The Cinematic Critique preview of 2013

With 2012 coming to a conclusion, cinema continues to thrive with 2013 promising to be just as spectacular for audiences over the next twelve months. Once again, we have the usual blockbuster fare which is dominated by the likes of superheroes, hobbits and the sci-fi universe while the usual sequel/remake/reboot formula continue to bring us mixed fortunes. The late award contenders at the beginning of this winter revolve around dark issues including the 2004 Tsunami, the pursuit of Osama Bin Laden, the American Civil War and the French Revolution (though used in an all-singing musical). Animation, Comedy and Horror are the other major genres to look out for in what is set to be another landmark year for film….


New Year’s Day brings us a tearjerker of a story in Juan Antonio Boyara’s highly-emotional drama THE IMPOSSIBLE which sees Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor battling to survive the horrific Tsunami disaster that struck Asia on Boxing Day 2004. Tissues are advised for this one! Fortunately it isn’t all doom and gloom as Dustin Hoffman goes behind the camera for his British dramedy QUARTET which features veteran British actors Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly and Pauline Collins. The chainsaw is back in, only this time in 3D, as the newest instalment of the series TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D prepares to scare us in the first horror blockbuster of the year. Ryan Gosling is set to endure another busy twelve months beginning with his role in the upcoming crime thriller GANGSTER SQUAD which features a solid cast including Josh Brolin, Emma Stone and Sean Penn.

Awards season begins to take shape over here in the middle of January starting with Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper’s big-screen adaption of the beloved musical LES MISERABLES. Hugh Jackman takes on the leading role of escaped convict Jean Valjean who is pursued for decades by Captain Javert (Russell Crowe) with an unrecognisable (and hotly-tipped Supporting Actress contender) Anne Hathaway playing the tragic Fantine who belts out the iconic song ‘I Dreamed a Dream’. Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, newcomer Samantha Barks, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen also star in the all-singing phenomenon. Quentin Tarantino unveils his latest effort, the western DJANGO UNCHAINED, which sees Jamie Foxx play the slave Django who teams up with bounty hunter Christoph Waltz to try and rescue his wife from corrupted plantation owner Leonardo Di-Caprio (in badass villain mode). The immaculately-talented Jessica Chastain tackles the biggest role of her career as the woman who brings down Osama Bin Laden in Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow’s war thriller ZERO DARK THIRTY which has already dominated the season so far.

But another war-based film revolving around politics is also in contention for Oscar glory as Steven Spielberg brings out his latest epic in LINCOLN which focuses on the well-renowned president’s battle to abolish slavery which leading to division in his cabinet. Double Best Actor winner Daniel Day-Lewis plays the iconic leader and is already tipped to win his third acting award with Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones and a host of other solid names lending the versatile support. John Hawkes plays the difficult role of a polo-suffering man hoping to lose his virginity with the help of sex-therapist (and comeback queen) Helen Hunt in the romantic dramedy¬†THE SESSIONS while the terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzengger continues his big-screen return with the leading role in action-thriller THE LAST STAND.



February begins with Back to the Future and Forrest Gump director Robert Zemeckis returning to form with his upcoming thriller FLIGHT which sees award-contender Denzil Washington play an airline pilot who prevents a plane crash only to be investigated for having alcohol in his system. Bill Murray laps it up as President Roosevelt in the light-hearted historical biopic HYDE PARK ON HUDSON while Sylvester Stallone and Game of Thrones’s Jason Momoa team up to exact vengenace in the action-thriller BULLET TO THE HEAD. John C. Reilly voices the computer game villain-turned-hero in Disney’s upcoming animation WRECK-IT-RALPH while former About a Boy actor Nicholas Hoult plays a zombie caught up in a romantic relationship in the comedy-horror WARM BODIES.

Anthony Hopkins portrays the ‘Master of Suspense’ in famed film director Alfred Hitchcock in the biopic HITCHCOCK which co-stars Helen Mirren as his wife and Scarlett Johansson as the Psycho actress Janet Leigh. Rafe Spall and Rose Byrne are the unfortunate newlyweds trying to cope with their marriage in British rom-com I GIVE IT A YEAR while the real story of Monty Python actor Graham Chapman is documented in A LIAR’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY: THE UNTRUE STORY OF MONTY PYTHON’S GRAHAM CHAPMAN. Emmy Rossum, Emma Thompson and Jeremy Irons star together in the bizarre drama BEAUTIFUL CREATURES while Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd are the dedicated couple dealing with turning 40 in Judd Apatow’s THIS IS 40. Bruce Willis dominates St. Valentine’s Day film as he reprises his role as detective John McClane for the fifth time in the action-thriller sequel A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD. The latest turnout sees him trying to rescue his son in Russia.

Tom Hanks and Halle Berry are amongst the big names starring in the fantasy epic CLOUD ATLAS directed by the Wachowski siblings. Following last year’s The Tree of Life, director Terence Malick quickly returns to film-making with his romantic drama TO THE WONDER which stars Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko and Rachel McAdams while the effective Jessica Chastain goes from hunting Bin Laden to battling ghosts in the Guillermo Del Toro-produced horror MAMA.

The month ends with lovely British actress Gemma Arterton making her return to the big-screen with two different films. Firstly she plays a piano teacher who tries to inspire grumpy old man Terence Stamp to sing in British dramedy SONG FOR MARION and then follows that up with her role as the hunter who tackles witches alongside sibling Jeremy Renner in the violent fairytale-thriller HANSEL AND GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS.



My birthday month begins with Barbara Streisand and Seth Rogen playing mother and son in family comedy THE GUILT TRIP. Another upcoming comedy sees Jason Bateman try to reclaim his identity with some help from Bridesmaid’s Melissa McCarthy in IDENTITY THIEF. Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe go head-to-head in the crime drama BROKEN CITY while Nicole Kidman gets nasty in her role as an unstable mother to suspicious daughter Mia Wasikowska in Oldboy helmer Chan-wood Park’s first English feature STOKER. Kidman can also be seen having fun in her role as a sexy hillbilly woman in Lee Daniels’s thriller THE PAPERBOY which co-stars Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron. One of the best indie films of 2012 finally reaches the UK in COMPLIANCE which features an award-worthy performance from Ann Dowd.

James Franco plays the young wizard of Oz in Sam Raimi’s fantasy prequel OZ: THE GREAT AND POWERFUL which co-stars three talented (and beautiful) actresses in Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams as the three witches. Jason Statham returns to solo action roles as he stars alongside Jennifer Lopez in the upcoming thriller PARKER. We also have three other comedies to look out for in March starting with Michael Winterbottom’s THE LOOK OF LOVE which stars Steve Coogan as the London porn baron-turned-property millionaire Paul Raymond with support coming from Anna Friel, Stephen Fry and Little Britain duo Matt Lucas and David Walliams. Then we have Steve Carrell playing a down-on-his-luck magician in THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE which also stars Jim Carrey, Olivia Wilde, Steve Buscemi and James Gandolfini. And finally, Nick Frost takes on the role of a salsa dancer looking to make a comeback in CUBAN FURY supported by Rashida Jones and Chris O’Dowd. Steven Soderburgh follows on from last year’s Savages with his next film SIDE EFFECTS which welcomes Rooney Mara back onto our screens as she appears alongside Channing Tatum, Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Elijah ‘Frodo’ Wood swaps Hobbit feet for serial-killer motives in the thriller MANIAC while the scares continue to rock March as Ashley Bell returns as the possessed heroine Nell Sweetzer in the horror sequel THE LAST EXORCISM: PART II.

Nicholas Hoult takes centre stage again in his second lead role of a 2013 blockbuster playing the young hero Jack who battles giants alongside Ewan McGregor in Bryan Singer’s fantasy adventure JACK THE GIANT SLAYER. Irish actress Saoirse Ronan is another young talent who continues to shine as she stars as the main heroine in the big-screen adaptation of Twilight author Stephanie Meyers’s THE HOST. Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds and Emma Stone contribute their voices to the prehistoric animation THE CROODS while Danny Boyle returns to making films (after his contribution to the Olympics) as he directs the crime thriller TRANCE which stars James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson. The month ends with Paramount finally unveiling their action-sequel G.I JOE: RETALIATION which sees original star Channing Tatum return alongside newcomers Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Bruce Willis (in yet another ass-kicking role!).



April begins with Disney releasing their emotional family drama THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN which stars Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Garner as the couple struggling to have children who get a shock in the arrival of a fantasy child.

Two horror classics that have become the subject of remakes are both released this month. Firstly Chloe Moretez tackles the role of bullied teenager Carrie White who unleashes telekinetic vengeance on her tormentors in the 2013 version of CARRIE. Sam Raimi’s EVIL DEAD is also given a new-look as the original director writes the new version. Dwayne Johnson goes undercover in the crime thriller SNITCH supported by Susan Sarandon and Michael Kenneth (Omar) Williams while Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy team up in the comedy-caper THE HEAT. Oscar-winners Philip Seymour Hoffman and Christopher Walken are part of a string quartet in the musical drama A LATE QUARTET while Matt Damon plays a salesman who encounters life-changing events at a small town in Gus Van Sant’s PROMISED LAND. Tom Cruise battles to save the future in the sci-fi thriller OBLIVION which co-stars Morgan Freeman and Olga Kurylenko.

Hollywood hell-raisers Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen make silly cameos in the unnecessary fifth film of the comedy-horror series SCARY MOVIE 5. Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper square off in the intriguing-looking crime drama THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES. Gerard Butler battles to save the White House from a terrorist attack in the thriller OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN.

The month ends with one of this year’s biggest blockbusters as Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) faces his toughest task yet when his nemesis Mandarin (new cast addition Ben Kingsley) threatens to destroy his world in the superhero sequel IRON MAN 3. Gwyenth Paltrow and Don Cheadle return for the post-Avengers follow-up with Guy Pearce and Rebecca Hall amongst the other newcomers.



As the summer arrives, Mark Wahlberg and the workaholic Dwayne Johnson poke fun at their history with sports in Michael Bay’s PAIN & GAIN though undoubtedly the biggest comedy of the month (possibly of 2013) sees the ‘Wolf Pack’ turn out for one last Vegas bar crawl in the concluding sequel THE HANGOVER PART III.

On the subject of sequels, JJ Abrams takes us back to the Star Trek universe with his much-anticipated follow-up STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS which sees Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and the crew of the Enterprise battle to save Earth from a destructive individual. Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana and Simon Pegg reprise their roles from the 2009 blockbuster with Benedict Cumberbatch playing the new foe who threatens to wreak havoc.

Baz Luhrmann’s delayed big-screen adaptation of F. Scott Fizgerald’s novel THE GREAT GATSBY finally makes it to cinemas in May with Leonardo Di-Caprio and Carey Mulligan starring as the tragic couple in the glorious-looking drama. A fourth appearance in film this year beckons for Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as he, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Michelle Rodriguez return for the sixth installment of their car-racing franchise THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS 6. A mixture of young talent (Amanda Seyfried, Katherine Heigl) and veteran experience (Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Robin Williams) star together in the multi-layed rom-com THE BIG WEDDING. One of the stars of that film, Seyfried, also lends her voice to the fantasy animation EPIC which also features vocal contributions from Colin Farell and Beyonce Knowles. Another upcoming animated film that will interest British audiences is a big-screen turn-out for everyone’s favourite postman in the form of POSTMAN PAT: THE MOVIE – YOU KNOW YOU’RE THE ONE. Green Wing’s Stephen Mangan voices the letter-delivering hero with support coming from David Tennant, Rupert Grint and Jim Broadbent.



After finishing his work on the Dark Knight trilogy, film-maker Christopher Nolan becomes producer for the next DC Comics superhero blockbuster as he gives directing responsibilities to Zach Snyder for the new Superman film MAN OF STEEL. Brit Henry Cavill becomes the latest actor to don the blue suit/red cape in his role as Clark Kent/Superman with Amy Adams co-starring as his lover Lois Lane. Experienced support in the cast also comes from Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner and Diane Lane while the underrated Michael Shannon stars as Superman’s foe Zod and can also be seen in June starring as a psychotic hitman in the crime thriller THE ICEMAN. M. Night Shylaman will be hoping to finally end his run of poor films with his new sci-fi adventure AFTER EARTH which stars Will Smith and his son Jaden as the two family members who explore a deserted planet. Robert Redford returns to act AND direct with his thriller THE COMPANY YOU KEEP which features another excellent cast including Shia LaBeouf, Julie Christie, Anna Kendrick, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper and Susan Sarandon.

Brad Pitt and his family try to survive when the world is infested by zombies in Marc Forster’s post-apocalyptic thriller WORLD WAR Z. The apocalypse is also used in hilarious fashion in the Seth Rogan-written comedy THIS IS THE END which sees a host of celebrities including Rogen, James Franco, Emma Watson, Jonah Hill and Rhianna struggling to accept the consequences. Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine all appear in the light-hearted hesit-thriller NOW YOU SEE ME while Steve Carrell reprises his voice role of the anti-hero Gru with the help of newcomers Al Pacino and Kristen Wiig in the animated sequel DESPICABLE ME 2.



The summer flicks continue with Wedding Crashers trio Vince Vaughan, Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell reuniting as the 40 year old interns in their latest comedy THE INTERNSHIP. Benicio Del Toro brings out another new action-adventure in PACIFIC RIM which sees robots battle monsters in the pacific ocean.

Billy Crystal and John Goodman reprise their voicework as pre-Monsters Inc duo Mike and Sully in the Pixar prequel MONSTER’S UNIVERSITY which looks at how the pair first met at university. The Smurfs are also back for young audiences to cheer about in the new sequel THE SMURFS 2.

Superhero films continue to thrive in 2013 as Hugh Jackman takes on the role of Logan/Wolverine as he journeys to Japan in the comic-book sequel THE WOLVERINE. On a lighter note, Aaron Johnson also returns to play the not-so-iconic superhero Kick-Ass in the follow-up to 2010’s blockbuster hit KICK-ASS 2. Jim Carrey co-stars as newcomer and adversary Colonel Stars and Stripes.



Rodrigo Santoro is back as the villainous Xerxes in the action-war prequel 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE which also features Eva Green. Other follow-ups to look out for in August include RED 2 which reunites the likes of veterans Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren while Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Salma Hayek are also back together in the family-comedy sequel GROWN UPS 2.

Johnny Depp plays Tonto to Armie Hammer’s John Reid in Gore Verbinski’s big-screen adaptation of the popular Western television series THE LONE RANGER. Freddie Highmore and Saoirse Ronan lend their voices to the medievel animation JUSTIN AND THE KNIGHTS OF VALOUR with vocal support coming from Antonio Banderas and Julie Walters. Logan Lerman returns as Percy Jackson, the son of Poseidon, as heads into the Sea of Monsters to find the mythical Golden Fleece in the fantasy adventure sequel PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS.

Edgar Wright unveils the final chapter of his ‘cornetto’ trilogy THE WORLD’S END which sees Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan star as the group of friends who reunite for one last pub crawl before the end of the world. Norwich’s favourite radio presenter Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan) finally makes it onto the big-screen in ALAN PARTRIDGE: THE MOVIE while Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston and Emma Roberts star as the fake family involved in a drugs shipment in the comedy WE’RE THE MILLERS.



Into the Autumn, Channing Tatum stars as the Secret Servant tasked with protecting the US president Jamie Foxx in the thriller WHITE HOUSE DOWN. Frankenstein is immortalised onto the big-screen again in the new horror tale I, FRANKENSTEIN which features Aaron Eckhart and a welcoming return to big-budget films for Lord of the Rings actress Miranda Otto.

Chris Hemworth swaps the Thor hammer for Formula 1 racing in his role as real-life driver James Hunt in Oscar-winner Ron Howard’s upcoming sports biopic RUSH. Matt Damon stars as a soldier battling to unite the rich and poor in a futuristic world in Nell Blomkamps’s sci-fi thriller ELYSIUM with support coming from Jodie Foster and Sharlto Copley (reuniting with his District 9 director). Action-film veterans Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger finally go head-to-head in the prison-thriller THE TOMB which also features 50 Cent (Another Righteous Kill anyone?). Also pitted against each other are Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake as they star alongside the luscious Gemma Arterton in the crime thriller RUNNER, RUNNER.

Finally, director Nicholas Winding Refn reunites with his main star from Drive, Ryan Gosling, in their new thriller ONLY GOD FORGIVES. The film sees Gosling play the owner of a Thai boxing club who vows revenge on the person responsible for killing his brother.



Ben Barnes learns to fight evil spirits and villainous witch Julianne Moore in the fantasy adventure THE SEVENTH SON. Ryan Reynolds voices a garden snail trying to achieve his dream of winning the Indy 500 in Dreamworks’s new animation TURBO which also features the voices of Snoop Dogg, Samuel L. Jackson and Paul Giamatti. Hugo’s Asa Butterfield plays a gifted child sent to a military school in space to prepare for an invasion in ENDER’S GAME and is supported by fellow young stars Abigail Breslin and True Grit’s Hailee Steinfeld and veteran actors Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley. Steinfeld can also be seen playing Juliet to Douglas Booth’s Romeo in a new big-screen adaptation of William Shakespeare’s ROMEO AND JULIET. Damian Lewis, Paul Giamatti and Lesley Manville co-star in the romantic tragedy.

Chris Hemsworth returns as the Norse god Thor in the superhero sequel THOR: THE DARK WORLD as he battles the vengeful Malekith and his Dark Elves with Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins and Tom Hiddleston also back on board. Bill Hader and Anna Faris reprise their voice roles in Sony’s animated follow-up CLOUDY 2: REVENGE OF THE LEFTOVERS while the eerie ghosts continue to frighten us in yet another horror sequel PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 5. Spike Lee tackles the remake of Korean-classic OLDBOY which stars Josh Brolin as the kidnapped businessman seeking vengeance on the man responsible for locking him in a chamber for fifteen years. Martha Marcy May Marlene actress Elizabeth Olsen plays the man’s lover with District 9’s Sharlto Copley cast as the villain.


Lady Diana gets the big-screen treatment as Naomi Watts plays the tragic monarch in the upcoming (and controversial) biopic DIANA. Another potential Oscar contender sees Leonardo Di-Caprio reunite with director Martin Scorsese in the crime thriller THE WOLF OF WALL STREET which also stars Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey and last year’s Best Actor winner, Jean Dujardin (The Artist). On a lighter note, Martin Freeman, Tim Curry and Joan Collins are amongst the voice artists in the new Christmas animation SAVING SANTA while Modern Family co-stars Ty Burrell and Ariel Winter also contribute vocal work to the big-screen cartoon adaptation MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN.

The month ends with the very talented Jennifer Lawrence reprising her role as female archer Everdeen Katniss as she returns to the arena in the eagerly-awaited sequel THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE. Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Banks and Donald Sutherland also return with newcomers Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Claflin and Jena Malone filling out the expanded ensemble.



The final month of 2013 concludes with Martin Freeman returning as Bilbo Baggins as he and the dwarves finally confront the dragon Smaug in the second part of Peter Jackson’s prequel trilogy to Lord of the Rings, THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG. Veteran actors Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline team up together to play the group of old friends who decide to throw a bachelor party in the OAP version of The Hangover, LAST VEGAS. George Clooney is back behind the camera as he, Matt Damon, Daniel Craig and Cate Blanchett unite as a group of experts who try to recover works of art stolen by the Nazi’s in the true-life drama THE MONUMENTS MEN.

Boxing Day sees Chris Pine take on the Tom Clancy role made famous by the likes of Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck in the action-prequel JACK RYAN with versatile support coming from Keira Knightley, Kenneth Branagh and Kevin Costner. Also out over the festive period is the comedy adventure THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY which stars Ben Stiller and Kristen Wiig.

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