2013 movie preview
With a raft of fairy-tale reboots, heavyweight sequels and some not-so-promising remakes, there is a wide slate of movies on the way to our big screens in the first half of the new year, writes TARA BRADY
REMEMBER WHEN the word “summer” was used to denote the sunnier weeks of July and August? Not anymore, it’s not. Many moons ago the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise pushed summer back into late May; then Iron Man pushed back towards the start of that month and, finally, Trek and Thor kicked summer back into late April. This year, there’s hardly a beat between the old pre-blockbuster blockbuster rush – that fluttery weekend in March made famous by 300 and Alice in Wonderland’s respective successes – and the summer slate proper.
Arriving hot on the heels of Snow White and the Huntsman – a surprise hit for Universal last year – we’re getting a raft of fairy tale reboots. Bigger movie muscles – Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, Die Hard – are getting ready to flex. As ever, remakes – Carrie, Evil Dead – will plug the gaps in between and brand recognition reigns supreme. If you need us, we’ll be watching Gerard Barrett’s Pilgrim Hill in the dingy corner . . .
Jiro: Dreams of Sushi
David Gelb’s delightful documentary portrait of 85-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono was a hit at Access Cinema’s Japanese Film Festival two years ago: don’t miss it now it’s finally made its way onto the theatrical circuit.
Gasp in amazement as director Tom Hooper attempts to hijack the Oscars with this big screen adaptation of the long-running West End musical. Gaze in wonder as Anne Hathaway rips off Maria Falconetti’s performance in La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc with abandon.
Freed slave Jamie Foxx and German bounty hunter Christophe Waltz hunt down plantation owner Leonardo Di Caprio and a ruthless gang in Quentin Tarantino’s latest rollicking meta-adventure. You have to love that Kerry Washington’s character is called Broomhilda Von Shaft.
Professional sex therapist Helen Hunt falls for a virgin client in an iron lung played by John Hawkes. Expect Academy Award nominations galore and insert your own smutty punch-line here.
Daniel Day Lewis’ Abraham Lincoln battles his own inner demons and the slave-owning villains of the American Civil War in Steven Spielberg’s historical epic. Disappointingly, Joshua Fry Speed is not listed in the credits. What a waste.
Zero Dark Thirty
You can tell that Kathryn Bigelow’s film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden is not going for nuance by the title’s commercial association with Electronic Arts’ computer game Medal of Honor: Warfighter. But Jessica Chastain stars and we totally heart her.
Bullet to the Head
Don’t get unnerved by a cast list that includes Sylvester Stallone, Jason Momoa, and Christian Slater. This is based on Alexis Nolent’s splendid graphic novel Du Plomb Dans La Tete and it’s only directed by Walter “The Warriors” Hill. Only.
An airline pilot saves a flight from crashing, but the subsequent investigation reveals that supposed heroic aviator Denzel Washington is giving one of his shifty performances in Robert Zemeckis’ cockpit drama.
Hyde Park on Hudson
Another week, another presidential biopic: this time featuring Bill Murray as Franklin D Roosevelt and Laura Linney as the cousin with whom he had “relations”. Notting Hill director Roger Michell presides.
X-Men: First Class’s Caleb Landry Jones works for a biotech firm that harvests celebrity diseases so that adoring fans can share the sickness. Then he gets infected in Brandon “Son of David” Cronenberg’s debut feature, a wow at last year’s Cannes.
Superb Director’s Fortnight winning drama chronicling the advertising campaign that brought General Augusto Pinochet’s regime to an end in 1988. Gael García Bernal’s sly central turn is as ambiguous as it is accomplished.
Futurama-alumnus Rich Moore directs a Disney animation in which John C Reilly’s arcade game villain attempts to become a hero. Cool people like Sarah Silverman and Jane Lynch provide additional voices.
A Good Day to Die Hard
Bruce Willis’ John McClane takes on the entire country of Russia in Die Hard 5 as we desperately want the film to be called.
Dundalk-born John Moore directs.
This is 40
Leslie Mann, the always-too-flinty Mrs Judd Apatow, takes the lead in a film that somehow looks even worse than Funny People or Girls. Those golden boy days of The 40-Year-Old Virgin seem like an increasingly distant memory.
It bombed completely in the US but we’re getting the controversial adaptation of David Mitchell’s sci-fi novel, just the same. Film-makers Lana and Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer direct actors in “yellow face”. No, really.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton star in a quasi-steampunk treatment of the Brothers Grimm tale, a film that’s been kicked back so many times in the release schedules it’s almost as though the studio has decided it sucks. Hmmm.
Irish director Ciaran Foy makes his debut with this award-wining creep-out in which an agoraphobic dad faces down a marauding gang of feral children.
Stateside, the National Board of Review has rightly honoured Ann Dowd for her role in this terrific indie drama inspired by the way-stranger-than-fiction Bullitt County McDonald’s case. You have to see Craig Zobel’s chamber piece to believe it.
Oz: The Great and Powerful
We didn’t think we needed a prequel to The Wizard of Oz but Sam Raimi’s film features Michelle Williams as Glinda with Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz as the Wicked Witches of the West and East respectively. So we’re there.
Director Lee Daniels’ follow-up to Precious sees investigative journalist Matthew McConaughey and his younger brother Zac Efron attempt to exonerate a man on death row (John Cusack).
Jack the Giant Slayer
Tim Burton’s billion-dollar grossing Alice in Wonderland had a lot to answer for, not least this digital fantasy adventure starring Nicolas Hoult. Will it be this year’s Snow White and the Huntsman? Or does the film’s shuffling around the schedules – see also the similarly themed Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters – suggest that the studio knows something we don’t?
The Last Exorcism: The Beginning of the End
Ashley Bell will reprise her role as twisty Nell Sweetzer but we’ll have to go without Reverend Cotton, the best thing about The Last Exorcism. Got to love that wearily audacious title, though.
GI Joe: Retaliation
Having failed to ignite a fully fledged franchise with 2007’s underperforming GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra, Paramount Pictures have drafted in big guns Bruce Willis, Dwayne Johnson, and Channing Tatum and commissioned a screenplay from Zombieland’s Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. Will their multi-milliondollar gamble pay off with previously uninterested international audiences?
Saoirse Ronan stars as the host body to a parasitic alien soul in this big-screen adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s novel of the same name. Will she be a Bella Swan or an ugly duckling with the Twi-hards?
Cherrybomb directors Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn return with this much- admired award-winning biopic of Terry Hooley, the godfather of Ulster Punk.
This century’s most unnecessary remake arrives with Chloë Grace Moretz attached.
Is there any chance that director Kimberly “Boy’s Don’t Cry” Peirce can justify molesting the classic Brian De Palma original? No, actually. None.
Scary Movie 5
So it’s come to this: Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen will appear in the latest instalment of the parody franchise. As will Mike Tyson. And Heather Locklear. Get ready for hilarious pot-shots at Black Swan and 50 Shades of Grey. And just where has Anna Faris gone?
The good news? Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi will produce; Ataque de Pánico’s Fede Álvarez will direct; Diablo Cody had a hand in the screenplay. And the bad? Even the red band trailer for this new remake looks ever so focus group-y. Think Cabin in the Woods without the laughs. Or Evil Dead (1981) without the laughs.
Iron Man 3
Will we still love RDJ’s Iron Man now he’s away from the rest of the Avengers crew? These are the questions that keep us awake at night.
Having presided over The Company of Wolves and Interview with a Vampire, Neil Jordan knows a thing or two about beasties and the undead. In Byzantium prostitute-vampire mom Gemma Arterton falls out with her 200-year-old teen daughter Saoirse Ronan when the latter reveals their terrible family secret to Caleb Landry Jones.
Star Trek Into Darkness
Stardate 66967.5 and the hot rumour floating around online Trek hangouts is that JJ Abrams won’t tell us that Benedict Cumberbatch is really Khan until the very final reel of Star Trek into Darkness. And yet we’re still totally stoked.
The Great Gatsby
Ew. Have you seen the trailer? It makes our eyes and ears so very sad. Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and a horribly miscast Carey Mulligan star in Baz Luhrmann’s gaudy looking adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel.
Fast and Furious 6
Vin Diesel! Paul Walker! Michelle Rodriguez! Jordana Brewster! Dwayne Johnson! They’re all here! This isn’t a mere franchise instalment: it’s heaven. Like, vroom.
The Hangover III
The erstwhile unfortunate groomsmen – Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha – return for the third and (we’re told) final instalment of the hit stag party sequence. This time the gang are Tijuana-bound with Ken Jeong in an expanded role. So that’s something.
Man of Steel
There’s a lot riding on Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot. Will Henry Cavill attract better notices than Brandon Routh did in the central role? Can Russell Crowe fill the Marlon Brando-sized hole that is
Jor-El? You’ll note that nobody’s questioning Michael Shannon’s casting as General Zod or Amy Adams as Lois Lane. Both awesome, unassailable choices.
World War Z
Marc Forster’s post-apocalyptic horror stars Brad Pitt as a UN worker out to investigate and end a zombie plague. But an entire decade after the initial appearance of Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide – the prequel to the book on which World War Z is based – are we all zombied out?
Despicable Me 2
Steve Carell’s delightful ghoul Gru returns for a sequel to Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud’s hit 2010 animation. Reliable folks like Kristen Wiig are back in the cast list and will be joined by Al Pacino, Steve Coogan and even more minions. Yay.
Boo! There’s no Boo. This prequel to Pixar’s 2001 hit Monsters, Inc sees Sully (John Goodman) and Mike (Billy Crystal) go from archrivals to best friends on campus. Yes of course John Ratzenberger’s Abominable Snowmanis back in the cast.
Thank goodness for that: having wasted most of his adult life on The Hobbit, the sublime talent that is Guillermo del Toro is back in action. Pacific Rim pitches giant robots against giant monsters. And del Toro talisman Ron Perlman is playing a character called Hannibal Chow. We like, we like.