Well, 2013 is almost gone and it’s around this time of year many critics round up their favourite films of the year. But many of 2013’s movies have yet to release here in the UK. Films like The Wolf of Wall Street, 12 Years a Slave and Her are all films I really need to see before making a proper conclusion on this year, and as such I won’t be doing a summation of 2013 until I have seen as much as I can. So before that, let’s take a look at the year ahead.
Two points I want to make here. One: these release dates are subject to change, so some may get pushed back to 2015 and muck up the list (one of the films on this list was on my most anticipated of 2013, so go figure). Two: this is NOT me predicting what I think will be my favourites by the end of 2014. This is a list of films that I’m really excited for or just interested to see. So without further ado…
Paul Verhoeven’s original RoboCop is one of my all time favourite movies. It’s full of glorious ultra-violence and memorable quotes, but it is also a brilliant satire of 1980’s culture. Many would call attempting to remake this film blasphemous. I would say that if done it would really need to do something special. From what I’ve seen from all the promotional material, I’m not fully convinced yet. But regardless, I want to see what they can do with it. It’s got an impressive cast and a talented director, but I’m still worried that this could be another cash-in. Let’s hope I’d buy it for more than a dollar.
19. Gone Girl
Seven. Fight Club. The Social Network. David Fincher is a force to be reckoned with, and I’m hoping that his next effort can match up to the rest of his impressive filmography. It’s got a very odd cast, with heavyweights like Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike teamed up with more left-of-field choices like…Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry?! Huh. But you put Fincher’s name on it, and I’m certain me and many other film fans are guaranteed to be there.
18. A Million Ways to Die in the West
Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane made an impressive feature debut in 2012 with Ted. And before he goes to tackle the sequel, his sophomore effort is…a western comedy? Considering the recent box office failures of westerns like Cowboys & Aliens and The Lone Ranger, it’s a pretty ballsy move. I can’t make much of a statement on it considering nothing from the film has been shown, but if it can match MacFarlane’s other efforts it should be worth a few laughs.
Christopher Nolan’s long-time cinematographer Wally Pfister is making his directorial debut with this sci-fi thriller, and judging from the trailer it looks pretty interesting. It certainly has a lot of elements from previous works in the genre; hopefully it can give it a new enough spin on these ideas. It’s also nice to see Johnny Depp in a movie and not have him play a flamboyant bumbler.
16. Edge of Tomorrow
Tom Cruise’s recent filmography has been pretty strong with films like Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Jack Reacher, so hopefully his new sci-fi action film can keep up this streak. It’s got an interesting premise, a decent cast, and some cool looking designs and action beats. Plus, anything involving mech suits AND time travel immediately gains some badass points.
15. The Monuments Men
George Clooney’s latest directorial effort was unfortunately delayed, causing it to miss out on the Oscar race. Regardless, this looks to be one to watch. Clooney’s Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and The Ides of March are both excellent films (let’s just ignore Leatherheads, shall we?) and this one certainly has a lot of the same elements. With good mixture of drama and comedy, an excellent cast and shinging light on an area of WWII rarely seen, I think this one could be another winner.
14. 22 Jump Street
21 Jump Street was a big surprise for me. It was full of hilarity and gave me a whole new perspective on the acting skills of Channing Tatum. Now he and Jonah Hill are back for a new adventure, and I’m looking forward to see what mayhem they cause this time. The trailer does paint a picture of it just being a rehash but, considering the very self-aware nature of the first film, I’m guessing this uneasy sense of familiarity is all part of the joke. And this won’t be the last time you see directing partners Phil Lord & Chris Miller on this list…
13. How to Train Your Dragon 2
The original How to Train Your Dragon is arguably Dreamworks SKG’s best film, and certainly helped create a new image for them. But can they strike lightning twice? Hopefully, they can. I’m not exactly sure if I was really asking for a sequel, but in a world where Cars and Madagascar can somehow generate sequels, I guess the further adventures of Hiccup and Toothless sounds much more appealing.
12. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
This film has been in development hell for nearly a decade now, and was among my most anticipated films of 2013. But once again it was delayed, and hopefully for the last time. Featuring both old and new faces, I’m very much interested to delve into the gutters of Basin City again to see what tales will unfold. Knowing Frank Miller’s work, I’m guessing it will involve a lot of violence, constant inner monologues and a plethora of scantily clad women. Let’s just hope this one doesn’t end up on my most anticipated of 2015 list.
11. Big Hero 6
Walt Disney Pictures is finally taking advantage of the fact they own Marvel Comics and adapting one of their works into their next animated classic. And they’ve chosen a comic book so obscure that even I’ve never heard of it. But from looking into it, it certainly looks like it has some potential. It’s got an interesting world and characters, and combining Disney magic with the might of Marvel certainly sounds like something I’d want to see.
10. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Sticking with Marvel, their first picture this year sees the return of the star-spangled man with a plan. The Russo Brothers, mainly known for comedy, could be Marvel’s oddest choice of directors yet but the trailer paints a very different picture. The Winter Solider storyline is a perfect choice for adaptation, and the film certainly looks like it’s another win for the True Believers.
9. The Hobbit: There and Back Again
The Desolation of Smaug gave The Hobbit franchise a well-deserved kick up the backside, and now I’m very excited to see how they wrap it all up. Peter Jackson has left very little material from the book left for adaptation, suggesting that we’re going to get even more original content. As long as it’s interesting, engaging stuff and not a load of padding, then that’s fine with me. The Return of the King is my favourite of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, so I’m hoping this final chapter can match the epicness of that franchise’s finale.
8. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a major surprise in 2011, instantly reinvigorating the franchise and making everyone forget about that Mark Wahlberg movie. It’s a shame that Rupert Wyatt decided not to return, but Cloverfield director Matt Reeves certainly looks like he’s picking up the material well. This looks like a much darker film with a post-apocalyptic vibe, and I’m very interested to see how close to the original Planet of the Apes this tale will reach.
7. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
The Hunger Games was a pretty good movie with a fair few issues. But, much like The Desolation of Smaug, Catching Fire was a massive improvement of its predecessor in every facet and I’m now majorly invested in where the story of Katniss Everdeen is going. Once again, we’ve got one book being split into two movies and, having not read the book, I’m not sure if this is a good idea. But anyway, considering how Catching Fire felt very much like The Empire Strikes Back, let’s see if the Mockingjay films can be at least as good as Return of the Jedi.
Get ready, fanboys: Christopher Nolan is making another movie. What’s it about? I don’t know; something about black holes. The film is so shrouded in secrecy that the trailer is basically pointless, but that’s what to expect from the man who brought you Inception. The Dark Knight Rises was somewhat of a disappointment for me, so let’s hope Nolan can redeem himself with this picture.
5. The Lego Movie
Here’s that other Phil Lord & Chris Miller film, and here they’re making a movie out of one of the most beloved toys of all time. Literally. Their zany sense of humour looks like a perfect fit for this picture, creating what looks like a film made in a nerd’s wet dream. It’s got an awesome cast. It’s got awesome looking animation. And it’s got the goddamn Batman! What more do you want?
4. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
I still stand by it: The Amazing Spider-Man was a damn good movie. It’s certainly not perfect, but what’s good about it is so, so good. Now that they’ve got that pesky origin business out of the way, we can finally get on to some new territory. The multiple villains are a little worrying (it didn’t work very well last time they tried that), but the film certainly looks like it captures the essence of the wall crawler with some cool acrobatic feats of derring-do. Excelsior!
The King of the Monsters has been reborn, now Matthew Broderick-free! Gareth Edwards take on the classic monster certainly looks to be one hell of a ride. Naturally, the filmmakers are holding a lot close to the chest, but what they’ve shown so far has got me hooked. Let’s just hope that if Godzilla gets taken out this time, it’s by another monster and not teeny fighter jets.
2. Guardians of the Galaxy
I started reading some Guardians comics recently, and man will it make a good movie. Madman James Gunn directing a film that features Chris Pratt, a talking racoon and a sentient tree as main characters? You had me at “James Gunn”. I’ve yet to see a lick of footage from this picture, but I don’t need to say anything else. I know I’m there on day one.
1. X-Men: Days of Future Past
A few years ago, I was thinking to myself: “What X-Men storyline would I like to see made into a movie?” The answer to my own question: Days of Future Past. And now they’ve done it, and it looks like it could be an event movie that rivals The Avengers in the sheer amount of fan service. Adapting a storyline best summed up as “X-Men meets The Terminator?” Good start. Bringing back series veteran Bryan Singer to the director’s chair? Sweet. Combining cast members of the original trilogy and X-Men: First Class? Fangasmically stupendous! The only way this movie could sound even more awesome if it somehow led into a movie where they fight Apocalypse or…oh wait, they are doing that! If this movie is anything less than spectacular, I’m going to be seriously disappointed. I know I shouldn’t get myself too hyped up, but this movie sounds way too awesome to not be awesome.
And that’s the list. Now just let me catch up on everything and I’ll soon be back with my Best and Worst of 2013!