At long last, we reach the rarefied atmosphere occupied by the 10 movies I am most excited for in 2012. Some movies will be seen soon, others only at the end of the year, while a few may not even be seen in South Africa this year at all; there are movies that rank highly on almost every list out there, and there are movies that you won't find on any other list. However, perhaps the biggest certainty of all is that there will be disappointments and there will be surprises. That doesn't dampen the excitement though, it only raises it. Before you hit the jump to see the movies I am most excited for in probably my biggest movie year ever, I have to confess that I have made a grave mistake. One of my most eagerly anticipated films (it's even on the Constellation of Cinematic Anticipation) managed to escape from the list all together. Slippery bastard. However, I get to make the rules, so I have just slotted it in next to one of the other entries. This top 10 list is therefore actually a top 11. Hit the jump for the moment of truth.
Director: Park Chan-Wook
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Dermot Mulroney, Jackie Weaver
Release Date: maybe Cannes? I'm not sure, but it started filming in September 2011.
Storyline: after India's father dies in an auto accident, her Uncle Charlie, who she never knew existed, comes to live with her and her emotionally unstable mother. Soon after his arrival, she comes to suspect this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives, but instead of feeling outrage or horror, this friendless girl becomes increasingly infatuated with him.
Because: Park Chan-Wook is one of the most brilliant directors working today, and this is his English language debut. Nicole Kidman is one of the greatest actresses alive, and is in need of a comeback. Mia Wasikowska I want to marry. Rumours abound that "Uncle Charlie" is a Vampire, yet others indicate the film is a psychological thriller. Okay, the script is written by Wentworth Miller (yeah, Prison Break), but it was on the 2010 Blacklist and is apparently incredible.
9. You're Next
Director: Adam Wingard (A Horrible Way To Die, Popskull)
Starring: Sharni Vinson, Ti West
Release Date: it premiered at TIFF 2011, but hits theatres this year only.
Storyline: Family reunions can be a real bitch. All fun and amicable on the surface, yet underneath the tensions are ready to boil over. Welcome to the Davison clan’s opulent country house, where a get-together gets ugly and bloody — fast.
Because: first, it stars that babe from Step Up 3D, who is apparently awesome in this. Second, reviews coming out of TIFF have been sterling to say the least (the film has been described as all things I love: an "energetic mix of dark comedy, senseless violence, satisfying surprises, and good old-fashioned mayhem"). Third, the home-invasion sub-genre should hold an especially dark place in the heart of all South Africans. It certainly does in mine. Fourth, all the images from the film were so damn awesome I found it near impossible to choose. The image above is partially a cap from the film, and contains a brilliant tribute poster from phenomenal entertainment design company Phantom City Creative (do yourself a favour and check out their other work). Here's to hoping that You're Next is 2012's The Woman for me.
8. Rust and Bone
Director: Jacques Audiard (The Beat That My Heart Skipped, A Prophet)
Starring: Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts
Release Date: 24 October 2012 (in France)
Storyline: based on a collection of short stories by Craig Davidson, Rust and Bone conjures a savage world populated by fighting dogs, prizefighters, sex addicts, and gamblers. The twenty-seven bones of the title story are the bones in a boxer's hands; once broken, they never heal properly, and the fighter's career descends to bouts that have less to do with sport than with survival: no referee, no rules, not even gloves. In "A Mean Utility" we enter an even more desperate arena: dogfights where Rottweilers, pit bulls, and Dobermans fight each other to the death.
Because: if you didn't read above, Jacques Audiard directed A Prophet, one of the greatest films of 2010. I have been waiting for his next one ever since, and was surprised to discover that Rust and Bone was in development. The stories themselves seem awesome too - so much so that I have ordered the book. This film could easily rank even higher, but there is just too little information out there.
7. Seven Psychopaths
Director: Martin McDonagh (In Bruges)
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Abbie Cornish, Olga Kurylenko, Gabourey Sidibe, Tom Waits
Release Date: late 2012 (it started filming in November 2011).
Storyline: Marty (Colin Farrell) is a struggling writer who dreams of finishing his screenplay Seven Psychopaths. All he needs is a little focus and inspiration. Billy (Sam Rockwell) is Marty’s best friend, an unemployed actor and part time dog thief, who wants to help Marty by any means necessary. Hans (Christopher Walken) is Billy’s partner in crime. A religious man with a violent past. Charlie is the psychopathetic gangster whose beloved dog, Billy and Hans have just stolen. Charlie’s unpredictable, extremely violent and wouldn’t think twice about killing anyone or anything associated with the theft. Marty is going to get all the focus and inspiration he needs, just as long as he lives to tell the tale.
Because: if you have seen In Bruges, no further explanation is necessary. If you haven't, watch it now, look at the cast above, and read the synopsis. Be somebody.
6. Gravity (tie with below)
Director: Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambien)
Starring: George Clooney and Sandra Bullock
Release Date: 21 November 2012
Storyline: Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) in command of his last flight before retiring. But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone--tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness. The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth...and any chance for rescue. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left. But the only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space.
Because: I've written about this one before (see here), so I won't say much other than to say it looks incredible. I mean, they had me at 20 minute opening shot.
6. Cloud Atlas (tie with above)
Director: Tom Tykwer and Andy & Lana Wachowski (Run Lola Run, The Matrix Trilogy)
Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, Hugh Grant, James D'Arcy, Susan Sarandon, Ben Wishaw, Jim Broadbent.
Release Date: 19 October 2012
Storyline: an epic story of humankind in which the actions and consequences of our lives impact one another throughout the past, present and future as one soul is shaped from a murderer into a savior and a single act of kindness ripples out for centuries to inspire a revolution.
Because: in essence, I have read the book and cannot wait to see how they make it into a movie. It really has had me fascinated from the word go. Read more here. I think it's high time they gave us a trailer, or at least a poster. Please!
Director: Ridley Scott (I won't bother listing)
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace, Idris Elba, Patrick Wilson, Guy Pearce, Logan Marshall-Green
Release Date: 8 June 2012
Storyline: A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.
Because: the master of sci-fi returns to the genre he helped define with a film that shares the same DNA as Alien and promises to be the terrifying hard core science fiction masterpiece we have been awaiting for such a long time. Read more here. You will find a link to a trailer as well. Blew my mind.
4. The Dark Knight Rises
Director: Christopher Nolan (I won't bother listing)
Starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Juno Temple
Release Date: 20 July 2012
Storyline: Eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, the terrorist leader Bane arrives in Gotham City, pushing it and its police force to their limits, forcing its former hero Batman to resurface after taking the fall for Harvey Dent's crimes.
Because: TDKR is at the top of practically every most anticipated list. It's gonna be biblical. Read here for more on what is surely the film most certain to make crap-tons of money this year.
3. The Master (aka Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Project)
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood, Punch Drunk Love, Magnolia)
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jaoquin Phoenix, Amy Adams
Release Date: expect to see a late 2012 release, with a premiere around film festival time.
Storyline: a 1950s-set drama centred on the relationship between a charismatic intellectual known as "the Master" whose faith-based organisation begins to catch on in America, and a young drifter who becomes his right-hand man.
Because: PTA is my second favourite director in the whole wide world. This film has been a long time coming, has a great cast, and is being shot on IMAX stock. I have absolutely loved all his movies, so I have no choice but to be beyond excited for this one. Let's hope that keep the film's Scientology-based origins.
2. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Elijah Wood, Evangeline Lilly, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Lee Pace
Release Date: 14 December 2012
Storyline: Bilbo Baggins, a Hobbit, journeys to the Lonely Mountain accompanied by a group of dwarves to reclaim a treasure taken from them by the dragon Smaug.
Because: I think that The Lord of The Rings was the catalyst that took me from movie-lover to obsessed-with-film. My LOTR film journey kicked off the day in high school when I discovered a picture of the crew on set in New Zealand, and continued through that awe-inspiring teaser trailer, daily visits to TheOneRing.net, and seeing the films a collective 14 times on the big screen and many more on DVD. I read The Hobbit way back in 1993 and cannot tell you how much I have been looking forward to returning to Middle Earth ever since. This was made even worse by the fact that The Hobbit was delayed for such a long time. Read here for much more, including Peter Jackson's fantastic behind-the-scenes production videos and the trailer that let us all know it's actually happening.
1. Django Unchained
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russel, Sacha Baron Cohen, Kerry Washington
Release Date: 25 December 2012
Storyline: With the help of his mentor, a slave-turned-bounty hunter sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.
Because: QT is by far my favourite director. Every movie he makes is one I absolutely must see, and do see. Many, many times. He just keeps getting better, and with the Spaghetti Western-esque slavery epic Django Unchained he looks to top even the Basterds. Just look at that cast! It should come as no surprise to those who know me that Django Unchained is comfortably my most anticipated film of 2012. Bring on Christmas, and be sure to check in here again soon, because this little film is next up on the Constellation of Cinematic Anticipation.