Trespass’ writers takes a look into 2012 (near and far) and pick out their most anticipated films.
The films I’m most looking forward to this year fall into fairly distinct categories. So rather than neglect to mention any of what are sure to be fantastic cinematic experiences, I’m pitching these films against each other in a battle to gain the coveted title of ‘most anticipated’ in their genre. Let the games begin.
Films Based on Comic Books
Winner: The Dark Knight Rises
Duh. Although I am ridiculously keen to see what Joss Whedon does with his super hero ensemble, and equally keen to see Andrew Garfield’s bulging biceps – Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises is set to be an explosive end to an epic trilogy, where the political subtext and commentary on corruption in the previous films, becomes the outright text. This is a film about class warfare. Occupy Gotham.
Films Based on Fairytales
Winner: Snow White and the Huntmen
We have already seen how poorly fairytale adaptations can be executed (think 2011’s Red Riding Hood), but I have faith that all three of these films will rise above that incredibly low bar. Hansel and Gretel is set 15 years after the original fairytale, and stars Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as the children all-grown-up, and now intent on revenge. Snow White and the Huntsmen is a darker, edgier retelling of the original fairytale starring Kristen Stewart. Mirror Mirror is another, more kid-friendly adaptation of Snow White, starring Julia Roberts as the evil queen. It could go either way, but I’m looking forward to Snow White and the Huntsmen. Mostly for the style, but also for the opportunity to see a girl kick ass.
Films Based on Novels
Winner: The Great Gatsby
This choice is made more difficult by the fact that all three films are based on books that I love. Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights is the first film adaptation to star a black man in the role of Heathcliff, and the cinematography looks stunning. The Perks of Being a Wallflower stars Harry Potter’s Emma Watson, which is reason enough for me. But when it comes down to it, I cannot imagine anything more visually glorious than a Baz Luhrmann film set in the 1920s.
And… Films Starring Michael Fassbender
Seriously, where is Michael Fassbender not in 2012? I’m looking forward to all three of these films for different reasons, but Shame – detailing the life and life-break down of a man suffering from an addiction to sex – looks like it will contain some pretty powerful performances.
If the reunification of Juno’s writer Diablo Cody (United States of Tara) and director Jason Reitman (Up In The Air) is not enough to get you excited, how about the promise of a gutsy comic performance from the underrated Charlize Theron (Monster)? This film looks to be everything that the pallid Bad Teacher was too afraid to be.
Having lost an element of surprise with his faux documentary satires on American celebrity and redneck culture, Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat, Bruno) returns with what appears to be a more scripted approach about a Middle-Eastern dictator. If the trailer is anything to go by, it still looks to possess Cohen’s trademark outrageous political incorrectness. Fingers crossed.
Woody Allen releases a film almost every year. While the quality varies, as it does with any prolific filmmaker, every now and then he hits one out of the park. Last year’s gorgeous Midnight in Paris ranked with his very best and leaves high hopes for this year’s comedy Nero Fiddled. Featuring an all-star cast, including Ellen Page, Jesse Eisenberg, Penelope Cruz and Alec Baldwin, here’s hoping Woody can do it twice in a row.
It may have been released in 2011 in most other countries, however few films elicit feverish anticipation in the manner of Steve McQueen’s Shame. Be it the feature’s status as the second effort from the artist turned director after the Cannes Film Festival Camera d’Or-winning Hunger, its explicit tale of sex addiction that sordidly spans promiscuous protagonist Brandon and his sister, or the casting of current hot commodities Michael Fassbender (Jane Eyre) and Carey Mulligan (Never Let Me Go) in the aforementioned roles, Shame offers an abundance of elements that evoke excitement.
The Place Beyond the Pines / Only God Forgives
In 2010, Blue Valentine secured top spot on my best of the year list. In 2011, Drive took the honours. Accordingly, it is difficult to contain my enthusiasm for Ryan Gosling’s second collaborations with directors Derek Cianfrance and Nicolas Winding Refn (a generational crime film about fathers and sons, and an existential gangster film reported to be the strangest thing Gosling has ever read, respectively), with each – on paper at least – possible contenders for 2012’s best if the current trend continues.
In 2005, Rian Johnson’s Brick re-imagined the noir detective in the context of an American high school, earning acclaim and awards along the way. In 2008, his sophomore outing The Brothers Bloom took a comedic look at con men capers, in an effort seen as eccentric, but also underrated. After a four year break, Johnson will unveil his third feature, the sci-fi/action offering Looper. With a cast that includes Brick’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt as well as Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano and Garret Dillahunt, and a concept steeped in time travel, be prepared to revel in Johnson’s latest genre spin.
It has been three years since a Wes Anderson feature graced cinema screens (2009’s Fantastic Mr Fox), and five since his films contained actors (2007’s The Darjeeling Limited). Returning to both with regular cast members Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman and Owen Wilson (as well as Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Harvey Keitel), Moonrise Kingdom sees the director delve into the world of twelve year-old runaways (Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward), in a movie that might just be something a little different for the writer director.
Whether you love him, hate him, or aren’t too fussed either way, each Steven Spielberg effort warrants attention. However, for his sole slated release of 2012 – after The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse in 2011 – the director is far from the star attraction, courtesy of his lead actor: Daniel Day-Lewis. In only his second screen role since winning the best actor Oscar for 2007’s There Will Be Blood, the masterful performer inhabits the part of the famous American president. Given Day-Lewis’ mesmerising prowess in every other listing on his impressive resume, it is safe to assume his turn as Lincoln shouldn’t be missed.
Any Questions for Ben?
Any questions for Working Dog, more like it. Even if the latest film from the crew behind The Castle, The Dish, and plenty of golden TV comedy, looks like somewhat of a divergence to their usual fare, I’m still anticipating it with a bated breath. With Josh Lawson and Rachael Taylor, we know it’ll at least be a good looking affair, but I hope it’s a big Aussie success for 2012.
I had resisted the urge to be excited by Prometheus; Ridley Scott has hardly been an exciting filmmaker for some time now, and returning to the Alien universe seemed like a regressive move. However, the recently released teaser is an absolute corker and now I’ve had to add “Prometheus” to my computer dictionary as I suspect I’ll be typing it quite a lot in 2012.
Science-fiction is a genre that so rarely remembers the “science” and merely adheres to the “fiction”. With Gravity, a two-hander starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, director Alfonso Cuaron has the chance to do again what he did with Children of Men and create a gripping and distinctly scientific look at our place within this world.
The Great Gatsby
I just can’t ignore Baz Luhrmann. Over 9 years he forged one of the greatest ever opening directorial innings with Strictly Ballroom (1992), Williams Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (1996) and Moulin Rouge! (2001). With The Great Gatsby we have one of the big gambles of 2012 – an adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s notoriously tricky book, and filmed in 3D with huge stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire and Joel Edgerton. I’m intrigued, confused, bedazzled and mesmerised – the balls in your court, Mr Luhrmann!
Untitled Terrence Malick Project
Knowing Terrence Malick’s filmmaking speed all too well makes this a tricky selection to make, but I went with it anyway. Following on the heels of The Tree of Life, this untitled project (formerly known as The Burial) – the first of two for Malick in the coming years – stars Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams and is apparently a far trickier film than even Tree proved to be. If it is released in 2012, as has been suggested, it will be the quickest turn around for Malick who, on average, takes about a decade between sits in the director’s chair.
There are many many cinematic treats I’m anticipating in 2012; Quentin Tarantino‘s Django Unchained, Nolan‘s final Batman installment, Andrew Garfield as Spiderman and the best titled film for 2012- Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. However my picks are the five films that have intrigued me most as 2012 releases (hopefully in Australia). Most are still trailer-less so there is reasonably limited information on which to judge them. What these picks all have in common is that their directors have made films in the past which I have loved and/or admired.
Initially incorrectly rumoured to be a vampire film, this psychological thriller has being getting buzz for being Park Chan-wook English-language debut. The South Korean director has already given us his brilliant revenge trilogy ( Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, Old Boy and Lady Vengeance), but with an English language films comes the opportunity to work with a whole new pool of actors, and both the cast and the plot sound pretty fascinating for Stoker. Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska play mother and daughter, Evelyn and India Stoker. Matthew Goode plays India’s mysterious uncle Charlie who shows up after the death of her father. Jacki Weaver is also appears as a member of the Stoker family. The script was written by Wentworth Miller of Michael Scofield/Prison Break fame, whether the actor can pen a good screenplay who knows?, but all the elements certainly sound appealing.
Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums, The Fantastic Mr. Fox) has a new film for 2012, which he has co-written with regular collaborator Roman Coppola. Most notable aspect of this new film is its stellar cast; Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Harvey Keitel, Jason Schwartzman. A 60s set drama on an island off New England the film focuses on the search for a pair of young runaways, by their family and friends. At the very least with this film, we know we’re going to get a great movie soundtrack for 2012.
Another film starring Bruce Willis (move over Michael Fassbender and Ryan Gosling), this time it is a sci-fi thriller co-starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt. A tale of time-travel and hitmen, this film is on my list because it sees the re-teaming of director Rian Johnson and star Gordon-Levitt, who in 2005 made the excellent Brick together.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Ruben Fleischer debut film the Zombie comedy, Zombieland (2009). Starring man of the moment, Ryan Gosling, with Emma Stone, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Anthony Mackie and Giovanni Ribisi thrown in you’ve got a cast not to be sniffed at. The synopsis so far is simply; a 40s/50s crime drama set in LA, where the local police are trying to keep out East Coast organised crime; not a lot to go on but colour me intrigued.
Into the Abyss
You just never know what you are going to get from a Werner Herzog documentary (Grizzly Man, Cave of Forgotten Dreams). Normally in his non-fiction work he tends to focus on nature, but with this new film he has stepped into a new terrain with his subject being death-row inmate Michael Perry. This exploration of American’s death penalty system had a limited release in the US in November 2011 and has played at a couple of festivals. It is earmarked for a release in Europe in March this year, if it will get to our shores who knows, but I will certainly be keeping an eye out for it.