Looking Ahead: Ethan Picks His Top 13 Most Anticipated Films of 2013
by Ethan Anderton
January 3, 2013
After naming my personal Top 20 Films of 2012, it's time to look forward to an all new year of hopefully great films. This weekend kicks off with a whimper as Lionsgate sends Texas Chainsaw 3D to theaters, but movies like The Impossible, Not Fade Away, Promised Land and Zero Dark Thirty get wider releases. However, there's plenty of great films on the horizons, and while most of them are a few months away, I've decided to compile my 13 Most Anticipated Films of 2013 (because why not?). There aren't too many indies on this list because we'll catch a lot of those at Sundance in a couple weeks, and many of them don't have release dates or distributors just yet. But we'll cover all of those films soon enough. See the list below!
#13. Before Midnight (TBA)
After immensely enjoying Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise and the unlikely sequel Before Sunset, you can bet that I'm absolutely thrilled to be catching the third installment at Sundance in a couple weeks. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy return as Celine and Jesse after another nine years and this time we find them in their early 40s in Greece. But for some reason, the two only have until midnight to share some meaningful conversation and catch up on all the time they've spent away from each other. It's hard to believe it's been nearly 20 years since they first met, and I can't wait to see their latest encounter.
#12. Monuments Men (December 18th)
We don't have a trailer or even a first look photo, but just the story and cast of this new film from director George Clooney is enough to have me more than excited for this likely Oscar contender. The film is an adaptation Robert M. Edsel's book The Monuments Men and tells the true story of a hand-picked group of art experts chosen by the U.S. government to retrieve artwork stolen by the Nazis. Clooney is co-writing the film with his producing partner Grant Heslov (Good Night and Good Luck), and he's also rounded up an impressive cast to join him on the big screen. Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Daniel Craig, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban and Hugh Bonneville are all part of the film, so hopefully that's enough to grab your attention.
#11. The Wolverine (July 26th)
This would be higher on the list if the film was still being directed by Darren Aronofsky, but director James Mangold isn't a bad replacement for this sequel that is supposed to take place sometime after X-Men: The Last Stand. Hugh Jackman returns as our favorite gruff, clawed mutant, but this time he's headed to Japan. Story details are still pretty vague, but Wolverine is said to be facing his ultimate nemesis in a life-or-death battle that will leave him forever changed. Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality, emerging more powerful than we have ever seen him before. It already sounds infinitely better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
#10. Kick-Ass 2 (June 28th)
The sequel to the 2012 comic book adaptation is rounding up a real-life team of Avengers in the form of Justice Forever, a team of heroes joining forces with Kick-Ass (Aaron Johnson) and Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz) to take on Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) who is now a super villain with his own team of bad guys. Jim Carrey and Donald Faison are some of the new heroes and John Leguizamo takes post as a new henchman. This will be a nice R-rated, bloody but of comic book counter programming for those who aren't all that impressed with Marvel's cinematic universe so far.
#9. The Wolf of Wall Street (TBA)
Martin Scorsese teaming up with Leonardo DiCaprio again is enough to get excited, but throw in Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill, Kyle Chandler, Jon Favreau and Jean Dujardin and you've got the making of a great Oscar contender in 2013. There's no official release date yet, and only some paparazzi snaps from the 80s-set drama have surfaced, but with Scorsese and DiCaprio teaming up, you can be sure this will be vying for Academy Awards towards the end of 2013. The financial thriller follows a New York stockbroker who refuses to cooperate in a large securities fraud case involving corruption on Wall Street, the corporate banking world and mob infiltration.
#8. This is the End / The World's End (June 14th / October 25th)
All right, we're cheating a bit here since this is actually two movies, but when you have two apocalyptic comedies from two different comedy powerhouses, you just have to keep them together. This is the End features friends and colleagues James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson and Jonah Hill all playing themselves, facing a threat at the end of the world. Emma Watson and Michael Cera also come along for the ride with a bunch more Hollywood friends, and the red band tease looked hilarious. Meanwhile, director Edgar Wright finally reunites with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost for the final installment of the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, The World's End. The first look photo just emerged featuring Pegg and Frost, and we're hoping for a trailer soon.
#7. Pacific Rim (July 12th)
Guillermo del Toro and giant robots fighting giant monsters. Where do I sign? With a concept that feels straight out of anime, the creative and fantastical mind of Guillermo del Toro is perfect for this kind of large scale sci-fi action blockbuster, and he doesn't need a huge A-list cast to bring it to life. In fact, lead actors Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi and Charlie Hunnam are hardly household names, and Ron Perlman and Charlie Day aren't exactly big box office draws, so this is kind of a risk all around. It's the big action set pieces that have to sell this film and the teaser trailer release late last year did that just fine. It'll be nice to have a del Toro directed feature on the big screen again after years of waiting.
#6. Anchorman: The Legend Continues (December 20th)
It will have been nearly ten years by the time this sequel hits theaters, and the anticipation couldn't be higher. That almost guarantees that director Adam McKay will be facing an unfair amount of scrutiny, especially for a comedy that was never really meant to be a huge hit with quotes that still resonate through pop culture today. But the idea of rounding up Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell and David Koechner, who are all much bigger names today, and some more of their comedian friends who have risen to stardom in the last ten years sounds like it'll at least be fun, even if it ends up not living up to the original.
#5. Gravity (TBA)
After being pushed back to 2013, the eagerly anticipated sci-fi film from director Alfonso Cuaron is almost guaranteed to hot theaters this year, but there's no release date just yet. The film is part of Warner Bros. deal to release a slew of their films on IMAX, so it's just a matter of time. And you can bet that after putting Children of Men at #3 in my picks for the ten best films of the last decade, I'm looking forward to Cuaron's first film since finishing the gritty 2006 sci-fi drama. George Clooney and Sandra Bullock lead the film which follows astronauts attempting to return to Earth after debris crashes into their space shuttle, leaving them drifting alone in space. It's supposed to be quiet, intimate and riveting, so I cannot wait to see what Cuaron has been working on all these years. *Note: the picture above is from Solaris.*
#4. The Great Gatsby (May 10th)
Yes, the new adaptation from Baz Luhrmann is very high on the list, and that's because it looks like a stellar, flashy, but powerful take on F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel. From a cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton to a visual style that is unlike anything that has been seen when adapting this kind of material, there's every reason to be giddy with anticipation. And if I haven't made it clear enough before, I love the use of modern music in the trailers, and can't wait to see what Luhrmann and his crew, along with Jay-Z as a producer, do with the soundtrack.
#3. Iron Man 3 (May 3rd)
You can't help but get excited for the Marvel Studios' movie immediately following The Avengers and the kick-off of Phase Two of their cinematic universe. Plus, this time Kiss Kiss Bang Bang director Shane Black is at the helm and Ben Kingsley is bringing to life Iron Man's arch nemesis The Mandarin with a voice that seems to carry quite a phenomenal performance. The first trailer was more stark (no pun intended) and serious than we anticipated, but we're sure there's humor to be found amongst the darkness when this sequel launches the summer blockbuster season in May. Plus, it'll likely give us a hint of what's to come in Thor: The Dark World later in 2013.
#2. Man of Steel (June 14th)
After Superman Returns, I wasn't sure if I could ever look forward to a new film featuring the Big Blue Boy Scout again. Bringing in Christopher Nolan as a producer was a good move by Warner Bros. but hiring Zack Snyder to direct was a bit of an eyebrow raising decision. However, when that first full trailer for the film arrived, I was more than blown away. It's subtle, quiet, haunting and beautiful. It almost feels like they're lying telling audiences that Zack Snyder directed the film. This might finally be the Superman film fans and cinephiles have been waiting on for far too long now. Can we see some more of Michael Shannon as General Zod sooner than later, please?
#1. Star Trek Into Darkness (May 17th)
Star Trek Into Darkness - As a longtime Star Wars fan, you can't imagine my surprise upon realizing that I've come to love the new Star Trek franchise from J.J. Abrams. And that's coming from someone who hasn't really come to unconditionally love the old film franchise or any of the various TV series. But after Abrams rebooted Star Trek in 2009 with an unbelievable cast, I was hooked. And now all the mystery surrounding the villain and story of this sequel is enough to make this my most anticipated film of the year. From the 9-minute prologue that I've now seen play twice before The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to the amazing theatrical trailer, this sequel looks breathtaking, and I don't know if I can wait until May to see it.
And these movies are just the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty of great films to see each month, and we're sure to add dozens more to your lists of anticipated films once we head to Park City, Utah on January 17th for the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. You can check out all of our Sundance related coverage right here, and stay tuned for all our updates from the mountains on the latest and greatest indie films to hit the circuit. In the meantime, feel free to tell us some of your most anticipated movies of 2013 in the comments below!