Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Top 50 Most Anticipated Movies of 2012: 50 - 41

Despite my love of all these lists that crop up at the beginning and end of each year, I am actually growing tired of them. Yet here I am, drawing up a list of no less than 50 movies I'm most looking forward to this year. I know it's frightfully unoriginal (there are literally thousands of these lists out there, so I don't expect you to leap to this one), but I decided to do this list for three reasons. One, this blog is very much about cinematic anticipation. I mean, it even has its own Constellation of Cinematic Anticipation! So it would actually be a shame not to create some sort of list mapping out what we hope to be one of the greatest years in cinema. Two, I can use it as my own guide for movies coming out this year. It will be interesting to see, after I have seen all of them, how they actually stack up against each other. Some are bound to suck, others will be awesome, and I'm sure there are quite a few that aren't in the list that could end up being the best movies of 2012. Three, this list may serve as an indication of what movies I like and what my reasoning is, and therefore whether this blog is worth coming back to at all.

That all being said, there are the inevitable caveats. One, ranking the top 50 most anticipated films is a nigh impossible task. I'm pretty set on the top, say, 20, but after that it's all a bit of a guessing game. Two, which follows from one, is that the list was compiled pretty quickly. For that reason, I do expect it to contain more than just one or two errors in judgment. Three, there are a number of movies that are 2011 releases which I am crazy excited for. They have not come out in South Africa yet, but are not on this list either. Included are Martha Marcy May Marlene (this weekend), Take Shelter, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Skin I Live In, Shame, Rampart and more. Okay, enough. Hit the jump to see numbers 50 down (up) to 41...

50. Rock of Ages
Director: Adam Shankman (Hairspray)
Starring: Tom Cruise, Bryan Cranston, Malin Akerman, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alec Baldwin, Paul Giamatti, Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Mary J Blige.
Release Date: 1 June 2012 (USA)
Synopsis: Set in 1987 Los Angeles, Drew and Sherrie are two young people chasing their dreams in the big city. When they meet, it's love at first sight, though their romance will face a series of challenges.
Because: I hate musicals (except for Once and Moulin Rouge). But I do love 80s rock, and this cast is simply so damn awesome that it single handedly forces this film onto my list, and Tom Cruise is at his very best when he gets to let his hair down. I'll get drunk before seeing it though. Here is a link to the trailer.

49. Sleep Tight (Mientras Duermes)
Director: Jaume Balagueró (Rec and Rec 2)
Starring: Luis Tosar and Marta Etura
Release Date: It's technically a 2011 release (having premiered on 23 September 2011 at Fantastic Fest), but hasn't hit the big screen yet.
Storyline: You wake day after day to the comfort and security of your home. But how safe is it really? (It's about a psychopathic doorman who takes it upon himself to ruin the lives of others in general, and one female resident in particular.)
Because: I like Jaume Balagueró, I love horror, and people have been digging this film. Peter Martin from Twitch placed it at number 5 on his top 10 of 2011 and had this to say: "Jaume Balagueró creeped me out with a thriller that never wastes a motion. It's soaked through with deceptive evil that keeps getting darker, somehow."

48. Kill Bin Laden*
* Not the official title yet.
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Starring: Joel Edgerton, Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Chris Pratt, Edgar Ramirez. Guy Pearce and Idris Elba are also rumoured.
Release Date: 19 December 2012
Storyline: An account on the hunt for Osama bin Laden and the battle on his compound that resulted in his death.
Because: The Hurt Locker may not have deserved best picture, but it was damn good. This time Bigelow and Boal unite again, and they have a truly massive story to cover. Added to that is the fact that (1) they have been involved with the project since before Bin Laden was killed and changed the story to include his death, and (2) special forces are awesome.

47. The Bourne Legacy
Director: Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton) - he is better known as a writer, having penned a number of films, including the previous Bourne movies.
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Joan Allen, Oscar Isaac, Edward Norton.
Release Date: 21 September 2012 in South Africa (3 August in the USA).
Storyline: A story centered on a new CIA operative in the universe based on Robert Ludlum's novels.
Because: Bourne, starring Renner, from the director of Michael Clayton? Keen. Okay, Jason Bourne is out, but I'm sure Renner will hold his own as the new guy... Aaron Cross. Boytch. Two other reasons are the relief I felt when the terrible teaser poster (above) was revealed not to be the real one, and what Matt Goldberg of Collider had to say about that very poster: "The tagline: “Prepare for the Unexpected”.  Really, Poster?  “Prepare for the Unexpected.”  How do you propose I go about doing that?  Plastic tarps and duct tape?  Buy up bottled water?  What do you want from me, teaser poster?"

46. Cabin in the Woods
Director: Drew Goddard (he wrote Cloverfield, and co-wrote this with Joss Whedon, director of The Avengers).
Starring: Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Richard Jenkins (The Visitor, Let Me In) and others.
Release Date:
Storyline: Five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods. Bad things happen.
Because: this movie was made in 2009, and is only being released now due to studio histrionics. It deserves recognition damnit! I mean, Chris Hemsworth has become Thor in the mean time, all on his own. Plus, the original tagline alone is worth the excitement:"If you hear a strange sound outside... have sex". In all seriousness though, people have been totally mystified by the promise that the film will turn the genre on its head. Maybe I'm being fooled, but here's to hope! This one has a trailer too...

45. Life of Pi
Director:  Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)
Starring: Irrfan Kahn, Toby Maguire and Suraj Sharma.
Release Date: 21 December 2012
Storyline: an Indian boy named Pi, a zookeeper's son, finds himself in the company of a hyena, zebra, orangutan, and a Bengal tiger after a shipwreck sends them adrift in the Pacific Ocean.
Because: the very famous work of magic realism by Yann Martel has just been too long in the making. I didn't like the book, but the story intrigues me, so maybe the movie will do the trick. It will also be interesting to see just how they do it. If they get it right, we may be in for something wonderful. If they don't, it's going to be fucking terrible.

44. Savages
Director:  Olivier Stone (Platoon, Natural Born Killers)
Starring:Benicio Del Toro, John Travolta, Demián Bichir, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Blake Lively, Uma Thurman, Salma Hayek, Aaron Johnson.
Release Date: 28 September 2012
Storyline: two pals (Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch) from Laguna Beach who share the same girlfriend (Blake Lively) and a thriving business growing and distributing the best-quality pot on the planet. When they resist being muscled by a Mexican drug cartel, the girl is kidnapped and the ransom is every cent they've made for the last five years. They agree to pay but hatch an alternate plan to get her back, get revenge, and then get lost.
Because: although Olivier Stone has directed some shit movies lately, he has directed some classics too. Maybe this will be his return to form. Plus, Salma Hayek is the cartel leader, Del Toro is her henchman, and the rest of the cast is too terrific to ignore.

43. Skyfall 
Director: Sam Mendes (American Beauty)
Starring: Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem, Helen McCrory, Naomi Harris, Judi Dench, Albert Finney, Ben Wishaw
Release Date: 30 November 2012 in South Africa (9 November in USA).
Storyline:Bond's loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.  
Because: I like Bond, especially Daniel Craig's version. Also, Javier Bardem is the villain and Sam Mendes is directing. This film should actually be higher on the list, but I am still hurting from the Pierce Brosnan Bonds. Skyfall needs to prove itself first. I'm sure it will.

42. The Incident
Director: Alexandre Courtes (debut, but has directed music videos for the likes of U2 and The White Stripes before)
Starring: Dave Legeno, Rupert Evans, Kenny Doughty
Release Date: it premiered last year at Toronto (21 September 2011), but hits US Theatres on 4 May 2012. It will never hit SA theatres.
Storyline: It’s a thin line that separates a domesticated man from his repressed animalistic side. On a dark and rainy night, three friends are forced to cross that divide as they navigate a labyrinth of madness and brutality in The Incident.
Because: when it screened at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, two people apparently fainted following a scene "in which a character is burned alive atop a stove". As I said above, I love horror, and although reactions have been somewhat mixed for this one, I am keen as hell!

41. On The Road
Director: Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries)
Starring: Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, Alice Braga, Steve Buscemi
Release Date:dates have been set in various European countries ranging from May to September. No US release date yet. Expect a Cannes Debut though.
Storyline: Jack Kerouac's seminal pseudo-autobiography finally heads to the big screen thanks to director Walter Salles and producer Francis Ford Coppola. The tale is semi-based on the author's trips across America, with fiction intertwining with reportedly real events and people met along the way.
Because: the most important book of the Beat Generation is finally coming to the big screen, and this is another film that has seen many delays. So many, in fact, that it would have ranked higher but for such delays (I smell a rat). Maybe it's because these cult books are not easy to adapt to film. But hey, I'm still excited. The choice of the director is perfect, the cast is great and so is the picture above. Let's hope for the best.

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