Friday, January 4, 2013

20 Genre Films in 2013

Being that it is now January and 2013 and all, it is a time for lists. The end of a year, the beginning of another, Best of Lists, Worst of Lists, lists galore, they bloom in the frigid winter light, and never one to cause trouble for the point of causing trouble, that's what you will be getting from me in the next couple of weeks. 

And not just because making lists appeals to my OCD either.

For you rare and beautiful few out there who are interested, my own personal Best and Worst movies of 2012 lists will be dropping sometime early next week, whether I have managed to view those last few films I'm interested in or not, because really, you can only sit on these puppies for so long before they lose what little relevance they had in the first place. After that I'll probably throw together a best comics of 2012 list. Then perhaps I'll turn in a best cat video list--kidding! I mean really, how could you ever decide?




Today we'll be looking forward to some upcoming geeky/genre movies that are scheduled to be released in 2013, hence the blog's title. It didn't start out as a list of genre films, but it was a very easy list to write this time, very quickly becoming a list of 20 and upon perusing it, the list's leanings were immediately apparent. At which point, I did three things. 1. Admitted to myself that this was in fact a big nerd list. 2. Decided that that was okay. And 3. Didn't add Baz Luhrmann's upcoming Leo DiCaprio vehicle: The Great Gatsby. I mean, God knows I love me some F. Scott Fitzgerald--I'm not a peasant, for God's sake!--not to mention the lovely and talented Carey Mulligan, but Mr. Luhrmann and I don't always see eye to eye entertainment-wise, and besides it didn't really fit with the list's theme, so... kick rocks, Luhrmann.

But I digress...

20 Genre Films coming in 2013
(A list of films I am looking forward to in no particular order...)

20. Only God Forgives

First up, we have the next project from Director Nicolas Winding Refn (I wonder how you pronounce his last name...) and Ryan Gosling (whose role apparently involves him getting his ass kicked), who last teamed up in the phenomenal wheel-man/vengeance film Drive. While maybe not entirely geeky, this film is about a Bangkok police lieutenant and a gangster settling their differences in a Thai-boxing match, so... altogether? It's geeky enough. And the poster is awesome.

19. Mad Max: Fury Road

Ignoring wars, terrorist actions, storms, local genocides, and who knows how many other plagues sent by a vengeful All Mighty, Mad Max: Fury Road has spit in the eye of God and is well underway, it might even be done filming as we speak. And I just want to state for the record, I fully support this. I love the Mad Max movies and can't wait to see Tom Hardy in this role. Okay sure, his Bane was ridiculous and stupid, but that was mostly due to the fact that the character is inherently stupid and so was the script, the guy is great and I can't wait to see his spin on that perennial post-apocalyptic wandering ronin Max.

18. Now You See Me

Okay, sure, judging from the trailer this film may be a little smarmy. It may end up to be nothing but a MAGIC (jazz fingers) version of Ocean's 11. But I'm still looking forward to it. What can I say? I'm a sucker for heist films. Especially if there's a "getting the band back together" sequence. Love it! Also, the cast is great. Jesse Eisenberg (working hard to break free of his Poor Man's Michael Cera image), Mark Ruffalo (A man who has played the Hulk, who is working with the Director of one of the Hulk movies, and yet the tow of them have never worked together...), Morgan Freeman (This is only his first appearance on this list), Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Elias Koteas, and Michael Caine. What a great cast, right, so who knows? Could be fun.

17. The Seventh Son

Described as an "18th Century Adventure Story", this film has Jeff Bridges as some kind of ghoul fighting Sorceror dude, Julianne Moore as some kind of ghoul apparently (judging by her outfit's collar in the picture on the IMDB page), and even Jon Snow from Game of Thrones! I don't know what his character does in this movie, but I'll bet anything that he knows nothing! Heh, heh, heh... because... because Ygritte on the show, she says that... forget it. Anyway, it could be dumb, it will probably be dumb, but I'm always willing to give any old timey monster-fighter movie at least a cursory chance.

16. Snowpiercer

Yes, this is an odd sounding premise, but several pieces of this perked my interest. It's future and the earth is in another Ice Age and the only people left alive are these people that live on this massive train. You heard me... They all live on a train. Sounds wonderful. So, apparently life on the train is defined by a rigid class structure, but anger is growing in the lower classes... duh, duh, duh! Yes, it's crazy and a bit silly, but I really like this new crop of upcoming sci-fi films, they're all these weird high-concept ideas reminiscent of the type of stuff that came out in the 1970s. I mean, come on, a frozen world where the only survivors live on a massive train endlessly traveling the frigid wasteland? Why yes, now that you mention it, I AM interested in hearing more.

15. Warm Bodies

I'm usually very much against the Intelligent Zombie trope, or anything from the zombie's Point of View for that matter, but the trailer for this looks like it might be fun. Yes, some of the jokes are terrible and obvious and as run-into-the-ground almost as bad as any "Batman and Robin are gay" joke you may have heard, but it could be fun. Maybe. Shaun of the Dead is a zombie comedy and it's a classic. Fido is a zombie comedy and it was fun. And honestly, with the craptastic Walking Dead TV show the only Zombie Apocalypse currently going, it'll be nice to see something else. Hopefully.

14. The Wolverine

The last time out, the solo Wolverine movie was one of the stinkiest of the stinky. It was beyond bad, stupid awful, dumb. Terrible. But Wolverine is one of those characters, like the previously mentioned Mad Max or Eastwood's Man with No Name, he's adaptable. He's easy. Throw him into any situation and you've got your movie, or at least a good starting point. And Hugh Jackman knows the role. Also, the original Wolverine in Japan stories are all classics among the comic-reading set and that's where this film is set, as made obvious by the insanely cool poster above. But the problem with the project, what will end up being the deciding factor, will be the script, so we shall have to wait and see how things turn out.

13. Man of Steel

Superman is hard to get right. He's a Earth-bound God, but he needs to be human to stay relatable. Too much God and you get Superman 4. Too much human and you get Superman Returns. Both films were unbearably terrible. Zach Snyder is a fun filmmaker, but sometimes he can get a little lost in his own style (See: Suckerpunch... or better yet, don't see Suckerpunch... ever). The tone of this trailer seems more than a little maudlin, but it's just a trailer, so I'm hoping the fun of the Avengers film might influence Snyder a little. And speaking of the Avengers, this film here may be the first official step toward the eventual/inevitable Justice League Movie. The main stumbling block in the road right now is that Warner Bros is currently run by angry monkeys and crazy people all of whom are seemingly incapable of doing anything right, so while I'm interested in a new Superman film, frankly, it'll be a god damn miracle if it turns out to be any good.

12. Pain and Gain

Okay, two things. 1. This is another film that isn't really that geeky. 2. This is also a Michael Mann film. I KNOW! Michael Mann! WTF, right? The man who has made some of the worst films ever . You may call that hyperbole, but I hope the day never comes when a worse film than Transformers 2 comes along. I mean, did you see that crappy film? The man is responsible for some serious crimes against cinema... but what is this? A Coen Bros-esque true crime story, no "magic hour" shots? A new artistic leaf? Or just a little vacation? Either way, this is the surprise trailer of the year for me. I'm interested, hopefully the quality of this trailer translates into a quality movie.

11. Gravity

I love Children of Men. It's one of my favorite films ever. If I ever make a top 10 favorite films ever list, it would appear, probably at #6. I love it. So if Alfonso Cuaron is making a film, I am interested. Add to that the fact that the film in question is a sci-fi flick about Astronauts in a damaged space station trying to return to earth with a rumored 20 minute single-shot opening sequence? Yeah, I am VERY interested. Plus, George is cool, who doesn't like George? Everybody likes George. I bet he pays for people's drinks, y'know? He looks like the type. I like that.

10. Only Lovers Left Alive

What the fuck is this? WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?!?! Tom Hiddleston? Tilda Swinton? In a Jim Jarmusch film about a pair of vampires that have been in love for centuries? How the hell am I just learning about this film now? This is insane. Coming Soon? Not soon enough!

9. After Earth

Look at Will Smith. Man, what a good dad he is, putting together a whole movie just for his kid. Those Pinkett-Smiths, man, I tell ya', they are gonna make sure their kids become stars whether we like it or not. The upside is, for this attempt they have chosen yet another of the seeming myriad of high-concept 1970s reminiscent sci-fi films that are coming out in 2013. In this one, Will and Jaden--It's Jaden, right? Jaden Smith? That can't be right, hold on... Nope, looks like that's right. Jaden (rolls eyes)--anyway, Will and Jaden have crashed landed on a future Earth, one that was abandoned by humans 1000 years ago. Jaden must travel across an inhospitable planet surface in order to activate a rescue beacon or something because Will gets injured (Why? Because it's Jaden's movie, people! He's the star!).

8. Oblivion

I've already talked about this film here. I'm a fan of how it looks and what it seems to be about, despite the fact that it's directed by the guy that did that stupid Tron film and stars Tom "fucking weird-o" Cruise. That, and the whole thing with the buildings. What's going on there? How are they cliffs? How are the buildings underground? Did you see that? Click on the link, look at the poster, check out the trailer... what is that? How does that happen? Hopefully the film will address or explain this, otherwise it could be a deal breaker for me because it just bugs me so much. On the other hand: Morgan Freeman!

7. Elysium

This will be Neill Blomkamp's second film. His first film was District 9, which was fun, inventive, imaginative, and very well received. He was called a fresh new voice, so people have been anxiously awaiting more from him. Well, this year, he finally delivers and so anticipation is high. Will the story of the fight for equality on a world where the super-rich live in space stations while the poor languish among the ruins of Earth be any good? Personally, I'm half-expecting a sophomore slump here. Why? 1. It's taken him forever. 2. The allegory, while a classic, is usually delivered a bit heavy-handedly, especially in sci-fi. 3. District 9 wasn't exactly subtle, y'know? I like Matt Damon (even before he shit on Sarah Palin for being an idiot) and, like I've said, I love classic high-concept sci-fi. I also love exo-skeletons, something it looks like Damon is wearing in the above picture, so I'm interested, but a little leery of Blomkamp's next film, at least until I see a trailer.

6. Thor: The Dark World

I didn't love the first Thor movie, but I didn't hate it either. I did, however, love the Avengers and Thor was great in that film. Everyone was great in that film. That film was great. So, anyway, even though I wasn't wowed by the first film, I'm interested in this one. because it sounds like this time the story will take place more on Asgard than on Earth and will feature a lot of big battles between Thor and his buddies and a race of evil Dark Elves. So, does that mean no powerless Thunder God stuck on Earth in an awkward romantic comedy with a woman who appears only slighty attracted to him? Probably not. But Natalie Portman and Kat Dennings are both in this film, so I'm not promising anything, but it sounds like the answer is: "mostly likely no, but maybe", which is better than nothing, I guess.

5. Pacific Rim

Here's another film I've mentioned before. I don't know how anybody could not be excited about this film, they're out there, but I don't get it. Giant robots versus Giant monsters? That's too awesome. I can't wait. And while I'm not usually the biggest fan of Guillermo del Toro's work, I can appreciate his ambition and the wide scope of his imagination, so at the very least he should deliver some thrills.

4. Star Trek into Darkness

J.J. Abrams is the king of both fumbled story lines and ridiculous set security, so while the latter has turned out to be true, hopefully the former will not. What is this film about? What is the name of the character played by Go-to Celebrity Super Password name Benedict Cumberbatch? Will it be a re-imagining of Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan like everyone knows it's going to be, despite Abrams trying to pretend that it isn't? The answer is: Yes, of course it will be. Will it be just like Wrath of Khan? No, remember, this is an alternate universe, but close enough. Regardless, even though the plot of his last Star Trek film was complete nonsense (If one drop of Red Matter will create a black hole... why does Spock have SO MUCH OF IT ON HIS SHIP?), it was fun and now that they've got all the re-introductions down and everyone is in place, I'm excited  to see a straight forward pulpy sci-fi space adventure. Fingers crossed.

It's funny to think about the fact that normal people out there know who Tony Stark and Iron Man are, that they even know who Pepper Potts is, is even crazier. Pepper Potts! It's amazing. Ten years ago, Iron Man was a C list hero at best. He barely had his own title. He was a permanent background fixture of the Avengers book, his only Comic Book Geek claim to fame was that he once had a nine issue story arc way back in 1979 where he was a drunk. Now, he's as well known as Spider-man, maybe even Batman. And because of this, the floodgates open and now normal people know about Captain America and the Black Widow... crazy. Of course, the reason the character has reached these heights are the great movies and more specifically, Robert Downey Jr. and now they're both back, directed by Shane Black (Have you seen Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang? You should) and Tony is going to face his greatest enemy, the man behind the Ten Rings organization, the shadowy figure known as the Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley to avoid the whole Yellow Peril thing... which is probably wise.

I'm so happy to hear that this film is finally on its way. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost teaming up with Edgar wright again. So happy. Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are both great movies, two of my favorites. What makes both films great is the fact that they walk a tightrope, where they are not only clever and insightful send-ups of their particular genre (Zombie and Cop movies respectively), but they are also great examples of that genre. This film focuses on an effort to recapture the glories of youth, specifically an epic bar crawl from the main characters' college days that was supposed to end at the bar The World's End, but was never completed. Unfortunately, when these old friends gather to make one last go at the big bar crawl.... the Apocalypse hits and, I can only assume, hilarity ensues.

Does this shock you? It shouldn't. I loved the first one. Sure, I can see how some people might have certain issues with the film, but I simply do not agree with them. I can't wait to see more. There isn't much more to say more than that.

Just fyi,

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