Seeing as how we’ve managed to elude the apocalypse, survive Christmas and there’s less than 24 hours left in 2012, it’s high time we start looking ahead to what the new year has in store for us – strictly movie-wise, that is. Here’s just a small taste of what you’ll be lining up to see in 2013 – mark your calendars (and remember, release dates are ever changing so what’s accurate info this week may not be so next week)!
As is the custom, January is a bit of a wasteland for new releases. Long considered a dumping ground for projects that studios don’t have much confidence in, this January features a good mix of questionable-at-best horror offerings ( Texas Chainsaw 3D and Guillermo del Toro’s Mama ), testosterone-fuelled actioners (Jason Statham’s Parker and Schwarzenegger’s The Last Stand ) and high profile Oscar contenders ( Zero Dark Thirty ,Kathryn Bigelow’s follow-up to her Oscar winning The Hurt Locker ). Also opening are a couple of troubled productions ( Gangster Squad and On The Road , both have had their release dates pushed back numerous times) and some dramas designed to ease you out of the season of the serious holiday movie ( Promised Land and Quartet ). For my money, I’m most curious about Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters which looks so awful it just might be amazing.
Ah…the month of amour. Also kind of a slow movie month but in recent years Valentine’s Day has proven to be a very profitable day for studios to open either a rom com or sappy romance for all of the sad singletons to weep through or for couples to argue about seeing. This year is no exception – king of the rainsoaked declaration of love, Nicholas Sparks, has written yet another 5 hankie affair called Safe Haven . In a genius counter programming move, the latest John McClane opus A Good Day to Die Hard opens on the same day so expect negotiations with your loved one to be especially tense – best to just make it a double bill. In case talks break down completely, you might consider taking in Warm Bodies , a zombie comedy romance – if there were ever a movie that were designed to appeal to everyone, it’s very probably this one.
This is the month where things really start to get cooking at the movie theatre. March Break ensures that there will be at least a couple of good family films ready for release (this year it’s Oz: The Great and Powerful and Jack the Giant Killer ) and as the number of studio blockbusters now exceeds the number of summer weekends available, we begin to see a few of the slightly less high profile blow-em-ups ( G.I. Joe: Retaliation, held over from last year, and Elysium ) trickle out onto big screens. I personally am pretty excited to check out Kimberly Peirce‘s version of Carrie which was shot right here in Toronto and promises to stay closer to its source material than de Palma’s (admittedly excellent and not really in need of a remake) version.
Being a big Sandra Bullock fan (there, I said it and I’m not going to be ashamed!), I’m really looking forward to her teaming up with the always hilarious Melissa McCarthy in the cop buddy comedy The Heat which opens right at the beginning of this month. As far as I’m concerned, the rest of the month is coloured by the release of the blasphemous remake of The Evil Dead , the release of the long awaited (by someone) Scary Movie 5 and some weird weightlifting/heist comedy starring Marky Mark and The Rock called Pain and Gain . Oh, and Tom Cruise continues to insist to everyone that he’s a virile action movie star with Oblivion …so maybe not the strongest month of the year for film.
Whoo boy! This month kicks off with a bang with the release of Iron Man 3 and then moves right into Baz Luhrman’s crazy-looking big screen adaptation of The Great Gatsby , then the new Star Trek film and then rounds itself out with the latest Fast and Furious sequel (can you believe that there are 6 already?), yet another Hangover and the animated film Epic . It will be especially interesting to see how the box office numbers ebb and flow from week to week since 4 proven heavyweights are opening within days of one another. Who will the people choose? Personally I’d go with Iron Man 3 but I’m guessing that Star Trek: Into Darkness will give it a good run for its money.
It seems pretty likely that Man of Steel will be the big film this month, especially since its only competition is M. Night Shyamalan’s Will Smith starrer After Earth , the polarizing big screen adaptation of World War Z and Channing Tatum-as-Secret Service Agent thriller White House Down . There may be a slight battle for comedy audiences as the latest Vince Vaughan/Owen Wilson/Will Ferrell film, The Internship , goes head-to-head with Seth Rogen’s apocalypse comedy (really? still?!) This Is The End . Whatever, I’ll be at Kick-Ass 2 .
This month boasts a little something for everyone. Kids can look forward to Turbo , Despicable Me 2 and The Smurfs 2 (ok, “look forward to” might be stretching it in that last case). Comedy fans have Grown Ups 2 and R.I.P.D. and action junkies will get their fix with the much anticipated Pacific Rim and The Wolverine . One wonders who exactly the audience is for Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger but with Johnny Depp starring as Tonto, I’m sure it will be…interesting to say the least. James Wan also has his latest, The Conjuring , ready to offer another choice for those who are sick of the crowds flooding the other higher profile summer films.
Sigh…Jennifer Aniston still continues to pursue this whole movie star thing with We’re the Millers which may actually do alright since there’s little else of note opening this month. There’s a Denzel Washington thriller (also starring Mark Wahlberg in his 87th release of the year!) called 2 Guns , the sort of b-movie-looking sequel to 300 , 300: Rise of an Empire and RED 2 which automatically wins the month in my books since it stars Helen Mirren. This month may well end up belonging to the teen-oriented programming since Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (sequel to the very underrated Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief ) and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones , the latest YA novel hit to be adapted for film, will fill the gap for teens hungry for something to text through.
As Torontonians deal with the masses descending for TIFF, parents rejoice as their kids head back to school and everyone else mourns the end of summer, the movie releases slow down to a crawl. Hugh Jackman goes for a Liam Neeson impersonation with his own version of Dad-turned-vigilante in Prisoners , and Thor…ahem…Chris Hemsworth tries his hand at vinatge Formula 1 racing in Ron Howard’s Rush . September also brings the chance to step back in time with an action film set in a prison starring Stallone and Schwarzenegger. Can’t wait to crimp my hair, lace up my converse hightops and line up on two dollar Tuesday!
The month of 1000 screams (people call it that, right?) offers up a few scary options with very straightforward titles in the form of possessed house thriller Haunt and devil worshiper chiller The Occult . We can also look forward to the next installment of the Paranormal Activity franchise – if the teaser at the end of the last film is to be believed then this one will take place in Mexico and involve Santeria. The Seventh Son is an 18th century-set spook-fest and Edgar Wright steps away from the creepy movie pack with The World’s End , a comedy starring the dream team of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Martin Freeman.
While others may be looking forward to Thor: The Dark World or The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as the big releases of the month, I’m mainly excited for my next chance to ogle Michael Fassbender in The Counselor (Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave may well also have a November release date – a double Fassbender month!). Finally, Disney locks up the big US Thanksgiving release long weekend with an animated film called Frozen , based on a Hans Christian Andersen story.
We’ve just gotten through the holiday season and now we’re talking about it all over again! The next in The Hobbit series sees a mid-month release as well as a slew of other high profile releases like the long-awaited sequel to Anchorman , Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and my own most anticipated, Saving Mr. Banks starring Tom Hanks as Walt Disney attempting to navigate the notoriously troubled production of Mary Poppins .
Happy New Year from everyone at Toronto Film Scene. Here’s to another great year of movie-watching!