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Commentary: Hollywood to offer hits, misses in 2013 film business

Courtesy of MCT

In 2012, Hollywood produced some great films, and a whole lot of garbage. With that trend in mind, I think we can expect 2013 to have some movies worth shelling out money for, and some we might want to wait for the DVD release. Here are 25 of the movies that should be the top grossers in 2013 and whether they’ll be a worth the price of a theater ticket.
“A Good Day to Die Hard” (Feb. 14) – While it is easy to make fun of an action movie series that is in its fifth installment, especially one that stars a nearly 60-year-old actor, Bruce Willis’s John McClane still held his own in 2007’s surprise hit “Live Free or Die Hard.” Don’t expect any best picture nominations, but with this one expected to return to “Die Hard’s” R-rated origins, it’s worth the ticket. Verdict: Watch
“The Last Exorcism Part II” (March 1) – Can this please actually be the last exorcism this time? The first “Last Exorcism” in 2010 wasn’t bad as far as these cliché, generic “Blair Witch” rip-off horror movies go, but grossing nearly $41 million in the U.S. on a tiny $1.8 million budget is a little excessive. Don’t encourage another “Paranormal Activity” situation. Verdict: Skip, unless jump scares happen to be your favorite cinematic technique.
“Oz the Great and Powerful” (March 8) – This prequel takes us back to one of the most riveting fantasy universes in film history and has a great cast led by James Franco and Mila Kunis. Plus, the great Sam Raimi directs it. Just don’t follow this up with a remake of the 1939 classic, please. Verdict: Watch
“The Host” (March 29) – If you are like me and got excited thinking this was a remake of the 2006 Korean monster film, be prepared for letdown. In this adaptation of the novel by “Twilight” writer Stephenie Meyer, a teenage girl gets caught in a love triangle between two mythical beings (who I’m assuming aren’t a fan of shirts). Sound familiar? But they’re aliens this time. It’s different, I swear. Verdict: Skip, skip and skip
“Evil Dead” (April 12) – This loose remake of the 1981 cult-horror classic has been met with a very mixed reaction. On one hand, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell are involved in the production, but they are not directing or starring in it. In fact, Campbell’s Ash character is not even appearing in this one. Still, the three original “Evil Dead” films are a ton of fun, and I’ll give this one the benefit of the doubt. Verdict: Watch
“Scary Movie 5” (April 12) – Yuck. It feels like there hasn’t been a good parody film since the first “Austin Powers” in 1997. Which, of course, is because there hasn’t been. If this makes a quarter of “Scary Movie 4’s” $178 million, I’ll be disappointed. Verdict: Avoid
“Iron Man 3” (May 3) – Marvel hasn’t had a miss since it began the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and this one won’t disappoint. Ben Kingsley joining the cast as the villainous Mandarin should make for a memorable performance. Verdict: Watch
“The Great Gatsby” (May 10) – Leonardo DiCaprio stars in the much-hyped adaptation of the classic 1925 F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. Originally scheduled to come out last Christmas, the film was delayed until May. Despite a mediocre first trailer, I don’t want to be embarrassed when the awards pour in. Verdict: Proceed with caution
“Star Trek Into Darkness” (May 17) – J.J. Abrams is returning to direct a sequel to his gem of a reboot in 2009. Not too much to say here. Verdict: Watch
“The Hangover Part III” (May 24) – Plenty to say here. The first “Hangover” was good, not great. I didn’t think it warranted a sequel, but the monstrous $254 million Part II made domestically, despite lousy reviews, suggested Americans thought otherwise. This one will stink, be a huge hit and we can prepare for round four. Verdict: Please avoid
“Man of Steel” (June 14) – Here’s something to wonder: What was the last good live-action DC Comics film that didn’t involve Batman? I’d probably have to go back to 1980s “Superman II.” Still, DC knows what’s at stake here, as “Man of Steel” will begin the DC Universe leading up to the long-awaited “Justice League,” which is rumored for a 2015 release. It just can’t afford to mess this one up. Verdict: Watch
“World War Z” (June 21) – This adaptation of the best-selling zombie novel will star Brad Pitt. Zombies have been all the rage lately, but this one just doesn’t look very good, and many of the fans of the book are complaining that this one has nothing to do with the book. Survival horror-action movies have been done to (un)death. Verdict: Skip
“Monsters University” (June 21) – This prequel to 2001’s “Monsters Inc.” is Pixar’s latest project. Though it wouldn’t be my first choice for a sequel/prequel (“The Incredibles,” anyone?), it’s hard to go against Pixar. At the very least, the kids will love it. Verdict: Watch
“Kick-Ass 2” (June 28) – 2010’s “Kick-Ass,” the adaptation of the Marvel comic, was awesome. I’m not a big fan of the overly violent comic book sequel, “Kick-Ass 2,” but it should be toned down for the screen. Verdict: Watch
“The Lone Ranger” (July 3) – Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp star in this reboot of the classic Western series. The train wreck scene at the end of the trailer is a good metaphor for this one. Verdict: Just no
“The Wolverine” (July 26) – This sequel to the 2009 prequel serves as a sequel to the original trilogy. Got all that? I want to be excited for this, but “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” just wasn’t very good. Verdict: Wait for the DVD  
“300: Rise of an Empire” (Aug. 2) – This prequel to the 2006 steroid-filled action movie serves as a backstory for the characters and armies in the original film. This isn’t anything more than a simple money grab. Verdict: Give them nothing
“Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” (Oct. 4) – Yet another sequel, but this one is going to be great. Fans have been waiting since 2005 for a “Sin City” sequel, and this film, based on the Frank Miller graphic novel, will be worth the price of your ticket. Verdict: Watch
“Carrie” (Oct. 18) – Horror remakes are almost always an abomination, but this one could be an exception. Rising star Chloé Grace Moretz should be just as good as Sissy Spacek in the 1976 original. Verdict: Watch
“Paranormal Activity 5” (Oct. 25) – The first four were awful. This will be awful. Verdict: Awful
“Thor: The Dark World” (Nov. 8) – Another Marvel Cinematic Universe film, and the first “Thor” was very underrated. The setting of the mythical world of Asgard in this sequel should be appealing. Verdict: Watch
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (Nov. 22) – I admittedly don’t know a ton about this franchise, but the first one made $408 million in the U.S. I won’t stand in your way of seeing this or 2014’s “Mock
– Part I.”  Verdict: Watch, multiple times
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” (Dec. 13) – “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” released in late 2012, was such a critical disappointment that it’s hard to feel like this, the second of three in the film adaptation of the legendary J.R.R. Tolkien novel, isn’t being rushed. Maybe Peter Jackson can get back on track in Middle-earth. Verdict: Wait for the reviews
“Anchorman: The Legend Continues” (Dec. 20) – Every ounce of conscious in my body wants to bash this one. It’s a money-grab, it’s years too late, and it won’t be nearly as good as the first. Still, I love lamp. Verdict: Cannonball!

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