as the remake goes, I’m not overly thrilled by the thought of Spike Lee directing, but I dig the casting choices. If Lee can pull off the same crazy tension and intensity of the original, than this American adaptation will be superb.
Kick-Ass 2 [Releases June 28, 2013] – (Directed by Jeff Wadlow) Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintze-Plasse, Jim Carrey, Lyndsy Fonseca, and Clark Duke
Being one of my favorite movies of 2010, I have been waiting for the sequel to Kick-Ass for quite some time – no pun intended. The whole gang is back, even Nicolas Cage is rumored to return. But what captures my attention is Jim Carrey, who will bring his charisma to Mark Millar’s world as the villain, Colonel Stars and Stripes. As goofy as the first movie is, it was set in a pretty believable world with fantastic characters. I want to see how things have changed now that more “superheroes” have decided to join in on the fun. What worries me the most is the director, but hopefully the screenplay and the actors can hold it together to bring the same comedy, action, and charm that we know they can deliver.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For [Releases October 4, 2013] – (Directed by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller) Starring Clive Owen, Rosario Dawson, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Jaime King, and Jamie Chung
For YEARS I have waited, patiently since 2005, for a sequel to one of my favorite movies of all time. When I first saw Sin City I left the theater completely dumbfounded by what I had seen. Nothing could compare. After reading the books, I knew there were many more stories from Basin City to tell. Sadly Michael Clarke Duncan is no longer with us, his character has a much bigger role, but I have faith Robert Rodriguez will be able to pull off A Dame to Kill For with stupendous results. Although The Spirit tried to replicate the same intrigue that Sin City had, it wasn’t even on the same level, in fact the movie was atrocious. There is just an incredible visual presence and life that the cast and crew exemplifies in Sin City that I cannot wait for this movie any longer.
And that’s that. Here’s to a promising 2013 and we’ll see you on the other side!