Twenty-five more unmissible films from the year ahead. What are you most excited about?
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
Released 25 January
It’s topical, it’s controversial, it’s cinematic, it boasts a sensational cast and it’s currently the Best Picture frontrunner at the Oscars, so we think Kathryn Bigelow’s follow-up to The Hurt Locker about the Osama Bin Laden manhunt is just a tiny bit essential. It’s also been making the papers of late for its depiction of torture. See it just to be part of the debate.
Did you know The film was originally going to be about the hunt for Bin Laden, but that changed when he was (spoiler alert!) located and killed.
Directed by Ridley Scott
Released Winter 2013
Dear Ridley Scott: please start your marketing campaign for this film just one month before it opens. People will still be amply excited by it. We promise. Now, bringing things back down to Earth after franchise folly Prometheus, Scott directs this (original!) script from Cormac McCarthy about a lawyer who comes a-cropper after going up against a bunch of drug traffickers. Stars Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and Javier Bardem.
Did you know Oh no! Scott is also planning on making another Blade Runner film!
Directed by Joanna Hogg
Released 2013 TBC
Is there such thing as the British arthouse? If you think so, Joanna Hogg could probably be seen as its chief artistic torchbearer, especially on the back of her fantastic first two films, Unrelated and Archipelago. This new London-set drama sees Hogg again teasing that thin line between the comic and the tragic, with regular collaborator Tom Hiddleston joining Slits guitarist Viv Albertine and conceptual artist Liam Gillick.
Did you know Hogg also runs a London-based screening series called A Nos Amours dedicated to exhibiting films on celluloid.
Directed by Pedro Almodóvar
Released 3 May
A Film By Almodóvar is always an event worth participating in, and this new one is said to be a fond auto-homage to the director’s early funny ones. Bringing together all of his regular actors (Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, Cecilia Roth, Javier Cámara), the film is a camp, glossy existential comedy set aboard a passenger jet which is hurtling towards earth.
Did you know This is the first time Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz will appear in the same Almodóvar film.
Directed by Shane Black
Released 26 April
Avengers Assemble owned the box office in 2012, so there’s no real reason why this third instalment of the Iron Man franchise shouldn’t do the same. Robert Downey Jr is thesp-slumming again as industrialist playboy Tony Stark and this time has to turn his metallic mitts to foiling his latest foe, Ben Kingsley’s The Mandarin.
Did you know Jon Favreau has passed the directorial reins to Shane Black, who helms for the first time since 2005’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
Directed by JJ Abrams
Released 17 May
Abrams got to live out his Spielburbia fantasy with Super 8, now it’s back to franchise duties with another Star Trek movie with all the old/new cast back in spandex onesies. Among other things, Star Trek Into Darkness looks set to launch Benedict Cumberbatch into the stratosphere, as he’s stepping in – Hiddleston-style – for Eton old boy baddie duties.
Did you know JJ Abrams first cinema writing gig was for James Belushi yuppie saga, Filofax.
Directed by Baz Luhrmann
Released 17 May
Baz Luhrmann needs a major win after the baggy Ocker farrago that was Australia, and with Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan as Jay and Daisy, he really could be on to one. From early trailers, Luhrmann is, at the very least, heading in the polar opposite direction to the 1974 Robert Redford version, not least the latest news that the reason for its release delays have been down to the fact that Jay-Z has signed on to write the soundtrack. Oh, and it’s in 3D.
Did you know This great New York story was actually filmed in Sydney.
Directed by Paul Greengrass
Released 11 October
Even after he wowed the world with the close-quarters elbow fighting Bourne movies, Paul Greengrass disappointed with his last film, the politically-inflected lefty action yarn, Green Zone. With Captain Phillips, it looks like he’s going to do for Somali pirates what he did for 9/11 in United 93, bringing edge-of-seat genre tension to grubby, in-your-face docu realism. However, one wonders if Greengrass has seen Tobias Lindholm’s stunning and similarly focused Danish drama, A Hijacking, which is also released this year?
Did you know Somalia has the longest coastline on the African continent.
Directed by Spike Lee
Released Winter 2013
Now, we can’t quite decide if this is a bad idea or a very bad idea. Spike Lee would not be the first name on the Rollerdex when thinking about an English language remake of Park Chan-wook’s operatic, squid-nashing revenge opus, Oldboy. But it seems that he has conscripted Josh Brolin as the man who is mysteriously imprisoned, released, and then allowed a three-day window to exact his bloody revenge on the wily perpetrator.
Did you know Will Smith was originally in line for the lead.
Directed by Gore Verbinski
Released 9 August
Rango was officially declared Gore Verbinski’s greatest film, just pipping the marvelous Mousehunt to the post, in an informal LWLies office poll earlier this year. We were, of course, thrilled by the news that he’s essentially chosen to follow it up with a live action version of that film, with Armie Hammer as the masked lawman and Johnny Depp as his Native American sidekick, Tonto. We have very high hopes for this, as via Rango, Verbinski proved that he really knew his westerns.
Did you know The Lone Ranger was originally a superstar of the radio, not TV or film. Fancy that.
Directed by Zack Snyder
Released 14 June
Having plumbed the very depths of awfulness (twice!) with Watchmen and Sucker Punch, Zack Snyder was picked out of the crowd to direct the latest retooling of perhaps the ultimate comic book franchise. Starring Henry Cavill in the title role, this anonymous lead is thankfully surrounded by a coterie of amazing collaborators, including Amy Adams, Michael Shannon and Kevin Costner in supporting roles, and Christopher Nolan as one of the script co-writers.
Did you know Ben Affleck, Darren Aronofsky, Duncan Jones, Jonathan Liebesman, Matt Reeves and Tony Scott were all considered as potential directors of the film.
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Released 12 July
Remember that movie with Hugh Jackman and the boxing robots? Well imagine that in space and that’s what the latest from celebrated fabulist and The Nicest Man In Hollywood, Guillermo del Toro, looks like. This sci-fi extravaganza is bound to be more interesting and subversive than that glib synopsis might suggest, and even if it’s not, we’re just glad to have del Toro back at the helm after far too long in the doldrums.
Did you know While del Toro hasn’t directed a film since 2008’s Hellboy II, he’s exec produced a staggering 11.
Directed by M Night Shyamalan
Released 7 June
A director known for pumping out dud after dud after dud, M Night Shyamalan returns with yet another attempt to buck this possibly unbuckable trend. The palpably icky set-up sees Will Smith and his real life son, Jaden, returning to Earth 1,000 years after its destruction to, you know, see what’s been going down. It comes across like some kind of hulking, CG Scien***ogy parable in which Smith and Son are revealed as the new messiahs, but we’re still kinda interested to see if Shyamalan can trump his own Airbender-shaped nadir.
Did you know M Night Shyamalan’s favorite film of all time is Raiders Of The Lost Ark.
Directed by Declan Lowney
Released 16 August
We’ve rinsed the Mid Morning Matters webisodes created for kangaroo juice importers Foster’s and devoured the I, Partridge audiobook, now we’re truly gladdened that a date has been set for the big screen debut of Norwich's premier celebrity disc jockey. According to co-writer Armando Iannucci, the plot sees Alan's employer, North Norfolk Digital, renamed Shape after a takeover by a giant media corporation. Declan Lowry of Father Ted fame directs.
Did you know Steve Coogan has been playing Alan Partridge since 1991.
Directed by Sofia Coppola
Released Autumn 2013
Sofia Coppola may be able to boast of directing one of the most mediocre films to win the top prize at a major festival with Somewhere, but she’ll always be a director whose mordant sense of humour and keen eye for the bittersweet make her worth looking out for. The Bling Ring stars Leslie Mann and Emma Watson in a bizarre comedy-drama about a group of fame-obsessed teenagers who spend their time breaking into the homes of celebrities.
Did you know There was a 2011 TV movie of the same name, depicting the same events and starring '80s favourite Jennifer Grey.
Directed by Edgar Wright
Released 14 August
The Wright/Pegg/Frost Holy Trinity reunite to play silly buggers in a film about, you guessed it, the end of the world. Actually, the title isn’t a reference to the apocalypse at all but rather the name of a fabled boozer that becomes a pilgrimage for five childhood pals attempting to retrace the mother of all pub crawls from 20 years before. Sounds utterly daft. We can’t wait.
Directed by David Michôd
Released 2013 TBC
After delivering one of the most accomplished directorial debuts in memory with 2010’s Animal Kingdom, Australian filmmaker David Michôd is back with this hotly anticipated follow-up. Billed as a gritty near-future Western set in the Australian Outback, The Rover stars Guy Pearce alongside Robert Pattinson, who’s become something of a person of interest since his ice-cool lead turn in David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis. Think Mad Max meets The Proposition.
Did you know The title character from Michôd’s 2006 debut short, Ezra White, LL.B. makes a brief appearance in Animal Kingdom.
Directed by Francis Lawrence
Released 22 November
JLaw (as she’s apparently known) reprises her role as bow-spinning do-gooder Katniss Everdeen, along with pretty much the entire primary cast from last year’s franchise opener. Picking up where The Hunger Games left off, Catching Fire sees that girl Kat embark on a victory parade of the 13 Districts of Panem before preparing for the Quarter Quell. Us neither. All we can say for certain is, there’ll be fireworks when the HG express rolls into town for a second time next winter.
Did you know For her breakthrough role in 2010’s Winter’s Bone, Jennifer Lawrence learned how to chop wood and skin squirrels.
Directed by Neill Blomkamp
Released 20 September
If you’ve ever wondered what Matt Damon looks like with his head shaved, then your wait is over. He’s been well and truly Bic'd for his lead role in Neill Blomkamp's tantalising follow-up to District 9. Set on a future world ravaged with poverty and violence, the story concerns a band of militants who decide to pay the richest man in the world a visit and bring financial equality back to Earth. The snag: he resides alone on a space station. If the whole political allegory angle remains tempered, this has the potential to be a great sci-fi feature.
Did you know Blomkamp has said he wants to make a sequel to District 9.
Directed by Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
Released Winter 2013
Continuing his seemingly never-ending trash/exploitation trip, Robert Rodriguez has chosen to return to one of his most successful movies and plant a big ol' sequel on the end of it. Based on the second book in Frank Miller’s original Sin City series, it sees a photographer saving the life of a prostitute and then getting drawn into an underground world of squalor and vice.
Did you know Rodriguez was once commissioned to remake Roger Vadim’s space bongo epic, Barbarella. But it never happened.
Directed by Lars von Trier
Released Summer 2013
With the name of the title and the director attached to it, this one really needs no introduction. The high-priest of Euro provocation clearly felt that his depression parable Melancholia didn’t ruffle enough feathers, and so returns with a salty bildungsroman about a young woman’s history of sexual exploits. Does Lars now only make films to get a cheap rise out of the Cannes criterati? We shall see.
Did you know LvT's latest boasts unsimulated sex scenes with Shia LaBeouf. Erm, yay?
Directed by Jeff Nichols
Released Spring 2013
Jeff Nichols' splendid follow-up to 2011’s Take Shelter got a bit of a bum deal when it screened at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and was seen as a palate cleanser after two weeks of death and destruction. Harking back to sand-blasted, New Hollywood-style dramas like Badlands and with just the right amount of '80s Spielberg, Mud sees a feisty young whippersnapper taking up with the eponymous transient played by the on-a-roll Matthew McConaughey and sharing in his dark secret.
Did you know Matthew McConaughey recently lost 30lbs to play an HIV victim in the upcoming Dallas Buyers Club.
Directed by Bong Joon-ho
Released 2013 TBC
On paper, Bong Joon-ho’s first film in the English language sounds a little like Michael Haneke’s ultra-gloomy The Time Of The Wolf, in that it focuses on a trainload of passengers who have apparently survived a recent global apocalypse. The South Korean writer/director has, in our opinion, never put a foot wrong. We’re totally stoked for this.
Did you know Since its release in 2006, Bong’s killer tadpole satire The Host was the highest grossing film in South Korean history, only eventually toppled in 2012 by Choi Dong-hoon glossy caper comedy, The Thieves.
Directed by Richard Ayoade
Released 2013 TBC
Richard Ayoade is an amazingly talented and funny man, and with his work on genius sitcom Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place, he’s pretty much been awarded a lifetime pass from LWLies. Though underneath the silly voices, Ayoade is a serious cinephile, and this follow-up to 2010’s Submarine (co-written with Harmony Korine’s brother, Avi) is a Dostoevsky adaptation in which a man (Jesse Eisenberg) is driven insane by the appearance of his doppelgänger.
Did you know The Double stars Ayoade’s father-in-law, James Fox.
Directed by Joshua Michael Stern
Released 2013 TBC
It’s anyone’s guess how this biopic of Apple innovator Steve Jobs through the years 1971 to 2000 will turn out. On the plus side, it’s riding the coattails of The Social Network and could auger some interest in the tech bod stakes. But hang on, is that Ashton Kutcher in the lead? An actor not known for his 'straight' turns being directed by perennial who-he Joshua Michael Stern, the guy who brought us Swing Vote, doesn't fill us with much confidence. Here's hoping it's one of the surprises of the year.
Did you know Aaron Sorkin has also written a Steve Jobs film. His plays out in just three scenes.
Just in case you missed it, here's the first part of our 2013 preview. What will you be seeing in 2013?