Sure, it’s Oscar season. But the Oscars are the ghosts of Movies Past — last year’s movies, yesterday’s news.
It’s 2013. What do THIS year’s movies hold in store for us?
We’ve got remakes of Evil Dead, Old Boy and Carrie, reboots of Superman (Man of Steel) and Mr. Patriot Games (Jack Ryan).
There are, of course, sequels galore, from Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For to Monsters University, A Good Day to Die Hard, Fast & Furious 6, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, RED 2, 300: Rise of an Empire to The Best Man 2, Thor : The Dark World and — shudder — Anchorman: The Legend Continues.
Will the second Hunger Games (Catching Fire, Nov. 22) improve on the first one? Will The Desolation of Smaug (Dec. 13) be a shorter, quicker Hobbit than the first one?
Is Ender’s Game (Nov. 1) the next Hunger Games?
Does Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips the one about the Maersk Alabama hijacking, Oct. 11) still have box office clout? Does The Hangover (Hangover III) still have legs?
Just from scanning the hundreds of titles slated to head our way this year, it’s obvious that it may be more of a guy’s year at the movies than usual — even with a Hunger Games sequel. But there are plenty of pictures with intriguing combinations of story, cast, director and place within the zeitgeist to give us hope. Here are 10 of them:
• Oz the Great and Powerful (March 8) is Disney’s prequel to The Wizard of Oz, how the Midwestern magician landed in Oz and became a wonderful wizard. This could be this year’s John Carter, or it could be the film every child is dying to see over spring break.
• The Heat (April 5) will be the second Melissa McCarthy comedy (after Identity Thief, Friday). Is there such a thing as too much Melissa? Sandra Bullock spent WAY too much time after winning her Oscar to get back into the swing of things. A buddy comedy will be her first project in theaters this year, with the sci-fi epic Gravity awaiting a release date.
• Pain & Gain (April 26) teams up Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson as musclehead ex-cons, a couple of dopes, who stumble into crime. Nobody does buddy pictures like Wahlberg, and the trailers are a hoot.
• Star Trek Into Darkness (May 17) appears to be a J.J. Abrams re-engineering of the The Wrath of Khan and the original ‘‘Khan’’ episode of the first Star Trek series. He’s got Benedict Cumberbatch as his villain and a rumor of a Wrath of Khan-style death of a principal character. Curious to see how he pulls this off, because you know he will.
• Man of Steel (June 14) has a star (Henry Cavill) who has had a few shots at box office success, and a director (Zack Snyder of 300 and Sucker Punch) who could use a hit. So there are doubts. But the first trailer brought Superman film and comic book fans to tears. This could be special.
• World War Z (June 21) promises to be the ultimate zombie picture. With zombies all over TV, and over-exposed by Warm Bodies (Feb. 1), this delayed Brad Pitt vehicle has its work cut out for it.
• Pacific Rim (July 12) looks like Godzilla meets Transformers. But it’s from fanboy favorite Guillermo del Toro, and is the big budget sci-fi movie he chose to do instead of hanging out with The Hobbit for years. So we’ll see.
• White House Down (June 28) has Channing Tatum as a Secret Service agent fighting his way through 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. after paramilitary terrorists take over the place and seize the president.
• Rush (Sept. 20) is Ron Howard’s take on an epic era in Formula One racing, the Niki Lauda/James Hunt duel on the world’s fastest, most dangerous race tracks back in the 1970s.
• The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Dec. 25) was a famous James Thurber story about a man who lets his imagination run wild, contributing to his arrested development. Men acting like children was unusual in the 1940s. Can Ben Stiller & Co. spin this funny, if dated, concept into comic gold?