daniel cohen looks at the films he’s most excited for this year …
R.I.P. 2011 … You offered us solid movies, but a weak box office. Looking ahead to 2012, the box office will have no problems bouncing back. Looking at the slate of films, especially the summer entries, it doesn’t compare — holy crap. For example, the superhero films last year were all experimental new franchises. But when we look at the three this year: Avengers, Spider-Man, and Batman, we aren’t messing around. But we’ll get to some of those, as we look ahead to my TEN most anticipated films of 2012. And a lot of these movies don’t have trailers yet. I’m basing my expectations off cast, director, and subject matter, so bear that in mind.
I also want to add a little disclaimer before I’m burned at the stake. The Hobbit did not make the cut. I’ll let that sink in for a minute. I like the Lord of the Rings movies, but I don’t love them. It’s just not my cup of tea. But enough of that, let’s get into it:
Top Ten Most Anticipated Films of 2012:
10. Total Recall
Starring: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsdale, Jessica Biel, Bookem Woodbine, Bryan Cranston, Ethan Hawke, Billy Nighy
Director: Len Wiseman (Underworld 1-3, Live Free Or Die Hard)
Release Date: Aug. 3
Hell yeah, baby! I love the original with Arnold. Now I admit, looking at the cast, it’s not exactly an all-star line-up: Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel aren’t going to win Oscars anytime soon. But, let’s not forget, Bryan Cranston, Bill Nighy, and Ethan Hawke are also involved…so that’s pretty good, right? But then again, the director (Len Wiseman) has done two Underworld movies, so there’s that. I have hope though, we’ll see what happens. It’s unconfirmed whether or not the three-breasted lady will return.
9. The Hunger Games
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci
Director: Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, Pleasantville)
Release Date: March 23
I’ve never read a single word of this series, I know absolutely nothing about it, but that trailer looks pretty damn good. It’s got a great cast, and a solid director (Gary Ross). Some people tell me it has a Twilight-esque vibe, so that makes me nervous. Maybe I should actually read a book though, and see for myself: nah, I’ll just wait for the movie.
8. The Avengers
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Colbie Smulders, Gwyneth Paltrow, Stellan Skarsgaard, Clark Gregg, Paul Bettany, Lou Ferrigno
Director: Joss Whedon
Release Date: May 4
If you were to ask me a few months ago, this would probably be in my top three, but after seeing the little teaser at the end of Captain America, and the first full-length trailer, I got say, it left me really underwhelmed. I’m just not feeling this. My biggest fear is that it’s just going to coax by on showing all these superheroes on the same screen together. That’s bullshit. With five movies leading up to this, it better be more than some mindless action fest…come on, Marvel.
7. Gangster Squad
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Emma Stone, Nick Nolte, Mireille Enos, Robert Patrick, Giovanni Ribisi
Director: Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland, 30 Minutes Or Less)
Release Date: Oct. 19
I barely know anything about this film, other than it takes place in the 1940s and ’50s, as the LAPD battles the East Coast Mafia. But let me just rattle off the cast for you: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Nick Nolte, and Giovanni Ribisi. The director (Ruben Fleischer) also did Zombieland, and last year’s 30 Minutes Or Less, which I really liked.
6. Django Unchained
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Kurt Russell, RZA, Christoph Waltz, Don Johnson, Sacha Baron-Cohen, Tom Wopat, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Release Date: Dec. 25 [possibly pushed back to 2013]
I’m going to make this quick: The director is Quentin Tarantino, the cast is Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, Kurt Russell, and Jamie Foxx, and it’s a western. Are we done here?
Starring: George Clooney, Sandra Bullock
Director: Alfonso Cuaron
Release Date: Nov. 21
This movie just has me intrigued. It’s a sci-fi thriller about two astronauts stranded in space trying to get home, and it’s directed by Alfonso Cuaron (Children Of Men, Harry Potter Snd The Prisoner Of Azkaban). If you look at the cast over on IMDB, it lists two people: George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. Like I said … I’m intrigued.
4. The Amazing Spider-Man
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Sally Field, Martin Sheen, Dennis Leary, Campbell Scott, Embeth Davidtz, C. Thomas Howell
Director: Marc Webb (500 Days Of Summer)
Release Date: July 3
Full disclosure here: Except for the second film, I detest the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies. I’ve also never been a big fan of the character, and when I heard about this re-boot, I couldn’t care less. But after seeing Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker/Spider-Man) in The Social Network, my interest peaked. And when I saw the trailer, it pretty much screamed Batman Begins. I’m all in. I get the feeling this could be a Batman Returns situation, in that it’s going to be a great film, but a poor representation of the character…good thing I’m not a Spider-Man fan.
3. Snow White And The Huntsman
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Ian McShane, Toby Jones, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Bob Hoskins
Director: Rupert Sanders
Release Date: June 1
Wow, this trailer is bad ass. Here’s a film that wasn’t on my radar, but boy did they cut a remarkable trailer. Charlize Theron, who you could argue is the best actress in Hollywood right now, looks like she’s going to give an incredible performance. And Chris Hemsworth is another added bonus. Everything looks great, except of course for the elephant in the room: Kristen Stewart. This is her big chance to break out of the Twilight stigma. Hopefully, she doesn’t de-rail this film.
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba
Director: Ridley Scott
Release Date: June 8
Like most people, I’m a huge fan of the first two Alien films. But the last great Alien movie came out when I was 2 years old, back in 1986. This franchise has offered absolutely nothing since then. To be honest with you, I didn’t even think this film was actually happening. Even when there were reports that Ridley Scott was directing, and a release date was set, I was still like, “Pfffffft, whatever. That film isn’t actually going to happen.” I kid you not, I literally believed this up until two weeks ago. That’s when the teaser trailer suddenly happened…yeah, this movie is happening. It looks incredible, the cast is incredible, Ridley Scott is ready to get his mojo back, as he’s right back where he belongs in sci-fi…I’m ready.
1. The Dark Knight Rises
Starring: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman
Director: Christopher Nolan
Release Date: July 20
I have nothing more to say on this movie. My only concern is that I’ll have a heart attack in the theater when the film begins.
Bonus Category –- Prediction for Worst Movie of 2012 …
This was a four-horse race. We’ve got One For The Money with Katherine Heigl that actually comes out later this month, which just looks horrible. There’s also American Reunion, a.k.a. American Pie 4, in April. But at the end of the day, in one of closest decisions I’ve ever had to make in my life, it came down to the Three Stooges and Battleship. What ultimately gives Three Stooges the edge is the last scene in the trailer where Moe pokes Jersey Shore’s Snooki in the eye. I think that sums up the movie right there.