The last installment before we get started with the real list (starting next Monday!) is an odd assortment of movies. There's a crime movie, a couple spy thrillers, a coming of age comedy and a magician-themed comedy. It's truly a bizarre list to conclude my runners-up. But what I found out when writing down my list of movies for next year - it's an eclectic mix of comedies, dramas and action. Last year was dominated by superhero movies and science fiction (and sequels!), while 2013 isn't dominated by one genre and less than half my movies are sequels/remakes! I'm excited to see where the year takes us because I know for sure there's going to be some big surprises that even I cannot predict with this list.
Starring: Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Release Date: August 16
Contraband was a decent movie and it looks like the director and Wahlberg are teaming up again to provide us with another entertaining action/crime thriller. The movie is based on the graphic novel of the same name where a DEA agent and an undercover Naval Intelligence officer, who have been tasked with investigating one another, find they have been set up by the mob. The very organization the two men believe they have been stealing money from. Add Denzel (DENZEL!) Washington as the co-lead! This should be a fantastic movie. Much like Safe House - Denzel will be paired up with another sexiest man alive nominee Mark Wahlberg (seriously - Johnny Depp has won this award twice and Wahlberg hasn't? C'mon, People Magazine, get your head outta yer ass!). The reason this didn't make the list is because I just don't know how awesome this movie is going to be. Chances are it's going to be on par with Safe House and Contraband, which while good movies, aren't spectacular. I trust the director and Wahlberg to deliver, but I don't think I'll be blown away.
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Connie Britton, Rachel Bilson
Director: Maggie Carey
Release Date: August 16
Don't let that trailer above fool you - this movie is coming out in August. What the french, Aubrey Plaza? I'm excited for this one because a) There's a great cast - Aubrey Plaza and Donald Glover are hilarious on their respective TV shows (Parks & Recreation, Community), you have other funny people like Andy Samberg, Bill Hader, Christopher Mintz-Plasse doing their funny stuff. AND! Connie Britton, the most underrated sexiest woman working in television today! And frickin' Clark "SHIELD Agent Coulson" Gregg is in this! How can you not be excited? And b) It's a coming of age story set in what looks like the late 80s. I love these kinds of films - Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Superbad are superb examples of how to do this genre well. The only thing holding the excitement level down is the director. Maggie Carey is relatively unknown and this is her first feature film writing and directing. I have high hopes, but this could end up being Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist-bad. Shudder.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
Starring: Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Olivia Wilde
Director: Don Scardino
Release Date: March 15
There's not one, but two magician movies coming out next year, but this is the one that didn't make the cut. Burt Wonderstone (Carell) and Anton Lovecraft are a successful magic act in Las Vegas. Their partnership comes to an end when Anton is injured by Burt during their hotbox trick, and Anton moves to the Far East. When Burt is overshadowed by popular street magician Steve Gray (Carrey), he must convince Anton to return to the act to regain his standing by all means necessary. It sounds like this could be a fun movie - with the right direction. Scardino hasn't directed any movies, but he's done a lot of TV shows, including the deviously funny (well, at least the first 3 seasons) 30 Rock. And the film was written by John Francis Daly (of Freaks and Geeks fame and who also wrote Horrible Bosses) so I think this movie is in good hands. But I just don't know about this one. I had high hopes for That's My Boy and we all know how awful that movie was. So it didn't make the cut. I reserve more judgement when the trailer comes out
Starring: Christopher Walken, Al Pacino, Alan Arkin
Director: Fisher Stevens
Release Date: January 11
The Fisher Stevens, the man who brilliantly portrayed The Plague in the seminal 1995 movie Hackers, gets behind the lens to direct three legendary actors! This sounds like fun - A pair of aging con men try to get the old gang back together for one last hurrah before one of the guys takes his last assignment - to kill his comrade. It's a crime-comedy film and I'm hoping for more of a Ocean's 11 vibe than a Mad Money one (did you know the reason Katie Holmes dropped out of The Dark Knight was because she wanted to do Mad Money?!? It's not like Ms. Holmes is known for making good decisions coughTOMCRUISEcough, but sheesh how could you pass that up? I guess she thought she couldn't miss out on the epic pairing of Diane Keaton and Queen Latifah. That's a hard combo to resist, fo sho). Although after seeing the trailer, it's lacking in the funny and soaking in the depressing. And that's the main reason why I couldn't put this on the list. But here's to hoping Alan Arkin makes some old guy jokes and bickers some more about technology.
Starring: Chris Pine, Kiera Knightley
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Release Date: December 25
I'm going to admit something shameful: I have not seen any Jack Ryan movies (The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, The Sum of All Fears). I just wasn't into spy movies when they came out. So that's probably why I couldn't put this on my list - it's just not a movie I can gin up a lot of excitement for. I love the fact that Branagh is directing and Chris Pine is tackling the title role. I think the studio is trying to reboot the franchise and making Jack Ryan into a Bourne-type character for which there will be plentiful odd titles to shove his name in front of (Jack Ryan's No Fear, anyone?). The story is pretty ho-hum: Jack Ryan, as a young covert CIA analyst, uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack. Yawn. What makes this film intriguing is that Costner has signed on to play a Nick Fury-type role and will be seen in the spin-off film Without Remorse, with Tom Hardy playing a Jack Ryan-type dude. I really like the idea of multiple movies inhabiting the same universe and I hope this plays out well for the audience. I'm cautiously optimistic about this one and I can't wait to see the trailer to better understand how this movie is going to shake out.