5. The To Do List
This one is a rather strange choice for me, but I’ve been a big Aubrey Plaza fan since seeing her in the lovely offbeat romcom Safety Not Guaranteed and the sleeper surprise Your Sister’s Sister. She has proven herself to be a reliable actress capable of handling tricky material with a sense of confidence. More broadly, I’ve also grown increasingly fond of the unconventional female-centric film. Last year, we were treated with For a Good Time, Call…, a comedy centered around two frenemies who formed a phone sex business out of financial desperation. It was raunchy, funny, and oozing with heart, which directly lead to its success as a film as a whole. Following in the footsteps of its predecessors and bolstered by a lead performance from Plaza, The To-Do List has a lot of potential.
UPDATE: Read Søren’s review of The To Do List here.
4. The Wolf of Wall Street
Martin Scorsese is one of my favorite modern filmmakers. His talent for picking ambitious projects and completely knocking them out of the park is the key to his success; Casino and Goodfellas in particular remain two of my favorite movies of all time. The Wolf of Wall Street is one of two films Scorsese is expected to release next year. Leonardo DiCaprio will star, having worked with Scorsese several times since his 2002 debut with the director in Gangs of New York. With a great cast, taut suspense and deep drama all crafted by one of cinema’s legends, I anticipate this project more and more with as we get closer to its release.
UPDATE: Read Søren’s review of The Wolf of Wall Street here.
3. Black Rock
Black Rock is written by Mark Duplass, one of several men responsible for creating the “mumblecore” phenomenon. Mumblecore is a relatively recent cinematic movement involving cheap cameras, no-name actors, dirt cheap budgets, intimate topics and direction, and improvisation rather than a rigid script. His next film is a thriller featuring Kate Astelon, Duplass’ wife and co-star on the hit FX show The League. Mark and his brother Jay have released five successful films as of 2013; let’s hope his winning streak continues with Black Rock.
This is the second film Scorsese is expected to release this year. Quite possibly the film most in touch with religion and spirituality since his classic Last Temptation of Christ in the 1980s, Silence follows two Jesuit priests as they spread the gospel and teachings of Christianity through 17th Century Japan. Despite Scorsese’s place as a master and commander of cinema, not knowing what to expect means I’m not quite as filled the brim with anticipation for Silence as I am for The Wolf of Wall Street. Still, I’m sure we can expect the same grandiose ideas, lavish settings, vivid, layered characters, tremendous writing, and smooth pacing Scorsese has become known for over the course of his long career.
1. Side Effects
I end the list with another prolific filmmaker, Steven Soderbergh. I explored Soderbergh’s work in the summer of last year, visiting his admirably sophisticated film Bubble and his all-around wonderfully intimate Magic Mike. His next film, Side Effects, stars Soderbergh’s latest interest, Channing Tatum, in yet another role that could potentially transform him into a dependable character actor. Backed by the always capable Jude Law and Rooney Mara, this project shows a lot of promise and will likely be another hit for the director.
And that concludes my most anticipated film list of the year. I eagerly await these films, and hopefully I will see you at the movies!