By The Playlist Staff | The Playlist January 4, 2013 at 12:00PM
Over the last few days, we've been pin-pointing 100 of the films we're most looking forward to over the next twelve months. Of course, they won't all be great -- and some will be terrible -- but they all give some reason for hope, to one degree or another.
Sadly, that's not the case with every film due for release. Don't get us wrong, we try to keep an open mind about everything, and we like nothing more than being surprised by a film had initially looked unpromising. But not every picture in 2013 can get our pulses racing in advance, and as such, we've picked out a few films that we're approaching with serious caution, and that we'd advise others to do the same with. Disagree? Got your own films you're dreading? Let us know in the comments section. And stay tuned for more from our 2013 preview next week.
Synopsis: General Cypher Raige returns from an extended tour of duty to his estranged family, ready to be a father to his 13-year-old son, Kitai. But when When an asteroid storm damages Cypher and Kitai’s craft, they crash land on Earth, and with father dying in the cockpit, Kitai must trek across the hostile terrain to recover their rescue beacon.
What You Need To Know: Once upon a time, M. Night Shyamalan was potentially the most exciting new voice in commercial cinema, thanks to smart, well-executed pictures like "The Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable," films which revolved around character and story rather than effects. But the filmmaker's been on a steady decline over the last decade, culminating in "The Happening" and "The Last Airbender," two of the worst major movies that we can remember getting a theatrical release. To his credit, he seems to realize something needs to change, pairing with megastar Will Smith (and his offspring Jaden), and taking a backseat on the writing, working from a script from Gary Whitta ("The Book Of Eli") and Stephen Gaghan ("Traffic"). But the product, if the trailer is anything to go by, is a plot where Smith Jr. runs away from ropey CGI baboons. Shyamalan's arguably always been a better director than writer (though not much of either of late), so maybe it'll do him good, but right now, this is coming out months after "Oblivion," and looks half as interesting. And "Oblivion" doesn't look that interesting in the first place.
Release Date: June 7th
Synopsis: A divorced couple are forced back together for their adopted son's wedding.
What You Need To Know: What happens if you combine the complete works of Nora Ephron, Nancy Myers and Shawn Levy, put them in a blender, sieved off any trace of how human beings actually behave, sprinkle on jokes rejected from the writers' room of a CBS sitcom, and disperse between a bunch of movie stars who want to buy another summer house? You get the trailer for "The Big Wedding," the feature directorial debut of "The Bucket List" writer Justin Zackham. Doing for actors in mediocre interior-design-porn rom-coms what "The Expendables" did for action stars, the film unites Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro, Susan Sarandon, Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried, Topher Grace and Robin Williams (along with British actor Ben Barnes, in brownface) in an unholy ensemble. Among a pretty terrifying roster on this list, this might be the least enticing of them all, especially given that it's another one that got delayed six months at the last possible moment.
Release Date: April 26th
Synopsis: A suburban family are tormented by a terrifying extraterrestrial force.
What You Need To Know: There's plenty of terrible-looking horror films on the way in 2013 (mostly of the found footage variety), but none looks as poor as "Dark Skies." The latest from Scott Charles Stewart, who made a fierce case with "Priest" and "Legion" for being the worst director currently working, it seems, from the preview, to be a Shyamalanish riff on "Close Encounters" and "Poltergeist," with a TV-level competence level, cast and production value, and what appears to be an ill-conceived child abuse metaphor. On the plus side, there does seem to be some comedy there; it's hard to watch the trailer, with Josh Hamilton's silent scream, or Keri Russell repeatedly banging her head against a glass door, and not laugh out loud once. On the minus, none of this humor is intentional. Oh, and J.K. Simmons is in it, finally providing an answer to the question "Is there anything we wouldn't pay to see J.K Simmons in?"
Release Date: February 22nd
Synopsis: After the Joes are betrayed and massacred by villain Zartan, who's posing as the U.S. President, Roadblock, Lady Jaye and Flint must go on the run to find the only man who can help them -- the original Joe.
What You Need To Know: Massive delays were nothing new in 2012, but there was one that was more egregious than the others. How can bad can a film be if, five weeks before release, with merchandise already in stores, and having splashed out for a Superbowl spot, you delay it a full nine months? Director Jon Chu ("Justin Bieber: Never Say Never") didn't have much work to do to pull out something less incredibly terrible than Stephen Sommers' original, which barely even got the franchise going, but even the shared charisma of Bruce Willis and Dwayne Johnson doesn't seem to be enough to save this one, which allegedly had contentious reshoots to convert the film to 3D, and add a little more of star Channing Tatum, who'd been killed off early in the original take. We suppose fans of the toys (and if you consider yourself one of those, rethink the choices that have led you to this point) may be delighted, but this seems like a mish-mash of characters we don't care about, action that seems entirely weightless, and awkward, laugh-free banter. Surely the only person really keen to see this in Stephen Sommers, in the hope that it vindicates his work on the last one...
Release Date: March 29th
Synopsis: John McClane heads to Moscow to track down his wayward son, only to discover that he's caught up in a terrorist plot.
What You Need To Know: You might have expected that after the bloated, unexpectedly dour "Live Free And Die Hard" that the "Die Hard" franchise had been put to bed, but with the film proving the biggest-grossing in the series, that was hardly likely, and so John McClane has been wheeled out once again, this time bringing along his son Jack, played by "Spartacus" actor, and "Jack Reacher" villain Jai Courteney. By the odd-numbered "Die Hard" rule (the original and "...With A Vengeance" are worthwhile, "Die Hard 2" and "Live Free..." not so much) we're due for a good one, but the talent assembled is less than blinding; a screenplay by "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" and "The A-Team" writer Skip Woods, and everyone-else-was-busy action helmer John Moore ("The Omen," "Max Payne") in the director's chair. Even the supporting cast, bar "The Lives Of Others" star Sebastian Koch, seems more suited to a TV-level "Die Hard" spin-off then a sequel to the most perfect action movie ever made, although Jai Courteney at least showed presence in "Jack Reacher." And while the trailers suggest a little more spark than in Len Wiseman's fourth film, it still doesn't really feel like "Die Hard," particularly with ludicrous, CGI-aided stunts that would look implausible if it was the Hulk doing them, let alone a 60-year-old New York cop. A Good Day To Give Up On A Franchise?
Release Date: February 14th.