Having put 2012 to rest with a Top 15 list, it’s time to look forward through the New Year and pick out the most exciting films on offer. Frankly, the year is so crammed with potential greatness that this list could have easily been twice as long. Not every film listed is a sure thing, but these are the ones I’m most eager to sit down for. Check out the bottom of the piece for a more exhaustive rundown of the year’s potential. With that, let’s dive in…
Key Good Omen: Fuck a pale orc- dragons and necromancers will certainly up the stakes.[May 10th]
Key Good Omen: It remains to be seen how Mulligan, Maguire and the rest will shape up, but there’s almost no chance DiCaprio’s performance alone won’t be worth the time.[October 11th]
Key Good Omen: Considering Oldboy is itself a South Korean adaptation of a Japanese manga, there’s nothing wrong with another approach to the material, especially with a new distinctive vision behind it.[December 20th]
Key Good Omen: A return of all the key guys to mix with a new generation of comedic talents.[June 14th]
Key Good Omen: There’s a huge batch of comedians in this loose network, but this particular roster appears to be finely tuned. And more Craig Robinson is always a good thing.[February 8th]
Key Good Omen: Soderbergh’s working with a great cast, including the lovely, talented Rooney Mara and his recent muse and proven leading man, Channing Tatum.[June 14th]
Key Good Omens: Michael Shannon as a villain is all I need to hear. Might Zod end up being a classic heavy once again?[TBA]
Key Good Omen: A much shorter length of time between Jonze films! I’m not down with waiting another seven years after Where The Wild Things Are for another one, even if he has kept busy with videos and cool shorts.[March 28th]
Key Good Omen: The partnership of Refn and Gosling resulted in one of the best movies of 2011, so there’s plenty of cause to be excited for another round.atrocious series of events, but the darkly comedic, clearly simplified version of the story looks amazing. Swollen (puffy) Mark Wahlberg is a great choice to partner with the as-ripped-as-ever, but seemingly lily-livered character from Dwayne Johnson. The tone of the trailer and the rap-video cinematography aimed at 90s Miami are already a blast in the trailer. [April 26th]
Key Good Omen: Michael Bay unleashing his undeniable talents on something other than robots.[October 25th]
Key Good Omen: Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright get along well enough as solo entities, but at the end of the day, they don’t get any better than they do together.[April 5th]
Key Good Omens: The odd ambiguity of the trailer is intriguing, but this is all pedigree-based excitement until it unspools (or buzz from Sundance starts up).[July 11th]
Key Good Omens: Guillermo Del Toro with a budget.
Key Good Omen: The match of director and material- an incredible eye meeting an important subject.[TBA]
Key Good Omen: Another one well over half-a-decade coming, this will be following up one of the absolute best films of the last decade. Unmissable.
••••••••••••••••••••While those 15 are the films that particularly excite me, 2013 promises to be a year crammed full of potential. Here is a look at the rest of the coming year’s landscape of releases…
I Declare War / Violet & Daisy / AntiviralI’ve seen all three of the films above and I can tell you they’re ones you should seek out. I Declare War was one of the biggest blasts I experienced in a theater last year, with its child warfare and earnest exploration of growing up. Violet & Daisy is a small, weirdo crime movie with great performances from Saoirse Ronan, Alexis Bledell, and James Gandolfini. Antiviral might be the most satisfyingly gross and off-putting film you’ll see all year.
The Grandmaster / Gangster Squad / Fast Six / Riddick / Bullet To The Head / R.I.P.D. / The Hunger Games 2 / Jack Ryan / The Last Stand / Snitch
Two long-delayed genre action films, a follow up to a shockingly great car chase franchise, the resurrection of a fun, weirdo space opera, more old man action, and a paranormal investigation film pairing Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges? These should all be a lot of fun, and one or two might even turn out to be special. I’m skeptical on the Hunger Games sequel, but Francis Lawrence could turn it around. Paramount put a lot of work into Jack Ryan– delaying production for rewrites and avoiding a rush. That could be dark horse greatness. And maybe Jee-woon Kim knocked his American debut out of the park and has made a tongue-in-cheek Schwarzenegger action classic? Also, The Rock in anything action.
Thor 2 / Iron Man 3 / The Wolverine Kick Ass 2 / 300: Rise Of An Empire / Sin City 2
Naturally there are plenty of big comic book sequels hitting this year, but this might be a particularly great pack. In fact, Tony Stark and Logan might just have the talent behind them to bounce back after their last disappointing outings.
Elysium / Oblivion / Ender’s Game / Star Trek Into Darkness / After Earth
Gravity is just the tip of the iceberg- there are metric shit ton of big scifi movies coming this year. I’ve got a lot of faith in Blompkamp to do something great, a fair amount of trust in JJ Abrams to do something fun, and I actually have a little hope for Shayamalan to do something competent again. “Fool me once” and all that make me skeptical of Kosinski’s Oblivion, but it looks great so far.
Mud / The Place Beyond The Pines
Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine and Jeff Nichols Take Shelter both shoved their directors right under the indie spotlight, and now both have follow ups coming up. Ryan Gosling-vehicle Place Beyond the Pines already has great buzz, and the Matthew McConaughey back-country story Mud is definitely one to keep an eye on.
Saving Mr. Banks / 42 / Captain Phillips
Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson. The trailer for the latter looks great already, and the pedigree of the former is more than enough to flag it as an interesting project. Tom Hanks is on the biopic game twice though, working with Paul Greengrass on the bio of a Somali pirate hostage survivor.
To-Do List / Warm Bodies / Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 / Last Vegas / Secret Life Of Walter Mitty / The Hangover IIIAn Aubrey Plaza indie sex comedy and a zombie romance actually look to be two of the year’s strongest comedy prospects. The first Cloudy film is beloved, so a second gets the benefit of the doubt for now. Last Vegas could go either way, but Freeman, Kline, DeNiro, and Douglas might be fun if it’s not totally Old Dogs hacky bullshit. Ben Stiller’s whimsical dramedy is still an unknown factor, but worth keeping an eye out for. And, of course, the juggernaut comedy trio returns again this year – will they shake things up enough this time to matter?
Trance / Inside Llewyn Davis / Knight Of Cups / To The Wonder / Nymphomaniac
Danny Boyle and the Coen Brothers both have contributions to the year’s slate. I don’t expect I need to explain the significance of that. Terrence Malick has two films that will (most likely?) drop this year, and Lars Von Trier is going pornographic with his big ensemble sex film. Honestly, any of these could have be tossed into the main list above.
World War Z / The Lone Ranger / 47 Ronin / Oz: The Great & Powerful / G.I. Joe 2
Save for Oz, these are all massive studio project with budget problems, reshoots, and all manner of issue plaguing them. That said, each has at least some chance of being a worthwhile action film. It will be fun to see which, if any of them, turn out well.
Evil Dead / Carrie / Texas Chainsaw 3D / You’re Next / Mama / Lords Of SalemI’m not much of an authority on horror, but between the three major remakes/sequels, a long-shelved but buzzed-about indie title, and another Spanish-language horror original shepherded by Del Toro, there are strong prospects. Each has an interesting component or two in its favor at the very least, with Carrie especially catching my eye. I couldn’t be more excited to check out Rob Zombie’s controversial new creepfest, and it’s another one that would be on the top 15 list above had I recalled that it was finally coming!