March 8, 2013

2013: Curious and Curiouser

This list of upcoming 2013 films is mainly remakes or sequels - and they're ones that I'm genuinely curious about. They could, like most remakes and a lot of sequels, be irredeemably terrible. But there's something, an undefinable air of What the hell is this-ness, that has me intrigued about these upcoming films.

And with that, we'll kick it off with one of the films I'm most curious to see:

GI Joe: Retaliation
You could be forgiven for believing this had already come out. In fact, this sequel to GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra was slated to kick off the blockbuster season last year but at the very last minute, Paramount pulled it. The official reason given was to fix the post-converted 3D; some online sites speculated it was to shoot more footage with Channing Tatum - the star of the first film who reportedly bought it in the opening minutes but who had a bumper 2012.

Whatever the reason, I'm intrigued to see what this film turns out to be. The Rise of Cobra was enjoyable in a terrible kind of way; enough fun, pulpy ridiculousness made it through the noise to give it a pass. Also, the trailer was stonking and crazy and silly in a very good way. Plus The Rock. He's already saved one dumb action franchise with his presence. Who's to say he can't do it again?

NZ Release Date: 28 March 2013

Kick-Ass 2
I enjoyed the curse-word damn hell out of the first Kick-Ass (it made my Favourites of 2010), but the sequel has lost original director Matthew Vaughn (a man who has gained a reputation for having the propensity to leap from project to project). Vaughn and his writing partner Jane Goldman were the reasons the film worked as well as it did - they were both fans, they both fought to have it made their way and they both knew the best way to adapt Miller's original comic (which, it must be said, isn't as great as the film).

Having said that, Vaughn is staying on as producer, and the concept - that the eponymous hero inspires a raft of new heroes and that they must team up Justice League/Avengers style to take down the Red Mist and his team of baddies - is an intriguing one. Add Jim Carrey as Colonel Stars and Stripes and you have me cautiously interested.

NZ Release Date: unknown. 16 August for the States.

A Tom Cruise Sci-Fi Action film is usually a pretty fair bet and to be fair I'm looking forward to this more than Will Smith and Son's M. Night Shymalan directed post-apocalyptic film. But director Joseph Kosinski's Tron: Legacy was a triumph of design over... anything else really.

Once again, however, the trailers thus far released look intriguing enough, even if the plot feels a little played out and obvious. I'm always up for a lark in a dystopian future but I'm hoping there's a little more to Kosinski this time out.

NZ Release Date: 11 April 2013

You should've seen Old Boy by now - the original Korean film, directed by Chan-wook Park that is. It's one of those films that is so singular, so perfect in the execution of its vision you cannot imagine it as a film in any other way.

Yet Spike Lee is going to give it a shot. And he's not the first to have attempted the American remake of this stone-cold classic - Spielberg was attached at one point. Lee has got it across the line though, and with a fairly incredible cast: Josh Brolin in the Dae-su role and Elizabeth Olson as his daughter. Samuel L. Jackson and Sarlto Copley also make appearances. The big question, aside from whether it's any good, is how far they took it this time? The South Korean original went to some incredibly dark and disturbing places in its exploration of revenge. Will the Yanks - even a film-maker as singular as Spike Lee - have the stomach for it? I'm intrigued to see.

NZ Release Date: 17 October 2013

Warm Bodies
Just when you think the whole zombie thing is played out, along comes something else shambling and groaning towards your visual cortex.

I was initially put off by the original concept - a sort of Twilight, with a zombie in the Edward role - but the trailer quickly set me right. The film - from director Jonathan Levine, who's great 50/50 criminally never made it to NZ screens - is lighter in tone to the hormone and angst-ridden lip-biting and staring into the distance of Twilight. Where Edward was a sparkly, controlling freak, Nicholas Hoult's R worries if he's being creepy and keeps a charming and witty narration up.

The film has already been released in the States and received some favourable reviews. It looks to be more in line with Shaun of the Dead - with the light comedic touch but complete understanding of the genre - than the abominable sparkle-vamps.

NZ Release Date: 11 April 2013

I'm one of the very few people who was not utterly swept up and taken away with Neill Blomkamp's District 9. Yeah, sure, it was a pretty cracking wee original sci-fi film (of which there should be more), but whatever it was that everyone else seemed to find in it, I didn't.

Which is not to say that I doubt Blomkamp's intelligence or talent at all. District 9 just didn't do it enough for me. But so I am intrigued to see if what he offers in Elysium - with Matt Damon going up against Jodie Foster in a future dystopia - clicks for me this time.

NZ Release Date: 15 August 2013

The Wolverine
The first stand-alone Wolverine film was an unmitigated disaster - they got absolutely nothing right. Not one thing, which is an achievement in of itself really.

Have Hugh Jackman (and new director James Mangold) learnt from the mistakes made? There is hope that they have. The Wolverine is said to be a stand-alone adventure, set in Japan sometime after X-Men 3. It's based on one of the most celebrated runs on the comics, where Frank Miller took Logan to Japan and made something of a ronin out of him. There's the opportunity for something fun, exciting and new to the superhero-movie genre here. But, as the first Wolverine proved, it can also all go horribly, hilariously wrong.

NZ Release Date: 25 July 2013

Evil Dead
A remake of Sam Raimi's oft-copied but never beaten spook-a-blast? Sacrilege, surely? Surely?!

And that was my initial thought. But then I read the script was written by Diablo Cody. I heard the film is an outright horror. Then I saw the trailer.

Yikes. I mean, holy crap, this film looks nasty. In a very, very good way. Don't expect to find Bruce Campbell mugging at the camera throughout this little cabin-set horror.

But the question remains: will it be any good? Rarely for a remake, I think it has the genuine possibility to be great, and I look forward to seeing for myself. Just not, y'know, by myself.

NZ Release Date: 9 May 2013

Pain & Gain
Michael Bay and explosions. Explosions and Michael Bay. They go hand-in-hand like Michael Bay and inappropriate racial humour. But Bay has taken a brief reprieve from directing Transformers movies for this remarkable based-on-a-true story.

Mark Wahlberg and The Rock (that guy again) star as two muscley muscle-men who (along with Anthony Mackie) get themselves caught up in extortion, kidnapping and identity theft in the mid-90's. The trailer was a cracker, with Bay seeming to hit the right tone for the first time in awhile. This could be one of those enjoyable larger-than-life films that you watch with a shaking head and incredulous grin. But then, Transformers 2 & 3. Don't let us down this time Bay. 

NZ Release Date: 8 August 2013

Ender's Game
What a year for Orson Scott Card, eh? There's been a lot of hullabalooh and a stink kicked up about him writing a Superman comic for DC, given his well-known views on gay marriage (he is very, very, very much opposed).

Vile stone-age political views aside, Card's Ender's Game is one of the great sci-fi novels (interestingly without a trace of homophobia. If anything, it edges towards the homoerotic in parts). It follows Andrew "Ender" Wiggin as he goes through the torturous and unrelenting Battle Schoool - all in order to prepare him to command the united Earth fleet against a coming alien invasion.

There's a lot going on, thematically speaking, in the original story in addition to it taking place over a number of years with some pretty brutal treatment doled out to its young characters. Will Gavin Hood (director of the original disastrous Wolverine, but also Tsotsi) be able to pull it off?

NZ Release Date: 31 October 2013

Again, why the hell are they remaking a classic Hollywood horror film? De Palma's original Carrie is a perfect iteration of the work: stylish, gory, thematically packed and horrific as all get out. How could you possibly beat the casting of Sissy Spacek as the violently picked-upon psychic school-girl?

Chloe Grace Moretz, Hit-Girl herself, is going to take a shot at it. She's a very different presence to Spacek and director Kimberly Peirce (Boy's Don't Cry) is very different to De Palma. And that's why I'm curious to see what this version is going to be like. The trailer released thus far is pure tease, revealing that this time the end destruction is bigger - but will the rest of the film stand up to that sweeping single shot?

NZ Release Date: 14 November 2013

The Last Stand
The return of Arnie to leading man is, reportedly, a fun enough old fashioned action film. And I'm a big Arnie fan (especially of his earlier, not-funnier work). Not only is it the return of the Austrian Oak to his bread-and-butter, it's the English language debut of versatile South Korean director Jee-woon Kim (The Good, The Bad, The Weird and I Saw the Devil).

Reviews have been favourable, praising the use of practical effects and old-school feel to proceedings without being outstanding. I'm curious to see myself how well Arnie does, after his year's running California. It should, I hope, be a bunch of good-time explodey fun. The trailer promises as much.

NZ Release Date: 9 May 2013

A remake of a little-known horror film from the 80's (ok, yes, there's some sort of horror-remake trend going on here) starring the Ring Bearer himself, Elijah Wood. Normally that wouldn't be enough to pique my curiosity, but the intriguing gimmick of the entire film being shot from disturbed killer Wood's point-of-view has me wondering if it'll work.

Past the gimmick, the film itself looks positively creepy as the trailer demonstrates. This is an interesting step for Wood - he of the big dreamy eyes and diminutive stature. He's the last person you'd pick for a demented killer. Which is exactly why it might work, in a really fucking terrifying kind of way.

NZ Release Date: unknown

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2
I love the first Cloudy. I foolishly missed it at the movies, but I must have watched it a dozen times on DVD since - it's hilarious and weird and heartfelt. An almost perfect combination for me.

The original directors, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, have moved on to 21 Jump Street and the Lego movie and incoming helmers Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn don't have much of a track record. But then, the first Cloudy was Lord and Miller's first feature film so here's hoping they've imparted some wisdom to the new kids.
The freshly-released trailer is packed with delicious puns (and if you know me, you know how much of a sucker I am for puns) and I'm currently cautiously optimistic that they've managed to maintain the same strange tone of the first film, while not losing sight of the emotion underneath it all.

And if it's terrible, I'll just pop Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs back in the DVD player and laugh myself silly again.

NZ Release Date: 28 November 2013

1 comment:

  1. Great list, can't wait to see em all! We've seen so much crap lately. xx