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Empire's Giant 2013 Movie Preview
185 films of next year profiled and explained


Comedy Corner
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This Is 40

DATE  February 14
DIRECTOR  Judd Apatow
CAST  Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jason Segel, Chris O'Dowd, Megan Fox, Melissa McCarthy, Albert Brooks, John Lithgow, Lena Dunham, Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow

SEE ALSO  You might want to refresh yourself on Knocked Up before seeing this, as this is a sort-of sequel / spin-off.

SYNOPSIS  Pete (Rudd) and Debbie (Mann) are facing their 40th birthdays and reassessing their lives together. This one isn't so much about plot as situation, if you will.

WHAT TO EXPECT  It's a Judd Apatow film, which means it will have very funny people in it, at least some very funny scenes and a free-wheeling sense of vaguely realistic comedy. We're looking forward to seeing what the older generation of Albert Brooks and John Lithgow add to the mix (who play Pete and Debbie's fathers respectively), and bracing ourselves because most Apatow films are a little bit too long.
• Watch the trailer below

Movie 43

Movie 43

DATE  February 1
DIRECTOR  Elizabeth Banks, Steven Brill, Steve Carr, Rusty Cundieff, James Duffy, Griffin Dunne, Peter Farrelly, Patrik Forsberg, James Gunn, Bob Odenkirk, Brett Ratner, Jonathan van Tulleken
CAST  Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Emma Stone, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chris Pratt, Anna Faris, Gerard Butler, Kate Winslet, Stephen Merchant, Elizabeth Banks, Naomi Watts, Liev Schreiber, Richard Gere, Uma Thurman, Sean William Scott, Terrence Howard, Kieran Culkin, Bobby Cannavale, Jason Sudeikis, Jack McBrayer

FUN FACT  The Daily Show With Jon Stewart's John Hodgman plays The Penguin in this film. As in, The Penguin from the Batman comics. Has anyone told Christopher Nolan?

SYNOPSIS  We're not even going to attempt one. Suffice to say that this is a collection of stories from 12 directors and starring the better half of Hollywood.

WHAT TO EXPECT  Portmanteau movies are always something of a mixed bag (sorry) but this one should have some laughs in it, judging by everything we've seen. And it's got to be better than Valentine's Day, right?
• Watch the trailer below

Guilt Trip

Guilt Trip

DATE  March 1
DIRECTOR  Anne Fletcher
CAST  Barbra Streisand, Seth Rogen, Yvonne Strahovski, Adam Scott, Brett Cullin, Colin Hanks, Danny Pudi, Casey Wilson

FUN FACT  Dan Fogelman, of Crazy Stupid Love fame, wrote this script.

SYNOPSIS  Andy Brewster (Rogen) is an inventor about to hit the road with his latest product when he decides, on the spur of the moment, to invite his lonely single mother (Streisand) along with him. Cue bad driving, inappropriate motherliness and family bonding time.

WHAT TO EXPECT  The trailer didn't blow us away in the laughs department, but Rogen and Streisand seem to have a comfortable sort of chemistry so perhaps it will all come together on the big screen.
• Watch the trailer on YouTube

Hardy Bucks: The Movie

Hardy Bucks: The Movie

DATE  February 22
DIRECTOR  Mike Cockayne
CAST  Martin Maloney, Chris Tordoff, Owen Colgan, Peter Cassidy, Tom Kilgallon

BASED ON  The Hardy Bucks TV show, an Irish comedy mock-doc that sprang originally from a web series.

SYNOPSIS  Five hapless guys from Castletown in Ireland road trip to Poland to see Ireland play in Euro 2012. After a wild night in Amsterdam, things do not go to plan.

WHAT TO EXPECT  If shows like Trailer Park Boys are your thing, you'll enjoy this. If not, you have to decide whether a cross between The Hangover and Crapston Villas is for you. In any case, expect gross-out humour and proof that the Irish can be just as tasteless as everyone else.
• Watch the trailer on YouTube

Cuban Fury

Cuban Fury

DATE  March 22
DIRECTOR  James Griffiths
CAST  Nick Frost, Chris O'Dowd, Rashida Jones, Ian McShane, Olivia Colman, Steve Oram

FUN FACT  Rashida Jones is the daughter of Quincy Jones, which makes Christmases round her place some of the funkiest around.

SYNOPSIS  A former salsa prodigy (Frost), who long ago quit competition after an accident, tries to get back into dancing when he falls for his boss (Jones) and competes for her affections with a rival (O'Dowd).

WHAT TO EXPECT  Nick Frost and Chris O'Dowd doing salsa? Given that we'll probably have Strictly Come Dancing withdrawal symptoms by March, this could be just the ticket.
Watch the video blogs on YouTube

21 And Over

21 And Over

DATE  March 29
DIRECTOR  Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
CAST  Miles Teller, Justin Chon, Skylar Astin, Sarah Wright

FUN FACT  The reason that the drinking age in the US is 21 is because states were told they'd lose 10% of their federal highway money if they didn't comply.

SYNOPSIS  Jeff Chang (Chon) is a straight-A student about to attend an interview to get in to medical school. But it's his 21st birthday, so his two best friends (Teller, Astin) turn up to get him drunk. Things get somewhat out of hand, as is always the case when a non-drinker on screen goes for a quiet beer.

WHAT TO EXPECT  It's billed as a Hangover for the younger generation - but the question is whether it will achieve the relative heights of an American Pie or the undeniable depths of a Project X.
• Watch the trailer on YouTube

The Alan Partridge Movie


DATE  August 16
DIRECTOR  Declan Lowney
CAST  Steve Coogan

FUN FACT  At the time of writing, the rest of the cast is still unconfirmed.

SYNOPSIS  The plot sees North Norfolk Digital, Alan's (Coogan) employer, taken over by a giant media corporation and renamed Shape. Cue, we suspect, consternation from the blazer-clad, perpetually deluded host.

WHAT TO EXPECT  We imagine that Glenn Ponder and Savoir Faire will do the score, given that he conducted the orchestra for Alan's chatshow, and that the irrepressible Partridge will insist on doing all his own stunts unless they're remotely dangerous. It's sure to involve humiliation, foiled dreams and in-depth discussions of Roger Moore's Bond oeuvre.

The Hangover Part III

The Hangover Part III

DATE  May 24
DIRECTOR  Todd Phillips
CAST  Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, Heather Graham, Jamie Chung, Jeffrey Tambor, Mike Epps, Mike Tyson

FUN FACT  "Yeah, that's not going to happen" is Bradley Cooper's favourite line that he's ever delivered in a movie.

SYNOPSIS  This time it's not about a bachelor party or wedding - the Wolfpack go on a road trip instead. Somehow, however, we suspect that the results for Phil (Cooper), Stu (Helms), Doug (Bartha) and Alan (Galifianakis) will be broadly similar to usual. Don't do drugs, kids!

WHAT TO EXPECT  We are hoping that this will show a little more originality and verve than the second instalment did: it's promising that there's no wedding involved this time, but it will take more than that to convince the world that this is a fresh outing for the gang and not just another weary retread. Still, we live in hope of lightning striking again as it did for the first film.

The Internship

The Internship

DATE  July 4
DIRECTOR  Shawn Levy
CAST  Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell, Owen Wilson, Rose Byrne, John Goodman, Jessica Szohr, Max Minghella, Aasif Mandvi

FUN FACT  Levy's films have earned two billion dollars at the worldwide box office.

SYNOPSIS  Vaughn and Wilson play 40-somethings laid off from their corporate jobs. They try to get a fresh start as interns at a technology company where, as it turns out, their bosses are a good 20 years younger than they are and everyone is essentially speaking a different language. Culture clashes, we assume, ensue.

WHAT TO EXPECT  It's a Wedding Crashers reunion, with the same two leads and ever Ferrell in a supporting role - which may or may not be a good sign. There's no doubt about the easy chemistry between the leads, but will it be funny? We'll see in June.

Grown Ups 2

Grown Ups 2

DATE  August 9
DIRECTOR  Dennis Dugan
CAST  Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Steve Buscemi, Salma Hayek, Milo Ventimiglia, Andy Samberg, Maria Bello, David Spade, Maya Rudolph

FILM FACT  The first film made $271m on a $70m (ish) budget.

SYNOPSIS  The continuing adventures of the old friends played by Sandler, James, Rock and Spade - this time minus Rob Schneider - and their families as they grow older.

WHAT TO EXPECT  More of exactly the same as the first one, with puerile humour and appalling female characters a-go-go.

The Heat

The Heat
DATE  April 5
DIRECTOR  Paul Feig
CAST  Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Demián Bichir, Tom Wilson, Michael Rapaport, Spoken Reasons

FUN FACT  The script was written by Katie Dippold, a writer and producer on ace US sitcom Parks & Recreation.

SYNOPSIS  An uptight FBI agent (Bullock) teams up with maverick Boston cop (McCarthy) to take down a Russian mobster. The two clash but also, we suspect, bond.

WHAT TO EXPECT  Bullock and McCarthy could do these character types in their sleep, but hopefully they woke up for this one. It's Feig's follow-up to Bridesmaids, so let's hope he brings the same energy and equally compelling characters.
• Watch the trailer on YouTube

Admission

Admission

DATE  March 8 (US)
DIRECTOR  Paul Weitz
CAST  Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Michael Sheen, Wallace Shawn, Gloria Reuben, Lily Tomlin, Nat Wolff

FUN FACT  Over 26,000 people a year apply to Princeton but only about 10% get in.

SYNOPSIS  Portia (Fey) is a Princeton University admissions officer up for a promotion when her boss (Shawn retires). But when an old classmate, John (Rudd), asks her to come to his alternative school to meet the pupils and suggests that one of his students might be her long-ago-adopted son (Wolff), she's caught between wanting the big job and wanting to ensure his special treatment.

WHAT TO EXPECT  Rudd and Fey? The screen may not be able to contain this much gently comic charm at one time. Let's hope they're both on form.
• Watch the trailer on YouTube

Identity Thief

DATE  March 1
DIRECTOR  Seth Gordon
CAST  Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Amanda Peet, Robert Patrick, John Cho, Jon Favreau, Genesis Rodriguez

FUN FACT  Keep eyes peeled for Modern Family's Eric Stonestreet in the trailer, playing "Big Chuck".

SYNOPSIS  Bateman plays Sandy Patterson, who discovers - after his credit cards are repeatedly declined - that someone has stolen his identity and destroyed his life. He sets out for Florida to find the woman responsible (McCarthy), but bringing her to justice turns out to be more difficult than he anticipated.

WHAT TO EXPECT  Bateman's once again playing a put-upon everyman, but it will be interesting to see how that plays against McCarthy's lawless ne'er-do-well. Mostly we're just expecting to be blinded by that McCarthy's insanely bright wardrobe.
• Watch the trailer on YouTube

Anchorman: The Legend Continues

Anchorman: The Legend Continues

DATE  December 20
DIRECTOR  Adam McKay
CAST  Will Ferrell, Stevel Carell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Christina Applegate

FILM FACT  Filming is due to begin in February.

SYNOPSIS  The continuing adventures of 1970s news anchor Ron Burgundy (Ferrell), his lady love Veronica Corningstone (Applegate) and his cohorts (Carell, Rudd, Koechner). Rumours about this film's focus include a custody battle between Ron and Veronica, the impact of cable network news in the 1980s and something to do with bowling. But given that the first film had so much ad-libbed material that it formed an entire spare film, the plot must be considered fluid until the edit is locked.

WHAT TO EXPECT  The cast are all back, and there are rumours that even supporting players like Luke Wilson and Vince Vaughn may return, so that's encouraging. All we have to do now is trust that they haven't lost their funny in the intervening years, and that lightning can strike twice for the same characters. In other words, will they stay classy?
• Watch the trailer below

Last Vegas

Last Vegas

DATE  December 20
DIRECTOR  Jon Turteltaub
CAST  Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, Mary Steenbergen, Jerry Ferrera, 50 Cent, Romany Malco

FUN FACT  Lotteries are illegal in Nevada, even though gambling is A-OK.

SYNOPSIS  Four friends (Douglas, De Niro, Freeman, Kline) head to Las Vegas for the bachelor party of the last of their number to tie the knot, with Douglas playing the groom-to-be.

WHAT TO EXPECT  While the Hangover-for-boomers concept is not one that immediately guarantees success, the cast members suggest that this can hardly be less than watchable. Trailer Link: No trailer available at the time of writing.

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

DATE  December 26
DIRECTOR  Ben Stiller
CAST  Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Shirley MacLaine, Patton Oswalt

SEE ALSO  A remake of the 1947 original has been in the works since 1994. Yes, this has been in development long enough to vote.

SYNOPSIS  Walter Mitty (Stiller) is a timid magazine photo manager who spends his time daydreaming a more exciting life for himself. When one of his negatives goes missing, he starts on a real-life adventure to get it back. Wait, people still use negatives? That also seems like a big step down from the original film's Macguffin, the Dutch crown jewels.

WHAT TO EXPECT  Stiller gives good put-upon, so he feels like good casting for Mitty, and he has a strong comedy ensemble around him. For this to soar, however, Steve Conrad's script will need to be even better than it is in our elaborate daydreams.


Quick Poll   Which of these films are you looking forward to most?

Movie 43
This Is 40
Guilt Trip
Hardy Bucks: The Movie
Identity Thief
Cuban Fury
21 And Over
The Heat
The Hangover Part III
The Internship
Grown Ups 2
The Alan Partridge Movie
Admission
Anchorman: The Legend Continues
Last Vegas
The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty


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