Whether you’re looking forward to The Hobbit or the stream of superhero offerings, next year is already shaping up to be a monumental year for film. To whet your appetites, we’ve earmarked the dozen films that you really can’t afford to miss in 2012..
Scheduled for release in October 2012, this film chronicling the LAPD’s 1949 fight to put New York-born mobster Mickey Cohen behind bars promises to deliver a good old-fashioned struggle between charismatic baddie and tortured goodie, while featuring heavy hitters on both sides of the moral divide. The cast features Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin as police officers, with Sean Penn playing Cohen with Emma Stone, Nick Nolte and Giovanni Ribisi also among the support cast. Directed by Ruben Fleischer (Zombie Land, 30 Minutes or Less), here’s hoping this flick sees Penn return to his full gangster glory of Mystic River.
The Dark Knight Rises
We could have stuffed this list with superhero films (The Avengers, Spider-Man, Superman.. the list goes on) but as much as we’re looking forward to all those blockbusters, we decided not to go superhero mental, so the unimaginatively titled The Dark Knight Rises is representing them all. Billed as the final part of Nolan’s Batman trilogy, Tom Hardy will be joining Christian Bale as villain Bane..
Quentin Tarantino’s take on the spaghetti western is slated for release on Christmas of 2012 and if it manages to stay on schedule, it’s likely to be one of the most anticipated releases of the year. After achieving huge success with Inglorious Basterds (and most other film he’s ever made), Tarantino has assembled a ridiculous ensemble cast for his story about a slave-turned-bounty hunter seeking revenge on the plantation owner that still holds his wife. Jamie Foxx will be playing Django and Leonardo Dicaprio stars as the bastard slave owner, in what should be a nice change of pace for the man who’s got a bit comfortable in his guise as as tortured leading man. The two heavyweights will be supported by the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Kurt Russell, Don Johnson and Kerry Washington.
It was only a matter of time until someone brought the wildly successful Suzanne Collins novel to the silver screen and director Gary Ross (Pleasantville, Seabiscuit) tackles the adaptation which focuses on a young girl (Jennifer Lawrence) who takes her younger sister’s place when she is selected for a televised fight to the death. The cast also includes young actors Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson along with screen veterans Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson and Donald Sutherland. If Ross sticks closely to the original text, this could be one of the best adaptations we’ve seen in a long time given the popularity of the novel. It’s scheduled for UK release on March 23rd.
Tim Burton’s latest gothic-horror, based on the cult TV series of the same name, is scheduled to appear sometime in May and stars his perennial muse Johnny Depp with support from Eva Green and Michelle Pfeiffer. Of course, no Burton movie would be complete without the old ball and chain, and Helena Bonham Carter will also feature somewhere along the line. Burton’s style should be perfect for updating the 60’s soap opera, in which an 18th century Lothario, Barnabas Collins, breaks the heart of a witch (Green) who turns him into a vampire and buries him alive. Barnabas is freed in 1972 to find his manor occupied by his dysfunctional descendants and hilarity/drama/Burton weirdness should ensue. It will be great to see what one of the industry’s greatest pairs have in store in 2012, especially after last year’s average Alice In Wonderland.
There aren’t many details available for this drama thriller from director Stefan Ruzowitzky, but what we do know is that it will center around a pair of fugitive siblings who run into an ex-boxer with his own problems. Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde will be starring as the brother and sister in question and Green Street star Charlie Hunnan will be playing the troubled fighter. This could turn out to be one of next year’s big screen gems. More details to follow..
The Hobbit: Part One
Over ten years after the first LOTR (if you don’t know what that stands for then hang your head in shame..) movie hit cinemas, Peter Jackson is back with a massively-anticipated brace of prequels. The first of which is called An Unexpected Journey and will be arriving in time for Christmas 2012.
Known until very recently as Bop Decameron, Woody Allen’s latest romantic comedy stars Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Alec Baldwin, Penelope Cruz and Italian actresses Ornella Muti & Alessandra Mastronardi. This year’s Midnight In Paris proved that Allen can still spin a unique and charming yarn and Eisenberg seems poised to channel his inner Woody, which shouldn’t be too difficult for him. This time, Allen moves the setting to Rome and while no plot details have been announced, it’s rumored that Allen himself will return to the screen in this latest project.
The Great Gatsby
With a large budget and some big names attached, Baz Luhrmann’s reprisal of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel already looks like being one of the biggest releases of next year. Di Caprio will be tackling the title character, with Carey Mulligan (recently seen in Drive) as Daisy, Tobey Maguire as Nick, Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan and Isla Fisher (Wedding Crashers) as Myrtle Wilson. Good off-screen friends Maguire and Di Caprio were seen riding around in a vintage convertible at FOX Studios in Australia earlier this month. Expect this one to sweep into cinemas in late 2012.
Alright, so usually cheesy sci-fi remakes are bad, but you should keep an open mind for the upcoming Total Recall rehash. The original could certainly do with some special effects updates and less Schwarzenegger but the concept is solid and it has a strong cult following. The 2012 version will star Colin Farrell as Quad/Hauser and also include Bryan Cranston as Cohaagen, Kate Beckinsale as Lori and Jessica Biel as Melina. Ethan Hawke, Bill Nighy, Bokeem Woodbine and John Cho will appear as well. The story will vary from the original, with nation states New Shanghai and Euromerica vying for world supremacy and so far no mention of Mars at all, but the essential “am I a spy, or am I just an average joe?” element will remain the same. Expect this film in late August 2012.
From director/writer Rian Johnson (Brick, The Brothers Bloom) this science fiction thriller stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a hitman for a future crime syndicate. Hitmen (known as Loopers) such as Gordon-Levitt, are tasked with killing victims sent back in time and disposing of their bodies, but when he realises that one mark is an older version of himself, played by Bruce Willis, he goes rogue. Emily Blunt, Piper Perabo and Paul Dano will also star. It will be interesting to see how this story unfolds (and how it makes any sense) but with the names attached and the original story line, the late September release should be worth a look.
I Hate You, Dad
For any remaining fans of Adam Sandler (Hello? Anyone left out there?) it will be refreshing to finally see him return to a project that doesn’t look absolutely terrible. Recently he has been phoning it in, but there have been glimpses that show he can still make semi-intelligent people laugh i.e. Funny People and it looks as if he’ll be going back to that kind of role in I Hate You, Dad. Sandler will be playing a father who conceived a son in high school with his teacher. On the eve of that son’s wedding, Sandler returns and starts trouble with the bride-to-be. With Andy Samberg playing the son, Leighton Meester his fiancé and Susan Sarandon the mother, the film has potential to strike as the increasingly-rare intelligent comedy.
Hopefully Sandler’s latest will be closer to Funny People than it is to Zohan. Expect it in early September.