As awesome as 2012 in the cinema was —well, at least at very carefully-chosen times— it's time to bid it farewell. And cast our eyes ahead to 2013. Were you to read any other 2013-in-preview article, you'd be forgiven for thinking the coming year was bringing with it solely a sad parade of retreads, reboots, sequels, prequels, and really-shitty-sounding-Hollywood-comedies. Yet, beyond the blowhard blockbusters and generic multiplex fodder, there actually is countless amazing motion-pictures due to arrive in 2013, from the Imminent to those in the Far-Off Future. Let us tally them all up, and breed some genuine excitement, with this: Film Carew's 52 Films To Eagerly Await in 2013.
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L Jackson
Like Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino's riotously-entertaining revenge movie takes an audacious, bombastic approach that serves as tonic for the tasteful, timid explorations of historical tragedies. It's shit tons of fun and way more thematic and thoughtful than given credit for.
The Silver Linings Playbook
Director: David O Russell
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker
The fact that Russell's Fighter follow-up is plastered all over awards shows kinda sounds some alarm bells, to be honest; but bizarre comedy is totally in the director's wheelhouse (see: Flirting With Disaster, I Heart Huckabees).
Zero Dark Thirty
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Jennifer Ehle, Mark Strong, Mark Duplass, James Gandolfini
Whilst its film-of-the-year, Oscar-favourite status is way overselling its artistic worth, Bigelow's slow-burn procedural is a taut, tense portrait of the obsessive sleuth carefully chipping away at a seemingly-closed case: the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden.
Director: Pablo Larraín
Cast: Gael García Bernal, Alfredo Castro
Larraín's 'Chilean trilogy' finishes off —after 2008's dark Tony Manero and 2010's brutal Post-Mortem)— with a hopeful conclusion; a trio of pictures about life-under-Pinochet culminating with a portrait of his demise. In a winning directorial stroke, Larraín chronicles the populist '88 uprising on era-specific VHS 'technology'; meaning the film takes place in a dull, wobbly, chillwavey blur.
Director: Michael Haneke,
Cast: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert
After a career spent singularly studying misanthropy, cruelty, and social culpability, Haneke shocked viewers with making a genuinely humanist film for his 12th feature. It won him the Palme d'Or at Cannes, and will likely win him a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar soon enough.
Director: Bart Layton
Layton's debut feature is a crackin' stranger-than-fiction yarn about a vagabond Frenchman pretending to be the missing son of a white-trash Texas family. Presented in Errol Morris-aping style (all illustrative imagery, dramatic recreation, talking-heads, and ironic stings), it's a ridiculous tale wonderfully told, slowly letting the demented darkness of the situation pool around the viewer.
Directors: Andy & Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer
Cast: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, Hugo Weaving, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon
The Wachowskis/Tykwer still-can't-believe-they-even-fucking-tried-it adaptation of David Mitchell's awesome, genre-and-timeframe-hopping novel was released in the US last year to a general tone of bewilderment; eventually becoming infamous, in the eternally-stupid movie biz, for being a financial 'bomb'. But the film is a batshit-crazy, wildly-over-the-top epic that will delight anyone into visual excess, cinematic fantasy worlds, or insanely-ambitious artistic undertakings.
Something In The Air
Director: Olivier Assayas
Cast: Clément Métayer, Lola Créton
Following up his exhausting Carlos (all five-and-a-half hours of it; or three if you saw the sliced-down theatrical cut), Assayas keeps things period-piece and revolutionary: setting a coming-of-age against May '68, hormonal and social flux in step, as always.
In The House
Director: François Ozon
Cast: Fabrice Luchini, Kristin Scott Thomas, Emmanuelle Seigner
Ozon's adaptation of Juan Mayorga's psychological-thriller-ish stageplay will open at the French Film Festival in March, with a theatrical release mooted. And, because he's François Ozon, he'll have another film out by the time 2013 is over: Jeune Et Jolie (likely known as Young And Pretty), a film about adolescent sexuality thus far shrouded in mystery.
Rust And Bone
Director: Jacques Audiard
Cast: Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts, Bouli Lanners
In someone else's hands, this synopsis —an Oscar winner loses her legs, learns to love (and fuck!) again with the help of a black-market fighter— would seem like awards-show fodder. But Audiard has made an impressive career of upending convention (see: Read My Lips, The Beat My Heart Skipped, and A Prophet, all of which are better than they synopsise), and Rust And Bone feels, in turn, physical to the point of being mythical, all whilst kicking Bon Iver jams to ratchet up the emo content.
Director: Christian Petzold
Cast: Nina Hoss, Ronald Zehrfeld, Rainer Bock
Petzold has been quietly making really interesting and kind of odd movies for a long time, but the world has finally picked up on Barbara, a sober, eerie drama about a doctor in rural East Germany, who tries to plot her escape to the West under the watching eye of the Stasi.
The Place Beyond The Pines
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne, Ben Mendelsohn, Ray Liotta
Cianfrance's follow-up to Blue Valentine finds him working again with Gosling, on another saga that follows a destructive relationship over the years. Here, however, the grim domesticity is subbed out for a more familiar crime-movie type.
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Cast: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Diego Luna
District 9 may've been wildly overrated —when a film can't be bothered keeping up its own 'found footage' device, this is not a sign of a singular cinematic vision— but it did introduce us to Blomkamp, a sci-fi sage who, two films in, has yet to take the cash and helm some depressing brand-name reboot.
This Is The End
Directors: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Cast: Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Martin Starr, Michael Cera, Jason Segel, Jonah Hill
A recent spate of Freaks And Geeks nostalgia —what else to call extensive features, online and off, for a 13-year-old television show?— featured all kinds of heartwarming tales of Judd Apatow empowering his unknown teenage actors to dream of being genuine Hollywood players. A decade and so much made-money on, this is the depressing nadir of those seminal moments: the Apatovian boys-club bro-ing out on a let's-just-fuck-around-for-the-camera comedy that looks like it's going to be horrendously awful. Whether Franco somehow takes this someplace perverse and saves it from irrelevance, or whether it's an utter car-crash in which kids you once loved have grown up into wealthy, entitled, colossally-self-deluded douchebags, either way this feels far more like an 'event' than any superhero movie.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones
After the unexpected awesomeness of Magic Mike, Soderbergh seems like a fascinating figure oncemore, and a reunion with Tatum only adds to the intrigue. As ever, Soderbergh remains a genre tourist, and likely Side Effects finds the retirement-threatenin' director trying on a style we've never quite seen him wear before.
To The Wonder/Voyage Of Time/Knight Of Cups/Untitled Terrence Malick Project
Director: Terrence Malick
Cast: Half of Hollywood
So, Terry M, the bro who once took 20 years to follow up Days Of Heaven, has now become the Johnny Jewel of Hollywood: working on countless simultaneous projects that may or may not all drop at the same time, depending on his whims. He could, conceivably, have four films out in 2013: To The Wonder, which is already finished, stars Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Javier Bardem, and Olga Kurylenko, and apparently is one of Malick's most 'freeform' films so far; Voyage Of Time, a feature-length version of the life-of-the-universe/evolution/CGI stuff from The Tree Of Life, narrated by Brad Pitt; Knight Of Cups, a thus-far-secret drama starring Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Antonio Banderas, and Isabel Lucas; and the coincidentally-filmed Untitled Terrence Malick Project, whose high-profile shoot has taken place at various indie-rock festivals in Austin, Texas, and features the crazy-ass cast of Bale, Portman, Blanchett, Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Rooney Mara, Bérénice Marlohe, Benicio Del Toro, Val Kilmer, and whoever else doesn't end up on the cutting-room floor. Given it doesn't have a title, maybe Untitled doesn't actually come out 'til 2015, but Malick moves in such mysterious ways four-films-in-a-year feels like a ridiculous possibility.
Director: Park Chan-wook
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode, Dermot Mulroney, Jacki Weaver
Park, the crazy Korean stylist behind the Vengeance trilogy and the psycho-sexual vampire movie Thirst, goes Hollywood with his first-ever English language film. It's a psychological thriller that looks suitably shadowy and moody, and hopefully suggests Park can recreate his feverish cinema in the American studio system.
I'm So Excited!
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz, Blana Suárez, Paz Vega, Javier Cámara, Miguel Ángel Silvestre, Lola Dueñas
Almodóvar returns with a cast of his regulars, and without knowing anything about it (the trailer suggests not much), I'm guessing it's going to be a meticulously-plotted soap-opera of both profound emotion and flamboyant queerness.
Post Tenebras Lux
Director: Carlos Reygadas
Cast: Adolfo Jiménez Castro, Nathalia Acevedo
Reygadas' much-awaited follow-up to his 2007 cinephile-delight Silent Light won him the Best Director gong at Cannes in 2012, but it's screened at only a handful of festivals thereafter, and has yet to grace Australian shores. What it's 'about' seems like a facile idea to address: watching Reygadas paint-with-light is always a joy, and the trailer looks drawn from a dream.
Director: Wong Kar-wai
Cast: Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen
The opening film Berlinale in February, The Grandmasters could be, finally, that brings Wong to your local multiplex. Well, maybe. After his anodyne American debut My Blueberry Nights, the singular stylist has returned to Hong Kong to make a portrait of the martial arts master who trained Bruce Lee. The last time Wong made a martial-arts flick? Ashes Of Time, a film so mythically stylised and unashamedly confusing it suggests The Grandmasters could be a piece of delirious, dreamlike cinema.
IN THE FAR-FLUNG TRAILER-LESS FUTURE:
Abus De Faiblesse
Director: Catherine Breillat
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Kool Shen
Breillat's memoir tells the amazing tale of how a Hollywood hustler conned the French filmmaker out of nearly a million bucks. Now, Breillat's making an essential adaptation of her own life (à la when she turned her experiences making Romance/Fat Girl into Sex Is Comedy), with the world's greatest actress effectively playing Breillat, for Breillat.
Director: Richard Linklater
Cast: Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
Shot in top-secret in Greece, the third film in Linklater's ongoing will-they-or-won't-they saga will, surely, hew to the same form as the prior pictures: Delpy and Hawke walk against a photogenic foreign backdrop, talk endlessly, and maybe (or maybe not) fall in love. It sounds prosaic, and going back to the well a third time is hardly inspiring. But, then again, both Before Sunrise and Before Sunset are two of cinema's greatest-ever 'realist' romances.
The Bling Ring
Director: Sofia Coppola
Cast: Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga, Erin Daniels, Leslie Mann
Coppola is, depending on your persuasion, either the most overrated or underrated filmmaker in the world; either a figure of either hideous nepotism or a victim of culturally-condoned misogyny. But sit down with her body-of-work thus far, and it's easy to see an auteur at (admittedly uneven) work, which gives her based-on-a-true-story tale of celeb-obsessed, stalkin', thievin' teenagers far more to anticipate than the same story were it adapted by some far more generic filmmaker (or, y'know, Gus Van Sant).
Camille Claudel 1915
Director: Bruno Dumont
Cast: Juliette Binoche
Dumont's studies of human and divine cruelty have long been beloved (or, in equal measures, hated) by cinephiles; the austere auteur having, for example, a long relationship with Cannes acclaim. But he's never worked with a star, 'til now, as he collaborates with Binoche on a portrait of the in/famous French sculptor. Claudel was once portrayed on screen, by Isabelle Adjani, in a generic biopic, but here's guessing Dumont has something far different in store.
The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: His/The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: Hers
Director: Ned Benson
Cast: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Viola Davis, Isabelle Huppert, William Hurt, Ciarán Hinds
Benson's feature-film directorial debut comes with an idea that, at least, will be an ambitious failure: the collapse of a marriage told in two separate movies, from the differing perspectives of their key protagonists. The two are 'standalone works that form a singular picture', which at least suggests it's not just an attempt at selling twice the tickets.
Director: Bennett Miller
Cast: Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller, Anthony Michael Hall, Channing Tatum
Fire up your 2014 Oscars predictor: as Miller (Capote, Moneyball) helms this based-on-a-(bizarre)-true-story tale of a gay, wrestling-loving, paranoid-schizophrenic multi-millionaire and his obsessive relationship with an Olympic wrestler. Who he'd eventually shoot to death in his driveway.
Director: Noah Baumbach
Cast: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver
Whilst Baumbach's mooted HBO adaptation of Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections was being slowly put to death, the director made a micro-budget film on the sly with girlfriend Gerwig and Girls breakout bizarro-beefcake Adam Driver. It showed at TIFF in 2012, but has since been kept closely-guarded; looks likely to lands at SIFF/MIFF in Australia.
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Cast: George Clooney, Sandra Bullock
Originally due for a 2012 release before being pushed back to late-2013, Cuarón's long-awaited follow-up to 2006's Children Of Men finds Bullock and Clooney adrift in space. And Clooney in space makes me think of Sodebergh's underrated take on Solaris, which can only be a good thing.
Director: Spike Jonze
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Samantha Morton, Olivia Wilde
'Lonely writer falls in love with his operating system' doesn't exactly scream genius premise (it, in fact, brings back painful memories of S1m0ne), but Spike Jonze's feature films are, thus far, as follows: Being John Malkovich, Adaptation., Where The Wild Things Are. So: anticipate!
Inside Llewyn Davis
Directors: Joel & Ethan Coen
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, Garrett Hedlund, John Goodman, Adam Driver
This synopsis —a singer-songwriter navigates New York's folk music scene during the 1960s— doesn't sound like much, until you remember that it's the Coen brothers, and then all of a sudden it sounds fucking magical. You can safely wager their vision of Greenwich Village half-a-century ago will be riddled with idiosyncrasy, humour, and oddity.
Director: Arnaud Desplechin
Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Mathieu Amalric, Elya Baskin
Descplechin makes an unexpected English-language debut with an odd project: an adaptation of a 1951 psychotherapeutic account called Psychotherapy Of A Plains Indian, which chronicles the ongoing medical treatment of a returning Native American war-veteran, who battles post-traumatic stress disorder years before it'd enter the popular consciousness.
Director: Guillaume Nicloux
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Louise Bourgoin, Pauline Etienne, Martina Gedeck
Diderot's 18th-century novel The Nun was previously made into a great French-new-wave film by Jacques Rivette in 1965, now Nicloux takes to the timeless tale of institutional cruelty with an amazing cast headlined by Huppert.
Le Grande Bellezza
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Cast: Toni Servillo
After his genuinely-odd English language debut, This Must Be The Place, failed to set Hollywood ablaze, Sorrentino returns to Italy to work with longtime muse Servillo. The simple set-up —a bitter old journalist renounces his idealist youth— turns delicious when you think of all the director/actor have done together with The Consequences Of Love, The Family Friend, and Il Divo.
Director: Claire Denis
Cast: Vincent Lindon, Chiara Mastroianni
Information on Denis' latest is, thus far, scant, but given her astonishing career thus far —especially her most recent film, the astonishing White Material— anything that Denis does is loaded with anticipation.
Director: James Gray
Cast: Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Renner, Joaquin Phoenix
The fact that Lowlife was due for an Oscar-season turn in 2012 yet was shelved-'til-further-notice could be a bad sign, but, it's also possible that Gray's first-ever period-piece finds him growing ever-stranger after the odd, rumpled, weirdly-unsettling Two Lovers.
Director: Michel Gondry
Cast: Romain Duris, Audrey Tatou, Omar Sy, Natacha Régnier, Alain Chabat
After dabbling with family documentary and Hollywood crap-makin', Gondry is back on more Gondry-like footing with his latest picture: an ambitious adaptation of Boris Vian's delirious novel Froth On The Daydream; a doomed romance filled with fantastical flights-of-fantasy that seem tailor-made for the filmmaker.
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Cast: Dakota Fanning, Jesse Eisenberg, Peter Sarsgaard
After Old Joy, Wendy And Lucy, and Meek's Cutoff, Reichardt may've claimed the mantle as America's most authentic auteur. Her latest picture is a tale of environmental terrorism that seems like it finds her inching closer to the Hollywood establishment, until you remember her devotion to environmental minimalism and general disdain for pointless excess.
Only God Forgives
Director: Nicholas Winding Refn
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Kirstin Scott Thomas, Tom Burke
Winding Refn and Gosling join forces oncemore, for a Drive follow-up which finds Gosling as an American criminal in Bangkok who ends up fighting a local Police Colonel in a Thai boxing match. The poster is amusingly blood-smeared: uglying up Gosling's pretty face and feeling like a meme in wait.
Director: Lars Von Trier
Cast: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Willem Dafoe, Shia LaBeouf, Jamie Bell, Connie Nielsen, Uma Thurman
Von Trier reunites with recent muse Charlotte Gainsbourg for another shit-stirring, wilfully-provocative picture: the complete sexual history of one (likely depressed, put-upon, Christian-martyr-figure) woman, told with Idiots-style non-simulated fucking.
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Cast: Bérénice Bejo, Tahar Rahim
Two of the 2011 Oscars breakout figures —Farhadi, the auteur behind the astonishing morality drama A Separation; Bejo, the starlet in Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist— unite (along with Tahar Rahim from A Prophet and Our Children) for Farhadi's sixth film, and first outside Iran. The film is kept thus far under wraps, but given Farhadi's brilliance with A Separation (and About Elly and Fireworks Wednesday...), colour me excited.
Queen Of The Desert
Director: Werner Herzog
Cast: Naomi Watts, Jude Law, Robert Pattinson
Not to be confused with, um, Priscilla, the latest film from the ever-awesome Herzog finds him telling the story of fin-de-siècle lady archaeologist/explorer/adventurer Gertrude Bell (to be played by Watts, of course). Historical biopics are usually stuffy, fussy, formulaic flicks, but Herzog's greatest cinematic preoccupation is with ambitious dreamers, which gives the premise the feeling of Classic Werner.
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Cast: Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton
English language debut for the beloved Bong (Barking Dogs Never Bite, Memories Of Murder, The Host, Mother) is a near-future thriller touching on apocalyptic themes.
Director: Guy Maddin
Cast: Charlotte Rampling, Mathieu Amalric, Geraldine Chaplin, Amira Casar, Udo Kier
The latest project from Canada's kookiest auteur finds him and an ever-shifting ensemble cast trying to summon the 'ghosts' of old films in cinematic séances; Maddin, as ever, interested in the intersections of cinema, death, and time. It will, one guesses, be black-and-white and generally batshit, but Maddin-lovers would have it no other way.
Twelve Years A Slave
Director: Steve McQueen
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Brad Pitt
After the mind-altering Hunger and the kinda-disappointing Shame, onetime-visual-artist McQueen inches ever closer towards Hollywood heavy-hitter status with this based-on-a-true-story tale of a free New Yorker kidnapped and sold into Southern slavery in the mid-19th century.
Under The Skin
Director: Jonathan Glazer
Cast: Scarlett Johansson
Glazer's long-in-the-works follow-up to his truly underrated Birth is an unenviable attempt to translate Michel Faber's alien-narrator-in-Scotland novel into a coherent film. With Scar-Jo as the alien.
The Unknown Known: The Life And Times Of Donald Rumsfeld
Director: Errol Morris
Given the Iraq Invasion played so much like Vietnam: The Sequel, it would make sense that Morris would follow his 2003 portrait of a morally-questionable warmonger, The Fog Of War: Eleven Lessons From The Life Of Robert S McNamara, with a decade-later sit-down with a subject culpable in untold death and destruction.
The Wind Rises
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
The latest film from the Grand Don of animé is a study in the life of an engineer who designed World War II Japanese fighter-planes, putting this squarely in his romantic world of rattling contraptations, to the giddy joy of flight, and nervous romances.
The Young And Prodigious Spivet
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Cast: Helena Bonham Carter, Judy Davis, Kyle Catlett
Jeunet's latest piece of visionary whimsy is an adaptation of Reif Larsen's suitably-whimsical The Selected Works Of TS Spivet, a tale of a prodigious 12-year-old's merry adventurers on a cross-country freight-train. Suggesting a populism Jeunet has never quite wholly embraced before, it's been shot in 3D and earmarked as a family film.
Album Of The Week goes to Jamie xx's In Colour, Ben Lee has a new release and SOAK releases her debut in This Week's Releases.