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The 100 Most Anticipated Films Of 2013 – Part 2

The 100 Most Anticipated Films Of 2013 - Part 2

Yesterday, we unveiled our Most Anticipated Films Of 2013 – Part 1, and we think you’ll agree there’s a promising selection out there. But that’s far from all that the next twelve months has to offer, and there’s much more on the horizon.

We consider the first 50 that ran yesterday to be the A-list; the ones that we’re really, really looking forward to. But below you’ll find a further 50, generally made up of more escapist/popcorn-y blockbuster fare. Some of them are films we’re genuinely excited about, others we might be a little less confident of, and others might be nebulous question marks at the moment (you’ll just have to read on and see how we feel about each of them on a case by case basis). But hopefully, some of them will at least provide plenty of thrills, spectacle, laughs, and in some cases, hopefully a little substance as well. Check them out below, and let us know what you’re looking forward to in the comments section below. BTW, here’s all our Most Anticipated 2013 coverage with several features closely looking at several types of movies coming out this year.

“2 Guns”
Synopsis: A DEA agent and an undercover naval officer investigate each other as they both steal mob money.
What You Need To Know: Mark Wahlberg reunites with his “Contraband” director Baltasar Kormakur for this actioner, but the real draw is in the pairing of Marky Mark and Denzel Washington. The film’s said to be a more comedic kind of picture than what we’re used to from Mr. Washington (we’ve been dying to see him display his funny bones, especially with the gold-toothed get-up he seems to have going on here), and Wahlberg always fares well with that kind of dynamic, so this is potentially a pretty potent pairing. Kormakur’s “Contraband” wasn’t all that, but his foreign-language work (including the Oscar long-listed “The Deep“) is much stronger, and the script comes from Blake Masters, creator of the undervalued TV show “Brotherhood,” so there’s some promise there. Bill Paxton, Paula Patton, James Marsden, Fred Ward and Edward James Olmos are among those supporting the central duo.
Release Date: August 16th

“300: Rise Of An Empire”
Synopsis: Prequel to the 2007 surprise hit, focusing on the rise of the Persian emperor Xerxes, and the naval Battle of Artemisia.
What You Need To Know: We may have had issues with much of the film, but one can’t deny that Zack Snyder‘s “300” gave the swords-and-sandal genre something of a visual makeover, and became a huge hit in the process. Snyder’s busy with Superman, but did co-write this prequel to the film that made his name, handing over directorial duties to commercials vet Noam Murro. Much of this is an unknown quantity — even the cast, bar Eva Green and a returning Rodrigo Santoro, are mostly new faces, like lead Sullivan Stapleton (“Animal Kingdom,”), Callan Mulvey (“Underbelly“) and Jack O’Connell (“Skins“). But that was the case with the original too, and there’s no reason that we couldn’t end up with a film more satisfying than the original here, if Murro can bring the goods.
Release Date: August 2nd

“About Time”
Synopsis: A young man discovers that the men in his family are able to travel through time, and sets out to use his gift to win the heart of his dream girl.
What You Need To Know: 2009’s “The Boat That Rocked“/”Pirate Radio” was a rare commercial misfire for Richard Curtis, who practically invented an entire sub-genre with rom-com phenomena like “Four Weddings And A Funeral,” “Notting Hill” and “Love Actually.” His latest film, once again set up at Working Title, seems like it could be a bounce back though, with a time-travel conceit that owes as much to the excellent episode of “Doctor Who” he wrote as to his big-screen work. What we’ve heard suggests a more genuine, emotional backbone to the tale than was in “Love Actually,” and the cast mixes Curtis vets like Bill Nighy and Tom Hollander with A-lister Rachel McAdams, and some of the other side of the Atlantic’s best and brightest young acting talent, including Vanessa Kirby, Lydia Wilson, Josh McGuire and, in the lead role, “Anna Karenina” breakout Domhnall Gleeson.
Release Date: May 10th in the U.S., March 22nd in the U.K.

“Anchorman: The Legend Continues”
Synopsis: The Channel Four News Team moves into the ’80s to tackle the 24-hour news cycle.
What You Need To Know: Perhaps it was the deafening protest when Paramount originally turned down another “Anchorman.” Maybe they just loosened the purse strings after saying no to a few less-wise investments. Or maybe, just maybe, destiny allowed the continuation of “The Legend Of Ron Burgundy.” While the initial idea to take “Anchorman 2” to Broadway first was scrapped, some of the musical elements have seemingly survived in a film that reunites the entire cast of a minor comedic milestone — to a certain generation of comedy geeks, the Murderer’s Row of Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner and Steve Carell was like the ’27 Yankees, a reference they wouldn’t understand because they are comedy geeks. Regardless, co-writer and director Adam McKay has done nothing but direct massive comedy hits tweaking the concept of American exceptionalism since the first “Anchorman,” growing in leaps and bounds as a satirist. Could this be his finest achievement?
Release Date: December 20th

Synopsis: Constantly bullied at school by her peers and beaten at home by her religious extremist mother, a lonely and awkward high school girl unleashes her newly developed telekinetic powers after she is pushed too far by her peers.
What You Need To Know: Yes, it’s a remake of Brian De Palma’s 1976 psychological horror classic, this time directed by “Boys Don’t Cry” filmmaker Kimberly Peirce. Starring Chloë Grace Moretz in the Sissy Spacek role and Julianne Moore in the wretched mom role originally played by Piper Laurie, this updated version of the prom night from hell also stars Judy Greer, Portia Doubleday, “Chronicle” star Alex Russell and Gabriella Wilde (“The Three Musketeers“). Tackling a remake of a respected and beloved horror film sounds like a potentially dubious idea, but Peirce does have De Palma’s blessing for what it’s worth, and she’s one of the few filmmakers who could come up with an interesting new take on the material. It just got delayed seven months though; is it a danger sign, or a distributor hoping to capitalize on the Halloween dollar? Time will tell…
Release Date: October 18th

“The Croods”
Synopsis: A prehistoric family are thrown out into the world when their cave is destroyed.
What You Need To Know: Things were looking up at DreamWorks Animation for a while, but of late, their slate has been a little disappointing, with “Rise of the Guardians” marking the least successful film in the company’s recent history. But with Pixar going down the sequel road again in 2013, their great rivals have another chance to prove their goods, and no film on their slate this year looks more promising than “The Croods.” In development for years (it comes from an idea by John Cleese, of all people), it’s finally set to land in a few months, with Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Clark Duke, Catherine Keener and Ryan Reynolds (who’s doing DreamWorks double-duty this year with “Turbo” following in the summer) in the voice cast. The reason for the excitement here is co-director Chris Sanders, the man behind “Lilo and Stitch” and the company’s best film to date, “How To Train Your Dragon.” And from the trailer, he looks to be on good form; the promo is genuinely funny and visually spectacular, and looks to have plenty of heart too. Your move, Lasseter.
Release Date: March 22nd, with a premiere at the Berlin Film Festival next month.

“Cuban Fury”
Synopsis: A former salsa prodigy attempts a comeback years after his career was ruined by a rival dancer.
What You Need To Know: Nick Frost stars as the adult version of a promising young salsa dancer once destined for greatness, but derailed by a bullying accident that robbed him of his confidence. Rashida Jones plays the would-be object of affection that he’s pining for, and Chris O’Dowd plays a rival at his office. The film also co-stars Ian McShane, Rory Kinnear and Olivia Colman as Frost’s sister. While English comedies of this sort can go the way of cute and light Feel Good Brit Flick (an often way too saccharine genre), they can also produce generally winning films like “Billy Elliot” and “The Full Monty,” and production company Big Talk have an excellent track record, with “Shaun Of The Dead,” “Attack The Block” and “Sightseers” among their triumphs. TV graduates James Griffiths (“Episodes“) and Jon Brown (“Misfits“) make their feature-length debuts at director and screenwriter.
Release Date: Currently slated for March 22nd in the U.K., no word on a U.S. release yet.

“Dead Man Down”
Synopsis: A man is hired by a young woman to kill an underground crime lord in New York City to settle a personal score. 
What You Need To Know: Three years after his Swedish-language adaptation of “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” became a surprise hit, director Niels Arden Oplev is crossing the Atlantic to reunite with his Lisbeth Salander, Noomi Rapace, on this hard-boiled crime thriller. The recent trailer suggests something that it might be a little generic, but it also seems to have style and grit to burn. Hopefully the script by “Fringe” writer J.H. Wyman has more to it than has been suggested so far, but if not, there’s an eclectic cast, with Rapace joined by Colin Farrell, Dominic Cooper, Terrence Howard and, of all people, Isabelle Huppert, in her first English-language role since “I Heart Huckabees.” Surely Mademoiselle Huppert doesn’t get out of bed for just anything, right? With the early parts of the year as light on movies for adults as ever, this could hopefully be something of a tonic.
Release Date: March 8th

”The Delivery Man”
Synopsis: A former sperm donor finds out years later that he fathered hundreds of kids and now many of them want to meet him.
What You Need To Know: You may not have seen it, but Vince Vaughn is clearly a fan of French Canadian director Ken Scott, as “The Delivery Man” is a remake of Scott’s 2012 film “Starbuck” with Scott at the helm again. Co-starring Cobie Smulders, Chris Pratt, and relative newcomers such as Britt Robertson, Jack Reynor and Bobby Moynahan, there’s obviously not a lot of names in the cast, which is interesting, but clearly Vaughn, Scott and DreamWorks SKG think the film can stand on its own two feet regardless. Smulders plays Vaughn’s pregnant girlfriend who we imagine isn’t thrilled to find out he’s a baby daddy 300 times over. Pratt’s role is of a single father and lawyer who helps Vaughn’s character with his case.
Release Date: October 4th

“Ender’s Game”
Synopsis: In a future where Earth is at war with an insectoid alien race known as the Formics, a group of talented children are brought into space to train to be elite soldiers.
What You Need To Know: In a year where there’s plenty of other movies involving battles with aliens for the fate of the earth (“Oblivion,” “After Earth“), there’s one that’s going back to a lauded classic novel of the genre, with the first adaptation of Orson Scott Card‘s beloved book “Ender’s Game.” In the works for years, it took producers Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci (writers of “Star Trek“) to get it going, hiring Oscar-winner Gavin Hood to direct. The cast is certainly impressive, with “Hugo” lead Asa Butterfield heading up the younger lot, which also includes Hailee Steinfeld and Abigail Breslin, while Harrison Ford, Viola Davis and Ben Kingsley number among the elder statesmen. But will Hood get his “Tsotsi” mojo back, or are we heading for a disaster of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” proportions?
Release Date: November 1st

“Evil Dead”
Synopsis: A group of teenagers head to a woodland cabin to assist in helping a friend kick a drug habit. But a reading of the Necronomicon found inside releases ancient demons.
What You Need To Know: After years of speculation about either a proposed “Evil Dead IV” or an “Evil Dead” remake, producer Sam Raimi simply stepped up to the plate and decided to take control of the thing itself. What’s resulted is a film that, on the surface, retains the glossy visuals of contemporary horror pictures, sans the grit and grime of Raimi’s no-budget originals. But there’s a lot of potential here, from Raimi’s own stewardship of the project (as well as co-producer Bruce Campbell‘s) to the selection of little-known Fede Alvarez making his directorial debut with a script polished by Diablo Cody. An early peek suggests all the familiar elements are there, including chainsaws, broken cellar doors and overzealous trees, with a dark, grim tone, so the spirit of the original has been honored. Now, what’s different is greater cause for concern.
Release Date: April 12th

“Fast & Furious 6”
Synopsis: Dominic and Brian’s crew of high-octane thieves head to Europe for their biggest heist yet, with DSS agent Luke Hobbs still on their tail, only to come into conflict with a rival gang.
What You Need To Know: It’s rare for a franchise to hit its stride with the fifth installment, but that’s exactly what happened with 2011’s “Fast Five,” which brought brilliantly-executed action sequences and a knowing self-awareness about its own dumbness to the long-running automative action series. It was a huge hit, so Universal snapped up director Justin Lin to make his fourth film in the franchise, this time the actioner sees Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, et al. (bolstered by a returning, back-from-the-dead Michelle Rodriguez) heading to the U.K. and to Spain, with Dwayne Johnson‘s supercop still on their trail. While Jason Statham turned down the chance to make it a triad of slap-headed action stars, rising actor Luke Evans took on the villain part instead, with Gina Carano, “The Raid” ‘s Joe Taslim and supermodel Clara Paget joining the fun as well. It won’t be Shakespeare, but if Lin can deliver the way he did on the last film, it should be a pretty good time at the movies.
Release Date: May 24th

“The Hangover Part III”
Synopsis: Alan grieves over his late father, reuniting the Wolf Pack in a darkly comic misadventure.
What You Need To Know: Sure, some audiences bitched and moaned about “The Hangover Part II,” which transparently replicated several elements from the first picture with little variety. And yet, they still came, making the film the highest grossing R-rated comedy in history. But with director Todd Phillips interested in putting this franchise to bed (unless “Lil’ Hangover” becomes a reality – Warner Bros., call us maybe?), it’s certainly possible that this is the take-no-prisoners blowout of all comedy sequels. The ‘Hangover’ films feature the characters skirting the edge of death at times, and taking a lighthearted look at some very dark ideas. With no pressure to make a fourth film (probably?), we could see the “Very Bad Things”-type ending we always imagined for these characters. Or, you know, it could be the exact same shit again. John Goodman and Melissa McCarthy are the new additions this time around.
Release Date: May 24th

“The Heat”
Synopsis: An FBI agent and a cop team up to bring down a drug lord.
What You Need To Know: “Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig brings it back to the ’80s with this buddy cop movie, pairing straight-laced Sandra Bullock with live-wire Melissa McCarthy. The R-rated comedy actioner doesn’t look that far removed from “Beverly Hills Cop” or “Midnight Run” (perhaps Harold Faltermeyer should score?), but apparently the gags in this film have a heavy R-rated slant with content that would have petrified the censors back then. Commercially, this is a gamble: Will female audiences turn out for a film in a genre that’s always been heavily male-dominated, and will men want to watch two women in an action-heavy setting? It’s the sort of gamble that seems exciting to us: the idea of savvy lady cops in a scenario usually reserved for middling comedians and slumming tough guys is the sort of conceptual genre-bending that could potentially alter mainstream gender roles. Also, hey, it seems funny.
Release Date: April 5th

“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”
Synopsis: Bilbo and the dwarfs continue their quest towards the Lonely Mountain, where they’ll do battle with the fiery dragon Smaug.
What You Need To Know: If you’ve seen ‘An Unexpected Journey,’ or really any of “The Lord of the Rings” films, you pretty much know what to expect. While the first ‘Hobbit‘ film was considered slower and a bit more lightweight, the next two should pick up the pace considerably. And while no one is really clamoring for any more of Peter Jackson’s Tolkien-fueled “world building,” few doubt Jackson’s skill with elaborate set-pieces and action sequences. What’s interesting is if Jackson has any desire to keep the films family-friendly after throwing in some casual beheadings in the first effort – how much will he indulge the intensity of the coming dragon and giant spider attacks? We might never again consider these films relevant awards bait, but there’s no reason Jackson can’t deliver a few old-school adventure theatrics.
Release Date: December 13th

Synopsis: A DEA agent moves his family to a small town, but soon comes into conflict with a terrifying drug lord.
What You Need To Know: Jason Statham fans are spoilt for choice in 2013; the bald British bruiser has three films, starting off with Taylor Hackford‘s “Parker” in the near future, with “Hummingbird,” the intriguing directorial debut from “Eastern Promises” writer Steven Knight following on later in the year (we’ve heard some good buzz, and it apparently stretches The Stath’s acting muscles more than most). But the one we’re most looking forward to is “Homefront,” mainly because of the roster of talent alongside Statham. The actor will square off against James Franco, who plays the villainous drug baron, something that’s sure to result in a gonzo, scene-stealing turn. Meanwhile, Winona Ryder, Kate Bosworth and Frank Grillo are also among the cast, and the script was penned by none other than Sylvester Stallone. We’re not expecting the earth from this, exactly, but with sturdy programmer expert Gary Fleder (“Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead,” “Runaway Jury“) at the helm, this could be a fair amount of fun.
Release Date: TBD

Synopsis: An adaptation of Joe Hill‘s novel about a young man who, after the death of his girlfriend, wakes up sprouting horns that give him diabolical powers.
What You Need To Know: Unsurprisingly (given that he’s the son of Stephen King), Joe Hill has over the last few years become one of the most lauded horror writers, but attempts to bring his work to the big screen haven’t been so successful. Neil Jordan couldn’t get “Heart-Shaped Box” made, and Mark Romanek‘s TV take on his comic “Locke & Key” didn’t get past the pilot stage. But his second novel, “Horns,” is finally on the way, at the hands of Alexandre Aja (“Haute Tension,” “The Hills Have Eyes“), one of the most interesting horror directors of recent years. Daniel Radcliffe, in another interesting pick, takes the lead role, with Juno Temple, Max Minghella, Kelli Garner and Joe Anderson among the supporting cast, and the script comes from “In Treatment” writer Keith Bunin, so don’t expect it to be a simple exercise in scares, especially given the excellent source novel.
Release Date: No idea; the TIFF/Fantastic Fest combo would make sense, but SXSW would also be feasible.

“How I Live Now”
Synopsis: An American girl comes to England to visit her cousins, only for society to collapse while she’s there.
What You Need To Know: We might have survived the Mayan calendar, but the apocalypse is everywhere this year, mostly in the form of comedic takes on the end of days like “The World’s End,” “This Is The End” and “Rapturepalooza.” But a more serious take comes from director Kevin Macdonald (“Touching The Void,” “State Of Play“), with this adaptation of Meg Rosoff‘s best-selling young adult tale. Penned by Jeremy Brock (“The Last King of Scotland“) and Tony Grisoni (“Red Riding“), it’s got tough subject matter — not least from the incestuous romance at the center — but Macdonald’s assembled a cast who should be more than capable of pulling it off, with the busy Saoirse Ronan and “The Impossible” breakout Tom Holland leading a mostly unknown cast.
Release Date: Sometime late in 2013, likely the fall. Probably a good bet for TIFF.

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”
Synopsis: Katniss and Peeta might have made it out of the Hunger Games, but their rulebreaking has made her a threat to President Snow, and so they’re called back in for the Quarter Quell, an even more brutal competition that pits previous Hunger Games winners against each other.
What You Need To Know: While it was far from perfect, “The Hunger Games” was a pretty good stab at launching a new young adult franchise; leagues better than the “Twilight” movies, and stacked full of good performances, not least from lead Jennifer Lawrence. Barely eighteen months on, we’re getting part two, which promises bigger and more spectacular action, and some new blood in the shape of top-notch character actors Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jeffrey Wright, as well as rising star Sam Claflin. Expect it to look better than the slightly cheap original, with visually adept helmer Francis Lawrence taking over from Gary Ross, though whether he’s capable of placing the same emphasis on character as his predecessor remains to be seen.
Release Date: November 22nd

“Identity Thief”
Synopsis: When a mild-mannered businessman learns his identity has been stolen, he hits the road to bring the culprit back to his home state to be prosecuted.
What You Need To Know: Seth Gordon, the filmmaker behind “Horrible Bosses” directs, Craig Mazin, one of the main writers on “The Hangover Part II & Part III” penned the script, and the comedy is essentially a two-hander between Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy, so you probably already have some idea of what to expect here. But there’s more, co-starring in “Identity Thief” is Jon Favreau, Amanda Peet, John Cho, Genesis Rodriguez, Robert Patrick and “Breaking Bad” star Jonathan Banks (who played Mike Ehrmantraut). “Horrible Bosses” wasn’t as good as we hoped, and the early February date is just a week shy of a January dump date, but here’s to hoping.
Release Date: February 8, 2013

“I Give It A Year”
Synopsis: Romantic comedy following the trials and travails of a young married couple in the 12 months after they somewhat hastily tie the knot.
What You Need To Know: The dire state of the modern rom-com (“Silver Linings Playbook” aside) is no secret, inspiring various think pieces of late. But fingers crossed, we could be seeing one of the stronger entries in the genre in only a few months, as all the footage and the advance word on “I Give It A Year” indicates it’s actually pretty good. Hailing from Working Title, home of “Bridget Jones’s Diary” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” it doesn’t actually have the involvement of Richard Curtis, but instead marks the directorial debut of Oscar-nominated “Borat” writer Dan Mazer, who seems to have brought some bona-fide laughs to the genre that are all too often lacking. The casting feels fresh too, with much-deserved lead roles for the excellent Rafe Spall and Rose Byrne, with Anna Faris, Simon Baker, Stephen Merchant and an apparently walking-away-with-the-film Minnie Driver also involved. Can it bring some emotional truth along with the comedy? Or will it be another halfway-there effort like “The Five-Year Engagement?” We should be finding out very, very soon.
Release Date: February 8th in the U.K., no U.S. date or distributor just yet.

“The Internship”
Synopsis: Two recently laid-off men in their 40s try to make it as interns at a successful Internet company where their managers are in their 20s.
What You Need To Know: “Anchorman” couldn’t even reach the $100 million mark globally upon its release. And while, for comparison, “Wedding Crashers” took a very respectable $285 million worldwide, it’s taken some years for it to get seen in the same contemporary comedy classic vein. That is the longwinded way to say, the “Wedding Crashers” duo of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are back. Written by Vaughn himself, “The Internship” centers again on man-children, this time set in the corporate Silicon Valley world where they are being aged out by younger, smarter wunderkinds. The picture’s excellent supporting cast features Rose Byrne, John Goodman, Max Minghella, Jessica Szohr, Josh Gad, and even Will Ferrell in a small cameo role (much like he did in “Wedding Crashers,” a scene that stole the movie). We’re likely never going to see an “Old School 2” (another modern comedy classic), but maybe this match-up of a Wilson (admittedly not Luke…), Vaughn and Ferrell will be as close as we’ll get. The main variable however is Shawn Levy, who hasn’t directed a movie we’ve liked since the mostly harmless “Night at the Museum.”
Release Date: June 7, 2013.

“Iron Man 3”
Synopsis: Tony Stark must deal with the fallout of the incidents occurring in “The Avengers,” creating new armor that is eventually poisoned by nano-terrorists eager to end the Iron Man empire forever.
What You Need To Know: The suggestion was that after “The Avengers,” the Marvel films would dial it back down a notch. But that was before we saw the teaser trailer, which features Stark’s beachside penthouse being absolutely destroyed, falling into the ocean on top of a flailing Iron Man. In fairness, that’s probably a good way to dial up the threat level after “Iron Man 2” featured the hero barely breaking a sweat. This time around, there’s a shift in the creative team, with director Shane Black directing only his second film after the relatively low budget “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.” But that film featured probably the most acerbic Robert Downey Jr. performance of the last decade, so there’s reason to believe with Black also contributing to the screenplay that this franchise is about to receive a dose of unpredictability. Ben Kingsley is also onboard as villain The Mandarin (yeah, how will THAT work out?) alongside terrorist Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), with Rebecca Hall and James Dale Badge joining returning cast members Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle and Jon Favreau.
Release Date: May 3rd, landing, as is becoming common with the Marvel movies, in much of the rest of the world the week before.

“Jack Ryan”
Synopsis: Financial analyst Jack Ryan learns of his crooked boss’ plan to cripple the global economy.
What You Need To Know: Joining the illustrious ranks of Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck is Chris Pine, who was linked to this project through years of false starts and budget-minded re-writes. Paramount is hoping that “Star Trek Into Darkness” cements Pine as a legit leading man to relaunch the Ryan franchise, dormant since 2002’s “The Sum Of All Fears.” Doing double duty as the villain and director, Kenneth Branagh has two good reasons to be raising his voice in Pine’s general direction, and he’s the one reason why this might be better than the average prequel. Branagh brought an innate skill in melding spectacle and actor-friendly dramatics with “Thor,” so it’s likely his stewardship of another series-starter could reasonably provide the foundation for a number of entertaining sequels. Kevin Costner and Keira Knightley are the big-name supporting players, with Costner rumored to be serving a sort of Nick Fury-ish role across multiple Tom Clancy movies.
Release Date: December 25th

“Kick Ass 2: Balls To The Wall”
Synopsis: When Kick-Ass’ old semi-ally Red Mist becomes the villainous The Motherfucker, the hero assembles a squad of urban crimefighters to take him down.
What You Need To Know: Well, the bad news is that the “Kick-Ass 2” comic book is a vulgar, noxious, ugly piece of work that in no way merits adaptation. The good news is, the original “Kick-Ass” comic was similarly grotesque, and director Matthew Vaughn was able to wrangle that into something absurdly entertaining, while still retaining some of the lawlessness of the source material. He’s not onboard this time, replaced by Jeff Wadlow, the “artisan” behind “Never Back Down.” But Universal saw enough in this property under Wadlow’s leadership that they grabbed the rights from an uninterested Lionsgate, giving it a plum summer release date. The strongest attribute of the first film was the character of Big Daddy, memorably played by Nicolas Cage channeling Adam West: having been set fire to in the last film, he’s unlikely to return, though there’s a juicy supporting role for Jim Carrey, of all people. If Carrey is committed to this project, that switch may very well be an upgrade.
Release Date: June 28th

“The Last Days On Mars”
Synopsis: A group of scientists discover evidence of bacterial life on Mars, only to be stranded there
What You Need To Know: There’s plenty of giant sci-fi epics on the way in 2013, but given the run of the past few years, we’re more excited about the potential sleepers out there, and no film holds greater promise to be the next “Moon” than “The Last Days On Mars.” The directorial debut of Ruairi Robinson, the young Oscar-nominated Irish filmmaker who at one time was set to helm the “Akira” remake, it might seem to have a generic set-up, but if Robinson’s shorts are anything to go by, we should expect to see something visually spectacular. And the cast is top-notch, with Liev Schreiber, Romola Garai, Elias Koteas, Olivia Williams, Johnny Harris and Tom Cullen among the astronauts. Last year, “John Carter” once again held up the curse of Martian movies, but could this be the one to break the duck?
Release Date: TBD, but we imagine the second half of the year will be a good bet.

“The Lone Ranger”
Synopsis: After being left for dead, The Lone Ranger, assisted by Tonto, the Native American who saved his life, rides out to fight evil and injustice in the Old West.
What You Need To Know: A decade ago, Jerry Bruckheimer, Gore Verbinski, Johnny Depp, Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio tackled a genre — the pirate movie — which hadn’t been a box office draw for half a century, and turned it into a behemoth, with the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films having taken close to $4 billion over the years, even if the films have played to increasingly diminishing creative effect. On the one hand, their task with “The Lone Ranger” isn’t so tough — “True Grit” and “Django Unchained” have proved that the western is still a viable draw for audiences. But on the other hand, they’ve had a troubled production here — the film was delayed by Disney to bring the budget down, only for it to soar when production began, and then the release date was pushed back by over six months. We have mixed feelings about the trailers, but that said, we’d still take Gore Verbinski over most of the tentpole helmers out there, and the cast supporting Depp — which includes Armie Hammer as the Ranger, Tom Wilkinson, Ruth Wilson, Helena Bonham-Carter, William Fichtner, Barry Pepper and James Badge Dale — is a strong one. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that lightning can strike twice.
Release Date: July 3rd

“Machete Kills”
Synopsis: The U.S. government recruits Machete to battle his way through Mexico in order to take down an arms dealer who plans to launch a weapon into space.
What You Need To Know: That synopsis sounds an awful lot like a good launching pad for “Machete Kills In Space,” no? The supposed would-be finale to the Machete trilogy. And/or maybe director Robert Rodriguez was joking. Either way, the mexploitation film is back with Danny Trejo playing the ex-Federale agent on another mission. Returning to the “Machete” fold are Jessica Alba and Michelle Rodriguez, but there’s an entirely new ensemble joining in as well, including Lady Gaga (making her acting debut), Amber Heard, Vanessa Hudgens, Sofia Vergara, Demián Bichir, Cuba Gooding Jr., Antonio Banderas, Alexa Vega, Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson as the film’s main villain. The first film had some grindhouse charm, so let’s hope Rodriguez goes even more gonzo on this one.
Release Date: TBD, but a SXSW debut would make a lot of sense for the Austin native.

“Man Of Steel”
Synopsis: Kryptonian refugee Kal-El is adopted by the Kent family, growing up to struggle with the pressures of having otherworldly abilities.
What You Need To Know: Christopher Nolan and David Goyer, architects of the ‘Dark Knight‘ universe, came up with the pitch for a new vision of Superman just as the WB was being pressured by courts to get the Last Son Of Krypton back onto screens. The result is what we’ve seen only in trailer form, but it promises to be a moody, unusual take on the legacy, with a decided contemporary tone: there were unhappy murmurs from fans when the early clips showed Pa Kent (Kevin Costner) suggesting that not rescuing a bus full of drowning kids would be the best option. In other words, the Nolan who questioned Batman’s vigilante leanings will now be placing a microscope on a being with power beyond any mortal, particularly with early posters emphasizing Superman’s (Henry Cavill) surrender to likely-skeptical authorities. We’ll go half-and-half on prospects for director Zack Snyder, however; guy hasn’t made anything interesting beyond his debut “Dawn Of The Dead,” and his fundamental misunderstanding of “Watchmen” suggests he may not have a handle on what makes Superman super(man). Still, the most recent trailer had even the skeptics looking a little more interested, and if nothing else, Michael Shannon will be chewing the scenery as the villain.
Release Date: June 14th

“Monsters University”
Synopsis: A prequel to 2002’s “Monsters Inc,” depicting the first meeting of future scarers Mike Wazokwski and James P. “Sulley” Sullivan at college.
What You Need To Know: Pixar are going through a rough patch at the moment (even if we contest that “Brave” was undervalued by many, the critical consensus was that it was something of a miss), and we’re not sure that their third sequel in four years is necessarily going to be the way out of it (what is the audience for a CGI animated kids flick take on “Animal House,” exactly?). That said, the characters of “Monsters Inc” are rightly beloved, with Billy Crystal‘s Mike and John Goodman‘s Sulley numbering among the best vocal turns in the studio’s history, and the film doesn’t seem as immediately cynical as the nadir of “Cars 2.” The teaser trailer wasn’t wildly enticing, but even if it’s a step down from the predecessor, it’s still a more promising prospect than most of the rival animations out there.
Release Date: June 21st.

Synopsis: A burned-out air marshal on a transatlantic flight has to take down a psychopath who’s threatening to kill a passenger every 20 minutes unless he’s given $150 million.
What You Need To Know: The post “Taken” career of Liam Neeson: Action Hero has been a mixed bag, creatively; lots of lows (“Battleship,” “Clash/Wrath Of The Titans,” “Taken 2,” “The A-Team“), few highs. But along with “The Grey,” one of the brighter spots was “Unknown,” a spectacularly silly Berlin-set thriller, and Neeson’s reteaming with the director of that film, Jaume Collet-Serra, for this airborne thriller. Collet-Serra’s made his name with a certain kind of well-executed trashy thriller (like his masterpiece “Orphan“), and we’ve got our fingers crossed that the same might be in store. Especially with a damn fine supporting cast, including Scoot McNairy, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Nate Parker, Corey Stoll, Nate Parker and Anson Mount.
Release Date: TBD at this point, but we’d put money on a distributor aiming for that early October “Taken 2” slot.

“Now You See Me”
Synopsis: A team of magicians rob banks and give their accrued wealth to audience members, eluding capture from a dedicated law enforcement team.
What You Need To Know: Concepts don’t get much more straightforward than this. A crackerjack cast that includes Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mélanie Laurent, Common, Isla Fisher, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Dave Franco and Mark Ruffalo assist the much-loved Ed Solomon-Boaz Yakin-Edward Ricourt script, which has landed in the hands of “The Incredible Hulk” director Louis Letterier. The mystery the trailer sets up is a pretty irresistible one, a sort of “Inside Man” meets “The Prestige,” and we’d pretty much watch that cast play Monopoly for two hours. But it seems to us that an idea like this works best when it’s lo-fi, and there are worrying signs of CGI-itis on display. Still, one of the more promising commercial films of the summer.
Release Date: June 7th

Synopsis: Jack works for a mysterious agency as a scavenger in charge of rescuing the remains of an abandoned Earth. However, one such mission begins to tear at the fabric of the only reality Jack once knew about why the Earth was abandoned.
What You Need To Know: With Daft Punk scoring “Tron: Legacy” and now M83 taking a stab at “Oblivion,” Joseph Kosinski has proven himself to be the only person in Hollywood who has a record collection that predates 1994. Of course, it’s his being ahead-of-the-curve that likely appealed to star Tom Cruise – “Oblivion” was originally conceived as a graphic novel by Kosinski, a decision made to better illustrate his concept to executives. While Cruise seems to be bringing his usual star-power and intensity to the part, lending the project a slight feeling of safety, this is in essence an original science fiction story, something which major studios seem less and less interested, so it should probably be celebrated. Then again, Kosinski showed almost no feeling for storytelling or character in “Tron: Legacy,” so he’ll need to raise his game before we feel totally confident about this one, but hopefully script polishes from Oscar-winners William Monahan and Michael Arndt will ease the way.
Release Date: April 12th exclusively on IMAX, then April 19th everywhere.

“Oz The Great & Powerful”
Synopsis: An inventor named Oz seeks the opportunity to put his stamp on the world of illusion and storytelling, but he finds more than he bargained for when he’s whisked away to a faraway fantasy land.
What You Need To Know: Greenlit almost immediately after the billion dollar success of “Alice In Wonderland,” this fantasy film ended up being a sweet security blanket for Sam Raimi after being jettisoned off “Spider-Man IV.” Reuniting with ‘Spider-Man’ supporting player James Franco (who reportedly was Raimi’s rejected first choice when he was developing the new “Jack Ryan” film), Raimi could be making his “Hugo,” an auteur film that perfectly captures what inspired them to make films. While the previews suggest another CGI-heavy fantasy film with a dollop of mandatory-feeling “origin” beats, we’re confident in Raimi’s big bag of tricks to reach into the rich backstory of Frank L. Baum’s writings and bring out something worthwhile. Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams co-star as the trio of witches.
Release Date: March 8th

“Pacific Rim”
Synopsis: When humanity is besieged by monsters emerging from the ocean, our best response is to build a fleet of giant robots to defeat them.
What You Need To Know: Guillermo del Toro spent fruitless years slaving over potential big budget gigs in “The Hobbit” and “At The Mountains Of Madness,” and for a while, it seemed like he was forever lost in the wilderness. Fortunately, this hotly-tipped monster mash script fell into his hands, and it wasn’t long before del Toro was spending Warner Bros. capital to realize what every 12-year-old boy really wants to see: giant robots fighting monsters. It’s very possible this ends up the product of a bunch of random elements tossed into a Nerd Movie Generator, particularly with the niche-cool casting of Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi and Charlie Day. The trailer did feel like recycled ideas from discarded “Cloverfield” and “Transfomers” sequels, but the early draft of the script we read was a cracker, and if anyone was going to water it down, it was unlikely to be del Toro.
Release Date: July 11th

“Pain & Gain”
Synopsis: A based-on-a-true-story tale about a couple of Floridian bodybuilders who kidnap, rob and leave for dead a wealthy businessman in a get-rich-quick scheme. But their plans take a twist when their victim survives and hires a P.I. to help him exact revenge.
What You Need To Know: Long considered Michael Bay’s low-budget pet project, “Pain & Gain” is easily his smallest picture since the original “Bad Boys.” The trailer, which showcased the almost improbably beefier physiques of Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie, promises a wacky film of violent crime-and-punishment hijinks. The source material, a novella-sized newspaper article about a gang of murderous beefcake criminals, doesn’t exactly reflect the more light-hearted, potentially “Fargo“-esque tone of the final film. Certainly, Bay and the screenwriters, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (“Captain America: The First Avenger“), have taken some liberties and put their own twist on the story, in what will hopefully be a throwback to the work of pre-“Transformers” Michael Bay . Could this be the movie that finally wins the director some auteur cred?
Release Date: April 26th

Synopsis: A recently deceased cop joins a bureau of undead officers to help solve his own murder.
What You Need To Know: The supernatural action-comedy is a tricky beast to get right; for every “Ghostbusters” or “Men In Black” there’s a… well, “Ghostbusters 2” or “Men In Black 2.” But director Robert Schwentke (“Red“) has had plenty of time to get his attempt right; “R.I.P.D,” based on a comic book, shot back in 2011, and he’s been working on the extensive effects ever since. The central pairing is an appealing one, with Ryan Reynolds as the newly dead cop and Jeff Bridges as the grizzled veteran (Kevin Bacon plays the villain, Mary-Louise Parker their boss), so there could be fun in store, although Schwentke’s track record, and the previous credits of the writers (which include “Aeon Flux” and “Clash Of The Titans“) mean we’re still fairly cautious of what’s looking like one of next summer’s bigger question marks.
Release Date: July 19th

Synopsis: A biography of Formula 1 champion drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, and the 1976 crash that almost claimed the latter’s life.
What You Need To Know: Mere weeks after the accident, Lauda got behind the wheel to challenge his rival, James Hunt. As directed by Ron Howard, “Rush” stars Chris Hemsworth as Hunt, German “Inglourious Basterds” star Daniel Brühl in what’s apparently going to be a star-making role as the disciplined Austrian perfectionist Niki Lauda, plus Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara (“Control”) and “Game Of Thrones” actress Natalie Dormer (and maybe a cameo from Russell Crowe, playing Richard Burton). Set against the glamorous 1970s world of Formula 1, “Rush” is, if writer Peter Morgan‘s (“Frost/Nixon“) previous work is anything to go by, a drama as much as it is an action-laced driving movie that pits two rivals each others and follows the two men as they push themselves to the breaking point of physical and psychological endurance. A late September date (around the same weekend as “Moneyball”) suggests they may follow the same Oscar strategy, which will almost certainly figure a Toronto International Film Festival premiere.
Release date: September 20th

“Saving Mr. Banks”
Synopsis: The story of how Walt Disney convinced cantankerous author P.L. Travers to let him make a film of “Mary Poppins.”
What You Need To Know: A behind-the-scenes look at an iconic filmmaker didn’t turn out so well this year with the disappointing “Hitchcock,” but we’ve got our fingers crossed that things turn out better with “Saving Mr. Banks.” With Tom Hanks playing Walt Disney, Emma Thompson as Travers and Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Ruth Wilson and Bradley Whitford among the excellent supporting cast, they’ve certainly got stars on their side, and word on the script, by Kelly Marcel, is uniformly excellent. But we’re a little more concerned that, with Disney backing the film, it could become a hagiography, and even more worried about John Lee Hancock (“The Blind Side“) being in the director’s chair. Here’s hoping that neither prove to be problems, because we’d like nothing better than for this to be practically perfect in every way (sorry…).
Release Date: December 20th

“The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty”
Synopsis: A mild-mannered photo manager at LIFE magazine loses himself in his elaborate, fantastical daydreams.
What You Need To Know: In development for at least a couple of decades, this remake of the 1947 Danny Kaye vehicle “The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty” attracted the likes of Steven Spielberg, Mike Myers, Gore Verbinski, Will Ferrell and Sacha Baron Cohen over the years, but it was Ben Stiller, both directing and starring, who got it over the start line. The idea of another big-budget comedy remake isn’t an immediately winning one, and Stiller’s on the backfoot after “The Watch” and “Tower Heist,” but his work behind the camera (“The Cable Guy,” “Tropic Thunder“) tends to be more interesting than his acting gigs-for-hire, and he’s assembled a pretty great selection of comedic ringers here with Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Patton Oswalt, Kathryn Hahn, Shirley MacLaine and, of all people, Sean Penn joining him in the cast. Could this be a pleasant little year-end surprise or the next “Gulliver’s Travels?”
Release Date: December 25th

“Sin City: A Dame To Kill For”
Synopsis: A return visit to Frank Miller‘s stylized noir city, for a story likely to focus on the returning Dwight and femme fatale Ava.
What You Need To Know: Talked about almost as soon as the original cinematic adaptation of “Sin City” hit back in 2005, it seemed for a long time that Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller would never get a second go-round for their black-and-white crime tales. But, somewhat under the radar, Rodriguez got going on his follow-up, “Sin City: A Dame To Kill For,” back in October. Things are being kept very close to the chest — we know that Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson and Jamie King are all back, with Dennis Haysbert and Jamie Chung taking on recast parts, but beyond that, details on casting are very quiet, to the extent that it’s not even 100% clear that Clive Owen is returning as Dwight. Still, regardless of who’s involved, “Sin City” was one of the more distinctive comic book adaptations we’ve seen to date, and there’s no reason a second helping couldn’t match it.
Release Date: October 4th

“Star Trek Into Darkness”
Synopsis: The Federation must defend itself from the terrorist actions of a megalomaniac operating from within.
What You Need To Know: J.J. Abrams and company are playing it close to the vest again, with the fans desperately attempting to figure out just exactly who the villain will be in the sequel to the surprisingly strong revival of the classic franchise. Much of the speculation to date has centered on who exactly Brit thesp Benedict Cumberbatch is playing in the movie. Khan? Someone called Gary Mitchell? Smaug? Thanos? Abrams has revealed that it’s a character called John Harrison, but that hasn’t stopped fans speculating it’s some kind of bait-and-switch from the secretive filmmaker. We’re not sure we mind, so long as Cumberbatch proves a step up from Eric Bana‘s undercooked bad guy in the original. Aside from that, however, the strength of the original film was the interplay between the colorful cast, and the hope is that part two builds on this. Given that the picture isn’t at the mercy of a writer’s strike like the first one, the writing should at least be sharper.
Release Date: May 17th

“This Is The End”
Synopsis: A gaggle of comedic celebrities survive the apocalypse and struggle to survive in the wastelands.
What You Need To Know: The Judd Apatow school of acting has benefitted from a sense of naturalism that seems to ignore “craft” in favor of comedic personalities playing thinly-veiled versions of each other. Why not cut out the middleman, asks the latest from that crew, reuniting most of the Apatow day players — Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Jason Segel, Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, plus newcomers like Emma Watson and Rihanna — under the first-time direction of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Based on a popular short “Jay And Seth Vs. The Apocalypse,” “This Is The End” might have the ceiling of an amusing, in-jokey Funny Or Die sketch, with loads of foul-mouthed cameos providing momentary highlights – our prediction, sight unseen, is that Aziz Ansari steals the film. But one can’t forget that Goldberg and Rogen were behind the scripts for “Superbad” and “Pineapple Express” and Goldberg last year co-wrote “Goon” – these guys are still jokers who know their way around a story. The clip that debuted just before Christmas was pretty funny, anyway.
Release Date: June 14th

Thor: The Dark World
Synopsis: Thor must overcome an Asgardian coup taken up by the villainous Malekith and his Dark Elves.
What You Need To Know: After the breakout success of “The Avengers,” the profile of Marvel’s merry Asgardian has risen considerably. Will that translate to his first actual sequel? Director Kenneth Branagh brought his theatrical chops to the first film, but here he’s been replaced by “Game Of Thrones” vet Alan Taylor, the theory being that costumes, swords and British accents are areas of expertise for certain filmmakers. This does sound more overtly plotty in a trivial comic book way than other recent Marvel films, and a more epic sweep is promised, but we hope that Taylor retains the better parts of the first film too; the humor, and the romance, which worked a little better than in most other Marvel pictures. Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston and Idris Elba are all back, with Christopher Eccleston the biggest new name as the villain of the piece.
Release Date: November 8th

“The To-Do List”
Synopsis: An A+ high school student decides to cross all sexual behavior off her list act by act before college starts.
What You Need To Know: Originally called “The Hand Job,” this broad comedy is the directing debut of Maggie Carey, a veteran of “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock.” Long having attracted the attention of some of the biggest comedians in Hollywood, it finally went into production in 2011, with Carey’s husband Bill Hader amongst a cast that includes Aubrey Plaza, Donald Glover, Andy Samberg, Johnny Simmons, Rachel Bilson, and Clark Gregg. We’ve only heard promising things about the legendary stage readings of the script, and with a cast of ringers like this, it’s hard to believe that this wouldn’t become one of the year’s funniest comedies. Then again, it has been shuffling around the release schedule for a while…
Release Date: August 16th

“Welcome To The Punch”
Synopsis: Years after letting him slip through his fingers, a London cop has a second chance to bag his nemesis when he comes back into the country to find his comatose son.
What You Need To Know: Eran Creevy‘s not a name that’s familiar to many, but he’s this year’s candidate for the Christopher Nolan/Rupert Wyatt/Matthew Vaughn-type — a British filmmaker who leaps from an impressive low-budget debut to the big leagues. Following up his excellent debut “Shifty,” Creevy has assembled a, frankly, shit-hot cast including basically everyone you could ever want in a British action-thriller: James McAvoy, Mark Strong, David Morrissey, Peter Mullan, Andrea Riseborough, Daniel Mays, Daniel Kaluuya and Johnny Harris, among others. Creevy’s inspirations for this one include Michael Mann and the late Tony Scott (his Scott Free company backed the project), and it’s a lot more ambitious that many Britflicks. The trailer suggested it might veer on the side of cliche, but we think that Creevy & co have more up their sleeve that we’ve seen so far.
Release Date: March 15th in the U.K., TBD in the U.S., but a SXSW premiere seems likely.

“White House Down”
Synopsis: A terrorist attack on the White House spurs one Secret Service agent with a checkered past into action.
What You Need To Know: What do you do once you’ve explored every single way to destroy the planet? For Roland Emmerich, it meant moving on from the delirium of “2012” (and the b.s. mythmaking of “Anonymous”) to the eerie futurism of “Singularity.” But when Emmerich couldn’t get that ambitious project going, his tidy fallback was teaming with 2012 golden boy Channing Tatum in a suspense thriller set inside the Oval Office. The portrayal of Jamie Foxx as the President should also be interesting; his sense of humor has become slyer since his departure from “In Living Color” two decades ago. But he’s also shown a livewire intensity as a serious actor, and it’s curious to see what version of him will show up as the Commander In Chief, who will no doubt take part in the action. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Richard Jenkins, James Woods and Jason Clarke co-star.
Release Date: April 5th

“The Wolverine”
Synopsis: Despondent mutant Wolverine retraces his past in modern day Japan, crossing paths with feuding gangs.
What You Need To Know: With “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” proving to be a steaming great creative turd (though a modest enough financial hit), Fox has seemingly started over with a film that has little connection with its predecessor, making it the first reboot of a prequel. Or is it a new spin-off? Or a sequel? Who knows, but we’re promised a back to basics take for a project that was set to be helmed by Darren Aronofsky, with James Mangold (“3:10 To Yuma“) taking over in his stead. Adapting a classic run from the comics, this sees Wolvie head to Japan, with Hiroyuki Sanada, Will Yun Lee and Svetlana Khodchenkova among his allies and adversaries. Still relatively under the radar, the script we read (by Christopher McQuarrie, among others) was actually pretty good, suggesting this could be the much-needed shot of adrenaline that “X-Men: First Class” promised, but mostly failed, to be to the franchise. Fingers crossed that Hugh Jackman will finally receive a film that’s worthy of his steady, fiery work as Marvel’s most beloved mutant.
Release Date: July 26th

“World War Z”
Synopsis: A worldwide zombie epidemic spreads throughout, threatening a journalist in an attempt to reveal the truth.
What You Need To Know: The word “fiasco” doesn’t begin to describe the buzz that emanated from the “World War Z” production in early 2012. Despite having wrapped the previous summer, the film (once slated for a release last month) was looking for a writer to take another swing at the entire third act, with Damon Lindelof and Drew Goddard among those drafted on to be fix-it men. Producer/star Brad Pitt (who apparently clashed with director Marc Forster on set) usually has a Midas touch when it comes to big studio properties. This couldn’t be the exception, could it? An adaptation of Max Brooks’ popular fake-nonfiction account of a massive zombie war, contorted into a major studio blockbuster starring one of our most glamorous leading men? The trailer seemed very different than the source material, but over-proliferation of zombie-related content obscures how much of anomaly this picture really is: zombies have always roamed through low-budget settings, but what if someone had some serious dime to throw down on a zombie film? We’re intrigued enough that we won’t dismiss it out of hand just yet.
Release Date: June 21st

“You’re Next”
Synopsis: A young man brings his girlfriend home to his family, only to be interrupted by murderous home invaders.
What You Need To Know: A sensation at Midnight Madness at TIFF way back in 2011, we’ll finally get to see low-budget horror “You’re Next” on screens late this summer. The latest from rising mumblegore (a term we might have just invented, but we think should stick) star Adam Wingard (“A Horrible Way To Die,” the framing segment of “V/H/S“), and featuring “Step Up 3D” lead Sharni Vinson as the lead, with Joe Swanberg and Ti West among the cast, it’s by all accounts a neat, funny subversion of the slasher movie that sees a group of “Funny Games“-style home-invaders hitting a house that turns out to have one person who’s more than prepared to fight back. Like last year’s horror highlight “Cabin In The Woods,” Lionsgate have had it on their shelf for a while, but hopefully the wait will prove to be worthwhile.
Release Date: August 23rd

Extra Credit: Maybe 2013, Probably 2014

“Mad Max: Fury Road”
Synopsis: The return of Max Rockatansky, the one-time cop in a savage post-apocalpytic Australian landscape, as he joins with a group fleeing across the Wasteland on a mighty War Rig driven by the Imperator Furiosa.
What You Need To Know: Nearly thirty years after he last made it to screens, apocalyptic hero Mad Max is back, but with Tom Hardy stepping into the shoes of the disgraced and aging Mel Gibson, and George Miller, who was behind all three original films, back in the driving seat. Hardy’s joined by Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Zoe Kravitz, Riley Keough, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and more, and we’ve been promised a film that leans closer to “The Road Warrior” than disappointing threequel “...Beyond Thunderdome,” which can only be good news. The only question is when it will land. Miller finally wrapped a couple of months back, after years of pre-production delays and shifts, but the film doesn’t yet have a release date. Warners could find a date in November, if they’re not worried about clashing with “Catching Fire” and “Thor 2,” but they also still have to find a slot for Alfonso Cuarón‘s “Gravity,” so they may end up deciding to hold fire until the spring or summer of 2014. Given that the release schedule is filling up ever faster, they’d better make a decision sooner rather than later.
Release Date: Like we said, TBD.

Honorable Mentions: We only have space for so much, but there’s a few others that we have some vague interest in, even if we’re far from convinced about them yet. “Beautiful Creatures” (Feb) looks a cut above most young adult adaptations, thanks to Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis and Emma Thompson — it certainly makes “The Mortal Instruments” (August) look poorer in comparison. “Warm Bodies” (Feb) is more immediate, and could be more fun, if it gets the tone right. Also in that department, there’s witch-hunting “Big Lebowski” reunion “The Seventh Son” (October) with Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore, and Stephen Sommers‘ “Odd Thomas,” (TBD) starring Anton Yelchin, which we forgot existed until someone reminded us about it the other day.

Animation fans have plenty to pick from; Fox has “Epic” (May), DreamWorks has “Turbo” (July) and “Peabody And Mr. Sherman” (November) and Disney has fairy tale “Frozen” (November), a “Tangled“-style take on “The Snow Queen.” And sequel wise, we’re also getting follow-ups to “Cloudy With Chance Of Meatballs” (September) and “Despicable Me” (July). Also on the slate for slightly more grown-up crowds, there’s Jackie Robinson biopic “42” (April) with Harrison Ford (not as Robinson, it should be said…), who will also star with Gary Oldman and Liam Hemsworth in “Paranoia” (September).

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