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Our 100 Most-Anticipated Films of 2013

Written by on January 15, 2013 

10. Closed Curtain (Jafar Panahi and Kambozia Partovi; TBD – Berlin Premiere)

Synopsis: None available.

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: I would never call Abbas Kiarostami a liar, but if his most intriguing claim of 2012 turns out to be false, I’d have to seriously rethink my position. In an interview last fall the helmer revealed that his fellow Iranian director Jafar Panahi has secretly completed yet another film and will likely hit the festival circuit this year and it looks like things are progressing as expected, we recently got news it would arrive at the Berlin Film Festival. Although no other details are available, considering Panahi’s extraordinary This is Not a Film was mentioned more than once in our best of 2012 wrap-up, expectations are high. – Jordan R.

9. A Most Wanted Man (Anton Corbijn; Fall 2013)

Synopsis: A Chechen Muslim illegally immigrates to Hamburg, where he gets caught up in the international war on terror.

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: After two thoroughly overlooked features with Control and The American, our hope is that Anton Corbijn gets his due with his third feature, the thriller A Most Wanted Man. With the John le Carré source material seemingly a perfect match for the helmer, he’s assembled his finest cast yet with Rachel McAdamsWillem DafoeDaniel BruhlRobin Wright and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Aiming for a fall 2013 bow, this one is safe bet to premiere at TIFF/Venice/Telluride. – Jordan R.

8. Before Midnight (Richard Linklater; TBD – Sundance Premiere)

Synopsis: We meet Jesse and Celine nine years on in Greece. Almost two decades have passed since their first meeting on that train bound for Vienna.

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: If you catch lightning in a bottle, let it go. If it’s really meant to be, you will catch it again. That’s what we learned from Richard Linklater’s first two installments in this trilogy of chance-lovers meeting with mere hours before an unavoidable separation. It’s easy to be skeptical and think that Linklater and stars/co-writers Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke won’t catch the same bolt yet again; many thought that making Before Sunset after the incidental perfection of Before Sunrise was pushing luck, but many consider the sequel to be even better. Perhaps more importantly, this is a trilogy about fate, overcoming circumstance, and willing the nigh impossible to happen in the name of love. If the films’ messages are anywhere as clear and true as Linklater and co. make them feel, Before Midnight should draw all anticipation and no skepticism. – Forrest C.

7. Snowpiercer (Bong Joon-ho; TBD)

Synopsis: AD 2031, the passengers in the train are the only survivors on Earth.

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Out of the three South Korean directors making their Hollywood debut this year, Bong Joon-ho‘s effort is easily our most-anticipated. With the most intriguing concept not only of the bunch, but of most 2013 films, we’re hoping that The Host and Mother director can deliver big-scale entertainment, while still displaying a knack for characters, and he certainly has the cast to back him up with Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Alison Pill, John Hurt, Ed Harris, Octavia Spencer and Song Kang-ho. – Jordan R.

6. Twelve Years a Slave (Steve McQueen; TBD)

Synopsis: A man living in New York during the mid-1800s is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the deep south.

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Steve McQueen’s first two features, Hunger and Shame, were both critically acclaimed, audacious pieces of cinema that confronted subject-matter widely ignored by cinema (and art in general). With Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained being intended as the first “rock through a window,” his third feature about a New Yorker who is kidnapped and sold into slavery is even easier to spotlight. There is nothing to suggest it won’t be as daring and stylistically assured as his first two features, as McQueen is once again pairing with Michael Fassbender. Oh, and joining Fassbender is Chiwetel EjioforBrad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Beasts of the Southern Wild duo Dwight Henry and Quvenzhané Wallis. I probably could have just said that and be done with it. – Forrest C.

5. The Grandmaster (Wong Kar-wai; TBD)

Synopsis: The story of martial-arts master Ip Man, the man who trained Bruce Lee.

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: It’s been more than a few years since My Blueberry Nights, and even longer since Wong Kar-wai released a film that truly felt like his own. A martial arts epic is not what many think of when naming Hong Kong’s most famous helmer — unless you’re big on Ashes of Time — but even the low-res previews (which we’ve been looking at for more than two years) are a sight already worthy of standing alongside his most eye-popping work. How will the actual story hold up? Do he and Tony Leung still have the fire? We’re so close to finding out that the wait is, now, just unfair. – Nick N.

4. The Past (Asghar Farhadi; TBD – Potential Cannes Premiere)

Synopsis: An emotional social thriller.

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: After crafting one of the finest dramas in this new decade with A Separation, I’m greatly anticipating what Iran’s Asghar Farhadi has in store for his follow-up. Led by The Artist‘s Berenice Bejo, details are scarce for the project — which is said to be similar to A Separation, but with a twistier screenplay — and if this director can deliver the same humanistic touch, there’s no doubt The Past will be one of 2013’s best films. – Jordan R.

3. The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese; Late 2013)

Synopsis: A New York stockbroker refuses to cooperate in a large securities fraud case involving corruption on Wall Street, corporate banking world and mob infiltration.

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: It’s a new Martin Scorsese picture. Do I need to continue? (Really?) Well, it’s also the first straight drama he’s made in several years — this is said by someone who holds his last two films as late-era stunners — with a classic story of greed, corruption, and immense downfall right at its core. Some reports on Terence Winter’s script would point toward a wild ride none too different than Casino, perhaps the director’s most luridly entertaining work. Looking at Scorsese’s mind-boggling cast, this is one to maintain the highest of hopes for. – Nick N.

2. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel and Ethan Coen; TBD)

Synopsis: A singer-songwriter navigates New York’s folk music scene during the 1960s.

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: The last time the Coens took a three-year break between films they went from The Ladykillers to their masterpiece No Country For Old Men. With this film, set in a 1960s Greenwich Village, nearly complete and screening to positive initial buzz, we couldn’t be more excited to see how these directors transform Garrett Hedlund and Justin Timberlake, along with Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Oscar Isaac and even a pair of Girls stars with Adam Driver and Alex Karpovsky. – Jordan R.

1. Gravity (Alfonso Cuaron; TBD)

Synopsis: Astronauts attempt to return to earth after debris crashes into their space shuttle, leaving them drifting alone in space.

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: That’s right, our most-anticipated movie of last year remains the same going into 2013. After being delayed from a November 2012 bow to dreaded 2013 TBA territory, we sincerely hope this is the year Alfonso Cuaron delivers his first film in seven years, following 2006’s Children of Men. We’ve covered just about everything that has to do with the ambitious sci-fi film, so read on here, and join the hype train as we desperately await official release news. – Jordan R.

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What are your most-anticipated films of 2013?

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