With hundreds upon hundreds of films seeing a release each year, it can be difficult to decide what’s truly worth seeking out. We already gave one a handful of 2013 releases to potentially be wary of, as well as some certified must-sees, but now it’s time to venture into the exciting unknown. We’ve selected 100 features that are worth putting on your radar the next twelve months and while some have set release dates, most of these will be premiering at upcoming festivals, so make sure to check back to get our take.
As a note, there’s also a handful of films that likely won’t see a release until 2014, but are worth mentioning, including Terrence Malick‘s back-to-back projects (one being Knight of Cups), the next film from David O. Russell, directorial debuts from Ryan Gosling and Wally Pfister, Bill Condon‘s WikiLeaks project and a handful of others. So, you won’t see them below, but rest assured we’ll be following their progress well into 2013. Check out the rundown below and let us know your most-anticipated films of 2013 .
100. Horns (Alexandre Aja; TBD)
Synopsis: In the aftermath of his girlfriend’s mysterious death, a young man awakens to strange horns sprouting from his temples.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: We admit, looking at any number of stills or set photos from this film makes it look like one of the silliest projects this year, but if any director can sell a concept, it’s Alexandre Aja. After commenting on the B-movie genre, while also delivering an entertaining entry with Piranha 3D, he’s back helping Daniel Radcliffe shed his Harry Potter image by having him grow some horns in what will likely be his most mature role yet. – Jordan R.
99. Can A Song Save Your Life? (John Carney; TBD)
Synopsis: A dejected music business executive forms a bond with a young singer-songwriter new to Manhattan.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: With a few projects that went most unnoticed, John Carney has been searching for a project worthy of his talent shown in Once and he may have it with this drama. Certainly his most high-profile film yet, this drama sees Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Hailee Steinfeld and Catherine Keener come together, along with some musical talents such as Adam Levine, Mos Def and CeeLo Green. This one’s a safe bet for the fall festival crowd, where we hope it’s well-received. – Jordan R.
98. About Time (Richard Curtis; May 10th)
Synopsis: As he goes through life, a young man who can travel through time learns his unique gift can’t save him from the sorrows and ups and downs that affect all families, everywhere.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Proving he can make the romantic comedy genre entertaining for just about any demographic with films such as Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill, we’re hoping that writer/director Richard Curtis can bounce back from the disappointing Pirate Radio with this feature. Complete with an intriguing premise, About Time pairs the usually charming Rachel McAdams with Domhnall Gleeson, who recently showed his talents in Anna Karenina. With a major summer release, I wouldn’t doubt if this is more entertaining than a few much-hyped blockbusters of the season. – Jordan R.
97. The To-Do List (Maggie Carey; August 16th)
Synopsis: Feeling pressured to become more sexually experienced before she goes to college, Brandy Clark makes a list of things to accomplish before hitting campus in the fall.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: After a supporting turn in Safety Not Guaranteed, Aubrey Plaza snags her first major lead role in this raunchy comedy. Directed and written by Maggie Carey (who worked with Plaza on the web series, The Jeannie Tate Show) the story follows Brandy Clark, a high school senior who tries to complete a list of sexual experiences she wants to have before going to college in the fall. She recruits a number of men to help her, the likes of which are played by a roster of comedy contemporaries, including Donald Glover, Bill Hader and Andy Samberg, As a child of the 90s, I can appreciate the period specific jokes – the red band trailer highlights a jab at one of the decade’s unfortunate fashion faux pas, skorts. – Amanda W.
96. Third Person (Paul Haggis; TBD)
Synopsis: Three interlocking love stories involving Three couples in Three Cities: Rome, Paris, and New York.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: After a few cloying attempts at drama with Crash and In The Valley of Elah, director Paul Haggis delivered the fun, but overlooked, thriller The Next Three Days. For his next feature, he seems to be staying in lighter territory with a trio of connecting love stories. With a strong cast of Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis, Adrien Brody, James Franco, Olivia Wilde, Kim Basinger, Adrien Brody and Maria Bello, we hope this one doesn’t turn out like the similarly structured 360 from last year. – Jordan R.
95. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller; Dec. 25th)
Synopsis: A timid magazine photo manager who lives life vicariously through daydreams embarks on a true-life adventure when a negative goes missing.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: With his handful of directorial features from Reality Bites to Tropic Thunder, Ben Stiller easily has a better track record behind the camera than solely in front, giving us a strong reason to look forward to this late-year adventure comedy. With a bigger scope than its 1947 original, hopefully Stiller retains the same fun storytelling elements, along with a great cast including Sean Penn, Kristen Wiig Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn, Shirley MacLaine and Patton Oswalt. – Jordan R.
94. The Butler (Lee Daniels; TBD)
Synopsis: The story of a White House butler who served eight American Presidents over the course of three decades.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: While Lee Daniels still hasn’t made a worthwhile film in his relatively short career, I can’t help but be curious about his latest. Bringing together one of the most varied casts of the year with Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, Liam Neeson, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Robin Williams, James Marsden and Liev Schreiber, one sincerely hopes he doesn’t craft another misfire with this worthwhile subject matter. Unfortunately, we’ll likely have to wait until the end of the year to see if that’s the case. – Jordan R.
93. Jack Ryan (Kenneth Branagh; Dec. 25th)
Synopsis: Jack Ryan, as a young covert CIA analyst, uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Now seemingly in the blockbuster game after his Marvel outing Thor, we’re hoping director Kenneth Branagh provides a jolt to this classic Tom Clancy adaptation, now with the charismatic Chris Pine leading. With nothing but a few run-of-the-mill stills released there’s not much to go on here, but with the talented, Oscar-winning Steven Zaillian having a hand in the script and a supporting turn from Kevin Costner — who is in a bit of a career resurgence with this, along with Man of Steel and a few other projects — we’re hoping this is an entertaining year-end divergence from the award contenders. – Jordan R.
92. Dom Hemingway (Richard Shepard; TBD)
Synopsis: After spending 12 years in prison for keeping his mouth shut, notorious safe-cracker Dom Hemingway is back on the streets of London looking to collect what he’s owed.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: After working on such TV shows as Girls and 30 Rock, it’s been a long wait for writer/director Richard Shepard to get behind the camera again after his 2007 dark comedy The Hunting Party. Thankfully, 2013 will mark his return, as production recently completely on his follow-up, a crime drama starring Jude Law, Richard E. Grant and Demián Bichir. Although little is known, if this one packs the same sharp writing and ideal tone, it should be a nice surprise. – Jordan R.
91. Berandal aka The Raid 2 (Gareth Evans)
Synopsis: Not available.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: One of the few films to sucker punch you in the jugular was Gareth Evan’s impressively operatic The Raid: Redemption, a perfect example of combat fueled chaos done right. The premise basically sets itself up for a bigger and badder sequel, knowing full well that if the original made money, the budget would get bigger. And sure enough, the action gods have shined down upon us with good fortune, since the sequel goes into production this month. Though details are scarce, based on a recent tweet from the director himself, the story will start exactly two hours from where the original left off. Also, if you check out our interview with the director, you’ll notice he dropped some tidbits about how action scenes will be amped to the max, including a fight involving jumping to and from moving cars, which just sounds fantastic. – Raffi A.
90. Runner Runner (Brad Furman; Sept. 27th)
Synopsis: A businessman who owns an offshore gambling operation finds his relationship with his protégé reaching a boiling point.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Before Matthew McConaughey had a banner year in 2012 with some of the best projects of his career, including Bernie, Magic Mike and Killer Joe, he had an ideal leading role as The Lincoln Lawyer. Directed by Brad Furman, the film had a kinetic style, making for a twisty, entertaining courtroom drama and now he has returned for a bigger follow-up. With Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake, Anthony Mackie, Gemma Arterton and Parks and Recreations‘ hilarious Ben Schwartz, we hope this crime thriller marks a significant step forward for Furman. – Jordan R.
89. Frozen (Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee; Nov. 27th)
Synopsis: A mountain climber and a young girl named Anna journey through snowy peaks and dangerous cliffs to find the legendary Snow Queen and end the perpetual winter prophecy that has fallen over their kingdom.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: While the description makes this upcoming animation seem not far removed from the Enchanted/Tangled fare from Disney, Frozen‘s worth keeping an eye on more for the people involved than for the current plot summary. Having dug its way out of the development hell, the project has now gathered an excellent crew of Broadway veterans to its side with a cast including showstopping favorites Idina Menzel (Wicked, Rent, Enchanted) and Jonathan Groff (Spring Awakening, Glee, Taking Woodstock) and music from the incredible Robert Lopez (The Book of Mormon, Avenue Q). It’ll be a little while before we see a trailer but based on the talent involved, it’s hard not to be excited for Disney’s latest animated feature. – Winn P.
88. 42 (Brian Helgeland; April 12th)
Synopsis: The life story of Jackie Robinson and his history-making signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers under the guidance of team executive Branch Rickey.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Marking Brian Helgeland’s first directorial effort since 2003, this biopic features a talented ensemble cast, many of whom, while talented, remain relatively unknown, including star Chadwick Boseman. Hopefully this feature not only serves as a break-out for the ensemble, but a worthy drama for one of baseball’s top legends. – Ronnie M.
87. Warm Bodies (Jonathan Levine; Feb. 1st)
Synopsis: After a zombie becomes involved with the girlfriend of one of his victims, their romance sets in motion a sequence of events that might transform the entire lifeless world.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: On paper, director Jonathan Levine’s adaptation of Isaac Marion’s novel reads like a lame attempt at making a Twilight for zombie fans. But unlike its vampire and werewolf brethren, trailers for the film reveal a humorous tongue-in-cheek tone with an interesting plot to boot. With added help from funny man sidekick Rob Corddry and the always over-the-top John Malkovich, Warm Bodies could join the ranks of brilliant comedy horror fare like Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland. – Amanda W.
86. Man of Steel (Zack Snyder; June 14th)
Synopsis: An alien infant is raised on Earth, and grows up with superhuman abilities. He sets out to use these abilities to guard his adopted world.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Because even if you detest the films of Zack Snyder, there’s no denying his visual singularity, and as monotonous and repetitive as the superhero-genre tent-poles are threatening to become, the playing field could hardly get any worse with an effort from an aesthete as energetic as Snyder. Put up something like The Amazing Spider-Man or The Avengers against Snyder’s Watchmen, and suddenly the former two films, on a level of artistic authority, suddenly look like they were made during recess by a couple of sixth-graders. And I know we’re not supposed to put too much stock in trailers — especially those of the teaser-length variety — but the pair of early-looks we got this past summer for Man of Steel still strike me as downright beautiful. – Danny K.
85. Blood Ties (Guillaume Canet; TBD)
Synopsis: Two brothers, on either side of the law, face off over organized crime in Brooklyn during the 1970s.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: After crafting the stellar thriller Tell No One (which is set to get its own Hollywood remake), we’ve been waiting for Guillaume Canet to hit the mainstream radar and his next film, Blood Ties, could be the one that creates such an occurrence. Not only does this crime drama feature a reunion between Rust & Bone stars Matthias Schoenaerts and Marion Cotillard, but Mila Kunis, Zoe Saldana, Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, James Caan and more have us greatly looking forward to this one. – Jordan R.
84. They Came Together (David Wain; TBD)
Synopsis: A small business owner is about to lose her shop to a major corporate development.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: After his last Paul Rudd-led effort, Wanderlust, went underappreciated around this time last year, we’re hoping a better response is in store for David Wain‘s latest film, the smaller budget They Came Together. Poking fun at the romantic comedy genre, he’s assembled yet again another hilarious ensemble, including Cobie Smulders, Melanie Lynskey, Ed Helms, Amy Poehler, and even a few straight-faced men, including Christopher Meloni and Michael Shannon. – Jordan R.
83. Touchy Feely (Lynn Shelton; TBD – Sundance Premiere)
Synopsis: A massage therapist is unable to do her job when stricken with a mysterious and sudden aversion to bodily contact. Meanwhile, her uptight brother’s foundering dental practice receives new life when clients seek out his healing touch.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: After last year’s enjoyable dramatic comedy Your Sister’s Sister, it’s nice to see Lynn Shelton back on the festival circuit with a new film. What’s intriguing, is that her latest project Touchy Feely seems to depart from the single story narrative, and weave a number of character arcs and storylines around the notion of try to live in you own skin. In her interview for Sundance’s Meet the Artist series, Shelton stated that, “It was a scary film to make, because I felt vunerable the entire time I was making it, because of the personal quality of it, and because of the emotional quality of it.” The intimacy of the story, as well as the exploration of identity, reminds me of Shelton’s first feature We Go Way Back, and it excites me to think that she is pushing her self to explore deeper elements of self, undoubtedly making this a film not to be missed. – Kristen C.
82. Untitled Nicole Holofcener Film (TBD)
Synopsis: A divorced woman who decides to pursue the man she’s interested in learns he’s her new friend’s ex-husband
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Never quite receiving the acclaim she deserves, Nicole Holofcener has crafted some of the finest character-based dramas with her features, most recently 2010’s Please Give. She has now returned, once again with Catherine Keener and James Gandolfini, but bringing along Julia Louis-Dreyfus in her first live-action feature in over 15 years, reason enough to look forward to this drama. – Jordan R.
81. Serena (Susanne Bier; TBD)
Synopsis: In Depression-era North Carolina, the future of George Pemberton’s timber empire becomes complicated when it is learned that his wife, Serena, cannot bear children.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: After proving their chemistry in last year’s Silver Linings Playbook, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper quietly completed another film together and hopefully we’ll see the results this year. From Oscar-winner Susanne Bier, Serena marks one of two features from the director landing in the US this year (the other being the Pierce Brosnan-led Love Is All You Need) and sees our stars back quite a few decades, but hopefully retaining the same amount of charisma. – Jordan R.
80. Closed Circuit (John Crowley; TBD)
Synopsis: Martin and Claudia are lawyers — and ex-lovers — who find themselves put at risk after they join the defense team for an international terrorist’s trial.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: After writing one of David Cronenberg‘s finest recent works with Eastern Promises, we’ve been eagerly awaiting Steven Knight’s next project and it will finally debut this summer. Directed by John Crowley, who provided Andrew Garfield with his break-out role in the coming-of-age drama Boy A, brings together Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall Jim Broadbent and Ciarán Hinds for what should hopefully be a nail-biting thriller. – Jordan R.
79. The Way, Way Back (Nat Faxon and Jim Rash; TBD – Sundance Premiere)
Synopsis: Over the course of his summer break, a teenager comes into his own thanks in part to the friendship he strikes up with one of the park’s managers.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: It seems as though Nat Faxon and Jim Rash learned the clout an Oscar can hold quite quickly. The duo, one of whom provides some the best laughs on Community, were rightfully awarded for their work on The Descendants, and here we are a year later, with their directorial debut set for a Sundance bow. With a cast including Sam Rockwell, Steve Carell, Amanda Peet, Allison Janney, Toni Collette, Maya Rudolph and Rob Corddry, it’s not only one of our most-anticipated films of the aforementioned festival, but of the year as well. – Jordan R.
78. Life Itself (Steve James; TBD)
Synopsis: The story and struggles of film critic, Roger Ebert, based on his memoir, “Life Itself.”
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Anticipating a documentary project can be difficult, considering the best kind usually sneak up on you, but it’s safe to say we’re always looking forward to next film from Hoop Dreams and The Interrupters director Steve James. Following the world’s most recognized film critic, with support from Martin Scorsese and Steve Zaillian, this look inside not only the day-to-day activities of Roger Ebert, but his life itself (literally) could truly be something special. – Jordan R.
77. Pacific Rim (Guillermo del Toro; July 12th)
Synopsis: When an alien attack threatens the Earth’s existence, giant robots piloted by humans are deployed to fight off the menace.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Scheduled to release in July, Guillermo Del Toro’s highly anticipated epic actioner has all the makings of a major summer blockbuster: robot-monster fights, unlikely heroes, massive destruction, mayhem. Did I mention robot-monster fights? Previews for the film did little to quell the hype, as they showed costumes, set pieces, and CGI of a quality that would cause sci-fi fans to froth at the mouth. And besides, even if Pacific Rim doesn’t live up to fanboy expectations, it will still deliver plenty of entertainment. – Amanda W.
76. White Bird in a Blizzard (Gregg Araki; TBD)
Synopsis: A young woman’s life is thrown into chaos when her mother disappears.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Most of my anticipation tied to any upcoming Gregg Araki feature has to do with the unexpected nature of his films. The Kaboom and Mysterious Skin director recently completed production on his latest project, one that sees The Descendants star Shailene Woodley likely stepping outside of her comfort zone, and although the brief logline is fairly by-the-numbers, one knows it will likely be just the beginning. Also starring Eva Green, Christopher Meloni, Shiloh Fernandez, Angela Bassett and Gabourey Sidibe, expect it to land in the fall. – Jordan R.
75. Breathe In (Drake Doremus; TBD – Sundance Premiere)
Synopsis: When a foreign exchange student arrives in a small upstate New York town, she challenges the dynamics of her host family’s relationships and alters their lives forever.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Although I was far from enamored by his last feature, the Sundance award winner Like Crazy, Drake Doremus‘ follow-up has sparked my interest. Taking on a seemingly more mature story with darker tones, I’m curious as to where this story of forbidden love may head. Led by Guy Pearce, Felicity Jones, Amy Ryan and more, let’s hope Doremus uses his talents to a stronger effect here, and with a Sundance premiere, we’ll find out the result soon. – Jordan R.
74. Dallas Buyer’s Club (Jean-Marc Vallée; TBD)
Synopsis: Loosely based on the true-life tale of Ron Woodroof, a drug taking, women loving, homophobic man who, in 1986 was diagnosed with full blown HIV/AIDS and given thirty days to live.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: After being much talked about due to the insane weight loss its actors had to endure (see Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto above), here’s hoping that won’t be the only discussion point when it comes to this drama. Likely gearing up for a late-year bow after a festival debut, if all goes well, this true story will continue McConaughey’s incredible streak of must-see projects. – Jordan R.
73. Lone Survivor (Peter Berg; TBD)
Synopsis: Based on the failed June 28, 2005 mission “Operation Red Wing.” Four members of SEAL Team 10, were tasked with the mission to capture or kill notorious Taliban leader, Admad Shad. Marcus Luttrell was the only member of his team to survive.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: 2012 was not a good year for Peter Berg. The otherwise strong director made a box-office bomb for the history books with Battleship, a failed attempt at a mega blockbuster in the vein of Transformers. All the personality of Berg’s previous films was missing in the Hasbro story, but hopefully Lone Survivor, a true pasion project, will get him back on track — not unlike Joe Carnahan‘s rejuvenating experience with last year’s The Grey. – Jack G.
72. The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman (Fredrik Bond; TBD – Sundance Premiere)
Synopsis: A guy falls for a woman who’s claimed by a violent crime boss.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Having proven he can carry a film without robots in last year’s Lawless, before Shia LaBeouf gets freaky in Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, he’s set to lead this smaller drama from praised commercial director Fredrik Bond. Being compared to the eclectic mix of True Romance, Wild at Heart, Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting and Pulp Fiction, the Sundance-bound drama stars Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, Aubrey Plaza, Rupert Grint, Til Schweiger and Melissa Leo, and if all else fails, it will go down easy on the ears, with songs from Moby, M83 and The XX. – Jordan R.
71. August: Osage County (John Wells; TBD)
Synopsis: The Weston family overcomes certain differences when their alcoholic patriarch goes missing.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Because even though William Friedkin isn’t helming this Tracy Letts-penned adaptation, there’s still plenty of pedigree to look forward to — mainly, an all-star cast that includes Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Ewan McGregor, Julia Roberts, and Meryl Streep. There is, too, the small little factoid that the Letts stage play of the same name won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama — a feat that neither Killer Joe nor Bug (Letts’s first two plays) likely came close to achieving. And even if director John Wells probably won’t pack the same atmospheric audacity as Friedkin, he showed a good touch with actors in his debut, the under-seen The Company Men, and if sticks to that approach, the number of memorable performances here could well enter double-digit territory. – Danny K.
70. The Spectacular Now (James Ponsoldt; TBD)
Synopsis: Sutter is a high school senior who lives for the moment; Aimee is the introvert he attempts to “save.” As their relationship deepens, the lines between right and wrong, friendship and love, and “saving” and corrupting become inextricably blurred.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: After emerging as one of the top talents at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, Smashed director James Ponsoldt returns just a year later with his follow-up, a coming-of-age drama with some major talent. In her first lead role after The Descendants, actress Shailene Woodley stars alongside Miles Teller (who will hopefully deliver a performance worthy of his break-out in Rabbit Hole). Joined by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kyle Chandler, Brie Larson and Jennifer Jason Leigh, this one is certainly on our radar heading into Park City. – Jordan R.
69. The Two Faces of January (Hossein Amini; TBD)
Synopsis: A thriller centered on a con artist, his wife, and a stranger who try to flee a foreign country after one of them is caught up in the murder of a police officer.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: While we attribute much of the success of Drive to Nicolas Winding Refn‘s directing, it was screenwriter Hossein Amini that put the words on the page and now, after working in blockbuster territory with Snow White and the Huntsman and the upcoming 47 Ronin, he’s recently finished shooting his directorial debut, The Two Faces of January. Returning to thriller territory, Amini assembled the powerhouse trio of Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac for the film that will hopefully see a premiere on the fall festival circuit. – Jordan R.
68. Diablo Cody’s Untitled Directorial Debut (TBD)
Synopsis: After surviving a plane crash a young conservative woman suffers a crisis of faith.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Previously titled Lamb of God, we thought the directorial debut from Juno and Young Adult writer Diablo Cody could perhaps land in theaters last year, but after a spring shoot, it seems as though it’s being primed for a 2013 festival bow. Led by Julianne Hough and Russell Brand, the film has some major supporting talent with Holly Hunter, Octavia Spencer and Nick Offerman, and we hope Cody can transfer her talents from the pen to behind the camera here. – Jordan R.
67. Under Your Skin (Jonathan Glazer; TBD)
Synopsis: An alien in human form is on a journey through Scotland.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Director Jonathan Glazer does not make enough movies. The well-renowned music video director made a big splash in the feature world with the unconventional Sexy Beast, and then followed that “gangster” pic up with an even more unconventional drama with Birth. It’s been many years since his divisive drama and it sounds like he’s made something quite daring, and possibly more polarizing, with Under Your Skin. – Jack G.
65 and 66. Wrong Cops and Réalité (Quentin Dupieux; TBD)
Synopsis: A group of bad cops look to dispose of a body that one of them accidentally shot.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Following the release of Rubber, director (and writer, editor, composer, cinematographer) Quentin Dupieux has yet to slow down. We recommended his hilarious Wrong, which will finally debut this spring, and now he’s back with two additional projects. Shot in chapters, a portion of his Marilyn Manson-led Wrong Cops (no relation to the aforementioned film) will land at Sundance and then another mysterious project, titled Réalité, will hopefully land by year’s end. Regardless of what they contain, we’re greatly looking forward to more absurd humor from Dupieux. – Jordan R.
64. The Congress (Ari Folman; TBD)
Synopsis: An aging, out-of-work actress accepts one last job, though the consequences of her decision affect her in ways she didn’t consider.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Appearing on last year’s most-anticipated round-up, sadly this project is still a major question mark. Although seemingly in final post-production, we haven’t heard a peep regarding The Congress, but considering it comes from Ari Folman, the Oscar-nominated director of the astounding Waltz with Bashir, expectations are high. Featuring voice work from Robin Wright, Paul Giamatti, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Harvey Keitel and Danny Huston, we pray this one gets a fall festival debut, or even better, a Cannes bow. – Jordan R.
63. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (David Lowery; TBD – Sundance Premiere)
Synopsis: A story centered on two outlaws in the hills of Texas.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Perhaps most notably, because Rooney Mara was being courted for roles in upcoming flicks by Steven Soderbergh and Terrence Malick after her Oscar-nominated turn in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but she signed on for this one anyway. It’s also a return to the screen for Casey Affleck, who has only done two live-action films since his breakout in 2007’s Gone Baby Gone. That must mean that David Lowery — who won a Grand Prize for his short film Pioneer at SXSW last year — has quite a good script on his hands. Details are a bit scarce, but Bonnie and Clyde is the point of comparison, and it is perhaps the most buzzed debut heading into Sundance Film Festival. Despite the lack of details, however, all the signs point to success. – Forrest C.
62. Rush (Ron Howard; Sept. 20th)
Synopsis: A biography of Formula 1 champion driver Niki Lauda and the 1976 crash that almost claimed his life. Mere weeks after the accident, he got behind the wheel to challenge his rival, James Hunt.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Considering there has never been a great Formula One film coming out of Hollywood, Ron Howard’s biopic Rush could be the golden ticket. Loaded with talent both in front of and behind the lens, the race pic is penned by Academy Award nominee Peter Morgan, a score by Hans Zimmer, and a strong ensemble including Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl, Olivia Wilde and more. Aiming for awards glory with its fall debut, we hope it delivers. – Ronnie M.
61. Calvary (John Michael McDonagh; TBD)
Synopsis: After he is threatened during a confession, a good-natured priest must battle the dark forces closing in around him.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Because the idea of writer-director John Michael McDonagh following up the humorously acidic The Guard by giving his go-to leading man Brendan Gleeson the role of a good-natured priest is so awesomely enticing. After playing a cop who was little more than a funnel of drug-taking and harsh profanity, I can’t wait to see what Gleeson does with the part, this time apparently playing a guy who’s surrounded by people that are meaner than he is. And as much as I’ll miss the warmth and sincerity that Don Cheadle brought to The Guard, Calvary, from Kelly Reilly (who appeared alongside Cheadle in 2012’s Flight) to Chris O’Dowd, appears to have its fair share of supporting-player rewards on the docket. – Danny K.
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 In, Pedro 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.
50. Goodbye to Language 3D (Jean-Luc Godard; TBD)
Synopsis: About a man and his wife who no longer speak the same language. The dog they take on walks then intervenes and speaks.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: That it’s from Jean-Luc Godard should sort of answer this question right off the bat, but things actually go deeper than this (already sufficient) reason. It’s the man’s first, likely last foray into the realm of 3D, and early reports almost-sort-of indicate this would be his inaugural work with a talking animal. (Unless I really missed out by never seeing Détective.) It shouldn’t be until Cannes when we know whether or not it holds the tenor that caused so many repel from Film socialisme, but we know it will absolutely, definitively be Godard’s. – Nick N.
49. Labor Day (Jason Reitman; TBD)
Synopsis: Depressed single mom Adele and her son Henry offer a wounded, fearsome man a ride. As police search town for the escaped convict, the mother and son gradually learn his true story as their options become increasingly limited.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: We’re hoping this gets a timely release for the September holiday, but if its like any other Jason Reitman film, it will likely be held until a little later in the awards season. After taking on some darker subject matter in Young Adult, we’re intrigued what will follow for this project, starring not only James Van Der Beek, but Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Tobey Maguire, Jacki Weaver and Clark Gregg as well. – Jordan R.
48. Anchorman: The Legend Continues (Adam McKay; Dec. 20th)
Synopsis: The continuing on-set adventures of San Diego’s top rated newsman.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: One of the most-anticipated comedies for years, Paramount finally gave a sequel to Anchorman the green light and it’s difficult to hold back our excitement to see the return of Ron Burgundy. With all the other major players returning, and a variety of newcomers (including Kristen Wiig), this is shaping up to be a special year-end treat. – Jordan R.
47. Winter’s Tale (Akiva Goldsman; Late 2013)
Synopsis: A fantasy story set in 19th Century and present-day Manhattan and revolves around a thief, a dying girl, and a flying white horse.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: After a lengthy time in the writing and producing game with films such as A Beautiful Mind, Mr. & Mrs. Smith and I Am Legend, Hollywood veteran Akiva Goldsman is trying his hand a feature directing for the first time with this drama. Likely aiming to be a major force in next year’s awards season, with a cast including Russell Crowe, Will Smith, Colin Farrell, Matt Bomer, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt and Kevin Corrigan, we hope it delivers. – Jordan R.
46. The Young & Prodigious Spivet (Jean-Pierre Jeunet; TBD)
Synopsis: A 12-year-old cartographer secretly leaves his family’s ranch in Montana where he lives with his cowboy father and scientist mother and travels across the country on board a freight train to receive an award at the Smithsonian Institute.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Reading the above synopsis it’s easy to see how this material attracted the endlessly inventive Jean-Pierre Jeunet. For his first feature film since 2009’s Micmacs, we’re hoping The Young & Prodigious Spivet is as perfect a match for the filmmaker as it looks on the outset. While Helena Bonham Carter and Judy Davis are the only recognizable faces in the ensemble, Jeunet is always one for surprises and we can’t wait to see what he does with 3D. – Jordan R.
45. The Lobster (Giorgos Lanthimos; TBD)
Synopsis: An unconventional love story set in a dystopian near future where single people, according to the rules of the Town, are arrested and transferred to the Hotel. There they are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days. If they fail, they are transformed into an animal of their choosing and released into the woods. A desperate Man escapes from the Hotel to the Woods where the Loners live and there he falls in love, although it’s against their rules.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Although I was less than impressed with Alps, Giorgos Lanthimos‘ follow-up to his brilliant Dogtooth, one can’t helped but be intrigued by looking at the above synopsis when it comes to his next effort, the sci-fi-tinged drama The Lobster.While financing is still coming together, one hopes we could see everything fall into place for a debut this year. – Jordan R.
43 and 44. The Wind Rises (Hayao Miyazaki; TBD) and The Tale Of The Bamboo Cutter (Isao Takahata; TBD)
Synopsis: The Wind Rises – A look at the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed Japanese fighter planes during World War II. The Tale Of The Bamboo Cutter – Follows the life of a mysterious girl called Kaguya-hime, who was discovered as a baby inside the stalk of a glowing bamboo plant.
Why We’re Looking Forward To Them: A year when we get a single Studio Ghibli feature is reason enough to be excited, but 2013 will see the debut of two new films from the heralded animation house. First up is another film from mastermind himself Hayao Miyazaki and then we get another project from Isao Takahata, director of the heartbreaking Grave of the Fireflies. Will any 2013 US animated features stand up to these two? We doubt it. – Jordan R.
42. Mood Indigo (Michel Gondry; TBD)
Synopsis: A woman suffers from an unusual illness caused by a flower growing in her lungs.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Michel Gondry’s been in kind of a slump. Two years on, The Green Hornet is already roundly forgotten; it came after Be Kind Rewind and The Science of Sleep, two films many didn’t know what to make of; and, based on Cannes reports, The We and The I is not what he needed. So, now, we have Mood Indigo, a (duh) whimsical romance that brings him together with some of France’s best talents: Audrey Tautou, Omar Sy, Gad Elmaleh, and Romain Duris. After the past few misses, one of his swings has to connect. Knowing the circumstances and looking at his team, I’d really, really like for Mood Indigo to do so. – Nick N.
41. Zama (Lucrecia Martel; TBD)
Synopsis: A period drama following Don Diego de Zama, an official for the Spanish crown on his way to Buenos Aires.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: With her first feature film in a half-a-decade, details are scarce on Lucrecia Martel‘s drama Zama, but there’s no reason not to be anticipating the return of one cinema’s finest female talents. With financing still coming together, this one may not see the light of day until 2014, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention it. – Jordan R.
40. A Field In England (Ben Wheatley; TBD)
Synopsis: A psychedelic 17th-century tale set during the English civil war.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Having already mentioned his last film, Sightseers, in our must-watch 2013 film round-up, one doesn’t have to ponder why Ben Wheatley‘s follow-up is reasonably high on this list. The talented director goes back a few hundred years and based on that logline, it’s going to be yet another wild ride in his filmography. – Jordan R.
39. The Double (Richard Ayoade; TBD)
Synopsis: A comedy centered on a man who is driven insane by the appearance of his doppleganger.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: We hope this film is the break-out for Richard Ayoade that he deserved with his debut Submarine, but never got. With two talented leads, Mia Wasikowska and Jesse Eisenberg, a script co-written by Harmony’s younger brother Avi Korine and an intriguing concept, our anticipation is high for the film that will likely see a debut on the fall festival circuit. – Jordan R.
38. Stoker (Park Chan-wook; March 1st)
Synopsis: After India’s father dies, her Uncle Charlie, who she never knew existed, comes to live with her and her unstable mother. She comes to suspect this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives and becomes increasingly infatuated with him.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Having anticipated Park Chan-wook‘s Hollywood debut for a great while now, I was a bit taken aback by the over-the-top trailers for his dark family drama Stoker, but if anyone can sell such a style, it’s this great South Korean director. With a Sundance debut, we’ll find out if our hype is justified in a short time for the film that stars Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Dermot Mulroney, Jacki Weaver and Nicole Kidman. – Jordan R.
36 and 37. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Hers and His (Ned Benson)
Synopsis: A New York couple’s relationship told from different perspectives.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Putting two films in the same slot almost feels like cheating, but what other option presents itself when they’re of a larger piece? Although the audaciousness this requires of writer-director Ned Benson does make Eleanor Rigby an interesting idea, it’s the prospect of James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain as an emotionally conflicted marital pair (each getting their own film) that puts it over the top. (Not to mention a killer supporting slate that includes William Hurt, Isabelle Huppert, and, because why not, Bill Hader.) Benson has yet to prove himself as any sort of craftsman, but you’d have to be a real dunce to drop the ball with such people at your side. – Nick N.
35. Star Trek Into Darkness (J.J. Abrams; May 17th)
Synopsis: After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Star Trek is a delicate franchise to play around with, especially because it’s so revered by its countless fans, that ultimately no matter how you choose to interpret it, you’ll be disappointing someone’s expectations. That said, J.J. Abrams did an admirable job with 2009‘s Star Trek, rebooting both the characters from the original franchise and the flexing power of the franchise’s big screen prowess. Featuring pretty much everybody from the last film, the sequel seems larger in scope in terms of both storytelling and special effects. Despite false rumors about the presence of a notorious villain from Star Trek II: Wrath of Kahn (a fan favorite), Abrams looks to be continuing his bold stylistic interpretation of the series while keeping in mind the summer blockbuster crowds. – Raffi A.
34. Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen; TBD)
Synopsis: Revolves around a wealthy-turned-broke woman who leaves New York and is living with her sister in San Francisco. She is forced to downsize after losing her funds and meets her Bay Area lover while finding herself and accepting S.F. as her new home.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: If one buys into the notion that every other Woody Allen film is a success, then things are looking positive for his next feature, the San Francisco-set drama that is still without a title. The busy director always secures a great cast, but this one is his most intriguing in some time, bringing together comedians Louis C.K. and Andrew Dice Clay, alongside Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Emerson, Michael Stuhlbarg, Sally Hawkins and more. – Jordan R.
33. Devil’s Knot (Atom Egoyan; TBD)
Synopsis: The savage murders of three young children sparks a controversial trial of three teenagers accused of killing the kids as part of a satanic ritual.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Although we’ve see a double dose of documentaries on the West Memphis Three the last two years, we’re hoping Atom Egoyan delivers the definitive narrative version with his latest project. With a strong cast led by Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth, the supporting ensemble is full of noteworthy players, like last year’s breakout star Dane DeHaan, plus the always reliable Bruce Greenwood, Elias Koteas and Amy Ryan. – Jordan R.
32. The Zero Theorem (Terry Gilliam; TBD)
Synopsis: A computer hacker’s goal to discover the reason for human existence continually finds his work interrupted thanks to the Management; this time, they send a teenager and lusty love interest to distract him.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Whether they succeed or not, we’ll always be looking forward to another film from the endlessly inventive mind of Terry Gilliam. With his Don Quixote project never getting off the ground, the helmer turned to this new film, with an expectedly creative concept and a promising cast including Christoph Waltz, Ben Whishaw, Tilda Swinton, David Thewlis and a brief cameo by Matt Damon. – Jordan R.
31. Night Moves (Kelly Reichardt; TBD)
Synopsis: A drama centered on three environmentalists who plot to blow up a dam.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: It’s been long enough to say Kelly Reichardt doesn’t play inside the box. Look at what she did with the western a couple of years ago with Meek’s Cutoff; Lord knows how this would translate to a movie about eco terrorists. Although I suspect this one’s going to be terrific, it’s still a general hope that she doesn’t need to compromise her style for (what sounds to be) a different kind of story. If she must make adjustments where necessary, this filmmaker’s already done enough to earn our trust it’ll work. – Nick N.
30. Lowlife (James Gray; TBD – Potential Cannes Premiere)
Synopsis: An innocent immigrant woman is tricked into a life of burlesque and vaudeville until a dazzling magician tries to save her and reunite her with her sister who is being held in the confines of Ellis Island.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Easily one of the most underappreciated directors in Hollywood, James Gray often plays with cliches, yet always leaves an astounding mark thanks to his grand visual style and knack for achieving strong performances from his actors. For his fifth feature, the director teams once again with Joaquin Phoenix, this time bringing along Jeremy Renner and Marion Cotillard, for a period drama that should hopefully debut at the Cannes Film Festival. – Jordan R.
29. Out of the Furnace (Scott Cooper; TBD)
Synopsis: Two brothers live in the economically-depressed Rust Belt, when a cruel twist of fate lands one in prison. His brother is then lured into one of the most violent crime rings in the Northeast.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: While Scott Cooper’s debut, the country music drama Crazy Heart, delivered fine performances from Jeff Bridges (who grabbed an Oscar) and Maggie Gyllenhaal, there left a bit to be desired from the complete package. Thankfully, for his follow-up, he seems to be expanding his scope and bringing along one of 2013’s finest ensembles to boot. Aiming to be a major force in year-end race, Out of the Furnace brings together Christian Bale, Zoe Saldana, Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe, Casey Affleck, Forest Whitaker, Sam Shepard and Boyd Holbrook, giving us reason enough to be excited. – Jordan R.
28. Trance (Danny Boyle; Spring TBD)
Synopsis: A fine art auctioneer mixed up with a gang joins forces with a hypnotherapist to recover a lost painting.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: After Danny Boyle delivered a difficult watch in 127 Hours, his follow-up puts the helmer back into fun mode, with an art heist project that’s finally set to debut after shooting before his Olympics commitment, way back in fall of 2011. With a trio of talented leads (James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, Vincent Cassel), Boyle’s style seems to be a perfect fit for this material and after an energetic trailer, we’re greatly looking forward to this one. – Jordan R.
27. Side Effects (Steven Soderbergh; Feb. 8th)
Synopsis: A woman turns to prescription medication as a way of handling her anxiety concerning her husband’s upcoming release from prison.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: With a style seemingly not far removed from Contagion, Steven Soderbergh’s subject matter here switches from viruses to drugs, antidepressants to be specific, and some sort of murder conspiracy surrounding its manufacturing. Part of what made Contagion work so effectively was the manner in which real world fears played into the on screen horror. Featuring an all star ensemble cast Rooney Mara, Jude Law, Channing Tatum and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Soderbergh is primed to deliver yet another intelligent thriller before supposedly taking his long rumored break from filmmaking. – Raffi A.
26. The Great Gatsby (Baz Luhrmann; May 10th)
Synopsis: Nick Carraway, a Midwesterner now living on Long Island, finds himself fascinated by the mysterious past and lavish lifestyle of his neighbor, Jay Gatsby. He is drawn into Gatsby’s circle, becoming a witness to obsession and tragedy.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Christmas didn’t feel right without The Great Gatsby. Baz Luhrmann‘s adaptation seemed perfect for the Holiday season, but Warner Bros. thought differently, as they moved the drama to a May release. Anyone who has read the book knows it’s not exactly summer movie material. Then again, maybe Luhrmann brought enough of his Luhrmanness to make it a possible box-office hit and there’s still plenty of hope to be had here. With Luhrmann, a fantastic cast, and a terrific book in hand, The Great Gatsby should make for a better adaptation than the 1974 film. – Jack G.
25. Monuments Men (George Clooney; Dec. 20th)
Synopsis: In a race against time, a crew of art historians and museum curators unite to recover renown works of art stolen by Nazis before Hitler destroys them.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Excepting Leatherheads, George Clooney has made himself one of America’s foremost craftsmen of entertaining multiplex drama. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Good Night and Good Luck, and The Ides of March have a lighter touch than much of their fall brethren; they’re not going to rack up the sort of awards attention as some other material put out around the time, but it’s usually more worthy of your time. The unknown-segment-of-history angle and knockout selection of loveable stars is an early, strong sign that The Monuments Men will follow this mold to a T. From the actor-cum-filmmaker, I wouldn’t hope for anything else. – Nick N.
24. The Bling Ring (Sofia Coppola; TBD – Potential Cannes Premiere)
Synopsis: Inspired by actual events, a group of fame-obsessed teenagers use the Internet to track celebrities’ whereabouts in order to rob their homes.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: You’re either with Sofia Coppola or you’re not. All her films have garnered the titles of “pretentiously boring” or “quietly immersive,” and I have always sided with the latter group. Coppola’s voice, no matter how irritating you may find it, is her own. Despite some potentially thrilling subject matter, it’s fair to guess The Bling Ring won’t be much different in style than her previous work, and if that’s the case, we couldn’t be happier — although I’d personally love to see the director take a crack at an action movie. – Jack G.
23. The Rover (David Michod; TBD)
Synopsis: A dirty and dangerous near-future western set in the Australian desert.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: The last time Guy Pearce starred in a Australian western we got John Hillcoat‘s fantastic The Proposition. This time around, we’ve got Animal Kingdom director David Michod, Robert Pattinson (proving his talent in David Cronenberg‘s Cosmopolis), the underappreciated Scoot McNairy (Killing Them Softly, Argo, Monsters) and a near-future setting — it’s safe to say we’re quite excited. With a shoot gearing up in a few months, we hope this one will make it to theaters before the year’s end. – Jordan R.
22. Foxcatcher (Bennett Miller; Late 2013)
Synopsis: The story of John du Pont, who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and killed Olympic wrestler David Schultz.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Bennett Miller follows the success of his baseball drama Moneyball with another sports story based on real events— only this time, it’s a bit more scandalous. Besides the attention-grabbing true crime premise, Foxcatcher boasts a stellar cast led by Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum and Steve Carell, who dons old age makeup as the mentally ill du Pont. Though the comic actor cut his dramatic teeth in previous films, playing the heir to the Dupont fortune is easily Carrell’s most challenging role yet. His physical and emotional transformation should be the biggest draw to a film already ripe with mystery. – Amanda W.
21. Nebraska (Alexander Payne; Late 2013)
Synopsis: An aging, booze-addled father makes the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim a million dollar Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes prize.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: After taking a seven year break between Sideways and The Descendants, thankfully the wait for Alexander Payne‘s next film is miniscule in comparison. With his George Clooney-led drama taking in over $175 million globally, financing seemingly came easy for Payne’s follow-up, which takes a black-and-white approach with some of the best casting of the year, including Bruce Dern and Will Forte in lead roles, along with Home Alone baddie Devin Ratray supporting. – Jordan R.
20. Elysium (Neill Blomkamp; Aug. 9th)
Synopsis: Set in the year 2159, where the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth, a man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Ever since seeing his short film Alive in Joburg at a film festival years ago, Neil Blomkamp has been on my personal radar for quite some time as a filmmaker, pushing the medium beyond its bounds. In 2009 he adapted that short film into the sci-fi cult hit District 9, garnering global praise from around the world. Now, with a $120 million dollar budget and marquee movie stars Matt Damon and Jodie Foster at the helm, Blomkamp is paving his way further into blockbuster territory and he’s doing so in a bold way that is uniquely true to his style. Elysium looks to be one of the most compelling and mind bending sci-fi films to watch out for in 2013. – Raffi A.
19. Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch; TBD)
Synopsis: A story centered on two vampires who have been in love for centuries.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Yeah, The Limits of Control was a failure, but it’s the sort of misfire only a great artist could make. Now, though, it’s time to get back on the horse, and Jim Jarmusch’s answer is… vampires. While the most tired of all horror staples (next to zombies) is nothing to salivate over, we’re also talking about a director who’s never 100% indebted to the surface of his own concept. That so many of his great films have familiar material on their periphery is just another reason to keep fingers crossed. – Nick N.
18. Her (Spike Jonze; TBD)
Synopsis: A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly-purchased operating system that’s designed to meet his every need.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: In the blink of an eye, more than three years have passed since Spike Jonze released his last film. Amidst his small, esoteric filmography of an introverts emotional journey, this one sounds to most strongly resemble Being John Malkovich — but, with Joaquin Phoenix instead of John Cusack, so we’re already on better ground. While its high-concept premise could be a little worrisome in other hands, Her is, instead, with the sort of people who can make it one of 2013’s most intriguing offers. – Nick N.
17. The Counselor (Ridley Scott; TBD)
Synopsis: A lawyer finds himself in over his head when he gets involved in drug trafficking.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: It’s all in the names. Arguably the hottest actor (in more ways than one) of the past few years, Michael Fassbender, is starring, with support from Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, and Breaking Bad’s Dean Norris — certainly one of the best casts in recent memory. Perhaps more importantly, the script was penned by Cormac McCarthy, one of the great American novelist and author of, among many other things, The Road and No Country For Old Men, both adapted into acclaimed films but the latter in particular being an Oscar-Winning effort by the Coen Brothers that many see as their best work and as one of the best films of the 2000s. His first effort written directly for the screen will certainly be interesting on that alone, but the plot—about a lawyer who gets mixed up in drug dealing trying to earn extra money—suggests the themes of good vs. evil and moral corruption that hangs over his literature. Ridley Scott has a reputation as being inconsistent but also as more than capable of great movie-making, and the deck is stacked in his favor for this one. – Forrest C.
16. Upstream Color (Shane Carruth; April 5th)
Synopsis: A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the life cycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Easily the biggest surprise among the Sundance Film Festival 2013 line-up, few knew that Shane Carruth had finally completed his follow-up to 2004’s mindbending time-travel film Primer. Judging from the first few teasers, the helmer has expanded his visual scope, but still retaining a confounding structure that leaves us evermore intrigued. While it’s set to debut at Park City soon, audiences won’t have to wait long as a spring theatrical bow is in store. – Jordan R.
15. Venus In Fur (Roman Polanski; TBD)
Synopsis: An actress attempts to convince a director how she’s perfect for a role in his upcoming production.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Coming off the grossly underappreciated Carnage, Roman Polanski is continuing with the “few actors, small space” approach on Venus in Fur. The stage-y approach, a common complaint about his last film — but precisely what made that film such an invigorating formal exercise — is getting spiced up with some of the classic Polanski sexual psychology. – Nick N.
14. Jane Got a Gun (Lynne Ramsay; TBD)
Synopsis: A woman asks her ex-lover for help in order to save her outlaw husband from a gang out to kill him.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: It’s nice to see Lynn Ramsay working faster nowadays. The nearly ten-year gap between Morvern Callar and We Need to Talk About Kevin was too wide, and after the acclaim of the latter, she’s getting projects off the ground quicker than ever. Thankfully one of those is Jane Got a Gun, an intriguing western starring Natalie Portman, Michael Fassbender, and Joel Edgerton. With production set in a few months, hopefully we’ll see this one by year’s end. – Jack G.
13. Nymphomaniac (Lars von Trier; TBD)
Synopsis: A self-diagnosed nymphomaniac recounts her erotic experiences to the man who saved her after a beating.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Lars von Trier is making a porn — well sort of, but not quite. In some ways one could argue that he is the cinematic equivalent to pornography, attracting unwanted attention and not always for the right reasons. Never one to shy from controversy, the director announced his intentions to make a pornographic film during a press conference for Melancholia, while simultaneously making a Nazi joke that resulted in him being banned from the Cannes film festival. However disturbed he might be personally, there’s no denying his raw power as a provocateur and it’s not shameful to indulge in that kind of cinematic mania. Featuring a solid ensemble of old and new faces to the Von Trier family including Shia LaBeouf, Stellan Skarsgård, Jamie Bell, Christian Slater and Charlotte Gainsbourg as the titular character, Nymphomaniac seems a likely candidate for most shocking film of the year, but also most interesting. – Raffi A.
12. Only God Forgives (Nicolas Winding Refn; TBD – Potential Cannes Premiere)
Synopsis: A Bangkok police lieutenant and a gangster settle their differences in a Thai-boxing match.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: As the first footage recently arrived for Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling‘s Drive follow-up, our anticipation has rightfully continued. Moving from the streets of Los Angeles to the Thailand boxing underground, this spiritual successor still seems to share many similarities, including a passive anti-hero, distinct style and lots (and lots) of violence. – Jordan R.
11. The World’s End (Edgar Wright; Oct. 25th)
Synopsis: Five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from 20 years earlier unwittingly become humankind’s only hope for survival.
Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Despite loving Scott Pilgrim vs. the World more than several members of my own family, The World’s End is what I’ve wanted Edgar Wright to make since 2007. The expectations are almost too high: He’s not only completing a trilogy started by the prior decade’s two best comedies, but his growth as a formal stylist since 2004’s Shaun of the Dead is much more vast than nine years would suggest. I’m not so sure about the provided plot synopsis — something about it sounds a little too divergent from Shaun or Hot Fuzz — but as soon as a quick summary for one of this generation’s most gifted cinematic voices tempers enthusiasm, I’ll beg you to shoot me in the goddamn head. – Nick N.
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 McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Daniel Bruhl, Robin 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 Ejiofor, Brad 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.
What are your most-anticipated films of 2013?