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Seven Films to Look Forward to in 2013

The poster art from Antonio Campos' Simon Killer comes with a distinctly Kubrikian twist.

If the beginning of your year is like ours, it's jam-packed as ever with new rules, hopes and promises of good behavior... all made mostly in vain. With clear eyes, we make resolutions we're sure to break almost immediately and jot down lists of unrealistic goals that are soon to be lost behind a desk somewhere.

The first few weeks are, at their heart, a fantasy of sorts. In that spirit, instead of starting the year off with a list of the films we all know will be huge in 2013 (A Good Day to Die Hard or The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp for example), we've elected to begin on a more idealistic foot with a quick look at the deserving few we hope to be seeing a whole lot more of in the year to come. Mark your calendars!

Room 237

This universally lauded doc about the cult of Stanley Kubrik's The Shining and the weird, sometimes frighteningly geeky theories some of its closest viewers have concocted to explain its every moment is a treat for both fans of the film and fans of cinema at large. Hilarious in it's own way beyond the wacky subject matter, this charming meta-movie is one of the first releases of the year, slated to play in late January in the SF area.

Leviathan

Rather than publish an interview with this film's directors as they would for a typical cover story, respected Canadian film journal Cinema Scope chose to run 5 pages of stills captured from some of its woolier moments. The tribute seems a fitting one to his documentary's modus--without as much as an establishing shot, a series of small embedded cameras drop the viewer right onto a commercial fishing ship in the middle of operation, capturing wordlessly all the power, beauty and brutality of the open sea and those who make their living reaping it. No release date yet.

 

Simon Killer

Drawing comparisons to Last Tango in Paris for both its sexual content and the relative discomfort it caused audiences when it showed at select festivals last year, Antonio Campos' latest film has so far proved even more polarizing than his last, Afterschool, which is saying quite a bit. Perhaps because of this, despite securing distribution it hasn't got a release date yet, though things look good for 2013. One can only hope--with astounding, troubling turns by Brady Corbett (Mysterious Skin) and Mati Diop (35 Shots of Rum) and incredible sound work, this unsettling coming-of-age tale resonates far beyond its running time and is a secret that shouldn't be kept under wraps.

 

Stoker

Korean revenge auteur Park Chan-wook own first english language film may have slipped past some foaming at the mouth for Spike Lee's remake of his film Old Boy, which is also on the docket for 2013, but Stoker will certainly be the more interesting watch. Never one to leave the psychological depths of horror unplumbed in favor of cheap scares, if early reports are to be believed, Chan-wook has pushed Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska to the breaking point of their respective formidable talents and created something truly chilling. It's set to come out in March.

 

Vanishing Waves

Billed as a "sci-fi romance" and sharing certain tonal qualities with Darren Aronofsky's vastly under-appreciated puzzler The Fountain, Vanish Waves possessing a refined visual language all its own. There's every indication this Luthuanian tale of a man who falls in love with a comatose woman whose mind he enters through a complex new technology could be trapped on the festival circuit for the rest of 2013, but wins at the Sitges and a strong showing at Fantasia could bring it out later this year on a limited release.

 

The Iceman

One of the biggest success stories of the last few years has been the ascension of character actor Michael Shannon, who finally emerged as a marquis talent after many years toiling in semi-obscurity, riding a rising tide of choice roles in lauded titles like Take Shelter, Revolutionary Road, and Boardwalk Empire. Shannon will pop up later this year as Lord Zod in the highly hyped Superman series reboot, but those looking to really see him show his chops should be chomping at the bit in anticipation of this film, where he plays the toothsome 70s contract killer of the title,  Richard Kuklinski. Originally slated for 2012, this one will show up in the new year at some point, we just don't know when.

 

Elysium

We had to include at least one worthy blockbuster, and what could be cooler than Neill Blomkamp's (District 9) allegory for the 99%? Set for release all the way in August, this Matt Damon starring sci-fi revolves around the separation of two classes, the ultra-rich who live on a space station called Elysium, and the other, who reside on the crumbling remnants of Earth. While it's not the first tech-heavy tale to transport the problems of the present to the future, let's hope it hits the mark--this is a trend we'd like to see Hollywood carry on!