[It’s a new year and a new opportunity to sit amongst friends at the Strange Kid Roundtable! This time we’ve brought together some of greatest nerd minds on the net to share what movies they’re most excited to see in 2013. Joining us are by JOANNA BOESE, SHAWN ROBARE, MICHAEL CORBETT and JAIME HOOD and TESSA MORRISON… and here’s what they had to say!]
OZ the Great and Powerful
JOANNA BOESE: If people know me well enough, it’s just that I cannot resist fantasy films. I grew up in the ’80s where there were quite a few good ones, and right now we’re in the midst of the second age, where it’s pretty much the same.
In this version of the story, Disney and Sam Raimi are doing what Gregory Maguire did with Wicked and tell a story about what happened before Dorothy came in. Of course, this is vastly different, but it also borrows from the well-known MGM film. There’s even a joke about skipping down the yellow brick road in it…
I do enjoy Raimi’s work as well as James Franco (I really did love the last fantasy movie he made) and Rachel Weisz (I’m also a huge Sommersverse fan as well) so why would I NOT be very excited to see this?
Only God Forgives
SHAWN ROBARE: First and foremost on my list is Nicolas Winding Refn’s follow-up to one of my favorite flicks from last year (Drive), titled Only God Forgives slated for release in late May. Refn reteams with some of his Drive cast and crew, including star Ryan Gosling and composer Cliff Martinez, for a film set against the neon lit streets of Bangkok [where] Gosling plays a young mobster who runs a Thai boxing club, and is on the search for the people responsible for his brother’s death.
Of all the films I saw last year, Drive is easily my favorite, head and shoulders above the rest. The mix of the 80s-influended synth-heavy soundtrack, Gosling’s against-type performance, and the overall quietly intense tone of the film completely won me over and had me digging deeper into the director’s filmography. I was equally astounded by Refn’s film’s Valhalla Rising and Bronson, and can’t imagine what’s in store with Only God Forgives. If Gosling’s meat-tenderized face on the film’s poster promises anything, it’s more intense fun come May.
MICHAEL CORBETT: 2013 looks like it’s going to be a good year for movies. We’ve got solid sequels in Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Star Trek: Into Darkness, and Kick Ass 2, along with some intriguing remakes like Evil Dead and Man of Steel… but this year I’m looking most forward to see what new, original material one of Hollywood’s leading strange kids, Guillermo Del Toro, has dreamed up: Pacific Rim.
Giant sea monsters fighting robots piloted by Jax from Sons of Anarchy? Here, take my money. This film should be exciting anyone who grew up playing with action figures, because it looks like Guillermo Del Toro pulled this one right out of the toy box. And hey, we haven’t had a good entry into the giant monster genre in a long time. Sure, Cloverfield had its moments, but a lot of people felt that film was lacking. Pacific Rim looks like it won’t be shying away from scenes large scale destruction, but instead embracing them. In the hands of a skilled filmmaker like Del Toro, that’s an exciting proposition.
JAIME HOOD: To say that Ender’s Game is my most anticipated movie of 2013 is too much of an understatement — it is my most anticipated movie of the past ten years (but hey, no pressure or anything, Summit!)! Like many adolescent nerds before me, I tore through the pages of Orson Scott Card’s 1985 novel Ender’s Game — which should be required reading for any fan of science fiction — and felt a deep connection with its central character, Ender Wiggin. Weak in stature but not of the mind, Ender is a gifted but deeply troubled child who is recruited into Battle School, a military institution located in Earth’s orbit established solely to cultivate brilliant officers capable of fighting off the forthcoming alien invasion.
As Ender’s hidden genius and innate combat abilities begin to emerge, his advancement through Battle School is punctuated by triumphs, failures, and several traumatizing events. The brilliance of Card’s novel is in the way it puts you inside Ender’s mind and the sense of fear and isolation he feels within, while at the same time revealing his cunning. The story is as much about the mind games that occur between Ender and his peers and commanding officers at Battle School as it is about the real war between humans and the alien race. It is intense, it is graphic, but most of all, it is unputdownable. If you’ve never read it, I cannot recommend it highly enough, as a fellow geek once did for me—just promise me you won’t let anyone spoil its mindfuck of an ending. I guarantee you’ll have the same reaction I first did: Holy shit this would be an amazing movie!
For us fans of the book, this film adaptation directed by Gavin Hood (no relation!) has been a long time coming. Over the years there have been several false starts and missteps on the way to adapting Ender’s Game for the big screen, due to the highly ambitious scope of the project, the technical wizardry required to bring the zero-gravity Battle Room to life, and Card’s own apprehensions in wanting his “baby” to get the right treatment — which is why the author wrote and re-wrote the screenplay several times. And of course, one of the biggest challenges was finding the right Ender. That challenge has been accepted by Asa Butterfield, who blew me away with his performance in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and again in Hugo. I believe he could end up being perfect in this role.
TESSA MORRISON: Yeah, back in 2002 or so they had Haley Joel Osment lined up for the part of Ender. And, hey, Harrison Ford is in it!
JAIME HOOD: Don’t forget Ben Kingsley – now there’s a pairing of epic proportions that is reason enough to want to see this movie. As for me, I’m just thrilled we’re finally getting an Ender’s Game movie after so many long, agonizing years of waiting.
TESSA MORRISON: I’m a long-time X-Men fan and Logan is one of my favorite mutants. This film’s storyline is taken from the Frank Miller and Chris Claremont Wolverine comics from the 1980s, which kicked ass. I have high hopes for this film, I was not a fan of the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie. I love the Sumi-e painting styled poster for this film.
Hey, speaking of Frank Miller! Another Sin City movie? Yes, Please. Unfortunately some recasting had to be done due to deaths and a pregnancy, but I’m sure it will be awesome regardless of the changes. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, obviously, and Just Another Saturday Night are two of the segments in the film.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
JOANNA BOESE: I had read the book in which this is based on and it is very apparent Cassandra Clare is a huge fangirl herself. The gratuitous anime mentions, the Star Wars references, the yaoi… it’s kind of like she knew a lot of winning formulas for most YA readers.
In pop culture nowadays, we have quite a few stories where the heroine doesn’t realize she has a huge secret kept from her by her parents and this is no different. She finds out a lot of the people she had known aren’t really who they say they are as well as the fact many mythical creatures hide out in our world.
Again, I had mentioned we live in the second great age of fantasy films but the only problem with it is that some series are thrown to the curb after the chimps in suits who keep getting hired at movie studios underpromote or make stupid marketing decisions, dooming some really good series (Cirque du Freak, Inheritance) and then blaming it on the moviegoer. I really do hope this will not happen with The Mortal Instruments as some events in this story make me wonder what will happen next.
SHAWN ROBARE: Picking up where Shaun of the Dead left off with it’s genre blending of horror and comedy, Jonathan Levine’s (50/50, The Wackness) zombie romance Warm Bodies looks like it’s going to successfully bridge the gap between John Hughes-style teen romances and zombie horror flicks. Centering on the young undead R (in his decaying state he only remembers the first letter of his name) and Julie, the girlfriend of one of his victims, the film follows the couple as they fall in love against all odds (and probably morality, not to mention mortality.) As their relationship builds something begins to stir in R, something powerful enough to potentially change the course of the zombie apocalypse.
Though I haven’t seen the director’s previous flicks to get a feeling for this one, the trailer gave me a lot of the same impressions I had from watching Shaun of the Dead for the first time, and if it can blend its genres as effectively it has the potential to breathe some new life into the stagnant zombie film landscape of late.