Since my Top 20 got away from me (I really did want to keep it at 10, but there were just too many good movies in 2012 to talk about), I thought I'd keep this one short and sweet in comparison. These movies, to me, are what have me most excited for 2013. 2013 doesn't have anything that looks to blow the doors down like THE AVENGERS or THE DARK KNIGHT RISES box-office wise (though IRON MAN 3, MONSTERS UNIVERSITY, and STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS seemingly have the best potential for that).
But 2013 looks to have some fascinating movies coming nonetheless. It'll likely be a quieter year, but that doesn't mean the movies will be any less interesting. We're getting Nicolas Winding Refn returning to the screen with Ryan Gosling in ONLY GOD FORGIVES, and Edgar Wright with his final installment in his Cornetto Trilogy with THE WORLD'S END. We have a couple of South Korean directors trying their hand at American moviemaking with Jee-Woon Kim's THE LAST STAND and Chan-Wook Park's STOKER, and Spike Lee adapting a Korean movie in his remake of OLDBOY. A lot of different movies by some terrific filmmakers. So, let's get started, in no particular order:
PAIN & GAIN
I've said it before, and I'll say it again - BAD BOYS 2 is brilliant cinema. It goes beyond definitions of "good" or "bad". It's simply the purest Michael Bay movie in existence. When he's not saddled with pushing children's toys or making blockbuster movies for the mass audience, I think Bay is one of the most amoral, chaotic, crazy filmmakers out there. BAD BOYS 2 has no morality in it at all - there's death everywhere, bodies rolling down the freeway, Hummers literally running over entire shanty villages. Our heroes invade Cuba, for fuck's sake. And so we come to PAIN & GAIN. Shot for (to Bay, at least) a low budget, this story of three bodybuilders, a kidnapping, and Miami at its most decadent, this was the movie Michael Bay was born to make. Even if you're not a fan (and most times? I'm not), the idea of Michael Bay making his own grand cinematic statement has to give you some curiosity. What does a personal film from Michael Bay look like? Well, that's PAIN & GAIN. Opens April 26th.
This is my most anticipated zombie movie of the year, even over WORLD WAR Z. This surprises me as I'm a huge fan of the book, but everything I've seen from WWZ doesn't indicate to me that they've made the book at all. I haven't read WARM BODIES either, but what gets me most interested in the movie is that it's directed by Jonathan Levine, whose work so far has been terrific. He's no stranger to horror (ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE may be one of the great unseen slasher classics), or humor (50/50), or even teen angst (THE WACKNESS). So we get all three in WARM BODIES, and this feels like something Levine could handle with real skill. Everything I've seen looks to be a fun poke at the zombie genre, and I dig the trrailer quite a bit as well. Word-of-mouth has been strong, and I have the feeling this is going to be one of those movies that sticks this year. Opens February 1st.
Chan-Wook Park is a master filmmaker, and has made some incredible movies. His Vengeance Trilogy is still stunning, and OLDBOY, to me, is his finest film. So I'm very curious about STOKER, which looks to be a kind of Gothic horror film, and not a genre I would have expected from Park, especially for his first English-language movie. As a title, STOKER may evoke classic vampires, or castles on the moors, but I think screenwriter Wentworth Miller is doing something more primordial - he's writing about sex, and death, and repression, much like Bram Stoker did with DRACULA. And I have a feeling Chan-Wook Park is going to be very much at play in this movie. I have great hopes about this one. Opens March 1st.
ONLY GOD FORGIVES
I know only a little about Nicolas Winding Refn's next outing with Ryan Gosling, except that it's a crime movie set in Thailand and that Thai-boxing is involved. Hopefully I can keep it that way until the film's release. Just look at Gosling's face - dudes jealous of the guy's good looks probably take some joy in that poster. For me, DRIVE was the best film of 2011 and I can't wait to see what Refn and Gosling have in store for this one. I'll bet that this movie plays at Cannes this summer, and if it's as cool as DRIVE was, this may be a damn good movie. Refn's take on violence is always fascinating - even when there's no brutality onscreen, the threat is constant. Refn knows how to build tension in his movies, and when the violence starts, it's both shocking as well as cathartic. ONLY GOD FORGIVES would have to be on this list for DRIVE alone, and Refn continues to astound. Opens Summer 2013.
Crazy camera angles? Check. The Classic? Check. Buckets of blood and gore? Hell yeah check. I wouldn't be so quick to call EVIL DEAD a remake, but another movie set in the same universe, Fede Alvarez looks to have made something truly terrifying in this return to Sam Raimi's classic horror film. Along with many others, I didn't think it was such a great idea to revisit this movie, until I saw the footage. It's hard, after THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, to not think about the underpinnings of the genre when watching this trailer, but I think that EVIL DEAD will be something truly for horror fans. It doesn't look like it holds back on the gore, and everything fans love about the original movie looks to be firmly in place. This looks, to put it frankly, scary as fuck. Opens April 12th.
This is the movie of the summer for me. I'm excited that Guillermo Del Toro is back behind the camera where he belongs, of course, but since he couldn't make his Lovecraft movie (yet), Del Toro playing with kaiju and giant robots is the next best thing. From what I know (and I really only know the little bits of information that I've been told from people who have visited the set), PACIFIC RIM is what STAR WARS fans have been waiting for - a new universe in which to imagine and play in. Hopefully Del Toro and Travis Beacham have created a new franchise, and that other filmmakers and writers get free rein to tell stories. I anticipate we'll get comics, movies, the whole smash out of PACIFIC RIM, and I can't wait. Two words - rocket punching. Will Del Toro deliver on the promise of the trailer? We'll know July 12th.
After DISTRICT 9, I'm willing to see Neill Blomkamp do anything he likes. ELYSIUM looks to be that kind of socio-political science fiction that has been gone far too long. Considering the politics of today, ELYSIUM seems to be more timely than ever. As the rich live in luxury above the atmosphere, the poor live in squalor on earth, and never the twain shall meet, until Matt Damon is given a mission that will bring these two worlds together. Blomkamp has a punchy visual style, and with his eye and his writing, I think ELYSIUM is going to be one of those science fiction films like CHILDREN OF MEN that not only has something to say but says it in an entertaining, thought-provoking manner. Opens August 9.
Speaking of CHILDREN OF MEN, we're also getting Alfonso Cuarón's return to the science fiction genre with GRAVITY, a real-time thriller starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, stranded in the blackness of space after their shuttle is destroyed. As they slowly run out of air and hope, only a desperate maneuver can save them. Shot with very little edits (I've heard that the opening scene alone doesn't have a single visible edit for over 20 minutes), GRAVITY feels like another original science fiction movie, and considering how so many sci-fi movies are sequels nowadays, that's certainly cause for celebration. I've been dying to see what Cuarón has in store for us with this. I've also heard that Bullock is flat-out amazing in this movie. GRAVITY opens (for now) on October 18th.
THE WORLD'S END
If THE WORLD'S END is what I think it is, it's Edgar Wright's take on the disaster movie, and of course, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost will be our tour guides. The final installment of Wright's Cornetto Trilogy, THE WORLD'S END is about some friends who decide to go pub-hopping one night, and discover that the fate of the world might just rest in their drunken hands. There's no way that this movie wasn't going to be on this list - I think Wright is one of the most talented filmmakers out there at the moment, especially since he's reuniting with Pegg and Frost. These three have made two of the most wildly entertaining movies of the past 10 years, and I'm very interested in seeing how they close out their trilogy. Will this be Wright taking on the genius of Roland Emmerich? Or even Irwin Allen? We'll all have some idea what these guys are about on October 25th.
ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND CONTINUES
Last, but certainly not least, is Will Ferrell's return to the greatest character in the history of all fiction, film or otherwise - Ron Burgundy. There is no way this movie wasn't going to show up - ANCHORMAN, I feel, is the best comedy in the past 10 years. Hell, it's one of the best comedies of all time. I only wish this was the musical that Adam McKay and Ferrell had planned, and if some of those songs show up in this movie, I'd be perfectly okay with that. Have the years been kind to Ron? Has he been able to finally deal with diversity in the workplace? Granted, it must be difficult to have to work around a giant wooden ship on set, but this is the 1980s, and Ron will just have to make do. Comedy sequels are notoriously difficult to make right, but I have full confidence in McKay, Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Christina Applegate, and the rest of the cast to bring their A game. Opens December 20th - go fuck yourself, Christmas!
And that's my 10. I'm sure you have others that aren't on here, like MAN OF STEEL, KICK-ASS 2, IRON MAN 3, OBLIVION, and many others - movies that I'm genuinely thrilled to see. Spike Lee's OLDBOY almost made this list - I love the original and I'm very excited to see Lee's take on that classic movie. But these are the 10 that's got me most interested. I can't wait to see them all in 2013.