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The 100 Most Anticipated Films Of 2013 - Part 1

by The Playlist Staff
January 2, 2013 11:58 AM
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Christian Bale
“Out Of The Furnace”
Synopsis: The picture centers on two brothers living in the economically-depressed Rust Belt. One is jailed, and the other is lured into one of the most violent crime rings in the Northeast, which comes with irreversible consequences.
What You Need To Know: Director/writer Scott Cooper demonstrated he could handle gritty with the music drama "Crazy Heart," but “Out Of The Furnace” should prove to be something tonally much darker and more raw, with a story about cruel fate, circumstance, justice and redemption. Christian Bale and Casey Affleck star as the two brothers, and the cast also stars Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard, Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe and Forest Whitaker.
Release Date: No concrete date yet, but Relativity Media are eyeing an awards-season-friendly fall 2013 release, having briefly flirted with the idea of putting it out in 2012.

Place Beyond The Pines
“The Place Beyond The Pines”
Synopsis: A motorcycle rider commits a crime to support his child. A policeman targets him because of the incident and the two men become locked on a tense collision course which will have a devastating impact on both of their families in the years following.
What You Need To Know: Derek Cianfrance’s follow-up to “Blue Valentine” is equally searing and bruising, but an entirely different film experience to its predecessor this time, exploring the consequences of action, fate and the legacies that our fathers pass down to us. Ryan Gosling stars as the criminal, Bradley Cooper as the cop, but the picture is also a tryptich that spans time, and features commanding performances by Dane DeHaan and Emory Cohen as well. A stellar supporting cast revolves around these characters, including Ray Liotta, Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne, Bruce Greenwood and Ben Mendelsohn. This is another film that many of us have already seen (read our glowing review), but it’s too good to not include here.
Release Date: March, 29 2013 (limited)

Hugh Jackman
Synopsis: A Boston man kidnaps the person he suspects is behind the disappearance of his young daughter and her best friend.
What You Need To Know: “Prisoners” placed highly on the Black List in 2009, and a feeding frenzy of talent circled the picture for months, including Bryan Singer, Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Antoine Fuqua, Leonardo DiCaprio and Hugh Jackman. The project’s heat cooled and everyone moved on, but then the movie slowly crawled back to life thanks to the persistence of the producers who knew they had a great script at hand. “Incendies” director Denis Villeneuve signed on to helm, Jackman returned to the fold, and the cast now also includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Melissa Leo, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard and Viola Davis. Jackman plays the father, and Gyllenhaal plays the detective on the case. We read the script ages ago and won’t spoil the rest, but suffice to say it’s taut, lean and mean, and there’s a reason all these talented players were interested at one time or another.
Release Date: September 20, 2013, which likely means a premiere in Toronto first.

Runner Runner
“Runner Runner”
Synopsis: A businessman who owns an offshore gambling operation finds his relationship with his protégé reaching a boiling point.
What You Need To Know: Director Brad Furman wasn’t really a name that many of us knew, but thanks to “The Lincoln Lawyer,” a pretty enjoyable, sleazy potboiler, his name landed on the map pretty fast. Perhaps more importantly, there’s a great script by Brian Koppelman and David Levien (the writers behind “Ocean’s Thirteen,” “Rounders” and “The Girlfriend Experience”). These three names were enough to net a terrific little cast that includes Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake, Gemma Arterton and Anthony Mackie.
Release Date: September 27, 2013. It doesn’t suggest much Oscar weight, but it's likely a good, taut thriller that has a good chance at landing at TIFF first.

Side Effects Rooney Mara Channing Tatum
“Side Effects”
Synopsis:  A successful New York couple’s world unravels when a new drug prescribed by a shady psychiatrist -- intended to treat anxiety – has unexpected side effects.
What You Need To Know: Originally meant to be screenwriter Scott Z. Burns’ directorial debut, instead he gave it to his longtime collaborator director Steven Soderbergh when his next intended picture, “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” fell through. Almost overnight, the project was up and running with a terrific cast starring Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum as the aforementioned couple, Jude Law as the psychiatrist, and supporting help by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Vinessa Shaw. Burns initially described the picture as provocative thriller about the pharmaceutical industry and “the war on sadness.” Soderbergh has referred to it as “Fatal Attraction”-esque, and it will be his last theatrically released movie before his retirement. His final feature, “Behind The Candelabra,” should debut on HBO in the summer.
Release Date: February 8, 2013

Snow Piercer
Synopsis: At the end of the world, a train transports survivors of a nuclear ice age.
What You Need To Know: Based on the graphic novel “Le Transperceneige,” “Snowpiercer” is set to be the ambitious English-language debut of Bong Joon-ho. The film boasts a superb cast that includes Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton, Song Kang-ho, John Hurt, Octavia Spencer, Allison Pill, Ed Harris and Ewen Bremner. Bong is known for directing monster movie “The Host” but he also essayed the wildly fascinating true-life mystery “Memories Of Murder,” and setting himself up for an ambitious science-fiction narrative is a major step up to the big leagues.
Release Date: Summer 2013

Stoker Nicole Kidman Mia Wasikowska
Synopsis: An strange and creepy uncle moves in with a teenage girl and her emotionally unstable mother after her father dies. Although the girl, India, has suspicions about his motives, she finds herself drawn to him.
What You Need To Know: Pitched somewhere in between horror, family drama and psychological thriller, “Stoker” is the English-language directorial debut of Park Chan-wook, the heralded South Korean film director behind "The Vengeance Trilogy" (which includes “Oldboy"), "Thirst" and "Joint Security Area." Written by actor Wentworth Miller under a pseudonym, the picture stars Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman and Matthew Goode. It will be interesting to see how the Southern-Gothic flavor of the screenplay translates in the hands of a foreigner, but we assume this might be the beginning of a new career in America for the director if all goes well.
Release Date: March 1, 2013, but we’ll get to see it almost two months earlier when it debuts at the Sundance Film Festival in late January.

To The Wonder, trailer
“To The Wonder”
Synopsis: The relationship between an American man and European woman falls apart.
What You Need To Know: Terrence Malick’s upcoming film “To The Wonder” is a rare exception on our Most Anticipated list because many of us at the Playlist already saw it during its fall 2012 festival bow (read our review here). But for those that haven’t seen it (which still includes at least half the Playlist contributors), “To The Wonder” is still somewhat opaque. And from many accounts, including our own review, it’s Malick’s most abstract film. Ben Affleck stars, but barely utters a word. Rachel McAdams was touted as one of the leads, but she’s apparently in it for less than 10 minutes. Olga Kurylenko turns out to be the real lead (at least the lead shaped in the editing room once Malick was done) and Javier Bardem, as a priest, is one of the major characters as well. But that’s about it. Rachel Weisz, Jessica Chastain, Michael Sheen, Amanda Peet and Barry Pepper all had supporting roles, but they were cut in the final edit. Our review is positive, but it appears that “To The Wonder” is certainly Malick’s most divisive film to date. Even the latest promotional glimpses make the film look like one long two-hour trailer with thousands of fleeting, romantic, ephemeral moments stitched together. Hopefully, it’s something more, but one thing we do know is it won’t be an Oscar contender like "The Tree of Life" was.
Release Date: April 12, 2013

Rosario Dawson, Trance
Synopsis: A fine art auctioneer mixed up with a gang joins forces with a hypnotherapist to recover a lost painting.
What You Need To Know: A heist movie with more than one twist, “Trance” sounds like Danny Boyle’s most pulpy, down-and-dirty film since his debut “Shallow Grave,” which makes sense given that it was written by the same man, John Hodge (his first collaboration with Boyle since "The Beach"). James McAvoy plays a double-crossing art auctioneer, Vincent Cassel a shady gangster, and Rosario Dawson has the role of a hypnotherapist trying to help them both recover an expensive masterpiece by Goya. But there’s almost an “Inception”-like twist when hypnotherapy sessions start to blur the lines of reality and move the enigmatic picture beyond a simple heist film.
Release Date: March 27, 2013 in the U.K, meaning a U.S. release date can’t be far behind.

Twelve Years A Slave
“Twelve Years A Slave”
Synopsis: A man living in New York during the mid-1800s is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the deep South.
What You Need To Know: Having directed “Hunger” and “Shame,” U.K. helmer Steve McQueen has quickly become one of the most exciting filmmakers working today. For “Twelve Years A Slave,” he reunites with his creative partner Michael Fassbender. But the two arrive this time with a cheerleader, producer and co-star in tow by the way of Brad Pitt and his Plan B production shingle. Pitt, an avowed Fassbender/McQueen fan (much like us), only has a small role, but was instrumental in getting the movie its funding. Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor in the lead, the movie features one of the best casts we've seen in a long while, with Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Kenneth Williams, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Alfre Woodard, Scoot McNairy, Sarah Paulson and “Beasts Of The Southern Wild” stars Dwight Henry and Quvenzhané Wallis. Clearly this picture is teeming with talent.
Release Date: TBD, but Cannes feels like a serious option.

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  • Tom | January 29, 2013 10:51 AMReply

    Surely Denzel will go for the hattrick and make a film about a boat that can't slow down?

    This mock on the Irish porn industry's the best thing I've seen so far this year;

  • Marko | January 17, 2013 3:10 PMReply

    Great list. My 50+ picks:

  • Vanessa | January 10, 2013 10:29 AMReply

    No love for The Falling a.k.a Serena starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, it should be impressive, it is also directed by Susanne Biers. It has oscars written all over it!

  • The Playlist | January 10, 2013 11:16 AM

    Serena can be found here:

    2o films from 2013 we've already seen are here:

  • RoyalTenenbaum | January 8, 2013 12:55 PMReply

    "True-life stories are the bread and butter of director Paul Greengrass (the second and third ‘Bourne’ films)" - These aren't examples of true-life stories he's directed.

  • Sketch | January 7, 2013 4:08 PMReply

    If 3 of these movies are - finally - worth seeing, I'll be surprised. And grateful.

  • Oliver Lyttelton | January 7, 2013 4:38 PM

    What a joyless life you lead.

  • Demme | January 7, 2013 2:55 PMReply

    I disagree "The Life Aquatic" was much better than "The Darjeeling Limited" TDL was very slow at times, as TLA with Bill Murray I couldn't take my eyes off of it, one of my favs.

  • Matt | January 5, 2013 5:24 AMReply

    Reading that the writer of this article thinks that "Moonrise Kingdom" was Wes Anderson's best since "Rushmore" made me about spit my soda all over my laptop. Moonrise Kingdom is Wes Anderson's best since "Fantastic Mr. Fox," as far as I'm concerned, which was the best since "Darjeeling Limited." Frankly, the only film of Anderson's career that "Moonrise Kingdom" is actually better than is "The Life Aquatic."

  • wes | January 4, 2013 1:27 PMReply

    Post Tenenbras Lux by Carlos Reygadas?

  • Roger | January 4, 2013 12:41 PMReply

    Wow, you were truly fast with that (fixed). Thanks

  • Roger | January 4, 2013 12:33 PMReply

    You provided a link for part 2, but it redirects to part 1. Where is the second part?

  • Drian | January 4, 2013 11:56 AMReply

    Tim Burton is said to release the sequel of Beetlejuice (1988) in 2013, according to Wikipedia. To me, easily one of the most anticipated films this year.

  • Nick | January 3, 2013 3:07 PMReply

    Where is Zal Batmanglij's "The East"? Didn't you guys give "Sound of My Voice" an "A"?

  • Kris | January 3, 2013 11:03 PM

    I was wondering the same thing? Where is East?

  • Connor | January 3, 2013 1:39 PMReply

    So glad this is finally out as I have been anticipating this feature for a while now. Thanks Playlist.

  • t-rex | January 3, 2013 12:09 PMReply

    wolf of wall street , foxcatcher, nebraska should all be oscar contenders but i bet that o'rusell's abscam project will be the showstoper

  • Nadir Ahmed | January 3, 2013 11:15 AMReply

    Im also looking forward to Louis Letteriers "Now You See Me" about a group of magicians who rob banks during there show. It stars Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffulo, Michael Caine and Woody Harrelson. Great Cast, Great Premise, looking forward to it

  • james | January 3, 2013 8:03 AMReply

    Great article. It always seems that there's going to be far too many exciting and brilliant films to see... never quite works out that way. Excellent overview though.

  • Cruella | January 3, 2013 7:09 AMReply

    many films sound great on paper. But whether they turnout good on film is a whole different matter. All the stars need to align.

  • Aix | January 3, 2013 6:14 AMReply

    To be fair to Condon, no-one can save that Twilight sh*t!

  • concerned citizen kane | January 2, 2013 10:52 PMReply

    what about They Came Together? David Wain's spoof of a rom-com with Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd. Spiritual sequel to Wet Hot American Summer?

  • JOHN | January 2, 2013 10:30 PMReply

    I dig the under-the-radar stuff (you know, the films that should actually be playing in "independent" film festivals and reviewed by "indie"wire) and this micro-indie feature called "There Are No Goodbyes" looks ambitious and beautiful:

  • Harris | January 2, 2013 7:44 PMReply

    How about Frances Ha and jOBS?

  • The Playlist | January 3, 2013 2:54 AM

    There's even an indie section coming. You'll have to look for it soon.

  • BD | January 2, 2013 6:23 PMReply

    The closest Ridley Scott might come to an Oscar nod since Gladiator?

    He was nominated the following year for Black Hawk Down!

  • Genadijus | January 2, 2013 4:22 PMReply

    My TOP10 of the most anticipated movies:
    1. Lowlife
    2. Inside Llewyn Davis
    3. Only Lovers Left Alive
    4. The Place Beyond the Pines
    5. Only God Forgives
    6. Twelve Years a Slave
    7. Gravity
    8. The Grandmasters
    9. The Wolf of Wall Street
    10. Oldboy

  • Darvy Joe | January 2, 2013 4:15 PMReply

    "With "Moonrise Kingdom" proving to be the director's best since "Rushmore," expectations couldn't be much higher for this one." Huh? Cuz it's not like The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic weren't better than Rushmore, or that Moonrise Kingdom wasn't as good as either...

  • Will John | January 3, 2013 5:48 PM

    Life Aquatic is my favorite of his movies.......

  • oh hell no | January 3, 2013 2:53 AM

    Life Aquatic better than Rushmore? Laughable.

  • John | January 2, 2013 4:11 PMReply

    "...note how [You Are Here's topic] seems fairly similar to another debut film from a famous television impresario who revealed himself to be COMPLETELY TONE DEAF to cinematic storytelling. That was “Not Fade Away” from David Chase, and Chase’s “The Sopranos” was a FAR BETTER show than “Mad Men,” leading one to imagine just exactly how this story could get away from Weiner." Fixed your typography

  • 4567 | January 2, 2013 3:53 PMReply

    "[James Grey] should be considered among the contemporary greats, but has failed to be completely recognized among the PTAs and Finchers" I have a bone to pick with that. There's a reason he isn't considered among the contemporary greats: his films aren't as good. I have immense respect for him, he's clearly talented and sharp, but I don't know by what measure he can be called a great filmmaker. Little Odessa was a decent debut, but far from Reservoir Dogs or Hard Eight as far as masterful debuts go. The Yards was fine, but when compared -- as a sophomore feature -- to Boogie Nights or Pulp Fiction or Seven, it doesn't mark an increase in ambition and skill in the same way. Especially after 5 years, it left something to be desired. We Own the Night was ambitious and well intentioned, but ultimately failed to achieve the Godfather-like epic tone and scale it strove for. Compare to Magnolia or Zodiac or Inglourious Basterds (I'm using PTA, Fincher, and Tarantino as roughly contemporaneous exemplary peers) as a historical/criminal panorama, and can you honestly say it doesn't fall far short? Two Lovers is his most thoroughly successful, but it's a minor film, small scale. It feels like a great, gorgeous debut from a youngish filmmaker, or a great entry in a film-a-year style filmography like Woody Allen's, or a victory lap (like Punch-Drunk Love) after nailing it back to back a few times. I'm honestly curious how The Playlist staff feels that Grey, after having had 15+ years to prove himself, and only emerging with four interesting but non-masterpiece pictures, deserves the same status as PTA, who's never made anything close to middling movie, has made from two to four masterpieces, depending on your perspective, and, at 27, made one of the best movies of the 90s? Even if, reasonably, you think Two Lovers was one of the best movies of the 2000s, better than There Will Be Blood (insane, but surely some think so), by what measure, considering his entire filmography, does he even come close to approaching his peers (PTA, Fincher, Tarantino, etc) in accomplishment? You'd have to contend that The Yards is as good as Pulp Fiction and Boogie Nights and Seven and The Game (it may be as good as the latter two, just not as impressive), that Little Odessa is great, on par or better than Hard Eight and Reservoir Dogs and other great 90s debuts, and that We Own the Night is as exceptional as Magnolia or Zodiac. And, really, you're really stretching it if you're making those contentions. And don't give me "You can't compare" because you can and you have to if you're going to contend that he's as good as these guys

  • Joey C | January 3, 2013 5:47 PM

    Wasn't We Own the Night Coppola/Mann lite, and The Yards and Little Odessa just 'eh' early-Scorsese? Two Lovers is pretty 'original,' if we're seriously going to pretend that means something or matters, and I'm looking forward to Nightingale, but honestly? You think LO, TY, and WOTN are better than Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, and Magnolia? Little Odessa? Really? I can understand liking the 'idea' of the man better than PTA (if you just aren't into PTA, sure, that's fair), but do you really think those first two movies are anything but 'pretty good'? It's all subjective, but to say LO and TY aren't just barely above average moody crime pics (ie neither original or self-consciously unoriginal) while PTA's heavy referentiality equates to a 'bad' unoriginality is beyond me. At least be honest and just say you don't like PTA. Because original isn't really a superlative that makes sense when talking about Grey's work

  • Rodrigo | January 3, 2013 2:56 AM

    It's all subjective isn't it cause he's better than those guys in my mind. Certainly more original than the first half of PTA's career that's for sure.

  • cory everett | January 2, 2013 5:16 PM

    I'm looking forward to "Lowlife" but this is true.

  • bohmer | January 2, 2013 3:32 PMReply

    "Chase’s "The Sopranos" was a far better show than "Mad Men"; that's like your opinion man. (edit)

  • bohmer | January 2, 2013 3:31 PMReply

    "Chase’s “The Sopranos” was a far better show than “Mad Men”; that's like your opinion man.

  • Alex | January 2, 2013 3:27 PMReply

    Great list but you forgot Untitled Terrence Malick Project, The Two Faces of January and Upstream Color!

  • The Playlist | January 2, 2013 4:32 PM

    It's doubtful that both Malick films will arrive this year. Upstream Color... look for it in another anticipated list.

  • bohmer | January 2, 2013 3:35 PM

    I agree for Upstream Color.

  • bohmer | January 2, 2013 3:34 PM

    I agree for Upstream Color.

  • S | January 2, 2013 2:47 PMReply

    Empire State is starring Liam Hemsworth and not his brother Chris...

  • cirkusfolk | January 2, 2013 2:15 PMReply

    Seeing as Mary Poppins is in my top five fav films of all time I am looking forward to Saving Mr. Banks starring Tom Hanks (Dec. 20). Not on list.

  • cirkusfolk | January 2, 2013 2:13 PMReply

    So you have a couple films on the list by foreign directors making their first English language films (Snowpiercer, Stoker) my question is, how many English debuts by respected foreigners have been let downs? I know there's a bunch but can't think of them all.

    Mimic - Guillermo Del Toro
    Alien Resurrection - Jean-Pierre Jeunet
    Once Around - Lasse Hallstrom
    Hard Target - John Woo

    Then of course The Last Stand by Jee-woon Kim is about to be released and looks horrible.

  • Liz | January 2, 2013 3:56 PM

    It has its defenders, but Wong Kar-Wai's "My Blueberry Nights" wasn't exactly a critical favorite upon release.

  • Lucas | January 2, 2013 2:12 PMReply

    No Farhadi's The Past? Or are you doing a separate entry for foreign films?

  • emma | January 2, 2013 1:58 PMReply

    I can't wait to see Low Life, The Place behond the pines, Only God Forgives

  • TB | January 2, 2013 1:58 PMReply

    Quick fact-fixes: 'Wolf of Wall Street' isn't Scorsese's first time shooting digital (Hugo was digital 3D), and Wes Anderson had 4 movies in 00s (you forgot The Royal Tenenbaums in 2001). Incredible write-up. These are my favorite features

  • Michelle | January 2, 2013 1:58 PMReply

    Kill your Darlings is my most anticipated film of 2013, but that does not appear to be on the list. I also want to see stoker, Place beyond the pines, Gravity, the great Gastby and a few others..

  • Glass | January 2, 2013 1:26 PMReply

    Nebraska gets +1000 Tumblr points for also starring Devin Ratray - Buzz from Home Alone

  • Candid | January 2, 2013 1:22 PMReply

    Super excited for The Double, Her, I'm So Excited, Inside Llewyn Davis, Labor Day, Only God Forgives, The Place Beyond The Pines, Side Effects, and Stoker... But thought Like Crazy was one of the most overrated, self-indulgent dull films I have ever seen and understand why his next feature is on this list (since playlist was one of the raters) but disappointed it is! Also would have been nice to see Caught In Flight or Filth actually included instead of just mentioned.

  • DG | January 2, 2013 12:49 PMReply

    Goog god that's a lot of good movies. I don't even know where to start but only God Forgives, Her, Place Beyond the Pines, Only Lovers Left Alive, Under the Skin, Gravity, Lowlife, all have caught my eye. Honestly almost every one on this list looks good tho

  • Ade | January 2, 2013 12:39 PMReply

    Nice overview, I'm particulary excited about Trance, Under the Skin, Only God Forgives, The Counselor, To the Wonder, Her.

  • Piotr | January 2, 2013 12:28 PMReply

    The graphic novel has been described as efejreosrekore. WTF does that mean?

  • The Playlist | January 2, 2013 1:11 PM

    Writer drunk. Editors still hung over. We're launching a full-blown investigation, but knowing [redacted writer's name] it has something to do with cocaine (fixed. seriously, not sure what he was going for there other than TK).

  • Seanna | January 2, 2013 12:17 PMReply

    Killer. Definitive as usual. I can't wait to sink my teeth into this. Nice work as always, Playlist.

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