7/12 Pacific Rim (Guillermo del Toro)
After Pan’s Labyrinth, just del Toro’s name is enough to get me to buy a ticket. Add in giant robots fighting monsters… what more can you ask for? Pacific Rim appears to be influenced by Godzilla movies and anime; many have cited comparisons to Neon Genesis Evangelion, although the similarities appear to be mainly superficial.
The cast includes Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy), Rinko Kikuchi (Babel) and Idris Elba, who appeared in Prometheus and as Heimdall in Thor. A somewhat surprising cast member is Charlie Day of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia fame.
7/19 Only God Forgives (Nicolas Winding Refn)
Refn, the director of Drive and Bronson, both amazing films, is working with Ryan Gosling again on this one. Only God Forgives looks similar to Drive but more surreal, almost hallucinogenic. Gosling plays a drug smuggler who is trying to find his brother’s killers.
The film has divided critics so far and there were supposedly people booing and walking out at Cannes. That only makes me more intrigued; this is easily one of my most anticipated of the year.
7/19 The World’s End (Edgar Wright)
Wright regulars Simon Pegg (who was also co-writer) and Nick Frost return in this story of old friends attempting to finish a pub crawl in the middle of what appears to be a robot invasion. The film also stars Martin Freeman (The Hobbit) and Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes). The World’s End is considered the end to a loose trilogy that includes Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.
7/24 The Wolverine (James Mangold)
Hugh Jackman reprises his role as the scruffy X-Men member in this standalone film set in Japan. Darren Aronofosky (Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan) was originally set to direct. It’s hard to picture him doing a comic book movie and he probably wasn’t going to make a mainstream enough movie for Fox. He claimed his departure was due to not wanting to spend time out of the country and away from his family. However, the film should be in capable hands with Mangold, who also directed Walk the Line and 3:10 to Yuma.
The only other confirmed member of the X-Men to appear in The Wolverine is Famke Janssen as Jean Grey aka Phoenix. There have been rumors of a scene involving Patrick Stewart, but this has not been made official.
The film is based on a limited series titled Wolverine by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller. Villains appearing include Viper and the Silver Samurai.
The Wolverine will be the first X-Men movie to be released in 3D.
8/9 Elysium (Neill Blomkamp)
Blomkamp is back with his first movie since the 2009 sleeper science fiction hit District 9. The star of that movie, Sharlto Copley, joins a cast consisting of Matt Damon and Jodie Foster.
Elysium is set in the year 2154 where the wealthy live in a utopian artificial city in orbit around Earth, while most of society is forced to live in squalor on the surface. Damon plays a former thief that contracts cancer and has five days to get to Elysium and cure it. The special effects look amazing and District 9 was one of the best science fiction films in recent years, so I’m highly anticipating Elysium.
8/14 Kick-Ass 2 (Jeff Wadlow)
This comic book adaptation is the sequel to 2010’s Kick-Ass, directed by Matthew Vaughn(X-Men: First Class). Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Savages) returns in the title role, along with Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Chloë Grace Moretz.
Jim Carrey joins the franchise, and has generated a bit of controversy recently for his comments. Earlier this year he released a video mocking Charlton Heston for his NRA leadership and claimed that the Sandy Hook shooting should lead to stricter gun control laws. Then on June 23, he tweeted I did Kickass a month b4 Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence.”
10/4 Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)
The director of Y Tu Mamá También and Children of Men is back in this upcoming film about two astronauts trying to survive outside a damaged space station. Apparently the only cast members are George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. The trailer looks excellent and does a great job of conveying tension. Gravity was filmed digitally and post-converted to 3D. It’ll be interesting to see how a director like Cuarón utilizes 3D.
He’s again using cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who worked with him on Y Tu Mamá También and Children of Men. Lubezki also worked with Terrence Malick on Tree of Life and The New World and the Coens on Burn after Reading. The cinematography was amazing in Children of Men, so I’m really looking forward to this one.
10/4 Machete Kills (Robert Rodriguez)
The sequel to the over the top 2010 Grindhouse spinoff, Machete, promises more of the same. Danny Trejo returns as the title character, along with Jessica Alba and Michelle Rodriguez.
Several big names are joining the cast, such as Mel Gibson, Antonio Banderas, Lady Gaga, Amber Heard, and Cuba Gooding, Jr. Machete Kills also features Charlie Sheen (credited as Carlos Estevez, his birth name) as the president of the United States! Furthermore, this is Mel Gibson’s first villainous role. This should be just as ridiculous and violent as the first.
10/25 Oldboy (Spike Lee)
Spike Lee is remaking the 2003 Korean masterpiece of the same name, which was based on a Japanese manga. This film has been in development hell for a while; it was originally supposed to be directed by Steven Spielberg and star Will Smith. It’s pretty hard to imagine a version of the disturbing Oldboy involving those two.
Josh Brolin stars and Samuel L. Jackson, Elizabeth Olsen, and Sharlto Copley (the star of District 9) have supporting roles. The original film is about a man help prisoner for 15 years without knowing why. It dealt with taboo themes such as incest, so it’ll be interesting to see how Spike Lee translates it for American audiences.