2012 was a really strong year for film, and looking ahead it seems film studios aren’t letting up in 2013. here are a number of films that on paper seem worth a look (in no particular order):
malavita – october 18 2013 – luc besson directs robert deniro and tommy lee jones in a film about a mafia family who are relocated to normandy under witness protection, but cannot leave their past lives behind.
nebraska – late 2013 – alexander payne’s new film starring bruce dern and will forte, about a father and son who travel from montana to nebraska to collect prize money. payne’s films are always uniquely moving and acerbically witty examinations of the human psyche.
only god forgives – may 23 2013 – ryan gosling stars as a muay thai boxer who runs a boxing club as a front for his family’s drug smuggling operations. nicolas winding refn (drive) directs, so it promises to be stylistically bold and probably ludicrously violent.
monuments men – december 20 2013 – directed by and starring george clooney, this film is about a group of museum curators who search europe for pieces of art during hitler’s takeovers in attempt to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture. also starring daniel craig and cate blanchett, so on paper this has academy awards practically oozing out of it.
foxcatcher – TBA 2013 – steve carell in a dramatic role, in this film about john du pont who in 1996 shot and killed an olympic wrestler at his training facility in pennsylvania called ‘team foxcatcher’. du pont was apparently a paranoid schizophrenic and died last year in prison, so this is a solid acting opportunity for carell who we’re used to seeing in much lighter material.
inside llewyn davis – TBA 2013 – the new coen brothers film starring oscar isaac and carey mulligan. based on the life of dave van ronk who played a part in the greenwich village coffeehouse folk scene of the ’60’s that included the likes of bob dylan and joni mitchell.
gravity – TBA 2013 – alfonso cuaron’s (y tu mama tambien, children of men) new film starring george clooney and sandra bullock about two astronauts stuck on a damaged space station spiralling away from earth. cuaron brings such a welcome grounded quality to fantastical stories, so this film is in the right hands.
12 years a slave – TBA 2013 – based on the 1853 autobiography of solomon northrup who was kidnapped and forced into slavery on a louisiana plantation. directed by steve mcqueen (shame) and starring michael fassbender and chiwetel ejiofor, this has the makings of something quite special.
her – TBA 2013 – spike jonze’s new film about a man who develops a relationship with his operating system (what?), starring joaquin phoenix, rooney mara, and amy adams.
filth – TBA 2013 – starring james mcavoy, this is an adaptation of an irvine welsh novel, so promises to be filled with all the human depravity and dark humor that made danny boyle’s trainspotting such a success.
the disappearance of eleanor rigby – TBA 2013 – starring james mcavoy and jessica chastain, apparently about the dramatic end of a relationship, but with a unique choice of being split into two separate films, one from ‘his’ perspective and one from ‘hers’.
stoker – february 28 2013 – park chan-wook’s english language film debut, starring mia wasikowska and matthew goode. park chan-wook’s vengeance trilogy films are so dark, engrossing, and brilliantly shot that it’s safe to expect the same grim focus, but it will be intriguing to see his results when not filming a korean script.
jack ryan – december 25 2013 – kenneth branagh directs his take on the classic tom clancy character, with chris pine taking starring duty and branagh playing the villain. this may not be fantastic, but for some reason the action/espionage genre just never gets old for me.
side effects – february 8 2013 – steven soderbergh’s examination of the pharmaceutical drug industry. soderbergh’s films aren’t always successful, they can be a tad shortsighted, albeit well-intentioned, but i’ll always give him a chance. and this has rooney mara in it, so . . .
elysium – august 9 2013 – directed by neill blomkamp (district 9), matt damon stars in a sci-fi thriller set in 2159 in which humans have been split into 2 classes, those who live elysium, a paradise space station and those who live on a decimated earth.
mama – january 18 2013 – jessica chastain stars in this horror film about a young couple who discover their missing nieces after a five year absence, only to find that they’re being haunted by a mysterious woman (probably going to be awful, and the move from an october 2012 release to january 2013 does not usually bode well, but it’s jessica chastain).
the iceman – may 3 2013 – michael shannon stars as one of the most notorious mafia hitmen, richard kuklinski, in this film about his turbulent life and times. the potential star vehicle for shannon that he so richly deserves.
now you see me – june 7 2013 – a thriller about a group of magicians called ‘the four horseman’ who lead international heists and the fbi agent who tries to bring them down. Starring jesse eisenberg, mark ruffalo, michael caine, and mélanie laurent it sounds ridiculous enough to be interesting.
the place beyond the pines – march 20 2013 – ryan gosling reunites with derek cianfrance (blue valentine) for this story of a motorcycle stunt rider who contemplates crime to provide for his child. blue valentine wasn’t my favorite film, but it showed thought and style, so this is promising.
to the wonder – april 20 2013 – terrence malick’s latest film starring ben affleck and olga kurylenko. a story of a man who reunites with a former romance after his marriage falls apart. the film has been met with very mixed responses and malick is a “love him or hate him” director. i happen to love his films so i’m excited for this, flawed as it may be.
byzantium – TBA 2013 – starring gemma arterton and saoirse ronan as mother and daughter vampires, it’s supposedly a grittier, more grounded view of vampire mythology a la let the right one in.
this is the end – june 14 2013 – directed by evan goldberg and seth rogen this stars james franco as himself throwing a house party as the world ends around him. with jonah hill, michael cera, emma watson, and rihanna also playing fictional versions of themselves, this just sounds absurdly amusing.
in the house – TBA 2013 – starring kristin scott thomas, a french film about a young student who writes essays about his discoveries surrounding a family he associates himself with and the backlash of his revelations. supposedly brilliant.
the great gatsby – may 10 2013 – i don’t want to include this film, but as the first major film adaptation for many years of this most beloved novel it definitely has to be given some notice. just so skeptical of baz luhrman’s apparent approach, but carey mulligan’s presence makes this less cringe-worthy. dicaprio as gatsby though, not currently convinced.
stand up guys – february 1 2013 – al pacino and christopher walken star as former criminal partners reunited after a stint in prison and are now forced to face-off over a contract killing. hopefully a return to form for pacino and walken who have too often become parodies of themselves in recent films.
sin city: a dame to kill for – october 4 2013 – sequel to robert rodriguez’s 20o5 sin city and co-directed with him by frank miller. the first film wasn’t to everyone’s taste obviously, but on a style level it was so unique it stands as one of the more successful adaptations of a graphic novel series.
the world’s end – october 25 2013 – edgar wright’s new film reuniting with simon pegg and nick frost, about a group of friends attempting to complete a pub crawl only to realize that humanity is on the brink of destruction. shaun of the dead and hot fuzz are such brilliant comedies, hopefully this will continue this trio’s previous success.
ender’s game – november 1 2013 – who knows whether this will work, but much like ‘the great gatsby’ i’m intrigued to see the results of adapting this much-praised science fiction series (that admittedly i actually haven’t read). harrison ford and ben kingsley are included in the cast so it has solid actors (not that their film choices of recent years have always been stellar).
oldboy – october 11 2013 – josh brolin stars in this spike lee adaptation of park chan-wook’s film of the same name. the korean version of this film is so brilliant it probably doesn’t need an english language adaptation, but the story is so compelling and lee is truly an intriguing director for the project.
i’m sure there will be many more exciting films over the course of the year and many of these listed will prove to be less than great, but still a lot to look forward to in 2013.