Note: The Following Films are based on international release dates for 2012.
With 2011 coming to a close and a new year coming, it’s clear that 2011 wasn’t a great year in terms of what the mainstream offered. Yet, there were some surprises that did give the film buffs and art-house film crowd something to cheer for. Still, there were a few mainstream films that did offer something though it seems that audiences have really gotten tired of the 3D trend and a lot of blockbusters in the summer season didn’t meet expectations. With a lot set to happen for 2012, it’s time to see what is ahead for the new year.
The Obligatory Terrence Malick Post
Though Terrence Malick did finally release The Tree of Life in 2011 to a polarizing reaction that isn’t surprising with any of his films. The reclusive filmmaker has got more surprises up his sleeve for the coming years. Along with an extended version of that film plus a companion IMAX documentary called The Voyage of Time. Malick has three other films in the works as he’s currently shooting two of them back to back as both Lawless and Knight of Cups will star Christian Bale. The former will also feature Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Haley Bennett, and Cate Blanchett while the latter will also star Blanchett plus Isabel Lucas.
Then there’s another project that is currently in post-production though it’s more likely to have a 2013 release is an untitled project that stars Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Javier Bardem, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel Weisz, and Barry Pepper. The project revolves around man going to Europe where he meets and marries a woman as upon his return home to the U.S., the marriage falls apart as he reconnects with an old childhood sweetheart. While it’s likely to be another personal project from Malick, some speculate that he’s also going to do something just as experimental as The Tree of Life. There is no word on when it will release though it’s a possibility that it will come out on 2012.
The 25 Most Anticipated Films of 2012
1. Django Unchained
Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Starring Jamie Foxx, Leonardo diCaprio, Kerry Washington, Christoph Waltz, Sacha Baron Cohen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Kenneth Williams, and Kurt Russell.
2009’s Inglourious Basterds finally came out after a long period of work that Quentin Tarantino put in. While the World War II film received great reviews and did well in the box office, the project was unfortunately the last film he did with longtime editor Sally Menke who died in 2010 due to heat exhaustion during a hike. For this new film, Tarantino delves into another genre in the form of a Spaghetti Western though his new project is set in the 1850s before the American Civil War.
The film’s title references Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 Spaghetti Western Django as it will be about a slave who becomes a bounty hunter as he wants to free his wife from a plantation owner. The film is likely to be another ambitious project for Tarantino as he is also armed with a big ensemble cast as Jamie Foxx is to play Django with Leonardo diCaprio as the antagonist.
2. The Master
Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Joaquin Phoenix, Laura Dern, Ambyr Childers, Jesse Plemons, Kevin J. O’Connor, Lena Endre, and David Warshofsky.
2007’s There Will Be Blood gave P.T. Anderson not just some of the best reviews of his careers but also the stature of being considered one of the best filmmakers today. Returning after another five-year layoff between projects, Anderson’s next film revolves around an intellectual who creates a religious organization in the aftermath of World War II. While there’s rumors that the film is supposedly a satire on the controversial Scientology religion, the film will mark a reunion between Anderson and longtime cohort Philip Seymour Hoffman who last worked with each other in 2002’s Punch-Drunk Love.
3. Moonrise Kingdom
Directed by Wes Anderson. Written by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola. Starring Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Bob Balaban, and Harvey Keitel.
2009’s animated film version of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox was a huge success for Wes Anderson giving him the boost he needed following the lukewarm reaction towards 2004’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou as well as the well-received but modest 2007 film The Darjeeling Limited. His seventh feature film will revolve around two young lovers in the 1960s who run away as a group of adults go in the search for them. The film is likely to have Anderson’s quirky sense of humor as well as themes that he’s explored though there’s also a possibility that Anderson has some surprises for this project.
4. The Dark Knight Rises
Directed by Christopher Nolan. Screenplay by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan. Story by David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan. Based on Characters by Bob Kane. Starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Juno Temple, and Gary Oldman.
2008’s The Dark Knight raised the bar for what many expected for the comic-book superhero genre as it received huge box office receipts and rave reviews including an Oscar for the late Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker. For Christopher Nolan’s third and final Batman film, Batman will face new foes as Bruce Wayne ponders more about a life after Batman eight years after the events of the previous film. With the superhero genre experiencing a lot of burn-out as of late due to lackluster features that didn’t live up to the hype. Many hope Nolan will give his Batman story a proper farewell.
Directed by Alfonso Cuaron. Screenplay by Alfonso Cuaron, Jonas Cuaron, and Rodrigo Garcia. Starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock.
2006’s Children of Men was an ambitious film for Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron that became a huge yet unlikely success. While the director has laid low in the years since producing various projects with fellow filmmakers Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu. Cuaron is set to return with a much more ambitious sci-fi film about two surviving astronauts trying to return home following a disaster in their space station. The film is definitely a big risk for the filmmaker as many hope he can deliver another big project that has been through development and casting issues for the past few years.
Written for the screen and directed by David Cronenberg. Based on the novel by Don DeLillo. Starring Robert Pattinson, Jay Baruchel, Kevin Durand, Sarah Gadon, Mathieu Almaric, Samantha Morton, Emily Hampshire, and Paul Giamatti.
2011’s A Dangerous Method was a change of pace for David Cronenberg as the period film about Sigmund Freud’s friendship with Carl Jung received mixed reviews from critics and audiences. For his twentieth film, Cronenberg returns to his role as a screenwriter for an adaptation about young millionaire’s journey around Manhattan as he gets himself into serious trouble. The film does return to Cronenberg’s fascination with the crime world while he taking on a challenge by proving to the world about Robert Pattinson’s acting abilities who has been known largely for the popular but critically-derided Twilight films.
7. Nero Fiddled
Written and directed by Woody Allen. Starring Woody Allen, Penelope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Alec Baldwin, Alison Pill, Greta Gerwig, Judy Davis, and Roberto Benigni.
2011’s Midnight in Paris was the unexpected surprise hit of the year as it gave Woody Allen not just some of the best reviews of his career but also his box office success to date. His next film will have Allen in Rome, Italy as he tells four different stories about events in the city including one where he and Judy Davis play a couple going to Rome for their daughter’s wedding. While Allen has been hit and miss for the past 20 years, the work in Midnight in Paris proves that Allen still has some magic left in him.
8. Untitled Bin Laden Project
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Written by Mark Boal. Starring Tom Hardy, Rooney Mara, Idris Elba, Jennifer Ehle, and Guy Pearce.
2008’s The Hurt Locker was released in 2009 to great acclaim as Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the Oscar for Best Director. With the recent death of Osama Bin Laden in the spring of 2011 and a project about him in the works for years. The project is now likely to happen as Bigelow re-teams with The Hurt Locker screenwriter Mark Boal for a project about a group of soldiers hunting for Bin Laden and his eventual death. If anyone is going to make a film about hunting Bin Laden exciting, Bigelow is definitely up for the job.
9. Only Gods Forgive
Written and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. Starring Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Yayaying.
2011’s Drive not only raised Nicolas Winding Refn’s profile to American audiences but also made him one of the exciting new voices in cinema. Re-teaming with Drive star Ryan Gosling, the film will have Gosling play a gangster who spars with a Bangkok police officer as they settle their differences in Thai-fighting boxing. While it’s a film that will have Refn go into the same exploration of violence of his previous work, it’s definitely going to be an intriguing one as Refn is hot from the buzz he received from Drive.
Directed by Sam Mendes. Screenplay by John Logan, Neal Purvis, and Robert Wade. Based on characters by Ian Fleming. Starring Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes, Berenice Marlohe, Ben Whishaw, Helen McCrory, Albert Finney, & Judi Dench.
After years of delay due to MGM studios’ financial trouble and finding a new studio to help distribute the James Bond franchise, James Bond will finally return in the 23rd film of the series. Instead of picking things up where the last film left off, Bond will be in a new adventure as he faces new challenges including Javier Bardem as a villain. The film will also return to some of the Bond elements of the old days as there will be a new Q in the form of Ben Whishaw as fans hope the film will improve upon the mixed reaction towards its last film in Quantum of Solace.
11. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Directed by Peter Jackson. Screenplay by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Guillermo del Toro. Based on the novel The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage, Graham McTavish, Benedict Cumberbatch, Andy Serkis, and Christopher Lee.
Another film project that was delayed due to MGM studios’ financial troubles, the two-part film was meant to directed by Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro with Peter Jackson as producer. With del Toro out due to those delays, Jackson is back on board as the director for this two-part story of J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel that would be a prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy that Jackson had directed a decade ago. It’s a film that Jackson needs following the dismal reaction towards his 2009 adaptation of The Lovely Bones as the first part of The Hobbit will be about Bilbo Baggins’ quest to help the dwarves retrieve lost treasure and how he found the Ring.
12. The Hunger Games
Directed by Gary Ross. Written by Suzanne Collins based on her novel. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Isabelle Furhman, Donald Sutherland, and Stanley Tucci.
With the popularity for book-based franchises like Harry Potter and Twilight, another one is coming in the form of The Hunger Games about a young teenage girl who is forced to play a game where only one survives in an apocalyptic world. The film will be the first part in a trilogy of books as it will be helmed by Gary Ross who hadn’t directed a film since 2003’s Seabiscuit. With Steven Soderbergh providing second unit shots, some hope the film will be better than the maligned-Twilight series as it offers something more than just teenage romance and adventure.
13. The Avengers
Written for the screen and directed by Joss Whedon. Based on the comic by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Colbie Smolders, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, and Samuel L. Jackson.
2011 has been a lackluster year for the superhero film franchise as both Thor and Captain America did well commercially but not enough to get people excited as both films were tied to the upcoming Avengers film. With Joss Whedon at the helm along with characters such as Iron-Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye and the Incredible Hulk joining Thor and Captain America for this film. It is set to be the ultimate comic-book action hero as the team face against Thor’s stepbrother Loki and other villains for the ultimate battle. While Whedon is a filmmaker who understands the genre better than anyone, the big question can he deliver a film that will live up to the summer blockbuster hype?
Directed by Mark Andrews & Brenda Chapman. Written by Brenda Chapman and Irene Mecchi. Featuring the voices of Kelly MacDonald, Julie Walters, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson, Robbie Coltrane, and John Ratzenberger.
2011’s sequel to Cars gave Pixar its first critical dud while plans for sequels for other Pixar films of the past have some fans wondering if they’re out of ideas. Their new film will question whether Cars 2 was a rare dud as it tells the story of a princess trying to defy tradition as she is later cursed by an old woman as she tries to fight it off. The film will be the first of the studio to have a female protagonist as well as something that will be very different from the studio as it’s their chance to maintain their revered reputation.
Directed by Ridley Scott. Written by Damon Lindelof and Jon Spaihts. Starring Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Ben Foster, Kate Dickie, Logan Marshall-Green, and Idris Elba.
2010’s Robin Hood was a commercial and critical disappointment as rumors about Ridley Scott’s upcoming projects including a Blade Runner sequel/prequel/reboot hasn’t excited a lot of people. For his new film Prometheus, the film is largely rumored to be a prequel to Alien despite Scott’s denial about it. The film will revolve a group of people fighting aliens in space as many hope Scott will actually make something that is entertaining and ambitious.
16. Cloud Atlas
Written for the screen directed by Tom Tykwer & the Wachowskis. Based on the novel by David Mitchell. Starring Tom Hanks, Hugh Grant, Halle Berry, Jim Sturgess, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, James D’Arcy, Ben Whishaw, Susan Sarandon, Doona Bae, Zhou Xun, and Keith David.
A collaboration between Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis on David Mitchell’s historical/sci-fi novel is a project that is definitely ambitious due to its multiple storylines and lots of characters. A film about human connections and the actions it occurs through all over the world, it is something that seems like something huge while will also range into various genres. While both Wachowskis and Tykwer are in need of a boost in their careers following some lackluster projects in the past few years. This could help them or ruin them depending on its outcome.
17. Les Miserables
Directed by Tom Hooper. Screenplay by Hugh Nicholson. Based on the novel by Victor Hugo and musical book by Alain Boubil and Claude-Michel Schonberg. Starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helen McCrory, and Eddie Redmayne.
2010’s The King’s Speech was a major hit that won numerous Oscars including one for its director Tom Hooper. For another adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel, Hooper will helm the project as its musical as Hugh Jackman will play Jean Valjean and Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert. While filming isn’t set to start until early 2012, it’s the kind of film that could be more than an Oscar-bait film if done right while casting at the time being is incomplete.
18. The Amazing Spider Man
Directed by Marc Webb. Screenplay by James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent, and Steve Kloves. Screen story by James Vanderbilt. Based on the comic by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Chris Zylka, Irrfan Khan, and Denis Leary.
2007’s Spider-Man 3 may have been a commercial success but disappointed many fans as the franchise took a break. Now the franchise is being rebooted once again as it will tell Peter Parker’s early life from the death of his parents to the time he was bitten by a spider and became Spider-Man as Andrew Garfield plays the role. While it will be more than a decade since the first film, the question is will Marc Webb bring something new to the story that audiences doesn’t already know?
19. Life of Pi
Directed by Ang Lee. Screenplay by David Magee. Based on the novel by Yann Martel. Starring Suraj Sharma, Shravanthi Sainath, Tabu, Adil Hussain, Irrfan Khan, Gerard Depardieu, and Tobey Maguire.
A best-selling novel that is being adapted into a film. The story about a shipwreck survivor who recalls his own life to an interviewer is a story that has sold lots of book. Ang Lee will helm the film into an ambitious tale spanning lots of years as Lee chose an unknown in Suraj Sharma to play the role of Pi with Tobey Maguire in a small role as the man who is interviewing him. After years of development and being handed through various filmmakers like Alfonso Cuaron, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and M. Night Shyamalan. The film will finally arrive for December 2012.
Written and directed by Rian Johnson. Starring Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Noah Segan, Paul Dano, Qing Xu, Piper Perabo, Garrett Dillahunt, and Jeff Daniels.
Rian Johnson is among one of the new emerging filmmakers working today as his 2005 debut Brick is considered to be one of the best debut films of the past decade. While his 2008 follow-up The Brothers Bloom received mixed reviews, it did keep Johnson’s name buzzing for film buffs. For his third film, Johnson goes sci-fi as he reunites with his Brick star Joseph Gordon-Levitt as he plays a mob-hired killer who kills people in the future where he meets his future self, played by Bruce Willis. It’s a more ambitious project than anything Johnson has done yet with Gordon-Levitt being hot already, it looks like there’s a chance that it could be something great.
21. This is Forty
Written and directed by Judd Apatow. Starring Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Melissa McCarthy, Jason Segal, Megan Fox, Lena Dunham, John Lithgow, Charlyne Yi, Chris O’Dowd, and Albert Brooks.
The past few years has been tough on Judd Apatow where he was called the King of Comedy in 2007 as films such as Year One, Get Him to the Greek, and his own directorial feature Funny People didn’t meet expectations. For his fourth directorial feature, Apatow makes a spin-off to his 2007 film Knocked Up as it explores the married life of Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann’s characters Pete and Debbie as well as the world of the age of 40s. While some are hoping for a return to Apatow’s sense of humor as well as heartfelt approach to drama.
22. The Great Gatsby
Directed by Baz Luhrmann. Screenplay by Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce. Based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Starring Leonardo di Caprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Isla Fisher, Joel Edgerton, and Amitabh Bachchan.
2008’s Australia, for all of its ambition, failed to live up to expectations as Baz Luhrmann is set to go for another lavish period production but in a different setting by adapting the famed F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. With a great cast and Luhrmann’s eye for big ideas, the film marks a reunion between him and Leonardo di Caprio in their first collaboration together since 1996’s film version of Romeo & Juliet.
23. Rust & Bone
Directed by Jacques Audiard. Screenplay by Jacques Audiard and Thomas Bidegain. Story by Craig Davidson. Starring Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts, and Bouli Lanners.
2009’s Un prophete gave French filmmaker Jacques Audiard his most acclaimed success to date for his portrayal of a young prisoner’s rise to power inside a prison. While there is no word on what his new film will be about. The film will feature Marion Cotillard as she returns to her native France for a big starring role. For fans of her French film period, it will give them a chance to see her act again in her native language after a successful period with American film projects.
Directed by Chan-wook Park. Written by Wentworth Miller & Erin Cressida Wilson. Starring Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode, Jacki Weaver, Alden Ehrenreich, Lucas Till, and Dermont Mulroney.
Chan-wook Park is among one of the best filmmakers working today as his 2009 feature Thirst garnered excellent acclaim for the South Korean filmmaker. Now tackling his first English-based project, Park will tell the story of a girl being drawn to her enigmatic uncle following her father’s death. While the question will be how much control Park will have as a lot of foreign filmmakers have a hard time making a successful transition with Hollywood projects. He at least has a strong ensemble cast and a fanbase eager to see a new film from him.
Directed by Steven Spielberg. Screenplay by Tony Kusher based on the novel Team of Rivals by Dolores Kearns Goodwin. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Sally Field, Jared Harris, Tommy Lee Jones, John Hawkes, David Strathairn, and Jackie Earle Haley.
Steven Spielberg returned in 2011 with two feature films in the adventurous The Adventures of Tin Tin and the epic war drama War Horse. Spielberg’s bio-pic on Abraham Lincoln is among the many projects he’s been developing for years as it’s finally going to happen with Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role. If anyone can make a typical yet solid bio-pic on Abraham Lincoln with lots of big ideas, it’s Spielberg.
5 Possible 2012 Releases
Written & directed by Wong Kar-Wai. Starring Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, Song Hye-kyo, Julian Cheung, Bruce Leung, Zhao Benshan, and Wang Qingxiang.
Wong Kar-Wai’s long-delayed film about Yip Man has been in the works for quite a long time though rumors claim that it’s set for a 2012 release. While Kar-Wai is often known for re-shooting or cutting his films to the last minute, he often delivers though his 2007 English-language based film My Blueberry Nights received mixed reviews. Many are hoping this film will restore some of the luster Kar-Wai lost with that film.
Inside Llewyn Davis
Written for the screen and directed by Joel & Ethan Coen. Based on the memoir The Mayor of MacDougal Street by Dave Van Ronk. Starring Justin Timberlake and Oscar Issac.
The Coen Brothers are definitely among one of the best group of filmmakers working today as the projects they’re working on are often in the works or set to go to into production with not much press coverage. The film will be an exploration into the 1960s Greenwich folk music scene where Justin Timberlake is set to play a folk musician.
Directed by Richard Kelly.
2001’s Donnie Darko has made Richard Kelly one of the new interesting filmmakers to emerge in the 2000s. Yet his follow-ups in 2006’s Southland Tales and 2009’s The Box have not garnered the same buzz as his feature film debut. While there isn’t any word about what Kelly will do with his fourth film, the project will be produced by Eli Roth and is to be set in Texas as it’s currently in development.
The Place Beyond the Pines
Directed by Derek Cianfrance. Written by Derek Cianfrance, Ben Coccio, and Darius Marder. Starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne, Bruce Greenwood, Ben Mendelsohn, and Ray Liotta.
2010’s Blue Valentine helped bring attention towards Derek Cianfrance as he teams up with again with its star Ryan Gosling for a different project. While it has a premise that is similar to Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive where Gosling will play a stunt motorcyclist who becomes a criminal to help his family. The film will be more intriguing due to the fact that he’s going head-to-head against a cop-turned politician.
The We & the I
Directed by Michel Gondry. Written by Michel Gondry, Jeffry Grimshaw, & Paul Proch. Starring Ellen Page, Joe Mele, Meghan Murphy, and Brandon Diaz.
Following the lukewarm reaction towards 2011’s The Green Hornet, Gondry is returning to more personal work. While there isn’t any clear idea what the film is going to be about nor what genre it’s in. Anything that Gondry does will be interesting as he remains one of the most imaginative filmmakers working today.
© thevoid99 2011