The 2013 Oscars are over, ladies and gentlemen. And, with the exception of those who were dumb enough to actually be offended by Seth McFarlane, I’d say it was a rousing success. The speeches were heartfelt, the awards were properly dispensed (for the most part) and Michelle Obama even got to offer her input. And since film in 2012 has officially come to a close, it’s time to start looking ahead to film in 2013. Yes, I realize it’s March, but have we seriously been paying attention to the crap out there so far? Aside from Side Effects and Gangster Squad, the cinema has been a hovel of mediocrity and downright filth up this point. But never fear, March is here. And while some of these movies won’t be up for any awards come 2014, I still can’t wait to see them.
Oz: The Great and Powerful (March)
Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of the timeless classic The Wizard of Oz. But it seems as if the land of Oz is making a comeback in popular culture today. Wicked is one of the most popular musicals on the circuit right now (and for good reason – it’s excellent), and two movies concerning Oz are billed to release in 2013. This version has peaked my interest. In what seems to be a prequel to Dorothy’s invasion, James Franco plays Oscar Diggs, a magician who is transported to a land of witches, munchkins and flying monkeys. Franco is enough to get me excited about a movie, but he’s joined by Michelle Williams (Glinda), Mila Kunis (Theodora) and Rachel Weisz (Evanora). Sam Raimi, who fumbled the original Spiderman trilogy, makes me nervous at the helm. But hey, at the very least I’ll get to see a monkey voiced by Zach Braff.
The Place Beyond the Pines (March)
Hey Girl. You excited for the new Ryan Gosling movie? Back with Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine), Gosling is poised to have another fantastic performance alongside his sweetheart Eva Mendes. This time, Gosling is portraying a motorcycle stunt-rider who is forced to turn to a life of robbery to support his surprise child. There’s no doubt that he’ll be excellent – he always is. The real storyline here is Bradley Cooper who comes off a year where he snagged an Oscar nomination (possibly a victory?) for Silver Linings Playbook, but also dropped the ball in the disappointing The Words. Will The Place Beyond the Pines be labeled as another killer Gosling-led product? Or will a letdown from Cooper be the only thing people remember?
The Great Gatsby (May)
Everyone’s favorite bourgeois playboy, Jay Gatsby, is taking a turn at the big screen. This movie is probably the most anticipated movie of the summer, partly because it was slotted to release in late 2012, but was pushed back to mid-2013…maybe as an Oscar-push? Leonardo DiCaprio leads what should be a STELLAR cast (Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Tobey Maguire, Jason Clarke) and Baz Luhrmann is due to return to Moulin Rouge! form. Is it too early to give it some Oscar buzz?
Star Trek Into Darkness (May)
“J.J. Abrams? He’s directing the next Star Wars movie!” That’s what any fan boy with his mind in a galaxy far, far away will proudly tell you. However, people seem to have forgotten that Abrams directed a very good Star Trek reboot back in 2009. The sequel should be just as good, if not better. The whole crew is back to reprise their roles as the motley crew from the Enterprise. And, as all sequels go, this one should be darker and more in depth than the original. But why does this movie make the list? All because of one man: Benedict Cumberbatch. As seen in the breath-taking trailers, Cumberbatch is poised to play the antagonist (Khan?). For everyone that has seen Cumberbatch in the BBC’s Sherlock, you know that he has a mysterious and unavoidable charisma. Even as Holmes, he seems to have a dark side. Now we get to see a movie where he unleashes it? Count me in.
Man of Steel (June)
Christopher Nolan has officially revolutionized how the world will view Batman. So naturally, what could be his next step but Superman? He isn’t directing the reboot, but he has written and produced the upcoming story of Krypton’s most famous celebrity. Henry Cavill, somewhat of an unknown, is taking the turn as Clark Kent but if we’ve learned anything about Nolan, we should trust the casting if he has his hand involved. Amy Adams, Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner are all joining in so there shouldn’t be any complaints about the acting. Other than that, we’re all in the dark. The only thing we know is what the posters and trailers tell us: at some point, Superman is in handcuffs (and he isn’t wearing the red underwear). What does that mean? It means that Nolan has something special in store for his fans.
Much Ado About Nothing (June)
Maybe this movie made the list just because I’m a Shakespeare fan. Maybe not. Nevertheless, I’m quite excited to see what Joss Whedon, the director and writer (screenplay, of course) did to one of Shakespeare’s more famous plays. He was wonderful with The Avengers last year, so a romantic comedy is a bit of mix up for him. Color me intrigued.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (November)
Oh boy. A full year before this movie has been released, there’s already been massive controversy raised concerning the second installment of The Hunger Games trilogy. The casting of Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair had teenage girls abusing social networks and annoying us all to pieces. That being said, I wasn’t a fan of the choice either, which further increases my suspicion that this movie has the potential to be the biggest cinematic letdown since Avatar. Based on the nature of the book (no spoilers, don’t worry), I can see this movie going in a direction that would make Michael Bay grin: lots of explosions and not enough focus. So much happens over the course of the story that it will be a miracle if we end up with a movie that comes in under three hours long. And the new director is a question mark as well. Let’s just hope that the cast spearheaded by Jennifer Lawrence can maintain the quality of the first installment.
The Counselor (November)
This is the biggest question mark on the list. I have to admit that I don’t know much about the movie. The extent of my knowledge? It’s being directed by Ridley Scott, the infamous sci-fi master who directed the dazzling Prometheus last year. He’s managed to get Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem and Michael Fassbender as his leading men. Wow. And that’s about it. Hopefully, the news gets better and better as the year goes.
Anchorman: The Legend Continues (December)
“Hi, America. Did you miss my hot breath in your ear?” Any person who has seen Adam McKay’s original about the blundering adventures of Ron Burgundy and the Channel 4 News Team has forever been doomed to either (a) having numerous quotable lines running through their heads every single day or (b) hearing said lines repeated on a frequent basis. There’s no doubt that the crass, not-so-subtle humor of Anchorman struck a chord with viewers. And after 9 years in the making, there will be a sequel. The question is: can the sequel top or even match the laughs of the original? I, personally, am not concerned that the style will lose its touch. However, there’s always the danger of overdoing it. Nevertheless, I’m holding out hope that in December I’ll be grabbing my sides and doubled over in laughter as the original cast (plus a few extras) returns to their antics of old. As Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) said on the teaser: “It’s gonna get stanky.”
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (December)
I’ve been saying this since the release of the first Hobbit release…these last two movies in Peter Jackson’s trilogy have the potential to live up to the award-winning quality of the original LOTR trilogy. The second installment, which chronicles all of the best parts of The Hobbit, should see all of the new actors settling more comfortably into their roles (perhaps Martin Freeman will garner a well-deserved Oscar nod) and we, as listeners, will get the benefit of hearing Benedict Cumberpatch’s deep and unforgettable voice as Smaug, the Great and Terrible. Of course the production and direction will be brilliant. Let’s just hope that the CGI is better and the whole 48fps thing gets nixed.