Whether you’re looking forward to The Hobbit or the stream of superhero offerings, next year is already shaping up to be a monumental year for film. To whet your appetites, we’ve earmarked the dozen films that you really can’t afford to miss in 2012..
Scheduled for release in October 2012, this film chronicling the LAPD’s 1949 fight to put New York-born mobster Mickey Cohen behind bars promises to deliver a good old-fashioned struggle between charismatic baddie and tortured goodie, while featuring heavy hitters on both sides of the moral divide. The cast features Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin as police officers, with Sean Penn playing Cohen with Emma Stone, Nick Nolte and Giovanni Ribisi also among the support cast. Directed by Ruben Fleischer (Zombie Land, 30 Minutes or Less), here’s hoping this flick sees Penn return to his full gangster glory of Mystic River.
The Dark Knight Rises
We could have stuffed this list with superhero films (The Avengers, Spider-Man, Superman.. the list goes on) but as much as we’re looking forward to all those blockbusters, we decided not to go superhero mental, so the unimaginatively titled The Dark Knight Rises is representing them all. Billed as the final part of Nolan’s Batman trilogy, Tom Hardy will be joining Christian Bale as villain Bane..
Quentin Tarantino’s take on the spaghetti western is slated for release on Christmas of 2012 and if it manages to stay on schedule, it’s likely to be one of the most anticipated releases of the year. After achieving huge success with Inglorious Basterds (and most other film he’s ever made), Tarantino has assembled a ridiculous ensemble cast for his story about a slave-turned-bounty hunter seeking revenge on the plantation owner that still holds his wife. Jamie Foxx will be playing Django and Leonardo Dicaprio stars as the bastard slave owner, in what should be a nice change of pace for the man who’s got a bit comfortable in his guise as as tortured leading man. The two heavyweights will be supported by the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Kurt Russell, Don Johnson and Kerry Washington.
It was only a matter of time until someone brought the wildly successful Suzanne Collins novel to the silver screen and director Gary Ross (Pleasantville, Seabiscuit) tackles the adaptation which focuses on a young girl (Jennifer Lawrence) who takes her younger sister’s place when she is selected for a televised fight to the death. The cast also includes young actors Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson along with screen veterans Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson and Donald Sutherland. If Ross sticks closely to the original text, this could be one of the best adaptations we’ve seen in a long time given the popularity of the novel. It’s scheduled for UK release on March 23rd.
The boy-bander turned solo artist turned actor has had no trouble getting movie parts in his relatively short career and his strong performance as Sean Parker in The Social Network shows he’s got chops.
Doubtlessly, his singing ability will be called upon in the movie, which centers on Greenwich Village’s ‘60s folk music scene. Timberlake has been offered a lead role as Jim, an aspiring folk singer who is mentored by the title character, to be played by Oscar Isaac. Jim’s wife, Jean, will be played by Carey Mulligan who is already on board.
Working with the famed directors can only help Timberlake’s budding career and an offer like this could provide his greatest opportunity to date. Joel and Ethan Coen hope to begin filming in early 2012.
Timberlake’s latest movie, In Time, premieres today.
The newest addition to the Bond series (still known as Bond 23 but with several rumoured names flying around the net) will doubtlessly be the most thespian-laden yet and director Sam Mendes has added Albert Finney to an already star-studded group.
The Daily Mail reports that Mendes brought Finney in to a recent table read as a surprise for the cast. He will be playing a Foreign Office chief and joins the likes of Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem, Naomie Harris as well as regulars Daniel Craig and Judi Dench.
Rumours that Mendes plans a dialogue-heavy take on the Bond film seem unlikely but with such a strong cast we can expect more heavyweight performances than ever before.
After a delay because of financial problems at MGM, Bond 23 is scheduled for an October 26th UK release next year.
Penn is set to direct and De Niro to star as Jackie Burke, an aging insult comic who is sentenced to community service after attacking an audience member with his microphone.
The film is also set to star real life TV comedian Kristin Wigg, who will play the defiant redhead Harmony, Jackie’s primary love interest.
This will serve as Penn’s latest directorial project since 2007’s Into the Wild, which he also wrote. De Niro, who is 68, has roles in six films to be released next year, with The Comedian slated for a 2014 release.
Director Steve McQueen and Michael Fassbender reunite for a second outing in Shame, an intense exploration of inner-city loneliness, emotional replacement and sexual addiction; a masterpiece of restraint, cinematography and powerful acting which makes it not only one of the highlights of this year’s London Film Festival but also one of the films of the year.
Michael Fassbender plays Brandon, a high-flying city boy who works and lives in New York. On the surface, he fits in, swapping banter with his colleagues and joining them in bar after work in which they drink toasts to “nailing it”. But in a world where sex is almost a drug, Brandon’s become completely hooked: scoring with prostitutes on a nightly basis, picking up women in bars, clogging his company laptop with gigs of hardcore porn, filling his closets with dirty magazines, masturbating in the toilets at work and staring unblinkingly at women he sees on the underground, his thoughts undoubtedly profane.
None of these things constitutes an immediate problem; Shame never judges – McQueen’s lens is neither exploitative nor coy and Brandon’s surface veneer of charm and civility actually makes him seem far more appealing than his sleazy and desperate boss David (James Badge Dale), who has no reservations about neglecting his family to pick up women. Read more
Set in the small Mexican border town of Baja (the title a play on Miss Bala/Baja which translates as “Miss Bullet”), Stephanie Sigman plays Laura Guerrero , a young woman who dreams of winning the local beauty pageant in order to support her father and younger brother.
The night before the contest, she visits a shady nightclub with her best friend Suzu and ends up witnessing a bloody shootout. She loses Suzu in the chaos and begs a police officer to help her only to be driven straight to the local crime boss Lino (Noe Hernandez). Lino is quick to use her as an accessory to his crimes and Laura has no choice but to be dragged in an escalating series of criminal activities. Read more
THE IDES OF MARCH (12A): At The London Film Festival Wednesday 19th and Friday 22nd October. On General Release Friday 28th October.
President George Clooney. President George Clooney. Has a nice ring to it doesn’t it? That’s not an image that’s going to be dispelled any time soon as he co-wrote, directed and stars as a presidential candidate in The Ides Of March, a taut, slick political thriller with an excellent ensemble cast set against the backdrop of the run up to the American primaries.
Ryan Gosling plays Stephen Meyers, an ambitious press spokesman for Democratic candidate Mike Morris (George Clooney), a seemingly spotless model of integrity and decency alongside experienced campaign manager Paul Zara (Phillip Seymour Hoffman). When the opposition’s canny manager (Paul Giamatti) attempts to poach him, Stephen finds himself in a quandary exacerbated by the affair he’s begun with a young intern (Evan Rachel Wood).
Ides features an outstanding ensemble cast and admirably high production values. Clooney the man has been so involved with politics over the years that it’s all too easy to imagine that Morris is merely a dramatic mouthpiece for Clooney’s own viewpoints; it’s eerily convincing. Gosling is also outstanding, a fast-thinking but ultimately naïve manager, it’s another reminder of why he’s one of this year’s most celebrated stars. Read more
THE HELP (12A): On General Release Wednesday 26th October
Although it has the feel of a “true” story, told with trademark American schmaltz, this film was adapted from Kathryn Stockett’s 2009 bestseller of the same name. A story of racial injustice, friendship, heartbreak, jealousy and female empowerment; the film prods at our quivering tear ducts from start to finish. But at nearly three hours long, there are moments when director Tate Taylor gets too wrapped up in the idea of creating a powerful film dealing with a vast spectrum of human suffering, to effective deal sincerely with all of the strands.
Set in the 1960s Jackson, Mississippi, at a time when black people were treated as near slaves and a danger to public health, the film tells the story of an aspiring young journalist keen to make an impact on the injustice she sees around her. Enter Skeeter (Emma Stone), a wide-eyed young gal with big dreams but only a small town to achieve them in. After taking a job writing on a cleaning column for the local paper, she seeks help and advice from her friend’s maid, Aibileen (Viola Davis). Read more
Demons Never Die does its best to separate itself from the countless teen slasher flicks that have come before it, not to mention the many more that will be arriving around Halloween and it looks at death from more than just the perspective of a crazed serial killer taking out teens one by one. Unfortunately, these greater themes are mostly lost in what is ultimately just another slasher movie.
The story revolves around a group of eight teenagers, who all enter a suicide pact together. They’ve each got their own reasons for considering “the easy way out” pertaining to their own inner demons. Moody Archie (Robert Sheehan) watched his father murder his mother, goth Jasmine (Jennie Jacques) stood by as her mother slowly lost her mind, outcast James (Jack Doolan) is constantly picked on at school and so on and so forth.
While you have to commend the film for at least trying to look at death on a deeper level, it’s hard to take this view seriously when there’s a different character getting hacked to bits every fifteen minutes. The rest of the plot follows the slasher formula to a T, without innovation or deviation. Read more
Now that they have wrapped up work on the upcoming Three Stooges movie, the brothers will soon move forward with a long awaited second installment of their 1994 hit. They intend to bring back stars Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, and have already gotten original producers Charles B. Wessler, Brad Krevoy and Steve Stabler to sign on.
Sean Anders and John Morris, who have co-written Sex Drive and just co-directed the new Adam Sandler comedy I Hate You, Dad have been hired to write the script.
The original, made on a $16 million budget, pulled in almost $250 million worldwide and has enjoyed cult status ever since. New Line Cinemas, eager to capitalise on the success, pushed out Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd in 2003, a dreadful prequeal with lookalike actors. Luckily, a quality addition to the franchise seems imminent.