CINEMA goers will take some good memories out of 2012.Superheroes battled it out for box office supremacy, we said goodbye to Batman — at least in his Christopher Nolan version — and welcome back to Bond for 007’s most successful outing to date. Ridley Scott returned to the "Alien" universe in "Prometheus" while the Highlands got the Disney treatment in "Brave" and a little Hobbit took the first steps of a very long journey.Now Eden Court film programmer Paul Taylor focuses on what we will see in our cinemas in the next few months to see if 2013 will also become a bumper year for film fans.
2012 was a truly memorable year for cinema.
Whether you are a fan of blockbusters — "The Dark Knight Rises", "Marvel Avengers Assemble", "The Hunger Games" and "Skyfall" — or art house — "Once Upon A Time In Anatolia" (my personal favourite for 2012), "Amour", "Moonrise Kingdom", "The Artist", "Holy Motors" and "The Master" — there was something in the cinemas last year that everyone would have enjoyed.
2013 starts of promisingly enough — the same way every year in cinema begins — with the big award contenders.
(now on release) is a lavish big budget, all star (High Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Ann Hathaway) adaptation of the stage musical. Directed by Tom Hooper (who won the Best Director Oscar on 2011 for "The King’s Speech") it is sure to be a big hit.
Steven Spielberg’s long awaited Lincoln (on release), starring two time Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln in the final months of his life, is the first heavyweight drama of the year. Originally planned with Liam Neeson over 10 years ago let’s hope that it’s more "Schindler’s List" than "War Horse". Day-Lewis is certain for an Oscar nomination for his quietly powerful performance.
Also out now is Kathryn Bigelow’s follow up to her Oscar winning "The Hurt Locker", Zero Dark Thirty. Focusing on the 10 year search for Osama Bin Laden, Jessica Chastain is the lead investigator heading the manhunt. It has already won several critic awards in the US and is sure to be a big hitter at the Oscars.
A strange release for Valentine’s Day was Bruce Willis’s return as supercop John McClane, this time saving Moscow from the baddies, in A Good Day To Die Hard. The last three have been hit and miss, but this looks a little more promising.
For those of you who have ever wondered what happened before Dorothy got to Oz then Oz The Great and Powerful (8th March) should help answer those questions. The director of the Spider-man films, Sam Raimi, has made a beautiful looking film with a sideshow magician, James Franco, winding up in Oz as the only hope in the battle between three witches — Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis and Rachael Weisz.
Fans of "Twilight" can relax a little as Stephenie Meyer’s The Host (22nd March) will soon be here. Instead of vampires it tells the story of parasitic aliens that have been inserted into humans and taken them over. Only a few are immune, three of whom are attractive teens with terrific young actor Saoirse Ronan as the female lead. Will love defeat the alien invasion? Another film that could take up the "Twilight" mantle is The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones (23rd August) based on a series of bestselling young adult novels by Cassandra Clare. Set in a world with angelic Shadowhunters who track and kill demons, it has the same mix of romance and threat that made "Twilight" the phenomenon that it was.
Tom Cruise may be laughed at by some, but "Jack Reacher" proved that he is still at the top of his game. Oblivion (12th April) is a sort of live action "WALL-E" with Cruise one of the few people still on Earth after most humans have decamped to space following a long war with aliens. When he meets up with a small rebel group he starts to question everything that he thought he knew. The poster and trailer are fantastic; this will get the summer blockbuster season off to a great start.
The summer sees the release of several new superhero films. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) is back in Iron Man 3 (26th April), using his wit and money to take on the bad guys to hilarious effect. Superman returns (no not Bryan Singer’s terrible 2006 version) in Zack Snyder’s Man Of Steel (14th June). Henry Cavill is Kal-El (Superman’s name on Krypton) in what looks like the best version so far.
There is more Marvel madness with Thor 2: The Dark World (30th October) hammering his way back into the cinema. This time an ancient race of Dark Elves threaten to plunge the universe back into darkness. Can Thor (Chris Hemsworth) save the day? When he was Kim in "Home & Away" he could solve any number of problems, so I’m sure that he can come good.
Star Trek: Into Darkness
(17th May) sees J.J. Abrams pick up where he left Kirk and Spock, once again they will come up against Khan (played by TV’s "Sherlock", Benedict Cumberbatch). The last "Star Trek" film was possibly the best one yet, this promises even more. A sure fire hit, and probably the only time this year that I will get my tickets in advance (probably for the IMAX in Glasgow).
Also released on May 17th is Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. Leonardo DiCaprio leads an all star cast in a glossy adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary masterpiece. Expect "Moulin Rouge" visuals in jazz age 1920s America.
Brad Pitt’s Glasgow excursion World War Z (21st June) is the big zombie movie of the year. Partially filmed around George Square, but set in Philadelphia, it sees the majority of Earth’s population wiped out by zombies and the human response. Based on the terrific novel this could be one of the films of the year.
It is a bit of a year of sequels for animation with Despicable Me 2 (28th June) and Monsters University (12th July) both out this summer. Pixar’s "Monsters Inc." is a touchstone for great animation so its follow up arrives with hopes high for hilarity with Mike and Sulley showing us what they were up to during their university years. Later in the year sees Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2: Revenge Of The Leftovers. The first part was one of the funniest films of 2009 so this has a lot to live up to.
Johnny Depp is back as Tonto in The Lone Ranger (9th August), in which he acts in no way like a native American version of Captain Jack Sparrow...
(20th September) is the new film from the director of South African sci-fi hit "District 9". Set in a future that sees the wealthiest people live off the scorched Earth in luxurious space stations. Matt Damon finds out that he has a condition that can only be cured off world, so he has to fight his way onto the space station to not only save himself, but also society. Jodie Foster is given the task to stop him in what could be the one of the year’s best.
The sequel to "The Hunger Games", Catching Fire (22nd November) has to be one of the year’s most anticipated films. Jennifer Lawrence returns as Katniss Everdean who has become the focus to a rebellion in the dystopian world, so the authorities have decided to make her a part of the quarter quell celebrations. I’m sure that she would much rather have just stayed in.
The last big release of the year is The Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug (13th December). I am one of those who feels that three parts is far too much for such a slim book — the first part was a really well made film with terrific performances, but man, it was dull (there was a great 90 minute film hidden within the 170). Hopefully there will be more dragon this time round (given that it’s played by the great Benedict Cumberbatch then it can only be a good thing).
For the fans of art house cinema there are films from some of cinemas greatest directors, and some bright new comers, to look forward to in 2013.
These films don’t tend to be dated too far ahead in comparison to bigger films — "Smurfs 3" has a release date of 24th July 2015 and the second part is not even out yet — so I have only covered the first half of the year.
Chilean director Pablo Larrain’s No (8th February) brings his Pinochet trilogy to a close with Gael García Bernal as a marketing executive trying to defeat dictator Augusto Pinochet in Chile’s 1988 referendum with an ad campaign.
Terrence Malick has made his second film in three years — remarkably prolific for a man with just five films to his credit in 30 years. To The Wonder (22nd February) stars Ben Affleck, who has had a great couple of years, as a married man returning to his hometown finding his feelings for his childhood flame reignited.
Saudi Arabia is not exactly known for its progressive stance towards women, let alone women in a county that has no cinemas. So it is incredible that Wadjda (19th April), Saudi Arabia’s first ever film by a female director, Haifaa Al-Mansour, has even been made. It is about a young girl who challenges her country’s traditions, made by a director who has done just that. It won three awards at the Venice Film Festival, but here is hoping that this film will help to break down boundaries and raise awareness for women across the Middle East.
Denmark’s Susanne Bier won the Best Foreign Language Oscar for her last film, "In A Better World". Her new film is a little different and a lot lighter. Pierce Brosnan stars, speaking some pretty decent Danish amongst his English, in Love Is All You Need (19th April). The always fantastic Trine Dyrholm plays a hairdresser who travels to Italy for her daughter’s wedding. She has just recovered from cancer and left her husband so she seems to be alone in the world. It sounds dark and depressing, but it really isn’t. There she meets suave ex-Bond himself Pierce and so the year’s finest love story begins. I’m not afraid to admit that it left me with a sneaky tear or two in my eye. A really lovely film from a great director.
Pedro Almodóvar has been a force in European cinema for over 30 years. He has made a few more serious films lately, but his new film I’m So Excited (3rd May) is a return to the colourful camp films of the ’80s where he made his name. The plot is still under wraps, but just watch the trailer to see what excitement is to come.
This could be a great year in cinema. Around 500 films will be released in 2013 so there are sure to be films that you love and some that you hate. Hopefully some of the films here have piqued your interest. 2012 was a vintage year, let’s hope 2013 can live up to it.
I’m going to finish my look at the films of 2013 by mentioning two of the films that I am looking forward to the most with in equal measures anticipation and trepidation.
At World's End (14th August) is the third in Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s "Cornetto Trilogy". Following on from 2004’s "Shaun Of The Dead" and 2007’s "Hot Fuzz", the conclusion to the trilogy — which I think is mint chocolate chip — sees our two heroes, along with three of the UKs biggest talents,Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan and Paddy Considine, go on an epic pub crawl that they could not manage 20 years ago. Only this time the fate of the world is at stake.
The other film is and can only be,
The Alan Partridge Movie (16th August). Steve Coogan’s greatest comedy creation, and possibly the finest comedy character to come out of this country since Basil Fawlty, finally, after years of hinting and teasing, comes to the cinema. They are avoiding the clichés of going to America, or abroad, and staying firmly in Alan’s home territory of Norwich where he is battling the evil forces that want to take over his digital radio station. I cannot wait — A-Ha!