Ten Films To Look For In 2013

pacific rim

Last year saw a batch of some truly great films and…some major disappointments. But we fans always look ahead to what’s coming out next year. This year isn’t an exception, however, there will be less genre offerings especially when compared to some stellar and exciting films due in 2014 and 2015. This means there are few guaranteed, must-see event films like The Avengers for this year. Still there are some potential nuggets that look or sound promising and who knows? One of them or something else may pleasantly surprise us.

10. Evil Dead

We’ve been burned by some recent, unnecessary remakes but this one is produced by Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, the director and the star respectively of the original films. The recent trailer promises the same outrageous thrills, scares and gore that made the originals (in)famous. Only this time the production look more professional and therefore more cringe inducing. (Release Date: April 12)

9. Warm Bodies

This zombie movie seems to be in the same humorous vein as Shaun Of The Dead and Zombieland. Warm Bodies is told from the POV of young male zombie who slowly starts to become human again after meeting a potential meal and falling in love with her (!). Warm Bodies looks very promising and unique, which should help it stand out from the crowded field of zombie movies. (Release Date: February 1)

8. Oz, The Great And Powerful

ozDirector Sam Raimi attempts to put behind his Spider-Man films with this prequel of sorts to The Wizard Of Oz. The film focuses on the man who became the sought after wizard of that mythical land. The casting of James Franco as the future Wizard seems like a good choice and the magical landscape and characters shown in the trailers are very stunning and colorful. Can’t wait for the revelation of the Wicked Witch of the East! (Release Date: March 8)

7. Pacific Rim

Fan favorite Guillermo Del Toro returns to the directing chair (his last film was in 2008) in this ode to kaiju (giant monsters) films. Pacific Rim concerns itself with a world being decimated by giant monsters and humanity fighting back by constructing giant robots that are operated by humans inside. Truthfully, Pacific Rim seems like a mix of Transformers and Cloverfield but in a good way. (Release Date: July 12)

6. Oblivion

This Tom Cruise vehicle is directed by Joseph Kosinsky, whose last work was the unexpectedly good Tron: Legacy. Cruise plays a lone repairman working in the ruins of an abandoned Earth, and is fixated on the oblivion 2planet and its lost wonders. One day he stumbles upon a mystery when he encounters a beautiful stranger. Sure, based on that premise and what’s shown on the trailer it may seem a lot like WALL-E except it’s with a human instead of a robot, but Oblivion also hints at deeper mysteries such as is Earth really abandoned by humanity? (Release Date: April 12)

5. Thor: The Dark World

Thor surprised many viewers with its refreshing take on superheroes being that it combined superheroics with ancient gods/alien Shakespearean drama and a decent fish-out-of-water element. Even though this sequel isn’t directed by Kenneth Branagh, who did such a great job with the first Thor, what has been revealed, namely Chris Hemsworth reprising his role as the God of Thunder and dark elves as the villains (the head villain is played by former Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston), promises to be a worthy followup. (Release Date: November 8)

4. The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug

hobbit 2

The middle part of The Hobbit trilogy comes out at the end of the year and should amp up the adventure quota now that the dwarves’ introduction and exposition about reclaiming their lost kingdom from the dragon Smaug was covered in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. However, that film turned off some fans due to its slow pace and 48 fps ratio that was unsettling for some viewers. Yet it pleased many and is a big hit worldwide. Director Peter Jackson should hope that this middle film in The Hobbit trilogy will be better received than his last middle film in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. (Release Date: December 13)

3. Gravity

This film about astronauts (Sandra Bullock and George Clooney) stranded on a decaying space station was held over from last year. Officially the reason had to do with upgrading the special effects and a 3D post-conversion. Rumor had it that the preview results were sharply mixed but after some more tweaking, the latest word of mouth is it that Gravity is a stunning piece of filmmaking. Alonso Cuarón, who directed the best sci-fi movie of the last decade (Children Of Men) and one of the better Harry Potter films (Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban) directs this suspenseful thriller. (Release Date: October 18)

2. Elysium

Neill Blomkamp, who directed one of the past decades very best science fiction films (District 9), returns to the big screen with damonhis next sci-fi epic. This one stars Matt Damon, Jodie Foster and District 9 vet Sharlto Copley and takes place in 2159. By this time, Earth is overpopulated and dying. While most of the population eke out a miserable existence on the planet, the elite live in a luxurious space station who will stop at nothing to keep the riff raff out of their artificial paradise. Damon plays an ex-con whose mission might upset the unequal balance in society. Based on Blomkamp’s last film and its high caliber of quality, Elysium would’ve rated higher on this list but to date no real details have been released, not even a teaser trailer, so it’s difficult to ascertain how promising Elysium looks. In this film’s defense, at least a couple of photos have been released, which isn’t the case with Gravity. (Release Date: August 9)

1. Star Trek Into Darkness

harrison

J.J. Abrams directs his second Star Trek film, as fans know his first Trek film rebooted the long-running franchise. Many have mixed feelings about Abrams’ efforts, the man has admitted he isn’t a Star Trek fan and there are complaints that his previous Trek film seemed more like a Star Wars film. That is because it emphasized action and explosions over ideas and exploration. But Star Trek was an entertaining and rousing success. With Star Trek Into Darkness very little has been revealed about its mysterious plot and villain. What has been revealed is that Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) gets taken down a few pegs and loses command of the Enterprise. But the biggest buzz online has to do with the villain (played by Benedict Cumberbatch), an alleged former Starfleet officer turned terrorist. There are the speculations that he may be a genetic superman like Khan. So far, the lack of information from Abrams and company is helping to fuel interest for Star Trek Into Darkness. (Release Date: May 17)

Keep in mind, these release dates will change and may even be pushed back a year. Other films to keep an eye out for include World War Z (some may have noticed that this film was listed in the top 12 in last year’s list of anticipated films, but news of the troubled production kept it out of the list this time, though the trailer looks interesting), Iron Man 3 (will the franchise revive itself after the listless Iron Man 2? The back to basics approach shown in the trailer seems like a step in the right direction), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire wolverine(the first sequel to Suzanne Collins’ popular book series and movie about a tough girl surviving a futuristic blood sport), The Wolverine (Marvel’s most popular mutant has an adventure in Japan in his second solo film), Monsters University (Pixar’s newest animated release is a prequel to the hit Monsters, Inc.), After Earth (director M. Night Shyamalan attempts another comeback with this futuristic tale about a father and son stranded on an abandoned, hostile Earth), Area 51 (Paranormal Activity director Oren Peli’s delayed found-footage movie about aliens), I, Frankenstein (Aaron Eckhart plays the title character in modern times who fights to save humanity from immortal forces), The Colony (Bill Paxton and Laurence Fishburne are among dwindling human survivors in a futuristic ice age who must contend with a terrifying threat), Kick-Ass 2 (hopefully it won’t be as graphically gruesome as the comic book mini-series it’s based on), Ender’s Game (an adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s book about a gifted child trained to fight aliens in the future), and Last Days Of Mars (a group of imperiled astronauts on the red planet ).

José Soto

Advertisements

Best of 2012

There were many outstanding films and TV shows, etc. in 2012 and many letdowns. Here are our rankings for the best in sci-fi, fantasy and horror in 2012.

Best Sci-Fi TV Show
fringeFringe, now in its final season, the show left its X-Files trappings of government agents investigating unusual phenomenon and radically changed the show’s concept. The main characters wind up decades into the future and have become freedom fighters against the oppressive Observers, post-humans from the distant future who traveled back in time and conquered the world. It’s still head-spinning fun but the new unexpected plot development refreshed the show as Fringe marches towards its conclusion.

Best Web-Based Show
Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome, shame on Syfy for not greenlighting this as a regular series. The network took the pilot and cut it up into ten minute segments that appeared online, making it a web show. It was exciting with terrific f/x and production values, plus engaging characters. It was a perfect companion piece and prequel to Battlestar Galactica.

clone wars

Best Animated Show
Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Darth Maul finally came back from the dead! Until Episode VII comes along this well-produced animated series is the perfect tonic for Star Wars fans waiting for the next big-screen installment.

Best Horror TV Show
The Walking Dead, the tension and developments kept viewers on edge as the characters’ plight in a post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested world went from bad to worse. People unexpectedly died, the gore quotient was high and gross and the stories were some of the most riveting shown on TV. The Walking Dead only loosely followed the comic book it’s based on, which allowed it to take different paths, introduce new characters and kept fans guessing.

walking dead

Best Fantasy Show
Game of Thrones, two things made this fantasy show based on George R. R. Martin’s books noteworthy for viewers: Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), who despite his size manages to hold his kingdom together, and snow zombies a.k.a. the White Walkers and wights.

Best Documentary/Reality Show
Dark Matters: Twisted But True, John Noble (from Fringe) hosts this interesting and sometimes macabre look at some of the weirdest and most disturbing science experiments and discoveries throughout history.

Best Cancelled TV Show
last resortLast Resort, admittedly the show was borderline sci-fi (a nuclear sub with stealth capabilities, hints that it takes place in the very near future with nuclear warfare and $8 dollar a gallon gas prices), but this military drama about a renegade nuclear sub crew who commandeer an island retreat was suspenseful, gripping and entertaining. Too bad it didn’t catch on.

Best TV Character
Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) in The Walking Dead, kudos have to go to Lincoln for his near-perfect characterization of a former deputy sheriff who struggles to keep his band of survivors alive in a world full of flesh-eating ghouls. Despite his best efforts, people die and he’s forced to become more and more ruthless to survive.

Most Missed TV Character
Etta Bishop (Georgina Haig) in Fringe, she only appeared for a few episodes but Peter Bishop and Olivia Dunham’s grown up daughter while sweet and endearing to loved ones was surprisingly brutal against the Observers and their human allies. Her death was a sudden shock that nearly unhinged her parents in their struggle to defeat the Observers.

Most Improved TV Character
darylDaryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) in The Walking Dead, at first he was a non-descript redneck but Daryl has shown an inner toughness and tenderness that was astonishing to watch. Usually quiet, Daryl has emerged as Rick’s most dependable ally and right-hand man, and is quite adept at surviving and killing zombies.

Most Improved TV show
Being Human, this American/Canadian adaptation being humanof the hit U.K. show wisely took the characters and situations of the original and spun itself off into different and unpredictable directions. At the same time, Being Human in its second season quickly developed an engrossing mythology as its non-human characters struggled to regain their humanity.

Best Series Finale
The River, this uneven supernatural series ended with the main characters managing to find the TV show host that they were all searching for in the Amazon since the show began. But the evil spirits that plagued them keep them trapped in the mysterious waterways. Not a bad way to end a horror show.

Worst Series Finale
Alcatraz, the producers of this low-rated show decides to end its first and only season with a cliffhanger that kills off the main character and leaves its core mystery unsolved! Way to go fellas!

john carter

Best Sci-Fi Film
John Carter, Disney should fire any marketing exec involved with this exciting, fun and action-packed thrill ride. Director Andrew Stanton skillfully presented a grand swashbuckling yarn about the very first space hero whose adventures predated all the familiar space operas and originated the sub genre. John Carter featured a rugged hero, a tough and beautiful damsel in distress, weird aliens, and fantastic f/x and production values.

Best Horror Film
The Cabin In The Woods, it wasn’t the cabinscariest horror film but it was the most original and fun. It took the concept of isolated young people terrorized by savage killers and went off in a unique and imaginative tangent. The way the entire premise switches midway in the film made it very memorable. BTW, we would’ve picked the merman premise too.

Best Fantasy Film
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, true, it’s too long and not as good as The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, but thanks to Peter Jackson’s direction it’s still a grand adventure with dazzling effects, a rich environment (made more real thanks to its 48 fps film), characters and a welcome return to Middle Earth. Better yet, more Gollum and Gandalf!

Best Animated Film
rise of guardiansRise of the Guardians, one of the most underrated animated films in recent memory features stupendous animation and at its core a hero (Jack Frost voiced by Chris Pine) with a surprising amount of depth and heart. It’s also a vibrant celebration of childhood and all of its innocent wonder, imagination and faith.

avengers

Best Superhero Film
Marvel’s The Avengers, it’s not like Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance had a chance! Director Joss Whedon hit this one out of the planet in a true epic that saw several of Marvel Comics’ popular superheroes teaming up in an eye-popping spectacular. Fans rejoiced in seeing the momentous occasion that was like seeing a superhero version of an all-star game.

Best Superhero On Film
?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The Hulk in Marvel’s The Avengers, finally a film captured the essence of the Hulk at his smashing best. The green behemoth stole the show as he pummeled Loki and his alien forces. So how about a proper film for the Hulk now?

Best Film Character
Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan) in Chronicle, DeHaan gives a great performance as a picked-upon high school loner who gets superpowers one day and basically doesn’t do anything with them. Instead of becoming a hero, Andrew slowly and disturbingly becoame more and more malevolent as Chronicle came to its terrifying conclusion.

dane deHaan in chronicle

Biggest Disappointment
Prometheus, wow was this a huge letdown. A poorly written mess where characters behave illogically and plot points appear and disappear at a moment’s notice. Ridley Scott and wiz bang f/x couldn’t salvage this disappointing Alien prequel. Note to Scott: forget about those Prometheus and Blade Runner sequel ideas.

Most Overrated Film
Looper, let’s see gangsters in the future only use time travel to get rid of bodies? Immoral types wouldn’t want to get rich or muck with timelines? What’s with the out-of-left-field plot development about the telekinetic mutants and a kid that belongs in an Omen movie? The unlikeable characters didn’t help matters with this unsatisfying time travel film.

hobbit

Best Use Of 3D In A Film
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, thanks in part to it being filmed in an immersive 48 fps, the 3D erases the barrier between the film and the audience.

Best Trailer For An Upcoming Film
Star Trek Into Darkness, while the trailer for J.J. Abrams’ first Star Trek film was more exhilarating this trailer promises excitement and vengeance-fueled destruction as seen in Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, the Star Trek film that all the others in the franchise try to emulate.

Best App
Angry Birds Star Wars, it’s the best mashup since peanut butter met chocolate!

mass effect 3

Best Video Game
Mass Effect 3, despite all the groans about its ending, the game featured stunning graphics, addictive game play and a solid storyline.

Best Hallmark Ornament
TIE: the time-traveling DeLorean car from Back To The Future and the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters. ’80s genre nostalgia lives on with these accurate and detailed ornaments.

Best Marketing Tie-In
SAMSUNGThe black, Avengers-themed monorail at Walt Disney World. It’s visually arresting with the movie heroes and logo boldly displayed on the sleek mode of transit seen around the Magic Kingdom in Florida. It continues to wow tourists.

Biggest News Item
Disney buys Lucasfilm and thus the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. Not since Disney purchased Marvel Comics has there been such a cataclysmic happening in the world of fandom. Many had conflicted thoughts about seeing George Lucas stepping down and handing control of his beloved franchises to the Disney juggernaut. Feelings were also mixed but guardedly excited over the announcement of new Star Wars films on the horizon.

‘Tis The Week For Trailers!

As this year winds to a close and the anticipation rises for next year’s film offerings one thing to whet our collective appetites are the trailers. This week it seems as if Hollywood as decided to send some gifts to us fans by releasing trailers for some of the most anticipated flicks for 2012.

Moviegoers who watch The Adventures of Tintin on Wednesday will be able to see a trailer for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which will be enough to fill the seats the same way those Star Wars: Episode I trailers filled then emptied movie houses once those trailers ended. In the same fantasy genre, there is another new trailer for Wrath Of The Titans the followup to Clash Of The Titans.

Released this week exclusively on iTunes and certain to be embedded soon is the official trailer for The Dark Knight Rises, and it looks just as badassery as the previous Batman film.

In addition to a new German trailer for The Avengers, a trailer was released today for another trailer due in three days: Ridley Scott’s supposed Alien prequel Prometheus. (Technically it isn’t a prequel since Ridley Scott just confirmed the Xenomorphs don’t appear in this film but it supposedly takes place in the same universe.) It sounds absurd, a trailer for a trailer, but after such a long wait and with so little to go on, it’s a terrific appetizer for the main course! And it’s really great hearing that eerie Alien music last heard waaaay back in 1979 during previews for the first Alien.

Waldermann Rivera

UPDATE: Well, here it is, the official trailer for Prometheus, and it’s pretty obvious that it’s a prequel to Alien. Frankly, the countdown teasers for this has been worth the wait!