Anticipated Movies of 2013: Part 2

Writer: Casey Lee

The first half of 2013 is shaping up to be pretty exciting with plenty genre fares of bad-ass action, traveling back in time and moving on to the future, two superhero titans clashing, and still leaving room for entertaining the whole family.

In this second part of our feature, we continue looking out for movies that keeps getting better and better, and will surely keep us going to the cinemas to catch them all for the rest of the year.

Here's our list of anticipated movies from July till December of 2013:

For The Family
"The Lone Ranger" will see Johnny Depp (left) back on screen with Armie Hammer (right) in this Western flick.

After proving that even super baddies can be super daddys in "Despicable Me" three years ago, Dr. Gru has shown us that even we can root for the bad guys in movies, especially if said bad guy has an army of indecipherable banana minions. In "Despicable Me 2", Dr. Gru has to prove once again that he is still the baddest of them all when a rival supervillain returns with a score to settle. Steve Carrell with an accent is back as Dr. Gru, with Russell Brand as his nefarious sidekick, and Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, and Elsie Fisher as the three daughters. Al Pacino also makes his appearance in the sequel, and his role has been well hidden until we see a new trailer closer to the release date.

If animation is not your cup of tea, then you know you can't go wrong when Johnny Depp is involved in the Western buddy flick based on the hit American television series from the 50s, "The Lone Ranger. Armie Hammer ("Mirror Mirror") holds the reins as the titular western hero, who puts on the mask to be a mysterious enforcer of justice against greed and corruption. Although Depp ("Pirates of the Caribbean") doesn't lead in this western actioner by Gore Verbinski for once, we can be sure that his antics as the spiritual native American warrior, Toto, would serve as a good foil to the masked rider. "The Lone Ranger" was so ambitious that it nearly never got made, so all with all that money spent, we are expecting that this will have all the bells and whistles to make this an enjoyable summer blockbuster for 2013.

Explore Other Alternative Worlds

Will "Pacific Rim" be the next "Transformers"?

Director Zack Synder will not be back for "300: Rise Of An Empire" as he had taken on another 2013 film, "Man Of Steel".

Diesel will be back in two popular sequels; "Fast & Furious 6" and "The Chronicles Of Riddick: Dead Man Stalking" (pictured).

Expect things to get meaner and darker in "The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug".

Because ours can get boring at times, why not check out these imaginative movies that present an alternative reality created by Hollywood's greatest minds? Take "Pacific Rim" for instance- when giant alien monsters from the depths of the ocean rise up to destroy human civilization, humanity deploys its own giant monsters of steel as the last hope for mankind. This is the only 'end of the world' movies from this year's list that shows humans fighting back to cancel the apocalypse that makes "Independence Day" looks like child's play. Director Guillermo Del Toro's spin on the classic giant monster attack stars Idris Elba ("Thor") leads humanity's last hope, together with Ron Pearlman ("Hellboy") Charlie Hunnam ("Children of Men") and Rinko Kikuchi ("Babel").

The prequel of "300" sees "300: Rise Of An Empire" where this time the attention is focused on the Persian god-king Xerxes and his invasion into ancient Greece against the Athenian general Themistocles. We have to admit that when Zack Synder passed the helm to second-time director Noam Murro (we forgive you, though, for doing "Man Of Steel), it was a little worrisome to what will happen to the stylized visuals we thoroughly enjoyed in "300". But for the good bloody work that was done in the "300" starring Gerard Butler, we are more than happy to give it the benefit of the doubt that Frank Miller's next spear-and-sandals epic is going to be gloriously adapted, and should sate the bloodlust of angry war movie fans.Sullivan Stapleton's mettle as Themistocles would be tested when he appears in "Gangster Squad" earlier this year, but we have Eva Green as the pivotal Artemisia and Rodrigo Santoro's reprisal as Xerxes to sooth our concerns.

"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" will pack in the heat this November!

2013 is going to be a big year for Vin Diesel fans, as we see two sequels from his major franchises. While we are excited to see Diesel hit the road again first in "Fast & Furious 6", we are more excited to see that Diesel is bringing back another franchise that had first cemented his name. It's been nine years since 2004's "Chronicles of Riddick" that we've seen Diesel put on the goggles and use improvisational tools as the titular character to carve out his survival in an unforgiving universe. This sequel could be a major turning point for the character as it explores for the first time the origins of Riddick's heritage. We expect some consistent continuity in this one, as it is directed and written by David Twohy, who last did "Chronicles of Riddick", and would be reuniting Diesel with major cast member, Karl Urban.

With the end of the "Twilight" world by Stephanie Meyer in theatres, the fire is just heating up for Suzanne Collins' young adult series on the big screen. After the unexpected exception made for The Games in last year's "The Hunger Games", Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark return as Victors of the 74th Hunger Games and heroes of District 12 in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire". However, with new responsibilities as Victors of The Games and being part of a distinguished rank of citizens of Panem, new physical challenges and emotional turmoil would churning inside of Katniss, starting with the arrival of a new Game Master. Newly minted Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence reprises her role as Katniss Everdeen, along with Josh Hutcherson as Peeta and Liam Hemsworth as Gale. The franchise is also graced with an Oscar winner, Philip Seymour Hoffman.

To finish up the year, an adaptation of another literary piece of work that we are looking forward to is J.R.R Tolkien's "The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug" by Middle-Earth master adapter Peter Jackson. In the second part of the trilogy, the Company prepares to make their last trek to the dwarven home of Erebor, where they will face the dragon Smaug. Aside from the stunning visuals that we are sure to bring us back to Middle Earth, we are looking out for more cameo appearances from the previous trilogy and signs for how this would build up to be a precursor to "The Lord of the Rings".

Superhero Blockbusters
Isn't this a pair you would love to see on screen together? For now, watch them lead "Thor: The Dark World" and "The Wolverine" respectively.

Marvel is rewarding fans in 2013. After seeing the return of Iron Man in "Iron Man 3", we will see everyone's favourite Thunder God do battle in "Thor: The Dark World". In this sequel after defeating his adopted brother, Loki, on two occasions, Thor has to defend the Nine Realms from the ancient Dark Elves, led by their vengeful leader Malekith, who intends to bring darkness over the Realms. We know our female readers can't wait to swoon over Chris Hemsworth as the mighty Thor, or the middling Tom Hiddleston as Loki, who will surely be up to some mischief in the background. Guys would likely get to see Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, but special attention could be given to Jaimie Alexander as Lady Sif of the Warriors Three. Also making their return to Asgard is Idris Elba as Heimdall and Anthony Hopkins as Odin.

If long haired Norse Gods are too Harlequin romance for you, why not welcome Wolverine back with open claws? After showing off his vocal strength as Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables" in 2012, Hugh Jackman is back to showing off his physical stature as the mutant he is most recognised for in "The Wolverine". Set apart and after the "X-Men" series (and also ignoring "X-Men Origins: Wolverine), "The Wolverine" would follow the mutant's exploits in Japan, where he trains under a mentor and goes into a fight that will change him forever. Although we haven't seen any trailers to confirm our suspicions, but if based on the fact that this is adapted from the limited edition run of "The Wolverine" story arc in the comics, we would like to see a similar tone being set for one of Marvel's most recognised characters that could make us emphatise more with the bitter and rugged nature of Wolverine. Then again, there is also the potential cameo of other X-Men characters in here and would there be any hints dropped here for "Days of Future Past"?

Local Flavours
Catch Ah Niu and Elanne Kwong in the sequel of the successful "The Wedding Diary".

Since his breakthrough Chinese hit "Tiger Woohoo" during the Chinese New Year of 2010, Jack Lim's family-oriented comedies have become something that Malaysians can call their own Chinese New Year movie and something to anticipate for the festive season. 2012 has been a good year for Jack Lim when he appeared on the bigscreen in his most recognised security uniform as Ah Beng in "Ah Beng The Movie: Three Wishes" that garnered major box office success among fans and audiences.

For 2013, Jack Lim makes a grander celebration for the Chinese New Year season with "Once Upon A Time" and goes back into the times of ancient China, where he plays as an Emperor who gets thrusts into modern times to escape a rebellion. Besides, we are more than happy to support a local production, especially when they are willing to spend RM1 million to just build a set.

Another local film by Penang-born director Adrian Teh also keeps it family-oriented with "The Wedding Diary II", which is set years after the franchise's lovely couple had married. Daniel (Ah Niu) and Tina (Elanne Kwong) now have a new addition to the family and find themselves having to juggle their duties as parents and making sacrifices, while the appearance of an unexpected lady into their family life could spell more trouble with the in-laws. With the same cast as "The Wedding Diary" reprising as the in-laws and an adorable new face, this Hong Kong-Taiwan-Singapore-Malaysia collaboration is taking a new step into exploring the ups and downs of family life, and we can't wait to see where the fun will be poked at.

Cinema Online, 15 January 2013