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Features

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


Crime Thrillers
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Broken City

DATE  March 1
DIRECTOR  Allen Hughes
CAST  Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jeffrey Wright, Kyle Chandler, Barry Pepper

FUN FACT  Director Allen Hughes usually co-directs with his twin brother Albert.

SYNOPSIS  : Ex-cop Billy Taggart (Wahlberg) is asked by the Mayor of New York, Nicholas Hostetler (Crowe), to tail his wife (Zeta-Jones) and find out if she's having an affair. When her lover turns up dead, Taggart finds himself at the centre of a much larger scandal.

WHAT TO EXPECT  This looks like most Mark Wahlberg thrillers - furrowed brow, intense exclamations - but the addition of a fake-tanned Russell Crowe as a smarmy politician should kick things up a bit.
• Watch the trailer on YouTube

The Liability

The Liability

DATE  January 25
DIRECTOR  Craig Viveiros
CAST  Tim Roth, Jack O'Connell, Talulah Riley, Peter Mullan

FUN FACT  Lead Jack O'Connell has a role in 300: Rise Of An Empire, also due next year.

SYNOPSIS  Adam (O'Connell) wrecks his stepfather's car and needs a job to pay him back. He agrees to drive for Roy (Roth), an aging hitman - but things go a little off course when they encounter The Girl (Riley) during a job.

WHAT TO EXPECT  This is going to DVD after only a few days in cinemas, which never fills us with confidence, but if British gangster movies are your thing the cast here could deliver a decent actioner.
• Watch the trailer below

The Iceman

The Iceman

DATE  June 7
DIRECTOR  Ariel Vromen
CAST  Michael Shannon, Chris Evans, Ray Liotta, James Franco, Winona Ryder, Robert Davi, David Schwimmer, Stephen Dorff

FUN FACT  Kuklinski claimed that he killed Jimmy Hoffa, the union boss whose disappearance remains unsolved and whole body was never found.

SYNOPSIS  Richard Kuklinski (Michael Shannon) was a family man whose business, unbeknownst to his wife (Ryder) and family, was contract killing, with his first murder at the age of 13 and over 100 more to follow over a 22-year career from 1964 to 1986. He earned his nickname after freezing his victims at an industrial facility to disguise their time of death.

WHAT TO EXPECT  It's a heck of a cast, disguised by a heck of a selection of wigs, beards and odd facial hair. The story's an almost unbelievable one - except that it's true - and we're looking forward to seeing Shannon get some bad guy practice in before his turn as General Zod later in the year. Our Damo called this "sporadically spellbinding" when he saw it in Venice, so we're optimistic.
• Watch the trailer on YouTube

Run For Your Wife

Run For Your Wife

DATE  February 14
DIRECTOR  Ray Cooney, John Luton
CAST  Danny Dyer, Denise Van Outen, Sarah Harding, Neil Morrissey, Judi Dench, Lionel Blair, Maureen Lipman, Richard Briers, Rolf Harris, Prunella Scales, Ray Winstone, Cliff Richard

FUN FACT  The film is full of cameos (Judi Dench as a bag lady?) because celebrities agreed to appear and donate their fees to charity.

SYNOPSIS  Bigamist John (Dyer) is happily married to both Michelle (Van Outen) and Stephanie (Harding). Neither wife knows about the other and John, thanks to taxi driving shifts, manages to juggle his double life. But when the police spot his paperwork and start to investigate, it all threatens to come crumbling down around the rat bastard hapless cabbie.

WHAT TO EXPECT  The fun to be had here comes in spotting those celebrity cameos, so keep your eyes peeled around the edge of the frame even if you don't like Dyer in the foreground. And hey, maybe Strictly star Van Outen will suddenly break into a killer samba!
• Watch the trailer below

Fire With Fire

Fire With Fire

DATE  March 8
DIRECTOR  David Barrett
CAST  Josh Duhamel, Bruce Willis, Rosario Dawson, Vincent D'Onofrio

FUN FACT  This went straight to DVD in the US.

SYNOPSIS  When fireman Jeremy Coleman (Duhamel) witnesses a robbery and agrees to testify he makes himself a target for gangster Hagan (D'Onofrio). But when Hagan attacks, Coleman takes the law into his own hands.

WHAT TO EXPECT  One man standing up against a system when the law can't, an ordinary guy having an unguessed-at capacity for taking down gangsters, Bruce Willis growling, etc.
• Watch the trailer on YouTube

Hummingbird

Hummingbird

DATE  January 25
DIRECTOR  Steven Knight
CAST  Jason Statham, Agata Buzek, Benedict Wong

FUN FACT  There are at least 325 hummingbird species in the world. None of them look like Jason Statham.

SYNOPSIS  Ex-soldier Joey Jones (Statham) is trying to forget his past after adopting the identity of a rich man who carelessly left his Covent Garden apartment unsecured. When Joey's pregnant girlfriend turns up dead in the river, he uses his connections with the Chinese mob to find those responsible.

WHAT TO EXPECT  Statham here is breaking heads, as usual, but might also break into actual acting as well. It is, after all, the directorial debut of Steven Knight, one of the best writers in the business, so we don't think it will be just another Transporter.

Welcome To The Punch

DATE  March 15
DIRECTOR  Eran Creevy
CAST  James McAvoy, Mark Strong, David Morrissey, Andrea Riseborough, Peter Mullan, Steve Oram, Daniel Mays, Elyes Gabel

FUN FACT  Creevy and Strong came along to Empire Presents Big Screen at the Indigo2 last year - which was also a filming location for the movie.

SYNOPSIS  When notorious criminal Jacob Sternwood (Strong) returns to London after a long absence to help out his son (Gabel), detective Max Lewinsky (McAvoy) has another chance to take him down. But as he goes after Sternwood, both men discover a bigger conspiracy. Team up, you guys!

WHAT TO EXPECT  The cast are rock solid, so with any luck, this should be a classier crime drama than most to emerge from these shores.
• Watch the trailer below

Pain & Gain

Pain & Gain

DATE  May 3
DIRECTOR  Michael Bay
CAST  Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, Ed Harris, Rebel Wilson, Anthony Mackie, Ken Jeong, Tony Shalhoub, Rob Corddry

BASED ON  A true story, which you can read about here.

SYNOPSIS  Two Miami bodybuilders, Daniel Lugo (Wahlberg) and Paul Doyle (Johnson), hit upon a get-rich scheme involving extortion and kidnapping. Their plans do not go to plan - particularly when private investigator Ed Du Bois (Harris) takes an interest and starts investigating one of their victims.

WHAT TO EXPECT  Who needs great hunks of shape shifting metal when you have great hunks of The Rock? And of course Walhberg, a similarly muscly man. The true story has the potential to be fascinating - it's a weird blend of violent crime and impressive stupidity - but we wait to see how it will translate through Bay's hands.
• Watch the trailer on MichaelBay.com

Captain Phillips

Captain Phillips

DATE  October 11
DIRECTOR  Paul Greengrass
CAST  Tom Hanks, Catherine Keener, Max Martini, Michael Chernus, Yul Vazquez

BASED ON  The true story of the Maersk Alabama kidnapping.

SYNOPSIS  Somali pirates boarded the MV Maersk Alabama in April 2009 and, when their plans to take the ship were frustrated, escaped in a lifeboat with Captain Phillips (Hanks) as a hostage.

WHAT TO EXPECT  We imagine that this will be a little less frenetic than Greengrass' Matt Damon efforts, since Hanks isn't quite so athletic (no disrespect, sir), but we expect something just as gripping and tense. Also, after all those loveable pirates in the Disney series, it's about time we had some onscreen who were slightly less rock star.

No Good Deed

No Good Deed

DATE  November 29
DIRECTOR  Sam Miller
CAST  Taraji P. Henson, Idris Elba

FUN FACT  This is not to be confused with the 2002 film of the same name, this year's Tyler Perry movie Good Deeds or either Mr. Deeds film.

SYNOPSIS  A former District Attorney (Henson) turned stay-at-home mother is kidnapped, along with her kids, by an escaped prisoner (Elba) posing as the victim of a car accident.

WHAT TO EXPECT  The plot hasn't exactly set our world on fire, but the combination of Elba, Henson and frequent Luther director Miller means that this could fall at the classier end of the crime drama.

Now You See Me

DATE  June 21
DIRECTOR  Louis Leterrier
CAST  Jesse Eisenberg, Amanda Seyfried, Woody Harrelson, Mélanie Laurent, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman

SYNOPSIS  The Four Horsemen are a magician super-group led by Atlas (Eisenberg) who have been robbing banks and exposing fraudsters as part of their stage show, giving their audiences the proceeds. Special Agent Dylan (Ruffalo) is trying to track them down, but is hampered by turning into a big green rage monster his distrust for those around him.

WHAT TO EXPECT  Leterrier's better known for explosions than tricksy-turny plots like this one promises to be, but the trailer suggests he might be on to something and the synopsis, all Ocean's Eleven meets The Prestige, sounds terrific. Eisenberg appears to be playing Mark Zuckerberg again, but opposite Harrelson's Zen master that might work.
• Watch the trailer on YouTube

Stand Up Guys

Stand Up Guys

DATE  February 1 (US)
DIRECTOR  Fisher Stevens
CAST  Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin, Julianne Margulies

FUN FACT  Bon Jovi are contributing two songs to the soundtrack. It's like Young Guns 2 for old people!

SYNOPSIS  Valentine (Pacino) is back in town after a spell in prison and reunites with old friends (Walken, Arkin). Just one problem: Walken's been assigned to kill Valentine the next morning, so it really is set to be their last night together. Still, why let that put a damper on proceedings?

WHAT TO EXPECT  Pacino asks a girl for a dance in the trailer, giving this a slightly Scent Of A Woman feel, and the tone seems balanced somewhere between the natural melancholy occasioned when your best friend is about to kill you and the zany glee of stealing a sports car and taking Alan Arkin for a joyride. Stevens (yes, him from Short Circuit 2) just needs to make sure that that mix somehow works.
• Watch the trailer on YouTube

Dead Man Down

Dead Man Down

DATE  March 8
DIRECTOR  Niels Arden Oplev
CAST  Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Dominic Cooper, Terrence Howard, Isabelle Huppert, Armand Assante

FUN FACT  Colin Farrell is very well versed in fine art.

SYNOPSIS  Victor (Farrell) is right-hand man to Alphonse Hoyt (Howard), an underground crime lord, but secretly wants vengeance against him for the death of his wife and child. His chance comes when he finds Beatrice (Rapace), a victim turned avenger who's after Hoyt as well. No typecasting for Rapace there, then. The pair strike up a relationship and form a plan of revenge.

WHAT TO EXPECT  This will be Oplev's first film since the original Girl With The Dragon Tattoo in 2009, so we imagine he's determined to show that that wasn't a flash in the pan. The plot has the potential for the same sort of tension and the same intense relationship between damaged people, so it might be a good vehicle to do just that.
• Watch the trailer on YouTube

Malavita

Malavita

DATE  October 18 (US)
DIRECTOR  Luc Besson
CAST  Robert De Niro, Tommy Lee Jones, Michelle Pfeiffer, Diana Agron, John D'Leo

BASED ON  The novel by French author Tonino Benacquista, who co-wrote The Beat That My Heart Skipped with Jacques Audiard. In English, Malavita has been published as Badfellas.

SYNOPSIS  The notorious Manzoni crime family (De Niro, Pfeiffer, Agron, D'Leo) is relocated to rural Normandy as part of the Witness Protection Programme. However, it's less of a case of fitting in with the locals and more of keeping their own traditions intact.

WHAT TO EXPECT  We're expecting something of a black comedy even though the film is described as a dramatic thriller, given the set-up, cast and director. And who would have thought Pfeiffer would still be married to the mob after all these years?


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

The Liability
The Iceman
Run For Your Wife
Broken City
Fire With Fire
Hummingbird
Pain & Gain
Now You See Me
Captain Phillips
No Good Deed
Stand Up Guys
Dead Man Down
Malavita
Welcome To The Punch


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