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Ten Most Anticipated Films of 2012

January 10, 2012

The following list and the blurbs for each entry were compiled for Reel Time‘s cumulative top 10 most anticipated films of 2012. A few of my write-ups were published in cases where some of my selections made the group list, but I thought I’d publish my entire contribution here for those interested.

10. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson)
Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Jason Schwartzman, Bob Balaban, Harvey Keitel, Edward Norton and Frances McDormand in a new live action effort from Wes Anderson. Given the high quality of his last two films, I am very interested in how some of these actors perform in his style of comedy.


9. John Carter (Andrew Stanton)
The previews have been inconsistent in regards to enticement, but I have hopes for this big budget sci-fi adventure adaptation. The actual footage looks very promising, and Pixar director Andrew Stanton’s track record is certainly good. Given Brad Bird’s mostly successful first foray into live action recently, there seems little reason to doubt Stanton’s ability to make the transition. I think this looks like a lot of fun, plus it’s also the only entry on my list that I won’t have to wait a large portion of the year to actually get to see.


8. From Up on Poppy Hill (Goro Miyazaki)
Son of Hayao, Goro Miyazaki’s Tales from Earthsea adaptation is one of the few genuinely poor contributions to the Studio Ghibli canon. Released in Japan last summer, his second feature for the company seems to have been received much more favourably. Regardless of how small scale, any new Studio Ghibli film is going to be one of my most anticipated films of any given year. Given that it is likely to receive an English language release at some point this year, I chose this over the admittedly far more enticing Porco Rosso sequel from Goro’s father, as that film is set to be released in Japan in November at the absolute earliest.


7. Cloud Atlas (Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer)
I’m an unabashed fan of ambitious science fiction with a budget, and of the Wachowski siblings’ last directorial effort Speed Racer. This world and time spanning film of vignettes has some promising early production photos and an intriguing collection of actors involved. I have a feeling it will be a mess, but I’m looking forward to seeing the results.


6. Prometheus (Ridley Scott)
To my mind, Ridley Scott’s only great films are his two sci-fi efforts; Blade Runner and Alien are also two of my favourite films of all time. While initially and still somewhat cautious about a return to the universe of Alien considering Scott’s sketchy track record, the cast involved, production reports, and the teaser trailer have me anticipating a hopeful return to high form. Regardless of the film’s quality, Scott is still one of the great world-builders of big budget cinema. That threat of the theatrical release being a shot for PG-13 version is certainly a little discouraging, though, considering the likely degree of body horror content.


5. Wettest County (John Hillcoat)
The Proposition’s director John Hillcoat and screenplay writer Nick Cave are reunited for this adaptation of a story of bootleggers in Depression-era Virginia. Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Gary Oldman, Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce, Noah Taylor and Mia Wasikowska lead this most welcome second collaboration.


4. Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg)
David Cronenberg’s adaptation of a Don DeLillo novel certainly has a curious lead in Robert Pattinson, but also a stellar bunch of supporting actors including Juliette Binoche, Mathieu Amalric, Paul Giamatti and Samantha Morton. Odyssey fiction can be particularly compelling, and I look forward to this absurdist tale of a Manhattan billionaire from one of my favourite filmmakers.


3. Untitled Terrence Malick Project (Terrence Malick)
Given his track record in the editing suite, who knows if this will actually see a release this year, but it has all been shot and there is already a production photo for it. A romantic drama, this sees Malick reuniting with Jessica Chastain, with the film also including the likes of Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Javier Bardem, Michael Sheen, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel Weisz, Barry Pepper and Amanda Peet.


2. Cogan’s Trade (Andrew Dominik)
Andrew Dominik’s follow-up to one of my favourite films of last decade, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, reunites Brad Pitt, Sam Shepard and Garret Dillahunt from that film’s cast, and throws in the likes of Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini and Ray Liotta for good measure. An apparent return to the contemporary crime leanings of his 2000 film Chopper, the quality of Dominik’s 2007 western means I anticipate this follow-up greatly, even if the likes of Nick Cave and Roger Deakins aren’t involved this time around.


1. The Grandmasters (Wong Kar Wai)
Wong Kar Wai’s long delayed return to Hong Kong, the action genre, and films in general looks to finally be coming out this year. The story of martial-arts master Ip Man has already been covered recently in a set of popular films, but Kar Wai’s sure to leave his own clear imprint on the material, and I look forward to seeing the great Tony Leung in action.

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