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20 Films to Watch In 2013

13 December 2012 by Rich Phippen & Mikey Papadopoulos

The time has come for us to once again predict which movies will light up the coming year.

But before we try and unearth the hidden gems, warn about the impending disasters and pick out the blockbusters worth getting excited about, we must take a look in the mirror and consider this; did we do a decent job last year? 

We have to come clean. Our hit rate for instant-classic spotting last year wasn't quite what it should've been. Men In Black 3, The Bourne Legacy and Snow White & The Huntsman were far more underwhelming than we hoped, albeit not entirely to our surprise. And, against all expectations, the office failed to agree that Prometheus hit the heights Ridley Scott had promised us.  

We did point out that The Amazing Spider-Man would be 'the worst Spidey movie since the 80s TV efforts', a point we stand by having seen the finished article, and Chronicle and The Woman In Black were more than solid hits. 

The Expendables 2 lived up to limited expectations (for some in the office more than others), and Avengers was better than we'd imagined. 

This year, we're really aiming for the hidden gems alongside the predictable big hitters... Which will be the blockbusters, and where will the sleeper hits lie? Which blockbusters are going to justify the hype, and which are not worth getting excited about?

Read on for our guide to the twenty films to take note of, from those to look forward to, to those that might just disappoint, in 2013. 

 


FLIGHT
DI-Flight-(2)After a series of CGI animations that flirted with success, director Robert Zemeckis makes his first live-actioner since Cast Away. If that isn't enough of a draw, Denzel puts in the first performance in an age that doesn't require him to be the smartest man in the room. Rather, he's just the smartest man in the cockpit of a passenger jet that's about to crash. Denzel saves the day, but his hero status leads to scrutiny. That's bad news for an alcoholic pilot... 

Predicted Star Rating:
****


WRECK-IT RALPH
Wreck-it RalphWreck-it Ralph is the best Pixar movie that the company didn't make. Rather, it's Disney Animation with a bit of advice from Toy Story creator John Lasseter. A video game bad guy gives up his job inside an arcade machine as he goes in search of hero status, leading to the potential downfall of the entire gaming world in which he and many other characters - many of them familiar faces - reside. Touching, hilarious, knowing and very entertaining. 

Predicted Star Rating: *****


CLOUD ATLAS
DI Cloud Atlas (3)Well, it's either going to be epic, or a total car crash. Directed by Andy 'The Matrix' Wachowski, and his sibling Lana (along with a third director, Tom Tykwer), it's based on an 'unfilmable' novel, in which a series of characters across several hundred years of human history each write a journal that's read by, and inspires, the next character. Tom Hanks leads an all-star cast, playing multiple characters across time. This really could go either way... 

Predicted Star Rating: * or *****


OZ: THE GREAT AND POWERFUL
Oz-The-Great-and-Powerful-4-DISam Raimi's Wizard Of Oz prequel looks better and better with each clip and they release. There's a mild concern, as ever, over the casting of James Franco, but with the exception of maybe Your Highness, he often provides a pleasant surprise of a performance. Largely based on the writings of L Frank Baum (he wrote ten Oz-based books), there are nods to the 1939 original, and the hugely popular Wicked, which appears to be a key influence. 

Predicted Star Rating: ****


STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS
DI-Star-Trek-Into-Darkness---Clip-StillMost of us in the Sky Movies office absolutely love the 2009 Star Trek, and pretty much anything else JJ Abrams makes. Given his penchant for secrecy, there's little plot info for the first sequel to the rebooted storyline. The facts are these; the villain (Benedict Cumberbatch, who may or may not be playing Kahn) is hellbent on wreaking havoc around the galaxy, including the destruction of Starfleet. Kirk's desperate to stop him, and it's personal. 

Predicted Star Rating:
*****


THE ICEMAN
DI-The-Iceman-(1)Richard Kuklinski was a serial killer who put his ability to kill without compunction to good use by becoming a mafia hitman. Kuklinski murdered up to about 250 people between 1948 and 1986, unbeknownst to his wife and kids, before finally coming unstuck by an undercover FBI operation. It seems nuts that his story hasn't featured on the big screen before, but on the bright side that means Michael Shannon gets to play him. 

Predicted Star Rating: ****


MAN OF STEEL
DI-Man-Of-Steel-(TC-2)As a producer, Christopher Nolan is offering advice to director Zack Snyder, who intends to ground the reboot in a kind of reality not normally associated with the comic book world's biggest export. There are some concerns over Henry Cavill's suitability to the role, although the actor has spent much time pumping up for the part, and Michael Shannon as the villain, Zod? Yes please...

Predicted Star Rating: ****


KICK ASS 2
Kick-Ass DI 4This time out, Dave aka Kick Ass joins forces with Hit Girl, but when she hangs up her knives, Dave teams up with a mobster-turned vigilante, Stars And Stripes (Carrey), one of many do-gooders inspired by Dave's prior antics. But Red Mist is looking for revenge after the death of his mobster father, and soon Kick Ass and friends are facing certain doom. Lacking the surprise of the original (and director) we got a bad feeling about this. 

Predicted Star Rating:
**

ELYSIUM

DI Elysium (1)Matt Damon knows a good script when he sees one, while we've eagerly awaited District 9 director Neil Blomkamp's next move. Put the two together and our anticipation factor goes through the roof. The plot of this sci-fi drama features Damon as one of many humans unlucky enough to be stuck on a decaying and depleted Earth, while those with money enjoy the leisure of life aboard a space station orbiting our home planet. 

Predicted Star Rating:
 *****


DIE HARD 5
DI Die Hard 5 A Good Day to Die HardHollywood execs love an equation. Willis + $100m budget + Die Hard title + seven massive stunts = $200m in profits. Still, it's hard to deny that we WANT to see John McClane back in the dirty vest. If only they'd left the swearing in, and the jump-jet out of Die Hard 4, we might be a little more enthused. This time the fish-out-of-water cop is in Russia when terrorists attack. The twist this time is that his partner in crime fighting is his son, who works for the CIA... 

Predicted Star Rating:
 **


IRON MAN 3
Iron Man 3 poster artIron Man 2 was rubbish. Fortunately, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang and Lethal Weapon scribe Shane Black is calling the shots this time, in place of Jon Favreau (who remains in the cast as Tony Stark's bodyguard), and is insistent that Stark will be shorn of technology and left to fight with the power of the mind as much as the metal suit. Meanwhile, Sir Ben Kingsley offers the villainous chops as The Mandarin, a role he appears to be relishing. 

Predicted Star Rating:
 ****


PACIFIC RIM
DI Pacific-Rim (1)DI Pacific-Rim (1)Alien invasion? Monsters from the deep? Giant robots to defend humanity? Guillermo del Toro at the helm? Surely Pacific Rim will be a doozy? The only concern is del Toro backtracking and allowing the film to be converted into 3D in post production. However, del Toro’s films are never bad, always vibrant and mostly stunning. Should be more Pan’s Labyrinth than Pan’s People. We expect good things.

Predicted star rating:
****


THE CROODS
DI-The-Croods-(1)Dreamworks are on something of a creative roll at the moment, and this story about a prehistoric family forced to leave their protective cave is another great premise from the writer and director of the woefully underrated ‘How To Train Your Dragon’. Even though it features the voices of Ryan Reynolds and Nic Cage, don’t panic, Emma Stone and Catherine Keener are on board too.


Predicted star rating:
****


GANGSTER SQUAD
DI The Gangster Squad (1)A gangster film with a stunning cast from the director of Zombieland sounds intriguing. However, it’s also a gangster film with a stunning cast from the director of 30 Minutes or Less. That it will look great is beyond doubt, but an LA-set 30s crime thriller about police corruption will invite comparisons with LA Confidential, and that’s a contest that only has one winner.


Predicted star rating:
***


JACK THE GIANT SLAYER
DI Jack The Giant Killer (4)Since jumping ship from X-Men 3 to helm the uneven Superman Returns, the only film Bryan Singer has directed has been the World War II thriller, Valkyrie, which we liked but many didn’t. His foray into magical adventure with Jack The Giant Slayer is an intriguing choice but how will it fare compared to The Hobbit, with its ready-made audience and publicity juggernaut? It may need more than magic beans to save it.

Predicted star rating: ***


WORLD WAR Z
DI-World-War-Z-(1)An apocalyptic film featuring a zombie invasion- what a terrific idea. Why hasn’t anyone thought of it before. Oh, they have. Over and over again. Judging by the trailer, we’re not sure what World War Z is offering that isn't a remake of I Am Legend. Production has been hugely troubled with multiple rewrites, delays and reshoots. That’s a bad sign for audiences. Expect a bloody mess that’s undead on arrival.

Predicted star rating: **


WHITE HOUSE DOWN
White-House-Down-2-DIAfter scratching an itch with his unexpected Shakespeare drama, Anonymous, Roland Emmerich returns to safer ground- making B-Movies that are rollickingly good fun. White House Down sees Channing Tatum defend President Jamie Foxx during a paramilitary hostage situation. The spec script was bought for a whopping $3m and is said to be in a similar vein to Air Force One and Die Hard. The sleeper hit of the summer we reckon...

Predicted star rating:
****


THE LONE RANGER
DI The Lone Ranger (1)Can lightning strike twice? Can Johnny Depp, director Gore Verbinski and uber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer do for The Lone Ranger what they did for Pirate Movies? Disney certainly hope so as the budget is said to have spiralled beyond $250m, and after the indifferent shrugs that met Tron and John Carter, they need a hit. However, so far this feels about as ‘must-see’ as Champion The Wonder Horse.

Predicted star rating: **


THOR: THE DARK WORLD
thor DI 04Now comes the hard part. Marvel used both Thor and Captain America movies to lay the foundations for The Avengers and it was a gamble that paid off financially, but what now? Beyond the fanboys, will Thor on his own be a big enough draw? Is it not like following up The Dark Knight Rises with The Continuing Adventures Of Alfred The Butler?


Predicted star rating:
**


HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE
hunger games the DI 07The Hunger Games was the film Twilight could (and should) have been. A well directed, Oscar nominated actress excels in a story that stays faithful to its literary origins but draws in an audience beyond its committed fan base. Without any of the hysteria or hype of the Twilight saga, The Hunger Games grossed $672m. And without a sour faced pout, six pack flexed or talking werewolf in sight.

Predicted star rating:
****