January of 2013 is arguably one of the strongest showings the month has seen in years. While in the past it has been a time when films get dumped or left to die in the slow post-holiday season, this January features a few highly-anticipated titles that were pushed into the new year for one reason or another. That isn’t to say the month won’t have its fair share of duds, but we remain optimistic that this could be a real strong beginning to the movie year.

Here are 10 Movies We’re Looking Forward to in January 2013.

Leatherface is back for this third feature in the most recent reboot of the long-running horror franchise. While the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre films weren’t exactly runaway box office hits, the addition of 3D to the proceedings could help boost this sequel’s appeal. For several years now, horror films have leaned towards the found-footage or paranormal end of the spectrum, so it could be refreshing to see the genre get back to its slasher roots.

In this particular entry, it appears director John Luessenhop (Takers) is forgoing a lot of the hillbilly family elements of the earlier films (or at least that’s what the marketing is leading audiences to believe) and focusing on the character of Leatherface. We’re not complaining, though; he is quite an iconic villain.

Check out the trailer for Texas Chainsaw 3D.

Even though unforeseen and extremely tragic events pushed Gangster Squad into 2013, that doesn’t detract from how much we are anticipating this film. With director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) at the helm and a star-studded cast that features the likes of Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, and Ryan Gosling (just to name a few), the film would’ve had our attention no matter what the genre. But knowing that this is a throwback to the film noir/gangster pictures of the ’40s makes it all the better.

The no-holds-barred attitude these select few LAPD detectives adopt towards Mickey Cohen (Penn) and his crew promises plenty of heated gunfights, and Fleischer’s keen eye should help those shootouts sing on screen. And of course, we can’t wait to see the inevitable confrontation between Brolin and Penn.

Check out the trailer for Gangster Squad.

For a lot of people, the Scary Movie films put the parody sub-genre back on the map and reinvigorated the careers of several of the Wayans brothers. And while this month’s A Haunted House is missing many of the key pieces that made the first Scary Movie a runaway success, it still carries a similar spirit and at least one Wayans brother.

Riffing on the current found-footage and paranormal crazes (something we highlighted earlier) the film attempts to parody, most exclusively, the Paranormal Activity series – though there are nods towards other found-footage films like The Devil Inside. And unlike many of the more recent Scary Movie films, A Haunted House has the added bonus of an R-rating, which arguably led to greater success for the first two Scary Movie installments.

Check out the trailer for A Haunted House.

Yes, we know how the hunt for Osama Bin Laden ends, but few can say they know the full story. Zero Dark Thirty, the most recent film from Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) attempts to tell that tale, focusing not just on the Seal Team 6 mission, but a large portion of the overarching manhunt.

For Bigelow, a film about the toll war takes on all involved isn’t entirely new territory, but the fact she is re-teaming with her Hurt Locker scribe Mark Boal has us very intrigued. Not to mention, the film has already built a tremendous amount of critical buzz and Golden Globe nominations, cementing its place in this year’s Oscar race. Just like last year’s Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty promises to be a somewhat familiar story as told by one of our truly exceptional cinematic storytellers.

Check out the trailer for Zero Dark Thirty.

Broken City
has the makings of a generic political/crime thriller, but we’re still intrigued because of its director: Allen Hughes. Working independently from his brother Albert for the first time on a feature, Allen is the half of the duo who works exclusively with the actors, and boy does he have some quality ones for this film.

Like Gangster Squad, Broken City promises a face-off between two powerhouse actors – in this case Russell Crowe and Mark Wahlberg – who are constantly at odds with each other. In the film, Wahlberg plays an ex-cop who gets stuck in the middle of a plot involving New York’s Mayor (Crowe) and his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones), and ends up fighting for his life. It’s not exactly the stylized subject matter Allen and his brother usually deliver, but the film certainly has its appeal.

Check out the trailer for Broken City.

It’s been nearly a decade since Arnold Schwarzenegger headlined a film, so regardless of potential quality, we’re greatly looking forward to seeing him jump back in the saddle for The Last Stand. While roles in films like The Expendables 2 affirmed that the legendary action star can still brandish a cigar and machine gun, we’re more interested in discovering whether or not he can carry an entire feature.

Granted, Arnold has the help of Johnny Knoxville and Thor‘s Jamie Alexander to help him through this tale of a sheriff standing up to a bloodthirsty drug cartel – but we can’t help the feeling that all those years in politics have changed Schwarzenegger. On the other hand, the film’s marketing isn’t shying away from showcasing Arnold in his element – handling all sorts of outlandish weaponry – which has us pretty pleased.

Check out the trailer for The Last Stand.

Say what you will about Guillermo Del Toro’s ability to deliver his own films, but there’s no denying that when it comes to producing  (especially in the horror genre) he has a solid track record. With Mama, Del Toro has helped director Andres Muschietti adapt his own film – a tale of two adopted girls who are being followed by a malicious force – for a more mainstream audience. If The Orphanage is any indication of the type of film Del Toro wants to introduce to American audiences, then we’re surely in for an intense ride.

In addition to an American debut for Muschietti, Mama is also the first major starring role for Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays Jaime Lannister on HBO’s Game of Thrones. Luckily Waldau gets to act opposite the fantastic Jessica Chastain, who stars in Zero Dark Thirty as well.

Check out the trailer for Mama.

On the opposite side of the spectrum from Gangster Squad is Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, a film delayed until January to accommodate a 3D upgrade and hopefully generate a few more dollars per ticket. Nevertheless, the film – which stars Gemma Arterton and Jeremy Renner as action hero versions of the fairy tale characters – has its draws, especially for those who hold a special fondness for Van Helsing.

There’s also the appeal of an R-rating, which could help keep the film from being a strictly by-the-numbers, genre-based action film. We’re still holding out hope for this one – and are especially intrigued by the presence of Adam McKay and Will Ferrell as producers – but if it turns out to be the first flop of 2013, we wouldn’t be surprised.

Check out the trailer for Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.

Movie 43
is essentially the vignette movie to end all vignette movies. It combines several seemingly disconnected stories featuring the most vile, insane, outrageous, gross-out humor ever put onscreen – and it looks downright hilarious. And this isn’t a low-budget, straight-to-DVD production, either – it features an eclectic array of directors like James Gunn, Peter Farrelly, and Brett Ratner and a cast that consists of Oscar-winners, accomplished thespians, and extremely talented comedians (both young and old).

To say that the film has “disaster” written all over it would be an understatement – but if successful, Movie 43 has the potential of being the most talked-about movie of January (if not the year). We only hope that there are still plenty more jokes not yet ruined by the trailers.

Check out the trailer for Movie 43 (if you’re brave enough).

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Jason Statham plays a professional criminal with a unique code of ethics who is double-crossed by his own employers and goes on a quest for revenge. Yes, Parker has the makings of a by-the-numbers Statham film, but it could also be the start of something new for the action star and director Taylor Hackford.

Based on the novel ‘Flashfire’ by Donald E. Westlake, this particular tale pairs Statham’s Parker (the same character Mel Gibson played in the film Payback) up with Jennifer Lopez, as he tries to pull off a heist and in the process beat out the employers that left him for dead.

Check out the trailer for Parker.

Although the stage has been set for January, there are still plenty of questions that won’t be answered until the dust has settled – like whether or not Gangster Squad will be the highest-grossing movie from the month? Or maybe it will be Movie 43 or Hansel and Gretel that defy certain expectations and take the crown. What do you think?

Once again here are the 10 Movies We’re Looking Forward to in January:

  • January 4th: Texas Chainsaw 3D
  • January 11th: Gangster Squad, A Haunted House, Zero Dark Thirty (wide)
  • January 18th: Broken City, The Last Stand, Mama
  • January 25th: Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Movie 43, Parker