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.
40. Why Don’t You Play In Hell
The Hook: We honestly no little about this next pick other than that it’s a forthcoming action film from writer/director Sion Sono. With his career, and especially after Cold Fish, that should be enough. It’s an idea that Sono has been working on for 15 years and, according to him, shares some similarities with Kill Bill. Japan gets it in March, which means it’ll be hitting festivals around the States and most likely get picked up for release as well.
39. Angry Little God
The Hook: Writer/director Daniel Stamm burst onto the scene with A Necessary Death, which few saw. Fortunately, the right people loved it, and it led to him making The Last Exorcism, and that film’s success has led to an awkwardly-titled sequel and this next work from Stamm. Here, he’s remaking 13 Game of Death (seen above), telling the story of a man offered huge cash prizes by a mysterious voice on the phone for completing tasks that escalate in intensity. It’s also another opportunity to see Ron Perlman and for Mark Webber‘s star to rise.
38. 300: Rise Of An Empire
Release: August 2nd
The Hook: Zach Snyder’s 300 was an aggressive visual attack. The question is whether director Noam Murro will be able to build his own assault. He’s an admittedly left field choice for a project like this because his only prior feature experience was with the talky Smart People, although it’ll be thrilling to see Animal Kingdom star Sullivan Stapleton take the lead her with Eva Green at his side.
37. The To Do List
Release: August 16th
The Hook: Aubrey Plaza continues her big screen transition after sweetly impressing in Safety Not Guaranteed with a tale of a young woman pressured to get some notches on her belt before she goes off to college. A cringing sex comedy with Plaza from director Maggie Carey sounds way too funny to pass up. Still, it would have been better if they’d stuck with The Hand Job as the title.
36. The Wolf of Wall Street
The Hook: Martin Scorsese made a new movie with Leonardo DiCaprio about corruption in New York and powerful mob influence. So, everyone’s gonna go see it, right? Right.
35. Warm Bodies
Release: February 1st
The Hook: Just in time for Valentine’s Day, a Zombie love story. The genre might be feeling a bit played out by now, but the rom-com angle gives it new life (sorry), and Jonathan Levine has proven himself a humanistic, fresh talent with The Wackness and 50/50. He may fly a bit under the radar, but he’s definitely on ours.
34. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Release: November 22nd
The Hook: When Gary Ross brought the YA novel series into theaters last year, it was an undeniable phenomenon — not only as a budding franchise, but as part of a bevy of female-led movies that shot arrows into stereotypes and convention. Those who dismiss it as a knock-off of Battle Royale fail to see its own personality and intricacies, and now Francis Lawrence has taken over the director’s chair for the follow-up starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss and a handful of actors with bizarre facial hair.
33. Spring Breakers
The Hook: It feels like this movie came out three years ago, what with the plastering of pictures of Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez bikini pictures all over the internet, but Harmony Korine‘s next restless youth movie is seeing a release in 2013 thanks to Annapurna Pictures and Megan Ellison. Now just imagine what the anticipation would have been like if this had come out before people starting loathing James Franco.
32. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Release: October 4th
The Hook: It’s happening! It’s really happening!
31. Evil Dead (2013)
Release: April 11th
The Hook: This is a dangerous one to hope for. Even with Sam Raimi’s name involved as a producer, nothing about its development felt right…until the footage at New York Comic Con. From there, the trailer that came out was a tongue-splittingly gory threat of horror. Cautious optimism might be for the best (and it’ll be fun to see a cabin in the woods flick after Cabin in the Woods…), but at the very least we know they didn’t neuter themselves when it comes to the red stuff.
30. I’m So Excited!
Release: November 22nd
The Hook: Hopefully after all the holiday traveling, you’re ready for a colorful plane-based soap opera from Pedro Almodovar. It focuses on a group of strangers who open up intimately when the plane starts to go down. People who saw the teaser but have no idea what the director is capable of will probably be even more surprised than when they went to go see The Skin I Live In because they loved Antonio Banderas in Puss in Boots. At any rate, it looks like a giant smile of sunshine, which probably means something terrible and amoral is going to happen.
Release: October 18th
The Hook: It was infinitely frustrating when Alfonso Cuaron’s forthcoming sci-fi opus with George Clooney and Sandra Bullock as astronauts drifting out in space was pushed back into 2013. That it landed all the way in October was even worse. We were supposed to get this thing last year, and even Guillermo del Toro teased us by talking about how mind-blowing Gravity is. If they move it again, there might be a riot. Now can we get a trailer or something?
Release: March 15th
The Hook: Another horror remake? We know, but there’s a knife drawer full of promise with this Stephen King tale and the director of Boys Don’t Cry at the helm. Chloe Moretz is a stirring talent, especially when she’s covered in blood, and Julianne Moore will undoubtedly be Oscar worthy as a megalomaniacal mother. Get ready for way more menstrual imagery than you’re ready for.
27. Before Midnight
The Hook: “Before Before Midnight there was Before Sunrise and Before Sunset.” That phrase will most likely no make it to the poster, but when Richard Linklater‘s trilogy-ender hits Sundance, it’ll definitely have a release date. Back with Ethan Hawke’s Jesse and Julie Delpy’s Celine, we find them almost two decades after their first, fateful meeting on a Vienna-bound train. There’s no telling what direction their relationship will take this time around or whether Jesse will tell Celine about the demon he found in old movie reels last October.
26. The Great Gatsby
Release: May 10th
The Hook: With lavish sets and a modern score, Baz Luhrmann can’t resist his familiar formula, treating F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novella in any way he sees fit. If Fitzgerald were alive today, he’d most likely endorse the use of Jay-Z as the film scorer and the conversion of the Roaring Twenties into the Loud Luhrmann Twenty-Teens.
25. Cloudy 2: Revenge of the Leftovers
Release: September 27th
The Hook: Such a fun movie. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was a delightful little flick with some impeccable design. It was also a hit, so it makes sense that we’re getting a second serving. It’s tough to see Phil Lord and Chris Miller (whose LEGO movie won’t hit until 2014) gone from the franchise, but the synopsis involves the phrase “food-animal hybrids,” so we might be in for a weird meal.
24. Ender’s Game
Release: November 1st
The Hook: Boasting Harrison Ford as a cranky colonel, the real star of this movie is Orson Scott Card‘s novel. Looks like it’s time to go to war against a bug-like alien foe yet again. If Gavin Hood and company can deliver a story with half the appeal as the novel, they’ll have a winner on their hands.
23. Gangster Squad
Release: January 11th
The Hook: Another movie that made the list last year, Ruben Fleischer‘s exploration of the underbelly of antique Los Angeles got pushed back after the movie theater shooting in Aurora made a climactic scene hit a bit too close to home. With Sean Penn as the baddie, a crew of law-breaking lawmen led by Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as a femme fatale, it just may be a percussive noir with a flurry of bullets left on the ground.
22. Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall
Release: June 28th
The Hook: There was a time when we couldn’t take any of Mark Millar’s promises seriously. That time continues, but he was at least proven correct that a sequel to Kick-Ass would see the darkness of theaters. The core group is back, but now they have Jim Carrey to help them take down Red Mist and the, ahem, Toxic Mega-Cunts.
21. Inside Llewyn Davis
Release: February 8th
The Hook: The Coen Brothers made a new movie. Get pumped. (Oh, and if you need a synopsis, they’re tackling the folk scene of 1960s New York with Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund and Justin Timberlake.)
Release: April 19th
The Hook: A sprawling science fiction vision being directed by Joseph Kosinski. Tron 2 wasn’t just a triumph of story and character or anything, but the design was something to marvel at. If there are still doubts that this thing could be huge, the trailer quieted them with just a few minutes of Tom Cruise looking off into the distance.
19. Only God Forgives
Release: May 23rd
The Hook: Cementing their love with a kiss and a black eye, Ryan Gosling and Nicolas Winding Refn earned the right to thrill audiences with projects after Drive. Hailed as one of the best of the year, there’s no surprise that their next has all of us on edge — especially considering that this one focuses on a policeman and a gangster getting into a Thai boxing match to settle their score.
18. This Is The End
Release: June 14th
The Hook: This is the first Apocalypse comedy to make our list, so to keep them straight, remember this one as the movie that features a bunch of comedic stars playing themselves and facing the end of days from James Franco’s pool party.
17. Upstream Color
Release: April 5th
The Hook: To be honest, if anyone else had put together a movie where a man and woman are bound by something cosmic and ephemeral, eyes might roll, but this is Primer writer/director Shane Carruth we’re talking about. Even though we’re still waiting impatiently for A Topiary, we’ll gladly enjoy new work from the heady young talent.
16. Thor: The Dark World
Release: November 8th
The Hook: Does anyone else think the logo Marvel came up with looks a little bit like the opening title from Law & Order? Yes? Everyone does? Good. Thor was a strange entry into the franchise that led up to The Avengers, but after the omnibus entertained like no other in 2012, everything the comic book studio does will be in its shadow. Fortunately, everything they do will also be on its coattails. This sequel proves to be larger and more expansive, and the inclusion of Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor at the helm is maybe the smartest move Kevin Feige has made in a sea of smart moves.
15. Twelve Years a Slave
Release: September 6th
The Hook: There’s a rawness to Steve McQueen‘s work, so the prospect of him taking on the story of a Northern man sold into slavery in the South during the mid-1800s is one that means a bold look at a complex issue. Let’s just say it might bear little resemblance to Django. We can also say that it has what might be the best cast of the decade assembled — collaborator Michael Fassbender is joined by Brad Pitt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Paul Dano, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sarah Paulson, Michael K. Williams, Scoot McNairy, Garret Dillahunt and a lot more. People who feared serious adult dramas were gone can breathe a sigh of gritty relief.
14. The Last Stand
Release: January 18th
The Hook: Arnold Schwarzenegger is out of film retirement in a big way now that he’s no longer a political figure, but it’s his team-up with Jee-woon Kim (I Saw the Devil) that’s cause for the most electricity. Undoubtedly Kim will have to draw back on the violence a bit for a mainstreamier American audience, but this movie could essentially be broken down as “Ahnuld versus a large drug cartel.” That’s a movie everyone should want to see. Welcome back, Mr. Schwarzenegger. Here’s a gun that shoots infinite bullets for you to use on bad guys.
13. The Place Beyond the Pines
Release: March 29th
The Hook: The list is beginning to look a bit Gosling-heavy (sorry, ladies), but let’s use this entry to show some love to director Derek Cianfrance. His Blue Valentine is a modern masterpiece of explosive, intimate filmmaking that affects just about everyone that watches. With this new film, he’s diving back into the drama of relationships, but this time from the angle of a dedicated husband doing something illegal for the good of his family. His actions lead him into the path of a cop running for public office, and it’s a damn shame it’s only going to be in limited theaters.
12. You’re Next
Release: August 23rd
The Hook: Finally. With so many of the Rejects loving this Adam Wingard horror gem from Fantastic Fest 2011, it’s unsurprising that it would end up on last year’s list. With Lionsgate moving it back, it’s unsurprising that it’s made the list again. With some stellar performances and a nice twist of the tropes, this one plays out like an indie Scream. Looks like we’re currently in a new era of smart horror, and this one is yet another innovator that should please a lot of crowds.
11. Pain & Gain
Release: April 26th
The Hook: Either the Rejects really love steroids or they’re longing to see something from Michael Bay that’s not Transformers. Plus, The Rock is almost always excellent, Mark Wahlberg is back in an acting groove, and Bay had the keen eye to hire Rebel Wilson right before she blew up. Speaking of which, there still might be some explosives in this kidnapping drama, but there will be absolutely zero racist alien robots.
Release: March 1st
The Hook: We’ve reached a point where all we really have to do is mention the names associated with the project for everyone to nod their heads in agreement. Opening our top ten is the forthcoming film from Chan-wook Park and writer Wentworth Miller that focuses on a grieving family growing suspicious of the uncle who’s just eked his way into their lives. It stars Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode and the terrifying Jacki Weaver.
9. Oldboy (2013)
Release: October 11st
The Hook: It turns out math has a sense of humor because Stoker and the new adaptation of Oldboy had nearly the same amount of votes. Ten years after Chan-wook Park’s take on the story, Spike Lee will get his turn to torture Josh Brolin and Elizabeth Olsen. For anyone who’s stumbled across our site without being a fully fledged movie nerd, the story here focuses on a man who has a few days to figure out why he was imprisoned in a hotel room for 15 years and seek revenge on the man who did it. As for the rest of it, we’ll hold our tongues.
8. Side Effects
Release: February 8th
The Hook: Another year, another Steven Soderbergh movie. Remember when he was going to retire? Thankfully he didn’t. Here, star Rooney Mara plays a woman who starts abusing prescription medication as a way to cope with the release of her husband from prison. It co-stars Channing Tatum, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Vinessa Shaw. It’s sort of weird to see Soderbergh working with professional actors, though. Jokes aside, the trailer is formidable.
7. Man of Steel
Release: June 14th
The Hook: Another stab at Superman, Zack Snyder is bringing his slow motion camera down from Krypton to deliver Smallville and Zod in a big, big way. To be specific: with Michael Shannon. As if to quell some fears that this thing would be all cape and no heart, the trailer focused on emotion and the struggle of having greater strength than those around you (even if it did create a strange moral stance for Pa Kent).
6. Iron Man 3
Release: May 3rd
The Hook: Yes, we’re still living in the era of superheroes. The Avengers assured that we’d see a continuation of it, and now we get to see Tony Stark after what happened in New York. Ther’s only one man that makes this more of an event: Shane Black. We’re getting a take on Iron Man from Shane Black, people. Let that sink in a moment. Now freak out.
5. Anchorman: The Legend Continues
Release: December 20th
The Hook: We love lamp.
4. Pacific Rim
Release: July 12th
The Hook: Exactly zero people are surprised that the Giant Robots vs Monsters movie from Guillermo del Toro is this high on the list. Featuring an astounding cast led by Idris Elba and some damned fine visuals, this one will almost certainly be the event movie that proves original science fiction can be huge again. And if it is, then can del Toro go play with the Mountains of Madness? Please?
3. The World’s End
Release: October 25th
The Hook: The above image is all the selling that needs to be done, but the final film in Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy (and the second end-of-the-world laugh fest on the list) is worthy of this coveted spot. A ton of Rejects had it on their list, and for very good reason. It sees Simon Pegg leading a motley crew through a depraved pub crawl while something globally devastating goes down.
Release: August 9th
The Hook: After Comic-Con, Brian wrote about how Elysium should be everyone’s most anticipated film of 2013. The follow-up from Neill Blomkamp is another original science fiction outing with Sharlto Copley that has the potential to stand alongside his brilliant District 9. Blazing guns, Matt Damon and social commentary. Sounds epic. However, while we wish it was coming out today, there’s one more movie that bested it in the tally. Probably not a surprise, its…
1. Star Trek Into Darkness
Release: Not soon enough (aka May 17th)
The Hook: With the blinding success and fun of the first, the mystery of who Benedict Cumberbatch will be playing (spoiler: it’s cross-over villain Edward Rooney), and the hope that it won’t leave the joy of Starfleet behind for the dark pallor of every other adventure film these days, Star Trek Into Darkness is our most anticipated movie of 2013. It seems only fitting that we started with Chris Pine and now end with him.
Of course, Paramount has also done a peerless job of promoting this. Fanning the flames in just the right ways. Let’s hope that our anticipation and enthusiasm is rewarded with a thrilling movie come May.
What’s your most anticipated movie of 2013?