This is how the world ends in 2012 - everyone rushes to the movie theaters all at once, and the shift in mass on the Earth's surface spirals it off its orbit, hurtling it towards the sun.
Listed below are my 35 most anticipated films of 2012.
35 - The Amazing Spider-Man
Hollywood is shameless enough to reboot the franchise just four years after Spider-Man 3 hit theaters. Shameless or not, everyone loves Spidey, and you and I will most certainly line up to buy tickets for The Amazing Spider-Man. The trailer has cheesy dialogues, a jarringly old Andrew Garfield and the movie looks exactly like Sam Raimi’s films. But there’s Rhys Ifans as The Lizard, Emma stone as Gwen Stacy, and it’s directed by Mark Webb who made the excellent (500) Days of Summer. And I sure as hell want to see Irrfan Khan as the Proto Goblin.
34 - John Carter
With its ballooning budget ($220+ million), Star Wars-esque imagery, and lack of buzz, John Carter may well become the Tron Legacy of 2012. But it is directed by Pixar legend Andrew Stanton, who wrote Toy Story and directed Finding Nemo and Wall.E. That makes me excited enough for this title.
33 - Men In Black 3
J and K are back, and so are the hilariously plasticky aliens from director Barry Sonnenfeld. The first MIB was a landmark movie with its sophisticated visuals, suave comedy and leads Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. The second one was as bad as the first was great. The third looks a lot like the original, at least in the trailer. MIB3 deals with time travel, Josh Brolin stars as a young TL Jones. There were rumours of a hellish production, with frequent on-set script changes and star squabbles. But that’s the case with many big budget movies. There’s just one hitch – it’s in 3D.
32 - World War Z
Director Mark Forster hasn’t had much luck since The Kite Runner – his Bond movie Quantum of Solace was derided for imitating the Bourne films and Machine Gun Preacher bombed critically and commercially. But World War Z, a post-apocalyptic zombie horror film based on a famous book of the same name could change his luck. The film stars Brad Pitt, and the script has already been hailed as ‘a genre-defining piece of work that could see us all arguing about whether or not a zombie movie qualifies as Best Picture material’.
31 – Hotel Transylvania
Why is an animated movie starring Adam Sandler and Miley Cyrus in a list of the most anticipated movies? Because the legendary TV animator Genndy Tartakovsky makes his feature directorial debut with this film. Tartakovsky was the man responsible for some of the cartoons you compulsorily watched everyday - including Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack, The Powerpuff Girls and 2 Stupid Dogs. Hotel Transylvania revolves around Count Dracula (Sandler), the owner of the titular 5 star hotel frequented by the world’s monsters – Frankenstein (Kevin James), the Mummy (Cee Lo Green), Werewolf (Steve Buschemi) and The Invisible Man (David Spade).
30 - Amour
After the Palm d’Or winning The White Ribbon, legendary director Michael Haneke brings us Amour (Love). The film is about an elderly couple, retired music teachers whose neglectful daughter (Isabelle Huppert) returns home when the mother suffers from a paralytic stroke.
29 – Ted
Another film where a genius TV animator makes his feature debut, Family Guy’s Seth McFarlane directs Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis and Laura Vandervoot in a story of a guy whose childhood teddy bear suddenly comes to life. Don’t let that fool you – this is not a sweet kids’ film. This is Seth McFarlane’s movie, the teddy (voiced my McFarlane himself) is an obnoxious miscreant who indulges in the most unimaginably vulgar lifestyle, scoring chicks, getting drunk, tossing nasty irreverent jokes the kind you find in Family Guy. Bring it on.
28 - The Dictator
Sasha Baron Cohen reunites with his Borat and Bruno director Larry Charles for another mockumentary – this time involving a ‘dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed’. Obviously the dictator General Admiral Alladeen of the Republic Of Wadiya is a parody of Muammar Gaddafi, and the film looks as side-splitting low brow as Borat. The trailer features Alladeen parading around in camels mouthing ‘America, the birthplace of AIDS’, running track races and shooting the competitors, paying Megan Fox for sex and claiming she is much less hairy than Kim Kardashian. The works.
27 - The End
After the excellent Certified Copy, director Abbas Kiarostami returns behind the camera with a Japanese language drama The End. The film stars Aoi Miyazaki and is sort of a continuation of Certified Copy, about an unusual relationship between a student who works as prostitute to pay for her tuition, and a brilliant elderly mathematician who is one of her clients.
26 – The Cabin in the Woods
A bunch of young friends led by Chris Hemsworth (Thor) head over to a cabin in the woods to have a good time, and all hell breaks loose. Sounds familiar, but the tagline of this movie is “You think you know the story….”, and it is written by Joss Wheedon, the grandmaster of geekdom along with Cloverfield writer Drew Goddard. And the trailer makes it out to be much more different than it sounds – a sci fi horror action pizzazz mashup with a genre bending twist in the third act.
25 – 47 Ronin
Starring Keanu Reeves and a band of Japanese actors, 47 Ronin is an epic film about a gang of Samurai who avenge the murder of their master. The film is an LOTR-esque fantasy action adventure, complete with witches and giants, and at $170 million it is one of the biggest budget movies helmed by a first time director (Carl Erik Rinsch). For those unfamiliar with Rinsch, he is a renowned ad filmmaker and is the man behind the critically acclaimed short film The Gift. If the visuals in The Gift are anything to go by, we’re in for a treat with 47 Ronin.
24 - Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
A genre-slicing action thriller set in an alternate reality where the former president of the US is a vampire killer. If that weren’t saucy enough already, the film is produced by Tim Burton and directed by Timur Bekmambetov – they previously collaborated for the awesome bullet bending Wanted.
23 - Lincoln
The other Lincoln movie of the year is directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role (and the resemblance is uncanny). Spielberg recently got his groove back with the incredibly fun Tintin, and it really is hard to not be excited about any film he makes. It helps that his team of cinematographer Janusz Kaminsi, composer John Williams, editor Michael Kahn is back as well. Lincoln is co-written by Tony Kushner, who previously wrote Spielberg’s Munich.
22 – Shanghai
Dibakar Banerjee, fresh from the brilliance of Love Sex aur Dhoka directs Abhay Deol in a political thriller inspired by Vassilis Vassilikos’s book Z. The film deals with the real-life assassination of a dynamic politician and the common man's revenge from the rich and powerful. Those who’ve seen DB’s Khosla ka Ghosla and LSD will be frothing with impatience a day before its release.
21 – The Life of Pi
Ang Lee directs the adaptation of the famous Yann Martel novel about a boy who gets marooned at sea on a small boat with a tiger, a hyena, an orangutan and a zebra. The 3D film stars Tobey Maguire, Tabu, Irrfan Khan, Gerard Depardieu and newcomer Suraj Sharma who plays the lead. Night Shyamalan had declined the offer to direct this movie in favor of the critically ravaged Lady in the Water.
20 – Haywire and Magic Mike
Steven Soderbergh has not one but two films lined up for the year. Haywire is a flat out action thriller starring mixed martial arts star Gina Carano, Antonio Banderas, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas and Channing Tatum. The film is a betrayed-spy-gone-rouge-wants-revenge thriller, and seems a lot like Salt done right. Magic Mike is a comedy about male strippers starring Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer and Matthew McConaughey, and is partly based on Tatum’s own life. Soderberg has claimed to retire soon, and these are two of his supposedly final films.
19 – Frankenweenie
Tim Burton returns to his stop motion animation roots with Frankenweenie, a remake of his own brilliant 1984 short film. Shot in high contrast black in white, Frankenweenie is a parody of the Frankenstein story, fleshed out with Burton’s trademark macabre humour. A boy uses science to bring his dead dog back to life, and everyone in his village, upon seeing the miracle, bring their pets back from the dead. Frankenweenie is written by John August, who also wrote Burton’s Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Big Fish.
18 – The Great Gatsby
Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan star in Baz Luhrmann’s big budget adaptation of the famous Scott Fitzgerald book. There have already been three other films based on the book, but none of them were in 3D. On a side note, Amitabh Bachchan makes his Hollywood debut in this film.
17 – The Bourne Legacy
Jason Bourne’s story came to a spectacular climax in the final ten minutes of The Bourne Ultimatum, but writer Tony Gilroy has taken over the directorial duties for a fourth film. This time, our hero is a new CIA operative in the form of Jeremy Renner. Plot details, though, are under lock and key. While Renner’s casting was an inspired choice, the real draw is Edward Norton who plays the chief villain. Tony Gilroy made a stunning debut with Michael Clayton, perhaps he is the perfect choice to helm the Bourne franchise post the departure of Paul Greengrass’ shaky camera.
16 - Rhinos Season
Iranian filmmaker Bahman Gobadi follows up his outstanding No One Knows About Persian Cats with Rhinos Season, a ‘love story in context of the political changes from before the Iranian revolution to the present’. The film stars Monica Bellucci and former Iranian superstar Behrouz Vossoughi who was deposed from the country thirty years ago.
15 – Red Lights
Director Rodrigo Cortes made a crackerjack innovative movie called Buried back in 2010 that spawned a whole legion of single-location thrillers. Cortes’ latest stars Robert DeNiro, Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver and the talented newbie Elizabeth Olsen – the film revolves around a psychologist and her assistant who study paranormal activity and stumble upon a murder, which leads them to investigate a world-renowned psychic.
14 – Looper
Rian Johnson stormed into the scene with the splendid thriller Brick in 2005, and cemented his place with the exquisite The Brothers Bloom in 2009. The young auteur is back with his Brick star Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a science fiction picture titled Looper. JGL stars as a contract killer who works for a mob and assassinates people who are sent from the future. Things get nasty when he identifies one of his targets as his own older self and lets him escape. Bruce Willis stars as the older JGL; Emily Blunt, Paul Dano and Jeff Daniels round up the super cast.
13 – Skyfall
After the disappointing Quantum of Solace, the James Bond franchise almost caved in as MGM flirted with bankruptcy a little more than a year ago. But the fear has been dispelled because Bond is back, with perhaps the strongest ever team, including director Sam Mendies, writer John Logan, cinematographer Roger Deakins, and a marvelous choice of villains – Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes. Daniel Craig admitted to Quantum being subpar because of the writers’ strike, and disclosed that he had re-written some of the script himself along with director Marc Forster. And the script of Skyfall is supposedly incredible.
12 – Cloud Atlas
Produced by the Wachowskis and directed by Tom Tykwer, Cloud Atlas is the adaptation of the acclaimed novel of the same name. The book has six entwining stories, and every story is narrated by the protagonist in the next. The structure is extremely ambitious, as the stories range from being set in nineteenth century remote South Pacific to a post-apocalyptic future. The movie stars Tom Hanks, Hugo Weaving, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, Ben Whishaw, Halle Berry and others, all in six different roles each. This $100 million movie is going to be undeniably epic.
11 – The Master
Having made masterpiece after masterpiece, leaving our jaws on the floor with such films as Boogie Nights, Magnolia and There will be blood, Paul Thomas Anderson now offers us yet another interesting movie. The Master stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman as a man who after WW2 begins his own faith-based cult that catches on and becomes a vast religion. Joaquin Phoenix stars as his devotee who slowly begins to question the principles of his mentor and the cult. The movie is clearly about Scientology, and the PSH character is based on Scientology founder Ron L Hubbard. Incidentally Tom Cruise, a scientologist in real life, played a similar character in Magnolia.
10 – Argo
Over the past five years, Ben Affleck has metamorphosed from an ‘untalented actor friend of Matt Damon’ to an exceedingly talented filmmaker and a great leading man. Affleck surprised everyone with his directorial debut Gone Baby Gone and took it to a whole new level with the terrific heist drama The Town. His latest Argo ‘chronicles the real life covert operation to rescue Americans, which unfolded behind the scenes of the Iran hostage crisis—the truth of which was unknown by the public for decades’. Simply put, Affleck plays a CIA agent who leads a team that poses as a filmmaking crew to rescue American hostages from Tehran. Affleck co-wrote the script with Good Night and Good Luck writer Grant Heslov.
9 – Dark Shadows
A film based on a weird gothic TV series about a twisted gang comprising of a playboy vampire, a witch, an alcoholic psychiatrist, a creepy caretaker and barely-human kids. Sounds like something Tim Burton would do. And he is. The movie stars Johnny Depp (of course) as the vampire, Helena Bonham Carter (of course) as a crazy bitch, Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloe Moretz, Eva Green, Jack Earle Healey and others. Dark Shadows is written by Burton regular John August (of course) and is scored by Danny Elfman (naturally). Dark Shadows releases a few months after Burton’s other film Frankenweenie, and if it’s even half as good as Sweeney Todd, we’re in for some seriously good cinema.
8 – Brave
Pixar films are yearly rituals to head over to movie halls and come out completely overwhelmed with delight. Although their recent movie Cars 2 wasn’t very original, Brave is something they have never done before – it’s a fairy tale with a female as the protagonist. But unlike in Disney movies, the heroine of Brave is a Scottish adventuress who fights battles. And just look at that hair!
7 – Avengers
The ultimate gift for comic nuts, directed by geek God Joss Whedon, The Avengers features Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner)and Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson)who battle against Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his plans to destroy the earth. Safe to say, one can expect some pretty bombastic CGI blowout stuff from Industrial Light & Magic.
6 - Gangs of Wasseypur
It’s an Anurag Kashyap film, and it’s an epic packaged in two parts. Need I say more?
5 - Django Unchained
After bringing us the B-movie-esque irreverence of WW2 in Inglorious Basterds, maestro Quentin Tarantino heads even further back in time – Django Unchained is about a slave who joins forces with a bounty hunter to take revenge against an unscrupulous plantation owner and rescue his imprisoned wife. Tarantino has amassed an absurdly strong cast of actors – with Leonadro DiCaprio playing the villain, Jamie Foxx as the slave, Christoph Waltz as the bounty hunter, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Samuel L Jackson, Anthony LaPaglia, Kurt Russel, Kerry Washington and Don Johnson. The script is available online, and those who’ve read it will confirm that Django Unchained makes Inglorious Basterds look like a Disney movie. It’s going to be extremely offensive, insanely violent, brutally misogynist and outrageously brash. Just the way Tarantino fans like it.
4 – Gravity
Director Alfonso Cuarón’s long gestating science fiction movie stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as two astronauts stranded in space. Gravity is supposedly an ultra-ambitious mostly-silent film and is being made with some allegedly revolutionary technology that is more immersive than anything we’ve seen before. As per Guillermo del Toro, “they are absolutely pushing a new boundary in filmmaking, completely mind-blowing”. Perhaps like in Cuarón’s Children of Men this film will be a bunch of shots digitally stitched together to look like one continuous take. The plot itself is very intriguing – two people floating in space after their shuttle is destroyed, leaving them tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness with a slackening supply of oxygen.
3 – Prometheus
It gives me goosebumps to know that the man who single handedly changed the face of science fiction TWICE is offering us a new big budget sci fi movie. Prometheus began as a prequel to Alien but director Ridley Scott and writer Damon Lindelof decided to make an altogether new story. Starring Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba and Michael Fassbender as an Android, Prometheus deals with a bunch of scientists who set sail to discover the origins of the universe. Scott did later claim that the movie will feature ‘the DNA of Alien, especially in the third act’. Prometheus is set before the events of the seminal 1979 film, and I have a feeling the film will throw a light on how the Xenomorphs were created. The poster of Prometheus is basically the poster of Alien with a giant face floating in it. And the trailer is pretty exciting shite.
2 – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
It’s been exactly ten years since Peter Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring brought hordes of folks to the theaters and left them slobbering for more. After The Return of the King, Guillermo del Toro was chosen to direct the prequel and he worked on it for more than a year. Unfortunately he left the project, and is now doing a movie about giant robots battling giant monsters. Peter Jackson returned to the director’s chair for the Hobbit films, and we’ll once again be thrust in treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers. Much of the original cast including Gollum returns, but the more interesting news is that Jackson is shooting The Hobbit at 48FPS with the Red EPIC 3D camera.
1 - The Dark Knight Rises
Without a doubt, THE most anticipated movie of 2012. Every punk and his dog want to see the Dark Knight rise, the geeks want to see Bane break Batman’s back, the horny ones want to see Anne Hathaway stretch in leather, studio execs want Bane to speak a bit more clearly. But what I really want is to watch this movie before anyone else, on the biggest screen possible.
Honorable Mentions: Michael, Talaash, Seven Psychopaths, Total Recall, Gangster squad, Rise of the Guardians
Dishonorable Mentions: Madagascar 3, Ice Age 4.
Guilty Pleasures: Expendables 2, GI Joe2, Wrath of the Titans, American Reunion
Which are YOUR most anticipated films of 2012? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Which are YOUR most anticipated films of 2012? Share your thoughts in the comments below.