Making a list of films I anticipate for the coming year almost never works. I always wind up finding more films that I’m dying to see, and sometimes forget about the ones that I originally planned to watch. I saw over one hundred films that were released last year and I only estimated I’d see roughly half of that.
That’s the good and bad thing about having so many different ways to watch films in the information age – theater, video on demand, Pay-Per-View, Vimeo, Zune, etc. And the fact that things come out early to DVD (good for consumers, bad for the film industry) makes things insanely convenient on the consumer end. Yet I still enjoy going into the new year with some sort of solid idea of what I plan to see.
Here are ten films that will be released in 2013 that I’m looking forward to, ranked in no particular order.
42 stars relative newcomer Chadwick Boseman and is directed by Brian Helgeland, the screenwriter of the highly regarded L.A. Confidential and Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River. Boseman stars as Jackie Robinson, the iconic baseball player who defied the odds by becoming one of the first African Americans to play professional sports. Baseball films are moving towards becoming some of the most reliable films in the industry; from films like the fantastically deep Moneyball to the more-than-meets-the-eye Trouble with the Curve, movies about the old ball game have begun to accentuate character development and emotional depth more than the game itself. 42 is on the fast-track to becoming a very successful drama.
9. The Lone Ranger
My admiration for Johnny Depp is growing to new heights. particularly after watching him portray Hunter S. Thompson in both Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and the recently-released The Rum Diary. To see him playing Tonto alongside Armie Hammer in a film adaptation of one of the most iconic serials of all time is a dream come true. The cast is assisted by the talent of William Fichtner and Tom Wilkinson. The Lone Ranger seems like a get-together of the best character actors and I’m all for it.
8. Movie 43
Yet another project where I’m dying to see how the combination of talent comes together, Movie 43 arguably features the most complete ensemble comedy cast in recent years. From the raunchy, blatant, and fun-loving trailers, I can tell it will be interesting to see what kind of heights this poses itself to measure up to.
UPDATE: Read Søren’s review of Movie 43 here.
7. The Monuments Men
When I read the plot to The Monuments Men, due for a release in late December 2013, my inner cinephile got all giddy with excitement. The film examines those who tried to protect and return precious, invaluable artwork stolen by the Nazis during World War II. Directed by and starring George Clooney, this is easily his most ambitious project yet; after working on Good Night and Good Luck, the off-kilter Leatherheads, and the screen adaptation of The Ides of March, it is incredibly daring to tackle a unique, unconventional Holocaust drama that does not center on genocide, but rather the other less explored crimes of the Nazis.
Also on board are Bill Murray, Daniel Craig, and Matt Damon, making for yet another excellent ensemble cast for 2013.
6. The Great Gatsby
I just finished reading The Great Gatsby about a month ago, so this long-awaited, pseudo-modernist film adaptation of the novel couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. Fueled by the talents of Tobey Maguire (who is perfect for the role of Nick Carraway), Leonardo DiCaprio, Isla Fisher, Tom Edgerton, and directed by Moulin Rouge‘s Baz Luhrmann, this looks like the complete package.
My only major concern is the idea of merging time periods, which was done unsuccessfully in Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet. In the trailers we’ve seen, the shot opens on a lavish, incredibly decadent setting mirroring that of the book’s original time period, the Jazz Age. Yet overlaying these visuals are the anachronistic sounds of Jay-Z, who will also score the entire film. This sets up a what could be a hokey final product, but I’m convinced the capable cast and Luhrmann’s visionary excellence will iron out the entire film to make the respectful and memorable adaptation we need of this iconic novel.
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!