Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My Most Anticipated Movies of 2013!

It's that time of year again where I get my double dose of movie-going pleasure, so it must be New Year's! And because the dawn of a new year in film is upon us, I figured I'd share the films with which I'm most excited to see in 2013! (Please note that all release dates of the films could change). Here they are in alphabetical order:

Captain Phillips
This film is about Capt. Richard Phillips (portrayed by Tom Hanks) and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the U.S. MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in 200 years. I'm a big fan of Hanks and I think this will be interesting to see him in a non-fictional role (he hasn't done that since 2007's Charlie Wilson's War), and especially with the director being Paul Greengrass, who did a wonderful job with the 9/11 film, United 93To Be Released: October 11, 2013.

Disney films nowadays are not just for kids. They've proven that time and again with hits such as Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, as well as the Pixar films of Toy Story 3, Up, Finding Nemo, Brave, and Wall-E. Disney's next sure-to-be-hit is Frozen -- a tale that is based on Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale The Snow Queen. This isn't the first time Disney has adapted one of his stories; for those who don't know or remember, The Little Mermaid was based on Andersen's tale and they've had some "modest" success with that one. This story is about Anna (Kristen Bell), who is cursed by her estranged sister, the evil Snow Queen (Idina Menzel). To remove the curse, she must travel across frozen icelands to reach the Queen. Of course, she has a small group to help her on her journey: Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), his one-antlered reindeer, and an enchanted snowman, Olaf (Josh Gad). Seeing the cast, there's no doubt this will be musical since most of the cast come from Broadway backgrounds; Groff from Spring Awakening and FOX's Glee, Menzel from Rent, Wicked and Glee, and Gad (the new generation's answer to Chris Farley) from The Book of Mormon. I can usually count on Disney to deliver the goods in terms of story and entertainment. It makes going to a "kids movie" all the more tolerable for us parents. To Be Released: November 29, 2013.

Gangster Squad
(PLEASE NOTE: This film was to originally be released on September 7, 2012, but was pushed back and thusly it appears on my previous anticipated films listing.) This is one of my most anticipated films of 2012 2013! The film focuses on the LAPD fighting to keep the east coast Mafia out of Los Angeles in the 1940s and 1950s. Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin play cops who go head to head with mobster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn). Emma StoneNick NolteGiovanni RibisiRobert Patrick, and Anthony Mackie round out the cast in this tale from comedic director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland30 Minutes or Less) and Castle writer Will Beall -- based on the book Tales of the Gangster Squad by Paul Lieberman. Although this looks like a major reiteration of Brian De Palma's 1987 masterpiece The Untouchables, I'm hoping this film at least goes right where Johnny Depp's Public Enemies (a wonderful book, a terrible movie) went wrong: sticking close to the book! To Be Released: January 11, 2013.

A Good Day to Die Hard
After just watching the original film, I'm always excited about the new prospect of seeing John McClane (Bruce Willis) back on the big screen! The last installment (Live Free or Die Hard) was so good and the writers Mark Bomback and David Marconi were so wise to include the presence of McClane's daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), that this time, writer Skip Woods is including McClane's son, Jack (Jai Courtney), who has got a secret from dear old dad, bringing McClane all the way to Russia. If the film is as much fun as the trailer, this may be the best action film of the year. Let's hope this lives up to fans' expectations. To Be Released: February 14, 2013.

The Great Gatsby
(PLEASE NOTE: This film was to originally be released on December 25, 2012, but was pushed back and thusly it appears on my previous anticipated films listing.) This is a story that seems to be so made for director Baz Luhrmann (Strictly Ballroom, William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!) to make and I'm equally excited to see DiCaprio take on the role of Jay Gatsby, and the rest of the cast are really impressive as well (Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, and Isla Fisher). The only downside to this film is that in has a lot riding on its success as Great Gatsby fans (me included) are aplenty and expect a very faithful, emotionally full adaptation to this wonderful story. As always, though, be sure to read the book before seeing the film. No matter how great this film may be, it can't top the original printed word! OH, and that AMAZING song in the trailer is a cover of a U2 song called "Love is Blindness" by Jack White (of The White Stripes)! To Be Released: May 10, 2013.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
OK. So this has complete cheesy written all over it! But I'm always a sucker for these Grimm's Fairy Tales-turned-badass tales (i.e., The Brothers Grimm, Snow White and the Huntsman, etc.) and this is my guilty pleasure pick for the year! Plus, the fact that Gemma Arterton is in it doesn't hurt either. Told from a different perspective, this version features a kick-ass brother and sister witch-hunting team whose sole purpose is to destroy as many witches as possible. And that's no surprise knowing what they went through when they were little kids. Then, to find out that their parents were murdered by one? Well, sit back and enjoy all the action! To Be Released: January 25, 2013.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
This is the second installment in Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy, and it's sure to be a doozy! I enjoyed the first installment (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey), even though there was a slight, very short lull in it (that would be the meeting scene between Gandalf, Galadriel, and Elrond in Rivendell). But with the introduction of the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch), there's sure to be much more action. I'm a big fan of Cumberbatch's ever since I saw him on the BBC's Sherlock, and I will slightly be geeking out over the fact that he'll be reunited (although digitally) with his co-star Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins). To Be Released: December 13, 2013. 

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
I've been anxiously awaiting a Steve Carell-Jim Carrey team-up and it's finally here!!! Co-written by ex-Freaks-and-Geeks, current Bones star John Francis Daley, Wonderstone is a fairly basic comedy about magic but with a dynamite cast and what's sure to be some great improv comedy, as well as movie quotes that will be remembered by the pop culture geeks for years to come. It's great to see Jim Carrey do what he does best. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad he's branched out to dark comedies and dramas, but this is the stuff with which he excels. Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, and Alan Arkin are even more incentive for what looks to be one of the funniest of the year. To Be Released: March 15, 2013.

Iron Man 3
It seems like The Avengers was just the beginning for the stars of the Marvel universe. In Tony Stark's (Robert Downey, Jr.) life, the battle that took place in New York in The Avengers left Stark psychologically scarred and unsure of himself. Then, out of the blue, he and all of those closest to him are attacked and his business is left in shambles. It's up to Stark to find out who's trying to destroy him. Enter the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) and the comic writer Warren Ellis' "Extremis" storyline from the comic! Of course, Downey makes the movie, but what really gets me excited about this film is the addition of new director and co-writer Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, The Monster Squad, The Last Boyscout, Last Action Hero, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) and his finally bringing some darkness to the Marvel movie franchise. To Be Released: May 3, 2013.

Kick-Ass 2
Based on the comic by Mark Millar, Kick-Ass was a huge hit when it was released in 2010. Naturally, since the comic continued with Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall, there would have to be a movie sequel. The pros are the casting of Jim Carrey as Colonel Stars and Stripes, Donald Faison (Scrubs) as Doctor Gravity, and Lindy Booth (2004's Dawn of the Dead) as Night Bitch. The cons are that the director is not Matthew Vaughn (although he is producing) but Jeff Wadlow, whose recent credits are the horrible Cry_Wolf and equally dreadful Never Back Down. What makes me also wary is that Lionsgate is not returning to produce the film, however, Universal Pictures picked it up (things that make you go Hmmmm ...). Either way, I'm looking forward to seeing Chloe Grace Moretz return as Hit-Girl, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse's transformation from Red Mist into the villain The Motherf@*#er. I only wonder if the film will be as brutally violent as the comic. To Be Released: August 16, 2013.

Man of Steel
This is the movie I'm anticipating the most in the new year! Unlike most critics and audiences, I didn't mind Bryan Singer's 2006 attempt, Superman Returns. However, with director Zack Snyder now on board (known for his action), as well as producer Christopher Nolan (director of the Dark Knight Trilogy), Man of Steel exudes the confidence that all of us Superman fans have been patiently awaiting in a Superman movie since the original 1978 version. From the look of Zod (Michael Shannon), it looks like writer David S. Goyer is following close to the modern-age Superman in the comics (New Earth/New 52 Superman) ... and that's just fine with me. British actor Henry Cavill picks up the mantel of the red cape and I think he'll do great with it. Every time I watch the trailer below, I get chills; can't wait to see this one! To Be Released: June 14, 2013.

Monsters University
The prequel to Disney Pixar's 2001 mega-hit Monsters Inc. is finally here! I wish I could say that it was just the kids that were excited. But adults (this one included!) are SOOO happy to see where beloved characters Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and Sully (John Goodman) got their start in their careers and in their friendship. The first film is one of my favorite animated films of all time (preceded by Up, Toy Story 3, and Wreck-It Ralph), so I'm excited to share in going to see this new one with my daughters. Plus, it will be fun to see these monsters running wild in college. To Be Released: June 21, 2013.

Much Ado About Nothing  
I always tell people that there are two filmmakers that I always trust to make a good, entertaining film. One is J.J. Abrams and the other is Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator and Avengers director Joss Whedon. So when I heard Whedon is tackling Shakespeare with his own take on Much Ado About Nothing -- and better yet, reunited star-crossed lovers Wesley (Alexis Denisof) and Fred (Amy Acker) from his show Angel -- I was sold on wanting to see this. Whedon is a master at modern-day speak/dialogue without sounding too pretentious or out-of-touch. There have been plenty of rave reviews already on this, plus the supporting cast of other Whedon alumni Nathan Fillion, Sean Maher, Tom Lenk and Fran Kranz, I'm anxious to see this. For those unfamiliar with the story, Shakespeare's tome is about two sets of lovers -- Benedick (Denisof) and Beatrice (Acker) constantly proclaim their disrespect for love and marriage, whereas Claudio (Kranz) and Hero (Jillian Morgese) are madly in love and head over heels for each other -- and their relationships are tested by the tricky Don John (Maher). It's a bit of a romantic comedy from a man that not many knew invented the romantic comedy ... Shakespeare. To Be Released: June 21, 2013.

  Now You See Me
 Steve Carell might be bringing the funny with his magical comedy The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, but Jesse Eisenberg (who wow-ed in The Social Network), Dave Franco (James' baby brother), Isla Fisher, and the likeable-as-hell Woody Harrelson bring the drama and glitz of magic this year. The foursome star as magicians called the Four Horsemen who use their illusions to pull bank heists during their performances, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor and unfortunate. Mark Ruffalo stars as the FBI agent who's pursuing them and Morgan Freeman is a "magic debunker" who is contacted by Ruffalo to assist in the case. I'm not the biggest fan of director Louis Leterrier, but this one looks like it might just get good accolades for the director. To Be Released: June 7, 2013.

Let's forget for a moment that this film was directed by TRON: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski, OR that it was co-written by Michael Arndt (who will be writing the new Star Wars Episode 7 (IMDb) due out in 2015). This future sci-fi actioner starring Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman features Cruise as a drone repairman who finds a secret, crashed spaceship on a war-ravaged Earth. He must fight a savage alien race all to help save mankind (of course!). For those jonesing for a solid sci-fi film, this looks to be the first of the year. To Be Released: April 19, 2013.

Oz: The Great and Powerful
Sam Raimi has finally returned to the director's chair for this small little undertaking: Disney's  PREQUEL to the classic film, The Wizard of Oz! Sorry, all of you Wicked fans, but this is the tale of how the "Wizard" arrived in Oz and how the three witches came to be the ones we see in the 1939 classic. I already know who's to become the infamous Wicked Witch, but I can't wait to see how Oz looks through Raimi's eyes. With a cast of great actors (James Franco, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis and ... Bruce Campbell(!!!!)), there's no limit to how entertaining this film could be. To Be Released: March 8, 2013.

Pacific Rim
When I first heard of this film, I wasn't all too impressed. And when I read the vague description about it ("When an alien attack threatens the Earth's existence, giant robots piloted by humans are deployed to fight off the menace."), I couldn't help but think: Voltron? But then I saw the trailer and now I'm looking forward to this! Starring Idris Elba (Prometheus), Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy), and Rinko Kikuchi (Babel), this action film -- directed by Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy) -- shows traces of monsters that look like they came from Cloverfield and promises to be a hit summer popcorn flick that will pull in a lot of money. To Be Released: July 12, 2013.

Promised Land
 Don't let the morose movie poster fool you. This film looks like one of the best dramas of the year and the combination of Matt Damon, John Krasinski (NBC's The Office) and the radiant Rosemarie DeWitt keep the balance of drama and comedy that one might not expect from director Gus Van Sant. The film centers around a salesman (Damon) from a natural gas company who comes to a small town to try and buy their land for a natural resource. This film came out at a critical time when the country is still reeling from bad deals made in 2008 (and are continued being made); one can't help but make slight comparisons to Bruce Springsteen's 2012 hit "Death to My Hometown." This is a film that most corporate-minded individuals will scoff at and hate; but, to me, it's honest. To Be Released: January 4, 2013.

Saving Mr. Banks
Alright! Don't get too excited/flustered! This is not a new Mary Poppins movie. This film is about the drama of the making of Disney's 1964 musical movie Mary Poppins. A lot of people don't know this bit of trivia, but Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers was extremely difficult to work with during the filming of the movie and did not approve of the final product. In this film, Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) has his hands full while trying to move production along on his latest musical live-action film Mary Poppins, but the book's author, P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) proves to be just as much of a handful -- if not, more so -- than her fictional counterpart. I'm also excited to see Jason Schwartzman (HBO's Bored to Death) and B.J. Novak (NBC's The Office) as music-writing/brother team Richard and Robert Sherman, respectively (BTW, if you love documentaries, check out The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story). I've always wondered what specific problems Travers caused Disney and am grateful for the cinematic answer. Also, for those wondering why the film is called Saving Mr. Banks, think of the film/story of Mary Poppins and what happens to the family at the end of the story. Mr. Banks, the father, is transformed from a stuffy, unloving parent who is never around to play with his children to a loving, playful dad; in a way, the story of Mary Poppins is not about her saving the children, but about saving the father.  To Be Released: December 20, 2013.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
This sequel ... um, er ... prequel ... whatever ... has been a LONG time coming! Director Robert Rodriguez and co-director/writer Frank Miller have supposedly been working tirelessly on the script (based on book 2 of Miller's masterpiece) and trying to get back as many of the original cast that they could (with the exception of Clive Owen as Dwight, Devon Aoki as Miho, and the late Michael Clarke Duncan as Manute). Hopefully, it pays off when this hits theaters. I was completely bowled over by the first Sin City because of its heavy devotion to the graphic novels. This story will follow Dwight (Josh Brolin) and his run-in with the woman who broke his heart, Ava Lord (the excellently cast Eva Green), whom he must rescue from thugs. To Be Released: October 4, 2013. (NOTE: THIS FILM'S RELEASE DATE HAS BEEN PUSHED BACK TO AUGUST 22, 2014.)

Springsteen & I
Director/producer Ridley Scott and his late filmmaker brother's (Tony Scott) film production company, Scott Free, is producing this Springsteen flick, directed by Baillie Walsh, not so much about musician Bruce Springsteen himself ... but more about his fans. As a diehard fan who is proud to consider himself a part of this "family," I know I'm biased in placing this film in here, but I have never anticipated a music documentary more than this one! If I had to describe Springsteen in three words, they'd be "poet," "hope," and "faith." To Be Released: July 22, 2013.

Star Trek: Into Darkness
You don't have to be a Trekkie to be excited for this one. Anyone who's seen the first Star Trek helmed by director J.J. Abrams knows that this one is going to be really good. Add in one of my favorite new actors Benedict Cumberbatch (do yourself a favor and rent or buy both seasons of the BBC's Sherlock. RIGHT. NOW.), as the main baddie and I'm there! I've often told friends and anyone who will listen that I always trust in two directors: Joss Whedon and Abrams. So I have no doubts that this one will be nothing short of spectacular. To Be Released: May 17, 2013.

This is the End
OK. It's as if writers/directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg decided to dig into my thoughts about my dream cast for their next comedic hit. Ever funny, young actor (most of them alumni of Judd Apatow shows/movies) that's been in most of the recent comedies you love is in this film: Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Jason Segel, David Krumholtz, Michael Cera, Martin Starr, Paul Rudd, Mindy Kaling, Aziz Ansari, Kevin Hart, and Emma Watson. And the best part is that they all play themselves. The premise is simple. Baruchel, Rogen, Hill, Robinson and McBride go to Franco's house for a party, then wake up to having to face the apocalypse. Sounds dark but with all of these actors involved, there's sure to be plenty of laughs. Sounds like a plot so simple, but, sometimes, when there's lots of laughs, simple is all you need. To Be Released: June 14, 2013. (WARNING: THIS IS A RED BAND MOVIE TRAILER AND HAS EXPLETIVE LANGUAGE.)

The Way, Way Back
In the same vein of recent gems like Away We GoIt's Kind of a Funny Story and The Perks of Being a Wallflower comes a coming-of-age film of 14-year-old Duncan (Liam James) who goes with his mom (Toni Collette) and her overbearing boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell) on summer vacation to a cabin and spends his summer with his mom's embarrassing friends. However, while at the local themed water park, Duncan makes a friend in the manager Owen (Sam Rockwell) and employee Roddy (Nat Faxon), and he learns to open up and find his place in the world. This looks like a really amazing film so I'm excited and hope it's not just merely overhyped. To Be Released: July 5, 2013.

The Wolverine
A lot of critics did not like the first solo Wolverine film, but I thought it was well-done (I liked it much better than Bryan Singer's X-Men) and I'm really looking forward to this installment which -- because of the character's history -- could either be a prequel or sequel. All is known about the plot for this film is Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) travels to Japan to train with a samurai warrior. There three possible storylines from the comics that could be used here: either (1) Logan's 1937 run-in with Ogun, (2) in 1945 where he finds love with a girl in Hiroshima, or (3) post-WWII where he conceives a child with Itsu. From the casting, it looks like options 1 and 3 are out. But it is rumored that Frank Miller's Wolverine is being used as the basis, HOWEVER, the film's story is set after the 2006 film, X-Men: The Last Stand. To Be Released: July 26, 2013.

World War Z
Based on the novel by Max Brooks, with a screenplay by Lost showrunner Damon Lindelof and directed by Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace), this story involves a United Nations worker (Brad Pitt) who's trying to stop the outbreak of a deadly zombie pandemic. Now, if it's done right, I like a good zombie movie as much as the next guy. And while the jury is still out on whether there's any real excitement factor to this, not to mention that it sort of follows a little too closely to 2007's I Am Legend, the crew mentioned above is enough to have me wanting to see this when it comes out this summer. To Be Released: June 21, 2013.

Zero Dark Thirty
When I first heard of this film, I have to admit that I was not too excited, impressed or even anxious to see it. However, I've heard SO many great things about it that I figured I needed to give it a try. I am a big fan of director Kathryn Bigelow's 2008 hit The Hurt Locker, so it will be interesting to see what she does here. I also am a big fan of Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt, and Kyle Chandler, so that will definitely not hurt the chances of this being a solid, good film. All in all, though, I believe the topic of the hunt and assassination of Osama bin Laden is a touchy one because, first of all, it's still very recent news and the fact that the U.S. government would release all of the details is a bit hard to swallow. Also, Hollywood doesn't have the best reputation when it comes to sticking with the facts, so their "events added for dramatic effect" might be on the heavy side -- especially what will most likely be portrayed as the "nonstop pursuit" of bin Laden; if this were true to life, there'd be a 9-year lull in the search of the infamous terrorist. Instead, I'm concerned this will be some star-spangled, government-sponsored propaganda piece. Nevertheless, the topic is controversial and intriguing so consider me there! To Be Released: January 11, 2013.

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