Synopsis: An aging, out-of-work actress accepts one last job, though the consequences of her decision affect her in ways she didn’t consider.
Release Date: TBA 2013
Thoughts: I’ve always found Robin Wright to be one of the more interesting actresses working in Hollywood. Since her film debut in 1987 with The Princess Bride, Wright (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) has amassed a diverse roster of roles that thankfully never allowed her to fit into a certain niche market. She seems to take on characters that speak to her heart rather than her pocketbook and her latest film looks to be a wonderfully bizarre meta experience. Adapted from Stainslav Lem’s 1971 darkly humorous sci-fi yarn, Wright is playing a version of herself: an aging actress that has chosen family over fame tempted to make a comeback. How she does it and what it entails provide the framework for a piece that I hope follows through on its promises to ask a lot of questions about celebrity, culture, and how much of oneself those that achieve fame actually have to give over to the public.
Synopsis: The haunted Lambert family seeks to uncover the mysterious childhood secret that has left them dangerously connected to the spirit world.
Release Date: September 13, 2013
Thoughts: All eyes are going to be on this September horror flick for a variety of reasons. First and foremost: it’s a follow-up to 2010’s surprise hit that was heavy on atmosphere over gore and quite effectively made haunted house flicks scary again. Speaking of haunted houses, this will be James Wan’s second film in 2013 that centers on a family terrorized by more than just the things that go bump in the night. Wan was also responsible for July’s The Conjuring, one of the scariest films I’ve seen in years (you’ve seen it, right…I mean, right?) so we all know he has the goods to tap into what freaks us out the most. Had this movie been released in 2011 as a quick cash-grab I may be more hesitant about it but knowing that Wan and company took their time with it gives me good vibes…and some ominous chills.
Synopsis: When a poor college student who cracks an online poker game goes bust, he arranges a face-to-face with the man he thinks cheated him, a sly offshore entrepreneur.
Release Date: September 27, 2013
Thoughts: Here’s a film that has some good potential thanks mostly to the two male leads that headline the thriller. It’s actually interesting Ben Affleck (Argo) is playing the heavy here because I’d imagine had this movie been produced, say, ten years ago he might have taken on the role that’s being played by Justin Timberlake…Mr. Affleck is definitely growing up. While the movie looks to have a nice gloss, I can’t help but feel like it’s a retread of any countless number of harmless double cross films that were so ever popular in the mid 90’s. Director Brad Furman gave us the unexpectedly solid potboiler thriller The Lincoln Lawyer in 2011 so perhaps there’s life yet in this old warhorse formula.
Synopsis: Two veterans of the Bosnian War — one American, one Serbian — find their unlikely friendship turn tense with one of them reveals their true intentions.
Release Date: July 12, 2013
Thoughts: Y’know, every time that I make up my mind to give Robert De Niro the benefit of the doubt he goes and makes a questionable decision on film choices. De Niro is a well respected actor and is at the point of his career where he can honestly do whatever he wants, kinda like Meryl Streep. The difference is that Streep’s outside of the box choices tend to give the actress the kind of stretch opportunities in unorthodox roles that don’t ultimately ding her past credits.I consider any pairing with John Travolta to be a risky move and Killing Season looks like a gobbling turkey of a survival thriller. I’m not quite sure what’s growing on Travolta’s face or where he pulled his accent from but it doesn’t bode well for us, the moviegoers. De Niro made good with 2012’s Silver Linings Playbook so it’s extra disappointing that his 2013 films (The Big Wedding, The Family, and this) look so bad.
Synopsis: The Dwarves, Bilbo and Gandalf have successfully escaped the Misty Mountains, and Bilbo has gained the One Ring. They all continue their journey to get their gold back from the Dragon, Smaug.
Release Date: December 13, 2013
Thoughts: I’d like to say I was one of the relative few that accepted Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey with a forgiving embrace but alas I couldn’t give myself over to a film that was long in the tooth and overstuffed with material that wasn’t needed. Though a technical marvel that made some huge steps for filmmaking, there was a strange void that was never filled by anything that flew across the screen. The second installment is being prepped for release in December and here’s hoping that Jackson and co. went back to the original Lord of the Rings trilogy of films and re-examined what made them so special. The heart and soul from those films was missing from Part 1 of The Hobbit – let’s keep our ringed fingers crossed Part 2 rights some wrongs.
Synopsis: Wolverine makes a voyage to modern-day Japan, where he encounters an enemy from his past that will impact on his future.
Release Date: July 26, 2013
Thoughts: While some wrote off 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine completely as a missed opportunity, I did enjoy parts of the film but not enough to have made a return visit to the movie since I saw it in theaters. Going back to a story that’s been floating around star Hugh Jackman’s wheelhouse for a while, this new film featuring the adamantium clawed anti-hero is supposedly a darker affair than we’ve seen before. Consciously moving the action forward to a time when Wolverine is all alone the filmmakers have given Jackman (Les Miserables) and company the chance to right some past mistakes and make the first step in really moving this character and franchise forward. Let’s see if a refreshed story and directing from James Mangold will do the trick.
Synopsis: Three sixty-something friends take a break from their day-to-day lives to throw a bachelor party in Las Vegas for their last remaining single pal.
Release Date: November 1, 2013
Thoughts: Headlined by four Oscar winners, Last Vegas is a movie your mom will probably ask you to take her to. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it says something about the type of film this will end up being…a matinee crowd pleaser for those of a certain age that have worn out their copies of Grumpy Old Men on VHS. I’m an old soul at heart and a fan of the four men so I’ll overlook this unremarkable trailer and try to focus on the positives here…most notably being Morgan Freeman (Oblivion, Now You See Me) cutting loose near the end of the preview.
Synopsis: Five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from 20 years earlier unwittingly become humankind’s only hope for survival.
Release Date: August 23, 2013
Thoughts: While I wasn’t as over the moon about Shaun of the Dead as some were, I did enjoy the two leads (Simon Pegg, Star Trek / Star Trek: Into Darkness and Nick Frost) because you could tell the two really played off of eachother well. Their second collaboration, Hot Fuzz, wasn’t as big of a hit but I quite enjoyed the hammy over-the-top comedy for what it was. After the slightly disappointing Paul, I’m happy to report that their newest film The World’s End looks like a return to fine comedic form for the duo. Reuniting with their Shaun and Fuzz director Edgar Wright (who also showed fine visual flair with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World), I expect Pegg and Frost to guide The World’s End to a modest late summer last hurrah hit.
Synopsis: An affable underachiever finds out he’s fathered 533 children through anonymous donations to a fertility clinic 20 years ago. Now he must decide whether or not to come forward when 142 of them file a lawsuit to reveal his identity.
Release Date: November 22, 2013
Thoughts: If all goes as planned Vince Vaughn will have a nice little summer hit with the enjoyable The Internship, putting him in a good spot for audiences to welcome another comedy later in 2013 that’s a remake the well-received a 2011 Canadian film Starbuck. Both movies were directed by the same guy (Ken Scott) that could pose a potential problem because history has shown that sometimes it’s easier to provide a shot-for-shot remake rather than truly remake the film from the bottom up. From what I know of Starbuck, Vaughn may be the best man in Hollywood for the job and based on an appealing turn in The Internship I’m putting this one a little higher on my list.
Synopsis: The tale of an outlaw who escapes from prison and sets out across the Texas hills to reunite with his wife and the daughter he has never met
Release Date: August 16, 2013
Thoughts: A film that looks to be an intriguing mix of Terrence Malik cinematic grandeur and Coen Brothers dark romantic triangles, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints may not be grammatically correct but it sure does look like a film to sit up and take notice of. Casey Affleck is one of the more underrated actors working in Hollywood today and this could finally be the film that wakes up Hollywood to an actor really coming into his own. Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Side Effects) is another fascinating actress that’s on the hot list right now thanks to her ‘all-in’ approach to her performances. Set against the ominous stretches of Texas back country, I’ll be interested in taking a look at this one later in the summer.