Features

The Notable Films of 2013: Volume C

By Garth Franklin Saturday December 15th 2012 05:33AM
The Notable Films of 2013: Volume C

In this volume I look at a cinematic take on the real-life Somali pirate hijacking drama, a remake of a Stephen King horror classic, the next efforts from the men behind "The Guard" and "Once", Jackie Chan's final major action blockbuster, a sequel to an animated feature about food, two Cormac McCarthy adaptations, a horror remake involving creepy kids, a daring and partly animated sci-fi adaptation, and more.

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Calvary
Opens: 2013
Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Kelly Reilly, Chris O'Dowd, Aidan Gillen, Domhnall Gleeson
Director: John Michael McDonagh

Analysis: Two of the best comedies of recent years have come from a pair of Irish brothers - the McDonaghs. It began with playwright turned filmmaker Martin McDonagh's endlessly quotable and brilliantly performed hitman dark comedy "In Bruges" in 2008. A few years later his brother delivered the low-key, but just as whip-smart and even darker "The Guard".

Both films ended up in my top five films for their respective years, and I have been keenly awaiting the next efforts from both ever since. Unfortunately that second effort from Martin was this year's Hollywood screenwriter meta-comedy "Seven Psychopaths," a film that boasted the occasional moment of inspired genius in an otherwise greatly disappointing story that thought it was far smarter and funnier than it actually was.

There was the distinct feeling Martin was out of his element, a problem the other McDonagh seems to be cleverly avoiding with this darkly comic tale which sees Brendan Gleeson playing a very different character to The Guard's Sgt. Gerry Boyle. In this, he's a good-natured priest trying to make the world, or at least his small country town, a better place. Unfortunately the town itself is filled with spiteful and confrontational inhabitants, one of which threatens him during confession.

Numerous darkly comic situations ensue with Gleeson playing the straight man to a supporting cast of delightfully wicked characters played by some of the best talent in Ireland and the UK at the moment. Amongst them there's Kelly Reilly ("Flight"), Chris O'Dowd ("Bridesmaids"), Aidan Gillen ("Game of Thrones"), Isaach De Bankoléwere ("The Limits of Control"), Dylan Moran ("Shaun of the Dead") and Domhnall Gleeson ("Anna Karenina"). Definitely one of my most personally anticipated films of next year.

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Captain Phillips
Opens: October 11th 2013
Cast: Tom Hanks, Catherine Keener, Max Martini, Yul Vazquez, Chris Mulkey
Director: Paul Greengrass

Analysis: One of the highest profile contemporary dramas of next year, "Bourne" film series director Paul Greengrass brings his signature shaky-cam style to this true story tale which actually would suit the technique quite well. That story? The hijacking of the cargo ship MV Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates in 2009. This could well be a serious awards contender next year considering it has Scott Rudin, Michael DeLuca and Kevin Spacey as producers; a script by "Shattered Glass" and "Breach" scribe Billy Ray; and Tom Hanks in the title role.

While it was the sixth vessel in a week to be attacked by the Somali pirates that roam the Gulf of Aden, the takeover of the Maersk Alabama was the first successful pirate seizure of a ship registered under the American flag since the early 19th century. Using Captain Richard Phillips’ memoir "A Captain’s Duty" as the basis for the script, the film deals with the tense five-day stand-off between the four armed invaders and the crew, a stand-off that saw Phillips offer himself as hostage in exchange for the safety of his crew. Ultimately a daring high-seas rescue saw U.S. Navy SEALs take down three of the captors.

Sony Pictures picked up the film rights to the incident literally a month after it happened so a movie was inevitable. Unlike say this year's "Zero Dark Thirty," the subject matter has nothing really to do with politics and so avoids some of the thorny issues and partisanship that comes with portraying contemporary U.S. military operations. Greengrass' work on "United 93" showcased how good he can be with tense real life incidents like this. Shot in Morocco, Malta and Massachusettes, the film is scheduled for an international release in October.

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Carrie
Opens: March 15th 2013
Cast: Chloe Moretz, Julianne Moore, Judy Greer, Portia Doubleday, Alex Russell
Director: Kimberly Peirce

Analysis: Most film adaptations of Stephen King's novels rarely work. Only a few seemed to click, and those have been the more drama-oriented stories rather than the outright horror tales on which the author built his name. One of the exceptions though is Brian De Palma's generally well regarded 1976 take on King's first novel "Carrie," the story of a sheltered high school girl with an abusive fundamentalist mother. With recently developed telekinetic powers and years of pent-up anger, she is pushed too far by a humiliating prank played on her by her bullying peers - and the results are horrifying.

With King's work suddenly in vogue again, acclaimed "Boys Don't Cry" and "Stop-Loss" director Kimberly Peirce helms this contemporary update of the story which casts "Kick-Ass" and "Hugo" actress Chloë Grace Moretz in the title role and Julianne Moore as the mother. Aiding them are solid supporting talent including the always great Judy Greer, rising actresses like Portia Doubleday and Gabriella Wilde, and one of my favorite young actors at the moment Alex Russell ("Chronicle," "Wasted on the Young") in the role that John Travolta played in the 1976 film.

While there's nothing about the story that really demands a new version, the tale is universal and adaptable enough that it could certainly work in this day and age. What Peirce could bring to the table is something De Palma's version lacked - a more grounded female perspective. De Palma's film isn't Kubrick's unassailable "The Shining," the performances and bravura direction are still great, but his take on the story remains a bit overwrought. If Peirce opts for a more realistic tone and feel, it could work quite well. The moody and atmospheric teaser trailer for this version released the other month certainly showed far more potential than either the awful "The Rage" sequel from 1999 or the low-budget 2002 telemovie remake.

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CBGB
Opens: 2013
Cast: Alan Rickman, Ashley Greene, Malin Åkerman, Justin Bartha, Bradley Whitford
Director: Randall Miller

Analysis: It wasn't much to look at from the outside, but throughout the 1970s and 1980s a little club in Manhattan's the Bowery became famous in its own right. The disco palace of Studio 54 was known around world, but CBGB built its own reputation as a smaller, darker and more gritty counter-culture counterpart for bands that couldn't get gigs anywhere else.

Now, "Bottle Shock" and "Nobel Son" writer/director Randall Miller is re-teaming with Alan Rickman for this feature exploring how Hilly Kristal's New York club underwent a transformation from a country and blues club, to the birthplace of underground rock 'n roll and punk. Kristal had difficulty booking country bands, so he opened his doors to other kinds of rock music with one caveat - bands had to play primarily original music, no covers were allowed even though one or two usually did slip through.

As a result Kristal essentially helped discover such famed music acts as The Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, Beastie Boys and The Police. This allows for Miller's film to include a bunch of colorful cameos including Malin Åkerman as Debbie Harry, Rupert Grint as Cheetah Chrome, Stana Katic as Genya Ravan, Kyle Gallner as Lou Reed, Joel David Moore as Joey Ramone, Taylor Hawkins as Iggy Pop and many more.

Though some filming took place in Manhattan, much of this indie drama was shot in Savannah, Georgia including redressed buildings to resemble the club exterior (the original CBGB building is now a John Varvatos fashion store). Funded completely independently by financier and distributor Unclaimed Freight, Miller and his wife and co-scribe Jody Savin have full control to make the film they want. Here's hoping we don't have another letdown like "54".

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Chavez
Opens: 2013
Cast: Michael Pena, Rosario Dawson, Gabriel Mann, America Ferrera, Kevin Dunn
Director: Diego Luna

Analysis: After a well-regarded first directorial feature with "Abel," Mexican actor Diego Luna ("Y Tu Mama Tambien") has opted for a $10 million biopic of civil-rights activist and labor organizer Cesar Chavez as his sophomore effort. "Hotel Rwanda" scribe Keir Pearson has penned this story of Chavez's life which stars Michael Pena in the role. While he's been a supporting player, and even co-lead in films such as "End of Watch," "Chavez" marks Pena's first true leading man role.

Chavez worked as a community organizer through the 1950s up until his death in 1993 and fought for improved working conditions for over 50,000 farm workers in California, eventually co-founding what would become the United Farm Workers Association. He organised the largest nonviolent protest in U.S. history to obtain basic human rights for latinos and other minorities who contributed to the farm labor movement in the 1960s and 1970s.

Despite his heroics, Chavez wasn't a saint and the filmmakers say they are not going to delve deeply into the man's darker side such as his authoritarian tendencies, aggressive (but non-violent) tactics and some questionable decisions such as his endorsement of Ferdinand Marcos' regime. Part of the film, however, will deal with Chavez' working relationship with Filipino-American labor leader Larry Itliong. Though partly in Spanish, this is a primarily English-language film which was shot this past Summer in Sonora, Mexico. Pena is supported by a pretty great cast and it should make for an intriguing work.

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Child of God
Opens: April 5th 2013
Cast: James Franco, Tim Blake Nelson, Jim Parrack, Fallon Goodson, Elena McGhee
Director: James Franco

Analysis: For some time now actor turned filmmaker James Franco has been pursuing an adaptation of "No Country for Old Men" and "The Road" author Cormac McCarthy's fifth novel, the acclaimed western "Blood Meridian." He even went so far as to shoot test footage for the project in late 2010 featuring actors like Scott Glenn, Luke Perry and Mark Pellegrino. That attempted adaptation has been put on hold due to what sounds like a fallout with producer Scott Rudin.

Rather than waiting, Franco instead has turned his attention to a different title from McCarthy's bibliography - his third book "Child of God." A dark tale, even by McCarthy's standards, the story follows former family man Lester Ballard (played by Scott Haze) who now lives in underground caves in Tennessee trying to exist outside society. He soon descends into increasingly darker behaviour with a big focus on necrophilia and pedophilia. Though the novel received critical praise, it was not a financial success.

Like its predecessor, "Outer Dark," 'God' established McCarthy's interest in using extreme isolation, perversity, and violence to represent normal human experience. It's a difficult work to adapt as McCarthy ignores literary conventions — for example, he does not use quotation marks — and chops and changes among several styles of writing such as matter-of-fact descriptions, almost poetic prose, and colloquial first-person narration (with the speaker remaining unidentified).

Shot in West Virginia almost a year ago now, the plan was to screen the project at festivals this year ahead of a 2013 release - but said screenings never happened. At last report the film is still being put together in post-production, Franco himself has been busy with all sorts of other projects, but the likeliest reason for the delay is simply that the subject matter makes it an extremely difficult film to sell.

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Closer to the Moon
Opens: 2013
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Mark Strong, Harry Lloyd. Christian McKay, Anton Lesser
Director: Nae Caranfil

Analysis: This period drama sounds like a Cold War-era take on "Argo" had that operation gone wrong. Romanian filmmaker Nae Caranfil ("The Rest is Silence," "Philanthropy") directs a cast, led by Vera Farmiga and Mark Strong, in a story set in 1959 Communist Bucharest. Shot in late 2011, I'd expect a festival premiere sometime mid-year.

The story follows a group of Jewish anti-Nazi revolutionaries turned anti-Communists who have been sentenced to die after they were captured the year before. The group was robbing a bank under the guise of staging a film shoot. Before their execution however, they are forced into re-enacting the caper for a Communist propaganda film.

Adding drama to the mix is a love triangle between one of the men (Strong), the Russian student (Farmiga) he had a child with, and the cameraman ("Game of Thrones" star Harry Lloyd) for this propaganda piece who falls for the woman. Caranfil is mostly known for dark comedies, a talent that could come in handy for this fairly heavy sounding dramatic piece.

Footage from the set has showcased Farmiga sporting some striking looks including a glammed up society lady in a red wig, and later dressed in prison garb with her hair hacked down to Anne Hathaway in "Les Mis" levels. It's the kind of project that has a whole lot of potential should it come together right.

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C.O.G.
Opens: 2013
Cast: Jonathan Groff, Casey Wilson, Denis O'Hare, Corey Stoll, Dean Stockwell
Director: Kyle Patrick Alvarez

Analysis: One of the highlights of the films in competition at this year's Sundance is the latest project from "Easier with Practice" writer/director Kyle Patrick Alvarez. Working with a short story by celebrated humorist and "Me Talk Pretty One Day" author David Sedaris, this indie comedy follows a cocky young man who goes to work on an Oregon apple farm. There he finds his life being dissected by the various colourful locals who obviously don't share his point of view.

Based on Sedaris' own experiences, the author has always refused in the past to allow his work to be adapted. He's made an exception with Alvarez, and the filmmaker has assembled the project at a breakneck pace with a solid cast of talent including Jonathan Groff and Denis O’Hare. There's a lot of pressure on Alvarez to get this right, but if it does work it could be a real breakout critical and even commercial hit.

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The Colony
Opens: 2013
Cast: Laurence Fishburne, Kevin Zegers, Bill Paxton, Charlotte Sullivan
Director: Jeff Renfroe

Analysis: Jeff Renfroe has scored a pretty solid cast for this $17 million Canadian sci-fi thriller set on an Earth in the grips of the next Ice Age. The remnants of humanity have been forced underground and the action is set in Colony Seven, which is struggling with dwindling supplies, illness and internal strife. When contact is lost with neighbouring Colony Five, an expedition heads out to learn what happened. They discover a savage threat far worse than imagined.

The project is the first feature to be shot at Canada’s legendary decommissioned NORAD bunker, aka. "The Hole". Much of the production took place 68 storeys below ground level in this unusual military complex which was built to withstand a four-megaton nuclear blast. Those involved say the aim wasn't to make another "day after" style film, instead it's much more a "Lord of the Flies" scenario showcasing how this underground society disintegrates into primitive tribalism and violence. It's currently targeting a late 2013 release, likely a Toronto Film Festival premiere.

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The Conjuring
Opens: July 19th 2013
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor, Mackenzie Foy
Director: James Wan

Analysis: Australian director James Wan has two of the most profitable and acclaimed horror films of the past decade on his resume - "Saw" and "Insidious". Many wonder if he will add a third with this supposed true story tale of a married couple who are both demonologists. The pair are called upon to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their secluded farmhouse. The case becomes the most terrifying of their lives as they confront a powerful and evil entity.

Wan has re-assembled much of the crew behind "Insidious" for this spooky tale with the fact that it's also something of a biopic adding a bit of weight to all the supernatural shenanigans that take place. The casting is superb, the combining of Farmiga and Wilson a stroke of genius, while the various smaller roles are filled out with solid supporting talent.

An apparent test screening a few months ago scored good notices for its atmosphere and stronger than anticipated story, though the ending reportedly had one or two issues. The same thing happened with "Insidious" however and that turned out just fine. New Line certainly has faith in it with a release set for one of the highest profile non-holiday weekends of the Summer.

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The Company You Keep
Opens: April 5th 2013
Cast: Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf, Anna Kendrick, Richard Jenkins, Susan Sarandon
Director: Robert Redford

Analysis: Redford both stars in and directs this political thriller adaptation of Neil Gordon's 2003 novel. Redford plays a former Weather Underground militant, who is now living as an attorney, that has been wanted by the FBI for over three decades. When his identity is inadvertently exposed, he must flee and abandon his young daughter.

Thrown into the mix is numerous other subplots including an ambitious newspaper reporter (LaBeouf) and his FBI agent ex-girlfriend (Kendrick), a profiling college professor (Jenkins), an old flame who can help clear his name (Julie Christie) and the now grown up lovechild of that affair (Brit Marling). There's also big supporting turns from Terrence Howard, Susan Sarandon, Brendan Gleeson, Sam Elliott, Nick Nolte and Stanley Tucci amongst others which make it seem almost overstuffed.

It has been a while since Redford has done a good thriller, a genre that has seen him deliver some of his best acting work in the likes "3 Days of the Condor," "All the President's Men" and "Sneakers". He's got a great team behind and in front of the camera which makes this one of those films that could straddle the line between healthy box-office returns and critical appeal.

Screening at both the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals this past Fall, reviews were good with several calling it a robust and a smart thriller that avoids the overly preachy tone of Redford's more recent films in favor of a solid narrative. More than few cite it as his best directing endeavor in many years, but not in the same league as his early 1990s efforts like "A River Runs Through It" and "Quiz Show." Performances across the board were praised, as was Adriano Goldman's cinematography and "Drive" composer Cliff Martinez's score. If there is a common criticism, it's that it is too restrained at times.

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The Congress
Opens: 2013
Cast: Robin Wright, Kodi-Smit McPhee, Harvey Keitel, Danny Houston, Paul Giamatti
Director: Ari Folman

Analysis: Alongside the likes of Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick and Ray Bradbury sits another great visionary sci-fi author - Stanislaw Lem. The Polish writer was responsible for such works as "His Master's Voice," "The Cyberiad," and of course "Solaris" which became the basis for Andrei Tarkovsky's famed 1972 feature.

One of his greatest mindfucks though was "The Futurological Congress," a story about a society brainwashed by hallucinogenic drugs to such a degree that it's impossible for the protagonist (or even the reader) to truly determine what is reality. "Waltz with Bashir" director Ari Folman has loosely adapted the story for this French-German independent co-production which combines live-action and animated elements.

According to an official synopsis, it follows an aging actress with a disabled child who agrees to a large payment to undergo a full body imaging scan that will be digitized and used to create a digital actress. As part of the agreement, she can not act ever again, and will no longer control her likeness. Also, the studio can use the new virtual thespian in any manner they see fit.

That storyline sounds far more like Andrew Niccol's high-concept flop "Simone" than Lem's trippy "The Matrix" meets Hunter S. Thompson tale. Folman's been working on this for a few years now, shooting the live-action elements as far back as 2010. A year ago, Folman said the film consists of 70 minutes of live-action and 50 minutes of animation with the live action part already locked.

It took another year, and animators from five different countries, to finish the animation that is being used for the future-set scenes. Some snippets of early footage leaked a few months ago and the reaction across the board was raves. Many are expecting this to be on the same quality level as 'Bashir'. The picture should finally be complete right about now, so expect a festival debut in mid-2013.

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The Counselor
Opens: November 15th 2013
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem
Director: Ridley Scott

Analysis: A year ago Ridley Scott was considering a number of projects that he could potentially direct once he wrapped work on his sci-fi epic "Prometheus." A few weeks later came word that Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Cormac McCarthy had sold his first spec script to a trio of producers. Though there have been several film adaptations of McCarthy's novels like "The Road" and "No Country for Old Men," the author himself wasn't involved in them and had essentially stayed out of the film world. Until now.

All of a sudden Scott's lethargy over what project to do next vanished. Within three weeks he was set to direct the film and a fortnight after that had convinced his "Prometheus" star Michael Fassbender to join him. In fact, the film came together with astonishing haste, scoring a dream cast and getting in front of cameras by this past July.

The early synopses for the film sounded like a less legal-centric John Grisham 1990s thriller about a lawyer who finds himself in over his head when he gets involved in drug trafficking. Script reviews since then have revealed the film to be a more dialogue-driven, nihilistic "Traffic"-style look at the war on drugs and cartel violence.

There's also reportedly a lot of eroticism and sex in the film, with Cameron Diaz onboard as a slutty sociopath in one of the more memorable supporting roles in the project. Brad Pitt also has a small, but key role as a shadowy character named Westray. I'd expect a flashy Toronto premiere ahead of the film's general release in mid-November.

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The Croods
Opens: March 22nd 2013
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Emma Stone, Clark Duke
Director: Kirk DeMicco, Chris Sanders

Analysis: The first film that DreamWorks Animation is pushing out through its new deal with 20th Century Fox, this 3D CG caveman comedy was originally going to be an Aardman Animations production. The venerable British studio ended up departing the project with "How to Train Your Dragon" director Chris Sanders coming onboard to take the helm.

The story? An earthquake forces a caveman to lead his family across a volatile world in search of a new home. Said caveman is scared of anything new in life, and so has kept his family sheltered over the years. Now he's forced to venture out into a dangerous world for the first time. Add to that a restless daughter eager to see more of what's out there, Ryan Reynolds voicing a hunky nomad who could serve as a love interest, and assorted jokes about a crusty mother-in-law and cavemen understanding technology.

With numerous delays and shifts of personnel on the project, one wonders how much of the behind-the-scenes problems have had an impact on the final film. DWA's films have seen an uptick in overall quality over the past 2-3 years with the aforementioned 'Dragon' and "Puss in Boots" being the best of the bunch. With the financial flop of "Rise of the Guardians" the other month though, the studio is in need of a hit and hopes this first of three DWA films scheduled to hit next year will find the audience that movie failed to reach.

ALSO OPENING:

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The Call
The latest thriller from "The Machinist" and "Transsiberian" director Brad Anderson thankfully sounds considerably better than his 2010 quasi-religious end of world drama "Vanishing on 7th Street". Abigail Breslin plays a young girl who is abducted from a shopping mall. Thrown into a trunk, she calls 9-1-1 and is connected to an emergency operator (Halle Berry). From there it becomes a real time chase to find this girl before she's taken back to the kidnappers lair and killed. The story sounds fairly formulaic, but scribe Richard D'Ovidio says "the way Brad shot it and the eye that he has and the stuff that he’s done, it just took it right outside the box."

Can a Song Save Your Life?
While Warners and Clint Eastwood struggle to develop the umpteenth remake of "A Star is Born," filmmaker John Carney has gone ahead and done it with this story of a budding musician (Keira Knightley) who moves to New York and is subsequently dumped by her boyfriend (Adam Levine). A down-on-his-luck record producer (Mark Ruffalo) finds her singing in a local bar and is immediately captivated by her raw talent. Carney had great success with 2006's musically minded romance tale "Once," and here he's assembled an impressive cast of indie actors and musicians. His post-"Once" efforts have not been up to the same standards, and the charming surprise factor is now gone. Can lightning strike twice?

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The Canyons
A crowd-sourced, ultra low-budget, grindhouse-style noir from "American Psycho" author Bret Easton Ellis and "American Gigolo" director Paul Schrader. The story follows a group of young people in their twenties and "how one chance meeting connected to the past unravels all of their lives, resulting in deceit, paranoia, cruel mind games and ultimately violence." That's the pitch, but the real selling point here is that it stars troubled actress Lindsay Lohan and porn star James Deen in a retro, grainy, erotic black-and-white thriller in which she goes fully nude. Trailers for the film look incredibly bad, but on such a small budget there's no way this won't be both profitable and a frequently talked about piece of trash. Hopefully it'll have camp value.

Carol
One of two works on the way from "Boy A" and "Is Anybody There" filmmaker John Crowley, "Carol" is currently in pre-production with the aim to begin shooting in February. Mia Wasikowska and Cate Blanchett star in this story of two women from different backgrounds who strike up a romantic relationship in 1950s New York. The story is an adaptation of "The Price of Salt," the 1952 novel by "Strangers on a Train" and "The Talented Mr. Ripley" author Patricia Highsmith. At the time the work was controversial, not just for its shattering of lesbian stereotypes, but the way it gave the lovers a happy ending - something unprecedented at that time in fiction. Slated for release next year, I get the feeling this will be pushed to 2014.

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A Case of You
Actress-turned filmmaker Kat Coiro's third film after "Life Happens" and "While We Were Here," this indie rom-com follows a young writer (Justin Long) trying to impress a girl (Evan Rachel Wood) he meets online with an embellished profile. Things become complicated when she falls for him, and he has to keep up the act. It all sounds frighteningly trite, but it's the pedigree on offer here that makes it more interesting than its concept. Boasting a script by Long and Aussie actor Keir O'Donnell, there's a good cast attached in roles of various sizes including Brendan Fraser, Vince Vaughn, Sam Rockwell, Sienna Miller, Peter Dinklage and Busy Philipps.

Chinese Zodiac
Better known as "CZ12" or "Armor of God III: Chinese Zodiac," this $49 million project has Jackie Chan reprising his role of the Indiana Jones-esque treasure hunter Jackie Condor (aka. Asian Hawk) which he last played in 1991's "Armor of God II: Operation Condor." It is also, according to the 58-year-old Chan, his final large scale action feature before retiring. In this outing he's in search of a half-dozen bronze animal heads that were looted from Beijing's Old Summer Palace during the Second Opium War. Cue plenty of martial arts, parkour and other death-defying physical stunts including a highly dangerous body blading sequence along mountain roads, and some skydiving over a volcano. Shot in France, China, Latvia, Taiwan and Vanuatu, the film hits Chinese cinemas today.

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Closed Circuit
"Boy A" director John Crowley and "Eastern Promises" scribe Steven Knight team for this suspense thriller meets courtroom drama that was shot in the UK back in April and has recently been doing some additional filming around London over the past few weeks. Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall play ex-lovers who find their loyalties tested and their lives at risk when they work together on the defense team in a terrorism trial. Ciarán Hinds, Jim Broadbent, Julia Stiles and Riz Ahmed also star in the film, which is currently slated it for a late August release.

Cloudy 2: Revenge of the Leftovers
A follow-up to Sony Animation's well-received 2009 effort "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," this 3D sequel deals with Flint Lockwood and Sam Sparks returning to Swallow Falls to clean up the mess made by Flint's machine, only to find that it is producing mutant food animal creatures including a talking strawberry and a massive bacon & cheese spider. Casting changes include Kristen Schaal joining the fun as an orangutan with a human brain, Terry Crews replacing Mr. T as Earl, and Will Forte's Joe Towne role getting expanded. Story artists Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn take over directing duties on this film which boasts a script from John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein ("Horrible Bosses").

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Come Out and Play
Before Stephen King's "Children of the Corn" there was Juan José Plans' "Who Can Kill A Child?," the story of an English professor and his pregnant wife who visit a seemingly deserted Spanish island. They soon discover the kids on the island are homicidal little pricks who will kill any adult they come upon. Now, the elusive and masked director Makinov helms this English-language remake which shifts the action to Mexico, but otherwise plays out like a shot-for-shot remake of Narciso Ibañez Serrador's acclaimed 1976 film adaptation. Vinessa Shaw and Ebon Moss-Bachrach star as the couple in the film, a project that garnered disappointing reviews at the Toronto Film Festival in the Fall.

Concussion
One of the few film entries in competition at Sundance this year that boasts no big name stars, filmmaker Stacie Passon makes her feature debut on this story about a wealthy, but disengaged suburban lesbian housewife. After hurting her head in an accident, she visits sex workers in order to find the intimacy that her divorce attorney partner Kate won't give her. If it works right, this could be a smart, mature and insightful piece exploring issues of female sexuality, fulfilment and desire - something far too many find oddly threatening.

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The Coup
Owen Wilson's first action film since "Behind Enemy Lines," this Thailand-shot action thriller follows an American family who recently moved to South East Asia - only to find themselves caught in the middle of a coup. The family frantically looks for a safe escape route in an environment where foreigners are being executed on the spot. "Quarantine" and "Devil" director John Erick Dowdle helms the film which also stars Michelle Monaghan and Pierce Brosnan. Though it has already scouted locations and was supposed to begin shooting in October, I can't find any confirmation that any actual shooting has begun (the Thai Film Office strangely doesn't list films currently in production). It's still targeting a late 2013 release though.

Crystal Fairy
"The Maid" director Sebastian Silva helms this first of two projects that he and actor Michael Cera worked on together. Both projects, the other being "Magic Magic," are set in Chile and are scheduled to premiere at Sundance this year. This is the decidedly lower profile one, shot in under two weeks on a shoestring budget. The story has Cera's character inviting a stranger (Gaby Hoffman) to join him on a road trip. Her free and esoteric nature clashes with Jamie’s acidic, self-absorbed personality as they head into the desert for a Mescaline-fueled psychedelic trip. Cera himself calls it a "kind of a meandering movie, there's not really a thrust to it." It sounds unexciting, but we'll see.

The Complete Notable Films of 2013 Guide

Volume 0-9: 2 Guns, 21 and Over, 33 dias, 42, 47 Ronin, 300: Rise of An Empire, 7500

Volume A: The ABC's of Death, About Last Night, About Time, Admission, A.C.O.D., Adult World, After Earth, Afternoon Delight, Aftershock, Ain't Them Bodies Saints, All Is Lost, Anchorman: The Legend Continues, The Angriest Man In Brooklyn, Angry Little God, Are We Officially Dating?, As I Lay Dying, Ass Backwards, At Any Price, August: Osage County, Austenland

Volume B: Backmask, Baggage Claim, Bailout: The Age of Greed, Battle of the Year, Beautiful Creatures, Before Midnight, Belle, The Best Offer, Better Living Through Chemistry, Beyond The Hills, Big Sur, The Big Wedding, Black Dog Red Dog, The Black Marks, Bling Ring, Blood Ties, The Brass Teapot, Breathe In, Broken City, Bullet to the Head, The Butler, Byzantium

Volume C: The Call, Can a Song Save Your Life?, The Canyons, Captain Phillips, Carol, Carrie, A Case of You, Cavalry, CBGB, Chavez, Child of God, Chinese Zodiac, Closed Circuit, Closer to the Moon, Cloudy 2: Revenge of the Leftovers, C.O.G., The Colony, Come Out and Play, The Company You Keep, The Congress, Concussion, The Counselor, The Coup, The Croods, Crystal Fairy

Volume D: Dallas Buyers Club, Dark Blood, Dark Skies, Dead Man Down, Decoding Annie Parker, The Deep, Delivery Man, Despicable Me 2, Devil’s Knot, The Devil's Rapture, Diana, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: His & Hers, Disconnect, Dom Hemingway, Don Jon's Addiction, Dorothy of Oz, The Double, Drift, Drinking Buddies, Driven

Volume E: The East, Eden, Elsa and Fred, Elysium, Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes, Emperor, Empire State, Empires of the Deep, Ender's Game, The English Teacher, Epic, Errors of the Human Body, Escape From Planet Earth, The Europa Report, Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo, Everything Will Be Fine, Evil Dead

Volume F: Fading Gigolo, Fast Six, Fellini Black and White, Felony, A Field in England, Fill the Void, Filth, Foxcatcher, Foxfire, From Up On Poppy Hill, Frozen, Fruitvale, The Frozen Ground

Volume G: Part 1: Gambit, Gangster Squad, The Gatekeepers, Get a Job, Getaway, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Ginger and Rosa, Girls Against Boys, Girl Most Likely, A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, Gods Behaving Badly, A Good Day to Die Hard

Volume G: Part 2: Graceland, The Grand Masters, Grand Piano, The Grand Seduction, Grave of the Fireflies, Gravity, The Great Gatsby, Great Expectations, The Green Blade Rises, A Green Story, Greetings from Tim Buckley, Growing Up (and Other Lies), Grown Ups 2

Volume H: The Hangover Part III, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia, The Heat, Hell and Back, Hell Baby, Her, Hidden, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Homefront, Horns, The Host, The Host 2, How I Live Now, Hummingbird, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hunt

Volume I: I Frankenstein, The Identical, Identity Thief, I'm So Excited, In a World, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete, In Fear, Inside Llewyn Davis, Insidious Chapter Two, Interior Leather Bar, The Internship, In the Blood, The Invisible Woman, Iron Man 3

Volume J-K: Jack Ryan, Jack the Giant Slayer, Java Heat, Jayne Mansfield’s Car, Jimmy Picard, jOBS, Jurassic Park 3D, Justin and the Knights of Valour, K-11, Kick-Ass 2, Kid Cannabis, Kill Your Darlings, Kiss of the Damned, Kon-Tiki, Knight of Cups

Volume L: Part 1: Labor Day, The Last Days On Mars, The Last Exorcism: Part II, The Last Stand, Last Vegas, Laurence Anyways, Leo the Lion, Leviathan, Le Weekend, Libertador, The Lifeguard, Like Someone in Love, The Little Mermaid 3D, The Loft

Volume L: Part 2: London Project, The Lone Ranger, Lone Survivor, The Longest Week, Long Time Gone, A Long Way Down, The Look of Love, The Lords of Salem, Lore, Love and Honor, Love is All You Need, Lovelace, Lowlife, Lullaby, Luv

Volume M: Part 1: Machete Kills, Magic Magic, Malavita, Mama, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Maniac, Man of Steel, Man of Tai Chi, The Man Who Sold the World, A Many Splintered Thing, Mariah Mundi and the Midas Box, Mary Mother Of Christ, May in the Summer, McCanick, Meet Me In Montenegro, Milo

Volume M: Part 2: Mindscape, Mobius, Mockingbird, Molly Moon: The Incredible Hypnotist, Monsters University, The Monuments Men, Mood Indigo, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, A Most Wanted Man, Mother of George, Movie 43, Mr. Morgan’s Last Love, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Much Ado About Nothing, Mud, Mystery Road

Volume N: Nebraska, The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman, Night Moves, Nina, No, No One Lives, No Place on Earth, Non-Stop, Northern Soul, Not Safe for Work, Now You See Me, The Numbers Station, Nymphomaniac

Volume O-P: Part 1: Oblivion, Oculus, Odd Thomas, Oldboy, Olympus Has Fallen, One Direction Concert Movie, One Square Mile, Only God Forgives, Only Lovers Left Alive, Open Windows, Out of the Furnace, Oz: The Great and Powerful, Pacific Rim, Pain and Gain, The Paradise Trilogy, Paranoia, Parker, Parkland, Passion, The Past, The Patience Stone

Volume P: Part 2: Pawn, Pawn Shop Chronicles, Penthouse North, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Phantom, The Physician, Pieta, The Place Beyond The Pines, Planes, Plastic Jesus, The Playroom, Plush, Post Tenebras Lux, Prince Avalanche, Prisoners, The Prophet, The Purge

Volume Q-R: The Quiet Ones, The Railway Man, The Rambler, Random, Reality, RED 2, Red Light Winter, Red Machine, Red Wing, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Reykjavik, R.I.P.D., Riddick, The Rover, Runner Runner, Rush

Volume S: Part 1: S-V/H/S, The Sacrament, Safe Haven, Saving Mr. Banks, Scary Movie 5, The Scribbler, The Sea, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Serena, The Seventh Son, Side Effects, Sightseers, Simon Killer, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, A Single Shot, Small Apartments, Small Time, The Smurfs 2

Volume S: Part 2: Snitch, Snowpiercer, Someone Marry Barry, Something in the Air, The Sorcerer and the White Snake, Space Warriors, The Spectacular Now, Spring Breakers, Starbuck, Star Trek Into Darkness, Star Wars: Episode II & III 3D, Still Life, Stoker, Stories We Tell, Sweetwater, Syrup

Volume T: Part 1: Tar, Tarzan 3D, A Teacher, Thanks for Sharing, Therese Desqueyroux, Therese, They Came Together, They Die by Dawn, Third Person, This Is The End, Thor: The Dark World, A Thousand Times Good Night, Three Days To Kill, Three Worlds, The To Do List, Tom a la ferme, The Tomb, Tomorrow You're Gone

Volume T: Part 2: To The Wonder, Too Late, Touchy Feely, Toy’s House, Tracks, Trance, The Trials of Cate McCall, Trust Me, Turbo, Twelve Years A Slave, Twenty Feet From Stardom, Twice Born, Two Night Stand, The Two Faces of January, Two Mothers, Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas, Tyler Perry's Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor, Tyler Perry Presents: We The Peeples

Volume U-W: Part 1: Under the Skin, Unforgiven, Untitled David O. Russell Project, Untitled Nicole Holofcener Project, Untitled Terrence Malick Film, Upstream Color, Venus in Fur, Very Good Girls, Virtually Heroes, Wadjda, Walking with Dinosaurs 3D, War Witch, Warm Bodies, The Way Way Back, We Are What We Are, We're the Millers, Welcome to the Jungle, Welcome to the Punch, What Maisie Knew

Volume W: Part 2-Z: White Bird in a Blizzard, White House Down, The Wilderness of James, Winter Rose, Winter's Tale, Wish You Well, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Wolverine, Wolves, Words with Gods, World War Z, The World's End, You Are Here, You Can't Win, You're Next, You're Not You, The Young and Prodigious Spivet, The Zero Theorem

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