Most Anticipated Films of 2013

Will 2013 be as good a year for movies as 2013 was? I hope so. There might be the usual bunch of sequels, reboots, and redundant superhero origins stories, but there are also lots of goodies that await. Here, in no particular order, are Cinemablographer's most anticipated films of 2013. The list started at ten, although it kept expanding. Keep it growing by sharing your 'must-sees' of 2013!

The most anticipated films of 2013:

The Legend of Sarila, an Alliance Films release.
The Legend of Sarila
Dir. Nancy Florence Savard
Starring: Christopher Plummer, Rachelle Lefevre, Geneviève Bujold, Natar Ungalaaq.
The Legend of Sarila promises to be a landmark Canadian film for 2013. Animated features are rare in this country (aside from the Genie-winner The Triplets of Belleville), so it’s a major feat that The Legend of Sarila is a completely Canadian 3D animated film. In addition to the beautiful animation, which looks quite striking from the film’s trailer, Sarila offers a notable look into Canada’s Inuit culture. Take the whole family and enjoy action, adventure, drama, mystery, and magic Canadian style. And it's in 3D! (Feb. 22)

An Enemy
Dir. Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Melanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, Isabella Rossellini
An Enemy is my most anticipated film of 2013. The fanboy in me can hardly contain his excitement for this film. An Enemy is the first film by director Denis Villeneuve since his Oscar nomination for Incendies and it’s an adaptation of an a novel by my favourite author, José Saramago. The Double doesn’t rank as one of the author’s strongest books, but it might be his most filmable one. This story about a man who turns a video store upside-down after seeing his doppelganger in an old movie might translate Saramago’s parenthetical prose more easily than, say, Blindness. Star Jake Gyllenhaal also appears in Villeneuve’s upcoming film Prisoners, which is also slated for 2013 release, so we can probably expect to see some good chemistry between the star and the director if they chose to work together again. I just hope that I can simply enjoy a new Villeneuve adaptation after spending the better part of a year analyzing Incendies to death. (TBA)

August: Osage County
Dir. John Wells
Starring: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis, Chris Cooper
The “Streep for Oscar!” banner shall emerge yet again. The cinematic equivalent to God has another juicy role coming to the screen and August: Osage Country has Mr. Oscar himself, aka Harvey Weinstein, as distributor. Meryl Streep stars as Violet Weston, a woman who is fighting cancer while struggling with mood swings, an addiction to prescription drugs, and an alcoholic husband. Even more reasons to be excited for August: Osage County are the presence of Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, and Juliette, plus a Pulitzer Prize and a handful of Tony awards for the play on which this film is based. The play is by Tracey Letts, whose Killer Joe made for a great stage-to-screen outing this year. Cue the Oscar campaign. (TBA)

A Long Way Down
A Long Way Down
Dir. Pascal Chaumeil
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, Aaron Paul, Rosamund Pike.
I am equally excited and nervous for A Long Way Down. One of my favourite novels, A Long Way Down is one of those mesmerizing books that can change your life. It’s a tricky tale about four people who plan to commit suicide on New Year’s Eve (Brosnan, Collette, Poots, Paul), but their plans go awry when their suicide attempts converge. They form the unlikeliest of support groups, but Nick Hornby’s fun breezy writing style prevents A Long Way Down from being a sappy, contrived mess. Here’s hoping it works as well on the screen as it does in print! (Fall 2013)

Devil’s Knot
Dir. Atom Egoyan
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Colin Firth, Amy Ryan, Kevin Durand, Mireille Enos, Bruce Greenwood, Elias Koteas.
Atom Egoyan might be working completely outside of Canada for his latest film, but that’s no reason to mute the anticipation for Devil’s Knot. Egoyan reunites with his Where the Truth Lies star Colin Firth and directs a stacked cast in this based-on-a-true-story thriller about the West Memphis Three. It’s a bizarre case that spiralled into a stranger trial that brought accusations of the occult against a group of teenagers. Interested viewers can brush up on the facts by seeking out the documentary West of Memphis, which premiered at TIFF last September. Act quickly, though, because the film is reportedly complete, so it could be ready for Cannes! (TBA)

Oprah with Terrence Howard in The Butler
The Butler
Dir. Lee Daniels
Starring: Forrest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard, Jane Fonda, Melissa Leo, Mariah Carey, Robin Williams, Vanessa Redgrave.
It was inevitable that Oprah and Lee Daniels would make a movie together. After being the official mover-and-shaker for Precious in 2009, Lady O co-stars in Daniels’ film about a White House butler (Forrest Whitaker) who served eight American Presidents over the course of three decades. Folks at the TIFF screening of The Paperboy could have made a drinking game out of the number of times that Daniels plugged the film, so could this Weinstein Co. film be a big player at #TIFF13? (TBA)

Maps to the Stars
Dir. David Cronenberg
Starring: Rachel Weisz, Viggo Mortensen, Robert Pattinson
The bromance between David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen continues with Robert Pattinson emerging as a third wheel. In true Cronenbergian evasive/bullshit fashion, the director has described this long-gestating film as “satirical” after he previously described it as “not a satire.” Most interesting, though, is that this will be Cronenberg’s first film to be shot in America. (Los Angeles) Apparently, Mr. Cronenberg has given fake America (Toronto) the boot. Maps is reportedly gearing up for a summer shoot, so it might not make it to theatres this year. (TBA, probably winter)

Blanchett receives direction from the Woodman
Untitled Woody Allen Film.
Dir. Woody Allen
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins, Peter Sarsgaard, Louis C.K.
Plot details are yet to be revealed, but the Woodman is back from his Eurotrip. Once again making a film in the US of A, shooting in New York and California, Woody is probably set to deliver another clever ensemble film about love and death. The great Cate appears as Allen's newest leading lady, and people are already buzzing that Blanchett sports eclectic threads in the film. The summer fashion is already drawing comparision to Diane Keaton in Annie Hall. (TBA)

Pinto and Bale in Knight of Cups
Knight of Cups
Dir. Terrence Malick
Starring: Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, Holly Hunter, Antonio Banderas, and –weak link—Freida Pinto. (Hopefully her scenes will be cut.)
Terrence Malick is cranking them out! It took twenty years for Malick to make The Thin Red Line after 1978’s Days of Heaven, but he seems to be making up for lost time by churning out films at Woody Allen speed. Some moviegoers (including me) found themselves disappointed by Malick’s To the Wonder when it hit the festival circuit last year and wondered if, like Allen, Malick tends to stumble when he has too many projects on the go. I’m optimistic, though, since To the Wonder was still something wondrous even if it didn’t really work. (TBA)

Dir. Alexander Payne
Starring: Bruce Dern, Will Forte
Hooray for another road trip film from Alexander Payne, the director of the great road trip movies Sideways and About Schmidt! Nebraska stars Bruce Dern and Will Forte as a father-son duo en route to Nebraska to claim a million dollar prize from Publisher’s Clearing House. Expect America’s greatest sweepstakes to provide another poignant slice-of-life tale from one of America’s greatest independent filmmakers. Additional note: IMDb credits Nebraska as being shot in black-and-white. Is this Payne’s Frances Ha? (TBA)

Dir. James Gray
Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Renner, Joaquin Phoenix
2013 sees a double-whammy of La Marion as the French superstar makes two films with director James Gray. (The other is Blood Ties.) Cotillard plays a woman who is tricked into a life of burlesque and vaudeville until a magician (Phoenix) tries to save her. Five minutes of the film were screened during a tribute to Cotillard at this year’s Telluride Film Festival and the footage was apparently so impressive that it made The Playlist’s list of the top festival moments of 2012. Marion Cotillard rocked the flapper gear in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, so maybe Lowlife will appear on my list of highlights for 2013. (TBA)

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Dir. Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Jena Malone, Philip Seymour Hoffman.
It’s weird not to be rolling my eyes at an upcoming teen movie, but the first Hunger Games proved that a movie does not need to be vacant if it’s geared towards a younger audience. The second adaptation of the popular series has very high expectations to live up to, and it might be a bit worrisome that Gary Ross, the director who piloted the first film to success, isn’t at the helm. Instead, Francis Lawrence, who turned Water for Elephants into a clunky mess, directs Catching Fire. I was really excited when David Cronenberg’s name was tossed about as a possible director, but he’d have had Katniss and Peeta doing all sorts of things that aren’t PG-13. (Nov. 22)

Kelsey Scott, Quvenzhané Wallis and Chiwetel Eljiofor in Twelve Years a Slave
Twelve Years a Slave
Dir. Steve McQueen
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Quvenzhané Wallis, Chiwetel Eljiofor, Michael K. Williams, Paul Giamatti, Sarah Paulson.
Michael Fassbender reunites with Shame and Hunger director Steve McQueen for this saga of slavery set in the 1800s. Twelve Years a Slave cites one of the most impressive casts this year, with Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, Chiwetel Eljiofor, and Beasts of the Southern Wild break-out Quvenzhané Wallis listed in its credits; however, I doubt that more star power and a bigger budget will prevent McQueen from making a film as daring and provocative as Shame or Hunger. Something tells me this will be a much different take on the slave trade than Django Unchained. (Fall 2013)

Nicole Kidman in Stoker

Dir. Chan-wook Park
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode, Jacki Weaver.
Stoker is the first English-language feature by South Korean director Chan-wook Park (Oldboy). That bit of trivia offers an intriguing reason to see the film, as does the screenwriting credit for Prison Break co-star Wentworth Miller. Miller’s The Human Stain co-star Nicole Kidman is the reason that I want to see the film, since Stoker hints at another great turn in Kidman’s string of dark, challenging roles. No word has leaked if Nicole pees on Mia. (March 1)

Dir. Alfonso Cuarón
Starring: George Clooney, Sandra Bullock
Yet another exciting director credit for 2013 is Alfonso Cuarón’s first film since 2006’s Children of Men. Like Children of Men, Gravity sounds like an entry in the science-fiction genre, as George Clooney and Sandra Bullock star as astronauts drifting alone in space. This doesn’t mean that I have forgiven Sandra Bullock’s Oscar win, but I’m always willing to keep an open mind. (TBA)

Rooney Mara stars in Side Effects.
Courtesy of eOne Films / Photo: Barry Wetcher
Side Effects
Dir. Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jude Law.
Is Steven Soderbergh ever retiring? I hope not, because. The Oscar-winning director has been quite prolific lately, and Side Effects (potentially his last as a director) looks pretty great. The film reteams Soderbergh with Contagion writer Scott Z. Burns and Traffic star Catherine Zeta-Jones, along with Magic Mike star Channing Tatum and Contagion’s Jude Law. Headlining the film is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Rooney Mara, who looks like she’s here to stay as a Hollywood star. Will Side Effects be the first great film of 2013? (Feb. 8)

What 2013 films are you excited to see?