2012 was a great year for movies. We've had superheroes coming to the rescue, beloved novel franchises ending and starting all over, mind-blowing sci-fi features, laugh-out-loud funny comedies, spiritually uplifting adaptations, attractive animations, and not forgetting traditional and high budget blockbusters that flooded our eyes with stunning visual storytelling.
Hong Kong movies made record-breaking history in Malaysian cinemas with "Cold War" and Jackie Chan's 'last' action blockbuster "CZ12" back-to-back, while Bollywood never fails to dazzle us with their song, dance and love stories with 'Barfi!'. Things weren't so bad on the home front as well, whether it was the made-for-commercial kind of success ('Istanbul Aku Datang'), or making artistic leaps to improve the standards of Malaysian filmmaking ('Bunohan'), that gave us another work we can proudly enter for the Oscars.
But the best part of 2012? We survived. The world didn't end as some hopefully predicted and that only means one thing to us. We get to see more movies in 2013!
In this two-part feature, we look forward to the movies that will be shaping our future for 2013. The first part of this feature would take a look at movies that we are anticipating from January to June, while the upcoming second bit will see us through the end of the year from July.
Let's see our list of anticipated movies of 2013.
| Moviegoers can catch Bruce Willis in 2 action pack films this year; "A Good Day To Die Hard" and "G.I. Joe: Retaliation".
Bad-Ass Action films
Not only Hollywood, but Hong Kong gangster movies are coming back with a vengeance in 2013. Starting out with the gangsters from the Shanghai period in Wong Jin's "The Last Tycoon", Hong Kong filmmakers are seemingly trying to recreate the wheel of the mean and lean gangster movies from the 90s. Of course, the young, brash and youthfully good-looking actors of the time have mostly become veterans and big stars by now, so calling for a reunion does not seem to be the way to go for reviving this genre.
'Young & Dangerous Reloaded', as the title implies, is a reboot of sorts for the "Young & Dangerous" series back in the 90s. While it can be a little worrying, with a new batch of young, muscular and good-looking actors taking over the torch and new talents behind the camera, a hidden part of us is eagerly hoping that it will bring back the coolness of being a gangster; loyalty to the brotherhood, daring actions and living on the edge when double-crossing means the end of the line.
On the Hollywood front, Arnie's popular line "I'll Be Back" rings true. In the Governator's return to Hollywood via "The Last Stand", Arnie is cocking his shotguns and spinning the Gatling gun as Sheriff Owens, an old officer of the law who is assigned to protect a sleepy border town when his crime fighting days ended in a disaster and a crippled partner. So it's up to Arnie to put on his badge and yup, you guessed it, make a last stand before the bad guys get away home free.
This year in bad-ass action will also see Bruce Willis back to his action star roots again (cue: Yippee-ki-yay!) in "A Good Day To Die Hard". If there's one thing that never gets old; it's seeing Bruce Willis again, who is still finding new ways to 'Die Hard'. After saving America from numerous terrorists that wanted to destroy his homeland, mean cop John McClane (Willis) goes to Russia; the motherland of all villains in the "Die Hard" series...as a tourist. Not for long though, as he somehow gets tangled up with some really bad Russians, nuclear bombs (what else is there?) and lots and lots of explosions. What a good day for the "Die Hard" franchise. Oh, and he's got a new partner too; John McClane Jr.
| Arnie said he will be back, and he will in "The Last Stand".
Blame it on the post 3D conversion of "G.I. Joe: Retaliation", which after months of delay turned this action-packed of dynamite from a summer blockbuster in 2012 to a new release date in 2013. Replacing Stephen Summers who did the first instalment is "Step Up 3D" director Jon Chu, who has quite a lot to prove that he is the right man to turn this franchise around. Aside from seeing Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson pumping out the heavy firepower in this one, let's not forget that this would be Bruce Willis's second appearance in our list of anticipated movies. But there's one thing we love about this sequel of G.I. Joe that sets it above the other action movies in our list. Ninjas.
Of Old Times... Revisited
Baz Luhrmann's cinematography for "The Great Gatsby" is already getting major hype. Will we get to see it in IMAX?
2012 had adapted one of the timeless period classics "Les Miserables" into a powerful musical by Tom Hooper, and 2013 would be continuing that tradition to bring stories of yesteryear to the present.
Based on the classic modern American literature of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby" is told through the eyes of Nick (Tobey McGuire), a disillusioned Midwesterner who seeks the American Dream in the 1920s of New York, when he becomes acquainted with Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio); a self-made millionaire. We could not have thought of another person more perfect to bring this adaptation to life other than Australian director Baz Luhrmann ("Moulin Rouge", "Romeo + Juliet"), whose style for glitz and glamour and faithfulness to literature works is the perfect way to depict the decadence of indulgence told in "The Great Gatsby".
While one brings glitz and glamour, the other speaks of harsher times and in true blue Tarantino style; unforgiving violence in "Django Unchained". Between the sublime lines, hidden and obscure references, and the promise of unapologetic violence, anyone who considers themselves a serious movie buff would be delighted to see the next piece of work by Quentin Tarantino, as he replicates his next favourite genre with his brand of humour and profound sensibilities.
For 'Django Unchained', Quentin goes spaghetti western that is set in the days prior to the American Civil War when slavery still runs rampant in the Wild West. Jamie Foxx plays as the titular slave Django, who is freed by a bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz. After proving that the pair worked well together, Django goes on the trail to free his wife, Broomhilda, who was sold to a cruel plantation owner, Calvin Candie.
Aside from having high expectations from the mind of Quentin Tarantino, "Django Unchained" promises a spectacle with the strong ensemble cast of Christoph Waltz ("Inglorious Basterds"), Leonardo DiCaprio ("Inception") and Tarantino alumni Samuel L. Jackson ("Pulp Fiction", "Marvel's The Avengers"). We can't wait to walk out of the cinema after this with new favourite quotes!
Is it just us, or do these posters for "Star Trek"(left) and "Oblivion" (right) look similar?
In 2012, we had truly great Sci-Fi movies like "Prometheus" and "Looper" but Hollywood executives are a sly lot, taking a twist to the genre and delivering a theme that we're already familiar with; doomsday. When the Mayan predictions became a hot-topic back in 2009, the best way to capitalize on that is to make movies about end-of-the-world scenarios. Now that 2012 is now safely past and gone, they decided that to capture the imaginations of audiences is to make movies based on 'what if we were all gone', as a celebration that we are still stuck on this dreary Earth, with our dreary lives and jobs.
Based on director Joseph Kosinki's own graphic novel, "Oblivion" is set in an Earth that has been destroyed by an alien race known as the Scavs, and Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is a drone that is extracting vital resources from the planet before returning to join the humans in space. When Jack discovers a strange female from a crashed spacecraft, one thing leads to another that will make him question what really happened. As Kosinski's second directional after "Tron Legacy", we are assured of its visual quality that would blow us all away when we visit an Earth that we barely recognised. The premise has some potential based on the trailers we've seen, and having Tom Cruise and a mysterious rebel leader played by Morgan Freeman, is more of a matchup than we can ask for.
This year will also bring Trekkies together as the sequel to J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" reboot "Star Trek Into Darkness" will be landing on our shores. Another long-awaited sequel after one of the few successful reboots by J. J. Abrams. While the crew of the USS Enterprise (Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho and Anton Yelchin) is reunited once again, we are more eager to see Benedict Cumberbatch don the villain's mantle and whether he will be the Silva from 'Skyfall' to the 'Star Trek' franchise.
It's a bird, a plane, it's... Superman & Iron Man?
| Move over "Dark Knight", the "Man Of Steel" will take it from here.
Not resting their laurels after the super box office success that is "Marvel's The Avengers", Marvel is ready to kick off the second phase of its Marvel universe, which begins with the latest instalment of "Iron Man". Directed by Shane Black of the "Lethal Weapon" series, we are curious to see that "Marvel's Iron Man 3" looks intended on destroying Tony Stark. It sets a new tone to see Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark without the arrogance, cocky jabs and overwhelming optimism. Ben Kingsley's The Mandarin could be one of the greatest villains we will see in 2013 and it would be most satisfying to see him in a showdown with a new and improved Iron Man.
Of course where there is Marvel, DC Comics is a wink away. This year we will see if their most popular superhero; Superman can truly be revived after the Brandon Routh starring 2006 snooze. The end of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy with "The Dark Knight Rises" last year may have restored some faith in DC heroes, so now aptly the spotlight shifts onto the most timeless superhero of them all; the 'Man of Steel'.
While we would wishfully dream that Christopher Nolan would put his signature directing touch on all the superheroes of the DC universe, that task is being done by Zack Snyder ('300', 'Watchmen'), whose had his fair share of taking superheroes seriously and creating inspired visuals. That is not to say that 'Nolanism' would be absent in this one, as he is acting as producer through his production company, Syncopy, so expect to see some of his influence on this. We want Henry Cavill to be the face of Superman, and he seems to wear the cape better than his other appearances of late. The additional appearances of Russell Crowe as Superman's real father and Amy Adams as Lois Lane rounds up the cast nicely. There is a lot riding on the shoulders of the 'Man of Steel', as how it turns out would be precedent for the 'Justice League' movie and the future of other DC characters.
For The Kids
| Don't forget this year's obligatory Pixar film, "Monsters University".
Another year with another Pixar entry. So we couldn't complain anymore.
As a prequel to "Monster Inc.", "Monsters University" explores the college days of Sully and Mike at the University of Fear on how their budding rivalry becomes the greatest partnership when they enter into the scare-a-child business. In the meantime, we would surely be entertained by the collegiate hijinx of old and new characters in several 'monstrous' ways.
We'll be honest. 2012 was not a great year for Pixar. "Brave" may have recorded another impressive success in box office figures, but it seems to be missing something in the storytelling department that have made us love Pixar movies in the first place. So here's a chance for their comeback. 'Monster University' would also be the first in line by Pixar to explore the possibilities of building sequels out of their most beloved films other than 'Toy Story' and 'Cars', so here's hoping that the braintrust can make lightning strike twice.
Cinema Online, 08 January 2013