Release Date: October 12
Starring: Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell
Because this film is only in limited release and will not get major Oscar buzz I probably won't see it in 2012 but it looks great. First of all, it is directed by Martin McDonagh. I'm sure you have never heard of him but he directed a great film called "In Bruges" (also starring Ferrell). A good friend of mine, Bryan Hernandez, wrote up a great review of the film on my old site which I encourage everybody to read. Not only did McDonagh utilize Ferrell perfectly (and I think he'll do it again here) but the guy has got some damn fine directing chops. "Seven Psychopaths" looks like good Guy Ritchie film but with an even sillier plot line.
OK, quick tangent here.
SNL did a parody trailer of the Guy Ritchie/British crime drama called Don You Go Rounin Roun To Re Ro (which I recommend you watch because it's hysterical) and a fake movie critic said about the movie, "It seems like a lot of killing over a very small amount of money". That's true for basically all of Ritchie's early films and that basically sums up the plot of "Seven Psychopaths". While that inherently is pretty silly, the characters and the violent shenanigans that ensues looks both entertaining and fun to watch.
11) Killing Them Softly (dir. Andrew Dominik)
Release Date: October 19
Starring: Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta, James Gandolfini
Again, another limited release film but that doesn't diminish my excitement to see the film because a) its got Brad Pitt in it and despite his public image the guy makes great films and b) gotta love modern noir/gangster movies and c) look at the rest of that awesome cast!
10) Pitch Perfect (dir. Jason Moore)
Release Date: October 5
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Adam DeVine, Elizabeth Banks
I know, I know. Please stop yelling at me. I know. I know this movie looks really bad to most of you and I deserve all the flack I get. But if you saw this trailer with no one around and no one to judge you then you would be laughing at the trailer and excited to see the film. I'll admit I'm a sucker for singing competitions like "Glee" and "The Sing Off" but this movie also looks really funny.
The highlight of it and the potential breakout star is Rebel Wilson best known for playing Kristen Wiig's roommate in "Bridesmaids". Let me give you what I think is a good comparison. In "The 40 Year Old Virgin" Jonah Hill had a small cameo as a background guy buying shoes from Catherine Keener's character. Then in "Knocked Up" Hill had a bigger role playing one of Seth Rogen's roommates. Then he finally got his huge breakthrough role starring in "Superbad". I'm not sure if "Pitch Perfect" will be Wilson's "Knocked Up" or "Superbad" but either way she looks freaking hysterical in this and I'll go see "Pitch Perfect" just for her. Plus, I'll see it for my girl Anna Kendrick ("Up In The Air", "50/50"). AND its got Adam from "Workaholics".
9) Butter (dir. Jim Field Smith)
Release Date: October 5
Starring: Jennifer Garner, Olivia Wilde, Ty Burrell, Rob Corddry
Come on. How can you watch that trailer and *not* be excited to see "Butter"! The plot of the movie is absolutely ridiculous and this film reminds me of "Burn After Reading" but actually enjoyable, funny, and I'll be happy to watch it.
8) Paranormal Activity 4 (dir. Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman)
Release Date: October 19
Starring: Kate Featherston, Kathryn Newton, Matt Shively
I'm just a big fan of the Paranormal Activity series in general. I enjoy scary movies but I am a big believer in having the movie earn its scare versus just grossing me out. Showing me gore and guts will scare the bejesus out of me but it's a cheap scare. But when a film can manage to set the atmosphere correctly and make me feel uncomfortable and uneasy in my seat then the film has succeeded. And all three Paranormal Activity's have managed to do that. "Paranormal Activity 3" is one of the scariest films I have ever seen and I literally squealed like a little girl in the theater. While the plot was pretty bad the scares were well earned. Unlike the "Saw" franchise which just got exponentially worse the more sequels were released, the "Paranormal Activity" franchise is still going strong.
7) Silver Linings Playbook (dir. David O. Russell)
Release Date: November 21
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro, Chris Tucker
For starters, "Silver Linings Playbook" has my girl Jennifer Lawrence in it so I have to see it no matter what (except for "Winter's Bone". I got through 30 minutes of it on Netflix and I had to turn it off was because it was just so damn slow). But the real reason I want to see "SLP" is because it looks like a fun story about two damaged people (Cooper and Lawrence) coming together to find happiness. I'm sure the story is cliche but when it's done with great characters (which is what this film looks like it has) then I don't care if I have seen the plot before as long as I care about the characters. While I'm not the biggest David O. Russell fan, the guy's a professional and "SLP" looks like it has the right amount of quirk and this trailer make me excited to go out and see the film.
6) Wreck-It Ralph (dir. Rich Moore)
Release Date: November 2
Starring: John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch
When I first saw this trailer I assumed it was a Pixar film. It not only had the look of a Pixar film but it looked like it had the stellar quality of a Pixar film. When I found out it wasn't made by Pixar (only Disney) I almost refused to see it. But then I thought about it and having the "Pixar" label attached to an animated flick doesn't have the same prestige today as it did even two years ago at this time. Last year's Cars 2 was a universal failure (quality wise) as evident that it didn't even get nominated for Best Animated Film at the Oscar's in 2011 (and the only Pixar film I have never seen and will probably never see) and 2012's "Brave" was no great shakes either.
But enough hating on Pixar, "Wreck-It-Ralph" looks fun and entertaining, looks like old-school (quality wise) Pixar, and looks very good.
5) Lincoln (dir. Steven Spielberg)
Release Date: November 9
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jared Harris, Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field
While there has not yet been a trailer released for "Lincoln" this poster released for the film says 1,000 words. Holy crap does Daniel Day-Lewis look like a spitting image of Abraham Lincoln and with DDL's acting abilities I bet he wins another Best Actor Academy Award. While this film is directed by Spielberg which does give it some pedigree and hype, let's not pretend everything Spielberg touches turns to gold. The Terminal was pretty bad and while I'm sure War Horse was good, holy hell did it look boring and a year later nobody remembers the film. Also, sometimes great directors just fail. Ridley Scott post-Gladiator has been pretty bad (for the most part) and did anyone see Oliver's Stones "Savages" this year?
Despite the fact that I just shat unnecessarily over Spielberg, he is still a living legend, the cast of "Lincoln" is in incredible, and it has my boy Joseph Gordon-Levitt (more to come on him!) in it. I'm sure "Lincoln" will be spectacular.
4) Skyfall (dir. Sam Mendes)
Release Date: November 9
Starring: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Judy Dench, Ralph Fiennes
Above is the teaser trailer that really got me hooked into this new 007 film. "Skyfall" released a full trailer a few weeks ago that almost ruined it for me but because the trailer was so jumbled I feel like someone just did a poor editing job with the trailer versus the movie actually being bad.
The jury is still out on Daniel Craig's James Bond movies. While "Casino Royale" was superb (see another great review written by Bryan Hernandez), "Quantum of Solace" was just horrible. QoS could just be the outlier but remember that Pierce Brosnan started off with the amazing "Goldeneye" and then his next three flicks got progressively worse. But I'm an optimist and I think "Skyfall" will be a great rebound for the British Spy franchise.
For starters, the villain is being played by Javier Bardem. We saw just how amazing he was in "No Country For Old Men" and it looks like evilness might be Bardem's niche. While I'm not a fan of a blonde Javier Bardem, he will always get the benefit of the doubt from his chilling performance as Anton Chigurh.
I also really like the decision to go with Sam Mendes ("American Beauty", "Jarhead"). While his films are hit and miss, the decision shows me that this film will be more like a drama than an action flick. The Michael Bay school of actions movies with lots of explosions but no character development whatsoever has been replaced by more drama, a better focus on the characters, and less action. Films like Sam Reimi's Spider-Man movies and Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy have paved the way for a new era (and a far better one) for action films and I think "Skyfall" will fall into that same category.
3) The Master (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)
Release Date: September 21
Starring: Joaquin Pheonix, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams
The last film that Paul Thomas Anderson made was a little film that came out in 2007 called "There Will Be Blood". I love "TWBB" and if you haven't seen it I recommend you stop reading this and go out and watch it right now. Here is P.T. Anderson's resume before "Blood": "Punch Drunk Love", "Boogie Nights", and "Magnolia". Those are some excellent films. What Anderson does so well, even with huge casts like "Magnolia" and "Boogie Nights" is that he creates deep characters that you care about no matter what situation you put them in.
To be honest I'm not quite sure what "The Master" is about. From what I gather from the many trailers the plot is that Phoenix's character was at war and now that he has come home he is lost in the world. He stumbles upon Hoffman's character who is reportedly modeled after L. Ron Hubbard (the "creator" of Scientology) and Hoffman's wife (sidekick? I dunno) played by Amy Adams. Hoffman and Adams try to save and help Phoenix while in turn trying to grow their "religion" or "science". Either way, I don't care what the plot is because after "There Will Be Blood" and all of P.T. Anderson's films, I'm sure "The Master" will be excellent.
2) Looper (dir. Rian Johnson)
Release Date: September 28
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt
I love Jospeh Godron-Levitt. I think he's one of the best actors in Hollywood right now. Essentially, he is the real life Vinny Chase except has talent but is not yet a leading man. I think at the end of 2012, with the help of "Looper" (and "Lincoln", see above) Gordon-Levitt is going to be a household name. Here are some of JoGo's last films that he was in: "(500) Days Of Summer", "50/50", "Inception", and "The Dark Knight Rises". Pretty impressive resume. JGL was by far and away the best actor in the TDKR and at this point in his career I'll go see really anything he does.
Despite, my man love for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the plot of "Looper" looks amazing. JoGo plays a criminal thug called a, wait for it, a "looper" and criminals from the future send their victims back in time to be killed by loopers. When JoGo's character from the future (played by Bruce Willis) gets sent back in time to be killed by JoGo himself, things go astray.
My main concern with "Looper" is that Science Fiction flicks, especially one by a writer/director with little to no prestige, can be hit or miss. The most recent example is 2011's "In Time" starring another talented and charismatic lead actor in Justin Timberlake. "In Time" had a phenomenal premise and a great cast but had AWFUL execution and was just bad. And writer/director Rian Johnson's only real claim to fame is that he directed two Breaking Bad episodes (albeit two amazing episodes) and "Brick". But that being said, I don't care about Johnson's pedigree because Looper looks amazing. Remember when Batman Begins was directed by this nobody who directed one awesome film and one kinda crappy one? I just hope I get an invitation to Rian Johnson's coming out party.
1) Django Unchained (dir. Quentin Tarantino)
Release Date: Christmas Day
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Don Johnson
Coming off the stellar film of "Basterds", Tarantino looks to one up himself by making his own adaptation of a Blacksploitation/Revenge film. The film stars Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz as bounty hunters looking for very powerful men, one of which being Leonardo DiCaprio (who looks like an awesome villain- the same way Tarantino made Waltz one of the best film bad guys ever in "Basterds"). If "Django" is even half as good as "Pulp Fiction" or "Inglourious Basterds" then there is no doubt in my mind it will be the best film of the year and I believe we will soon be debating which film was better: "Django" or "Basterds".
My Final List:
1) Django Unchained
3) The Master
6) Wreck-It Ralph
7) Silver Linings Playbook
8) Paranormal Activity 4
10) Pitch Perfect
11) Killing Them Softly
12) Seven Psychopaths
Other Films I Want To See But Did Not Make The Cut Because I Do Not Want To See Them *That* Badly:
- Flight (dir. Robert Zemeckis)
- Argo (dir. Ben Affleck)
- Jack Reacher (star. Tom Cruise)
- Rise Of The Guardians
- Taken 2 (while I *love* Taken and will go see Taken 2 opening weekend, I know it just won't be as awesome as the original)
Movies I Absolutely Do Not Want To See:
-The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (dir. Peter Jackson)
- Les Miserables (dir. Tom Hooper)
- Life Of Pi (dir. Ang Lee)
- Cloud Atlas (dir. The Wachowski siblings)
- Anna Karenina (dir. Joe Wright)
- The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part II (dir. Who The Fuck Cares?)
- Fuck you Warner Bros. for pushing back the release of "The Great Gatsby" (dir. Baz Luhrmann) from Christmas 2012 to summer of 2013 just because of Oscar considerations. I understand the 2012 class seems really, really deep (especially considering the awful and shallow class of 2011) but a) who's to say your film won't be better than anyone else's this year? and b) being released in 2013 doesn't guarantee you anything. 2013 could be a deep year as well and pulling a move like this jinxes and guarantees yourself that some no nothing movie a la "The Artist" or "The Hurt Locker" is going to swoop in and steal all of your awards. I mean, seriously, how awesome does this trailer look?!
- I will not see "This Is 40" (dir. Judd Apatow). While "Knocked Up" is one of my favorite films of all time and I loved "The 40 Year Old Virgin" I can not blindly support Judd Apatow anymore. Firstly, "Funny People" was a huge stain on Apatow's creative career and secondly,"This Is 40" overtly says this is more of a drama than a comedy and is not meant for a single 25 year old male. While I greatly appreciate them telling me this is more of a dramedy than a comedy (versus doing what they did with "Funny People" by insinuating that if you liked "Superbad" you'll love "Funny People". Horrible marketing strategy) by telling me this you're asking myself and the core people who go out and spend money on movie tickets to not see this film.
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