Popcorn Junkie top picks of 2012
Happy New Year! It’s time to get out your shiny new calendar and start marking down all the dates you need to take off work to see the best films of 2012.
We’ve put together a list of the films that are driving us wild with anticipation and are a must see in 2012.
They could all turn out to be complete turkeys but you can hurl the abuse at us later.
The list has been broken down into:
Highly anticipated = sell a kidney to see it
Mildly interested = keep all your vital organs but worth a look
Curious: enter at your own risk but the possibly worth the gamble
“A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.”
Director Ridley Scott returns to his sci-fi roots and the ‘Alien’ franchise. We’re so excited our chests might burst and despite Scott’s denial that the film will not feature the famous xenomorphs, the film is definitely set in the same universe. The recent trailer suggests the film will tell the story of the ‘space jockey’ and has the space horror feel that made the original a winner. The cast is damn good with Noomi Rapace set for heroine duties and Charlize Theron rumoured to be playing a corporate bad guy. In support are Michael Fassbender, Patrick Wilson, Idris Ilba, Guy Pearce and Rafe Spall. Damon Lindelof of ‘Lost’ and ‘Star Trek’ fame has tweaked the script ensuring that it’s going to be a mind bending sci-fi thriller.
Released: 7 June 2012
The Dark Knight Rises
“Eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, the terrorist leader Bane arrives in Gotham City, pushing it and its police force to their limits, forcing its former hero Batman to resurface after taking the fall for Harvey Dent’s crimes.”
An obvious choice but we’re predicting the third film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy will smash box office records worldwide. Nolan has said that it’s his final Batman film and that it will close the story arc that began in ‘Batman Begins’. Tom Hardy has bulked up to play bad guy Bane and Anne Hathaway’s role as Selina Kyle/Catwoman is questionable as to whether she’ll be a friend or foe? Rounding out the cast is Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon Levitt who are joining regulars Christain Bale, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman.
Released: 19 July 2012
“Nick Fury and the international agency S.H.I.E.L.D. bring together a team of super humans to form The Avengers to help save the Earth from Loki & his army.”
Marvel Studios are on the cusp of pulling off the greatest feat in superhero film history with ‘The Avengers’. We’re prone to hyperbole here but it’s the comic book equivalent of Michelangelo putting the final few brush strokes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Marvel have carefully crafted their own universe on the big screen, and introduced us to Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America and Thor – now it’s time for them to assemble. One of the best things about ‘The Avengers’ is that writer/director Joss Whedon is in charge of the superhero meet and greet. If you’ve been living in a cave on Asguard for the last twenty years, Whedon is responsible for the television series and film ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, and has a writing credit on ‘Toy Story’. He also wrote ‘Alien Resurrection’ but a man’s got to eat right? ‘The Avengers’ looks like a real winner; the hardest decision you’ll have to make this year is which character to dress up as for opening night.
Released: 4 May 2012
Cabin in the Woods
“Five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods. Bad things happen.”
With an original release date of February 2010, ‘Cabin in the Woods’ has sat on the self for a long time due to the financial troubles of MGM. It was finally sold off to Lionsgate who will finally release the film in 2012. ‘Cabin in the Woods’ is a teen horror/thriller where a group of friends visit a mysterious cabin in the woods and bad things happen. It’s the brainchild of Joss Whedon who works as a producer and co-writer on the film, and longtime Whedon collaborator Drew Goddard is directing. Goddard wrote the screenplay for ‘Cloverfield’ as well as numerous episodes of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, ‘Alias’ and ‘Lost’. Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford and Chris Hemsworth lead a cast of mostly unknowns. The trailer will get your mind racing as there are elements of horror, sci-fi and satire running throughout.
Released: 13 April 2012 (USA)
“The sixteenth President of the United States guides the North to victory during the Civil War.”
“The man, the beard and the hat” – could we be seeing that tagline on a teaser poster for ‘Lincoln’ soon? Probably not, of the two films being made about the life of the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, this is the serious one. Currently in production, not much is known about what aspects of Lincoln’s life will feature in the film but it’s been hinted that it will focus on the time period at the end of the Civil War. What we do know is that it’s directed by Steven Spielberg and has an amazing cast. Daniel Day Lewis will play Lincoln and Sally field will play his wife. In support are Joseph Gordon Levitt, Jarred Harris, Tommy Lee Jones, Jackie Earle Haley, Walton Goggins and David Strathairn. An amazing cast and director telling the story of an extraordinary human being, and when it comes to Lincoln it’s about bloody time.
Released: December 2012 (USA)
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
“President Lincoln’s mother is killed by a supernatural creature, which fuels his passion to crush vampires and their slave-owning helpers.”
Not entirely historically accurate but it sounds like a lot of fun, this take on Abraham Lincoln is based on the novel by Seth Grahame-Smith. It melds historical events with axe swinging vampire hunting action. The best thing going for the film is director Timur Bekmambetov who brought new levels of crazy to the films ‘Night Watch’, ‘Day Watch’ and ‘Wanted’. Bekmambetov’s visual style and taste for the supernatural is perfect for the material. The film’s success might launch other similar projects such as ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ which has been stuck in development forever.
Released: 21 June 2012
“Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.”
Another film hampered by the financial woes of MGM but now they’ve got their issues sorted James Bond is back … again. ‘Casino Royale’ successfully rebooted the franchise and ‘Quantam of Solace’ booted the franchise back into the bad books. ‘Skyfall’ will hopefully get things back on track with Daniel Craig getting his 007 on with the help of Judi Dench as M and Ben Whishaw playing a young Q. Ralph Fiennes and Javier Bardem are on the shadier side of the proceedings but their roles are still mostly unknown. Here’s hoping Bond will start properly kicking butt and not crying over his lost girlfriend all the time. In all honesty, ‘Skyfall’ is the last chance we’re giving Daniel Craig as Bond and all hopes of the franchise having a solid future. Director Sam Mendes isn’t giving us hope but our minds are open with a martini in hand.
Released: 22 November 2012
The Gangster Squad
“A chronicle of the LAPD’s fight to keep East Coast Mafia types out of Los Angeles in the 1940s and 50s.”
The first thing that draws you to ‘Gangster Squad’ is the cast, are you ready? Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Josh Brolin, Giovanni Ribisi, Robert Patrick and Michael Pena. It’s a cops and robbers story set in the 40s and 50s with plenty of fedoras and smooth criminals – sign me up! ‘Zombieland’ director Ruben Fleischer is trying his hand at the crime drama that already being compared to ‘LA Confidential’.
Released: 1 November 2012
“With the help of his mentor, a slave-turned-bounty hunter sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.”
Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino is enough to sell us on this one but we’re going to hype it up a bit more for you. It’s a western that featured recently on a list of the best unproduced scripts in Hollywood as voted by studio head-honchos. The cast is impressive with Jamie Foxx playing Django the slave turned bounty hunter and Christoph Waltz playing his mentor. Along the road they meet Kurt Russell, Sarah Baron Coen, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Samuel L. Jackson, James Remar, Anthony LaPaglia and Don Johnson. Just when things couldn’t get any better, taking the plumb role of the villain is Leonardo DiCaprio. Did we also mention that it’s directed by Quentin Tarantino? Start taking bets on what iconic music Tarantino will inject into his Western that we’re already tipping as a potential masterpiece.
Released: 26 December 2012
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
“Bilbo Baggins, a Hobbit, journeys to the Lonely Mountain accompanied by a group of dwarves to reclaim a treasure taken from them by the dragon Smaug.”
After steering the ‘Lord of the Rings’ series to success at the box office and pocketing a few Academy Awards, director Peter Jackson returns to Middle Earth with ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’. Like most books-to-film nowadays ‘The Hobbit’ has been broken into two films both directed by Jackson. ‘The Hobbit’ is a prequel to the ‘Lord of the Rings’ and tells the story of the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and a pesky little ring. Martin Freeman is playing Bilbo and a few familiar faces from Middle Earth are sure to appear. The film is almost a year away but we already have a trailer. Warning: if you’re a fan you may pass out.
Released: 26 December 2012
“Determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse.”
‘Brave’ is the next Pixar project due for release from Disney which automatically makes us interested. Pixar have had an amazing run with the exception of ‘Cars 2’ which is obviously the big money maker of their properties when it comes to merchandise, thus the lame sequel. The animation looks amazing and the prospect of a Scottish medieval adventure has us swinging imaginary swords all over the place. There is also the masterstroke of having Billy Connolly provide one of the voices. We’re Mc-Cited!
Released: 21 June 2012
“The lone survivor of a space mission to repair the Hubble telescope desperately tries to return to Earth and reunite with her daughter.”
One of our favourite directors is Alfonso Cuaron who directed the best Harry Potter film ‘The Prisoner of Azkaban’ and the sci-fi thriller ‘Children of Men’. He has been missing for over five years but makes a comeback with ‘Gravity’ which stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. The plot sounds like a bad space action film from the 90s, but the involvement of Cuaron has us interested.
Released: 21 November 2012 (USA)
Dr Seuss’ The Lorax
“A 12-year-old boy searches for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. To find it he must discover the story of the Lorax, the grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world.”
The mind of Dr Seuss has been slowly leaking into the big screen with mixed results over the past eleven years. ‘Horton Hears a Who!’ was great, ‘Cat In the Hat’ no so much. The creators of the fantastic ‘Despicable Me’ are putting their twist on Dr Seuss’ creation ‘The Lorax’. Like all of Seuss’ creations, the world of ‘The Lorax’ looks nutty and fun. Danny DeVito voices the character of the Lorax and gives the character plenty of attitude and charm.
Released: 29 march 2012
“A time-travel action thriller involves a killer who works for the mob of the future. He, along with other so-called Loopers, dispose of people that are sent from the future. When he recognizes one victim as his future self, he hesitates, letting the man escape.”
Time travelling contract killers are the focus for writer/director Rian Johnson in ‘Looper’. Johnson has an impressive resume with ‘Brick’ and ‘The Brothers Bloom’ under his belt, and ‘Looper’ sees him reteam with Joseph Gordon Levitt. Adding a bit of grunt to the cast is Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt will help the boys get in touch with their feminine side. It sounds like ‘Back to the Future’, but instead of using the DeLorean to get around, they run over people with it.
World War Z
“A UN representative, writing a report on the great zombie war, interviews survivors in the wake of World War Z.”
Brad Pitt verses zombies: sexiest man alive of the dead? It’s the big screen version of the popular novel written by Max Brooks who is the son of comedy legend Mel Brooks.
Released: 21 December 2012 (USA)
The Hunger Games
“Set in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister’s place for the latest match.”
Based on the popular book series written by Suzanne Collins it’s been tipped as the next big book adaptation to replace the gaping hole at the cinema left by ‘Harry Potter’ and soon to be wrapped up ‘Twilight Saga’. The concept sounds like ‘The Running Man’ with teenagers and if they manage to capture the intensity and grit of the books it could be a winner. Jennifer Lawrence is in the lead role and could be ready to take the title of screen teen queen if it’s a hit.
Released: 22 March 2012
“A gothic-horror tale centering on the life of vampire Barnabas Collins and his run-ins with various monsters, witches, werewolves and ghosts. Based on the cult TV series.”
Director Tim Burton and Johnny Depp team up again, and their very talented third wheel Helen Bonham Carter is on board as well. Burton is returning to his gothic-horror roots so that has to count for something after the woeful ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Hopefully, a return to form for the “visionary director”.
Released: 10 May 2012
“Two pairs of parents hold a cordial meeting after their sons are involved in a fight, though as their time together progresses, increasingly childish behaviour throws the evening into chaos.”
It’s based on the hilarious Tony award winning Broadway play ‘God of Carnage’ and stars Kate Winslet, Jodi Foster, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly. Having seen the play while holidaying in New York we’re excited. As long as it doesn’t mess with the source material too much it will have you in stiches.
Released: 1 March 2012
“The heroic story of a dictator who risks his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed.”
It’s good to see Sacha Baron Coen taking a break from his mocumentary style of the ‘Borat’ and ‘Bruno’ films. Coen’s brand of humour shifts between clever and extremely crude. ‘The Dictator’ is apparently inspired by a novel written by the late Saddam Hussein and there is enough fodder from recent infamous dictators for Coen to play off. Coen is always surprising and comedy is where his heart is.
Released: 7 June 2012
“An 18th century set story centered on a band of samurai who set out to avenge the death of their master.”
Keanu Reeves and samurai swords, what more do you want?
Released: 29 November 2012
The Amazing Spider Man
“Teenager Peter Parker grapples with both human problems and amazing super-human crises.”
The Spiderman franchise gets a reboot after Sam Raimi’s ‘Spiderman 3’ ran the franchise into the ground. ‘500 Days of Summer’ director Mark Webb is behind the camera and Andrew ‘you better lawyer up’ Garfield is playing Peter Parker/Spiderman. A gritty and more realistic film is being promised as well as 3D. The problem is that we already got two very good Spiderman films, do audiences really want to go through all that origin again? Being comic books nerds we’re a tiny bit interested but still have a bitter taste in our mouth that it’s being rebooted so quickly.
Released: 4 July 2012
Life of Pi
“Based on the best-selling novel by Yann Martel, is a magical adventure story centering on Pi Patel, the precocious son of a zookeeper. Dwellers in Pondicherry, India, the family decides to move to Canada, hitching a ride on a huge freighter. After a shipwreck, Pi is found adrift in the Pacific Ocean on a 26-foot lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, all fighting for survival.”
A lot of mystery surrounds this project and it’s slated for a December release in the US but that could change, as for Australia, we have to wait for 2013. All we know is it’s based on a popular book, it’s directed by Ang Lee and features zoo animals in a life raft – set sail for the high seas!
Released: 14 February 2013 (delayed release)
“A story centered on a man and his teddy bear, who comes to life as the result of a childhood wish.”
The creator of ‘Family Guy’, Seth Macfarlane, makes his directorial film debut with ‘Ted’. After spending years making fun of films and pop culture in general, Macfarlane will have to make an impression to avoid copping a beating from all the critics ready to drag him down. It features Macfarlane’s trademark of a talking animal/stuffed toy and stars Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis. A film to keep your eye on considering how vocal Macfarlane is about everything and everyone via is cartoon creations.
Released: 12 July 2012