Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Most Anticipated - 2013

2013 is here!  A new year of film, and time to make all of those resolutions to yourself that you never really follow up.  For once, I would like to actually fulfill one New Year's Resolution by year's end, perhaps I have always aimed too high, but to be honest, it's just cause I'm a procrastinator.  This year, no procrastination, my New Year's Resolution is to write and direct my first feature film, with it being done in time to submit to 2014's Sundance Film Festival.  I'm aiming high, I know, but I feel it can be done.  The big thing is, I don't have the script yet, but that's my first order of business.  To be perfectly honest, I feel that I could have the film made by year's end, but in time to make the deadline for submissions to Sundance really puts me on the clock and gives me a pseudo-deadline so I can't procrastinate and say, well, next year.  But enough chit-chat about what I wanna try and accomplish personally this next year, what I really want to do here is geek out about the films to come this year.

With 2012 now in the rearview mirror, I feel I can actually get legitimately excited by the films of 2013, and there is a ton coming out this year that has me giddy.  While I still haven't fully wrapped up my coverage on the films of 2012, I plan on posting my 2012 Best of Film Lists starting January 14th.  Till then, it's all about 2013.  2013 is a year that looks to be full of tons of awesome comic book adaptations and continuations of great film franchises.  While at the outset it seems to be scant on original ideas, the geek inside of me can't deny my excitement for all of these films that will be hitting theaters this whole next year.  So I'll honestly just stop trying to drum up excitement, and I am gonna get on to what are my 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2013!

10.  Jack Ryan
Tom Clancy's famed CIA analyst, Jack Ryan, finally returns to the bigscreen next Christmas, with actor Chris Pine (Captain Kirk from 2009's Star Trek) filling the shoes of Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck, respectively.  Being the fourth in a long line of Jack Ryan's is a daunting task, in particular when you're having to live up to Ford's iconic portrayals in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, but Jack Ryan has many things going for it.  Not only is Pine one of the more charismatic action stars since Harrison Ford's heyday ended, but the film also features a big name cast, from Keira Knightley, to Kevin Costner, all the way to Kenneth Branagh pulling double duty as both director and bad guy in the film.  With Branagh fresh off the success of the first Thor film, proving his action chops, I can't wait to see how this one turns out.  I just hope they uphold the tone of the previous Ryan films.  Jack Ryan has never necessarily been a James Bond man of action, but rather a thinking man who isn't the best person out in the field to execute the mission.  All of the other films were more thinking man's thrillers, we'll see if they go more for insane action come Christmas Day.

9.  Rush
The first of two films on this list that I had on last year's list as well.  As things often go in Hollywood, movies get delayed as things like effects and whatnot start coming into the mix.  What I'm most intrigued about Rush is that it follows Formula-One racer Niki Lauda, who must get back behind the wheel to race rival, James Hunt, only mere weeks after a devastating crash in 1976.  The film has prestige product written all around it, for two reasons:  it's a biopic, and it's directed by Ron Howard, however, like Howard's work with Apollo 13, this has a chance to be as entertaining as it is prestigious.  With car racing being a central motif throughout the film, it will make this one of the more entertaining biopic's made in who know's when.  Plus, as I said last year, I really want to see Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth, sink his teeth into a more dramatic role with the part of James Hunt.  Check it out when it hits this September.

8.  The Wolverine
After the debacle that was X-Men Origins:  Wolverine, I almost thought Hugh Jackman should hang up the claws, but I have to say I'm oddly excited for that film's follow-up, The Wolverine.  First off, it's not a direct sequel to that prequel film, but rather it follows the third X-Men film, X-Men:  The Last Stand.  Second, it tells the story of quite possibly the most popular Wolverine comic story of all-time, where Wolverine goes to Japan, trains under a samurai and gets mixed up with the Yakuza.  What really intrigues me is that director James Mangold said that this will be one of the first superhero films ever made where the good guys and bad guys aren't so clear.  Almost every character will be in that morally gray area, which will make for what could be one of the more unique superhero films ever produced.  We'll see, but given the darker, more grounded tone Mangold seems to be going for, and also noticing how ripped Hugh Jackman got to reprise the role, there is no way I wont be in the theater come July for this one.

7.  Saving Mr. Banks
For me, this is one of the more intriguing films coming out in 2013.  The screenplay, which gained notoriety when it made 2011's Black List of the best unproduced screenplays in the industry, as voted on by film producers, the film will now finally be coming to a theater near you, courtesy of Disney.  This truly is a perfect family film for Disney that could also put them in the major awards' hunt next year if they so choose.  The film tells the story of Mary Poppins' author P.L. Travers (portrayed by Emma Thompson), and the multi-year long negotiations between her and Walt Disney to get the book to the silver screen, while we see Travers' childhood and how it inspired Mary Poppins.  This is the type of film that could easily turn into schmaltz, but given the talent onboard, it's hard not to think this truly is something more than just your average biopic.  Emma Thompson is a magnificent actress, and is perfect casting, but the performance I can't wait to see is Tom Hanks as Walt Disney.  I have to say I was initially taken aback by it, but the more I think about, the more I realize, the best way to portray an icon is to have an icon play him, and Tom Hanks just seems to be the right fit.  This is one to keep your eyes on as it comes out Christmas week next December.

6.  Gravity
Another film that was on last year's list, but got delayed.  Director Alfonso Cuaron (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Children of Men) makes his bigscreen return with this film, telling the story of two astronauts trying to return to Earth after their ship is damaged, leaving them drifting through space. Children of Men is one of the finest sci-fi films of the past decade, and Cuaron is one of the more original directors currently working.  His insane imagination and propensity for long takes rather than quick cutting has made him famous, with word of a twenty minute long opening shot for Gravity having me giddy with excitement.  Then, there's the cast, which is essentially a two person show between Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.  A large name cast for a cast so small.  While Bullock only got the role after Angelina Jolie and Natalie Portman both dropped out, ditto for Clooney after Robert Downey, Jr. departed the film, both Bullock and Clooney are top notch actors and it's exciting to think about the two playing off one another as their characters are trying to survive.  Gravity is supposed to hit theaters this October, fingers crossed that perfectionist Cuaron wont delay it again.

5.  Thor:  The Dark World
The first Thor has really grown on me since it first was released two years ago, and this is by far the film I'm most excited about out of Marvel's Phase Two following up The Avengers.  First, we never got a true follow-up in The Avengers to the relationship between Thor and human love, Jane Foster, and their romantic comedy-like relationship was one of the highlights of the first film.  Second, Game of Thrones director, Alan Taylor, comes onboard to steer the film and try to embellish on the fantastical aspects of the Nine Realms of the Universe.  Then, there's just the idea of getting to see Chris Hemsworth portray Thor again, which is always a treat, as well as getting to see what's become of Tom Hiddleston's Loki following the events of The Avengers.  Then, there's Christopher Eccleston joining the film as baddie, Malekith the Dark Elf.  Eccleston is such a marvelous actor, I have no doubt that he'll deliver a villain that is possibly even more vile than Loki from the first film.  Plus, who doesn't want to see more of Thor in super-powered battle with a slightly larger budget?  Thor:  The Dark World comes out in November.

4.  Man of Steel
Superman has had many ups-and-downs on the bigscreen, with the last attempt at rebooting Superman, 2006's Superman Returns, falling flat on its face.  In many ways, Man of Steel feels like Warner Bros. last ditch effort to revive Superman, and if this one fails, then it may be over for Superman, for at least the foreseeable future.  The big thing that has me excited for this one is that it looks so different from any other superhero film that's ever been made.  The filmmakers seem to be approaching this film with a what if type premise of:  What if a man showed up in our real world with these type of powers, and how would our real world react?  My biggest fear, with the film trying to ground Superman in reality is that the film loses its sense of who Superman is and doesn't allow him to ever have any fun, but I choose to have faith here.  Produced by Christopher Nolan, written by Batman Begins scribe, David Goyer, and directed by Zack Snyder (300), who at the very least has an amazing visual sense, this film has a lot of talent going for it.  Then there's the all star cast that falls in around Henry Cavill's Superman.  From Amy Adams to Diane Lane to Kevin Costner, all the way to Russell Crowe and Laurence Fishbourne.  That's a huge cast of A+ talent, all onboard, so perhaps there is truly something special about this story that had so many big names willing to sign on.  We'll find out when Man of Steel comes out this June.

3.  The Hobbit:  The Desolation of Smaug
The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey was one of my favorite films of 2012, and I cannot wait to see the final two installments of The Hobbit story.  The Hobbit:  The Desolation of Smaug, looks to feature all of the most exciting parts of the book.  From the battle with the gigantic spiders, to a recently released picture showing Bilbo Baggins entering the dragon's lair, promising the showdown between Bilbo and the dragon, Smaug, The Desolation of Smaug could very easily top An Unexpected Journey, which I thought was perfect.  Plus, we're gonna see the return of Orlando Bloom as Legolas, and Peter Jackson and company have already teased the notion that we'll get to see what Gandalf did when he disappeared for most of the latter portion of the book.  Like the first film, The Desolation of Smaug looks to delve even deeper into the back stories of the characters in The Hobbit, and that was my personal favorite part of the first film, so I cannot express how excited I am for this one.  We'll see if The Desolation of Smaug lives up to the hype this December.

2.  The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire
A sequel to another one of my favorite films from 2012, The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire also happens to be based on a best selling young adult novel that I love, as well.  The second installment out of The Hunger Games series ups the ante from the first time around, with the threat of revolution just around the corner in the country of Panem, as Katniss and Peeta find themselves thrown back into the thick of things when the 75th Annual Hunger Games rolls around and evil President Snow decrees that previous victors will have to fight again.  Catching Fire is perhaps the finest book of the trilogy, and with all of the original cast returning, as well as new additions, such as Phillip Seymour Hoffman, this film has a lot going for it.  The only fear I have is that the first film's writer/director, Gary Ross, felt he couldn't mount a sequel fast enough and the director's chair has now been filled by Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend, Water for Elephants).  As we saw with the Harry Potter series, the changing of directors often led to an inconsistency in tone and style.  Here's hoping that The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire will feel like a spiritual successor to the first film when it releases this November.

1.  Star Trek:  Into Darkness
The sequel to my favorite film of 2009.  If you were a fan of the first Star Trek, there really shouldn't be any cause for concern.  The entire cast and crew from the first film has returned, with J.J. Abrams once more steering the ship as director.  The first Trek was one of the more fun and enjoyable films made in years, and the cast had a genuine chemistry that made the film what it was.  With Into Darkness, it looks as if Abrams and company are delving deeper into the bonds between the crew members of the Enterprise as they face a genuinely terrifying threat, from a villain that is currently being called John Harrison, but many fans believe to be the new rendition of Khan, the bad guy famously portrayed by Ricardo Montalban.  Whether or not the baddie is Khan, the first trailer was mind-blowing, promising a larger scale and more action than the first film.  And from what I understand, while the film is called, Star Trek:  Into Darkness, early reports from the first nine minutes of the film that were screened before The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey in Imax, claim that the film will still retain the sense of humor and fun from the previous installment.  We'll see how dark the film really is when it reaches theaters this May.

No comments:

Post a Comment