Saturday, January 14, 2012

20 Films I'm looking forward to in 2012

The list started out as my top 12 in 2012, which is nice and catchy, sure, but as I looked at it, I realized I had so many honorable mentions and also-maybes that it was actually a list of around twenty and I figured: Well, that's a good thing, right? I should just list them all.

Damn right I should.

Especially after this past year.

So yeah, rejoice! 2012 will not only be the End of the current Age according to the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar and the herald of a transformative (or possibly cataclysmic) event for this plane of existence, but it looks like we're also gonna have some pretty good movies to watch while waiting to see how things shake out.

20 Films to watch for in 2012

20. Moonrise Kingdom
Oh, Wes Anderson, a long time ago, we used to be friends, but you've actually kind of bored me in our more recent meetings and I can't help but notice certain... patterns... in your work that I've begun to wonder if perhaps you might be relying upon them a little too heavily. However, when I heard you had a new film coming out this year, I had to take a look. Apparently, I can not help but be drawn to you like a moth to the flame...

19. Django Unchained
The buzz on the script is hot, but you can never believe that about anything Quentin Tarantino, as the motherfucker is practically a cult leader of Internet movie nerds, but that aside, I'm interested. I'm interested, despite the fact that over the past couple of films, I've felt like his whole fetishism/homage schtick is getting a bit out of control. I know people shit themselves with love for Inglorious Basterds, but with the exception of a few stand-outs, it really missed the mark for me. It felt like an uneven mish-mash of two movies, both of which kept the other from really shining. Also, I found the period incongruities to be distracting. Eli Roth bugs me. And I think killing Hitler in any kind of fiction is the ultimate act of impotence and should just be avoided. That being said, the son of a bitch is another Director, like Wes Anderson, whose work I can't look away from. Kill Bill had it's problems, most of which was due to the unwieldy burden of excess pop culture and fetish ticks, but it did do one thing to me: Made me very interested in seeing what the man could do with a Spaghetti Western.

And here we are...

18. Snow White and the Huntsman
I know, I know. It's a Kristen Stewart movie, but it also has Thor throwing axes and Charlize Theron drenched in milk. Honestly, it also looks like it might be kind of fantasy film cool. Maybe? I know. I know, but really... watch the trailer.

17. Wreck-it Ralph
This is an interesting sounding movie. It's a cartoon, but not a Pixar (which can always be a little bit of an iffy bet). It's set in an old school arcade where each night the games mingle and hang out and most likely make some clever and probably some not-so-clever video game references during their interactions. John C. Reilly voices the main character: Wreck-it Ralph, a Donkey Kong type of video game bad guy who one day realizes that he no longer wants to be the bad guy, he wants to be the hero, but when he enters a First Person Shooter and unleashes a horrible monster, well wackiness and trouble and questions about pre-destination and the expectations of society and what it means to be a hero ensue.

16. The Amazing Spider-man
Hmmm... I'm not sure if it's too soon for a reboot of this franchise or if a reboot (and it is a reboot, NOT a remake) is even really needed in the first place and I'm definitely NOT a fan of the hidden story of Peter's parents--which I found to be an unnecessary dud--and I don't know... so much CGI, but the trailer looks like it might be fun, so that, coupled with the fact that I am an unabashed Marvelhead and that I love Emma Stone, not to mention Martin Sheen, means I'll be there.

15. G.I. Joe: Retaliation
I feel a little dirty for being so excited about this film, but the trailer kills, folks, it kills. Now, sure, maybe it's just that the first stunk so bad and maybe this one seems more like the G.I. Joe film the 10 year old inside me imagined all those days on the porch surrounded by the toys and creating adventures, but good god damn, this looks like fun. Ugh. I'm so embarrassed, but it is what it is.

14. The Dark Knight Rises
Some people might rank this film higher and I'm okay with that. I'm a Batman fan. I like Christopher Nolan and I enjoyed these movies, but I never really went ga-ga for them. They're good, but they're not my favorite, so this--the third and final film of Nolan's Batman saga--is one I will see, but... I don't know. Everything I'm hearing sounds like the film may not be able to stand up under the weight, not just of expectations, but of the story itself. Plus, I think I'm still disappointed they're not doing the seminal Dark Knight Returns storyline. Anyway, watch the trailer, maybe you'll feel the same. To me, it seems a little muddled. It seems a little bit of a mess, but time will tell, I guess.

13. Skyfall (James Bond)
I loved Casino Royale and thought Quantum of Solace was mostly a confusing, boring, and forgettable blur and a huge pity for being so, because I liked Casino Royale so much. But that was a while ago and now, finally, here's the latest one. The name may be kind of awful, but at least it's a step up from Quantum of Solace. And hopefully that won't be the only way Skyfall will be a step-up from that film. So far the prospects are promising. They've taken some time with it. Daniel Craig is returning, who I consider to be the second best Bond after Connery, and Sam Mendes is directing. This is all hopeful news to me, so... fingers crossed.

12. World War Z
After years of lumbering through the system, the movie adaptation of Max Brooks' faux-oral history of ten years after a zombie apocalypse is finally almost here. Brad Pitt produced this and he stars in it and he generally seems to have a good handle on his projects of late, but I've heard horrible shit about J. Michael Straczynski's script and I've read the book, which isn't so much a whole story, but a series of vignettes of which some work, others are kind of cool, and a couple really thud. Now, it sounds like they've made some tweaks to tie it all together a bit more tightly, but we'll see. In the end, I'll be there for a big budget zombie apocalypse regardless and just hope the stink of the Walking Dead TV adaptation isn't contagious.

11. Argo
This is an interesting project, the supposed true story of the CIA exfiltration of six Americans from Iran on the eve of the Iranian revolution. What makes it crazy is that the CIA apparently went in under the cover of being a Hollywood crew filming a Sci-fi movie using designs created by the late, great Jack "the King" Kirby. It was like a whole, giant, real-life, crazy Mission: Impossible type spy thing. True story. Supposedly. Anyway, it's got Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Clea Duvall, and Alan Arkin. Ben Affleck stars and directs. Right now, he's an up and down Director for me. I loved Gone, baby, gone, but I thought the Town was a lump of cliched crap, so that makes this film the decider, right? Ben Affleck, Director: Cool or Crap? We shall see.

10. Haywire
This opens soon, a few days, I think... or maybe it's open now. If so, check it out. It's the latest Soderbergh and its got a huge cast. Sure, sure, it may be just another Jason Bourne and sure, sure what's-her-face, the MMA fighter lady who's starring in this film may or may not be as engaging as a brick on screen, but hey, Sasha Grey was pretty good in The Girlfriend Experience, so who knows, maybe Soderbergh has an eye for people who can, at the very least, appear natural on screen. They posted the first five minutes on line to whet your appetite a bit, so check it out.

 9. Cogan's Trade
There's no trailer or anything yet, but Andrew Dominik is the writer and director of both Chopper and The Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford. That's all you really need to say and I'm really interested in seeing this film. REALLY interested.

8. John Carter
I've blogged about this before, you can find it here. I couldn't really say why this film is so on my radar, but it is. I love the books, the pulp era they came from, plus the trailer looks great and has a real high adventure old star wars feel to it. I'm not making any promises here, it's a definite wild card, with a high probability of crap, but... It pokes at me and draws my attention...

 7. The Grandmasters
The oft-told and fabled tale of Ip Man, teacher of Bruce Lee and near God-like badass, a mixture of Yoda and the Dali lama and Chuck Norris, as told by the legendary Wong Kar Wei? Yes, please. Hopefully he'll complete it before 2013... hopefully.

6. Brave
Everybody gets sick now and then. Everybody has had a bad case of diarrhea, the Hershey squirts, the runs, the mud butt, the fiery poop-water, if you will. Cars 2 was Pixar with a bad case of the Burnin' O Ring, as if the people from Dreamworks animation came over and they brought some bad dairy with them. And just like how you always feel better once you've thoroughly destroyed your toilet with a case of the green apple splatters, Pixar has apparently now recovered as well, moving back into the territory of story first, rather than marketing, with their next movie: Brave. It's an original story--as far as I can tell--about a Princess standing against a Monster's curse. Plus, she's voiced by Kelly MacDonald, who I've loved since Trainspotting. Can't wait. I'm glad Pixar is back.

5. The Cabin in the Woods
This film was a victim of the Miramax/Weinstein split, if I remember right, and it sat on the shelf for a long time while exactly who owned the thing was ironed out. It was actually supposed to be Chris Hemsworth's first big movie, but then he made Thor during the wait. Anyway, this is a total geek movie, legendary during the anticipation and the festival buzz is phenomenal with critics going back two or three times to see the thing. It's also written by Joss Whedon. All that was fine for me, but I'm not a big horror fan and like Tarantino, Whedon is a Cult Leader amongst the nerd crowd, as well, so any hype has to come with grains of salt. And while, yes, I myself give Whedon much more leeway than Tarantino, no matter how snarky and self-aware a horror film about teenagers getting killed in the woods gets, it's still not really my bag, so I never gave a shit really if this film ever came out. Been there, done that, yawn, know what I mean? But then I saw the trailer and theres some stuff that happens there that makes me go: Hmmm... Interesting.

4. Prometheus
Ridley Scott doing an original Sci-fi story that, at the same time, may or may not be a prequel to Alien? Yes, this is good. Plus, check out the cast: Michael Fassbinder, Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba? Brilliant. I also love the secrecy surrounding the project, that's a rare thing these days. I'm really looking forward to this one.

3. Looper
Looper is the story of a killer who works for the mob from the future. Apparently the idea is, that when the mob needs someone disposed of, they send them back in time where the main character kills them. There's no body for cops in the future to find and no crime in the past, since technically the victim is still alive somewhere. Which is a pretty cool idea. But then one day the person who appears is the killer's future self. Which would probably suck. It stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Wilson and they're playing the same person. Awesome.

2. The Avengers
I don't really need to explain this, right? I mean, come on. Who's list is it again? It's mine, so yeah: The Avengers. Fuckin' A right, Duke boys. This is the biggest of the big summer, explodey, ka-pow, boom-boom, popcorn flicks made maybe in the history of ever and I am helpless before its awesome behemoth Hollywood power. Also, after you watch the trailer, watch the sweded version, because it's great too.

1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The only geek film capable of unseating the Avengers for my number one most anticipated film slot. That probably says a lot toward my origins as a geek, but it's true. Everything about this film seems right, mostly because it's the same people who did the seemingly impossible last time out. I'm even more wild for the idea that the story is going to be told in two parts. Oh, Smaug, I can't wait.

And that's it. That's my top 20 films I'm looking forward to in 2012. It looks like a fun year, yeah? And the best part is, these are just the big ones, the ones you can see coming. My favorite part is the surprises, the films you don't expect to love until you stumble across them. Who knows what we'll see. I'm looking forward to a fun year of movies.



Shawn Enderlin said...

Charlize Theron drenched in milk?

I don't remember anything you wrote after that.

Jon said...

Did you watch the trailer? You can see it.