MY MOVIE YEAR
with Mike Shaw
It seems like just 12 months ago I was putting together my list of the most anticipated films of 2011, where I included the likes of Super 8, Tintin and, er, The Green Lantern. Next year there are loads and loads of films that I am super excited about and I actually ran out of space on the Word document when compiling my personal must-see list. I only have so much space here which means things like The Hunger Games and Prometheus just missed the cut, but here, after much deliberation, are my 12 most anticipated films of 2012.
Kill Bill was so-so, but Inglourious Basterds put Quentin Tarantino back at the top of the list of most interesting directors working today. Next year he is tackling a full-on Western and as usual he’s got a kickass cast on board, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Samuel L Jackson and Kurt Russell. Django Unchained is the story of a slave-turned-bounty hunter, played by Jamie Foxx, who attempts to free his wife. Things do not go to plan. Already it sounds like it’s going to give Tarantino the chance to exhibit his trademark ultraviolence. I can’t wait.
A bizarre sci-fi fantasy, in which the Nazis escaped to a secret base on the moon at the end of the Second World War. Since then, they have been working on anti-gravity spaceships and destructive new weaponry, and the Third Reich are now ready to reclaim the Earth. I don’t think I need to say anything else.
Children of Men writer/director Alfonso Cuaron’s new film is also space-based, but perhaps a little less insane than Iron Sky. Starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as a pair of astronauts fighting for survival in a dilapidated space station, there is already an incredible buzz about this film – and not just among film fans. Director Guillermo Del Toro has said that the picture will push “a new boundary in filmmaking.” Very few facts are known about the film other than Clooney and Bullock are the only two actors in it, and that it’s in 3D, but I have my fingers crossed that it will join Solaris and Moon in the pantheon of great films about interstellar isolation.
Daniel Craig’s third go at Bond is unlikely to be worse than Quantum of Solace, which sucked harder than a nuclear-powered Henry. However, Craig has since acknowledged that QoS was bad, and has put that down to the Hollywood writers’ strike. With no such problems surrounding this film, it should be closer to the quality of Casino Royale, which wasn’t just the best Bond film in decades, but one of the best action films of all time.
The Amazing Spider-Man
Sure, it’s only been 10 years since the last reboot of Spider-Man, and most people don’t think we need another one, but this new version promises to stay closer to the comic book roots of everyone’s favourite web-slinger. Director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) has no experience with effects-heavy movies, but that may be a blessing and help avoid the “let’s just chuck more CGI at it” attitude that helped ruin 2007’s Spider-Man 3. Peter Parker is being played by British actor Andrew Garfield, while the new incarnation of Mary Jane will be infinitely more likeable, with the wonderful Emma Stone taking over from the irritating Kirsten Dunst.
Iron Man was mega. Thor was super. Captain America was awesome. The Avengers is going to be megasuperawesome. Marvel Studios’ most ambitious project yet sees their A List superheroes thrown together in what is sure to be one of the biggest movies of 2012. Buffy and Firefly creator/director Joss Whedon is at the helm, which means it’ll be smarter than previous Marvel films and will hopefully avoid the cliched endings that have plagued other big-budget superhero movies. As well as Robert Downey Jr et al, we have Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner rounding off a superb cast. It’ll be a travesty if this film turns out to be rotten.
The Dark Knight Rises
Batman Begins was great. The Dark Knight was even better. Can Christopher Nolan raise the bar one more time with The Dark Knight Rises? Christian Bale returns as Batman, and is joined this time by Anne Hathaway as Catwoman and the wonderful Tom Hardy (Bronson, Warrior) as jacked-up terrorist Bane. Without the hoopla of a dead cast member, The Dark Knight Rises should hopefully get the room to breathe and not be crushed under the weight of expectation.
Nobody does awkward comedy as well as Sacha Baron-Cohen. Forget about Ali G, and focus on Borat and Bruno. Funny, right? Pant-wettingly so in some places. Doing away with the documentary conceit, Sacha Baron-Cohen’s next character is a Gaddafi-esque dictator who visits the USA. Cue many jokes about Muslims, terrorists and uncomfortable scenes centred around the inevitable clashes in culture. The first trailer has just dropped and is not very good (at all), but I have faith that the finished product will wind up being one of the best comedies of the year.
The Expendables 2
And on the subject of great expectations... The Expendables was one of the daftest, yet most enjoyable films of 2010 and next year we’re being treated to a sequel. And if there’s one thing we know about sequels, they’re always bigger, dumber and louder. One of the criticisms of the first film was that it didn’t live up to its cast (Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Steve Austin, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li) but that was nonsense and the new one also stars Jean Claude Van Dam and Chuck Norris. Add into the mix that Sly has stepped aside as director and welcomed in Con Air boss Simon West instead, and The Expendables 2 is going to be AWESOME.
One of my favourite books, adapted by one of my favourite directors and starring one of my favourite actors. I’m more than a little bit looking forward to seeing this film. Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann brings his inimitable style to F Scott Fitzgerald’s classic story, and has cast Leonardo DiCaprio as his lead. I can already picture how Luhrmann’s distinctive theatrical filmmaking will be put to use during delirious 1920s party scenes and have high hopes that his film will replace the 1974 film starring Robert Redford as the definitive screen version.
You’ll be shocked to hear that some people mock my taste in movies. One of the hooks upon which they hang their cloaks of ridicule is my love of Titanic. Nonetheless, I stand by James Cameron’s melodramatic action-drama-romance and am more psyched about Titanic 3D than pretty much anything else next year. No one has come close to matching the 3D he gave us in Avatar, and although Titanic wasn’t shot in 3D, I have a feeling that it’s going to look just as good as Avatar. Titanic is a huge movie, in every sense of the word, and the epic scenes of the ship going down are going to blow audiences away... again.
World War Z
Max Brooks’ horror novel, based on accounts of a zombie apocalypse, has been a difficult film to accurately convert into a blockbuster movie. Indeed, the plot has been monkeyed around with somewhat. Nonetheless, early reports of the film being made by Quantum of Solace director Marc Forster and starring Brad Pitt are promising and the script has been called a “genre-defining piece of work”.