And we’re back! Ready for the thrilling conclusion? I’m only asking because I’d love to get your go-ahead before I make you read another long post about twenty-five more movies. Then again, maybe I’d just better be assertive and just get on with the list-making. In case you missed it, here are the first batch of potentially exciting movies expected to arrive in 2012 (according to me). That group stopped at 25. Now here comes 26 through 50.
Kristen Wiig’s next movie, from the directors of American Splendor and The Extra Man. It looks to be a dark comedy, which is just the way I like it. And it co-stars Matt Dillon and Annette Bening, old pros at dark comedy. This is a good group to make that kind of tricky tone work.
27. John Carter
You notice how smoothly Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille) transitioned from Pixar cartoons to live action with Mission Impossible 4? Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, Wall-E) is attempting the same trick here. I’m not overly excited about this movie, but then again, maybe I should be, as it features a truckload of weird-looking aliens, including one who kind of looks like a butt. (Third from the left!)
Never finished the horror-comedy novel which this movie comes from (still might!), but either way. the guy doing the adapting is one Don Coscarelli (Phantasm, The Beastmaster, Bubba Ho-Tep). Between that and the presence of one Paul Giamatti, I’m gonna be there.
29. Lay The Favorite
At this point I’m not sure a sane person automatically gets excited about a movie starring Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Vince Vaughn, but a smart person would never dismiss Stephen Frears. He’s a sly director who can make magic in unlikely places.
Feeling weirdly enthusiastic at the prospect of Steven Spielberg directing Daniel Day-Lewis in a movie about the beardliest president — like how every once in a while you’d get homework at school that seemed like it could be fun for once. Spielberg has been contemplating this one for years, so it’s not like it’s going to be a rush job. And have you seen that cast list? It’s like thirty or forty people deep with great names.
Rian Johnson is the guy who made the high school noir movie, Brick, and the underrated con-man movie The Brothers Bloom. Those movies show a potentially great talent, and even if they got a little cutesy at times, his work directing episodes of Terriers and Breaking Bad (two of the greatest TV shows of the past decade) prove that this guy is only getting better. And there ain’t nothing cutesy about the badass premise of Looper: “A killer who works for the mob of the future recognizes one of his targets as his future self.”
Rob Zombie is a strange case. He loves all the same stuff I love and casts all the cult actors I adore, but hasn’t yet made any movies that I’ve had an easy time finishing, let alone been able to enjoy. I keep trying, though. And he’s arguably got his best cast yet on this new one. Really, it’s just full of great actors. It’s like the Lincoln of junk movies.
34. The Monkey King
A Hong Kong action movie starring Chow Yun-Fat and Donnie Yen as the famed Monkey King of Chinese legend. If that doesn’t excite you, you’ve got some Googling and Netflixing to do.
This is the Thai boxing movie that Nicolas Winding Refn (Valhalla Rising, Drive) is working on. I’m not sure if it will be done and released in 2012, or how exactly Ryan Gosling is involved, but I’m excited to see it whenever it comes.
36. Premium Rush
High-concept thriller about a bike messenger on the run from a crooked cop in the heavy-traffic zone of midtown Manhattan. My niece and I wandered through the set of this one so for sentimental reasons I’m into the idea of seeing it. Also any occasion to ogle Jamie Chung and Dania Ramirez is a solid one. (We didn’t see them that day or I totally would have charmed them.)
Director Oren Moverman and star Woody Harrelson previously made a really effective movie about military veterans called The Messenger. Now they’re addressing a subject of eternal fascination to me, the L.A. Rampart scandals of the late 1990s. I lived in that neighborhood a few years later and I’m always curious about local history, particularly such an explosive topic as police corruption. Oh yeah, and this one was co-written by James Ellroy.
38. [REC]3 Genesis
The first two [REC] films, found-footage zombie flicks from Spain, are completely underrated in this country. Check ‘em out! Then join me in anticipating the third one, from the same production team.
39. Red Hook Summer
Spike Lee has been making some great documentaries lately, but it’s been a while since he’s made a narrative film, and a while longer since he’s made one resembling his earlier, more personal movies. Clarke Peters, probably my favorite actor from The Wire (it’s either him or Wendell Pierce), is featured in the cast. This is all kinds of promising.
40. Red Tails
This movie is about the Tuskegee Airmen, black fighter pilots during World War 2. George Lucas is producing (not directing though, that’s done by a director named Anthony Hemingway). It’s a story Lucas has been name-checking for years. It’s commonplace on the internet to knock George Lucas, but I’m interested to see what a Lucasfilm production looks like when it isn’t related to Star Wars or Indiana Jones. Not only that, but if you look closely at the above poster you’ll see it was drawn by the great Joe Kubert, and any movie with that poster has to, by law, be okay by me.
Another Scott Adkins action movie, although this one has horror elements since (as far as I can tell) it’s about the war between humans and zombies. While normal people are out watching Meryl Streep movies, this is the kind of movie I’m looking at.
By far one of my most anticipated movies of the year, this is the second film from playwright Martin McDonagh, who previously wrote and directed In Bruges. If you click that link you will read me loving up a movie with shameless vigor. I’ve been ready to see McDonagh’s next movie since the end credits of his first one. Seven Psychopaths brings back Colin Farrell and matches him up with Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits, and for all you Tower Heist fans, Gabourey Sidibe. I’m guessing that those guys portray some of the titular psycopaths.
43. The Sweeney
Apparently this is an update of a 1970s British cop drama. If we Americans can do it – over, and over, and over – I guess the Brits can do their remakes and reboots too. At least this one has a script by John Hodge (Trainspotting) and stars Ray Winstone, Damian Lewis, and Hayley Atwell, three actors I am prepared to watch in just about anything.
Way back in 1999 I read this novel, by a guy named Max Barry, about corporate shenanigans in the soft-drink industry. I liked it. It was funny. Now it’s a movie and Amber Heard is in it. I’ve watched many movies for much worse reasons.
45. This Is 40
Any new movie from Judd Apatow (written & directed by, not necessarily produced by) will automatically get my fifteen bucks. That said, I’m not overly jazzed about this one, which is said to be a continuation of the story of Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann’s characters from Knocked Up. Somehow Jason Segel’s character is wrapped up in there, as is Megan Fox somehow. Thing is, and I don’t know about you guys, but I haven’t exactly been clamoring for an update on any of those characters. Also I’m a little woozy from the Jason Segel onslaught that came about during that whole Muppets blitzkrieg. Still, as I say, it’s a Judd Apatow flick, which ensures that I’ll find something to like about it regardless of my dumb reservations. And once I found the above picture in a Google search, I couldn’t resist including this movie on this list.
46. Under The Skin
All I know about the movie is this: Jonathan Glazer (director of Sexy Beast), Scarlett Johansson, aliens, and the title. I’ll take it.
For all my reasons on why anyone should be interested in the work of writer-director James Gray, please refer to my piece on his most recent movie, Two Lovers. His newest is a period piece involving magicians, burlesque, and vaudeville, and stars Jeremy Renner, Marion Cotillard (pictured above), and Gray’s go-to-actor-for-contractual-ever, Joaquin Phoenix, who’s never better than he is in Gray’s movies. Could be good. Won’t be boring.
I can hardly believe that we could get another movie from Malick just one year after the monumental achievement of The Tree Of Life, but it looks very possible at this particular moment in time. I’m flabbergasted. (I think that word can be used to mean the good kind of surprised.)
Like any decent person, I’m a Paul Rudd fan. I’m an embattled Jennifer Aniston fan. You couldn’t cast a comedy with a more likable pair of lead actors. If this movie is half as fun as Role Models (an earlier flick from the same crew, minus JA), it’ll still be pretty fun.
50. Wettest County
The latest movie from John Hillcoat (The Proposition, The Road) was adapted from novel to script by Nick Cave. The cast includes Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce, and Jessica Chastain. There’s plenty of pedigree to be had here. Yes, I know it’s got probably the worst title yet to appear on my list. Not all film titles are created equally. They can’t all be The Curse Of The Buxom Strumpet. That’s just the way it is.