Monday, January 2, 2012

10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2012

It's the start of a new year-a time to look forward at what the year will bring. And it's looking like 2012 will bring, well, more of what we've come to expect at the movies. There's sequels (Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2) and superheroes (The Avengers) and sometimes both within the same film (The Dark Knight Rises). A pair of rival Snow Whites (Mirror, Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman) will try to determine who is really the fairest of them all. (We all know Charlize is the answer to that!) And it seems modern twists on fairy tales (Jack the Giant Killer and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters) will definitely be having a moment. Two very different Abraham Lincoln's will be hitting the screen uniting the union (Spielberg's Lincoln) and...fighting vampires (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter). And that's just a sampling of what we have to look forward to. Join me as I present my 10 most anticipated movies of 2012 (in alphabetical order).
Anna Karenina 
(dir. Joe Wright) Fall 2012

The oft filmed Tolstoy classic is back! Watch out for trains...The famous tragic heroine has already been played by Greta Garbo, Vivien Leigh, and Sophie Marceau, just to name a few. So, why do we need another version? Well, this past year proved with Cary Fukunaga's Jane Eyre that good directors and new actors can bring a fresh take on a classic. And this new Anna Karenina comes to us courtesy of director Joe Wright (Atonement, Hanna), his muse, Keira Knightley, along with Jude Law and Aaron Johnson, working from a screenplay by Tom Stoppard. I got excited just typing that. This is Knightley and Wright's third film collaboration (he's also directed her in Chanel Commercials). Their first, Pride and Prejudice, brought a rustic beauty and lived-in, natural quality to what could have been a stuffy costume drama and also brought Knightley a Best Actress Oscar nomination. Perhaps the third time is the charm for Oscar...

(dir. Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman) June 22, 2012

Let's be honest, 2011 was not a very good year for animation. Rango was kinda weird and boring. And the scale of the characters to their environment and inconsistency on things annoyed me. Kung Fu Panda 2 was visually beautiful and fun, but felt a little like a rehash of the first film. The only Pixar movie I haven't seen is Cars. I can now add Cars 2 to that list. It seemed like the rest of America felt the same because, although successful, it is Pixar's least profitable film. Hopefully they can rebound with their 2012 offering, Brave. The film is a couple of firsts for Pixar. It's their first attempt at a fairy tale. The first time a woman has been at the helm (Chapman was replaced with Andrews late in production, but both are given credit). And it's the first time that the main character is a female. It's the story of Princess Merida in the ancient highlands of Scotland who makes a choice that affects her kingdom. With her archery skills, she must set things right. My favorite Disney animated films are the fairy tale stories (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Tangled) so it'll be interesting to see Pixar's take on something so distinctly Disney. And the visuals are gorgeous.
Cloud Atlas
(dir. Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, and Lana Wachowski) October 2012

The directors of Run, Lola, Run and The Matrix films seem like a perfect match. In the late 90's, both films felt like something new and exciting. Bringing an entirely different approach to how a film can look visually. Over ten years later, their influence can still be seen in films today. For 2012, the three have paired up to make an ambitious film. Cloud Atlas is based on the novel by David Mitchell. Six different yet interconnecting stories span time and countries. Oscar winners, Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent and Susan Sarandon join Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, and Hugh Grant. Each play multiple characters that cover different genders and races. The whole thing sounds so crazy. It could either be a disaster or, if they pull it off, a masterpiece. Here's hoping for the latter.

The Hunger Games, Les Miserables, and more after the jump...
Django Unchained
(dir. Quentin Tarantino) December 25, 2012
I've always enjoyed Tarantino's films, like Pulp Fiction and the Kill Bill films. But, I was never as enamored with them as everyone else seemed to be. All that changed with Inglorious Basterds. It was one of my favorite films of that year. I loved how he was able to bring his style of filmmaking to a historical setting. And his next film, Django Unchained, is his take on another genre and historic time period. Tarantino is calling it his "Southern"-a take on the spagehetti western set in the rural South of the early 1800's. It's the story of a slave who plans to rescue his wife from the sadistic plantain owner he once belonged to. And said plantain owner is being played by Leonardo DiCaprio. It will interesting to see what Leo brings to the villain role. The rest of the cast is made up of Oscar winner, Jamie Foxx, as Django, Kerry Washington as his wife, Kurt Russell, Sacha Baron Cohen, Samuel L. Jackson, and Christoph Waltz. 

The Great Gatsby
(dir. Baz Luhrmann) December 25, 2012

Christmas Day in 2012 will be a big day for Leonardo DiCaprio. In addition to Django Unchained, his second collaboration with Baz Luhrmann, The Great Gatsby, is also being released that day. I've already talked about this movie before. In addition to Leo as Jay Gatsby, Tobey Maguire plays the narrator, Nick Carraway, Carey Mulligan play Daisy Buchanan, and Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan. The set pictures have been gorgeous, but, like I said before, I'm concerned about the 3-D aspect. But, both Scorsese and Spielberg released 3-D films this past year. And Titanic is getting a 3-D theatrical make-over for it's 15th anniversary this year. I guess it isn't going away anytime soon.

The Hunger Games
(dir. Gary Ross) March 23, 2012

I'm not usually one to be excited about big event films. Especially the the one's based on books that have become a global phenomenon. I just never got into Harry Potter or Twilight the way everyone else has. That being said: I. Love. The Hunger Games. I read all three books in about a week and a half. And every time a new trailer or poster is released I get excited. I'm fully a part of the hype. For those of you who don't know, it's the story of Katniss Everdeen (played by Oscar nominee, Jennifer Lawrence) who volunteers for the annual Hunger Games when her sister is selected. The Hunger Games are a televised event in which children must fight each other to the death. I'm curious to see how much they'll be able to get away with regarding children and violence, especially for a PG-13 rating. It's sure to be a huge hit and I can't wait.

Les Miserables
(dir. Tom Hopper) December 7, 2012

Do you hear the people sing? Cause they will be...on screen! Oscar winning director, Tom Hopper, is bring the musical to the big screen with Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as Javert, Annie Hathaway as Fantine, Sacha Baron Cohen as Thenardier, and Eddie Redmayne as Marius. But who will play Eponine? Movie musicals are very hit or miss. I'm very interested in the style they are going for in the film. Will it be realist or more stylized and theatrical? Either way I'm very excited to see one of my childhood favorites on the big screen.
Magic Mike
(dir. Steven Soderbergh) June 29, 2012

Do I think this movie will actually be good? Hopefully. Does it have the potential to be Showgirls levels of campiness? You bet your G-string it does. And in the hands of Oscar winning director, Steven Soderbergh, it could really be something interesting. The film is set in a male strip club owned by Matthew McConaughey (Is there a man who hates wearing a shirt more? This is perfect casting) and centers on a seasoned professional (Channing Tatum) who takes a stripping newbie (Alex Pettyfer) under his wing. The film is actually based on Tatum's real life experiences as a male stripper before he hit it big as an actor. The other strippers are played by "White Collar" star, Matthew Bomer, and Alex Rodriguez. "True Blood" werewolf, Joe Manganiello, plays a stripper named...Big Dick Richie. That pretty much says it all. 

The Master
(dir. Paul Thomas Anderson) Fall 2012

Paul Thomas Anderson hasn't made a film since 2007's There Will Be Blood. And it almost looked like his new film, The Master, wasn't going to be made at first either. It was originally supposed to be a biopic of Scientology creator, L. Ron Hubbard, but is now just loosely based on him. Anderson is denying that the film now made has anything to do with Scientology, probably to avoid the wrath of Tom Cruise and John Trovalta. We'll have to see how much of the religion influences the finished film. Regardless, the film is sure to be challenging and engaging, like Anderson's other work. It's set in Southern California in the 1950's and follows a drifter (Joaquin Phoenix) who meets a charismatic leader of a new religious following played by Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman. Amy Adams and Laura Dern also co-star. 

Untitled Terrence Malick Film
(dir. Terrence Malick) Fall 2012

Prolific is hardly a word one would use to describe director Terrence Malick. Before last year's The Tree of Life, he had only made four films in the span of 37 years. Suddenly, a year after Tree, a new film is being readied for the end of the year and two more films are currently filming. 2012's release is about a man (Ben Affleck) who returns to his hometown after the end of his marriage and rekindles his romance with a former love (Rachel McAdams). But, as is the case with Malick films, it's not so much the story but the lush visuals that excite. And that production still is reminding me of Malick's Days of Heaven, one of the most beautifully filmed movies ever. 

Now it's your turn. What movies are you most looking forward to in the coming year? Let me know in the comments!

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