We’ve mentioned it many times before here on Cinema Blend, but it bears repeating: 2012 should be one incredibly awesome year for movies. The next twelve months have absolutely everything, from superhero action, to raunchy comedy to Oscar-baiting drama. But with so many titles to choose from, how do you know which ones you should be most excited for? That’s what we’re here to help you with.
Almost our entire editorial staff has come together to create what we see as the ultimate 2012 Movie Preview. By year’s end some of these movies may be up for Oscars while others may turn out to be total duds, but for now these are the ones that we are really looking forward to over the next twelve months. Check out the list below and for more info on each film, be sure to click on the title and head over to our Blend Film Database!
Beauty and the Beast 3D
We already kind of know what we’ll be getting with Beauty and the Beast 3D. We’ll get a fresh-faced Belle, whose cheek color may pop a little more than usual, a dance in kid-footed slippers and a yellow wedding cake dress, and a romance that needs to blossom in a given period of time. Using the 3D from the earlier reworked The Lion King as a guide, the added effects probably won’t detract from the film, and in some places might really work, even if there’s a nagging feeling in our stomachs the animation never really needed the doctoring.
We already have an inkling that Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire will be a blast, thanks to Eric’s review at AFI Fest, but even without it we’d still be pumped. The story doesn’t seem all that original, but the idea of Gina Carano using her expert fighting skills to take down the likes of Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas and more is too exciting a prospect to pass up.
Two popular genres – “found footage” and “superhero adventure” – mash together for what appears to be an ingenious origin story for a handful of teenage heroes. Chronicle either will come off as an X-Men knockoff, or a clever introduction to a unique team of gifted fighters (as well as their chief rival, a former friend who goes rogue).
Jennifer Aniston is extremely likeable. She’s a good actress, and when given the right material, she can be wonderful. Unfortunately, she’s chosen a lot of awful movies over the past decade. Last year, however, saw her crush in an edgy and sexually aggressive role in Horrible Bosses, and in the upcoming Wanderlust, she’s set to storm a commune thought up by David Wain and Ken Marino. If all goes well, it’ll be a big departure from her typical rom-coms and a reminder of how much life she can breathe into a well-written character.
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
Coming from the creators and crew of Despicable Me, The Lorax looks like a riotous, charming reworking of the original Dr. Seuss story of the same name. It will also be more lengthy, with a love plot added to get the environmentally conscious story of saving trees to work on the big screen. While a story of young love seems out of place in Seuss’ world, we should be less concerned about the liberties in storytelling and more concerned about handing over the co-star reigns to Taylor Swift. Still, this will be one for all ages.
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen looks like a story spun out of confectioner’s sugar. Coming from Lasse Hallström, the mind behind Chocolat and The Cider House Rules, it probably is a delicate story that balances a little romance and a plot that directly correlates to its strange title. Who doesn’t like stories to find a little firmness inside a somewhat improbable plot? Even if the conclusion is inevitable, the very particular way Emily Blunt’s character looks at Ewan McGregor makes it easy to understand why people might show up to see the film.
Based on famous serials by Edgar Rice Burroughs in the 1910s, the film adaptation of John Carter is the first live action outing for director Andrew Stanton. A product of the Pixar collective, writer-director Stanton is responsible for Finding Nemo and the incredible Wall-E, which instantly gives me confidence in the flick despite the increasingly negative reactions to the advertising campaign. The two settings (Civil War era Virginia and Mars) should offer compelling (and contrasting) visuals to accompany the fantastical story and surprisingly solid ensemble cast. Not completely sold on Taylor Kitsch's leading man potential but there's definitely enough talent behind this film to pique my interest and get me in the theater come March.
21 Jump Street
In the spirit of movies that don’t appear to be taking themselves too seriously, we have 21 Jump Street, a big screen reboot of a classic (sort of) late-80’s cop drama. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum play two bumbling cops who go undercover at a high school in an effort to take down a drug ring. The trailer indicates that directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are aiming for humor with this one. It looks like it borders on funny and silly and based on the trailer the film also includes a scene that has Jonah Hill getting hit by a car, which feels almost like a bonus, at least, for those of us who loved that similar bit of physical comedy in Superbad.
The Hunger Games
Is it going to be another Twilight-sized success, capitalizing off millions of fans of the books and ravenous young teenage audiences? Will it be nearly as good as the violent, captivating novel by Suzanne Collins? Can recent Oscar-nominee Jennifer Lawrence live up to the version of the heroine Katniss the book's fans have in their heads? There are tons of questions to be answered about this would-be new blockbuster franchise, and we're far from the only ones dying to answer them.
Our hearts will go on and on again, though this time in 3D. James Cameron tinkers with his Oscar-winning masterpiece, bringing the tragic romance of Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet) to new heights before sinking the unsinkable ocean liner to the sea bottom once again. We’re anxious to see if a Titanic re-release allows Cameron’s massively successful epic to surpass the current titleholder in the domestic box-office record books … which happens to be Cameron’s Avatar.
The Cabin in the Woods
Whedonites will appreciate the inclusion of Amy Acker, Tom Lenk and Fran Kranz, not to mention that this spring-bound horror film is produced and co-written by the great Joss Whedon himself. Beyond that, the trailer sells something a bit more unique than the typical cliched “bunch of kids go off to the middle of nowhere and get picked off one-by-one” story, as it’s revealed that the cabin and the surrounding woods may be some kind of playing field for a game of horror and death. Cabin looks scary and twisty in all the right ways.
The last time that director John Hillcoat and singer-songwriter-screenwriter Nick Cave made a film together, we got The Proposition, the best western since Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven. Together again, this time it's for an adaptation of Matt Bondurant's novel The Wettest County in the World which is about bootlegging in depression era Virginia. Starring Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Guy Pierce, Gary Oldman and The Beef (Shia LaBeouf) this definitely sounds like a must see. Good thing we only have to wait until April.
Guy Pearce is an unlucky SOB wrongfully convicted of spying on the good old U.S. of A. He's offered his freedom if he can rescue the president's daughter from an orbital penal colony that's been taken over by the inmates. Yep, it's Escape From New York...but in space, damn it! The first couple of trailers show Pearce making a convincing badass, and plenty of visual style. This one was co-written by Luc Besson, who proved he has a knack for sci-fi (albeit really weird sci-fi) with The Fifth Element, and for action with, well, everything else he's ever done. It wasn't on my radar at all until the trailer hit, and now I can't wait.
The Five-Year Engagement
Have you seen The Muppets yet? It’s loveable and honest and it makes you feel really good inside in a way that feels totally deserved. Did you see Forgetting Sarah Marshall when it came out? It was loveable and honest and it made you feel good inside in a way that felt totally deserved. Are you playing to see the third film Jason Segel has written or co-written? With Emily Blunt on board as the How I Met Your Mother star’s longtime partner, I bet you can guess how I expect The Five-Year Engagement to make me feel.
Other Winter/Spring 2012 Movies We're Less Excited About But You Might Be Interested In:
The Woman in Black
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
Bullet to the Head
Avengers, assemble! And prove that Marvel’s multi-project gamble of introducing and inevitably uniting various heroes was worth the risk. Joss Whedon’s faithful fans believe their leader is the ideal candidate to juggle the personalities, storylines and (let’s hope) humor for a successful Avengers film. Either Avengers establish a blueprint for future ensemble hero stories, or will add fuel to the fire of rivals who think Marvel bit off more than it could chew.
While I enjoyed elements of Alice in Wonderland, director Tim Burton seemed to be coasting somewhat on that project. Hopefully Dark Shadows will reinvigorate him; goodness knows the subject matter is right up his alley. Burton's big-screen adaptation of the cheesy, cult-classic supernatural soap opera has the advantage of being in a currently hot genre (vampire romance), featuring one of the biggest stars on the planet (Johnny Depp), and being based on a property that most people have at least heard of. And hopefully Depp's outfit will look less silly in the final film.
Coming off Fantastic Mr. Fox, a brief and beautiful stop in stop-motion animation, American autuer Wes Anderson is returning to the world of live action with Moonrise Kingdom. As an unapologetic Anderson fan, it's very easy to get excited for his next film, however, with the cast that he's assembled for this tale of young love in a small New England town - including Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton and Harvey Keitel - everyone should be awaiting this release. Opening in May, Moonrise Kingdom will surely be nice alternative to the start of the blockbuster season.
Snow White and the Huntsman
Assuming the trailer hasn’t oversold it, this take on Snow White may be more of an adventure story than what your standard fairy-tale might offer. Rather than being just another damsel in distress, this Snow White (played by Kristen Stewart) is trained in the art of war by the man sent to capture her (aka the Huntsman, played by Chris Hemsworth) on behalf of an evil queen (Charlize Theron) who wants to devour her heart. There’s a lot of potential for an exciting, adventurous story with a dark magical element in this one.
Rock of Ages
Cheesy? Absolutely. But Adam Shankman’s spin through the Broadway hit Hairspray overcame John Travolta in drag, so we’re fairly certain he can muscle past an eclectic cast – Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones – to deliver a high-energy and (hopefully) entertaining movie-musical extravaganza.
Prometheus is a story about space travel and the origins of humanity. It’s also an epic 3D saga from Ridley Scott that, if perfected, will be ideal for the month of June. Based on concept and ambitious scale, it should only be 50/50 on whether or not this premise will work, except the first trailer dropped two weeks ago, and it upped the bar for the film tenfold.
How could anyone not be excited about Brave? After the mottled mess Cars 2 turned out to be, Pixar needed to come out of the gate, hard, with a concept that was entirely new. What we’ve gotten is Brave a story about growing up and being a hero in the Scottish highlands. We’ve also gotten the first, fully fleshed out, badass female heroine from Pixar. It’s about time.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
You would have thought that Seth Grahame-Smith's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies would have been the first of the monster-lit mashup genre to make it to screen, since it was the first to get all the attention. Instead, that film seems to be cursed, and it's about to be lapped by another of Grahame-Smith's novels, this one that casts the 16th president as a slayer of the undead. The cast includes names like Rufus Sewell, Alan Tudyk, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and with Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) in the director's chair, you know it will at least look awesome.
Take This Waltz
Sarah Polley's emotional, somewhat off-kilter romance premiered to mixed but passionate reviews at the Toronto Film Festival last fall, ours included. But a movie with such strong performances from Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen and newcomer Luke Kirby, not to mention such a strong point-of-view from second-time director Polley, needs to be seen for itself. It's funny and romantic without even resembling the awful rom-coms we're used to, and all the performances show a side of the actors we haven't seen before-- yes, even Seth Rogen.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Let’s be honest: the first G.I. Joe movie wasn’t that great. But you know what could be? The sequel. Bringing in Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is always a brilliant choice and the fact that they have the writers of Zombieland, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, on board makes us only more excited. The first trailer, replete with remix of “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes, was incredibly kick ass and we expect the same from the full movie.
The Amazing Spider-Man
Did we need another origin story for old Web head? No, but we’re certainly not opposed to The Social Network standout Andrew Garfield standing in as the new Peter Parker, or the electric Emma Stone as love interest Gwen Stacy. 500 Days (of Summer) director Marc Webb’s an inspired choice, and The Lizard should make a lethal on-screen opponent. July can’t get here soon enough.
The Dark Knight Rises
Everyone in the world is looking forward to this movie, and we’re absolutely no exception. Christopher Nolan has promised us an epic end to his Batman trilogy, and that’s just what we are anticipating. Some incredible new names, including Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard, have been thrown into the mix and we can’t wait to see what happens. Will Bane break the bat? We’ll have to wait until July to find out!
The original Total Recall sums up the 1980s pretty well, despite the fact that it was released in 1990. Aggressive, obnoxious and kind of stupid, yet somehow still loveable, it’s a classic with plenty of room for improvement. I can’t wait to see what Colin Farrell does to update Quaid, and I can’t wait to see how much better we’ve gotten at depicting the future.
The Bourne Legacy
There’s been much controversy surrounding this one, particularly because it will be the first in the franchise not to star Matt Damon, but we’re still excited. Why? Because Jeremy Renner is taking over the franchise and as Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol proved, he has serious action chops. It will be the last of multiple Renner performances in 2012, including the aforementioned The Avengers and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, but we suspect we won’t be tired of him by that point.
In 2009, Laika blew us all away with Coraline a creepy, 3D Claymation bit of awesome and now the studio is finally back to give us another visual treat. It’s not just that the cast is stacked, with names like John Goodman, Leslie Mann, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, and many more providing voices; or even that the first trailer, fueled by Donovan’s “Season of the Witch” was out-of-control cool. It’s just that a real, authentic animated horror movie sounds too good to be true.
The Expendables 2
Back in the summer of 2009, Sylvester Stallone brought together some of the greatest action stars of all time, and in 2012 he’s doing the exact same thing – only on a much bigger scale. This time Simon West is in the director’s chair, and we can only hope that he reaches into the talent part of his brain that brought us Con Air. If he can do that, we should be in for a real treat this August.
Other Summer 2012 Movies We're Less Excited About But You Might Be Interested In:
Men in Black III
Jack the Giant Killer
Inside Llewyn Davis
Rising star Oscar Issac, from last year's Drive and Sucker Punch, stars in the upcoming Coen Brothers film about a musician in the New York 1960s folk scene. Anytime Joel and Ethan Coen decide to write and direct a new film it's automatically worth mentioning (and highly anticipating) but when considering the awesome period setting and presumably music from Issac and his co-stars Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan (especially if you saw/heard her "New York, New York" performance in Shame) it's all the more exciting.
The Place Beyond the Pines
There are few films as emotional raw and real as Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine. It's easily one of the best films of the last few years and featured a dynamite performance from Ryan Gosling. The two are back together for The Place Beyond the Pines, this time bringing the sexiest man alive, Bradley Cooper, along for the ride. That's right "People" protestors, Gosling and Cooper are together in one film so you can all get your Twilight-style 'team t-shirts' ready to go. The film is about a motorcycle stuntman (Gosling) forced to comtemplate a life of crime in order to provide for his family, a choice that brings him into direct conflict with a former cop turned politician (Cooper).
Considering how well director Amy Heckerling’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Clueless captured a humorous snapshot of American youth, it seems only fitting that her latest project involve vampires, given the ongoing fanged craze in popular books, film and television. Starring Alicia Silverstone and Krysten Ritter, Vamps follows two female vampires living in New York City. Given the cast, which also includes Richard Lewis, Sigourney Weaver, and Malcolm McDowell, added to Heckerling’s involvement as director and screenwriter, the potential for something sharp, amusing and maybe even a little bit dark is definitely there.
For A Good Time, Call…
I love ludicrous comedies, and there are few occupations more ludicrous than phone sex operators. For A Good Time Call follows two frenemies working in said profession who need to keep the business afloat to stay in the apartment of both of their dreams. I love the resourcefulness of that scheme, and I love thinking about all the places it could go even more.
Is Ben Affleck’s second career as a capable director not the shock of the century? Thus far, he’s made two wonderful films (Gone Baby Gone and The Town), but if all goes well, Argo should put the others to shame. The story of state department subterfuge during the Iran Hostage Crisis, the picture should offer the subject matter needed to let Affleck finally prove he’s not just a good director but one of the better ones working today.
As much as we bitch about remakes and reboots here at Cinema Blend, there are some remakes that could be a good thing. Case in point: Dredd, another attempt at giving us a kickass big-screen version of the brutal British comics character Judge Dredd. With Karl Urban under the iconic helmet and Alex Garland (Never Let Me Go, Sunshine) having penned the script, I've got my fingers crossed that Dredd will wash away every memory of the godawful 1995 Sly Stallone version. At the very least, there should be no sign of Rob Schneider, and that's already an improvement.
Rian Johnson made a huge splash with his neo-noir directorial debut Brick, but skewed toward whimsy to less success with his follow-up, The Brothers Bloom. With Looper he's back with his Brick star Joseph Gordon-Levitt and an irresistible sci-fi premise about hitmen who dispose of their victims by dumping the bodies in the past. If it manages to be the first good sci-fi film starring Bruce Willis since The Fifth Element, that's just an added bonus.
It’s sad, but Tim Burton hasn’t really been Tim Burton these past few years. Back in the 1990s nobody would have guessed that the director of Ed Wood and Edward Scissorhands would have made Alice in Wonderland. Finally, though, Burton is returning to his roots with the stop motion animated Frankenweenie. The black and white design looks fantastic and we can’t wait to see how he’s expanded on the story he told from his original short film.
Taken reveled in a simple plot about a father saving his daughter, who was kidnapped overseas. Taken 2 could have reveled in a similar plot with different details. Perhaps after The Hangover II was lambasted as being too similar to the original, Taken 2 became a movie where Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills would no longer be our hero, and his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace) would step in and fulfill that role. Female singer-turned-badass or no, as long as the film gets a better trailer than Colombiana I still believe it stands a fighting chance.
It's the new Bond movie we've been waiting for since, let's face it, Casino Royale-- and if this one is any good, we can officially go ahead and pretend Quantum of Solace never happened. And with Daniel Craig proving a different kind of heroic skill in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, it's high time we see him back in true super-spy action. Can Sam Mendes transition from his usual dramas to a big action film? It'll be hard to wait until November to find out.
While writer Donald Westlake's books have been raided quite a few times over the years, we've yet to see a movie that captures even half of the wry humor and hard-boiled badassery Westlake presents on the page. Brian Helgeland's director's cut of Payback came close, but not proverbial cigar. Parker is a new stab at Westlake's most famous character, the thief who was the star of over two-dozen novels Westlake wrote under the pen name Richard Stark. Jason Statham is in the lead as Parker, Black Swan writer John J. McLaughlin penned the script, and Taylor Hackford (Ray) is directing. They better get this one right; you don't want to cross Parker...
It's hard not to be too excited for Ruben Fleischer's third feature film. After two excellent action comedies, Zombieland and underrated 30 Minutes or Less (opens in new tab), Gangster Squad, a period crime drama, may be a slight departure for the young director but that only makes it all the more interesting. Add an incredible ensemble cast, including Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Emma Stone and Anthony Mackie, and this story of cops and mobsters clashing on west coast could be the next L.A. Confidential. Gangster Squad hits theaters in October.
My Mother’s Curse
Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand aren’t two people you’d expect to be toplining a film together, but in a strange way, it kind of makes sense. Rogen needs to prove he can appeal outside his typical demographic, and I’m sure Streisand would love nothing more than to show a younger generation why she’s such a legend. I have no idea where these two will find common ground, but I’m willing to take a road trip with them in My Mother’s Curse to see for myself.
After Children of Men, we’d line up weeks in advance to see anything directed by Alfonso Cuaron. The fact that Gravity is a 2001-esque sci-fi thriller about a stranded astronaut (Sandra Bullock) trying to work her way home with the help of a colleague (George Clooney) only makes us want to see it more. Let’s hope it’s more Moon, and less Solaris.
Steven Spielberg has been on a roll to close out 2011, but while we’re not encouraging you to look past either War Horse or The Adventures of Tintin, we do think his next project -- Lincoln -- has the potential to be something special. A passion project of Spielberg’s for years, the director finally connected with a brilliant leading man in Daniel Day Lewis, ready to play the 16th president of the United States. Cancel next year’s Oscars. Lincoln probably has it in the bag.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Peter Jackson set the bar especially high with the Lord of the Ring trilogy, which is why it’s probably fair to say The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is one of the most highly anticipated films of 2012. Based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel, which preceded The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit tells the story of Bilbo Baggins as he sets off on a journey with a group of dwarves. In addition to offering further character development for Bilbo, the film gives us the opportunity to revisit Middle Earth, where an unexpected but hopefully excellent journey awaits.
Kill Bin Laden
Kathryn Bigelow and her Hurt Locker writer Mark Boal had an amazing stroke of luck as they started work on this film just weeks after the Navy SEALs really did kill the al Qaeda leader. Word has it that Boal and Bigelow got a ton of access to the government's plans to kill bin Laden, and hopefully the result is a movie that's just as tense and exciting as The Hurt Locker, with even more relevance to real life.
Life of Pi
An adaptation of the fantasy/adventure novel by Yann Martel, Life of Pi follows the strange and exciting adventures of an Indian boy nicknamed Pi, whose family owned a zoo. A shipwreck sends him on an adventure, which includes time spent surviving on a lifeboat with a Bengel tiger named Richard Parker, and a strange island filled with meerkats. Martel paints such a vivid picture of Pi’s adventures in the novel. It’s going to be very interesting to see how Ang Lee brings that story to life.
World War Z
It's been in the works seemingly forever, but next December we will finally get to see the big-screen version of Max Brooks' acclaimed zombie novel. With The Walking Dead a hit for AMC, our culture's fascination with brain-eaters shows no signs of slowing down. There's a reason the book was a huge hit, so the question is whether director Marc Forster and the merry-go-round of screenwriters will be able to translate the things that made the book awesome onto the screen. Early drafts of the script showed promise, so we'll just have to see if that awesomeness was strengthened or diluted in the intervening months.
This is 40
Judd Apatow’s made a lot of money as a producer of some of the best comedies Hollywood has had to offer over the past decade, but it’s behind the director’s chair where he truly shines. In the loveable Knocked Up, he gave us Pete and Debbie, a bickering and loving couple trying to raise children while maintaining their identities. In just a handful of scenes, they stole the movie. Now we’ll get to see whether they’re worth hanging out with for two full hours.
The Great Gatsby
We’re choosing to view Baz Luhrmann’s Australia as a one-off misfire, a personal project that – despite fine intentions – completely missed its mark. So his reunion with Romeo + Juliet cohort Leonardo DiCaprio and the addition of Carey Mulligan for a Baz- alicious adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel has us salivating over a kinetic take on some vintage material.
Paul Thomas Anderson made a bona fide American classic with his last film There Will Be Blood, and he's finally back with a story that sounds almost even more intriguing-- Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a religious leader who may or may not be inspired by Scientology's L. Ron Hubbard, with Joaquin Phoenix hopefully making his return to legitimate acting as the Master's right-hand man. Expectations are huge for this one, but it's hard to think of a filmmaker who deserves them more.
The day that we’re no longer looking forward to a new Quentin Tarantino movie is the day that you can stop calling us a reputable movie site. The Oscar-winning writer director has once again put together one of the most stellar casts you will ever see and the story of revenge during the southern slave trade sounds too good for words. There’s a very good reason this one is being released on Christmas: it’s a gift to the world.
Director Andrew Dominik may not work quickly, but you can be damn sure that we get excited every time he decides to make a movie. Following both Chopper and The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, Cogan’s Trade stars Brad Pitt as a professional enforcer tasked with finding those responsible for robbing a mob-protected poker game. Basically, it’s his most badass role since Inglorious Basterds, and who wouldn’t want to see that kind of performance again?
Other Fall 2012 Movies We're Less Excited About But You Might Be Interested In:
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2
The Silver Linings Playbook
Great Hope Springs
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