Per usual, Hollywood exploded with film excellence this holiday season. Debates abound on the superiority of Argo over Django Unchained and the relevance of Lincoln over Zero Dark Thirty — mincing that ultimately declares the brilliance of each. As such, it’s difficult to imagine that the upcoming film season could be an equally fruitful cornucopia, especially as the majority of film classics release at the end of the year. Still, the following films of early 2013 do hold promise.
Stand Up Guys
Friday, February 1: The first promising film of 2013 joins two of the coolest stars of the 1970s to test the strength of friendship through the ages. Al Pacino and Christopher Walken star as life-long friends Val and Doc, who are reunited after Val’s release from a twenty-eight year prison sentence. However, once the two have caught up on years of gossip, Doc must return to his current assignment: killing Val. If Pacino brings half of the charisma he flourished in The Godfather andGlengarry Glen Ross, he and Walken will waltz beautifully through this crime comedy.
Oz: The Great & Powerful
Friday, March 8: Despite its questionable casting of the capricious Mila Kunis as the Wicked Witch of the West under humdrum director Sam Raimi, this return to the world of Frank Baum’s Oz is still irresistible. Set before Dorothy falls onto the Wicked Witch of the East, Oz: The Great & Powerfulcapitalizes on the success of the bestseller Wicked to imagine how the Wizard first came to rule over Oz. If not spoiled by its mammoth Disney budget, Oz has the potential to captivate audiences with the Technicolor landscapes and characters that have enchanted young and old for generations.
Friday, March 8: At long last, Admission pairs Tina Fey and Paul Rudd in the romantic web audiences have long awaited. Of all Hollywood comedians, Fey and Rudd can both uniquely blend insensitive hilarity with eloquent humanity in their performances. Armed with this duplicity, Fey and Rudd come to Admission to explore the complications of college admissions and the difficulties faced when objectivity becomes subjective.
The Place Beyond the Pines
Friday, March 29: With a title derived from an ancient Mohawk name, Blue Valentine director Derek Clanfrance promises much more than an imitative crime drama with The Place Beyond the Pines. The film follows stunt motorcyclist Luke (Ryan Gosling) as he uses his automotive agility to rob banks in a career change prompted by the birth of Luke’s infant son via his estranged ex, Romina (Eva Mendes). As this film led to the coupling of Gosling and Mendes in real life, their on-screen interaction guarantees electricity. Critics lucky enough to screen the film at the Toronto Film Festival in September are already raving about Gosling’s performance.
Friday, May 10: While little is known about this upcoming film, the chemistry of its cast and crew promise devastating charm. Helmed by director Richard Curtis, (responsible for Blackadder, theBridget Jones series, and Love Actually), About Time combines Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, and Tom Hollander in, astonishingly, a time-travel film.
The Great Gatsby
Friday, May 10: Aggravated by the forced delay of its release until this May, The Great Gatsby is one of the most anticipated releases of 2013, sparking a mob of speculative praise and criticism. Based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, clips from this adaptation drip with the extravagance for which Gatsby and director Baz Luhrmann are both known. Yet, years after the Art Deco that first defined Gatsby tarnished, the truth of Fitzgerald’s characters and themes have endured and guaranteed its relevance. In the midst of the spectacle that has emerged in this adaptation, let’s pray that the story remains most essential.
Star Trek into Darkness
Friday, May 17: Famed for his staunch secrecy, J. J. Abrams has successfully kept millions of Star Trek fans indignantly in the dark about his next installment of the Star Trek franchise. From what his recent teasers do show, however, Star Trek into Darkness brings the destruction of a futuristic London, a crash of the Starship Enterprise, and the fabulous Benedict Cumberbatch out to destroy mankind. Only four months until May …