Looking Forward to 2012: Movie Edition

New  Year

I unfortunately was so ridiculously busy this year that I didn’t see that many movies, listen to that much music or do much at all except work. However in the spirit of new beginnings I’m hoping this year will be quite different. In that spirit I’m going to list my top anticipated films of the new year.

Feel free to call me an idiot for my picks. Or just add in your own.


#5 Django Unchained

Tarantino has been working on his western for over a decade. I suspect it’ll be like Inglorious Basterds and bear little resemblance to rumors of what the plot will be. (In Basterds the main characters somehow became somewhat minor characters) The cast is fantastic and is a bit of a mashup between the classic Spaghetti Westerns and Blacksploitation films. The title is based on an old influential western that I saw. (It definitely did not live up to the hype) It was supposed to have stared Will Smith but for various reasons now stars Jamie Foxx. I’ve never been a big Foxx fan, although he is talented. We’ll see how it goes. Foxx plays an escaped slave and Tarantino does his usual reinvention of older actors to fill the rest of the roles.  It’s an all star cast including Basterd’s Waltz along with DiCaprio and Kurt Russell. And Don Johnson is supposed to be playing the evil slave master.

Say what you will about the excesses of Kill Bill or Inglorious Basterds. I still enjoyed both although I hope he plays this one a little more straight. (More like Reservoir Dogs or Jackie Brown)

#4 The Hobbit

The big concern is whether Jackson can play up the tone of The Hobbit correctly. It is light hearted and fun. Much more of a children’s book than the dark and heavy Lord of the Rings. In some ways the flaws in his original trilogy have become more obvious with time. And the special effects much more dated. Clearly Jackson is pushing the technology on this new film. To me, at least, the art direction seems spot on – especially for the dwarves. But there are some legitimate worries.

I’m going to rematch the original trilogy soon to see if it truly has aged as poorly as some have suggested. It’s been an awfully long time since I last watched it. Still, I’m truly excited that this film is coming and hope for the best. It’s a great year when this is the fourth most anticipated film of the year.

#3 Skyfall

I’ve already written a lot about Bond. But man I’m excited about this one. It seems like it has people who truly care about the character and have spent a long time crafting the story and script. It’s supposed to bring forward Bond as the suave character. And it’s rumored to have the reinvention of Blofield and his (or her) cat. The plot is about attempting to recover a fallen spy satellite with events from M’s past potentially unraveling MI-6. Honestly, I can’t wait.

#2 Prometheus

Ridley Scott has had a few misses. (Robin Hood or 1492 anyone?) But even many of his failures are interesting and enjoyable. (Kingdom of Heaven or Matchstick Men) Here he may be returning to the film that started it all for him: Alien. However he’s denied that this is a prequel. Exactly what it’s relationship to Alien isn’t quite sure. It sure looks like it’s the spaceship that Ripley found the alien egg on. It has a very similar art design.

It’s been a very long time since Scott did science fiction but when he did do it he created two of the all time masterpieces of the genre: Alien and Blade Runner. If ever there was a film fans absolutely want to be great this is it. What people fear is that despite a director with undeniable talent and an amazing cast of actors that it’ll all fall flat.

#1 The Dark Knight Rises

I don’t care what any of the haters say. I’ve liked every film Nolan has done and have loved the last few he’s done. Yes I know the controversy over how he stages and edits action scenes. Old school editors hate him and think he confuses the audience. I agree it’s not the classic style but who cares? I feel involved in his film whereas Michael Bay leaves me nauseated.

But what I truly love about this upcoming film is wondering just what he’s going to do with it. Even in his initial Batman film he truly rethought things. But with the Joker he gave us something new yet complex. His films are deeper than your typical summer blockbuster – even if they aren’t quite as deep as some fans like to pretend. But hey, neither was the Matrix. With this one we know he’s playing on the minor character of Bane who broke Batman’s back and nearly ended his career in the comics. The previews make it seem like Nolan may have anticipated a lot of this summer’s occupy Wall Street movement. Honestly though no one knows what he is going to do. And that’s half the anticipation.


10 thoughts on “Looking Forward to 2012: Movie Edition

  1. Amen, Clark. That list sounds about right to me as well. Looking forward to each of those. Oddly, Skyfall is sounding better and better the more I read about it. And the extended Dark Knight preview that preceded the IMAX version of MI: Ghost Protocol looked pretty awesome…

  2. I will see the Avengers but the Marvel movies outside of a few exceptions have been kind of mediocre. It seems that with Marvel attempting to bring all the lines back into Disney and do crossovers has led to. We probably won’t get horrid atrocities from Disney/Marvel akin to Ghost Rider or The Punisher but neither will we get great films like Nolan’s Batman or (arguably) even the first two Spidermans.

    There is of course a new revamp of Spiderman coming out this summer which I could have added. However I think the loss of Sam Rami was huge. This new Spiderman is very much Sony attempting to maintain their license to keep it from reverting to Disney. And, I’d argue, most of what was bad about the third film was due to Marvel and what killed the fourth film was Marvel not wanting Raimi to do what I thought was a fantastic idea.

    So I just don’t trust Marvel. The first Iron Man was, I think, an exception. The second one demonstrated what I fear about Marvel. Even Captain America, which I thought was directed great, was undermined by Marvel. (The first half was excellent, the second half should have been spread across three separate films) Marvel is definitely calling the shots on The Avengers which has me less than thrilled.

    Add in what might be blasphemy to some here – that I find Josh Whedon the most overrated writer and director in Hollywood. So I know some are thinking he’ll deliver the goods whereas I think we’ll get more Firefly and Dollhouse.

    Put succinctly I’ll probably see Avengers and Spiderman. But I have very little faith they’ll be any better than the last batch of Marvel films (The Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man 2)

  3. I’m looking forward to the Hobbit more than anything, mostly because, even with it’s problems, LOTR was still great and I think Jackson has learned a lot since then. I trust him to get it right, and I think the trailer shows more reason to be hopeful than fearful about it.

    I’m not interested in the Tarantino movie at all, mostly because he gets my vote for the most overrated director in Hollywood. I haven’t seen much from him that I’ve liked since Pulp Fiction, although I did enjoy Jacki Brown.

    Of the others you mention, I’m most looking forward to the Bond film, although the Dark Knight will probably be good as well. Don’t know what to think about Prometheus.

    I don’t know why you’re dissing Firefly, that was a good series that led to an even better movie. Joss (not Josh) Whedon still has my vote as one of the best around.

    Any word on the dates for these movies? I know Hobbit isn’t out till December, are the others summer movies or what?

  4. Clicking on the links, it looks like Dark Knight is summer and Prometheus is June. Bond appears to be set for fall.

  5. I probably think about Whedon what you think about Tarantino. With the difference being that even if you hate Tarantino’s scripts and his glorying in wretched B-movies he does know how to compose a scene. Whedon’s director chops in terms of where to put the camera seem rather lacking. (Don’t know why I said Josh) But everyone has a director they don’t care for. Of course even I won’t forgive Tarantino his Death Proof.

    I was hoping someone would have a few other hoped for movies. (I was anticipating Spiderman and Avengers) An other one I’m curious about is the Hunger Games. I’m just not at all sure how to take that. The book is intense but as the review here noted ends with a very depressing (in the sense of the book not being as good as hoped) third volume. Gary Ross is a competent director who has only two previous films: Seabiscut and Pleasantville. I wasn’t a fan of Pleasantville the way most were. And nothing from either of those films lets me know what to expect from this (other that the compositions will be very well done). It’s a pretty depressing series but I assume Hollywood won’t want to done as an art house film. We’ll see what the producers decide upon. Interestingly Ross appears to have a lot of control having done much of the screenplay.

    Other interesting films are a new Malick film supposedly even more experimental that Tree of Life. I’m surprisingly not a Malick fan but if that’s your thing you’ll be excited. I’m somewhat curious as to how Bigelow handles the new Osama ben Ladin film she’s doing for next year. Even though I think zombies are ridiculously overdone I am intrigued by Brad Pitt’s World War Z based upon the well regarded book I’ve not yet read.

  6. My daughter is looking forward to the Hunger Games movies, as she read the books. I don’t know much about them but they appear to have a pretty solid following among teens, especially girls.

    As with many people, my daughter found the finale of that trilogy to be frustrating and depressing. My guess is that it will be changed somewhat for the movies.

    Anyway there’s these:

    Star Trek 2
    Great Gatsby
    The Magician’s Nephew
    Superman Man of Steel
    The Fighter 2
    Zombieland 2
    The Bourne Legacy

  7. I don’t get the Firefly hate, Clark. Now, Joss can be wildly uneven (Dollhouse was a mess, despite a few good episodes, Buffy’s last three seasons were a definete hit and miss, but Angel was consistently – but not evenly – good it’s entire run, and Firefly – with the exception of the two episodes mandated by the network – was brilliant, and Dr. Horrible was genius).

    Of course, I have no real love for Tarantino, although his one scene in Muppet Wizard of Oz was the only redeeming feature of that mess.

    Other thoughts:

    Hobbit looks good. The trailer’s beats that played up things like the ring and Gollum were likley just to aim at the portion of the audience who haven’t read the books and only know the film.

    I don’t really understand the choice to go to Magician’s Nephew, since the changes made to “Dawn Treader” were clearly meant to tie it more closely to The Silver Chair. They found a pretty good actor for Eustance – I don’t see why they want to risk him getting too old for the next movie.

    The Dark Knight Rises looks awesome. Skyfall sounds promising. I’m waiting to be disappointed by Prometheus, but hope it will be good. I think Avengers will be good, though. But then, I’m one of the few people I know who really, really liked the Eric Bana Hulk movie.

    Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance – early reviews are not good, though they do say it was better than the first, but that’s a low bar to clear. I will see it anyway, because he is my favorite comics characters, but I have no real hopes it will be any good – especially after the “pissing fire” shot in the trailer.

  8. I don’t know what it is about Whedon that bugs me. He’s not bad. It’s just that to me he’s merely competent. And in film I find what you can get away with in TV just doesn’t work. It’s not so much that I hate him as I don’t. It’s just that I don’t find anything special about him. He’s definitely not Ewe Boll or something though. With regards to Firefly I just don’t get what people see in it. The quality as I see it honestly wasn’t much better than Dollhouse. And Dollhouse had some interesting aspects to it but just didn’t “connect.”

    To me he’s just one of many of the post-Tarantino writers or directors who are self aware about film and pop culture. So they inject that into the dialog. But where Tarantino (love him or hate him) seems to achieve something a bit more transcendent typically (we’ll ignore From Dusk to Dawn and Death Proof) most others just come off poorly. Whedon’s not as bad as say Joe Carnahan turned out to be. But he doesn’t do much more for me. And at least Carnahan had the fantastic short and Narc. (Admittedly Whedon’s not done anything as wretched as the A-Team though)

    I liked the Eric Bana Hulk movie as well. I thought it was an interesting, if problematic, attempt to bring something more to the film. I think people were just really, really confused by the ending. Which I understand. I liked the second one too though. It was flawed the way Marvel’s other takes were (Captain America and Thor) but I really dug the take on Banner that Edward Norton gave it. I was disappointed to hear that there was a break between him and Marvel. Honestly even though its reviews were worse than Thor or Captain America I thought it worked overall much better. I was really looking forward to the sequel.

    Star Trek 2 is 2013 and note 2012 I believe.

    Superman is an interesting one. I’ve just not liked the art design in the shots I’ve seen. I also don’t like the idea of yet an other origin story. And I don’t think Snyder’s proved himself yet. Watchmen was his best film yet but that film struggled the most in the action sequences which still were a little too 300ish for me. The parts that he did best on also tended to be the parts where he was following the comic closest. So I’m not sure what to think. I’ve just not liked any of his other films.

    It’s too bad as I love the character of Superman but no one know how to deal with him. DC’s currently revamping him. I’m not really a comic book reader so it’s not a big deal to me. I didn’t like the revamp in the 90’s which made him much more of an alpha male as Clark Kent. The new revamp (or what I’ve seen) doesn’t do much for me either. I had big hopes for Singer’s version, which honestly was very well directed. But the whole kid subplot, the decision to effectively remake Donner’s Superman, and especially the take on Lex Luther bugged me a great deal. If there’s one thing I’m glad about the Snyder version is that they’re leaving Luther out. While the Smallville series honestly sucked, I really liked the take in the early seasons on Luther and especially his dad.

    Lincoln looks great in the pictures. I’m not sure what to make of it. More interesting is the film of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Killer that looks hilarious. (I’ve not read the book) The new Bourne movie I’m not sure what to make of. It’s a completely different character. So it’s not really a Bourne movie. I suspect it’ll be a pale shadow since Damon brought a lot to the role.

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