Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Looking Ahead at 2012

2012 seems to have gotten off to a slower start than recent years.  January and February are traditionally dumping grounds for Hollywood, but this year sticks out as more of a wasteland than most.  The Grey is clearly the best film thus far, and it may very well be one of the best of the year when all is said and done.  But we are heading into March now, and studios will start dropping their pre-summer season films as we head into April, then the summer season kicks off (it seems to be getting earlier every year).  Disney is releasing John Carter in just over a week, and despite the ridiculous trailers the early buzz is surprisingly positive.  21 Jump Street will try and fight through an atrocious trailer to bring in big bucks in March as well.  Same goes for the highly unnecessary Wrath of the Titans.  Before you know it, awards season will be on the lips and minds of everyone.  There is still promise in 2012, some big films and some small ones like always; let's just try and sort through some of the highlights.


Titanic will be re-released in April in 3D, and it is quite sad that a fifteen-year old film will be the biggest release of the month.  And then, right around the corner is Marvel's Avengers, a project that has been in the works for over four years and five different films.  There is almost an obligation for fans of Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, and Captain America to see the final result.  I am less than enthused about the film to be honest, it doesn't move the needle for me in the early previews.

On the heels of the Avengers is Tim Burton's latest Burtonized remake, Dark Shadows starring, of ocurse, Johnny Depp.  I have grown weary of Burton's fillms recently.  He should work on fresh material rather than taking old work and skewing the angles.  We also get Water Transformers in May.  The official title is Battleship, but let's call a spade a spade; the film looks ridiculous.  And then there is Men in Black III at the end of the month, reteaming Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, and Josh Brolin as a young version of Jones.  I must say the trailers are promising, and I never noticed how Brolin is a dead ringer for Jones as a young man. 

Everyone is anticipating a certain superhero film in July, but we mustn't look past the biggest release - in my opinion - in June.  Ridley Scott returns to outer space with Prometheus, a semi-prequel hybrid to his Alien film.  This is, without a doubt, my most anticipated fillm of the summer season.  The trailers are stunning, and the viral marketing campaign intriguing.  Check out the viral video here:

And then, in July, Christopher Nolan ends his Batman trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises.  Film fans across the globe are foaming at the mouth to see how it all ends.  I am exctied as well, but I would like everyone reading this to temper their enthusiasm just a smidge.  Countless times I have heard the question "how will he make it better than The Dark Knight?"  It is a mistake to go into this film believing Nolan will top The Dark Knight, the greatest superhero film of all time.  Consider TDKR as its own film, standing on its own two legs.  The football sequence in the trailer worries me a little, but then again Heath Ledger cast as The Joker had me concerned as well.  That turned out okay.

There are other big films in the summer of course - The Amazing Spider Man, the Total Recall remake, and The Bourne Legacy (which looks rather good) - but I must move on for the sake of time.

Once we get past the Halloween releases of Paranormal Activity 4, yes 4, and Halloween in 3D (groan), awards season will be in full swing.  Now, the last two months of the year are not without big-budget releases.  The most intriguing has to be Skyfall, the next James Bond film starring Daniel Craig.  Quantum of Solace turned out to be one of the worst of the franchise, but there is hope here.  Sam Mendes is directing, an interesting choice for sure as this is miles out of his comfort zone of family drama.  The experiement didn't work when they brough in Marc Forster for Quantum, but I have a little more faith in Mendes as a director.  December has the Brad Pitt apocolypse drama World War Z, based on the bestselling novel, and Peter Jackson will release The Hobbit.  Don't count out The Hobbit for Best Picture.

There could be an argument that the Oscars for next year will belong to Steven Spielberg, as Lincoln will be released in December.  Starring Daniel Day Lewis as the president, Sally Field as his wife, and a who's who of prestigious character actors and big stars, Lincoln feels absolutely poised to dominate awards season.  But there are a few other films in the mix we mustn't forget about.  There is the Kathryn Bigelow thriller Kill Bin Laden, a timely story if there ever was one.  And there is Baz Luhrmann's version of The Great Gatsby starring Leonardo Dicaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan.  The Great Gatsby is my favorite novel, one of the most important of the 20th century, and the credentials of this film cannot be overlooked.

And we will not forget about Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino's Civil War film.  Tarantino can work in any genre, tell any story, and make it his own.  Here is yet another film starring Leonardo Dicaprio who is poised to have another great year after being relatively absent in 2011. 

Before I wrap up though, I must mention one Paul Thomas Anderson.  It is amazing to me that such a brilliant filmmaker has such a tough time finding financing for his projects.  Anderson has been working on The Master for a few years now, going in and out of production and casting, but now he is working feversihly it appears.  The film follows a young drifter in the 50s who is seduced by a man who has created his own faith.  The cast rivals Lincoln, with Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Laura Dern set to star.  The only thing is the release date, which is still up in the air.  I would imagine Anderson is aiming for a December release in time for awards season, and if this is the case you can forget about any other film topping Anderson's as my most anticipated.