The best films for spring 2013

Smiley Faces

(dir.

Spring Breakers

Harmony Korine)

Harmony Korine beguiles some and infuriates others. The film-maker who made his name in the 1990s as the writer of the controversial Kids now returns with what looks like outrageous trashsploitation: four hot young women rob a restaurant to fund their sybaritic "spring break" and get into a serious hot-tub of trouble. Is this Korine's bid for mainstream glory? 5 April.

The Place Beyond the Pines

Derek Cianfrance)

Derek Cianfrance, who made 2010's much-admired Blue Valentine, returns with a very different type of drama. Ryan Gosling is Luke, a stunt motorcyclist in a carnival who uses his skills to rob banks – but only to provide for the child he had with Romina (played by Gosling's real-life partner Eva Mendes). Luke finds himself pursued by a steely police officer, in the form of Bradley Cooper, who's out to make a name for himself by catching this desperado. 12 April.

In the Fog

Sergei Loznitsa)

Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa has made a slow but compelling parable about the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union and the partisans hiding out in the forest, preparing to hit back. During a mass hanging of saboteurs, the Germans spare a railway worker; word gets out that he must be a collaborator and has to be made an example of. A strange and mysterious film. 26 April.

The Look of Love

Michael Winterbottom)

In an irresistible piece of casting, Steve Coogan plays Paul Raymond, the late Soho porn baron, property magnate and would-be founder of a family business. Michael Winterbottom, who 10 years ago cast Coogan as Factory boss Tony Wilson in 24 Hour Party People, is an endlessly creative film-maker; this journey to the sleazy heart of London in the 1960s and 70s looks fascinating. 26 April.

I'm So Excited

Pedro Almodóvar)

Prepare for some airline hi-jinks from the great Almodóvar. People on board a plane bound for Mexico City are convulsed with terror when the craft plummets – and confess their spiciest secrets. The action is restricted to the aeroplane, making this a trapped-ensemble film the director has whimsically compared to Luis Buñuel's The Exterminating Angel. Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas cameo. 3 May.

Star Trek Into Darkness

JJ Abrams)

The intriguing poster campaign seems to allude to Caspar David Friedrich's painting The Wanderer. What can it mean? Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto return as Kirk and Spock, who discover that a sinister force is active within their own ranks. Kirk has to journey into a dangerous war-zone to neutralise a terrible weapon. The first revitalised Star Trek movie was wildly entertaining. This bodes well. 9 May.

The Great Gatsby

Baz Luhrmann)

Chosen as the opener for the 2013 Cannes film festival, this new version of F Scott Fitzgerald's jazz-age masterpiece stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, the mysterious host of a hundred legendary parties at his palatial Long Island home, all this extravagance and waste being a symptom of his broken heart. Carey Mulligan plays his lost love Daisy, while Tobey Maguire is Nick, the book's narrator and Daisy's cousin, who finds himself caught up in Gatsby's world. 16 May.Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Peter Bradshaw, for The Guardian on Monday 1st April 2013 06.59 Europe/London

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