5 movies to look forward to in 2013

Posted by CB Droege

Here are some films you might not be paying attention to yet.

2013 is definitely set to continue the resurgence of genre cinema, especially the comic-book adaptations. Everyone is already looking ahead to the big names. Ender’s Game, Star Trek Into Darkness, Pacific Rim, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Man of Steel, The Wolverine, and two new Marvel films, one for Iron Man and one for Thor. You already know about all of those, and you’re likely already planning to see them all. Here, then, in no particular order, I’ll present you with a few 2013 genre films that, perhaps, you haven’t heard much about yet:

Carrie

This remake of the classic film is perhaps not what you would expect. First, we’re getting one of the best young actors in the industry, Chloë Grace Moretz, and setting her opposite one of our most talented veterans, Julianne Moore. These two are not just rehashing the original film, however. This new film is a readaptation of the original work, King’s first published novel, which happens to also be one of his few actually good books  since he doesn’t spend half of the pages describing gratuitous gore; a style which has since become a sort of hallmark of his stories.

Where the original film focused on the buildup of the protagonist’s rage, and ended with her fiery revenge, this film will take a closer look at the events of Carrie’s breakdown, including her interaction with her mother, who has gone nutty with religious fervor. The original novel uses the catastrophe at the high school as a mid-plot event, around which the rest of the story revolves. The audience knows right from the beginning that there will be a massacre, and the book leads them up to it in the first half, and then spends the rest of the book leading back away from it, all with a series of fictional school and police documents.

If it’s done right, this readaptation could turn out a much more compelling film than the original, albeit in a completely different vein.

Carrie hits theaters on March 15, 2013.

Elysium

This is Mat Damon’s new action film, and it doesn’t look like much on the surface. A human population divided starkly between the haves and the have-nots, with all the wealthy folk living on a space station, separated from the rabble of earth.  Damon plays an ex-con tasked with forcing his way into the colony of Elysium.

From that, it sounds like Elysium will just be a run-and-gun with a headlines-topical fantasy element. Then we see that it’s written and directed by Neil Bloomkamp, who, while a bit heavy-handed at times, would be unlikely to create a trite action film. His previous film, District 9, along with many shorts and contest entries, establish a style that combines seemingly low-budget visuals, with special effects that make the film look like a crappy recording of an otherworldly scene. If nothing else, I expect the visuals will be stunning, and perhaps he learned his lesson about over-emphasizing the story’s moral lesson when he read the reviews for District 9.

Elysium drops to the big screen on March 1, 2013.

47 Ronin

47 Ronin is a long-delayed Keanu Reeves vehicle. The Matrix alum signed onto the film over 4 years ago, and had to wait until late last year just to begin filming, and it’s now about half-way through, with lots still to do in Japan.

The film is based on the legend of the same name, with Reeves’ character, a Japanese Englishman, not the only thing inserted by Hollywood. The film moves the legend about vengeance for one’s master to a “world of witches and giants”.

Very little else is known about the production at this point, but, more than anything else, I just want to see what took so long, and I’m curious to discover if they were able to pull off the ambitious original plans.

47 Ronin is planned for December 25, 2013, if it doesn’t get delayed a fifth time.

The Host

You could describe The Host as ‘Twilight with aliens’, and you wouldn’t be entirely off. The novel that the film is sourced from is written by Stephanie Meyer, who also wrote Twilight, and the plot contains many similar elements: a young woman torn between worlds, a complicated love triangle involving fantasy creatures, gratuitous chastity, etc., but it’s important to note that it is not Twilight, and from the few trailers we’ve gotten recently, it looks significantly more interesting than Twilight.

Whether this is reflected in the book, I’m not sure, but just from the trailers, it’s clear that the world-building here is much more sophisticated than Meyers’ last project, and the character driven story will rely on some more fundamental human drives than just lust and distress.

Many Twilight fans are going to see it just because they love Twilight, and lots of anti-Twilight theater-goers will likely skip it just because they don’t like Twilight. I think both groups are running the chance at being disappointed.

The host takes theaters on March 29, 2013.

Mad Max: Fury Road

The new entry in the Mad Max franchise has suffered some delays as well, though not so bad as 47 Ronin. Cursed by good weather, the shooting of the film was put off nearly two years. Now it’s done, however, and we should be getting the first trailers any day now.

Fury Road is not a reboot or adaptation; it’s a new entry in the story-line, which continues the tale following the events of Beyond Thunderdome. Max has joined a group of survivors attempting to escape from the wastelands to find a better home. A caravan of odd post-apocalyptic vehicles cross the desert together, getting in trouble along the way.

Mostly it will be interesting to see a take on the Mad Max setting that uses a modern budget and digital effects. The original film’s simplistic effects and designs actually standup remarkably well, even if the films’ plot and pacing do not.

Also: It’ll give us all an excuse to watch the original films again.

Mad Max: Fury Road is expected sometime near the end of 2013.