Holiday 2013 Flixist Movie Preview Extravapalooza


It’s fall and that means we must once again look ahead to see what’s going to be hitting theaters for the rest of the year. After the summer deluge of action oriented films, it’s the fall/winter season that brings us the most Academy Award hopefuls, and the month of September, which is basically a no mans land of movies.

What follows is the ones we’re looking out for. A list that isn’t every film, but definitely the ones you’re going to want to be checking out the most. The great things about this season is we actually seem to be getting a lot of original content. Compared to the summer there are very few sequels, remakes and relaunches. Maybe Hollywood is actually turning over a new leaf. Well, probably not, but at least we’re getting a respite from it.

Read on to find out how.


Insidious Chapter 2

Director: James Wan
Release Date: September 13, 2013

Yes, Insidious Chapter 2 is out a mere two days from now. That only gets me more excited. The first installment was the first movie in a long, long time that scared me and I view that as something of a cinematic milestone in my life. It was almost the progenitor of a new wave of genuinely creepy films that don’t rely solely on jump scares. Can the second chapter live up to the first, or have I put Insidious up on a pedestal? We’ll find out on Friday the 13th. — Sean Walsh

Director: Lee Sang-Il
Release Date: September 13, 2013 (Japan)

I’ve been interested in seeing Yurusarezaru mono (Unforgiven) since word of the project surfaced last summer. Rather than a samurai film migrating west, it’s a western migrating east, and what intrigues me most about this cultural exchange is what gets added to the mix. I’d rather this not be a straightforward remake of Unforgiven since remakes that are simply beat-for-beat recreations are superfluous. It’d be better if this film is like what A Fistful of Dollars was to Yojimbo. I actually wouldn’t mind a few other westerns in a Japanese setting either, so this could open the doors for more. — Hubert Vigilla

Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Release Date: September 13, 2013

If Joseph Gordon-Levitt writing and directing a film where he plays a modern-day lothario obsessed with porn who falls in love with Scarlet Johansson‘s breasts doesn’t get you hype as hell, then I don’t think we can be friends anymore. You can salvage our damaged relationship by watching the trailer over and over again until you can see the error of your ways. Alternatively, you can check out the review here. — Sean Walsh

Director: Denis Villenueve
Release Date: September 20, 2013

A thriller starring Hugh Jackman and Terrence Howard as parents whose kids are presumed to be kidnapped by a slimy Paul Dano with Jake Gyllenhaal as the young detective assigned to the case. Sounds pretty enticing, doesn’t it? The tension is risen when Jackman and Howard take justice into their own hands when the police begin to slack off on the case. It’s a thriller that will hopefully keep audiences on the edges of their seat better than any other fall horror film. — Geoff Henao


Director: Alfonso Cuaron
Release Date: October 4, 2013

I feel like explaining my anticipation for Alfonso Cuaron’s newest film in anything other than a run-on sentence would be doing it an injustice, because the early news that it would open with a 17 minute long shot (equivalent to the oh-so-brilliant scene from Steve McQueen’s Hunger, though undoubtedly more complex) was the thing that turned me towards it initially, and the trailers, with their sweeping vistas and silent explosions and everything just made me more interested, but I can’t pretend that I’m not a little disappointed in just how fake everything looks, because sure they can’t actually go into space and shoot the movie and what is there looks very nice, but it also looks like it’s not real, and that’s sad… but I still really want to see it. — Alec Kubas-Meyer

Machete Kills

Director: Robert Rodriguez
Release Date: October 11, 2013

Machete Kills is a sequel to a movie that was originally a joke, so its very existence makes it worth watching given all that it took to get here. Plus it’s got everything a hot blooded Mexican boy like myself could want: Sofia Vergara’s gun boobs, Michelle Rodriguez’s leather boobs, Alexa Vega’s post-Spy Kids boobs, Amber Heard’s San Antonio boobs, Lady Gaga’s Monster boobs, Danny Trejo’s boobs, Charlie Sheen Carlos Estevez‘s Tiger Blood boobs, Mel Gibson pre-Human Growth Hormone boobs, and finally, Antonio Banderas’s smooth sexy voice talkin’ bout boobs. — Nick Valdez

captain phillips

Director: Paul Greengrass
Release Date: October 11, 2013

I saw the theatrical trailer for this movie over the summer and it looked pretty good; an interesting, dramatic plot (the kidnapping of an American trade ship by Somali pirates — based off of a true story) and a good main actor in what looks to be an intense role (Tom Hanks) but then the title card flashed across the screen… Captain Phillips? Uh, ok, sure. Despite the odd title, this movie looks to be like a solid drama-thriller starring a solid main actor. Here’s hoping the rest of the movie is as solid! — Liz Rugg

12 Years a Slave

Director: Steve McQueen
Release Date: October 18, 2013

Long before the Oscar buzz and the glowing reviews, even before many of the excellent casting choices were announced, 12 Years a Slave was one of my most anticipated films. I don’t particularly like period pieces, but the man who made Shame and Hunger wants to make a film about slavery? He has my attention. I’ve stayed relatively spoiler-free on this one, and I hope I can keep that until the moment I get to the theater. I’ve heard the takes are long (of course they are) and the violence is brutal (of course it is), and that only makes me more intrigued. It will be tough to watch, but I cannot wait to subject myself to it. — Alec Kubas-Meyer

the counselor

Director: Ridley Scott
Release Date: October 25, 2013

Director Ridley Scott is on our Most Anticipated list again, though this time for something a little different. The Counselor is a thriller starring Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz — talk about a badass cast! The story focuses on a lawyer, played by Fassbender, who gets in over his head when he gets involved with the shady world of drug trafficking. The Counselor looks dramatic, sexy and dangerous, and also may feature the best makeup and hair Javier Bardem has worn in any movie ever. Ever. — Liz Rugg

Director: Alan Taylor
Release Date: October 30 (UK), November 8 (USA) 2013

Marvel’s Cinematic Universe goes further into ‘Phase Two’ with another trip to our Asgardian demi-god friends. Christopher Eccleston plays chief villain Malekith in this sequel to one of Marvel’s more odd, Shakespearean affairs. It looks pretty stunning to say the least and a Winter release is pretty in tune with the Norse mythos-atmosphere too. It’ll be fun to see Tumblr explode (once more) over Tom Hiddleston’s bits and I don’t see any problems on the plate other than Alan Taylor’s direction. I shan’t judge him before I’ve seen the flick but, well, he’s relatively new to the whole film thing. Fingers crossed… I mean, infinity gauntlet fingers crossed that this’ll all turn out to be just as big as a blast as the first. — Nathan Hardisty 

Director: Gavin Hood
Release Date: November 1, 2013

On a scale of one to really-not-sure-about-this Ender’s Game probably scores a definitely-not-sure-about this. It’s an awesome book, a creative story and could be turned into a fantastic movie. However, it could also fail completely and with the director of X-Men Origins: Wolverine in charge the failure part feels a lot more likely. — Matthew Razak

Catching Fire

Director: Francis Lawrence
Release Date: November 22, 2013

The first Hunger Games flick wasn’t a total wreck, so I’m hoping the same for the sequel. No but seriously, Catching Fi-YAH is one of my most anticipated films of the season for some reason. I wish I could explain why in this short paragraph. Is it Liam Hemsworth’s gorgeous eyes? Is it Jennifer Lawrence’s weird fake looking hair? Is it Josh Hutcherson? No, it will never be Josh Hutcherson. Thanks to the director change between movies, the odds look to be ever in Catching Fire‘s favor with a lack of shaky cam, a nice clash of blue and orange, and the casting has improved. Are you hongry? I’m hongry. — Nick Valdez

Director: Spike Lee
Release Date: November 27, 2013

Oldboy is probably one of the most divisive films to release this fall. Met with hate and derision by fans of the original, but showered with praise and intrigue by those unfamiliar with the source, Spike Lee’s Oldboy is guaranteed to keep film audiences talking. Does he borrow too much? Will he treat it with the respect and reverence that it deserves? We’ll find out in a few months. — Geoff Henao

Director: Justin Chadwick
Release Date: November 29, 2013

This year’s second film about the revolutionary leader, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom follows the life of Nelson Mandela (Idris Elba) from his childhood through his appointment as the first democratically elected president of South Africa. Alongside his notorious 27-year jail sentence, the film also touches upon the effects his work and intense focus on the anti-apartheid movement had on his wife and young children. It’s these types of details that draw me to biopics, as textbook history typically has an individualized focus with little regard to the people that help shape and influence the leaders of change. — Jessi Grant

Inside Llewyn Davis

Director: Joel and Ethan Coen
Release Date: December 6, 2013 (limited)

It’s the Coen brothers, so how could I not be looking forward to this? In a lot of ways I’m mostly curious about the tone of Inside Llewyn Davis. The trailers for the film have a serious air about them with just a tinge of the madcap and silly. I wonder what that means for the whole shape of the film and how it’s meant to be taken. Similarly, I’m curious about the soundtrack and how the Coens will evoke the New York of the early 1960s beyond that Instagram look to the images. To put it another way, I know the Coens can play guitar and I know those boys can sing, but can I dance to Inside Llewyn Davis or not? — Hubert Vigilla

Director: Peter Jackson
Release Date: December 13, 2013 

The first Hobbit film struggled to find its place but then in its third act seemingly spring to Lord of Rings life. Peter Jackson hopes to hit the ground running with Desolation of Smaug tipped to turn things downwards into darkness. Some might argue Tolkien’s story has already been stretched fine by Jackson and co. but with Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberdragon (playing Smaug) tipped to have a confrontation there’s not much to really hate is there? — Nathan Hardisty

Director:George Clooney
Release Date: December 18, 2013

Seriously, look at this cast. It’s basically every endearingly charming actor in the business put together into a WWII movie. Let’s toss aside that the film doesn’t even push its cast in the trailer and just talk about how interesting a film about a team of soldiers whose only job is to save artifacts from Nazi destruction is. The trailers may seem cute, but with George Clooney directing there’s probably going to be a whole lot more behind this. — Matthew Razak


Director: Spike Jonze
Release Date: December 18, 2013

Technological advancements often result in paradoxes. Simple machines meant to make work easier leads to people working harder due to new expectations regarding productivity. Smart phones and tablets should encourage greater interconnectivity, but they also drive people into states of isolation and loneliness. This was likely on Spike Jonze’s mind when he started Her, and true to life, the answer to the problem is more technology in the form of an OS with AI and a smoky voice (Scarlett Johansson). The idea of someone falling in love with artificial intelligence that’s tailored to them is funny, but there’s a poignant sadness to it as well. It’s narcissistically falling in love with an idea of a person. I wonder how hard our main character will comes down once he realizes this. — Hubert Vigilla

The Zero Theorem

Director: Terry Gilliam
Release Date: December 19, 2013 (Italy)

Once a Gilliam fan, always a Gilliam fan, which is why I’m eager to see what’s up with The Zeo Theorem whenever this futuristic dystopian film makes its way stateside. There’s something fascinating about its plot: solving a mathematical equation to determine if there’s an intrinsic meaning to life. Welcome to Advanced Existential Trigonometry. (Wonder if they’ll show their work.) The early reviews from the Venice Film Festival have been extremely divided, and there’s a major red flag for me because Harry Knowles likes it so much. Still, I hold out hope that this is just Gilliam returning to form in a very divisive way. — Hubert Vigilla

Director: David O. Russel
Release Date: December 25, 2013

It’s not really a holiday season anymore without a David O. Russel film that looks like it’s going to be the perfect mix of humor, drama and heart, and that’s clearly going to have some Oscar contention. This year it’s American Hustle with an almost unrecognizable Christian Bale and a likewise Bradley Cooper as they play con artists forced to con other con artists. And with basically the entire cast of Silver Linings Playbook returning for this movie we think it’s going to be pretty darn good. — Matthew Razak

Director: Ben Stiller
Release Date: December 25, 2013

Based on a 1939 short story by James Thurber, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty stars Ben Stiller as an introverted LIFE Magazine employee who one day becomes wrapped up in the world of the publication’s photographs. From the trailer, the film seems to place a heavy emphasis on cinematography, rich with contrast, leading lines, and monochromatic shots. As an enthusiast for history, photojournalism and Ben Stiller, I have a feeling that this film will mark my first Christmas day theater experience. — Jessi Grant

Director: Lars von Trier
Release Date: December 25, 2013 (Denmark)

Lars von Trier is no stranger to controversy. It seems like almost every time he opens his mouth, some sort of magical inappropriateness comes out. I will admit I’ve been too much of a chicken to watch Antichrist, and I haven’t gotten around to any of his other films, but a film starring Actual Cannibal Shia LaBeouf and unsimulated sex and Willem Dafoe as, apparently, Denzel Washington? I’m there, complete with popcorn bucket with a hole cut into the bottom. Did you honestly expect anything less from me? — Sean Walsh


Director: Bong Joon-Ho
Release Date: TBD

What do I even need to say about Snowpiercer? It’s got a stellar cast (in both of its spoken languages), an incredible director, and initial critical buzz that makes me excited in all of the right places. It’s going to be amazing, and the only thing that can stop that would be Harvey Weinstein’s grubby little mitts. Leave it alone, Harvey. — Alec Kubas-Meyer