Film in 2013: The 12 must see movies

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Seeing as the world survived 2012 unscathed, that pesky Apocalypse never actually rearing its ugly head, it’s time to emerge bleary eyed from the nuclear bunker and start planning your social life for the year ahead.

It’s just as well the Mayans got their prediction so spectacularly wrong because 2013 promises to be a very tasty on both the cultural and sporting front.

Granted, from a British point of view it might not match the epic heights experienced during our Olympic year, but there are stellar highlights on the agenda all the same.

Next up we preview the highlights in the film calendar.

Django Unchained

UK Release Date: 18 January

Quentin Tarantino’s first film since 2009’s Inglourious Basterds sees Jamie Foxx assume the title role of Django – a slave-turned-bounty who sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner. Set in the Wild West it’s a brutal action-packed tale of revenge featuring inspired (so says the Guardian) performances not only by Foxx, but also Christoph Waltz, Samuel L Jackson and Leonardo Di Caprio.

Bonus viewing: If you’re after more American period drama, Johnny Depp’s long-time passion project The Lone Ranger should finally hit cinemas this year with the coolest man in Hollywood assuming the role of Tonto to Armie Hammer’s John Reid – a man of the law who becomes a legend of justice. Also worth looking out for is Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln – starring Daniel Day Lewis – which has already been nominated for 10 BAFTAs ahead of its release at the end of January.

Man of Steel

UK Release Date: 14 June

Everybody knows the story – an alien infant is raised on Earth, and grows up with superhuman abilities. In later life, posing as a journalist, he uses his powers to protect his new home from an insidious evil. Well it’s that again (well the first bit at least), but with Zack Snyder at the directorial helm and British actor Henry Cavill squeezing himself into Superman’s famous briefs. Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe play the adopted and ‘biological’ fatherly roles, while Amy Adams is love interest Lois Lane. It promises to be a more real and raw adaptation of the origins of Superman story but with Blockbuster credentials that could see it challenge the box office takings of The Avengers and Dark Knight Rises.

Bonus viewing: If you’re after more big budget action the second instalment of The Hunger Games trilogy ‘Catching Fire’ should hit screens at the end of the year while Robert Downey Jr is back as Tony Stark for Iron Man 3.

Gangster Squad

UK Release Date: 10 January

The name may be cheesier than cheddar but if Gangster Squad turns out to be as all-action and tongue-in-cheek as the trailer suggests it should be a breathless (and bloody) couple of hours in the cinema. Based on a true story set in 1940s Los Angeles it focuses on the life and times of ‘Dick Tracey-esque’ villain Mickey Cohen (played by Sean Penn) and features the likes of Josh Brolin, Michael Pena, Robert Patrick, Emma Stone, Nick Nolte and Ryan Gosling in an all-star cast. Easy on the eye and entertaining in buckets it may not be as gritty as previous mob movies but it still resonates with the same old good vs evil storyline.

Bonus viewing: If you want even more time with ‘Man of the Moment’ Ryan Gosling look out for indie prospect The Place Beyond the Pines. Playing a near-psychotic stunt biker who goes on a crime spree to provide for his family Derek Cianfrance's stylish, wandering crime drama also veers off into thriller territory with a turn from Bradley Cooper as a cop who uses campaigning against crime to launch a political career.

The Great Gatsby

UK Release Date: TBC

Following Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge and Australia, director Baz Luhrmann has turned his attention to F. Scott Fitzgerald's ‘Great American Novel’ The Great Gatsby and he’s done so with all the gusto you’d expect from a man renowned for his creativity. Midwesterner Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) is lured into the lavish Long Island world of his neighbour Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) only to find that behind his nouveau riche existence lies obsession, madness and tragedy. Shot in 3D and with Carey Mulligan and Isla Fisher as the leading ladies it promises much razzmatazz; all the more so after Jay-Z was confirmed as the man charged with producing the score. The wait, its release has already suffered lengthy delays, should hopefully be worth it.

Bonus viewing: You want more Leonardo DiCaprio? How about Martin Scorsese’s political thriller The Wolf on Wall Street in which he plays New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort – a man who served 20 months in prison for refusing to cooperate in a massive 1990s securities fraud case that involved widespread corruption in the corporate banking world.

The Hangover: Part 3

UK Release Date: 24 May

You might have thought the Wolfpack had boozed enough in the first two iterations of The Hangover, but given the popularity of Todd Phillips’ movies it’s hardly surprising they’re back for more tequila induced headaches. Details are still sketchy but it looks as though the story will focus on Alan (Zack Galifianakis) as the boys return to Las Vegas for more debauchery. Crazed crim Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong), who appeared to die in the last outing, is back for more and John Goodman has a cameo as Bradley Cooper and co bring the trilogy to a close.

Bonus viewing: Will Ferrell has been in more films than we can count since 2004’s barnstorming hit Anchorman. Finally, after close to nine years out of the game, Ron Burgundy and the Channel Four news team are back for 1970s escapades in Anchorman: The Legend Continues. Plot details are few and far between but it’s sure to be a hoot.