Coming soon: 40 unmissable movies

The best new films of 2013 and beyond

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Each year, the summer feels increasingly stuffed with high-octane Hollywood action flicks, comic-book movies and effects-heavy moneyspinners. Here are five movies from 2013 and beyond which we reckon will stand out from the crowd.

  • Iron Man 3

    There’s a very good reason to be excited about the return of Tony Stark, and it’s got nothing to do with shiny robot suits, spectacular special effects or wisecracking Hollywood stars. The real reason we’re looking forward to ‘Iron Man 3’ is that it marks the return to directing – after eight long years – of Shane Black, writer of the ‘Lethal Weapon’ series, not to mention action classics ‘The Last Boy Scout’ and ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight’. His directorial debut, 2005’s pithy crime romp ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’, was an inexplicable flop, but thanks to the machinations of that film’s star Robert Downey Jr he’s been given a second chance to prove his mettle.

    The plot sounds like standard superhero fare – while clean-up continues on the Stark building following the alien invasion seen in ‘Avengers Assemble’, Tony Stark finds himself facing a new enemy, the mysterious Mandarin. But when said villain is played by Ben Kingsley, when Guy Pearce is on hand as a virus-creating scientist, when the full cast of the first two movies is returning, and when Shane Black is in the big chair, expect something above and beyond the usual multiplex smash ‘n’ grab.

    Iron Man 3’ is out on Apr 26 2013.

    Iron Man 3
  • Pacific Rim

    Two words: marauding monsters. Two more words: giant robots. One more word: FIGHT! Yes, in the wake of his departure from ‘The Hobbit’ – not to mention the collapse of about five other projects including his beloved HP Lovecraft adaptation ‘At the Mountains of Madness’, ‘Hellboy’ director Guillermo del Toro seemed to realise the fact that Hollywood is inexplicably mistrustful of his unique (but generally lucrative) vision, and made them an offer they couldn’t refuse: global carnage on an epic scale.

    ‘Pacific Rim’ is set in the near future, when a race of vast and ancient creatures have been released from their slumber beneath the sea bed to wreak havoc on humanity. Our response – to build huge automated defenders to take on the sea-slime. With a largely unknown cast (the biggest name is probably Hackney’s own Idris Elba), the producers are relying on the public’s desire for mayhem and monsters – and the nerdosphere’s worshipful love of Del Toro – to sell the flick. Bring it on.

    Pacific Rim’ is out on Jul 12 2013.

    Pacific Rim
  • The Hobbit

    The first instalment in Peter Jackson’s prequel series to his own ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’, received a bit of a drubbing from critics on its release. But many of those who know the books – and had serious misgivings about Jackson’s ability to expand a single, slender volume into an epic trilogy – found it an engaging surprise: yes, it’s overlong and tonally messy, but it’s pleasingly huge in scale, smartly incorporating disparate elements of Tolkien’s mythology to bulk up the story.

    Expect this to continue in part two, as Thorin’s dwarves and their Hobbit companion tangle with the spiders of Mirkwood and the machinations of the frosty Elf king Thranduil on their way to the dragon-infested Lonely Mountain, while Gandalf and his wizarding chums branch off to take a look at the ruined tower of Dol Guldur, and the mysterious Necromancer who lurks therein. Whether the problems with the film’s 48 frames-per-second shooting rate will have been fixed this time around remains to be seen.

    The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ is out on Dec 3 2013.

    The Hobbit
  • Robopocalypse

    Steven Spielberg seems to have achieved a nice balance in his directorial output recently: for every serious, dramatic ‘War Horse’, there’s a light, fun-filled ‘Tintin’. Now he’s following this year’s moody presidential Oscar-bait ‘Lincoln’ with a return to his sci-fi roots with ‘Robopocalypse’, based on the novel by Daniel H Wilson.

    Wilson’s book is written as reportage, as the survivors of a futuristic war between humanity and sentient machinery recount their experiences. It’s not, to be fair, a very good read, drawing too heavily on sources like the ‘Terminator’ and ‘Matrix’ movie series, and offering relatively few fresh ideas. But Spielberg’s movie already looks like a huge improvement: his first act was to hire ‘Cabin in the Woods’ director Drew Goddard on as screenwriter, who’s sure to cut through Wilson’s lumpen prose and deliver a far spikier storyline.

    The cast looks good, too, with erstwhile Catwoman Anne Hathaway, likeable ‘Thor’ star Chris Hemsworth and bookish Brit Ben Whishaw all signing up. Expect serious action, wisecracking dialogue, ruined cityscapes, marauding death-bots and loads of explosions.

    Robopocalypse’ is out on April 25 2014.

    Robopocalypse
  • Mad Max: Fury Road

    With Mad Mel Gibson a bit too old and, well, mad to go rampaging about the post-apocalyptic wasteland these days, director George Miller has turned to everyone’s favourite muscular method man Tom Hardy to fill the black leather boots of Max Rockatansky, the Aussie cop turned futuristic road warrior.

    A fourth Mad Max movie has been an ongoing rumour ever since ‘Beyond Thunderdome’ closed the original trilogy back in 1985, but nothing came of it for several years. The script for ‘Fury Road’ was actually written on spec in 2005 by British comic artist (and Judge Dredd regular) Brandon McCarthy, and was reportedly so good that Miller, who had sworn off the series that made his name, signed on right away. But even then, the delays continued, before shooting finally got underway in Namibia in July 2012.

    The plot is still under wraps, but we do know that it’ll continue the story shortly after the events seen in ‘Beyond Thunderdome’, that there’ll be loads of new cars and vehicles to smash and explode, and that Gibson will make a cameo as ’The Drifter’.

    ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ is (hopefully) out in 2014.

    Mad Max: Fury Road

Iron Man 3

There’s a very good reason to be excited about the return of Tony Stark, and it’s got nothing to do with shiny robot suits, spectacular special effects or wisecracking Hollywood stars. The real reason we’re looking forward to ‘Iron Man 3’ is that it marks the return to directing – after eight long years – of Shane Black, writer of the ‘Lethal Weapon’ series, not to mention action classics ‘The Last Boy Scout’ and ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight’. His directorial debut, 2005’s pithy crime romp ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’, was an inexplicable flop, but thanks to the machinations of that film’s star Robert Downey Jr he’s been given a second chance to prove his mettle.

The plot sounds like standard superhero fare – while clean-up continues on the Stark building following the alien invasion seen in ‘Avengers Assemble’, Tony Stark finds himself facing a new enemy, the mysterious Mandarin. But when said villain is played by Ben Kingsley, when Guy Pearce is on hand as a virus-creating scientist, when the full cast of the first two movies is returning, and when Shane Black is in the big chair, expect something above and beyond the usual multiplex smash ‘n’ grab.

Iron Man 3’ is out on Apr 26 2013.


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