The choices get even harder as I approach the middle of the list. The best and worst are easy because I pick them out first, and only then do I sort through the soft centre. There are probably some movies here that deserve to be lower down (or higher up). Another problem is discovering new movies after finalising the list. For example, I forgot about Michael Haneke's Love , Wong Kar Wai's The Grandmasters and Len Wiseman's Total Recall when I made the list initially. Ti West's The Innkeepers was booted in favour of one of them (mainly because I'm going to see it very soon)... hit the jump to see which one.
40. The Grandmasters
Director: Wong Kar Wai (2046, In The Mood For Love, Chungking Express)
Starring: Tony Leung, Ziyi Zhang
Release Date: I'm guessing Cannes, so May.
Storyline: The story of martial-arts master Ip Man, the man who trained Bruce Lee.
Because: what's better than Bruce Lee? The man who trained him, the "IP Man". So, it's the story of the ultimate martial arts badass as directed by Wong Kar Wai, a director of some of the most subtle, sensitive and beautiful cinema in modern history, and starring two of China's best actors. Having spent 5 years editing 2046, Wong is a bit like the Chinese Terrence Malick. Let's hope he gets this one out this year (it was meant to come out long ago).
39. Les Miserables
Director: Tom Hooper (The Queen, The King's Speech)
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Anne Hathaway, Russel Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Taylor Swift, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen
Release Date: 7 December 2012
Storyline: Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption–a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Jackman plays ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Crowe) after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s (Hathaway) young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever.
Because: I'm not an expert on Les Mis, but it is a hugely famous story, directed by Tom Hooper hot off his Best Director Oscar, with a gargantuan cast. Initially I thought that maybe I'm ranking this too high and not thinking it through. Then I saw this little description from Michelle Collins at Best Week Ever: "Les Miserables is by far the best musical ever. It’s not even up for debate. The story, the characters, the music, the deaths… oh the deaths. (Evvvery muhhf*cka dies in Les Mis.) It’s a show that transcends the stage and works its way into your life, kind of like THE BIBLE." That's it, I'm sold.
Director: David Cronenberg (The Brood, The Fly, A History of Violence, Eastern Promises, A Dangerous Method)
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Paul Giamatti, Juliette Binoche, Kevin Durand, Samantha Morton, Mathieu Amalric, Jay Baruchel, Emily Hampshire and Patricia Mckenzie.
Release Date: people are talking Cannes, and then the film festivals later in the year (Venice, Telluride and Toronto). It's quite soon after A Dangerous Method, but Cronenberg is no slouch.
Storyline: Cosmopolis is a day in the life of Eric Packer, a 28-year-old New York stock market multi-millionaire, as he crosses Manhattan in his customized limousine to go for a haircut. His cross-town journey becomes an almost vertical voyage, with bizarre occurrences and an authentic parade of crazy characters along the way, in a landscape that depicts the modern soul of the West at the end of the millennium.
Because: David Cronenberg is probably one of my top 5 favourite directors. He has a deeply twisted mind. The thought of him at the helm of the limo-ride-to-end-all-limo-rides is too tantalising for words. This film would have ranked 20 places higher had R-Patz not been in the lead. The worst thing? He replaced Colin Farrell. Oh well, maybe he can prove himself in this one.
37. Dark Shadows
Director: Tim Burton (Sweeney Todd, Alice In Wonderland, Corpse Bride, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory)
Starring: Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Chloe Moretz, Michelle Pfeiffer, Johny Lee Miller, Helena Bonham Carter, Jackie Earle Haley and Christopher Lee.
Release Date: 11 May 2012
Storyline: A gothic-horror tale centering on the life of vampire Barnabas Collins and his run-ins with various monsters, witches, werewolves and ghosts. Based on the cult TV series.
Because: yes, I'm tired of that eternal Tim Burton / Johnny Depp love affair. Tired tired tired! Yet, this seems right up Burton's alley, and the family photo above looks fantastic. That alone would have had this movie hovering just outside the top 50, but because it stars Eva Green and Chloe Moretz, it jumps all the way to 37.
Directors: Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
Starring: the voices of various folk with awesome Scottish accents, including Emma Thompson, Robbie Coltrane and Billy Connolly.
Release Date: 22 June 2012
Storyline (a précis version): Merida, skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus and Queen Elinor, defies an age-old custom and inadvertently unleashes chaos and fury in the kingdom.
Because: my 2 year old niece has made me watch the trailer 500 times to see the black bear with one tooth. And now I'm hooked too. That, and Pixar movies are almost always awesome. Best line in the trailer: "I want my freedom!" [in thick Scottish accent]. However, apparently none of the footage shown in the preview trailer is in the finished film. Sad face.
35. The Silver Linings Playbook
Director: David O' Russell (Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees, The Fighter)
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert de Niro, Julia Styles, Chris Tucker, Taylor Schilling, Jackie Weaver.
Release Date: 21 November 2012
Storyline: Meet Pat Peoples. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure him a happy ending—the return of his estranged wife, Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent several years in a mental health facility.) The problem is, Pat’s now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he’s being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he’s being haunted by Kenny G!
Because: O' Russell hit some spectacular form with 2010's The Fighter, and many are hoping he will continue that form with this film. Add to that an intriguing story, a solid cast and a steadicam (above), and you have my attention.
34. The Place Beyond The Pines
Director: Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine)
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne, Bradley Cooper (again), Ray Liotta.
Release Date: France has a 26 September 2012 release date.
Storyline: A motorcycle stunt rider considers committing a crime in order to provide for his wife and child, an act that puts him on a collision course with a cop-turned-politician.
Because: it's basically Drive, but with more trash and only two wheels. Can't go wrong there. You know where else you can't go wrong? In a gentleman's nite club called "Shenanigans", which is where they were filming.
33. Anna Karenina
Director: Joe Wright (Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, Hanna)
Starring: Jude Law, Keira Knightley, Emily Watson, Aaron Johnson.
Release Date: 7 September 2012
Storyline: Trapped in a loveless marriage, Anna, looks for a better life, but finds only a more complicated one.
Because: having directed Atonement and Pride & Prejudice, Joe Wright knows how to tackle the heavy drama classics. Anna Karenina is an adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's classic novel. Enough said. Maybe a little too classical for my tastes, but Joe Wright and Keira Knightley are a potent combination.
Director: Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes)
Starring: Rachel Jenner (SMOKING HOT) and Carlos Areces
Release Date: premiered in 2011 at Fantastic Fest, but still to hit big screens. I have no idea when. And it won't come to SA.
Storyline: Everyone knows what to do if one morning the sky would be absolutely full of UFOs: run as fast as you can. However, what would happen if the invasion started while you are in the flat of the girl of your dreams, the one you have just met?
Because: Timecrimes is Vigalondo's previous film, and I LOVED it. In fact, it was so good that superstar screenwriter Steve Zaillan is attached to write and direct the American remake. Plus I like the concept. This should actually be higher up on the list.
31. Nero Fiddled
Director: Woody Allen (Annie Hall, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Midnight in Paris and 38 other movies)
Starring: Woody Allen, Ellen Page, Alison Pill, Jesse Eisenberg, Penelope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, Greta Gerwig, Roberto Benigni, Judy Davis.
Release Date: 19 October 2012 in Italy
Storyline: 4 separate vignettes exploring Rome. Nobody knows, really.
Because: Woody Allen continues his exploration of various European cities, this time hitting Rome. I loved Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Midnight In Paris, so it's only natural that I would be dead keen for this. Plus, have a look at that cast!