Now that we’ve swept 2011 under the rug, all eyes are on what 2012 will have to offer in big-budget, foreign, and independent films.
Looking back on the films from 2011, I was surprised that there were so many great ones—though, as always, there were also plenty of disappointments. That will undoubtedly be the case again in 2012, but we won’t know until we see them. I didn’t think the recently released American remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo would be any good, even with David Fincher directing. I was wrong: the film exceeded my expectations and surpassed the original Swedish version, thanks in large part to Fincher’s direction and Rooney Mara’s no-holds-barred performance as Lisbeth Salander; hopefully she’ll receive a call from the Academy when the Oscar nominations are announced later this month.
Quite a few 2012 films have already been blasting previews and trailers at us. Going over the year’s release schedule, it’s hard to know which movies will succeed and which will fall by the wayside.
I did a similar preview last year around this time; while I’ve yet to see David Cronenberg’s latest film, A Dangerous Method (now playing at the Uptown Theatre), the other four lived up to my expectations. Here are five films I’m looking forward to in 2012, with another Cronenberg film in the mix.
The Dark Knight Rises, directed by Christopher Nolan (Memento, The Dark Knight) concludes his Batman trilogy and by the looks of the newest trailer, it is going to be a thrilling conclusion. Christian Bale will put the Batman armor on one more time and will be returning with actors Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine. Rounding out the cast are Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, and Tom Hardy playing Bane, the latest villain in Gotham City. The Dark Knight Rises will be released on July 20.
Django Unchained, directed by Quentin Tarantino (Inglorious Basterds, Pulp Fiction) returns with another what presumes to be another violent tale: that of a slave in America’s deep south who gets revenge on his former master. Jamie Foxx will play Django, and Leonardo DiCaprio will play against type as Calvin Candie, Django’s former master. Django Unchained will be released on December 25.
The Grandmasters, directed by Wong Kar-Wai (In the Mood for Love, Chungking Express), is still currently in post-production, though there was speculation the film might open in 2011. Hopefully, it will be ready in time for Cannes in May. Kar-Wai tells the story of Chinese martial arts teacher better known as the Ip Man (pronounced Yip), who went on to teach the martial arts study of Wing Chun to his most famous student, Bruce Lee. The Grandmasters has U.S. distribution but no 2012 release date announced as of yet.
Cosmopolis, directed by David Cronenberg (A Dangerous Method, Eastern Promises), is an adaptation of Don DeLillo’s novel about young billionaire Eric Packer (played by Twilight’s Robert Pattinson) who travels by limo across Manhattan in order to get a haircut. The story takes place mostly in the limo and is told in one day. Cosmopolis also stars Paul Giamatti, Samantha Morton, and Juliette Binoche. Cosmopolis should open in the fall of 2012.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, directed by Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings trilogy), goes back to Middle Earth and to the beginning of J. R.R. Tolkien’s stories with the first of two prequels being filmed back-to-back in New Zealand now—the other being The Hobbit: There and Back Again, coming out in 2013. Lead actor, Martin Freeman (BBC’s The Office and Sherlock) plays Bilbo Baggins in both films, with the first opening on December 14.