Best of 2013

I Give It A Year Rose Byrne
"I Give It A Year"
Synopsis: Romantic comedy following the trials and travails of a young married couple in the 12 months after they somewhat hastily tie the knot.
What You Need To Know: The dire state of the modern rom-com ("Silver Linings Playbook" aside) is no secret, inspiring various think pieces of late. But fingers crossed, we could be seeing one of the stronger entries in the genre in only a few months, as all the footage and the advance word on "I Give It A Year" indicates it's actually pretty good. Hailing from Working Title, home of "Bridget Jones's Diary" and "Four Weddings and a Funeral," it doesn't actually have the involvement of Richard Curtis, but instead marks the directorial debut of Oscar-nominated "Borat" writer Dan Mazer, who seems to have brought some bona-fide laughs to the genre that are all too often lacking. The casting feels fresh too, with much-deserved lead roles for the excellent Rafe Spall and Rose Byrne, with Anna Faris, Simon Baker, Stephen Merchant and an apparently walking-away-with-the-film Minnie Driver also involved. Can it bring some emotional truth along with the comedy? Or will it be another halfway-there effort like "The Five-Year Engagement?" We should be finding out very, very soon.
Release Date: February 8th in the U.K., no U.S. date or distributor just yet.

The Internship
“The Internship”
Synopsis: Two recently laid-off men in their 40s try to make it as interns at a successful Internet company where their managers are in their 20s.
What You Need To Know: “Anchorman” couldn’t even reach the $100 million mark globally upon its release. And while, for comparison, “Wedding Crashers” took a very respectable $285 million worldwide, it’s taken some years for it to get seen in the same contemporary comedy classic vein. That is the longwinded way to say, the “Wedding Crashers” duo of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are back. Written by Vaughn himself, "The Internship" centers again on man-children, this time set in the corporate Silicon Valley world where they are being aged out by younger, smarter wunderkinds. The picture's excellent supporting cast features Rose Byrne, John Goodman, Max Minghella, Jessica Szohr, Josh Gad, and even Will Ferrell in a small cameo role (much like he did in “Wedding Crashers,” a scene that stole the movie). We’re likely never going to see an “Old School 2” (another modern comedy classic), but maybe this match-up of a Wilson (admittedly not Luke...), Vaughn and Ferrell will be as close as we’ll get. The main variable however is Shawn Levy, who hasn’t directed a movie we’ve liked since the mostly harmless “Night at the Museum.”
Release Date: June 7, 2013.

Iron Man 3
“Iron Man 3”
Synopsis: Tony Stark must deal with the fallout of the incidents occurring in “The Avengers,” creating new armor that is eventually poisoned by nano-terrorists eager to end the Iron Man empire forever.
What You Need To Know: The suggestion was that after “The Avengers,” the Marvel films would dial it back down a notch. But that was before we saw the teaser trailer, which features Stark’s beachside penthouse being absolutely destroyed, falling into the ocean on top of a flailing Iron Man. In fairness, that’s probably a good way to dial up the threat level after “Iron Man 2” featured the hero barely breaking a sweat. This time around, there’s a shift in the creative team, with director Shane Black directing only his second film after the relatively low budget “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.” But that film featured probably the most acerbic Robert Downey Jr. performance of the last decade, so there’s reason to believe with Black also contributing to the screenplay that this franchise is about to receive a dose of unpredictability. Ben Kingsley is also onboard as villain The Mandarin (yeah, how will THAT work out?) alongside terrorist Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), with Rebecca Hall and James Dale Badge joining returning cast members Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle and Jon Favreau.
Release Date: May 3rd, landing, as is becoming common with the Marvel movies, in much of the rest of the world the week before.

Chris Pine Jack Ryan
“Jack Ryan”
Synopsis: Financial analyst Jack Ryan learns of his crooked boss’ plan to cripple the global economy.
What You Need To Know: Joining the illustrious ranks of Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck is Chris Pine, who was linked to this project through years of false starts and budget-minded re-writes. Paramount is hoping that “Star Trek Into Darkness” cements Pine as a legit leading man to relaunch the Ryan franchise, dormant since 2002’s “The Sum Of All Fears.” Doing double duty as the villain and director, Kenneth Branagh has two good reasons to be raising his voice in Pine’s general direction, and he’s the one reason why this might be better than the average prequel. Branagh brought an innate skill in melding spectacle and actor-friendly dramatics with “Thor,” so it’s likely his stewardship of another series-starter could reasonably provide the foundation for a number of entertaining sequels. Kevin Costner and Keira Knightley are the big-name supporting players, with Costner rumored to be serving a sort of Nick Fury-ish role across multiple Tom Clancy movies.
Release Date: December 25th

Kick-Ass Aaron Johnson
“Kick Ass 2: Balls To The Wall”
Synopsis: When Kick-Ass’ old semi-ally Red Mist becomes the villainous The Motherfucker, the hero assembles a squad of urban crimefighters to take him down.
What You Need To Know: Well, the bad news is that the “Kick-Ass 2” comic book is a vulgar, noxious, ugly piece of work that in no way merits adaptation. The good news is, the original “Kick-Ass” comic was similarly grotesque, and director Matthew Vaughn was able to wrangle that into something absurdly entertaining, while still retaining some of the lawlessness of the source material. He’s not onboard this time, replaced by Jeff Wadlow, the “artisan” behind “Never Back Down.” But Universal saw enough in this property under Wadlow’s leadership that they grabbed the rights from an uninterested Lionsgate, giving it a plum summer release date. The strongest attribute of the first film was the character of Big Daddy, memorably played by Nicolas Cage channeling Adam West: having been set fire to in the last film, he's unlikely to return, though there’s a juicy supporting role for Jim Carrey, of all people. If Carrey is committed to this project, that switch may very well be an upgrade.
Release Date: June 28th

Liev Schreiber in "Last Days On Mars."
Liev Schreiber in "Last Days On Mars."
"The Last Days On Mars"
Synopsis: A group of scientists discover evidence of bacterial life on Mars, only to be stranded there
What You Need To Know: There's plenty of giant sci-fi epics on the way in 2013, but given the run of the past few years, we're more excited about the potential sleepers out there, and no film holds greater promise to be the next "Moon" than "The Last Days On Mars." The directorial debut of Ruairi Robinson, the young Oscar-nominated Irish filmmaker who at one time was set to helm the "Akira" remake, it might seem to have a generic set-up, but if Robinson's shorts are anything to go by, we should expect to see something visually spectacular. And the cast is top-notch, with Liev Schreiber, Romola Garai, Elias Koteas, Olivia Williams, Johnny Harris and Tom Cullen among the astronauts. Last year, "John Carter" once again held up the curse of Martian movies, but could this be the one to break the duck?
Release Date: TBD, but we imagine the second half of the year will be a good bet.

The Lone Ranger, Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer
"The Lone Ranger"
Synopsis: After being left for dead, The Lone Ranger, assisted by Tonto, the Native American who saved his life, rides out to fight evil and injustice in the Old West.
What You Need To Know: A decade ago, Jerry Bruckheimer, Gore Verbinski, Johnny Depp, Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio tackled a genre -- the pirate movie -- which hadn't been a box office draw for half a century, and turned it into a behemoth, with the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films having taken close to $4 billion over the years, even if the films have played to increasingly diminishing creative effect. On the one hand, their task with "The Lone Ranger" isn't so tough -- "True Grit" and "Django Unchained” have proved that the western is still a viable draw for audiences. But on the other hand, they've had a troubled production here -- the film was delayed by Disney to bring the budget down, only for it to soar when production began, and then the release date was pushed back by over six months. We have mixed feelings about the trailers, but that said, we'd still take Gore Verbinski over most of the tentpole helmers out there, and the cast supporting Depp -- which includes Armie Hammer as the Ranger, Tom Wilkinson, Ruth Wilson, Helena Bonham-Carter, William Fichtner, Barry Pepper and James Badge Dale -- is a strong one. Let's keep our fingers crossed that lightning can strike twice.
Release Date: July 3rd

Jessica Alba, Danny Trejo, Machete Kills set
“Machete Kills”
Synopsis: The U.S. government recruits Machete to battle his way through Mexico in order to take down an arms dealer who plans to launch a weapon into space.
What You Need To Know: That synopsis sounds an awful lot like a good launching pad for “Machete Kills In Space,” no? The supposed would-be finale to the Machete trilogy. And/or maybe director Robert Rodriguez was joking. Either way, the mexploitation film is back with Danny Trejo playing the ex-Federale agent on another mission. Returning to the "Machete" fold are Jessica Alba and Michelle Rodriguez, but there's an entirely new ensemble joining in as well, including Lady Gaga (making her acting debut), Amber Heard, Vanessa Hudgens, Sofia Vergara, Demián Bichir, Cuba Gooding Jr., Antonio Banderas, Alexa Vega, Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson as the film’s main villain. The first film had some grindhouse charm, so let's hope Rodriguez goes even more gonzo on this one.
Release Date: TBD, but a SXSW debut would make a lot of sense for the Austin native.

Man Of Steel Poster Header
"Man Of Steel”
Synopsis: Kryptonian refugee Kal-El is adopted by the Kent family, growing up to struggle with the pressures of having otherworldly abilities.
What You Need To Know: Christopher Nolan and David Goyer, architects of the 'Dark Knight' universe, came up with the pitch for a new vision of Superman just as the WB was being pressured by courts to get the Last Son Of Krypton back onto screens. The result is what we’ve seen only in trailer form, but it promises to be a moody, unusual take on the legacy, with a decided contemporary tone: there were unhappy murmurs from fans when the early clips showed Pa Kent (Kevin Costner) suggesting that not rescuing a bus full of drowning kids would be the best option. In other words, the Nolan who questioned Batman’s vigilante leanings will now be placing a microscope on a being with power beyond any mortal, particularly with early posters emphasizing Superman's (Henry Cavill) surrender to likely-skeptical authorities. We’ll go half-and-half on prospects for director Zack Snyder, however; guy hasn’t made anything interesting beyond his debut “Dawn Of The Dead,” and his fundamental misunderstanding of “Watchmen” suggests he may not have a handle on what makes Superman super(man). Still, the most recent trailer had even the skeptics looking a little more interested, and if nothing else, Michael Shannon will be chewing the scenery as the villain.
Release Date: June 14th

Monsters University
"Monsters University"
Synopsis: A prequel to 2002's "Monsters Inc," depicting the first meeting of future scarers Mike Wazokwski and James P. "Sulley" Sullivan at college.
What You Need To Know: Pixar are going through a rough patch at the moment (even if we contest that "Brave" was undervalued by many, the critical consensus was that it was something of a miss), and we're not sure that their third sequel in four years is necessarily going to be the way out of it (what is the audience for a CGI animated kids flick take on "Animal House," exactly?). That said, the characters of "Monsters Inc" are rightly beloved, with Billy Crystal's Mike and John Goodman's Sulley numbering among the best vocal turns in the studio's history, and the film doesn't seem as immediately cynical as the nadir of "Cars 2." The teaser trailer wasn't wildly enticing, but even if it's a step down from the predecessor, it's still a more promising prospect than most of the rival animations out there.
Release Date: June 21st.