With 2011 rapidly coming to an end, many film fans are hastily spending their remaining days in local theaters, trying to catch a few more of the year’s films before they return to their everyday lives. And why not? The last days of the year always prove to have a great mixture of crazy fun, big-budget films – like Sherlock Holmes and Mission Impossible – and quiet, awards-y films – like The Iron Lady or My Week With Marilyn.
Personally, I feel like 2011 is so… last year. I’m more than ready to move on to the sure-to-be fateful 2012, destiny-driven by a cocktail of the Mayans, an upcoming United States presidential election and a more the promising handful of movies. I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, and now I’m pining for a fresh batch of films.
It’s time to look at the most anticipated films of 2012. Out with the old, and in with the new; shall we?
10. The Great Gatsby (December 25)
What could be more appropriate for Christmas 2012 than an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s celebrated and always-read-in-high-school novel? A film version with Leonard DiCaprio as Gatsby himself, of course. Coming from director Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge! and Romeo + Juliet), Tobey Maguire is playing Nick Carraway, and Carey Mulligan is playing Daisy Buchanan in this film version.
I can only assume that, with such a respected cast, crew and source, The Great Gatsby will provide luscious costumes, production-value royalty and Academy Award contention galore.
9. The Avengers (May 4)
If for no other reason, how can one not be looking forward to The Avengers, even in the slightest? I’ve been on board since Iron Man and the re-birth of Robert Downey Jr. in 2008. Releases of well-made, fitting films like Thor and Captain America leading up to the film didn’t hamper my anticipation either.
Downey, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johannson and Jeremy Renner are just a few of the actors in the award-winning cast, and the film is being directed and co-written by nerd god Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), putting it in safe hands.
While the constant promotion is starting to sicken me, I’ll obviously be in line for The Avengers this May. By its very definition, can anything be more “epic” than a promising Joss Whedon-directed film version of The Avengers?
8. The Amazing Spider-Man (July 3)
Yes, another superhero movie. I am growing weary of them as well. However – being directed by Marc Webb ((500) Days of Summer), The Amazing Spider-Man grabs my attention. Not to mention its adorable leads: Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. Any film with a Garfield and Stone romance has potential enough for me to see it.
Although the superhero-origin-story is getting obscenely overdone in American cinema, that doesn’t make the origin story of Spider-Man any less awesome. If this version is as good as the 2002 Spider-Man, with an indie-like twist from its director, then it should still be a watchable film at the least. And compared to other origin stories – fresh.
7. Seven Psychopaths (Release date still unlisted; sometime in 2012)
Seven Psychopaths re-unites the writer/director and actor team of Martin McDonagh and Colin Farrell, the duo behind 2008’s most under-appreciated and gorgeous film, In Bruges. That alone is enough for me, because if you haven’t seen In Bruges yet, you need to see it right now. It’s easily one of the year’s most impressive.
Starring Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell in addition to Farrell, Seven Psychopaths tells the story of a struggling screenwriter (Farrell), whose best friend (Rockwell) steals the dog of a psychopath (Walken). Or something crazy-unique and awesome-sounding like that.
The only thing that could potentially make this film sound better would be the re-appearance of Harry, the hysterically principle-driven boss played by Ralph Fiennes in In Bruges.
6. World War Z (December 21)
A serious movie about zombies starring Brad Pitt? Okay, you’ve got me. I’m in line. World War Z is based on the novel by Max Brooks, a post-zombie-apocalypse book told mostly in first person anecdotes. It’s kind of like an intellectual’s look at zombies, and the movie managed to snag Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, Quantum of Solace) as its director.
As a huge fan of horror films, I love whenever a scary movie crosses the line into respectable-by-the-masses territory, which is rare. The fact that a zombie book is getting attention the likes of Oscar-nominee and choosy actor Brad Pitt makes the film seem that more inevitably impressive. According to IMDb, the film will focus on “a UN representative, writing a report on the great zombie war, interviews survivors in the wake of World War Z.” Interested yet?
5. The Dark Knight Rises (July 20)
Probably the most anticipated film by the world in general, The Dark Knight Rises needs no introduction. It is the follow-up to director Christopher Nolan‘s genre-defining film, The Dark Knight, which seemed to blow the minds of young and old, ladies and gentlemen, and those of every race, religion and creed across the globe. Christian Bale will be starring as Batman, and Tom Hardy is going to play the film’s lead villain, Bane.
If The Dark Knight Rises is even on par with the average Nolan film (Inception, Batman Begins, The Prestige), it will be one of the greatest films of the year. If it approaches the genius of The Dark Knight – it could be the best. The only thing holding me back from full-on manic excitement about this film is overexposure to promotion and the absence of Heath Ledger‘s embodiment of The Joker.
4. The Cabin in the Woods (April 13)
More Joss Whedon! The aforementioned filmmaker is co-writing this horror film with director Drew Goddard, who has been behind some of the most influential projects in recent film and television, like Lost, Cloverfield and Alias. Similar to my feelings about World War Z – I love when it seems like a horror film is actually going to be mainstream and treated like a real film.
The well-guarded premise of the film is currently only known to be what one would expect from the title: five friends encounter a cabin in the woods and bad stuff happens. But hey – you can’t expect much plot revelation from the writer of Cloverfield anyway. Here’s hoping that The Cabin in the Woods can be half as awesome as Lost was, and even remotely scary, beating all the odds for its category.
3. Django Unchained (December 25)
The next film from Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained is about a slave-turned-bounty-hunter who tries to rescue his wife from a plantation. As usual – Tarantino crosses uncharted lands, and as usual, he has assembled a cast of Gods: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson and Sacha Baron Cohen.
Quentin Tarantino arguably makes the most consistently innovative films in Hollywood. His 2009 release, Inglourious Basterds, was not only my favorite film of that year, but also it instilled what is an unconditional and will remain everlasting love of Austrian actor Christoph Waltz, who has since been making the circuit of non-Tarantino directors’ films in America, torturing fans like myself who are dying for the next Tarantino-Waltz mash-up.
2. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (December 14)
Has anyone forgotten how life-changing The Lord of the Rings was? I didn’t even watch television for a few years. I only watched Lord of the Rings. Honestly, there’s no reason why this film shouldn’t be the most anticipated film of the year, if not the new decade. If The Hobbit even approaches Lord of the Rings in quality – it’ll be one of the most beloved films of the year.
Not to mention the significant changes in technology since Return of the King came out, even though the Lord of the Rings films still have graphics that put some new movies to shame. Martin Freeman is probably going to be totally adorable as Bilbo, and with Peter Jackson directing, I can’t see how The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey could be anything less than incredible.
1. The Hunger Games (March 23)
I know I just said that The Hobbit should easily be the most anticipated film of 2012. But – fierce, fierce source material. That’s the first thing that comes to mind when I think about The Hunger Games. Suzanne Collins’s titular novel is a riveting read, from the cliffhanger at the end of chapter one to the suspense-driven ending.
Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth have been near-flawlessly cast as Katniss, Peeta and Gale, alongside an equally carefully-crafted cast including Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks. If director Gary Ross can pull off a successful adaptation of the book, which would be difficult, The Hunger Games could not only be one of the best films of the year, but also could start an enormously profitable and popular franchise.
A franchise that I would be able to gobble-up gluttonously, attempting to fill the cavernous hole left in my heart by the release of the last Harry Potter film. Basically – The Hunger Games is number one on this list, because I need it to be.
Overall, 2012 seems like it could be a stellar year for cinema, and December in particular is looking to be a pretty promising month, eh?