Most Anticipated Films of 2013
Star Trek into Darkness
At the time of writing, the internet is awash with news that Star Trek and Star Trek into Darkness director, J J Abrams, is set to jump over to the Star Wars franchise. Thankfully it seems he'll be leaving behind a legacy of two stunning films. The 2009 movie rebooted Trek-lore without chucking out the last 40 years of television and films; while this year's follow-up looks like a bigger, darker and far more intense beast.
Abrams managed to take characters that were established to the point that we couldn't see anyone else in the roles and created a whole new dynamic that really works. Its this interplay, storytelling and pizzazz that makes Star Trek into Darkness a tempting prospect, add the Brit genre clout of Trek newcomer Benedict Cumberbatch and we have a film, not only for Trek fans, but for anyone who likes good quality big-screen science fiction. The fact we really have very little idea of what to expect is all the more exciting. - Colin Polonowski
2013 looks to be the year of the sequel, and to add to the list this July we have the eagerly anticipated prequel to Monsters, Inc. (2001), in the form of Monsters University. It has taken 12 years to finally grace our screens but Mike and Sully are back! This film will take us back to their prepubescent days at the University of Fear, where the Monsters learn their scare techniques. It will be fantastic to hear the voice talents of John Goodman as the lovable Sully, Billy Crystal as the hilarious Mike and Steve Buscemi as sneaky Randall, together again but in a new and very different setting.
The promos promise all the hilarity and charm of the first, and putting Monsters, Inc. 3D in cinemas before releasing the second film is a stroke of genius, attracting a new and younger fan base to the original classic. But with these characters having been loved for over a decade by many, this new instalment will have to please the older audience too! - Claire Chetwynd
Iron Man 3
Iron Man 2 went a long way to dampening comic book fans' enthusiasm for the Iron Man franchise. Enjoyable enough as far as action comic films go, it didn't quite manage to recreate the giddy sense of fun and dripping wit of the original - plus the bad guy element left a lot to be desired despite the casting of the ever-dependable Mickey Rourke. So how could Marvel whet our appetite for the third entry in the franchise? Two words: Shane Black. Yup, the Lethal Weapon scribe is back in the writer-director hot seat after the extremely sharp crime film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang means anticipation for the new Iron Man film is back at fever pitch.
The first full trailer released last October has surprisingly eschewed the usual Shane Black/Robert Downey Jr. wisecracks to focus on high drama, but you can bet there will be plenty of comic relief peppered throughout. And with Ben Kingsley on board to play The Mandarin, perhaps we'll finally have a villain who can match Robert Downey Jr.'s effortlessly charismatic Tony Stark. - Matt Shingleton
Man of Steel
With The Dark Knight Risen and Marvel entering Phase Two, Warner Brothers have decided to bring back their other big gun after the relative disappointment of Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns in 2006. The involvement of Christopher Nolan as producer has fanboys' attention, as has that of Batman scribe David Goyer. However, it's ultimately down to Watchmen director Zack Snyder to breathe new life into the most super of all heroes.
Looking at the two trailers released so far, it appears as though we may have a brilliant new Superman for the 21st century. Henry Cavill (Immortals) is the man entrusted in breathing new life into Kal-El and, as with Batman Begins, the filmmakers have surrounded their leading man with a superb ensemble: Russell Crowe steps into Marlon Brando's shoes as Jor-El; seasoned actors Kevin Costner and Diane Lane portray the Kents; Amy Adams is new Lois Lane; and Laurence Fishburne the new Perry White. Cavill's Superman will take on General Zod with Michael Shannon filling the villain's shoes. It's an eclectic mix of both filmmakers and actors, one which promises the kind of euphoric response that accompanied the return of The Dark Knight back in 2005. Hopefully, come July, we will all believe a man can fly again. - Scott Davis
Oz the Great and Powerful
Disney's latest fantasy adventure, Oz the Great and Powerful, reaches our cinema screens on March 8th. Directed by Sam Raimi, the man behind the Evil Dead trilogy and the Spider-Man reboot of the 2000s, it clearly comes with high expectations. Inspired by L. Frank Baum's 1900 novel, the story takes place before that of The Wizard of Oz to focus on James Franco's Oscar Diggs, a circus magician and con artist swept from his life in Kansas to the magical Land of Oz. Encountering three witches (Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams) – one good, two wicked, though he doesn't know which is which – he finds himself unwittingly on course to becoming the great and powerful Wizard of Oz.
Trailers released so far have given us a tantalising glimpse into the world Disney has created – the visual experience alone will surely be spectacular. Plus we have that brilliant cast, while old school Raimi fans can be happy in the knowledge that Bruce Campbell is rumoured to be putting in an appearance. This looks set to be a magical film for every audience. - Claire Chetwynd
When Ron Burgundy first burst onto ours screens in 2004, Anchorman was heralded as one of the comedies of the year. Its relatively small worldwide gross of $90m was hardly earth-shattering, but if ever there was a film that defined new-life-on-DVD, this would be it. Creators Will Ferrell and Adam McKay created a ridiculously addictive comedy that has never lost its cool or its class. The only thing keeping a sequel from the big screen was an apparent lack of interest from Paramount. Thankfully, they have since seen sense and we now have a Christmas 2013 release to look forward to.
To date, we know little other than to expect most of the original cast to return and that both Ferrell and McKay will again be running the show. Rumours also suggest that Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids) looks set to appear plus there is the promise of many star cameos (Messrs Stiller and Vaughn, etc. and maybe even John C. Reilly and Mark Wahlberg). Omens are good that the screenplay will be up to scratch too, with producer Judd Apatow having recently claimed that when Ferrell and McKay read the script at a party last year, he and his guests were in hysterics throughout. Great Odin’s Raven, we cannot wait… - Scott Davis
Kick Ass 2
Kick-Ass ended with a not-to-subtle nod towards a sequel with Red Mist (Christopher Mitz-Plasse) staring down the camera drawling "Wait 'til they get a load of me". And wait we've had to do as Kick-Ass’ highly original and very funny take on the superhero genre not only garnered a huge fanbase, but also catapulted many of its stars to fame making that promise a difficult one to live up. But now Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz and Lyndsy Fonseca are back to play out more of Mark Millar's much-loved comic book tale – and they're joined by new faces Jim Carrey and John Leguizamo.
Kick-Ass 2 kicks off straight after the end credits of the first and brings us into a world where Kick-Ass, Hit Girl and Big Daddy aren't the only vigilante superheroes out there. We'll also have some super-villains taking centre stage for this next instalment and a new director behind the wheel in Jeff Wadlow, but it's been confirmed that Kick-Ass 2 will be as shocking, hilarious and hard-hitting as the first. We have to wait until July 19th, but let's hope it can live up to the brilliant original. - Claire Chetwynd
Alfonso Cuarón's science-fiction drama has been a long time coming. Originally scheduled for release in November last year, it is now due to arrive in cinemas in October 2013. It aroused curiosity for several reasons, not least of which was the secrecy surrounding the project, and which still exists today long after principal photography wrapped - not a single publicity shot, poster or trailer has yet emerged. Its bold premise (from a script by Cuarón and his son Jonás) also raised eyebrows: an astronaut is stranded in space after their shuttle (or space station, depending on who you believe) is destroyed. With only two onscreen characters for the entire story, it was evident this was not going to be your typical Michael Bay explode-athon. A dramatic two-hander about being adrift in the emptiness of space promises to be risk-taking if nothing else. Just about every big name actress was touted, offered or tested for the lead role: Angelina Jolie was originally cast before dropping out, then Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman were in the running for a while, before Sandra Bullock landed the part. In the supporting role, Robert Downey Jr. was attached for a long spell before George Clooney signed up. Bullock has stated that director Cuarón insisted on no make-up being applied to the actors, which, together with the decision to go 3D, suggests a serious attempt at total immersion. The PG-13 rating in the US for "intense perilous sequences" and "some disturbing images" only heightens our anticipation. - Gavin Midgley
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Coens go acoustic. Given the brothers' track record, it's easy to get excited for their upcoming take on a fictional folk singer trying to make his way in early '60s New York City. The movie promises to feature a number of full-length song performances, by a cast including Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan and Oscar Isaac as the title character. Its soundtrack could be equally notable. The Coens have again teamed with their O Brother, Where Art Thou? producer T Bone Burnett to create some of the music while also adding Marcus Mumford into the mix. The result is sure to stir interest in some of the real-life musicians of the era, most notably Dave Van Ronk and Bob Dylan. For the latter, the Coens seem to be inviting the attention, as the recent two-minute teaser has Dylan's song Farewell prominently playing in the background. - clydefro jones
The Great Gatsby
Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of The Great Gatsby hits the silver screen in May. Written by F. Scott Fitzgerald in the 1920s, this is a classic tale of lust, obsession, money, power and mystery. Toby Maguire will be taking on the role of Nick Carraway, a writer who finds himself in the midst of Jay Gatsby's philanthropist lifestyle, whilst Leonardo DiCaprio will be playing Gatsby himself. Is there anyone better to play the role of a rich playboy with a dark and manic side?! Suffice to say his performance alone will be something to see this year, but we also have the likes of Isla Fisher and Carey Mulligan, here playing the object of Gatsby's infatuation. The trailer tells us that The Great Gatsby is going to be full of excitement, intrigue and drama, whilst bringing the roaring twenties to life in Baz Luhrmann's beautiful trade mark style. - Claire Chetwynd