Screen gems: 2013’s most anticipated films

Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton in The Great Gatsby (released in May 2013)
Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton in The Great Gatsby (released in May 2013)
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POST-apocalyptic sci-fi thrillers, stylised westerns, fantasy adventures and lavish period pieces from the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Nicolas Winding Refn are the films set to put bums on seats in the cinema in 2013.

Django Unchained

Dir: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L Jackson

Release date: 18 January

Quentin Tarantino’s latest opus, a western set in the Deep South at the height of the slave trade, sees Jamie Foxx as the titular Django of the story, a slave freed by bounty hunter Dr King Schultz (Christoph Waltz, reprising the charismatic quirks of his film-stealing turn in another Tarantino film, Inglourious Basterds). Django strikes a deal with Dr Schultz, agreeing to help hunt down the Brittle brothers in exchange for the chance to rescue Django’s wife from plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).

Man of Steel

Dir: Zack Snyder

Starring: Henry Cavill, Russell Crowe, Amy Adams

Release date: 14 June

On the evidence of the trailers circulating the internet thus far, a second attempt at a Superman reboot looks far more promising than Bryan Singer’s uninspired flop of 2006. Produced by Christopher Nolan and directed by Zack Snyder, the story shifts the focus to Clark Kent’s (Henry Cavill) formative years growing up in Smallville, though there are enough shots of Superman in full red cape regalia to suggest that Snyder will have ample opportunity to imbue an ostensibly sombre film with enough action sequences to quicken the pulse.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Dir: Peter Jackson

Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Benedict Cumberbatch, Andy Serkis, Christopher Lee

Release date: 13 December

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of a trilogy adapted from J. R. R. Tolkien’s novel, was released last month to a slew of underwhelming reviews, criticising its soporific feel and lack of narrative thrust. So, will the second film see an improvement? Due for release in December, Peter Jackson’s second offering is expected to pick up the pace as Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), in possession of the ‘one ring’, leads the charge, in his own way, to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch).

The Great Gatsby

Dir: Baz Lurhmann

Starring: Leonardo DiCaptio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton

Release date: 17 May

Baz Luhrmann’s lavish adaption of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, set in the hedonistic bubble of 1920’s New York, sees mysterious bootlegger Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) attempt to rekindle a long-lost romance with flapper girl Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan). A period piece shot in 3D, Luhrmann’s kaleidoscopic eye promises to deliver nothing short of this year’s grandest spectacle.

Only God Forgives

Dir: Nicolas Winding Refn

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Rathar Phongam

Release date: May

No trailer as of yet, but news of a second film with director Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling should suffice to whet appetites after last year’s excellent noir-cum-fairytale Drive. Julian (Gosling) is an English drug trafficker living in Bangkok who runs a Thai boxing club as a front organisation. After the death of his brother, his mother (Scott Thomas) orders Julian to hunt down his brother’s killers in what Refn has described as a western set in the Far East.

World War Z

Dir: Marc Foster

Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale

Release date: 21 June

In what seems like an unconscious hangover from the Mayan end-of-world prophecy of last year, 2013 will see a barrage of post-apocalyptic films hit the big screen. Will Smith stars in M. Night Shyamalan’s After Earth, Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman have their own in Oblivion, and Guillermo Del Torro is to release a Transformers-esque disaster movie called Pacific Rim. World War Z, partially filmed in Glasgow, is a little less fantastical than the others (if such a thing were possible), but it’s a zombie apocalypse movie crafted on a similarly grand scale.