10. Upstream Color (April 5th)
I've covered the teaser already and will be covering the new trailer tomorrow (so look out for that!). This is Shane Carruth's mysterious follow-up to the much analyzed and lesser understood indie sci-fi capsule, "Primer." Everything I've seen and heard of "Upstream Color" garantees I will be thinking about it from now until I see it and long after... In fact, I am almost as eager to revisit "Primer" (a third time) as I am to see this one. That's the kind of effect his work has had on me int he past. This is premiering at Sundance this week after which Carruth is reportedly self-distributing it.
9. Only God Forgives (May 23rd - Denmark)
In 2010 Denmark's Nicolas Winding Refn teamed up with American heartthrob Ryan Gosling in "Drive," a breath of fresh air for the contemporary crime film. At times it felt more like it belong more in the art house than the grind house, the duality was unforgettable. They have teamed up again to bring us "Only God Forgives" wherein Gosling is the manager of a Thai boxing club and seeks out on the ex-cop that took his brother's life. Don't expect them to resolve their differences civilly.
8. The Wolf of Wall Street (TBA)
Martin Scorsese is teaming up with Leonardo DiCaprio yet again and it's mainly because it has work so well in the past (from the underrated "Gangs of New York" to the under-appreciated "Shutter Island") that this one effortlessly made it onto my list. It's based on the book by Jordan Belfort, whom DiCaprio is playing in this Wall Street crime film. Keep an eye out for this one come fall would be my guess. I expect this to be a big player at the Academy Awards next year.
7. The Raid: Retaliation (TBA)
Supposedly this takes place a mere two hours after the first movie ends (?!). After one of the most exhilarating and action-packed times I have ever spent at the multiplex. I expected the characters who lived to need a lifetime to recover, but apparently it's going to be more of what we loved and marveled in the first film. Iko Uwais will reprise his role as Rama. Will they be able to strike gold twice? Especially if it is going to feel so much like the first? And no "Mad Dog" this time around at that, but there is someone listed in the credits as "Hammer Girl," hmmm. Whatever the result, I cannot wait to find out! You can read my review for "The Raid: Redemption" here, twas easily one of my top films of 2012. (It's possible this one will not be seen by American audiences this calendar year.)
6. Elysium (August 9th)
"District 9" was the first review I wrote for The Film Tome over three years ago this month. It blew me (and most who saw it) away. South African writer/director Neill Blomkamp returns with an original sci-fi concept. Set nearly 150 years in the future where the rich live in space and the poor suffer on Earth, it brings the two together with an action film starring Matt Damon, Sharlto Copley (star of "District 9"), and Jodie Foster!
5. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (December 13th)
While "An Unexpected Journey" was disappointing (especially on a second viewing) it's shining moments more than made me come down rather raving on the picture. I know very well what comes next in the story ("it's my favorite book!" should be my new catchphrase) and I'm interested to see what extra Jackson and team threw in. The title more than suggests we'll get more of Smaug, the dragon nestled upon the dwarves' treasure, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch (who is going to have a mighty year this 2013). It's an adventure I'm already ready to continue, though we must wait nearly an entire year.
4. Her (TBA)
Spike Jonze is one of the most creative people alive today. He has done a lot of shorts, is renowned for his music videos, and occasionally causes chaos with the Jackass guys... Oh, he has also directed such exceptional films as "Adaptation." and "Where the Wild Things Are" too. His next project is "Her," wherein Joaquin Phoenix (his follow-up role to Freddie Quell in "The Master") plays a writer who falls in love with the female voice and features of his new operating system. Amy Adams, Olivia Wilde, and Rooney Mara also appear, all talented syrens of their own. It's going to be odd and I like odd.
3. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (October 4th)
2005's "Sin City" was one of the most visually striking films of the last decade. The hard black and white base with choice colors was an aesthetic that grabbed by eyeballs from beginning to end. The noir detective beat, with a cast of characters gave the style so much substance. It was a dark, dreary, and sometimes disgusting ride, but what a tale! I am putting this so high on my list because I am both excited and scared to return to Sin City. Much of the original cast (who did not get castrated, shot up, eaten or otherwise disemboweled) will be returning for this one, including recently announced Joseph Gordon-Levitt!
2. Snowpiercer (TBA)
1. Gravity (October 4th)
Alfonso Cuarón's last film, "Children of Men," is still the best film I've seen this new millennium and surely one of the best ever made. I left my hyperbole at home on this one fellas. Only (as in there may very well be nobody else in the film) George Clooney and Sandra Bullock star as astronauts who have crashed their shuttle and must attempt to get back to earth through drifting and (the title subject) gravity. It's ambitious while simplistic and must've been hard as hell to make into a feature. I remember 2010's "127 Hours," my favorite film of that year. It's all too possible to make something into a solid motion picture story that may seem like a bad idea. Or maybe it is a bad idea? All my faith is placed in Cuarón and his go-to cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (who has also worked with Terrence Malick over the years) and this wild germ of an idea. No to mention this is going to be in 3D (and IMAX)! We've seen what other visionaries have done with the technique (Cameron, Herzog, Scorsese, Ridley Scott, and Ang Lee) proving it is not just a gimmick. If I could only see one film in 2013 it would absolutely be "Gravity."
Well, there you have what's partly keeping me waking up with a bounce in my step each morning. I have plenty of honorable mentions ("To the Wonder," "Stoker," "Man of Steel," "Mud," "Inside Llewyn Davis," "The Place Beyond the Pines," and "Trance" to name several). What films are you most looking forward to this year? Please share in the comments below!