Most Anticipated Films of 2012
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Release: June 22 Look at that title and try to deny that this movie is going to kick ass–it’s like the two best things ever in the same movie. The book the film is based on (written by Seth Grahame-Smith, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) is a strange breed, mashing authentic biographical and historical content of Lincoln with an action/horror vampire adventure and a subtle streak of dark humor as it portrayed Lincoln’s thirst for vengeance after vampires murder his mother. It wasn’t perfect, but it was fun. Take that unique formula, add Tim Burton as producer, and get Timur Bekmambetov (the director of the excellent action flick Wanted) at the helm, and you have what should turn out to be a terrific action/horror/historical mashup.
The Amazing Spider-Man
Release: July 3 When negotiations between Sam Raimi (the director of the first three Spider-Man films) and studio Columbia Pictures fell apart, the latter opted for a straight reboot of the series, with new names across the board. Marc Webb ((500) Days of Summer) brings a fresh coat of darkness to the high schooler Peter Parker, now played by Andrew Garfield (best known as Eduardo from The Social Network). With the darker tone comes a controversial reinvention of the Spider-Man costume and an emphasis on practical effects over CGI, which should be neat. A solid cast is also rounded out with Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey and Rhys Ifans as Dr. Kurt Connors aka The Lizard, but I’m still just mostly excited that Webb intends to make this a more serious film instead of the derailing campiness that Raimi’s trilogy turned into.
Release: May 4
Marvel is essentially putting everything into The Avengers over the course of the last few years, they have been releasing movies as a means of introducing different members of the super team to finally unite them in this film. The scale of the film looks to be tremendous; and since each of the characters’ previous film has introduced their respective origin story, there is no need to bother with origins in this one, allowing director Joss Whedon to go straight for the main story. That Whedon is director is reason enough to be excited–he’s one of the most well-respected directors in the “nerd community”–but the movie itself just looks plain awesome, between intense action, good verbal sparring between members of the team, and Tom Hiddleston finally being able to be truly villainous as Loki.
The Dark Knight Rises
Release: July 20 Christopher Nolan said he would not return for a third Batman film unless he felt he could top The Dark Knight. While few actually were worried that he would opt out of directing the third and final film, his involvement still speaks volumes about his confidence in the production. The final part of Nolan’s Batman story looks significantly darker than ever before, with Gotham City falling apart and suggestions that both Bruce Wayne and Commissioner Gordon are dying. Once again, we have great villains in Tom Hardy as Bane and (hopefully) Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. Few franchises have been able to put such a fantastic spin on a popular character from page to screen, and while The Dark Knight Rises has a huge expectation to meet, I’m confident that it is going to be epic.
Release: December 25 Quentin Tarantino seems to be able to effortlessly put out excellent movies. Let him write & direct his movie and give him a good ensemble cast, and he’ll more than likely strike gold. His newest looks like it’ll be in a similar vein as Inglourious Basterds (which is a good thing, considering it’s my favorite of his films): a former slave-turned-bounty hunter returns to Mississippi to save his wife from a plantation owner. As always Tarantino brings an impressive cast with him: Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sacha Baron Cohen, Christoph Waltz, Kurt Russell, and several more. Unfortunately, we have to wait until Christmas Day to see Tarantino’s next labor of love.
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
Release: March 2 Despicable Me completely blew me away, deftly sidestepping the problems I was sure it would fall straight into. It was a stupidly adorable and just a lot of fun. The newest animated film (from the same producers as Despicable Me), based on a Dr. Seuss story, looks just as charming. It might have something to do with the joyful, colorful trailer, or the fact that Danny DeVito is providing the voice of the small, strange Lorax. If the whole movie has me smiling as much as I was through the trailer, this should be great.
The Expendables 2
Release: August 17 There’s really no reason for me to explain this. Expendables 2 adds more actors such as Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme, and larger roles for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis. If the sequel has the same type of shamelessly absurd action, it should be as outrageously “mantastic” as the original.
Release: January 20 Little is known about Haywire beyond its “government agent gets her employer turned against her” storyline, but the small handful of early reviews are very positive. The first five minutes of the film were recently released on Hulu, and director Steven Soderbergh certainly seems to know what he’s doing. A director of enormous versatility (including the wildly different Traffic, Ocean’s Eleven, Che, The Girlfriend Experience, and Contagion), Soderbergh handles the action here magnificently, pulling the camera back for wider shots that actually last longer than .05 seconds so everyone can see the action, which, of the preview is any indication, is going to be very brutal. This should be a very satisfying bone-crunching thriller (with a huge cast) when it releases this month.
Almost nothing is known about Lincoln besides Steven Spielberg as director, Daniel Day-Lewis as the President, and one picture from the set (all copies of which are unfortunately under copyright so I can’t post them here). But, hey: Daniel Day-Lewis and Steven Spielberg.
Release: June 8 It’s an Alien prequel. It’s still a prequel but no longer has the Alien title. It’s not an Alien movie but it kind of is. It’s definitely a different movie but has DNA from the Alien series. Ridley Scott can’t seem to decide exactly what he wants his movie to be, and the trailer for Prometheus absolutely seems to suggest that there is a lot more Alien here than Scott has been telling us–even the trailer has the same style of title card and some fans claim to hear sound bites from the original film in this trailer. All of that said, it’s certainly not a bad thing. Alien is one of the most ruthlessly tense science fiction horror films, and if Scott can return to that style, his fans are in for a terrifying ride. Check out the dread-inducing trailer:
The Secret World of Arrietty
Release: February 12 Japan does The Borrowers. That’s essentially what The Secret World of Arrietty is, save for one twist: Studio Ghibli is doing it. Yes, that Studio Ghibli, the company responsible for My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and Kiki’s Delivery Service. Anime films from Studio Ghibli are celebrations of life,and even in their dark moments, are utterly joyous affairs. Totoro is one my my absolute favorite movies of all time. The Secret World of Arrietty appears to continue that spirit that the studio has championed over the decades. The Borrowers is certainly not a new property, and it’s been adapted a few times, but seeing Studio Ghibli’s rendition of the story done with their unparalleled talent can’t be anything less than excellent.
Release: November 9 I am a very vocal fan of the new direction Bond is going in. It’s darker, more grounded in reality, and considerably closer in tone, style, and content to Ian Fleming’s original Bond novels. They all but drop the campiness of the Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan films (Casino Royale, the reboot, had to cut down from an R rating) and have more realistic villains. Skyfall should continue the tradition of the reboots, delivering grittier and rougher action, though still on a large scale. Reportedly, a huge action sequence on a train had to be moved from India to Istanbul after permissions could not be easily obtained. Also, it’s going to have Q so everyone can stop complaining now.