We may still be in the throes of awards season, but cinephiles are already buzzing about 2013’s eagerly awaited films. This year comic-book adaptations (Man of Steel, Iron Man 3) and sci-fi (Star Trek into Darkness, Oblivion) will continue to reign supreme. We’ll see reboots (The Lone Ranger, Carrie) and films based on classic literature (The Great Gatsby, Oz: The Great and Powerful). Below are the films we most want to see this year. Got something on your radar that we missed? Tell us in the comments.
Gangster Squad (Jan. 11)
We were excited for Gangster Squad back in the fall, but the shooting in Aurora, Colo., forced a re-edit and delayed release. The star-packed movie, featuring Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, Emma Stone and Sean Penn, tells the story of Mickey Cohen (Penn) and his Los Angeles rampage in the 1940s. Skeptics worry that director Ruben Fleischer has helmed only two movies, both comedies: Zombieland and 30 Minutes or Less. We’re hoping for the next L.A. Confidential.
Warm Bodies (Feb. 1)
Zombies in a teen romance sounds absurd, but if anyone can pull it off, director Jonathan Levine (50/50) can.
A Good Day to Die Hard (Feb. 14)
Ignore the ridiculous title. New York City cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) is back, teaming up with his oldest son (Jai Courtney) in Moscow to prevent a nuclear weapons heist. While 2007’s Live Free or Die Hard was preposterous (though it made over $380 million worldwide), we’re optimistic the fifth Die Hard will be more like 1988’s original. We anticipate lots of shattering glass.
Stoker (March 1)
Director Park Chan-wook is known for his South Korean blockbusters Oldboy and Joint Security Area. His English-language debut is a gothic thriller starring Mia Wasikowska as a girl entranced with her mysterious uncle (Matthew Goode). Nicole Kidman looks creepily good as her emotionally unstable mother.
Oz: The Great and Powerful (March 8)
Oz gets racy. James Franco stars as the young wizard in this Wizard of Oz prequel (the role was vacated by Robert Downey Jr.), which tells the story of a fast-talking stage magician who falls in love with Glinda (Michelle Williams). The two team up to fight the evil witches Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Theodora (Mila Kunis). Directed by Sam Raimi, the film looks magical, if a bit like Alice in Wonderland.
Carrie (March 15)
Yes, we’ll always love Brian De Palma’s 1976 film that landed Oscar nominations for Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie. But we can’t help getting excited about this remake, which stars Chloë Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore as the mother-daughter team, with Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry) directing.
The Place Beyond the Pines (March 29)
The film earned rave reviews (and Godfather comparisons) at the Toronto Film Festival last year. Ryan Gosling — mastering the art of the dangling cigarette — plays motorcycle stunt rider Luke, who provides for his son and ex-girlfriend (Eva Mendes) by robbing banks and doing seo services. Bradley Cooper is Avery Cross, a New York cop climbing the ranks to become a politician. Their paths collide, and the drama unfolds over 15 years as the sins of the past haunt their teenage sons.
Oblivion (April 19)
Sure, Tom Cruise stars as a lone drone repairman. And sure, it’s written and directed by Joseph Kosinski, the man responsible for Tron: Legacy. But the postapocalyptic sci-fi film does provide a gorgeous vision of a decimated earth, and Morgan Freeman seems perfectly cast as the leader of a band of survivors.
Iron Man 3 (May 3)
The success of last summer’s The Dark Knight Rises proved that we like our superheroes brooding. Iron Man is the latest crusader to get serious. Fresh from the epic team-up of The Avengers, Robert Downey Jr. returns as Tony Stark, who goes up against Ben Kingsley as the villainous Mandarin.
The Great Gatsby (May 10)
Leonardo DiCaprio is the tortured Jay Gatsby, Tobey Maguire is Midwestern outsider Nick Carraway and Carey Mulligan plays Daisy Buchanan. The much anticipated Baz Luhrmann adaptation was pushed back from its original Christmas release — perhaps for a bigger box-office return. But hey, Jay-Z is reportedly producing the score, so maybe it will be worth the wait.
Star Trek into Darkness (May 17)
In director J.J. Abrams’ follow-up to the 2009 Star Trek, Chris Pine returns as Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Simon Pegg as Scotty and John Cho as Sulu. Benedict Cumberbatch, once rumored to be cast as Khan, has said he will play a terrorist. Either way, we can’t wait for the explosive action thriller.
Man of Steel (June 14)
Director Zack Snyder reportedly worked closely with producer Christopher Nolan to reimagine Superman for this summer blockbuster. Nolan also shares a story credit with David Goyer (another Dark Knight vet), so expect this superhero reboot to be dark and its soundtrack ominous. Henry Cavill stars as Superman, Kevin Costner and Diane Lane play the Kents, Russell Crowe is his alien father, Michael Shannon is General Zod and Amy Adams is Lois Lane.
World War Z (June 21)
More zombies! Brad Pitt stars in the adaptation of the 2006 Max Brooks (son of Mel) novel World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War.
Monsters University (June 21)
Pixar’s only prequel to date will feature Sulley (John Goodman) and Michael (Billy Crystal) as college-going monsters trying to hit the books and earn their way to the Monsters Inc. headquarters.
The Lone Ranger (July 3)
In the most unsurprising movie news of the year, Johnny Depp — who received an Oscar nomination for his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean and who loves to star in movies based on old television shows — reteams with Pirates director Gore Verbinski to play Tonto in this big-screen update. We’re excited to see Armie Hammer as the masked hero after his knockout performance as the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network.
Pacific Rim (July 12)
Guillermo del Toro hasn’t directed a movie since 2008′s Hellboy II, but Pacific Rim may just be the big-budget film to bump him from cult hero (see also: Pan’s Labyrinth) to action direction. Starring Idris Elba — who replaced Tom Cruise — and Son of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam, the sci-fi flick is set in a future in which malevolent creatures threaten earth and giant robots piloted by humans must fight off the menace.
Elysium (Aug. 9)
Neill Blomkamp’s follow-up to District 9 is set in the year 2159, where the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined earth. Matt Damon in all his bald glory stars as a man who takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds.
The World’s End (Oct. 25)
Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman and Rosamund Pike attempt a pub crawl on their last night alive. Fans of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead can start salivating now.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Nov. 22)
Jennifer Lawrence was one of 2012′s breakout stars (The Hunger Games, Silver Linings Playbook), and we’re just a wee bit excited for the next film installment of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling trilogy. Francis Lawrence is the new director, and Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jeffrey Wright are the first-class actors joining the cast.
Anchorman: The Legend Continues (Dec. 20)
The next Anchorman will star Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Christina Applegate and potentially Kristen Wiig. Adam McKay will return to direct the film, which takes place during the rise of the 24-hour news cycle and will follow our favorite San Diego news team as they try to keep up with the times. Though not much else is known about the sequel, Judd Apatow, a producer on the film, recently told MTV that he read the script a few weeks ago and “people were laughing so hard that at about 40 minutes in, we all just ran out of gas.”
And Movies We Are Not Looking Forward To:
Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters (Jan. 25)
Jeremy Renner and forgettable Bond girl Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace) are the fairy-tale brother and sister turned bounty hunters. Need we say more?
G.I. Joe Retaliation (March 29)
Did you see the first G.I. Joe movie? True, the sequel has a new director, but it’s Jon Chu, who is best known for Step Up 2 and Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never.
Scary Movie 5 (April 12)
Unless you want to gawk at the train wrecks that are Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen …
After Earth (June 7)
Everyone loves to hate on Jaden Smith, who stars alongside dad Will Smith in this sci-fi thriller about a father-son team who explore a planet evacuated by humans. We’re more concerned that M. Night Shyamalan directs.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Dec. 13)
We sat through the nearly three-hour trudge that was this year’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and that just got us to the foot of the Lonely Mountain and page 103 of the book. Only 184 pages to go.