So here we are in 2013. We survived the Mayan apocalypse, and we’ve made it to the year in which both Kevin Costner‘s disaster epic “The Postman” and sub-standard John Carpenter sequel “Escape To L.A.” were set. And after a strong 2012, which contained some of the most anticipated movies in recent memory, from blockbusters like “Prometheus,” “The Avengers,” and “The Dark Knight Rises” to new films from Paul Thomas Anderson, Quentin Tarantino and Kathryn Bigelow, among many others, you might imagine that 2013 would be something of a step down.
But one look at the release calendar for the coming twelve months will reveal that that’s far from the case, which is why we’ve gone to the almost exorbitant number of 100 picks (no really, there’s a lot of good stuff coming down the pike). Sure, there’s also all kinds of dreck on the way, but the cinematic landscape for 2013 looks enormously exciting, from $200 million blockbusters to tiny indie pictures. For the rest of this week and next, we’re going to round some of them up, starting today with the 50 films we’re most looking forward to out of everything (many with more of a dramatic bent) followed with another 50 tomorrow (with more of a genre/escapist leaning). If you don’t see a personal favorite, don’t fret just yet, as it’s entirely possible that it’ll crop up in the next few days (here’s our Most Anticipated Films Of 2013 Part 2, if you’re just landing on this feature today). BTW, here’s all our Most Anticipated 2013 coverage with several features closely looking at several types of movies coming out this year. Let us know what you’re anticipating in the comments section. Here they are in alphabetical order.
“A Most Wanted Man”
Synopsis: Adapted from the book by John Le Carré (“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”), this espionage thriller centers on an uneducated and destitute ex-prisoner who illegally arrives in Hamburg and gets caught up in the international war on terror.
What You Need To Know: Photographer-turned-filmmaker Anton Corbijn has only made two features and he’s already been threatening to retire, but thankfully, he has at least one more picture to add to his CV. The moody anti-thriller “The American” was overlooked in 2010, but it was grippingly taut and striking, so a tense espionage thriller could also be an incredible exercise in tone. Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Robin Wright and “Inglourious Basterds” actor Daniel Brühl, it’s actually relatively unknown Russian actor Grigoriy Dobrygin who plays the lead role of Issa Karpov, but the movie as a whole should be a complex ensemble piece.
Release Date: TBD, but the 2013 fall film festival circuit feels like a likely place to find distribution (rumors that Focus Features have acquired it are false).
“August: Osage County”
Synopsis: An eccentric, troubled Oklahoma family have to confront their past after their patriarch goes missing.
What You Need To Know: It might seem like Oscar bait on the surface, with The Weinstein Company and George Clooney backing an award-winning literary piece of material, and with Meryl Streep heading up a starry, much-lauded cast including Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Abigail Breslin, Sam Shepard and Margo Martindale. But don’t mistake this for “The Iron Lady” — this is an adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by “Killer Joe” author Tracy Letts, a pretty spectacular piece of work, closer to an epic blend of Arthur Miller and Greek tragedy than some simple, easy awards bait. As such, it should be great to see that cast (which also includes Juliette Lewis and Dermot Mulroney) deal with some of the best material they’ve ever had, although it could end up being a bruising sit, as the play ran around three hours. The question mark here is director John Wells, a TV veteran (who ran “E.R.” and “The West Wing,” among others) who made his film debut a few years back with “The Company Men,” a decent, but hardly transcendent piece of work. Hopefully he can raise his cinematic game this time around.
Release Date: TBD, but certainly in the fall, probably with a November or December limited release widening once it gets closer to the Oscars.
Synopsis: Now in their forties, Celine and Jesse meet nine years after their last rendezvous in France, this time in Greece.
What You Need To Know: Almost two decades have passed since their first encounter on a train bound for Vienna, but Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke are clearly enamored with the romantic duo of Celine and Jesse, first introduced in “Before Sunrise” in 1995. The trio earn the best misdirection award of 2012 — earlier in the year, all three of them in separate interviews gave the, “who knows?” answer (though Hawke kind of gave up the ghost) when quizzed about a third picture in this would-be trilogy, but by September they had shot the entire thing in secret. While it’s been called a type of conclusion to this will-they or won’t-they romance, Linklater himself has suggested that the picture doesn’t end on so much of a definitive note that they couldn’t do another one if they wanted.
Release Date: TBD, but the picture will premiere at Sundance in January.
“Behind The Candelabra”
Synopsis: Based on an autobiographical novel of the same name, the picture is a behind-the-scenes look at the tempestuous relationship between legendary entertainer Liberace and Scott Thorson, his younger lover.
What You Need To Know: While it will premiere on HBO, “Behind The Candelabra” will be officially Steven Soderbergh’s final feature-length effort before he exiles himself into a retirement/sabbatical or whatever you want to call it, so as such, it seemed more than worthy of inclusion here. In the works for several years, the picture stars Michael Douglas as the famed singer, Matt Damon as his young lover Scott Thorson, and co-stars Rob Lowe, Dan Aykroyd, Scott Bakula and Paul Reiser. ‘Candelabra’ was also written by Richard LaGravenese (“The Fisher King,” “The Ref”), and in another piece of finality, features the last written score by the late composer Marvin Hamlisch.
Release Date: Summer 2013 on HBO with a likely Cannes Film Festival premiere beforehand in May.
Synopsis: A group of teenagers obsessed with fashion and fame burglarize the homes of celebrities in Los Angeles.
What You Need To Know: Based on a true story about teenagers that robbed the likes of Paris Hilton and more to the total tune of about $3 million in cash and belongings, what starts out as youthful fun spins out of control, and if the script is anything to go by, reveals a sobering view of our modern culture of celebrity, luxury-brand obsession and entitlement. Another disaffected youth story, writer/director Sofia Coppola at least seems to have adapted one with a more concrete beginning, middle and end than usual. The picture stars Emma Watson, Leslie Mann, Taissa Farmiga, Israel Broussard, Katie Chang, Claire Julian, and Georgia Rock, and it will be interesting to see what kind of tone the film takes given that Coppola’s last effort, “Somewhere,” was her most opaque to date. Also notable as the final film of great, late director of photography Harris Savides.
Release Date: TBD. “Marie Antoinette” premiered at Cannes, and “Somewhere” premiered at Venice, so either fest could be feasible points of entry for “Bling Ring.”
Synopsis: Two brothers, on either side of the law, face off over organized crime in Brooklyn during the 1970s.
What You Need To Know: The French are obsessed with director James Gray, so naturally, writer/director/actor Guillaume Canet (“Little White Lies”) tapped Gray to help him write the screenplay of what sounds very much like a James Gray film (one could argue it sounds like the premise of “We Own The Night”). He’s downplayed his involvement, but regardless, Canet has an intriguing-sounding story and a stellar cast, which includes Clive Owen, Zoe Saldana, Mila Kunis, Marion Cotillard, James Caan, Billy Crudup, Matthias Schoenaerts, Lili Taylor and more to boot. What’s not to look forward to? Canet is mostly known in the U.S. as an actor or Marion Cotillard’s baby daddy, but anyone who saw the overlooked and taut 2006 thriller “Tell No One” knows he’s akin to the Gallic version of Ben Affleck — an actor who has bloomed into a terrific director (maybe not so coincidentally, Affleck’s been trying to remake Canet’s film).
Release Date: TBD. But the French love their own so a Cannes 2013 bow is very possible.
Synopsis: A happily married New York City music teacher is drawn to a young British foreign exchange student.
What You Need To Know: Between 2010’s “Douchebag” and 2011’s breakout “Like Crazy,” youthful director Drake Doremus has virtually become part of the furniture at Sundance in recent years. And he’s back in 2013 with “Breathe In,” a drama the prolific filmmaker had already completed photography on before “Like Crazy” was even in theaters. Reuniting him with the ludicrously talented star of the latter, Felicity Jones, it also sees the always-welcome Guy Pearce and Amy Ryan getting involved too, in a film that uses the same semi-improvised process that Doremus has made good use of in the past. But it’s not just business as usual; word is that Doremus is using a more classical, handheld-free aesthetic, which should be interesting to see. “Like Crazy,” for all its beautiful flaws, certainly made us keen to see more from the director, so this is certainly high on our list for Park City and beyond.
Release Date: First screens at Sundance on January 19th, a release date will surely follow from there.
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 200 years.
What You Need To Know: True-life stories are the bread and butter of director Paul Greengrass (the second and third ‘Bourne’ films) and screenwriter Billy Ray (“State Of Play,” “Shattered Glass”). So perhaps this will be a kind of dramatically rendered cinema verite? Tom Hanks stars as the titular Captain, and the film also features Catherine Keener and “Not Fade Away” star John Magaro, but other than that, the film is heavy on character actors and light on names. We presume it’s mostly a one-hander for Hanks, and it’ll be interesting to see how his everyman, likable style works with Greengrass’ handheld-y, naturalistic method. We’re also keen to see whether Greengrass has dared to switch-up that aesthetic gleaned from his years as a documentary filmmaker.
Release Date: October 11, 2013
Synopsis: A former couple, both lawyers, end up on the same side of a controversial terrorist trial.
What You Need To Know: Once tipped to be a major A-lister, Eric Bana is in need of a bit of a bounce these days, as films like “Funny People” and “Deadfall” haven’t quite cemented him as the star he once showed promise to become. But if he has a good chance at a comeback, this might be it, as it’s a promising-sounding thriller for grown-ups in which the Australian actor stars alongside the always-worth-the-price-of-admission Rebecca Hall. The script comes from Steven Knight, who between “Dirty Pretty Things” and “Eastern Promises” has become a reliable name in adult thrillers. John Crowley (the undervalued “Boy A“) directs, while Jim Broadbent, Ciaran Hinds, and the excellent Riz Ahmed, as the terrorist on trial, are all among the supporting cast. The premise, while still mostly under wraps, suggests it could be a button-pushing, of-the-moment kind of picture. But with Focus Features setting an August release date, is it the next “Constant Gardener“? Or the next “The Debt“?
Release Date: August 28, 2013, presumably limited at first before rolling out wider.
Synopsis: A lawyer finds himself in over his head when he gets involved in drug trafficking.
What You Need To Know: “The Counselor” has an impressive talent call sheet around it, but it starts out with celebrated author Cormac McCarthy (“The Road,” “Blood Meridian”) who penned his first original screenplay with this story. Ridley Scott quickly snatched it up and dropped it into production with a cast that stars Michael Fassbender as the lawyer and a supporting cast that includes Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Rosie Perez and John Leguizamo. Diaz is said to have a crucial antagonist role, and at the very least we might be seeing her in a very new light. Pitt plays the heavy, but evidently his role is a small one. Scott’s been nominated three times for a Best Director Oscar and never won. And while “The Counselor” isn’t quite Oscar bait, if he pulls it off, it might be the closest he’s come to a nomination since “Gladiator.”
Release Date: TBD, but likely the fall.
Synopsis: After the brutal murder of three young children, a trio of teenagers are put on trial for the crime. But are they really guilty?
What You Need To Know: We don’t know about you, but between the “Paradise Lost” trilogy and 2012’s “West Of Memphis,” we start to question about how much more there is to be said about the shocking West Memphis Three murder trial and subsequent fight for justice that’s been ongoing for the past twenty years. But “Devil’s Knot,” the first dramatic feature film to take on the issue, has a few things securing our attention. Firstly, Canadian helmer Atom Egoyan is directing. Egoyan’s been off his game a bit of late, but this seems right in his “Sweet Hereafter” wheelhouse, which can only be good news. Secondly, Egoyan’s put together a superb cast, with Colin Firth, Reese Witherspoon, Dane DeHaan, Bruce Greenwood, Stephen Moyer, Kevin Durand, Mireille Enos, Elias Koteas, Alessandro Nivola, Amy Ryan and Collette Wolfe among those involved. Even if the facts might be well known to documentary buffs, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that Egoyan can deliver a “Zodiac“-style true-crime classic here.
Release Date: TBD, but a TIFF debut seems likely given Egoyan’s track record.
Synopsis: A government employee in contemporary America has to cope with a mysterious doppelganger.
What You Need To Know: Skilled comedic performer Richard Ayoade steps behind the camera for the second time following 2011’s well-received “Submarine.” No offense to Joe Dunthorne, who provided the autobiographical novel which “Submarine” is based, but Ayoade is upgrading a tad by working from material courtesy of one Fyodor Dostoevsky. From a script by Ayoade and Avi Korine, Jesse Eisenberg stars as the embattled employee, with Mia Wasikowska and “Submarine”’s Noah Taylor also featuring in the cast. This could just be a forgettable tchotchke like the forgotten Crispin Glover-starring “Bartleby,” but we’re willing to believe Ayoade takes this material in a few colorful directions.
Release Date: TBD
Synopsis: In the year 2159, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. One desperate man threatens the system with his need to get on board Elysium and access its state-of-the-art medical care.
What You Need To Know: South African director Neill Blomkamp tackled class, poverty, race (humanoid or otherwise), and social segregation in the sci-fi package known as “District 9” in 2009. The picture was an unexpected surprise hit, but instead of tackling big-budget franchises for an encore, Blomkamp decided to create a big-budget sci-fi film once again tackling many of the same social issues, this time hovering around healthcare and immigration. With his life hanging in the balance, Matt Damon plays the man who reluctantly takes on a dangerous mission – one that pits him against Elysium’s Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) and her hard-line forces – but if he succeeds, he could save not only his own life, but the lives of millions of people on Earth as well. “Elysium” also stars Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Diego Luna and William Fichtner. Intelligent blockbuster? We’re all for it.
Release Date: August 9, 2013
Synopsis: The true story John du Pont, a multimillionaire and paranoid schizophrenic who built a wrestling training facility, Team Foxcatcher, on his 800-acre Pennsylvania estate and in 1996, shockingly murdered Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler David Schultz.
What You Need To Know: Based on a incredible true story, this psychological drama is a passion project that director Bennett Miller has been trying to get off the ground since “Capote,” and his success in 2011 with “Moneyball” finally pushed it over the line. Channing Tatum plays the younger wrestler, Mark Ruffalo his brother, and in what should be a disconcerting, chilling turn, Steve Carell plays the wealthiest American ever to be charged and convicted with murder. It’s a desperate true-story obsession for greatness that ends in tragedy, and Sony Pictures were so impressed that they picked up the Annapurna Pictures-produced film for a 2013 awards season release. “Foxcatcher” also co-star Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave and Anthony Michael Hall.
Release Date: Fall 2013 TBD
Synopsis: The story of martial-arts master Ip Man, the man who trained Bruce Lee.
What You Need To Know: A notoriously slow and deliberate filmmaker and editor, who tends to write his films as he is shooting them (must be nice), Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-wai is one of the most world-renowned international directors, but this will be his first film since his poorly received 2007 English-language debut, “My Blueberry Nights.” In fact, it’s been in production and post-production for so long it’s beginning to sound like a Terrence Malick film of yesteryear. Starring longtime collaborator Tony Leung (“In The Mood For Love”), Song Hye-kyo, Chang Chen and Chinese star Zhang Ziyi (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon“), the picture will also be the filmmaker’s first action-oriented movie since 1994’s “Ashes of Time” (which Leung also co-starred in). Celebrating its (count ’em) fifth year on our most-anticipated list, the film is finally becoming a reality. No really. It hits theaters in China and Hong Kong next week, and will get its European premiere at Berlin next month. The question is, can it meet everyone’s expectations?
Release Date: It premieres in Berlin in February. Presuming it’s well received at the film festival, a U.S. distributor likely won’t be far behind.
Synopsis: Astronauts attempt to return to earth after debris crashes into their space shuttle, leaving them drifting and alone in space.
What You Need To Know: Director Alfonso Cuarón hasn’t made a feature-length film since 2006’s “Children Of Men,” and part of the reason is that he’s been trying for several years to mount and then make his most ambitious project, “Gravity.” Touted as a thriller by way of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” Cuarón had a bitch of a time financing this 3D-shot, effects-driven film until he finally landed with the A-list cast of Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. But even then, the picture, shot entirely on green screen, has taken months and months to complete. It was scheduled for a November 2012 release until Warner Bros. got cold feet and yanked it in favor of a 2013 bow (it’s also possible that the film, with its thousands of effects shots, just wasn’t ready). The problem with “Gravity” for WB is that it’s an art film made on a studio budget (reportedly around $100 million), or at least, while it features harrowing tentpole-like sequences, it’s far artier and riskier than WB is used to. That’s fine for us, but the lack of a firm date suggests that the studio doesn’t know how it’ll be selling it yet.
Release Date: Rumored for a fall 2013 release, which means the studio will likely debut it in Toronto or Venice to try and drum up critical noise for its theatrical release.
“The Great Gatsby”
Synopsis: Nick Carraway learns that old friend Jay Gatsby has built an empire of wealth and avarice, and has eyes only for his former flame Daisy Buchanan.
What You Need To Know: Baz Luhrmann’s epic fantasia was originally scheduled for a late-2012 release amidst the annual Oscar bait, until a late-game change switched up the studio’s plans. Now, the $120 million adaptation has been reformatted as a potential summer blockbuster, with childhood buddies Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire together onscreen for the first time since the unreleased “Don’s Plum.” The loaded supporting cast includes Carey Mulligan as Gatsby’s lady love, with Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher, Jason Clarke and Adelaide Clemens filling out the supporting cast. And if the rumors are true, ‘Gatsby’ will at least be exciting to the ear, as Clemens earlier this year suggested that the picture would be revamped with added songs by some seriously heavy hitters including Jay-Z and Lady Gaga.
Release Date: May 10th, 2013
Synopsis: In the not-so-distant future, a lonely writer purchases a newly developed operating system designed to meet the user’s every need, and to his surprise, a romantic relationship begins to develop with it.
What You Need To Know: Touted as an unconventional love story that blends science fiction and romance “in a sweet tale that explores the nature of love and the ways that technology isolates and connects us all,” director Spike Jonze is seemingly making a romance picture for the iGeneration. Joaquin Phoenix stars as the writer, and while it’s unclear who plays the female voice of the operating system, the movie also stars Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Samantha Morton and Olivia Wilde. Jonze already demonstrated a knowing hand at blending sci-fi, melancholy heartbreak and comedy with the excellent short “I’m Here,” so we’re hoping “Her” lands with a similar tone. Olivia Wilde recently described it as “incredibly romantic and funny and surreal,” and we wouldn’t expect any less.
Release Date: TBD, but it’s an Annapurna Pictures film and has been completed, so here’s hoping for a fall film festival debut.
“I’m So Excited”
Synopsis: In the face of a life-threatening situation, a disparate and defenseless group of passengers on board a flight to Mexico City are provoked to deliver colorful confessionals that become the best way to escape from the idea of death.
What You Need To Know: Don’t get too excited. While Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz, and Paz Vega all make small cameos, this is an ensemble picture that’s seemingly dedicated to the excellent Spanish character actors that have appeared in Pedro Almodóvar’s films over the years, perhaps the three most memorable being Javier Cámara from “Talk To Her,” Lola Dueñas from “Volver” and Cecilia Roth from “All About My Mother.” The cast also features Carlos Areces, Raul Arevalo, Carmen Machi, Laya Martí, Hugo Silva, Miguel Ángel Silvestre, and Blanca Suárez, and Almodóvar has described it as a light, frothy little comedy. From the looks of a recent teaser trailer, he’s not kidding either, as this appears pretty silly compared to his more recent, darker work. A change of pace as it were.
Release Date: Spring 2013
“Inside Llewyn Davis”
Synopsis: Set in the Greenwich Village folk scene of the early ‘60s that birthed Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, and loosely based on Dylan’s songwriting buddy Dave Van Ronk, this is the story of Llewyn Davis, a folk singer who, despite his talents, can’t seem to make ends meet.
What You Need To Know: Coming off a streak that has seen them produce a Best Picture winner (“No Country For Old Men“) and the biggest box office hit of their careers (“True Grit“), the Coen Brothers have probably been afforded the opportunity to make whatever they want. In this case that’s an original screenplay set in the early ‘60s folk scene, starring “Drive” and “Sucker Punch” secret weapon Oscar Isaac as the titular folk singer who isn’t able to get his career off the ground. He’ll be leading a cast of more familiar faces, including John Goodman, F. Murray Abraham, Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan as Timberlake’s wife. Now entering the fourth decade of their careers, the Coens have consistently marched to the beat of their own drummer, tackling existential thrillers and slapstick comedies and everything in between. And with the exception of a few brief stumbles in the mid aughts, their instincts have rarely led them astray.
Release Date: The picture’s in the can, and there’ve been rumors that it could land in Cannes 2013, but otherwise it hasn’t been dated yet and still has no distributor.
Synopsis: On Labor Day weekend, a divorced, depressed single mother encounters a large man bleeding profusely while shopping with her 13-year-old son. They give him a ride and later learn that the police are looking for an escaped convict.
What You Need to Know: “Labor Day” will be Jason Reitman’s fifth film, and for the first time, seems to signal a move away from the comedy genre, calling for a more sincere tone than “Up in the Air” or “Young Adult.” Based on the novel of the same name by Joyce Maynard, the story sounds like a suburban drama akin to something like “Little Children.” Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin star along with Gattlin Griffith, best known for portraying Angelina Jolie‘s missing son in “Changeling,” who plays the teenage boy. The cast also features Clark Gregg, Tom Lipinski, James Van Der Beek and Tobey Maguire, who has a small cameo playing the teenage boy as an adult. It’s definitely going to be a showcase for Winslet as this will be her first truly leading role in a feature film since she pulled double-duty on “Revolutionary Road” and “The Reader” in 2008, and we’re intrigued to see how she works with Brolin.
Release Date: TBD, and again, we presume fall 2013 with a TIFF premiere in the works as the Canadians love their own.
Synopsis: In search of a new start and the American dream, a Polish immigrant is manipulated into a life of prostitution by a charming but wicked man on the mean streets of Manhattan, until a dazzling magician tries to save her.
What You Need To Know: While “We Own The Night” was set in the 1980s, the 1920s-set “Lowlife” is director James Gray’s first true period piece. Starring Marion Cotillard as the Polish immigrant, Joaquin Phoenix as the canny pimp and Jeremy Renner as the mysterious magician, this is a powerhouse trio to lead Gray’s drama; only his fifth feature-length film in almost 20 years. While he works at a deliberate pace, Gray is an American auteur who should be considered among the contemporary greats but has failed to be completely recognized among the PTAs and Finchers of the world thus far, but “Lowlife,” formerly titled, “The Nightingale,” could change all that. We got a tiny taste of the picture at Telluride, and it seems as moody, brooding and operatic as anything the filmmaker has made thus far.
Release Date: Fall 2013, though a Cannes premiere seems likely and one the filmmaker is aiming for.
Synopsis: In a race against time, a crew of art historians and museum curators unite to recover renowned works of art stolen by Nazis before Hitler destroys them.
What You Need To Know: George Clooney and Grant Heslov‘s Smoke House Productions has made two films in the last two years (“Argo” and “The Ides Of March“), and both have been major awards-season players. “Monuments Men” looks no different. Sounding like a cross between Burt Lancaster’s “The Train” and “Inglourious Basterds,” “Monuments Men” was written by Heslov and Clooney and is based on Robert M. Edsel’s non-fiction novel of the same name. Clooney stars and directs, and his excellent cast includes Daniel Craig, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville (“Downton Abbey“) and “The Artist” star Jean Dujardin. Sony is dropping this one in December, so expect it to be a major awards contender.
Release Date: December 20, 2012
Synopsis: Based on French author Boris Vian’s fanciful novel, this follows a woman who suffers from an unusual illness caused by a flower growing in her lungs.
What You Need To Know: Michel Gondry‘s films are generally regarded as surrealist and wacky, but this discounts the realism and community concerns found in documentaries and docu-dramas like “The Thorn In The Heart,” “The We And The I,” and even the second half of “Be Kind Rewind.” That said, “Mood Indigo” reads like the reductive description of a Michel Gondry movie, and it looks as capricious and fantastic as you might expect. Starring Audrey Tautou, Romain Duris (“Heartbreaker”), and “The Intouchables” star Omar Sy, “Mood Indigo” is also a French-language picture, perhaps meant as a palate cleanser to a failure like “The Green Hornet” (which Gondry himself admitted wasn’t his favorite film and fans didn’t respond to it). It also stars French talents like Gad Elmaleh (“Midnight In Paris”) and Alain Chabat (“The Science Of Sleep”).
Release Date: TBD, but it’s already scheduled for release in France ahead of Cannes so it may not be something we see until the Toronto International Film Festival.
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 sweeptakes prize.
What You Need To Know: A passion project that director Alexander Payne‘s had on his desk since 2003, the filmmaker shelved it for a while because he wanted to take a break from road trip movies. But with that genre not tackled since “Sideways,” Payne took a fresh look at it, and started filming this year. The casting is inspired too. While names like Gene Hackman and other elder statesmen were bandied about, Payne landed on the unlikely father/son pair of Bruce Dern and comedian, ex-SNL star Will Forte. Also starring Stacy Keach and Bob Odenkirk, “Nebraska” was once envisioned as black-and-white drama, but Payne seemingly dropped the black-and-white approach and has been recently calling the film an old-fashioned comedy. Be that as it may, Paramount is already eyeing a fall release date, so it might be a bigger contender than Payne is giving it credit for.
Release Date: Likely Fall 2013.
Synopsis: A drama centered on three environmental terrorists who plot to blow up a dam.
What You Need To Know: Not to be confused with the 1975 Arthur Penn film of the same name; Kelly Reichardt‘s moody minimalist works (“Wendy and Lucy,” “Meek’s Cutoff”) have made her one of the most interesting American filmmakers working today. So could be fascinating to see Reichardt, known for more character-based films like “Old Joy,” take on a picture that, at least on the surface, seems more plot driven. Details beyond the logline are somewhat sparse, but Peter Sarsgaard plays a bomb-maker, Jesse Eisenberg is the group’s leader, and Dakota Fanning plays a wealthy young woman who funds the group. There’s also an implied sexual twist in store as well. While a lawsuit threatened to halt production earlier this year, the film began shooting in the fall of 2012.
Release Date: TBD. If we’re lucky it’ll land in the fall film festival circuit much like “Meek’s Cutoff” did in 2011.
Synopsis: A Lars von Trier porn film. A self-diagnosed nymphomaniac recounts her erotic experiences to the man who saved her after a beating.
What You Need To Know: He had us at Lars von Trier porn film. And it’s of course only part one of a planned two-part film. What will be interesting to see is what the term “pornography” means to von Trier as we assume all the talk of titillating “soft core movie” is probably something close to raw eroticism. Starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Connie Nielsen, Willem Dafoe, Udo Kier and Uma Thurman, LeBeouf said in an interview that the script specified right off the bat that actors would not just be simulating sexual acts, but engaging in the real thing. We’ll see if that actually comes to pass, but either way, it sounds like (or smells like?) von Trier is up to his old provocative tricks again, and a challenging picture from the Danish imp is something that cinema always needs on a bi-yearly basis at least.
Release Date: TBD, though there’s been talk of a Cannes premiere despite the director being banned from the festival.
Synopsis: An innocent man is kidnapped and held captive for fifteen years. Once released, he must find out who has imprisoned him, and why they have let him go.
What You Need To Know: A remake of the Korean hit from 2003, “Oldboy” has long been in the works from a host of filmmaking talents – for a while, the dream team pairing was Will Smith and director Steven Spielberg. Eventually, the task fell to director Spike Lee as he struggled to get a sequel to “Inside Man” off the ground, with Josh Brolin stepping into the shoes of the lead role. The question is, how much of the original film’s notorious twist will this version retain? While the initial claim was that the remake would be adapting the manga on which “Oldboy” is based (which does not feature said twist), Lee has been candid in claiming this film is even more twisted. Challenge accepted, Mr. Lee. Sharlto Copley, Elizabeth Olsen, James Ransome and Samuel L. Jackson co-star.
Release Date: October 11, 2013
“Only God Forgives”
Synopsis: An English gangster in Thailand sets out to avenge his murdered brother in a brutal story of rage, betrayal and the possibility of redemption.
What You Need To Know: “Drive” director Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling are collaborating yet again. That’s all you likely need to know. The stylish and thrilling “Drive” was one of 2011’s best pictures, so the idea of this duo teaming up again is a near salivating cinematic prospect. Gosling plays a gangster exiled in Thailand who manages a Thai boxing club as a front for a drug operation. When his brother is killed by a retired Thai cop known as the Angel of Vengeance, his ruthless gangster mob mother (played by Kristin Scott Thomas) demands retribution. Instead of a plain old murder though, Gosling challenges the former cop to a boxing match, and mayhem ensues from there. Said to be one of Refn’s bloodiest and craziest scripts, one assumes he’ll be pulling out all the stops again. And don’t expect any name actors in it other than Gosling and Scott Thomas, which is a bold move in and of itself.
Release Date: Rumored for a spring premiere internationally, which means a Cannes Film Festival premiere is likely given the date and the fact that Refn was awarded the Best Director prize on the Croisette in 2011.
“Only Lovers Left Alive”
Synopsis: Adam and Eve, a reclusive vampire couple who’ve been together for centuries, have their peaceful lives interrupted by her younger sister, Ava.
What You Need To Know: The last thing we needed is more vampires, right? In most circumstances, we’d certainly agree, but when the man behind the vampire movie is the great Jim Jarmusch, we’d be inclined to give the film some more attention. The director’s first film since 2009’s oblique and surrealist “The Limits Of Control,” Jarmusch has put a mouthwatering cast together, with both veterans of his work (Tilda Swinton, John Hurt) and hotly tipped newcomers (Mia Wasikowska, Anton Yelchin and Tom Hiddleston, who replaced an otherwise-engaged Michael Fassbender). Almost nothing’s known about the film, but if anyone can bring a fresh spin to the undead, it’s the director of “Down By Law,” “Mystery Train” and “Dead Man.”
Release Date: TBD, but Cannes or Venice could be good bets.
“Out Of The Furnace”
Synopsis: The picture centers on two brothers living in the economically-depressed Rust Belt. One is jailed, and the other is lured into one of the most violent crime rings in the Northeast, which comes with irreversible consequences.
What You Need To Know: Director/writer Scott Cooper demonstrated he could handle gritty with the music drama “Crazy Heart,” but “Out Of The Furnace” should prove to be something tonally much darker and more raw, with a story about cruel fate, circumstance, justice and redemption. Christian Bale and Casey Affleck star as the two brothers, and the cast also stars Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard, Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe and Forest Whitaker.
Release Date: No concrete date yet, but Relativity Media are eyeing an awards-season-friendly fall 2013 release, having briefly flirted with the idea of putting it out in 2012.
“The Place Beyond The Pines”
Synopsis: A motorcycle rider commits a crime to support his child. A policeman targets him because of the incident and the two men become locked on a tense collision course which will have a devastating impact on both of their families in the years following.
What You Need To Know: Derek Cianfrance’s follow-up to “Blue Valentine” is equally searing and bruising, but an entirely different film experience to its predecessor this time, exploring the consequences of action, fate and the legacies that our fathers pass down to us. Ryan Gosling stars as the criminal, Bradley Cooper as the cop, but the picture is also a tryptich that spans time, and features commanding performances by Dane DeHaan and Emory Cohen as well. A stellar supporting cast revolves around these characters, including Ray Liotta, Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne, Bruce Greenwood and Ben Mendelsohn. This is another film that many of us have already seen (read our glowing review), but it’s too good to not include here.
Release Date: March, 29 2013 (limited)
Synopsis: A Boston man kidnaps the person he suspects is behind the disappearance of his young daughter and her best friend.
What You Need To Know: “Prisoners” placed highly on the Black List in 2009, and a feeding frenzy of talent circled the picture for months, including Bryan Singer, Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Antoine Fuqua, Leonardo DiCaprio and Hugh Jackman. The project’s heat cooled and everyone moved on, but then the movie slowly crawled back to life thanks to the persistence of the producers who knew they had a great script at hand. “Incendies” director Denis Villeneuve signed on to helm, Jackman returned to the fold, and the cast now also includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Melissa Leo, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard and Viola Davis. Jackman plays the father, and Gyllenhaal plays the detective on the case. We read the script ages ago and won’t spoil the rest, but suffice to say it’s taut, lean and mean, and there’s a reason all these talented players were interested at one time or another.
Release Date: September 20, 2013, which likely means a premiere in Toronto first.
Synopsis: A businessman who owns an offshore gambling operation finds his relationship with his protégé reaching a boiling point.
What You Need To Know: Director Brad Furman wasn’t really a name that many of us knew, but thanks to “The Lincoln Lawyer,” a pretty enjoyable, sleazy potboiler, his name landed on the map pretty fast. Perhaps more importantly, there’s a great script by Brian Koppelman and David Levien (the writers behind “Ocean’s Thirteen,” “Rounders” and “The Girlfriend Experience”). These three names were enough to net a terrific little cast that includes Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake, Gemma Arterton and Anthony Mackie.
Release Date: September 27, 2013. It doesn’t suggest much Oscar weight, but it’s likely a good, taut thriller that has a good chance at landing at TIFF first.
Synopsis: A successful New York couple’s world unravels when a new drug prescribed by a shady psychiatrist — intended to treat anxiety – has unexpected side effects.
What You Need To Know: Originally meant to be screenwriter Scott Z. Burns’ directorial debut, instead he gave it to his longtime collaborator director Steven Soderbergh when his next intended picture, “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” fell through. Almost overnight, the project was up and running with a terrific cast starring Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum as the aforementioned couple, Jude Law as the psychiatrist, and supporting help by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Vinessa Shaw. Burns initially described the picture as provocative thriller about the pharmaceutical industry and “the war on sadness.” Soderbergh has referred to it as “Fatal Attraction”-esque, and it will be his last theatrically released movie before his retirement. His final feature, “Behind The Candelabra,” should debut on HBO in the summer.
Release Date: February 8, 2013
Synopsis: At the end of the world, a train transports survivors of a nuclear ice age.
What You Need To Know: Based on the graphic novel “Le Transperceneige,” “Snowpiercer” is set to be the ambitious English-language debut of Bong Joon-ho. The film boasts a superb cast that includes Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton, Song Kang-ho, John Hurt, Octavia Spencer, Allison Pill, Ed Harris and Ewen Bremner. Bong is known for directing monster movie “The Host” but he also essayed the wildly fascinating true-life mystery “Memories Of Murder,” and setting himself up for an ambitious science-fiction narrative is a major step up to the big leagues.
Release Date: Summer 2013
Synopsis: An strange and creepy uncle moves in with a teenage girl and her emotionally unstable mother after her father dies. Although the girl, India, has suspicions about his motives, she finds herself drawn to him.
What You Need To Know: Pitched somewhere in between horror, family drama and psychological thriller, “Stoker” is the English-language directorial debut of Park Chan-wook, the heralded South Korean film director behind “The Vengeance Trilogy” (which includes “Oldboy“), “Thirst” and “Joint Security Area.” Written by actor Wentworth Miller under a pseudonym, the picture stars Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman and Matthew Goode. It will be interesting to see how the Southern-Gothic flavor of the screenplay translates in the hands of a foreigner, but we assume this might be the beginning of a new career in America for the director if all goes well.
Release Date: March 1, 2013, but we’ll get to see it almost two months earlier when it debuts at the Sundance Film Festival in late January.
“To The Wonder”
Synopsis: The relationship between an American man and European woman falls apart.
What You Need To Know: Terrence Malick’s upcoming film “To The Wonder” is a rare exception on our Most Anticipated list because many of us at the Playlist already saw it during its fall 2012 festival bow (read our review here). But for those that haven’t seen it (which still includes at least half the Playlist contributors), “To The Wonder” is still somewhat opaque. And from many accounts, including our own review, it’s Malick’s most abstract film. Ben Affleck stars, but barely utters a word. Rachel McAdams was touted as one of the leads, but she’s apparently in it for less than 10 minutes. Olga Kurylenko turns out to be the real lead (at least the lead shaped in the editing room once Malick was done) and Javier Bardem, as a priest, is one of the major characters as well. But that’s about it. Rachel Weisz, Jessica Chastain, Michael Sheen, Amanda Peet and Barry Pepper all had supporting roles, but they were cut in the final edit. Our review is positive, but it appears that “To The Wonder” is certainly Malick’s most divisive film to date. Even the latest promotional glimpses make the film look like one long two-hour trailer with thousands of fleeting, romantic, ephemeral moments stitched together. Hopefully, it’s something more, but one thing we do know is it won’t be an Oscar contender like “The Tree of Life” was.
Release Date: April 12, 2013
Synopsis: A fine art auctioneer mixed up with a gang joins forces with a hypnotherapist to recover a lost painting.
What You Need To Know: A heist movie with more than one twist, “Trance” sounds like Danny Boyle’s most pulpy, down-and-dirty film since his debut “Shallow Grave,” which makes sense given that it was written by the same man, John Hodge (his first collaboration with Boyle since “The Beach“). James McAvoy plays a double-crossing art auctioneer, Vincent Cassel a shady gangster, and Rosario Dawson has the role of a hypnotherapist trying to help them both recover an expensive masterpiece by Goya. But there’s almost an “Inception”-like twist when hypnotherapy sessions start to blur the lines of reality and move the enigmatic picture beyond a simple heist film.
Release Date: March 27, 2013 in the U.K, meaning a U.S. release date can’t be far behind.
“Twelve Years A Slave”
Synopsis: A man living in New York during the mid-1800s is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the deep South.
What You Need To Know: Having directed “Hunger” and “Shame,” U.K. helmer Steve McQueen has quickly become one of the most exciting filmmakers working today. For “Twelve Years A Slave,” he reunites with his creative partner Michael Fassbender. But the two arrive this time with a cheerleader, producer and co-star in tow by the way of Brad Pitt and his Plan B production shingle. Pitt, an avowed Fassbender/McQueen fan (much like us), only has a small role, but was instrumental in getting the movie its funding. Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor in the lead, the movie features one of the best casts we’ve seen in a long while, with Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Kenneth Williams, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Alfre Woodard, Scoot McNairy, Sarah Paulson and “Beasts Of The Southern Wild” stars Dwight Henry and Quvenzhané Wallis. Clearly this picture is teeming with talent.
Release Date: TBD, but Cannes feels like a serious option.
“Under The Skin”
Synopsis: Based on Michel Faber‘s novel of the same name, the plot concerns an extraterrestrial in voluptuous female form making her way through rural Scotland.
What You Need To Know: “Sexy Beast” auteur Jonathan Glazer hasn’t made a film since his overlooked 2004 feature “Birth,” and “Under The Skin,” some two years in the making, will finally rectify this unfortunate stat. While the synopsis may make it sound like a slightly more highbrow version of Roger Donaldson‘s “Species,” the source material is altogether more existential and satirical, tackling everything from the nature of existence to the ethics of farming. Featuring a creepy and eerie tone, at least what we can tell from the screenplay written years ago, the casting of Scarlett Johansson as the lead — a black widow-like alien who lures prey in with her sexual charms — seems like an inspired choice. Filming began in the fall of 2011, but ambitious post-production effects must have delayed it. Reshoots took place in the fall of 2012, so maybe the picture needed just a bit of fine-tuning.
Release Date: TBD. We’re personally hoping for a Cannes 2013 bow, which hopefully puts Glazer back on the map.
“Untitled David O. Russell Project”
Synopsis: When a cocky con man is caught by a less-than-competent FBI mastermind agent, he agrees to become an informant and help with several other white collar busts.
What You Need To Know: Set in a seedy New York City, this fast-paced drama is an unbelievable, funny story centering around the famous 1980 Abscam sting operation, which used a fake Arab sheik and a host of other cunning tricks to bring down corrupt public officials and members of Congress. The picture features a crazy good cast in Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner and Amy Adams. Bale plays the con artist, Adams his mistress/partner in crime, Cooper plays the out-of-control federal agent, and at the epicenter of the entire tale is Renner as the passionate and volatile leader of the New Jersey state assembly, who is also the local hero and mayor of impoverished Camden. Russell recently told us it should be hilarious, insane and intense. With his penchant for blending drama, action and comedy so fully realized of late, we’re inclined to believe him.
Release Date: Starts shooting in early 2013, and given this cast, material and Russell’s recent awards season heat, a release later this year seems likely.
“Untitled WikiLeaks Project”
Synopsis: Going behind the scenes of the controversial whistleblowing site and the rift that developed between its founders, Julian Assange and Daniel Domscheit-Berg.
What You Need To Know: Bill Condon‘s work is not the most consistent around; sometimes strong (“Gods and Monsters,” “Kinsey“), sometimes…not (“Dreamgirls,” “Twilight: Breaking Dawn“). But now that he’s free of his sparkly vampire obligations, he’s got some enticing material to work with in the shape of the first of the multiple Julian Assange-related projects that have been in development. The script, penned by former “West Wing” writer Josh Singer, seems like it has a “Social Network” feel to it, and with fast-rising stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Daniel Bruhl, both set to have breakout years in 2013 with “Star Trek Into Darkness” and “Rush,” in the leads, there’s plenty of reason to want to check this out, especially with Alicia Vikander and Dan Stevens in support too. It’s thin ice that they’re walking on to be sure, but Condon does his best work with material like this, and we’d certainly turn up to see that cast at work.
Release Date: The film is shooting soon, and we won’t be surprised if DreamWorks is planning a big awards push for Cumberbatch (at least), so we’d expect to see it before the year is out.
“Untitled Woody Allen 2013”
Synopsis: A once-wealthy woman loses everything and goes to live with her sister in San Francisco, only to encounter a man who may be able to solve her financial problems.
What You Need To Know: Ah, the annual lottery of whether Woody Allen‘s latest will be the much-vaunted return to form or another near-disaster. The last few years have seen a few of the former (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” “Midnight In Paris“), and plenty of the latter (“Cassandra’s Dream,” “You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger,” “To Rome With Love“), but his first U.S.-set picture since “Whatever Works” (and his first set in the Bay Area) seems to be pretty timely, at least. And as ever, there’s an outstanding cast in place, with Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin (now virtually a regular, replacing Bradley Cooper on this) and Sally Hawkins taking the lead roles, with Peter Sarsgaard, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Emerson and Andrew Dice Clay joining them. Most exciting of all, it sees the Allen-debut of the director’s heir apparent, Louis C.K. As ever, the film, including the title, is top secret, and there’s little real indication of whether it’ll be a gem or a disappointment. But we always live in hope…
Release Date: TBD: A Cannes premiere has become increasingly standard, but it could always show up elsewhere.
“A Winter’s Tale”
Synopsis: A fantasy story set in 19th Century and present-day Manhattan, revolving around a thief, a dying girl, and a flying white horse.
What You Need To Know: The directorial debut of Akiva Goldsman, the screenwriter/producer behind not-so-good films like “Batman & Robin,” “The Da Vinci Code” and “I Am Legend,” normally you might see a Goldsman project on our least anticipated list. And it is with some trepidation that we include it here, but the cast of Russell Crowe, Colin Farrell, Will Smith, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt, Matt Bomer and “Downton Abbey” standout Jessica Brown-Findlay, to name a few, is certainly a super intriguing prospect. A lot of talent is surrounding the picture, including DoP Caleb Deschanel and composer Hans Zimmer. If the story sounds a little “Cloud Atlas”-y, that’s because it also has a similar sprawling scope to it. The big difference though it that “A Winter’s Tale” is said be working with reportedly half the budget.
Release Date: TBD. We’ll admit while the film shot in October of 2012 and should be easily finished for 2013, it’s a crowded year and it won’t completely surprise us if the filmmakers wait until the following calendar year to give it its fair due.
“The Wolf Of Wall Street”
Synopsis: A New York stockbroker refuses to cooperate in a large securities fraud case involving corruption on Wall Street, the corporate banking world and mob infiltration.
What You Need To Know: This is collaboration number five for Martin Scorsese and his muse Leonardo DiCaprio, but marks his first feature shot digitally. Based on the memoir of the same name by Jordan Belfort, ‘Wolf’ was written by Terence Winter who made a name for himself on “The Sopranos,” and has since made an even larger footprint for himself by creating “Boardwalk Empire” for HBO (of which Scorsese directed the pilot episode). As usual, the cast is terrific and includes Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill, Jon Favreau, Kyle Chandler, “The Artist” star Jean Dujardin, Margot Robbie and even directors Rob Reiner and Spike Jonze in small parts.
Release Date: Fall 2013 via Paramount.
“The World’s End”
Synopsis: A group of old friends reunite for an epic pub crawl at the dawn of the apocalypse.
What You Need To Know: Director Edgar Wright ends the so-called Cornetto trilogy with stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost again placed in a fantastical situation. Though Hollywood has come calling for the multi-talented filmmaker several times in the last few years, he’s remained dedicated to pals Pegg and Frost, as well as the considerable ensemble of “Shaun Of The Dead,” “Hot Fuzz” and the television series “Spaced.” There’s a bit of spillover between this and “This Is The End,” perhaps suggesting eccentric comic personalities fascinated with the idea of the apocalypse. But Wright is a filmmaker in the vein of early John Landis in his balance of story and gags, both cheap and elaborate, and it’s extremely difficult to doubt him, particularly with a cast that includes Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike and Paddy Considine and a score by Steven Price (“Attack The Block”).
Release Date: October 25th, a few months after an August bow in the U.K.
“You Are Here”
Synopsis: Two roommates in their thirties attempt to cope when one of them becomes a sudden millionaire after the death of his father.
What You Need To Know: You may know writer-director Matthew Weiner from the immaculate suits and smoky boardrooms of “Mad Men,” but he’s striking out on his own this time, carrying with him a cast of considerable talent, including Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson and Amy Poehler. The story deals with the co-dependence between friends and how that disintegrates with the tensions of class and lineage – note how this topic seems fairly similar to another debut film from a famous television impresario who revealed himself to be completely tone deaf to cinematic storytelling. That was “Not Fade Away” from David Chase, and Chase’s “The Sopranos” was a far better show than “Mad Men,” leading one to imagine just exactly how this story could get away from Weiner. That being said, the framework is strong and the central trio more than capable, so it’s hard to not consider Weiner well ahead of the game here.
Release Date: TBD, but TIFF could be a good bet.
“The Young & Prodigious Spivet”
Synopsis: A 12-year-old mapmaking enthusiast from an eccentric family goes on an extraordinary cross-country journey after being invited to the Smithsonian Institute.
What You Need To Know: The last time French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (“Amelie“) came to the U.S., it was for “Alien: Resurrection,” and as such, that didn’t work out well for him, the studio or the audience. But all being well, his second English-language feature, “The Young & Prodigious Spivet,” should be a significant step up. Based on Reif Larsen‘s cult novel “The Selected Works Of T.S. Spivet,” the film, which seems to be right in Jeunet’s quirky wheelhouse, is toplined by young newcomer Kyle Catlett, with Helena Bonham-Carter, Callum Keith Rennie, Kathy Bates and Judy Davis also on board, and marks the Gallic helmer’s first time shooting in 3D, which, as with Martin Scorsese and Ang Lee in recent years, is surely worth the price of admission alone. While we, along with most people, weren’t especially enamored of his last film, “MicMacs,” we’re always interested in what Jeunet has to offer, and this could well be a return to form.
Release Date: When announced, it was said they were targeting an October release, so we could well be looking at a premiere at Venice, TIFF or the NYFF.
“The Zero Theorem”
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
What You Need To Know: Director Terry Gilliam’s had it rough in the last decade with a mangled release (“The Brothers Grimm”), a forgotten release (“Tideland”) and a compromised release due to the death of a lead actor (Heath Ledger In “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”). And just as he was seemingly set to tilt at windmills again in “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” Gilliam pivoted and instead found funding and a cast for an old project called “The Zero Theorem.” Starring Christoph Waltz, Ben Whishaw and Tilda Swinton with appearances by Matt Damon, David Thewlis and Mélanie Thierry, this is a pretty impressive cast for a filmmaker who supposedly can’t ever catch a break.
Release Date: TBD, but perhaps we’ll see it during the fall film festival circuit.
Extra Credit, But 2014 Maybe?:
“Grand Budapest Hotel”
Synopsis: A comedy following concierge Mr. Gustave, who works in the titular hotel in the Hungarian capital in the 1910s.
What You Need To Know: Wes Anderson hasn’t always been that prolific; the last decade saw only three films from the director in “The Life Aquatic,” “The Darjeeling Limited” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” But presumably emboldened by the critical and commercial success of “Moonrise Kingdom,” Anderson’s getting right behind the camera again, and it’s distinctly possible that 2013 will see his second film in two years. And it looks like it’ll be a real doozy. Inspired by the ‘European Hollywood’ of Ernst Lubitsch and Billy Wilder (and with a title seemingly inspired by the 1932 Best Picture winner “Grand Hotel“), the film is toplined by Anderson first-timers Ralph Fiennes (stepping in for Johnny Depp as Mr. Gustave) and Saoirse Ronan, with Jude Law, F. Murray Abraham and Mathieu Amalric making their Wes World debuts, while Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Tilda Swinton and Jeff Goldblum all come back for second, third or (in Wilson and Murray’s case) sixth helpings. With “Moonrise Kingdom” proving to be the director’s best since “Rushmore,” expectations couldn’t be much higher for this one.
Release Date: Shooting doesn’t start until January, so it’s possible it may be held for Cannes 2014, but if ‘Moonrise’ gets some Oscar love, we could see it being prepped for the awards season this fall.
Honorable Mentions: There are a few other films that are a little more under the radar at present, but could turn out to be treats down the line, all being well, and which didn’t quite fit on our other lists. Perhaps first among them are a trio of biopics that could be big players come Oscar time. First, there’s Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly in “Grace of Monaco,” co-starring Tim Roth. Then, “Downfall” director Oliver Hirschbiegel takes on another of history’s greatest monsters, Princess Diana (joke!), in “Caught In Flight,” starring Naomi Watts as the tragic royal. And finally, and less iconically, there’s “Dallas Buyer’s Club,” starring a dramatically-thinner Matthew McConaughey as an AIDS sufferer, with Jean-Marc Vallee (“C.R.A.Z.Y,” “The Young Victoria“) at the helm.
Also derived from non-fiction are Mike Newell‘s “Reykjavik” about the Cold War peace summit, starring Michael Douglas as Reagan and Christoph Waltz as Gorbachev; Ralph Fiennes‘ Dickens biopic “The Invisible Woman” with Felicity Jones; and Dito Montiel‘s “Empire State,” a heist picture toplining Dwayne Johnson and Chris Hemsworth.
Elsewhere, big stars cropping up in potentially promising pictures include Liam Neeson in “Third Person,” from “Crash” director Paul Haggis; James McAvoy and Jamie Bell in Irvine Welsh adaptation “Filth“; Jude Law in Brit-com “Dom Hemingway“; and Chris Evans and Michelle Monaghan in rom-com “A Many Splintered Thing.” While on the indie side of things, lo-fi horror auteur Ti West is back with “The Sacrament,” Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan do the indie romantic comedy thing with “The F Word,” and Joel Edgerton makes his debut as a screenwriter with “Felony,” also starring Tom Wilkinson. And we’re intrigued by “Hateship Friendship,” which stars Kristen Wiig, Hailee Steinfeld, Nick Nolte and Guy Pearce, as well as the more imminent Tina Fey/Paul Rudd comedy “Admission.”
That’s all for now, and yes, we’ll have another 50 films of the more escapist variety arriving tomorrow, so stay tuned. Thoughts so far? Sound off below. – Rodrigo Perez, Oliver Lyttelton, Gabe Toro.