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Our 100 Most-Anticipated Films of 2013

Written by on January 15, 2013 

60. This is the End (Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg; June 14th)

Synopsis: While attending a party at James Franco’s house, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel and many other celebrities are faced with the apocalypse.

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: This is one of the biggest gambles on the list, but we’re going to put our bets down on Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg‘s directorial debut. After a funny trailer, we’re hoping this celebrity romp — including but not limited to James Franco, Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Emma Watson, Danny McBride, Michael Cera, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, Martin Starr, Rihanna, Aziz Ansari and Kevin Hart — retains its hilarity in the feature-length format and doesn’t turn into a cheap Funny or Die sketch. – Jordan R.

59. Prisoners (Denis Villeneuve; Sept. 20th)

Synopsis: A Boston man kidnaps the person he suspects is behind the disappearance of his young daughter and her best friend.

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: While I didn’t fall in love with Oscar-nominated drama Incendies as most did, there’s no denying the promise of Denis Villeneuve’s major Hollywood debut, Prisoners. We’re still waiting on his smaller film, An Enemy (also starring Jake Gyllenhaal) to get distribution, but Warner Bros. is already priming his follow-up for a major fall release. Also bringing together Hugh Jackman, Paul Dano, Maria Bello, Viola Davis, Terrence Howard and Melissa Leo, we’re hoping that screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski proves his chops after the middling Contraband with his intense-looking work. – Jordan R.

58. Captain Phillips (Paul Greengrass; Oct. 11th)

Synopsis: The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Shot last summer, United 93 and Bourne 2 & 3 helmer Paul Greengrass is enjoying his usual extended stay in the editing bay while we until the fall to see this drama. While his last film, Green Zone, largely disappointed, we’re hoping this docudrama makes up for things with Tom Hanks in the lead and Catherine Keener supporting. Screenwriter Billy Ray has also proven himself in the thriller game with State of Play and Breach, so hopefully he can deliver a worthy take on this true story. – Jordan R.

57. Top of the Lake (Jane Campion; Spring – Sundance Premiere)

Synopsis: A detective investigates the disappearance of a 12-year-old pregnant daughter of a local drug lord.

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Because combining the phrases “353-minute crime saga” and “directed by Jane Campion” is bound to provoke unearthly levels of anticipation for almost every cinephile on the planet — including yours truly. I know that if I were going to Sundance, the project’s presence would almost be unfair to the other films in competition — that single screening of Top of the Lake on January 20 would be the only thing on my mind. Campion’s 2003 mystery-thriller In the Cut wasn’t justly praised when it hit theaters, but it managed to work chilling wonders in subverting Meg Ryan’s sweet-girl screen image, and I’m fully psyched to see if Campion has something similar in store here with Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss leading the charge. – Danny K.

56. The Railway Man (Jonathan Teplitzky; TBD)

Synopsis: The true story of a victim from World War II’s “Death Railway” who sets out to find those responsible for his torture.

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Considering how is last drama, Burning Man, went virtually unnoticed (despite being mentioned on our best of 2012 round-up), Jonathan Teplitzky‘s follow-up is sure to garner a much, much larger audience. And for good reason, as the talented Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman and Stellan Skarsgård team up for this WWII drama. While we’ve seen many entries in this genre, this one should hopefully be different than the pack and will give War Horse star Jeremy Irvine another chance to prove himself. Expect this one on the fall festival circuit before a late year bow. – Jordan R. 

55. Oldboy (Spike Lee; Oct. 11th)

Synopsis: An everyday man has only five days and limited resources to discover why he was imprisoned in a nondescript room for 15 years without any explanation.

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Yes, all you people who love the Park Chan-wook film will throw your hands up in anger at the idea of an English-language remake, but as a Spike Lee fan with no love for the South Korean “classic”? And with a cast that strong? (I.e., Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley, and James Ransone.) The bloated, preposterous original doesn’t cloud things at all. – Nick N.

54. The East (Zal Batmanglij; TBD – Sundance Premiere)

Synopsis: A story centered on contract worker who is tasked with infiltrating an anarchist group, only to find herself falling for its leader.

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: After his debut Sound of My Voice landed amongst my favorite films of last year, expectations are high for Zal Batmanglij‘s follow-up and we won’t have to wait long to see it. Set to debut at Sundance Film Festival in a short time, the film sees the director working with a similar conceit, but seemingly expanding his scope, along with the return of Brit Marling and the addition of Ellen Page, Alexander Skarsgård, Julia Ormond, Patricia Clarkson, Shiloh Fernandez and Toby Kebbell. – Jordan R.

52 and 53. Prince Avalanche and Joe (David Gordon Green; TBD)

Synopsis: Prince Avalanche – Two highway road workers spend the summer of 1988 away from their city lives. The isolated landscape becomes a place of misadventure as the men find themselves at odds with each other and the women they left behind. Joe – An ex-con, who is the unlikeliest of role models, meets a 15-year-old boy and is faced with the choice of redemption or ruin.

Why We’re Looking Forward To Them: After a trio of studio comedies, one successful (Pineapple Express), one noble failure (Your Highness) and one bafflingly terrible (The Sitter), David Gordon Green is getting back to the independent side with two enticing small rejects. One, set to premiere at Sundance, features Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd on a roadtrip and the other, recently completing production, features Nicolas Cage in one of his most promising roles in some time. Let’s hope both also ring in a promising new career phase for the talented director. – Jordan R.

51. I’m So Excited (Pedro Almodovar; Spring TBD)

Synopsis: When a group of passengers aboard a plane fear for their lives they reveal elaborate confessions.

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Far removed from his last twisty thriller The Skin I Live InPedro Almodovar‘s upcoming project sees the talented helmer returning to his comedic roots, and if the first teaser is any indication, this is going to be one plane ride like no other. With Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz and Paz Vega set to make cameo appearances, the film features many of Almodovar’s recent collaborators. – Jordan R.


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