sneak peek From sequels and prequels to sci-fi and superhero films… parvathi nayar looks at what Hollywood has on offer this year

Anticipation is half the fun — of pretty much anything, and certainly, the movies. Raising the curtain on 2013, though, I’m struck how every year is now heralded as the Year of the Sequel; 2013 continues to see filmmakers trying to spin maximum box office advantage from some original clever idea repackaged as reboots, prequels, sequels and remakes.

Excitingly — drumroll, please — for us sci-fi fans, 2013 could also turn out to be the Year of Sci-Fi, where satisfyingly dystopian and alien futures await. All in all, from the arty to the dramatic, there seems plenty to pique one’s cinematic fancy.


Movies to kill and die for include A Good Day To Die Hard and A Dame to Kill For , the sequel to the action animation hit Sin City , starring Clive Owen. As for Bruce Willis returning again as John McClane, admit: Die Hard 4.0 was surprising good. Among the rest, the most promising are sequels to movies that were fun in the first place: Kick Ass, RED, Despicable Me .


Will audiences ever tire of franchises? It’s the multi-million dollar question bankrolled by studios, and repaid by our hard-earned/hard-spent entertainment rupee. On the cards is the 12th feature-length Star Trek movie, Star Trek Into Darkness , and Fast and the Furious ’s sixth outing, which moves the action from street racing to globetrotting pic.


Man of Steel directed by Zack Snyder with Henry Cavill as Superman holds hope and here’s why: post-Batman super director Christopher Nolan is producing the film. There’s also a Jack Ryan reboot coming up with Kenneth Branagh directing Chris Pine as the popular Tom Clancy character.


The characters of Pixar’s Monsters Inc. (2001) were such fun that solid family entertainment seems guaranteed in its prequel Monsters University . Sam Raimi’s Oz: The Great and Powerful has a starcast that includes James Franco and Rachel Weisz, and narrates events that happened before The Wizard of Oz .


We like these returners: Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark in Iron Man 3 along with Gwyneth Paltrow as assistant Pepper Potts; Hugh Jackman in James Mangold’s The Wolverine ; and the demi-god superheroes and villains of Thor: The Dark World .


Despite the unevenness of the original film, Robert Redford was a great Gatsby. How will Leonardo DiCaprio compare? We’ll just have to wait for Baz Luhrmann’s remake that has Amitabh Bachchan in a small role. Also in the works are a Johnny Depp-led remake of The Lone Ranger ; blood-soaked Carrie directed by Kimberley Peirce; and another cult classic, Evil Dead , newly interpreted by Fede Alvarez.


Earth seems to have no future other than dystopian — as in Oblivion , featuring Tom Cruise as an isolated survivor of a war with aliens. Given Joseph Kosinski’s skillset, the movie at the very least will be a stunning visual treat. More alien invasion in Ender’s Game , the adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s award-winning sci-fi novel by Gavin Hood. However the Mexican invasion is even more promising; i.e. films by the talented Guillermo del Toro — Pacific Rim featuring monsters at sea — and Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity . Joining Cuaron in space is Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium with Matt Damon, where most of mankind lives in a space station. There’s more, including Seth Rogen’s End of the World , Brad Pitt’s thriller World War Z and After Earth by M Night Shyamalan.

Print to screen

Ghostly fun is assured in graphic novel-inspired R.I.P.D. (the Rest In Peace Department ) about a team of dead police officers, starring Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges. Twilight fans may well bite into Andrew Niccol’s The Host , based on author Stephenie Meyer’s adult novel where invading aliens take over human bodies. Joseph Finder’s 2004 corporate thriller Paranoia about a young employee leading the high life gets to play out on screen with Gary Oldman, Harrison Ford and Liam Hemsworth. Much anticipated is the second instalment of The Hunger Games , and yes, part deux of The Hobbit , but I have a suspicion that Peter Jackson has succumbed to the Dark Side of the Box Office: he’s threatening to turn Tolkien’s compact tale into a bloated multi-part epic.

Testosterone treats

Male machismo reigns in Ruben Fleischer’s The Gangster Squad with a stellar cast that includes hotter than hot Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn and Josh Brolin. Other current hottie Channing Tatum — especially after his stripper routine in Magic Mike — stars in Bitter Pill , which involves some shady pharmaceuticals. Will Steven Soderbergh, as threatened, retire after this one? We hope not.


Broken City could deliver on the dramatic front, with Russell Crowe as a mayor who hires ex-cop Mark Wahlberg to spy on his wife Catherine Zeta Jones. We’re excited by Stoker , the first English language film from director Park Chan-wook that reputedly mixes noir, horror and drama, as enacted by Mia Wasikowska and Nicole Kidman. The original duo of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo — director Niels Arden Oplev and actress Noomi Rapace — reunite for another tale of vengeance where Rapace’s character seduces hitman Colin Farrell.