The Weekend Warrior’s Most Anticipated Movies of 2013

Now that we’re officially done with 2012–boy, that went by fast, didn’t it?–we’re starting to look ahead to the coming year and as in past years, I’m going to share my list of movies I’m looking forward to so you can see how it compares to your own list. Many of these movies you’ll already know about if you regularly read CS or its affiliated sites, but I also think there may be some surprises or movies that aren’t on your radar just yet but probably will be by this time next year.

Just for fun, I’m going to extend our usual list of 10 or 15 to 20 movies coming out in 2013 that I can’t wait to see, although most of them, we will have to wait for since only one of them opens before May.

1. Pacific Rim (Warner Bros. – July 12) – It’s been over four years since Guillermo del Toro directed a movie which is four years too long in my book and I can’t think of a better way for him to return than with an original idea that involves giant robots fighting giant monsters. If anyone else was directing, I might be dubious but with del Toro on board, I’m sure the giant creatures will be fantastic and the humans won’t get lost in all the battles.

2. The World’s End (Focus Features – Oct. 25) – It’s been just as long since Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost made Hot Fuzz, probably one of my favorite comedies of the last decade and now they’re back with a great ensemble of actors trying to enact an epic pub crawl to reach a pub called “The World’s End.” I’m going to guess it’s not as simple as that and we’ll get some of the same inimitable humor and nods to great films of yesteryear in the finale to their pseudo-trilogy.

3. The Wolverine (20th Century Fox – July 26) – Probably didn’t expect to see this one so high up on my list, did you? While I’m as big a fan of Hugh Jackman in the role of Logan as anyone else and I love Frank Miller’s stories of Wolverine in Japan, what’s really gotten me excited about this is that director James Mangold is at the helm and I really have dug his previous films including Walk the Line and 3:10 to Yuma. If anyone can pull the character and franchise out of the doldrums and avoid the pitfalls that hurt the previous “Wolverine” movie, it’s him.

4. The Great Gatsby (Warner Bros. – May 10) – Everyone knows how rare and special it is to get a movie from filmmaker Baz Luhrmann, and after a shocking decision to move it to the summer of 2013, his fans have had to wait even longer to see Leonardo DiCaprio in the role he was made to play, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s reclusive tycoon, Jay Gatsby. (I guess some can say he already played the role when he played Howard Hughes in Scorsese’s The Aviator.) The rest of the cast isn’t one to scoff at either and the footage I’ve seen so far makes it look like another sumptuous visual experience.

5. Thor: The Dark World (Marvel/Disney – November 8) – Okay, I’m cheating here, because I visited the set of this superhero sequel, and I know a lot of stuff about this movie that I can’t share, but as a fan of the first Thor movie I’m super-excited to see where they take things, especially since this is going to be a direct sequel to The Avengers. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

6. Star Trek Into Darkness (Paramount – May 17) – Like most others, I loved what J.J. Abrams did with 2009′s Star Trek and that’s despite not really being a very serious “Star Trek” fan, but I’m certainly looking forward to seeing if he and his co-writers Orci, Kurtzman and Lindelof can pull off a suitably great sequel to keep the franchise going. Four years is certainly a long time to have to wait for a sequel, but here’s hoping the cast they pulled together for the first movie will be just as effective for a sequel and beyond, much like the casts of the first two “Star Trek” TV shows.

7. This is the End (Sony – June 14) – Another movie set that I visited in 2012 so I know the potential for this directorial debut by Seth Rogen and long-time writing and producing partner Evan Goldberg that allows them and the likes of Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride and Craig Robinson to explore the type of improvised comedy they’ve been doing so well over the last five years, mainly in movies directed and produced by Judd Apatow. We expect this one to be hilarious – the teaser is just the tip of the comedy iceberg.

8. Gravity (Warner Bros. – TBD) – It’s been way too long since Alfonso Cuaron’s previous movie Children of Men, which was a futuristic masterpiece, but this film’s delays and being moved around the release schedule is somewhat worrying just as I think that this outer space thriller starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney will be unlike anything else we have a chance to see this year. Maybe it will be this year’s Cloud Atlas, but there’s also a chance it could be this year’s Argo. Either way, I can’t wait to see what Cuaron pulls out of his magic hat this time around.

9. Iron Man 3 (Marvel/Disney – May 3) – Oh, okay, I can’t ignore Marvel Studios’ other movie of 2013 because I really liked both of the first two “Iron Man” movies and Robert Downey Jr. is so good in the role of Tony Stark that I know this is going to be fun and entertaining, especially reuniting him with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang director (and “Lethal Weapon” mastermind) Shane Black. This one certainly has been playing under the radar compared to the other summer movies, but I fully expect it to start off the summer with a bang.

10. Insidious Chapter 2 (FilmDistrict – Aug. 30) – Sure, I’m also looking forward to James Wan’s other horror movie of 2013, The Conjuring, which opens a few months earlier, but I loved 2011′s Insidious so much that I’m more excited to see him and Leigh Whannell and the cast return to the characters from one of my favorite horror movies in some time and here’s hoping it’s better than the sequels to Poltergeist!

11. Pain & Gain (Paramount – April 26) – After the last couple of “Transformers” movies, I probably should have written off director Michael Bay, but one thing we can’t forget is how good that first Bad Boys movie was with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence and this crime action-comedy seems to be created from the same mold with Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson playing bodybuilders-turned-kidnappers. It looks very funny and different from Bay’s epic blockbusters and may be just the palate cleanser he needs.

12. Prisoners (Warner Bros. – September 20) – This crime thriller may seem like an odd choice for an anticipated movie, but it’s directed by Dennis Villaneuve whose Incendies was my #1 movie of 2011 and he’s pulled together an amazing cast that includes soon-to-be-Oscar-nominee Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Melissa Leo, Maria Bello, Viola Davis and Terrence Howard. The movie’s been in development with various actors in talks for many years but already scheduled to open in late September, I wouldn’t be surprised if this premieres at Toronto and is considered an underdog for awards.

13. Warm Bodies (Summit – Feb. 1) – Jonathan Levine has really proved himself with his last two movies, The Wackness and 50/50, and the idea of him taking on a zombie rom-com genre, a genre that’s already delivered one classic with Shaun of the Dead, makes me think that this will be a fun February movie unlike anything else.

14. Elysium (Sony – Aug. 9) – For his follow-up to District 9, director Neill Blomkamp teams with Matt Damon to tell a story about another dystopian future, this one which has a few things in common with Total Recall but will hopefully be a better movie based on the footage I saw at Comic-Con, which I can’t wait for them to start showing. The movie was pushed back to August so we may have to wait a little longer.

15. Oblivion (Universal – April 12) – Tom Cruise makes his first sci-fi movie since Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds and considering how much I’ve enjoyed his other forays into sci-fi with Vanilla Sky and Minority Report and how the trailer makes it look like I Am Legend and other great “last man on earth” type movies, I can see this one being a nice pre-summer surprise, especially since it’s directed by Joseph Kosinski of TRON: Legacy fame.

16. Man of Steel (Warner Bros. – June 14) – Yeah, I might as well throw this on the list because I do have high hopes that Zack Snyder will be able to turn this franchise around, but I honestly am not the biggest Superman fan so it’s not something really at the front of my mind as something I really want to see. Honestly, I’m a bigger Wolverine fan than either Superman or Star Trek so if I see this, it’ll be just to see it and not necessarily to review or anything.

17. R.I.P.D. (Universal – July 19) – To some, it might be odd to see this movie on the list, since it’s a movie that hasn’t premiered any footage yet, but I did get to see some stuff at CinemaCon last year and it looked very funny, on par with the first “Men in Black” in terms of the chemistry between Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges as undead policemen. I think this will be one of those surprise movies that sneak up on people despite having been in the can for some time now.

18. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Lionsgate – Nov. 22) – I was really mixed on the first movie, but I guess I’m remaining optimistic that the sequel will be even better, maybe because I really liked the books a lot and I hope that now that the characters and premise has been introduced, this one can spend a bit more time getting into some of the cool action and thrills of the story. We’ll see.

19. Kick-Ass 2 (Universal – June 28) – I was a bit mixed on the original movie by Matthew Vaughn even though I love the comics by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., but new writer/director Jeff Wadlow has a lot better source material to work with (unlike Vaughn, who made his movie before the original “Kick-Ass” comic was finished) and I’m looking forward to seeing Chloe Moretz’s Hit-Girl get more of the spotlight since she was the best part of the first movie.

20. Runner, Runner (20th Century Fox – Sept. 27) – Another odd choice to anyone who hasn’t heard about this movie about offshore gambling written by Brian Koppelman and David Levien of Rounders fame and directed by The Lincoln Lawyer‘s Brian Furman, but it has a great cast of Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake, Gemma Arterton and Anthony Mackie and a premise that should offer some quality filmmaking in late September. Here’s hoping it premieres at Toronto as well.

I would have included 47 Ronin on this year’s list again, as I did last year, but I don’t believe for a second that this movie is ever coming out.

There are plenty of other movies I’m looking forward to such as the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis and Disney•Pixar’s Monsters University, but more than anything else, I’m greatly anticipating NO MORE TWILIGHT MOVIES!!!!!!!

Feel free to post your own anticipated movies for 2013 below.

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