Just yesterday, a friend of mine posted a message to her unborn child on Facebook, saying that if the little bugger came a week before the due date and ruined her chance to see Star Trek Into Darkness, there would be consequences. That’s dedication. It’s also the kind of excitement we just can’t keep bottled when we look at the upcoming slate of potential greatness lying ahead.
Every year, after shoving the last 365 days into every taxonomy possible, we like to look optimistically toward the future — stretching our gaze to the fresh hope of a new cinema season where there is at least one movie a week to look forward to. At least statistically speaking. There’s nothing we can do about that one week in September where all the crap gets unloaded.
But more than that, this list of 52 most anticipated movies represents the mindset of Film School Rejects itself. We’re a site where you can love The Avengers and Amour with equal passion, where we celebrate popcorn and cultural vegetables alike, where our staff parties involve a lot of friendly yelling. After tallying the Reject ballots this year, it was clear that we’re all ready to laugh as the world burns and be submerged in big-budget sci-fi.
Go grab your calendar. The numbers have been weighed and measured. Here are the films we’re most wanting in 2013:
52. Jack Ryan
Release: December 25th
The Hook: The resurrection of a famous American hero is enough to get some excitement brewing, but it’s also an opportunity to see Chris Pine take over another iconic figure while Kenneth Branagh pulls double duty as director and villain. If that weren’t enough, it’s writer Steve Zaillian taking on Tom Clancy, giving us the freedom to think of Jack Ryan as Oskar Schindler riding a Ducati.
The Hook: Brandon Cronenberg‘s first feature proves that he’s obsessed with some of the same things his filmmaker father is. This story about a world where you can contract the same diseases your favorite celebrities have, the death of a superstar and one man’s race to solve the mystery to save himself has played the festival circuit and will see release in several countries next year. Here’s hoping the US is on the docket (or that we all have our region-free players ready for the Blu-ray release). Long live the new, new flesh.
Release: July 19th
The Hook: We’ve been following this one for a while. There was a time that David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers) was going to take on the comic book adaptation, and a time when Zach Galifianakis would have co-starred, but now it’s up to Robert Schwentke, Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, and Jeff Bridges inside Marisa Miller’s body to bring the tales of the Rest In Peace Department to life. The crime comedy focuses on a newly dead cop who joins an afterlife force of detectives in order to bring his murderer to justice. The comic book is fantastic, and this has a real chance at being irreverent fun.
49. The Monuments Men
Release: December 20th
The Hook: Continuing his artistically successful streak as a director, and clearly looking for some Award Season love, George Clooney will helm and co-star in this real-life story of a group of men trying to Ocean’s Eleven their way to saving notable art before Adolf Hitler destroys it all. Damn that Hitler! The cast is about as well-rounded as it gets — with Daniel Craig, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Cate Blanchett, Jean DuJardin, Hugh Bonneville, Bob Balaban…seriously…the cast is pretty ridiculous. Maybe Clooney can even convince Ben Affleck to cameo with an absurd 70s beard.
The Hook: Most probably know this one by its other name, The Raid: Retaliation. Gareth Evans is back with more of the most impressive fight choreography on the planet, but the point is this: did you like The Raid: Redemption? Then get ready for a sequel that starts 2 hours after that one ends. Because apparently after the jaw-dropping ordeal of the first film, the characters get a small lunch break before doing it all over again.
47. To The Wonder
Release: April 12th
The Hook: Terrence Malick returns with a flick that promises more lush photography and character drama. It might even win over some skeptics. The story focuses on Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko as a couple facing problems after they return to Oklahoma from visiting Mont Saint-Michel, including a man of the cloth played by Javier Bardem and Affleck’s character’s renewed friendship with a young woman played by Rachel McAdams. At the very least, Malick fans will be salivating and rejoicing that they don’t have to wait another decade for new work from the auteur.
Release: March 14th
The Hook: A crime drama from Danny Boyle? Sold. The icing is a cast featuring James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson and Vincent Cassel. This one promises high stakes when a fine art auctioneer in the pocket of a gang teams up with a hypnotherapist to recover a lost painting. No doubt it’ll make a great double feature with Clooney’s Monument Men.
45. The Wolverine
Release: July 26th
The Hook: A sure sign that we’re willing to give second chances, that we still want to see Hugh Jackman with fist-swords, and that we have some faith in James Mangold. After the epic fail of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, there’s still something about seeing the sideburns that gets the blood flowing. It also doesn’t hurt that the Frank Miller/Chris Claremont source material is a killer take on a complex character with claws.
44. The Grandmaster
The Hook: Few films have been this highly anticipated for this long. Wong Kar-wai is a modern master sharing his take on the life of Wing Chun expert Yip Man (Tony Leung) in a biographical drama that promises to have some astounding action. Once it opens the Berlin Film Festival in February, someone will have to come forward to distribute it in the States, but China will see it in theaters in just a few days.
43. Movie 43
Release: January 25th
The Hook: We have no idea how Movie 43 landed in the 43rd spot either, but it was the trailer for this exercise in comedic insanity from too many directors and stars to name that brought it to the list. It looks funny as hell, represents a huge amount of creative freedom and, look, just watch the trailer.
The Hook: It’s got another unreal cast and Amanda Seyfried playing Deep Throat pornographic actress Linda Lovelace. Producers have been trying to bring this story to the big screen for years, so while this hits Sundance, be on the lookout for news of a US release date to follow. At the very least, it will be interesting to see how the directors behind Howl pull off a female empowerment story featuring a lot of nudity. Can they show respect while selling sex?
41. I, Frankenstein
Release: September 13th
The Hook: The release date is a little iffy, but this Aaron Eckhart-starring monster movie seeks to bring a bit of Underworld flair to the famous Mary Shelley story. It even comes from the comic mind of Kevin Grevioux and features two ancient warring clans (and Bill Nighy). With any luck, director Stuart Beattie will have remembered to give it some brains and heart along with all the other parts, but the genre concept itself is cool enough to work.