As the calendar turns and we enter the cinematic wasteland that is January, we know that the Hollywood rollercoaster has pulled back into the station and is idling by, waiting for the chance to start up again. Sure, we’ll get to see Zero Dark Thirty on Friday, but that movie will count towards the 2012 tally. We are going to be left hoping that some of the fantasy fare or the horror movies or the annual dumps by studios hold a gem amidst them – something like The Grey or Taken or anything that features Liam Neeson fighting something that is foolish enough to take on Liam Neeson.
Naturally, 2013 will feature the usual big sequels to the big franchises. We can expect Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Star Trek 2, The Hobbit 2, Anchorman 2, The Wolverine 2, The Hangover 3, Die Hard 5, Fast & Furious 6, 300 Part 2, Monsters Inc 2, Despicable Me 2 and even The Last Exorcism 2: Exorcism Harder between the months of March and December. And some of those movies will be very good. We can also expect remakes like Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger, Spike Lee’s Oldboy, The Evil Dead and Robocop. And again, I hope some of them are good. That doesn’t count on the usual comedy and drama fare that arises out of the indie scene. Or projects that are being kept quiet and under the radar until the award season is back on in late October.
That said, these are the five movies I’m most interested in seeing. To be fair, last year, when I put this list, I was eagerly awaiting Prometheus. So take it with a grain of salt. There’s no guarantee that the movies here will be good or great. I mean, I could say I can’t wait to see Pacific Rim, but that’s little to do with the quality of the project and more to do with giant robots fighting giant monsters. I am simply hoping the talent in those projects comes through.
Honorable Mention: Bullet to the Head (February 1st). I’m putting this one aside because the only reason I’m looking forward to it is because a friend of mine worked on it while it filmed in New Orleans. It could be great. It could be awful. I don’t care. I have to see it.
5. The World’s End (October 25th): Whenever Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost get together, it is a must-watch film. The makers of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz have a quirky sense of humor that is appealing and endearing. Yet, it’s not as potent when they’re apart as when they are together(see: Paul, Scott Pilgrim vs the World). This movie, about five friends reuniting to relive an epic pub crawl during the end of the world sounds like their brand of humor. Also helps they bring back the great Paddy Considine along – the lead Andy in Hot Fuzz.
4. The Wolf of Wall Street (TBD): Martin Scorcese reunites with his modern muse, Leo DiCaprio, to tell the tale of greed, excess and corruption in a Wall Street stock investment firm. Based on Jordan Belfort’s memoirs, you can expect hard partying, excess and criminality galore (Belfort’s story already led to 2000’s Boiler Room). Is there any way to not see it? It combines the things Scorcese does best – crime, New York City, the Mafia, troubled protagonists – with DiCaprio and a great cast that includes Jonah Hill, Jean Dujardin, Kyle Chandler and Matthew McConaughey. Ought to do for investment fraud what Casino did for mob banks.
3. Gravity (TBD): Alfonso Cuaron directed the best Harry Potter movie (Prisoner of Azkaban). Then he directed Children of Men – which is great, but such a damn downer! He’s now making this movie, about stranded astronauts in space, who after their mission goes to hell, fight desperately to get back to Earth in one piece. The astronauts? Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Cuaron knows how to ratchet up the tension and I’m a fan of more original science-fiction stuff on my screens.
2. The Man of Steel (June 14th): I love Superman, the character, the mythos and the legend. What I don’t love are the movies that have depicted him. Even the Richard Donner 1978 classic has flaws – that whole last act for one. So I’m crossing all my fingers that the combination of Christopher Nolan’s guiding hand and Zack Snyder’s visual flair can finally bring to life the Last Son of Krypton as he is depicted in other media. Trailers have looked good, but then again so did the ones for Superman Returns.
1. Elysium (August 9th): In 2009, Neil Blomkamp gave us District 9, one of the most original modern science-fiction movies. Then he went away to figure out what to do next. This is his answer. Elysium depicts a dystopian future where the super-rich and elite live in luxury aboard a floating space station while the poor and downtrodden live in misery on a dilapidated Earth. Matt Damon takes on a secret mission to infiltrate Elysium. Jodie Foster and Sharlto Copley may be standing in his way. If it’s as smart and eye-popping as District 9 was, it’ll be tough to see how it doesn’t garner lots of great praise.
So there you go. My Top 5. If you care to put which ones are yours, do so below.