The 2013 Watch List

Seems like the world decided to celebrate its survival from various doomsday prophecies by providing us with the best films. Twenty-thirteen definitely gives us plenty to look forward to, with all of the most highly anticipated sequels, the best animated films, the most intense horror stories and the most unique stories. Here are my picks for this year’s watch list.

We aren’t including write-ups for the expected sequels of film franchises, and the already heavily-advertised films throughout the previous year. The films are listed by chronological order of known USA release dates, and all posters and art belong to their respective production/distribution companies unless otherwise stated.

January 11: Struck By Lightning

Genre/Themes: Coming-of-age

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Struck by Lightning comes from the creative genius Chris Colfer, who wrote, co-produced and starred in the film. Directed by Brian Dannelly, the film premiered April 2012 at the Tribeca Film Festival, and will show in cinemas January 2013.

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It is a coming-of-age story, of a young Carson Phillips (played by Colfer), who dies from lightning strike. He narrates the entire story of how he blackmailed his classmates into contributing to his literary magazine, all from the grave.

January 25: Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters

Genre/Themes: Fantasy, Action

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Fifteen years after the Gingerbread House story, siblings Hansel and Gretel grow to become bounty hunters, ridding the land of witches, and are commissioned by the mayor of Aubsburg, Germany to defeat an evil sorceress who intends to sacrifice children in a ritual within two days. Hansel is played by The Avengers’ Hawkeye, Jeremy Renner, and co-starred by Gemma Arterton as Gretel.

January 25: Movie 43: Truth or Dare

Genre: Comedy

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Directed and produced by Peter Farrelly, Movie 43 is a twelve-way comedy film. What’s interesting about it? The cast is nothing short of amazing. Names like Chloe Moretz, Emma Watson, Justin Long, Halle Berry, Anna Faris, Gerard Butler, Kate Winslet, Uma Thurman, Richard Gere, Hugh Jackman and so many others already make the film worth seeing.

February 8: Side Effects

Genre: Thriller

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Director Steven Soderbergh and star Channing Tatum make a well-known formula for brilliant cinema. Add in Jude Law and Catherine Zeta Jones, and the Girl with a Dragon Tattoo’s Rooney Mara, casting alone makes the film a fullproof hit. We’ll be witnessing the life of a young woman, left alone by her husband thrown into jail. As she waits for his release, she messes with prescription drugs. A thriller story, set in pharmacology—something to look out for.

February 28: Stoker

Genre: Horror, Thriller, Drama

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If this isn’t one of the most interesting films we’ll encounter this year, then I wouldn’t know what is. Stoker is three things: a horror film, a family drama, and a psychological thriller. The Stoker family loses the father, leaving the mother Evelyn Stoker (played by Nicole Kidman) an emotional wreck. Uncle Charlie Stoker (Matthe Goode) moves in with them, and though the young lady India Stoker (played by Burton’s Alice, Mia Wasikowska) finds him suspicious, she is oddly drawn to him. The screenplay was written by Wentworth Miller, and Stoker was voted into the 2010 Black List of the 10 best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood. Directed by Park Chan-wook, this film is his first English-language film. He takes with him cinematographer Chung Chung-hoon.

March 1: Jack the Giant Slayer

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure

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Jack the Giant Slayer is a fantasy adventure film, of Jack (Nicholas Hoult), who opens the gateway between the world of giants and our own, and he must defend the Earth in a territorial war. The film is based on the Cornish fairytale Jack the Giant Killer set during the Arthurian legends. From I Am Number Four director D.J. Caruso, the cast also includes Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane, Bill Nighy and Ewan McGregor.

 March 8: Oz The Great and Powerful

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure

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Disney takes one of its own classics to create its prequel, directed by Sam Raimi, director of the Spider-man Trilogy. Oz the Great and Powerful is set before the events of L. Frank Baum’s 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, where circus magician Oscar Diggs arrives at the Land of Oz. Three witches Theodora of the West, Evanora of the East and Glinda of the South doubt that Oscar is the powerful wizard. As he is called upon to solve the problems of the inhabitants of the Land of Oz, he grows into a better man. Oscar Diggs is played by James Franco, who worked with director Sam Raimi in Spider-man before. Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams play Theodora, Evanora and Glinda respectively.

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March 14: Carrie

Genre: Horror, Supernatural

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A supernatural horror film directed by Kimberly Pierce, a remake of Brian de Palma’s Carrie in 1976, and a more faithful adaptation of Stephen King’s 1974 novel, Carrie is a film about Margaret White’s sheltered daughter, Carrie White. Margaret protects her daughter from a group of high school mean girls dubbed “The Ultras”, of which, Sue Snell feels guilt and asks her boyfriend, school heartthrob Tommy Ross, to take Carrie to prom. Anger? Hatred? Pressure? All these trigger an inner, uncontrollable power within Carrie, which drives her to unleash what can only be worded as telekinetic havoc. Starring Chloe Moretz as Carrie White, and Juliana Moore as Margaret White.

March 22: The Croods

Genre: Family, Adventure, Comedy, Animation

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A 3D animated family adventure comedy film from DreamWorks, about the world’s first prehistoric family, co-directed by Chris Sanders, who was a big name in How To Train Your Dragon and Lilo & Stitch. The adventure begins when Grug and his family are forced to leave their home due to a powerful earthquake. The voice cast is amazingly put together, with Nicolas Cage as the voice of the overprotective father Grug. Ryan Reynolds’ character, Guy, threatens Grug’s manliness and position as father, as he prefers to use brain over brawn, on coming up with revolutionary ideas. Emma Stone plays Eep, the daughter of the family, and sister to Thunk voiced by Clark Duke (who you may remember as Marty from Kick-Ass, and Jacob from Hot Tub Time Machine). Mother of the family Ugga is played by Catherine Keener (you may remember her to be Percy Jackson’s mother Sally—always the mother role.) And lastly, Grug’s mother-in-law Gran is played by living legend Cloris Leachman, eight-time Primetime Emmy Award winner, familiar to the younger generation as the voice of Farmworld Marceline from Adventure Time, Noriko from Ponyo, and Hydia from My Little Pony: The Movie. With such credentials, starting from directors down to the cast, one can only expect the best from this film.

May 3: Iron Man 3

May 10: The Great Gatsby

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May 17: Star Trek Into the Darkness

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May 24: Epic

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An adaptation of the children’s book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs by William Joyce, Epic is a 3D Animation film that cannot be missed. Directed by Chris Wedge of Ice Age and Carlos Saldanha of Rio, in a story that is reminiscent of Hayao Miyazaki’s work, and with a voice cast starring Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Beyonce Knowles, Colin Farrell, there’s nothing better you can ask for.

May 24: The Hangover III

June 28: Kick-Ass 2

Lionsgate thought that Kick-Ass didn’t need a sequel, so it’s now in the hands of Universal to prove them wrong. Although they didn’t seem to invest as much in this film, as I’ve heard Kick-Ass 2‘s writer/director is “cheaper”. I’m watching this film because I’m worried about it. I loved, loved, loved Kick-Ass.

June 21: Monsters University

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The decade-late revivals of Disney-Pixar classics have been good to us, so the prequel to Monsters, Inc. where Mike and Sulley are in college should make for a good film. Plenty of skeptics were nervous about this, since we all know that they’ll be friends in the end. But it seems like a good call for Pixar, because Boo! growing up just destroys the enchantment of childhood.

June 14: Man of Steel (Superman)

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July 26: The Wolverine

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July 3: Despicable Me 2

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Potatoes, bananas, minions, and fluffy unicorns. We’ve been waiting for so long, that putting this on the list needs no explanation.

August 16: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

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August 30: Insidious Chapter 2

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From what I gather, Dolton’s father is both him and not him. It doesn’t make sense, yet. And we’ll just have to watch the movie to find out.

September 13: I, Frankenstein

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There’s still very little news about I, Frankenstein, but this horror-thriller written and directed by Stuart Beattie stars Aaron Eckhart as Adam Frankenstein, the monster created by Dr. Victor Frankenstein played by Aden Young. I have no idea what Bill Nighy is doing here, but I’m certainly excited.

September 20: Rush

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An interesting biography of a Formula 1 champion racer who almost died in a crash in 1976, but later on tries to challenges an enemy in another race. That enemy will be played by our favorite Thor, Chris Hemsworth.

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October 25: The World’s End

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Remember The Adventures of TinTin? Voice actors for Thomson and Thompson, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, are coming in as Gary King and Andy Knight in a British science-fiction comedy.

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Upside for the BBC fandom, Martin Freeman is in this one. Written and directed by Edgar Wright, writer and director of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.

November 1: Mr. Peabody and Sherman

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Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a 3D animated comedy adventure film by DreamWorks, directed by Robb Minkoff, director of Lion King and Stuart Little films.

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The characters are based on Peabody’s Improbably History, from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, famous 1960s animated television series.

November 8: Thor: The Dark World

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November 22, 2013: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

November 27, 2013: Frozen

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Frozen is an animated film, and a loose adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s longest and most critically acclaimed story The Snow Queen, of a young girl Anna voiced by Kristen Bell (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) who must find Elsa, the Evil Snow Queen, voiced by none other than the most magical voice alive, Idina Menzel.

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Joining the cast is Jonathan Groff, popularly known as Jesse St. James from the Television series Glee and Melchior from the musical Spring Awakening, who plays Kristoff, a mountain man who accompanies Anna in her journey. Anna will be the twelfth in the official lineup of Disney Princesses, as Frozen is set to be the 53rd in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series.

The following are some truly breathtaking concept art from the blog of Scotty Jo.

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December 13: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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December 27: 47 Ronin

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Keanu Reeves as a Samurai? Need I say more?

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