What I'm Watching in 2013

So it's a new year and I'm surfing the Net looking at coming attractions. Here's what got me excited today.

300: Rise of an Empire
Did you know this was coming out? I didn't know this was coming out. Now that I know this is coming out, I'm lining up for it. The first 300 was insanely awesome so this story about Themistocles vs. Xerxes is going a shoe in for a spot on my list. I'm a little concerned that it's no longer directed by Zack Snyder, but I'll be interested to see if the style still works with another person at the helm.

47 Ronin
Keanu Reeves in a fantasy samurai movie. Questionable, but at least the rest of the cast seems to be of the right ethnicity. Until Hollywood picks up the Blade of the Immortal license, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with this.

After Earth
M. Night Shymalan’s new movie about life after the apocalypse. This time he didn't write the thing, so I’m hoping it doesn't totally suck. To be fair to him, though, I was a fan all the way up to Lady in the Water. Here’s hoping this new one will take away some of the WTF that was The Last Airbender.

Before Midnight
I've got some misgivings about this one. Before Sunset was no where near as good as Before Sunrise, but Richard Linklater's story about Jesse and Celine was one of the my favorites, so it is hard to say no to another installment. Still, since it's been about two decades since the first one, I doubt there are many who are eager to jump into this trilogy.

A remake of the 1976 classic, this time starring Chloë Grace Moretz. Stephen King's novels don’t often translate well to the screen, and I’m not sure if Boys Don’t Cry director, Kimberly Peirce, can do a thriller like this, but damn if Ms. Moretz isn't reason enough to watch this one.

The Croods
Upvote anything by Lilo & Stitch director, Chris Sanders. This is his follow up to  2010’s How to Train Your Dragon, and it’s about a family of cavemen. The trailer is hilarious, and he seems to bring out the best in his team, so I’m very excited about this one. I might actually watch this one in 3-D, too.

Despicable Me 2
There aren't a lot of non-Pixar/Disney animated films out there that get me as excited, but Despicable Me was definitely one of those. Those adorable minions are so cute it’s downright evil. As long as the sequel has some screen time dedicated to those guys, I’m all for it.

Neill Blomkamp’s follow up to District 9, one of the best science fiction movies of all time. This one’s about the conflict caused by the inequality between rich space station residents and the poor people stuck on Earth. If it’s half as good as his first feature outing, I’m all for it.

Ender’s Game
I've had a copy of this in my library for years, but never got around to reading Orson Scott Card’s award winning novel. I’m a little iffy about the adaptation’s director though. Gavin Hood is the guy behind X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which wasn't one of the best comic book movies.

Ice Age has been one of the animation franchises that has been consistently entertaining since the beginning and  Blue Sky Studios has been one of the animation houses that has put out some solid features. Rio was a hell of a lot of fun and though this looks a bit like Fern Gully 3D, I'm still excited to watch it.

Evil Dead
I’m not as huge a fan of Sam Raimi’s horror franchise as some of my friends are, but I do enjoy anything with Bruce Campbell in it. However, the red band trailer of the remake is making a lot of noise online. Even if this sucks, I’m still going to be in the theater.

Disney’s take on Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale The Snow Queen. After the super Rapunzel adaptation that was Tangled, and the awesome, awesome job they did on Wreck-It Ralph, I can’t wait to see what they do with this one. Also, Kristen Bell.

Gangster Squad
Emma Stone. ‘nuff said.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Considering that this film’s release date has already been delayed almost a year due to the fact that it had awful test screening scores, it’s hard to believe that I still want to see this. Frankly, I thought the best thing about the first one was Rachel Nichols in a skin tight costume. What I wouldn't give for an actual, modern, adult update of this franchise.

A Good Day to Die Hard
I've never seen a Die Hard movie I didn't like. I watch them every few months or so. Personally, I think John McClane could kick even Chuck Norris’ butt. I’m hoping that Bruce Willis keeps making these until he’s in adult diapers.

The new film by Alfonso Cuarón, staring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney about astronauts in a damaged space station surviving. That’s enough of a pitch for me.

The Great Gatsby
Anything by Baz Luhrmann deserves some attention. Moulin Rouge has always been one of those films that I keep watching, even a decade after it's release, and though I've never really been a fan of Leonardo DiCaprio, he is consistently in great movies. The man sure knows how to pick them, so this is likely to be watchable.

The Hangover Part III
I still need to watch the second one, but the first one is one of the most hilarious things to come  out of Hollywood in a long time and the core cast members are imminently watchable. This is definitely worth a look.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
Have you seen Gemma Arterton in her witch hunter gear? While the fairy tale as an action movie has since worn out its welcome, the trailer for this one looks pretty exciting. Jeremy Renner has shown that he's got a lot of leading man pull from his run in 2012, so I'm gonna give this one a chance.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Although the whole High Frame Rate (HFR) fell kind of flat for me, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was still one of the highlights of my 2012 movie watching. Peter Jackson and company have got another hit on their hands. Here's hoping that they never stop making these things.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Although I'm not a huge fan of the franchise, and I didn't particularly like the sequels of author Suzanne Collins' first book, the adaptation of the first part of the series excellent. I'm interested to see if new director Francis Lawrence can continue Gary Ross' success, but though I loved Constantine, I hated his I Am Legend.

Iron Man 3
Do I really need to give a reason for this one? Sure, Jon Favreau is no longer directing this one, but Shane Black is not one to discount. Watch his Kiss Kiss Bang Bang if you have any doubts about him as a director. Still, a multi-million dollar holiday blockbuster is a far cry from a low-key buddy cop film. I'm excited to see how they worked the Extremis storyline from the comics into the movie series' continuity.

Jack the Giant Slayer
Bryan Singer is one of those directors that I will forever be grateful too for bringing characters that I love into the mainstream. Because of that, I'm going to watch anything with his name on it. I really don't care if it's another fairy tale as action film deal.

Kick-Ass 2
I'm kind of iffy about this one. Aside from that one scene where Chloë Grace Moretz gets shot in the chest by Nic Cage, I have to admit that I don't remember a whole lot from the first movie. Considering that this one has a relatively unknown director, it might not be one I want to really go out of my way for. I'll wait for more marketing to arrive before I decide if I'll catch it in theaters.

The Last Stand
An Arnold Schwarzenegger film directed by the guy who did A Tale of Two Sisters? Talk about odd. Still, since this is his first lead role since Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, and he's got to be pushing 70 by now, I'm curious how he'll do in an action role. I mean, even Jackie Chan is retiring!

The Lone Ranger
I'm interested to see what Mr. Gore Verbinski can do after the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has finally died. It helps that this is another Johnny Depp vehicle, and he seems to work with him well, but the property is a little too old. It'll be interesting to see how the Western holds up with today's movie audiences.

Amanda Seyfried as the star of Deep Throat? According toPatrick Muldoon, a producer at the film's production company Eclectic Pictures, "Yes, there's a lot of nudity." Well, hell. Where do I buy tickets?

Machete Kills
If you haven't seen Machete by director Robert Rodriguez, I suggest you do so right away. It is awesome. Anything Danny Trejo does is worth it, and this is him in the title role! If that's not enough to convince you, check out this photo of Spy Kids star Alexa Vega from the movie. Damn!

Guillermo del Toro sure does like to promote those Spanish horror movies. This ones from Andres Muschietti and is about a couple raising feral kids who are haunted by a ghost who may be her mother. I don't know a lot about it, but I trust del Toro's tastes in film.

Man of Steel
I seriously doubt I need to explain the inclusion of this film in this list. It's Superman. It's directed by Zack Snyder. It's produced by Christopher Nolan. It's written by David S. Goyer. It's got Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, and Russell Crowe in the cast. I think that's more than enough to ensure this revives the franchise after Superman Returns killed it.

Monsters University
Monsters, Inc. is still one of Pixar's best films to date, and though they don't have a great track record with their sequels, this new one seems to be pretty groovy. And hey, even if it isn't, think of the merchandising opportunities. Who wouldn't want a MU letter jacket?

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
I see these books in the bookstore a lot and never really took the time to pick it up, but I saw Lily Collins name in the cast list and just need to see this. I loved her in Mirror Mirror, and would love it if her career got bigger. Plus, the books look like they've got a pretty dark tone, so this might be worthwhile.

Mortal Kombat
Not sure how much of this is actually completed or if it'll see release this year, but after director Kevin Tancharoen's Mortal Kombat: Rebirth, the fan short that went viral back in 2010, this is definitely on my radar. It'll be interesting to see what the dude can do with $100,000,000.

The original 2003 Korean film has already had it's imitators (see the Indian movie Zinda), but this ones done by Spike Lee and features Samuel L. Jackson and Sharlto Copley. It'll be interesting to see the Hollywood take on this classic revenge film.

Ok, so this is yet another Tom Cruise action/sci-fi vehicle, but damn it, I like Tom Cruise action/sci-fi vehicles! This one's about him as an every man repair man in a future Earth ravaged by a war with some extraterrestrials. That's enough of a hook for me.

Oz: The Great and Powerful
Sam Raimi doing a L. Frank Baum story? That sounds fascinating. Even if Disney's Alice in Wonderland didn't do too good, I love those old fantasy stories. And hey, if this one does well, maybe we'll have another series of films to look forward to year after year. We need something to replace Harry Potter.

Pacific Rim
Guillermo del Toro does Mechs vs. Aliens. It's like Voltron vs. Godzilla. Good lord, do I need to say anything else? GIANT ROBOTS!

Ok, ok. Not exactly the biggest profile film on this list, but I find anything with Jason Statham in it watchable. He's just cool.

The Prototype
The military loses a robot. Sounds a lot like Short Circuit, but without the funny. Not a lot to go on about this one, but the trailer looks kind of interesting. The cast isn't A-list and it doesn't look like it's got the biggest budget, but most of the best films don't.

Red 2
The first Red was a hoot. That one scene where John Malkovich jumps out with a ghillie suit and crossbow was hilarious and one of my all time favorite bits. It looks like most of the cast from the first outing are back, so this promises to be more of the same super stuff.

Another movie based on an obscure comic book property. A dead cop joins the zombie force to look for his own murderer. Sounds really weird, but worth a look. Starring Ryan Reynolds.

The third in the Vin Diesel sci-fi vehicle. I'm probably one of the few people who really like David Twohy's series, and I've been eager for this sequel to The Chronicles of Riddick. I'm curious to see how this one ties  into the second, since that one was so far from the plot of the first one.

The Seventh Son
A movie that stars Ben Barnes, Julianne Moore and Jeff Bridges in a story about swords and sorcery. I'm interested in seeing the Dude as a wizard if nothing else. It's based on the Wardstone Chronicles, a young adult book series by Joseph Delaney. Something else to list on my books to read in 2013.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
The fact that this Sin City sequel is still directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez is a good sign that this is going to be just as good as the first one. It looks like a lot of the cast is coming back, with the welcome exception of Jamie Chung replacing Devon Aoki as Miho, and both Brittany Murphy and Michael Clarke Duncan, who sadly passed away in the years since the first one.

Star Trek Into Darkness
It's been about three years since the J.J. Abrams helmed reboot used lens flares and camera shaking to bring a new vitality to the dying series, but they successfully turned the boring submarine warfare of the show into exciting dog fighting. I can't wait to see what they do for a follow up, and the addition of Benedict Cumberbatch (of BBC's Sherlock) to the cast is just icing on the cake.

This Is the End
Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel and James Franco in a movie with Emma Watson about the apocalypse? This I've got to check out.

Thor: The Dark World
Can't believe I've got to wait until November to see this one. Kenneth Branagh's take on Thor was probably my favorite Marvel movie to date, and I'm hoping that Alan Taylor can do as well. Nice to see that even Natalie Portman is coming back.

The World’s End
Like This is the End, but with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Martin Freeman. Another potential laugh fest by Pegg and Edgar Wright, who did Shaun of the Dead, and Hot Fuzz.

World War Z
I'm really not sure that this is going to be any good. The trailer looks like more "rage" zombie shenanigans, which is totally the opposite of what Max Brooks' book is about. You'd think with the popularity of The Walking Dead, Hollywood would have understood that the zombie movie's charm is because of the slow relentlessness of the monsters. Still, something I want to see just so I can rant about it after.

The Wolverine
Wolverine in Japan with samurai and ninja. Awesome.

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