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10 for ’13: The New Year’s Most Exciting Movies

January 3, 2013

Last year at this time, I picked a dozen films sight unseen and dubbed them the new year’s most exciting movies. My crystal-ball skills were cloudy at best: While I correctly predicted that LincolnArgo and Django Unchained would be among 2012’s top titles, I missed with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Rock of Ages and The Dictator. Falling somewhere in the middle were This is 40, Pirates! Band of Misfits and Not Fade Away. And three of the movies—Gangster Squad, Parker and Bullet to the Head—got bumped to early 2013. Still, this hasn’t stopped me from choosing ten films I’m psyched to see in the coming year.

Admission. Hey, Tina Fey, you just wrapped a seven-year run on 30 Rock—what are you gonna do now? Star as a college administrator who stumbles on a boy who might be the child she gave up for adoption years ago! Even though this comedy—costarring Paul Rudd and directed by Paul Weitz (Being Flynn)—is set at Princeton instead of Tina’s and my alma mater, the University of Virginia, I’ll still pay the price of Admission.

The Place Beyond the Pines. First, the downside: The overrated Bradley Cooper stars as a Schenectady cop. Now the silver lining: Ryan Gosling (reuniting with his promising Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance) also stars as a carnival stunt motorcycle rider who’s drawn to a life of crime to support his ex-girlfriend and her kid. Kinda sounds like my favorite film of 2011, Driveon two wheels, huh?

42. It’s about time Jackie Robinson get the big-screen biopic he deserves—1950’s The Jackie Robinson Story only proved he was a much better ballplayer than an actor. Little-known Chadwick Boseman stars, with Harrison Ford as Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey and a murderers’ row of character actors as baseball greats: Christopher Meloni as Leo Durocher! Lucas Black as Pee Wee Reese! Hamish Linklater as Ralph Branca! John C. McGinley as Red Barber! Oh, doctor!

Pain and Gain. If you had told me that un film de Michael Bay would be on this list before I saw the intriguing trailer for this true-crime story, I would’ve asked you what kind of drugs you were on. But now that he’s worked the Transformers trilogy out of his system, the testosterone-fueled director is moving onto a ‘roid-rage dramedy starring Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Tony Shalhoub(!). It looks like Boogie Nights, only with swelling pecs instead of…well, you know.

Captain Phillips and Saving Mr. Banks. With Cloud Atlas, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Larry Crowne. Tom Hanks hasn’t been on a roll lately, but these two movies might change his luck. In Bourne director Paul Greengrass’ Phillips, he’s the skipper of a U.S. ship hijacked by pirates. And in Banks, he’s Walt Disney, who travels to London to persuade author E.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) to let him adapt Mary Poppins. If either of these films hit, it could be retitled Saving Mr. Hanks. (And hey, having a similar title didn’t hurt Hanks’ Saving Private Ryan.)

The Lone Ranger. The Johnny Depp-Gore Verbinski Pirates of the Caribbean movies didn’t blow me down, but I’m still dying to see what the Rango duo will do with another Western—especially since Depp has chosen not to play the titular masked man (Armie Hammer takes that role) but rather his Native American sidekick, Tonto. It’s either going to be a huge hit or a $100 million-plus version of Jim Jarmusch’s flop Western with Depp and Robert Mitchum, Dead Man. Either way, I’m there.

The Monuments Men. You’d be crazy to bet against George Clooney, and his latest effort as a writer-director seems like it could be both a commercial and critical smash a la Oceans 11 or Argo (which he exec-produced). It’s the true story of a team of World War II-era art historians who set out to rescue masterpieces before Hitler can destroy them. And you can’t beat the cast: 007 himself Daniel Craig, Oceans alum Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett (let’s ignore her earlier WWII movie with Clooney, The Good German), Bill Murray (Bill Murray!), Argo‘s John Goodman, Downton Abbey‘s Hugh Bonneville and The Artist‘s Jean Dujardin, who took home the Oscar for Best Actor over The Descendants‘ Clooney. If you can’t beat ‘im, sign ‘im!

reg_634.matthewmc.mh.110912Dallas Buyers Club and The Wolf of Wall Street. After his remarkable run in 2012—Bernie, Magic Mike, Killer Joe and The Paperboy—Matthew McConaughey is poised for an even bigger year with roles as a real-life AIDS activist (the photos of his physical transformation, like the one at right, are startling) and a financier. And he’s only one of many great talents in Martin Scorsese’s Wolf: Leonardo DiCaprio (Marty’s male muse), Jon Favreau, The Walking Dead‘s Jon Bernthal, Argo/Zero Dark Thirty‘s Kyle Chandler, the suddenly ubiquitous Jean Dujardin and perhaps America’s most underrated actor, Shea Whigham, who previously stole scenes from McConaughey in The Lincoln Lawyer and costars on Boardwalk Empire, created by Wolf screenwriter Terence Winter. Plus: Rob Reiner, Spike Jonze, Jonah Hill and Fran Lebowitz (as a judge, which she’s also played on Law & Order), the subject of Scorsese’s 2010 documentary Public Speaking. In the case of this Wall Street‘s cast, maybe greed really is good.

What 2013 films are you most excited about? Post a comment!

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6 Comments
  1. My must sees for 2013 are Into Darkness, The Great Gatsby, Gangster Squad, Oz: The Great & Powerful, & 42.

    • bruceafretts permalink

      I can’t share your enthusiasm for The Great Gatsby in 3D and scored by Jay-Z. Doesn’t sound so Great to me.

      • It has got to be better than Robert Redfred’s version. Liked the look of the trailer.

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