2012 was a great year for Hollywood, both commercially and artistically. The two big blockbusters The Avengers, and The Dark Knight Rises got universal acclaim from fans and critics, and each grossed more than a $1 billion worldwide. While sequels and remakes ruled the box-office, original and intricately made films like Argo, Looper, and Moonrise Kingdom were received favorably by movie-lovers. Even the James Bond movie this year has a 90+ score at Rotten Tomatoes. I think it’s safe to say that this was a happy year at movies for everyone. Well, almost everyone.
Now the end of 2012 is getting closer and we all know what that means — the world will end and everyone will die a horrible death, except John Cusack and his kids, who will make it into a 21st century version of Noah’s Ark. But if that doesn’t pan out, and you’re forced to live your boring lives, then you’ll need movies to occasionally escape into worlds that aren’t frustratingly devoid of explosions. So here are the most anticipated movies of 2013 that you’ll have to watch to join in office conversations:
(The list is devised by consulting an extremely reliable source, i.e. my arbitrary opinion)
10. Gangster Squad
The slick crime drama is set to release in January, and it’s primary selling point is that it features some of the hottest people in the industry in adorable 40s costumes. The only person hotter than Ryan Gosling is Ryan Gosling with a hat. Then there’s Emma Stone as a foxy dame, Sean Penn as a bat-shit crazy mob king, and Josh Brolin as the leader of a clandestine group of cops set out to fight the mafia outside the constraints of this thing called “law”.
It’s a sprawling period drama that paints a tangled web of crime, love, sex, and deceit. Borrowing liberally from sources ranging from L.A. Confidential to L.A. Noire, this visually stunning epic is not to be missed by fans of the gangsters-and-cops-kill-each-other genre.
9. Monsters University
I know what you’re thinking: If Pixar is so keen on making sequels, then why not make a follow-up to The Incredibles? That question has been bothering me too, but I’m willing to give Pixar the benefit of the doubt, despite their recent misfire in Cars 2. This prequel to the beloved 2001 Pixar film is set to release in June, and features Mike and Sulley during their crazier college days at the University Of Fear, when they weren’t best friends yet.
The reaction to this year’s Brave was mixed, as many believed it was a good movie, but not up to Pixar’s incredibly high standards. This movie will be crucial to indicate the future trajectory for Pixar’s quality. Will we get gems like Wall E and Up again, or get drowned in a sea of mediocre sequels, like with Dreamworks? Despite undertones of dissatisfaction in the critical reaction, Brave performed well at the box-office, due to a large fanbase Pixar has gained after years of consistency. Expect Monsters University to similarly rake in millions after it releases next Summer.
8. The Great Gatsby
This stylized adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s seminal novel will release in May next year, in 3D. Directed by Baz Luhrmann, and starring DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and old Spider-Man, it will tell the story of millionaire Jay Gatsby, and his futile pursuit of love for Daisy Buchanan, in an attempt to fill the brazen emptiness in his life. The trailer indicates a departure from traditional cinematic approaches to classic literature.
To appeal to the ADHD-ridden generation, Luhrmann uses his usual unconventional stylistic flourish, incorporating a period setting, CGI cityscapes, and pop music to retell a familiar story. The film is also notable for its use of 3D, making it one of the few non-blockbuster movies to use stereoscopic imaging. After Hugo and Life Of Pi showed filmmakers worldwide that 3D can be used artfully instead of being a lazy, cynical gimmick, it’ll be interesting to see if Gatsby is able to adapt it with ingenuity. If 1920s millionaires moping over shallow flappers is your thing, then make sure to check this out.
7. The Wolverine
After his disappointing outing in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Hugh Jackman returns in another solo venture as the most popular mutant from the Marvel Universe. Filming has already begun, and new pictures indicate a welcome change in hairstyle, and a continued aversion to shirts.
The movie will take place in Japan, where Wolverine will train with samurai warriors to…fight ninjas, I guess/hope? The story is based on pre-existing comic-book arc, which mostly takes place away from the general X-Men universe, which will help the creators pretend the first movie didn’t happen. I have no further knowledge of the plot so I can only presume that Logan teams up with the ninja and samurai armies to fight an anime Godzilla.
6. The Lone Ranger
It’s Pirates Of The Caribbean in the Wild West, as Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp re-team up to reinvent a classic American character. Armie Hammer stars as the titular ranger, named John Reid, and Depp as his eccentric Native American partner. Together, they use their contrasting methods to fight crime, and bring the greedy and the corrupt to justice.
Written by Pirates Of The Caribbean scribes Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, the movie infuses action, humor, and escapism to craft an old-timey adventure for modern audiences. Depp doesn’t hold back his wackiness, as he goes to the extent of literally having a crow on his head. The film releases in July, and Disney hopes to establish a new franchise from it. The trailer doesn’t really sell it, but it’s too soon to judge, considering the talent involved. At the very least, it should be able to do decently at the box-office, unless it contains giants exploding into crabs.
5. Man of Steel
After the end of Batman’s saga, it’s now time for Superman to rise. Again. Zack Snyder directs this new reboot that has been conceived by Chris Nolan and David S. Goyer, and stars Henry Cavill as the flying savior in the gay suit. Amy Adams(Enchanted) stars as Lois Lane, and Michael Shannon as General Zod.
The released teasers and posters indicate that they aren’t dialing down the emo-ness of Supes, despite the unpopularity of Superman Returns. Snyder has repeatedly assured that they are following the precedent set by Nolan, respecting the source material and taking it seriously and not being a slave to the conventions set by previous films. For example, Superman won’t be wearing an underwear this time. I mean on the outside, like he usually did. He could still be wearing one under that tight suit, but I’m too busy staring at his super-bulge to care.
4.Star Trek Into Darkness
The long overdue sequel to the 2009 franchise-starter will finally release next year, and it stars Sherlock Holmes as the villain! J.J Abrams returns along with the rest of the cast, with Benedict Cumberbatch(BBC’s Sherlock) being the sole newcomer, who plays the antagonist.
Very little is known about the plot, as the production has been extremely secretive. The creators have talked about going into a “darker” territory with this one, because the time-travelling mass-murderer in the first one wasn’t dark enough. I hope superficial post-modernism isn’t masqueraded as complexity. All I want is Kirk and Spock realizing their feelings for each other and retiring from the space-exploration business to live in a desolate asteroid and have steamy gay sex for the rest of their lives.
I should probably stop reading fan-fiction.
3. Pacific Rim
To the anguish of many Lovecraft fans, Guillermo Del Toro couldn’t get production started on At The Mountains Of Madness due to studio reluctance. But next year he is finally getting a movie done in Pacific Rim, the action movie Battleship and Transformers wish they were.
The story is basically humans fighting massive sea monsters through huge battle mechs. While it sounds like an average sci-fi plot, what sets the movie part is the direction of Del Toro. Known for Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy, he has a knack for his imaginative set-pieces, and strong visual story-telling. If he brings his best, then this could easily be one of the big surprise hits next year as audiences crave for something unique amidst all been-here-done-that superhero flicks.
2. Iron Man 3
The runaway success of The Avengers has guaranteed a strong presence of Marvel at the box office in the coming years. The Phase II of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe starts with Iron Man 3 , where Tony Stark faces his arch-nemesis Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley.
The trailer indicates a darker, gloomier episode for Stark this time. His gets superhero-PTSD, his mansion get blown up, his suits also explode, and it looks like his new sentient suit has fallen in love with him. You’d expect some relief and rejoice for the guy who nearly sacrificed himself to save the world from aliens, but superheroes have no time for vacations in the Marvel universe.
1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
This would’ve been the final Hobbit movie, if not for Peter Jackson extending the series into a trilogy. One can’t really blame them for trying to milk the franchise, as there aren’t many major Middle Earth books left to adapt after this.
The movie will pick up after Thorin and Company having crossed the Misty Mountains. They must trudge, and trudge a bit more, before accomplishing one quest and setting off for another, and completing the main quest in the end. In their journeys, they will face various adversities, ranging from ruthless creatures to Stephen Colbert, which they shall overcome by bravery, companionship and perseverance. There, I summed up all Tolkien fiction. (I haven’t read the books.)
The first film hasn’t release yet, and it’s to be seen if this series becomes a cultural phenomenon like the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, but I’m sure it’ll hit gold at the box-office regardless.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: Yeah, it’s pretty popular, but it’s still Twilight for a slightly smarter audience, and my strict anti-Twilight stance forbids me from giving any significant attention to its spiritual successors. I’m sorry, but my parents were killed by gay vampires.
Thor: The Dark World: The list is already crowded with comic-book films, including two Marvel movies, one of them by Marvel studios. I’m sure fans of space-jock will understand.
Elysium: The Matt Damon-starrer sci-fi is directed by Neil Blomkamp(District 9), and deals with the themes of class warfare and in a futuristic setting.
Ender’s Game: The sci-fi starring Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley is based on an acclaimed novel that follows a gifted child in a futuristic earth, who is drafted into a military school to prepare for future invasion.
Oldboy: The remake of Park Chan-Wook’s demented thriller stars Josh Brolin, and is directed by Spike Lee. I’m not sure if they’ll keep the really fucked up parts for the American audiences, but I’d love to see that happen.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For: The sequel to the unique 2005 graphic novel adaptation will feature more of the city that might as well be in hell, where innocence dies and evil thrives, a place home to monsters who couldn’t be further from humanity.
Kick Ass 2: Balls to the Wall: It will star Jim Carrey as an ex-mobster-turned vigilante who’ll help Kick-Ass and Hit Girl fight Red Mist, who has renamed himself ‘The Mother Fucker’. Matthew Vaughn won’t be returning as the director. There will presumably be more over-the-top violence and gratuitous swearing by an underage girl, which will somehow pass off as commentary on the superhero genre.
RoboCop: Another needless reboot to a 80s classic, the movie stars Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, and Samuel L. Jackson, and let’s pray it’s either good enough to justify the reboot, or so bad that it bombs and stops Hollywood’s habit of recycling.
Oblivion: Tom Cruise stars in this sci-fi about a court-martialed soldier sent into an distant planet to destroy an alien race. Not much is known about the film, except that Olga Kurylenko co-stars in it, and she’s extremely hot.
After Earth M. Night Shyamalan teams up with Will Smith to in his latest sci-fi to prove the world that his career is still alive. In a twist ending we’ll find out that his career was a ghost all this time.
Carrie: Remake of a 70s classic horror, starring Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore, the story follows a bullied teenage girl who flips out after a cruel prank by her peers and kills everyone by her telekinetic powers.