My 10 Most-Anticipated Movies of 2012
Most years, the movie offerings are kind of thin in the first few months. We come out of award season and it usually takes a while for the theatres fill up with must-see titles. Now that the summer movie season has started (with the release of The Avengers on May 4), it feels like a good time to compile a list of the films I’m most excited for this year.
There’s a couple of movies here that you’re probably super excited for as well, but maybe I’ve found a few you’re not quite familiar with. In any case, read on to find out why these movies made my list, and let me know which upcoming releases I might have left out!
I’m a huge Pixar fan - I’ve watched their entire catalogue multiple times over, and I’ve tried to learn as much as I can about how their studio operates and what motivates the people who work there. So I’ve known about their latest release Brave for a couple of years. The story is steeped in Scottish folklore, following a young Medieval princess named Merida (Kelly MacDonald), who wants to escape the traditional path set out for her by her mother.
The movie is packed with Scottish voice actors (several of whom are among the funniest people on Earth: Billy Connolly and Craig Ferguson). Brave will also feature the beautiful animation, charming storytelling and clever Easter eggs that we expect from Pixar. (View Trailer)
It seems like comic fans are of two minds about this film. Some like the darker, gritty look glimpsed in the trailers, as well as the apparent faithfulness to the source material. Others are worried star Andrew Garfield’s British-ness and the potential silliness of the Lizard (Rhys Ifans) as the villain will make for an underwhelming reboot of the film series.
I’m erring on the side of optimism here. I’m impressed with Andrew Garfield as an actor, and I like the visual aesthetic. I’m not too worried about the choice of villain, as I tend to expect more cartoonish opponents in the Spider-Man series. Garfield is an avowed Spider-Man fan, so I’m interested to see whether his fandom helps or hinders him in the role. (View Trailer)
If you’re not a fan of Christopher Nolan by this point (whether for his awesome Batman movies or original works like Inception), I don’t think we can be friends. Before Nolan, only select people (i.e. comics die-hards) took the Batman stories seriously. Now the director is about to deliver the third and final installment to his vision of Batman. Few movies have me as excited as The Dark Knight Rises.
Very few film fans doubt Rises will be good; so the question is, “How good?” Nolan made the bold storytelling decision to set the film eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, and the positioning of the characters promises a powerful resolution to a story arc that’s been building since 2005’s Batman Begins. This might be a chronological list, but TDKR would be in my top 3 of 2012. (View Trailer)
Even more so than the new Spider-Man, the upcoming fourth Bourne film is splitting prospective audiences down the middle. Jeremy Renner plays a new character named Aaron Cross, an assassin like Jason Bourne who becomes caught up in the chaos that follows Bourne’s revenge on the CIA. With the Bourne character MIA for this movie, some filmgoers are afraid Legacy will hurt the good reputation the series currently enjoys.
I’m encouraged, however, by the rest of the cast and crew, though, which includes long-time Bourne writer Tony Gilroy in the director’s chair and the return of actors like Joan Allen, Albert Finney and Scott Glenn. As long as Legacy includes more of the kinetic action sequences and standout performances we expect from the series, the film could be a worthwhile supplement to the Bourne thrillers. (View Trailer)
Here’s one you may not have heard of: Australian director John Hillcoat directs Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman and Jessica Chastain in a story about Prohibition-era bootleggers who are threatened by crooked lawmen wanting a cut of their profits. I love historical movies set in early 20th century America, and this one has enough acting muscle to make it a strong contender when the Oscars roll around again in February.
I haven’t seen any of Hillcoat’s other films (The Road, The Proposition), but the time period and cast are enough to get me in a seat at the theatre. Here’s hoping I haven’t been swindled by the advance buzz. (View Trailer)
Looper is a film that’s benefited from two things I like to see in a sci-fi movie: tight-lipped creators and a smart marketing campaign. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the titular “Looper”, a highly-skilled mob assassin whose targets are sent to him from the future, so the hit becomes untraceable. His life becomes complicated when his employers decide to end their agreement by forcing him to kill a future version of himself (played by Bruce Willis).
The coolness factor of the premise is heightened by the fact that Levitt wears prosthetics to look like a younger version of Willis. This is one of those movies I hope isn't made into a series; The idea is strong, but it could get watered down over a number of installments. Looper is on track to be either a breakaway sci-fi hit, or at the very least, a critical favourite like Duncan Jones’ Moon. (View Trailer)
One of my favourite genres of movie is espionage, and that’s why Ben Affleck’s upcoming film Argo called out to me while he was still in the process of casting it. Based on the true story of a group of Americans rescued from Iran in an outlandish (and clever) CIA mission, Argo is primed to continue Affleck’s winning streak as a director. The film is also packed with a promising cast: Bryan Cranston, John Goodman and the director himself.
As a film buff, I love that the CIA's mission is to pretend to make a sci-fi movie, as a cover for their evacuation of the American citizens. Because of that, the movie will have some lighter moments to balance out the Iranian revolution setting. Based on that and on how much I liked Affleck’s 2010 crime film The Town, this movie is a instant sell for me. Plus, the true-story element is a nice counterpoint to the year’s other big spy movie. (View Trailer)
If Skyfall is going to include more of the jokes and gadgets we’ve been promised for the latest Bond film, I didn’t see any of it in the trailer that came out last week. On first blush, 007’s new adventure seems as dark and serious as the rest of Daniel Craig’s outings as the character. Hopefully, the addition of familiar roles like Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw) will provide some lighter moments among Bond’s tussles with a villain played by Javier Bardem.
Considering that my birthday falls the day before Skyfall’s release, this movie should make a nice bonus gift, even if it can’t be as fun as the Sean Connery films of the 60s. (View Trailer)
The Hobbit may appear at the end of this list, but that’s only because of its mid-December release date. There aren’t many films whose production I’ve followed as closely as The Hobbit, through all the financing woes at MGM, the departure of Guillermo del Toro as director, and the delightful vlogs that Peter Jackson posts from the set.
The only thing that I’m unsure about when it comes to The Hobbit is how many times I’ll end up seeing it (I’m guessing maybe three viewings in theatres and a dozen or more at home). Adding to the magic will be the debut of Peter Jackson’s 48 fps digital format, which will either revolutionize the cinema or go the way of lame post-conversion 3D. (View Trailer)
I’m declaring a tie for the tenth spot on this list, because both films have too many cool (and weirdly similar details) to choose between. Both star Leonardo DiCaprio, both have a historical setting, and both feature a vibrant visual palette (they even come out on the same day).
Django Unchained is Quentin Tarantino’s new Western, a revenge story featuring a freed slave out to reckon with his former master. Gatsby is Baz Luhrmann’s (Romeo + Juliet, Australia) latest film, based on the classic novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It follows a young man (Tobey Maguire) who is brought ever deeper into the social circles of some mysterious elites in 1920s New York . (View Trailer for The Great Gatsby)
It’s unclear whether Django will catch on beyond Tarantino’s usual audience, but Gatsby will definitely have some play with the Christmas audiences. Plus, it looks like I now have 11 movies on my must-see list for 2012, which can’t be a bad thing.
What movies are you most excited for this year? Did I leave out a film you think I have to see? Let me know in the comments section! If you liked this article, check out some of my other posts about movies below. You can also follow me on Twitter to stay updated on new blog posts and share in my other musings.
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