Most Anticipated 2012: Part 2
11. Cloud Atlas. Any time that the writer/directors behind The Matrix head to bat again, everyone’s going to sit up. But the inclusion of co-writer/co-director Tom Tykwer makes this a match made in blow-your-mind heaven. Added to that, it’s a sci-fi (looks to be a great year for that genre) featuring six interweaving stories. And it stars Tom Hanks.
12. Gangster Squad. A 1940s-50s crime drama starring Sean Penn (as mob king Mickey Cohen), Josh Brolin (Penn’s Milk co-star), Ryan Gosling (as an LAPD Sgt.), and Emma Stone (Gosling’s Crazy, Stupid, Love. co-star). These two earlier pairings contained pitch-perfect chemistry, but it’s the thought of Gosling and Penn sharing the screen that has me really excited. Let’s hope that the director of Zombieland and 30 Minutes or Less can crank out one of the best period cops-and-robbers movies we’ve seen in some time.
13. Untitled International Thriller (Initially called “Kill Bin Laden”). Three years ago, The Hurt Locker won big at the Oscars, and deservedly so. It is a tense action movie with precise character work, indelible imagery, and a refreshing lack of direct political commentary. Screenwriter Mark Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow are joining once more, this time with a project that was being worked on before Osama bin Laden was discovered. Casting is not firmed-up, but names like Tom Hardy, Idris Elba, Rooney Mara, and Guy Pearce comprise the “rumored” status. I hope this is a collaboration that continues for years to come.
14. Seven Psychopaths. After his brilliant debut feature In Bruges, writer/director Martin McDonaugh is back with a comedy about a screenwriter entangled in some kind of dog-kidnapping scheme. And to call this a good cast is not giving these guys enough credit: Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, and Christopher Walken.
15. Cogan’s Trade. It seems like a lot of what I’m anticipating this year has to do with a particular director reteaming with a particular actor, and this film is just that: Andrew Dominik and Brad Pitt are together again after 2007′s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. That feature is a technical marvel, with exquisite period detail and compositions like paintings. The story of Cogan’s Trade involves a “professional enforcer” (Pitt) and a “mob-protected poker game.” I’m eager to see Dominik working in a contemporary setting with crime material right up my alley.
16. Wettest County. This tale of Depression-era bootleggers comes from the team behind 2005′s The Proposition: writer Nick Cave and director John Hillcoat. It also marks the third pairing of Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman in two years. In addition to those two, we have Jessica Chastain, Shia LaBeouf, Mia Wasikowska, and Guy Pearce. Coming out in April, it’ll grab our attention before the noisy summer season.
17. Lincoln. Daniel Day-Lewis in the titular role is more than enough to get me there. I only hope that the film around him is as good as his performance is sure to be. With writing credits for John Logan and Tony Kushner, and a cast that reads like a who’s-who of proven veterans and up-and-comers (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Jared Harris, James Spader, Jackie Earle Haley, Sally Field, Joseph Cross, John Hawkes, Michael Stuhlbarg, David Strathairn, Hal Holbrook, and Bruce McGill), I bet that it is.
18. Les Misérables. Oscar winner Tom Hooper is red-hot after last year’s Best Picture acclaim for The King’s Speech, and he has decided to follow it up with a musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic. The cast is not completely filled-out, but the ones in place range from the enticing to the worrying: Hugh Jackman, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sacha Baron Cohen are good bets, but I don’t know about Anne Hathaway. Tony Award winner Eddie Redmayne appears ideally cast, though he’s yet to really impress me. It’s Russell Crowe that has me enthusiastic for this film, a piece of inspired casting that’s both unconventional and strangely fitting.
19. This is Forty. As a huge fan of Judd Apatow’s directed works (The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Funny People), not to mention those he produced (Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Superbad, Step Brothers, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Pineapple Express, Bridesmaids), I’m surprised to find this one so far down the list. But that just shows you how strong 2012 looks to be. With Jason Segel, Paul Rudd, and Leslie Mann reprising their roles from Knocked Up in this sequel-of-sorts, we’re likely to have another great comedy to add to our Apatow collection.
20. The Great Gatsby. Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby; Carey Mulligan as Daisy; Joel Edgerton as Tom; Isla Fisher as Myrtle; and Tobey Maguire as Nick. Shot in 3D by wildly visual auteur Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge!). As strange as it all sounds, this predictably left-field adaptation of Fitzgerald’s classic might not completely succeed, but I can’t wait to watch the effort. Luhrmann’s revisionist Romeo and Juliet didn’t make a ton of friends, and this probably won’t either, but somehow it feels about right.
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