For Winnipeggers, going to the movies in the year 2013 is a more diversified prospect than in 2012.
With the opening of the Cineplex Odeon McGillivray and VIP cinemas this fall, there are more first-run theatres. And thanks to those three VIP cinemas in the 11-cinema complex, there are unprecedented wine-and-dine options, as well.
Silver City Polo Park has its own IMAX cinema and Silver City St. Vital has an Ultra-AVX cinema, capable of screening The Hobbit's 48 frames per second. And now, every first-run multiplex in town can screen movies in 3D. Even the Globe.
But while you may be able to eat a posh nosh at the VIP cinemas, the movies themselves will run the gamut in 2013 between nutritious fare and the usual junk food.
Here are some reasons to venture out.
1. Catching Up
Some likely Oscar contenders released in the bigger cities in December make their way to smaller burgs such as ours in January, including Kathryn Bigelow's much anticipated Osama bin Laden manhunt movie Zero Dark Thirty (Jan. 11). Bill Murray plays a sexually freewheeling Franklin Roosevelt in Hyde Park on Hudson (January). Director David Chase demonstrates there's life after The Sopranos with his first feature Not Fade Away (January), the story of a '60s-era garage rock band's bid for fame.
2. Not Going Gentle into that Good Night
The hit Expendables movies demonstrated that audiences apparently still have a taste for '80s action stars, even if many of them are now in their 60s. Thus, for fans of geriatric derring-do, Sylvester Stallone teams with director Walter (The Warriors) Hill for Bullet to the Head (Feb. 1) and Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a small-town sheriff out to stop a border-bound baddie in The Last Stand (Jan. 18). Schwarzenegger and Stallone team up to break out of an unbreakable prison in The Tomb (Sept. 27). Bruce Willis reverts to his most enduring franchise in A Good Day to Die Hard (Feb. 14).
Rounding out the cast of Expendables alumni, young pup Jason Statham portrays the ultimate pulp fiction badass in Parker (Jan. 25) opposite -- huzzah! -- a sexy, non-cloying Jennifer Lopez.
3. Love Beyond Vampirism
As Twilight finally wrapped up in 2012, studios are eager to fill the vacuum with other movies combining teen romance and the supernatural, hopefully with some additional infusion of -- ahem -- quality. That's one explanation for Warm Bodies (Feb. 1) starring Nicholas Hoult as a lovelorn zombie. Beautiful Creatures (Feb. 13) is about a witch (Alice Englert) forced to choose between good and evil (embodied by fellow sorcerers Jeremy Irons and Emma Thompson, respectively), even as she falls in love for the first time. And Twilight author Stephenie Meyer is herself behind the extraterrestrial possession movie The Host (March 29), starring the otherworldly Saoirse Ronan.
Last year saw two different Snow White movies hit the marketplace and this year will see even more reinventions of storybook classics, including Bryan (X-Men) Singer's Jack the Giant Slayer (March 1). Hansel and Gretel, Witch Hunters (Jan. 25) stars Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as grown-up, armed-and-vengeful siblings. James Franco supplies the back story for the title character of The Wizard of Oz in Sam Raimi's Oz the Great and Powerful (March 8), co-starring Michelle Williams as Glinda the Good Witch.
It may seem anti-climactic after The Avengers, but Robert Downey is suiting up again for Iron Man 3 (May 3). The last attempt to reboot DC's enduring action hero, Superman Returns, was slavishly beholden to Richard Donner's movies of the '70s, so Watchmen director Zack Snyder attempts to invest a little more Dark Knight grit into his take, Man of Steel (June 14), starring Henry Cavill. Non-super teen superheroes Kick-Ass and Hit Girl return for maximum mayhem in Kick-Ass 2 (June 28). Hugh Jackman stops singing and starts swinging (adamantium blades, that is) in the Japan-set X-Men offshoot The Wolverine (July 26). And Chris Hemsworth gets down once again with his Asgardian self in Thor: The Dark World (Nov. 8).
6. Intriguing Sequels
It worked the first time, so we're pumped for Star Trek Into Darkness (May 17), in which the crew of the starship Enterprise faces off against a mysterious superhuman (Benedict Cumberbatch). Retirement-age spies (including Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren and John Malkovich) step into a European escapade in Red 2 (Aug. 2). Co-directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller explore comic-book noir once again in Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For (Oct. 4).
Fans of a certain Amazonian warrior woman can anticipate a little more moral complexity in the future-primitive realm of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Nov. 22). Thirteen dwarves and a Hobbit face off against a big dragon in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Dec. 13). And a gang of doofus TV newsmen (including Will Ferrell, Steve Carell and Paul Rudd) reunite for some Ron Burgundy-style hijinks in Anchorman: The Legend Continues (Dec. 20)
7. Intriguing Remakes/Reboots
Director Kimberly (Boys Don't Cry) Peirce's Carrie (March 15) is the second remake of the Stephen King story since Brian De Palma's 1976 version, but the presence of Chloe Moretz as the titular telekinetic and Julianne Moore as her nutzoid religious-fanatic mom has our interest. A bloody remake of Sam Raimi's landmark horror movie Evil Dead (April 12) is likewise morbidly compelling.
On the more highbrow front, The Great Gatsby (May 10) offers up an opulent art deco version of the F. Scott Fitzgerald tale from director Baz Luhrmann, with Leonardo DiCaprio as the mysterious millionaire and Carey Mulligan as the faithless Daisy Buchanan. (This, by the way, is the fifth film version of the story.)
Johnny Depp gets top billing as Tonto opposite Armie Hammer as the title character of Gore Verbinski's revamped The Lone Ranger (July 3).
Jack Ryan, the hero of Tom Clancy's multiple novels, has been played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck, so it's just as well Chris Pine (Star Trek's new and improved Kirk) gets in on the act in Jack Ryan (Dec. 25).
8. Intriguing Originals
Local filmmaker Sean Garrity and former local actor Jonas Chernick offer a pair of original films in the new year. Blood Pressure (Feb. 22) is a thriller about a pharmacist (Michelle Giroux) drawn into a strange plot by an anonymous admirer. The Chernick-scripted My Awkward Sexual Adventure (spring) is a raunchy sex comedy about a boring guy (Chernick) who gets lessons in hot sexuality from a stripper friend (Emily Hampshire).
Stoker (March) from director Park Chan-wook, centres on a young woman (Mia Wasikowska), who, after losing her dad, becomes fascinated with a mysterious uncle (Matthew Goode) who has come to console her and her mom (Nicole Kidman). Park directed Oldboy so... we're in.
Danny Boyle returns to the realm of the Shallow Grave-esque crime thriller with Trance (March), starring James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson.
The baseball biopic 42 is the story of how Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) became the first black major league baseball player, with Harrison Ford as game-changing Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey.
Admission (March 8) stars post-30 Rock Tina Fey as a college admissions officer who thinks one young prospect may be the son she gave up for adoption decades earlier. Monuments Men (Dec. 20), directed by and starring George Clooney, is a fact-based curiosity about the race to save great art works from Nazi destruction at the close of the Second World War.
Saving Mr. Banks (Dec. 20) is about Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) and his efforts to acquire the screen rights to Mary Poppins from a steadfastly resistant English writer (Emma Thompson).
9. Apocalypse Soon
Giant robots are constructed to combat giant monsters in Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim (July 12).
Brad Pitt tries to save the world from a zombie apocalypse in World War Z (June 21). In a lighter vein, Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds are zombie cops trying to keep a lid on the undead in the horror comedy R.I.P.D. (July 19)
The wealthy one per cent lives in luxurious orbit above a decaying earth in Neill Blomkamp's it-could-happen sci-fi movie Elysium (Aug. 9), starring Matt Damon.
Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel and a few friends play themselves facing the end times in This Is the End (June 14). Coincidentally, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost face exactly the same crisis while on a pub crawl in The World's End (Oct. 25), a film that reunites the blokes with Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright.
Ender's Game (Nov. 1) is a sci-fi thriller about a young lad in training to battle a race of aliens intent on wiping out humanity, with the help of a seasoned alien fighter, played appropriately by Harrison Ford.
10. Name that 'Toon
Animated films will continue to represent in 2013 starting with the Neanderthal comedy-adventure The Croods (March 22). Pixar's offering for the year is the Monsters Inc. prequel Monsters University (June 21). Steve Carell voices a could-be-worse bad guy in Despicable Me 2 (July 3). And Disney finally realizes a decades-long effort to make a movie from Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen, a plan that comes to fruition with Frozen (Nov. 27).