The Great Gatsby (Dir: Baz Luhrmann)

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is one of the greatest novels ever written. That’s not even an opinion, that’s a fact by the consensus of close to 100 years of publication. But despite the fact that it’s an utterly cinematic novel, full of lush emotion, flashbacks, glamorous parties and violence, there’s never been a truly great film adaptation of Gatsby. Sure, there’s been numerous attempts, but even the 1974 adaptation starring the theoretically perfectly cast Robert Redford in the titular role felt weirdly bloodless and stale.

So here’s hoping that director Baz Luhrmann’s version of Gatsby will be the one that finally does the novel justice. Teaming the filmmaker with Leonardo DiCaprio for the first time since his breakout film Romeo + Juliet (1996), the subject matter would seem to be a perfect fit. Luhrmann has long demonstrated his fondness and ability to handle glitz and melodrama, as well as a taste for tragedy; there’s perhaps no better director to handle the great character piece of the Jazz Age. Maybe 2013 will finally be the year a film version of Gatsby becomes great. – Nathan Kamal

Oz: The Great and Powerful (Dir: Sam Raimi)

Sam Raimi is known for straddling the line between humor and terror, a maker of both low-budget horror favorites and enormous blockbusters. And though I have never been a fan of Disney movies, the idea of a Disney-produced prequel to The Wizard of Oz directed by Raimi is intriguing. Helmed by a director known for sarcasm, cult horror and occasional bitterness, Oz has a lot of potential to become a unique take on a kid’s fantasy made darker for adults. It’s the kind of story Tim Burton seems to have an unofficial monopoly on, and indeed, frequent Burton collaborator Johnny Depp was rumored to have the lead role for quite some time. With respect to both Burton and Depp, the cinematic world doesn’t need another example of their charmingly bleak childhood visions. A Raimi take on the origins of the Wizard of Oz, once a circus magician by the name of Oscar Diggs, might be just what we need to breathe new life into a rather stale genre. – Stacia Kissick Jones

Oldboy (Dir: Spike Lee)

For a director who made his good name in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s American independent film craze, Spike Lee knows damn well how to make a slick Hollywood thriller. Though his 2006 Inside Man featured the same in-your-face stylistic tricks and aggressive attention to New York City’s racial pressures as Lee’s best indie films (Do the Right Thing, Clockers, Summer of Sam), it didn’t shirk on the tight crime plotting and scenery-chewing movie stars (Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Christopher Plummer) that audiences demand in return for their $10.50. Whether Lee’s upcoming American remake of Oldboy, South Korean master Park Chan-wook’s insanely plotted, razor-sharp revenge mystery from 2003, can prove Lee’s ability to split the difference between his fierce independence and his need to keep his career afloat by scoring a big hit is one of the biggest questions I have for 2013. Plus, Lee has promised to go darker than even Park’s original, which has acquired a following partly because of its unrelenting grimness. Though he’s responsible for a few of the darkest scenes in recent memory (in Red Hook Summer, Summer of Sam, He Got Game and more) Lee is also clearly trying to break a box office losing streak. If he sticks to his guns, his Oldboy could be a masterpiece; if not, it might still be the most fascinating movie of 2013. – Alex Peterson

Goodbye to Language 3D (Dir: Jean-Luc Godard)

The chances that I, as an Alabama resident, will get to see Jean-Luc Godard’s latest this year are slim. The chance I will get to see it in 3D at all are even slimmer. Yet I cannot help but pine for the latest and, as with anything the 82-year-old now makes, possibly last work by the world’s most daring filmmaker. His previous masterpiece, Film Socialisme, used various digital formats to chart a poignant lament to cinema’s inability to account for all of life, and the title of this new work suggests he may use his homemade 3D rig to illustrate that distance even more. So often treated as if he’d died in a car crash on his way to the Breathless premiere, Godard is as relevant, challenging and exciting as ever, and no year that features something new from him could be called a boring year for film. – Jake Cole

Only God Forgives (Dir: Nicolas Winding Refn)

After an iconic performance as the distanced, simmering protagonist in Nicolas Winding Refn’s hypnotic 2011 neo-noir Drive, Ryan Gosling is again teaming up with the Danish director of Valhalla Rising, Bronson and the Pusher series for Only God Forgives. Set in Bangkok’s underworld, Gosling plays a mobster who crosses paths with a police lieutenant harboring a Christ complex. Even considering Gosling’s already prolific year–a major role in Ruben Fleischer’s Gangster Squad, reuniting with Blue Valentine’s Derek Cianfrance for The Place Beyond the Pines and an upcoming directorial debut starring Christina Hendricks with How to Catch a Monster–the promise of seeing what could be one of the great actor/director relationships unfold onscreen is too exciting to miss. – Peter Pompa

To the Wonder (Dir: Terrence Malick)

Maybe excitement for the legendary director’s newest project isn’t the right word; more of a creeping apprehension crossed with the sense that something could easily go horribly wrong, sullying the auteur’s heretofore virtually perfect record. Can he handle the pace of regular work after previously releasing only four films in 37 years; can he push beyond the hushed, dreamy aesthetic that’s in danger of becoming self-parody; can he pull off something more ambitious and impressive than the eons-spanning centerpiece of Tree of Life? Whatever Malick comes up with (or doesn’t) in To the Wonder, I’ll be waiting with bated breath. – Jesse Cataldo

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