Recording Live From Somewhere’s 10 Most Anticipated Films Of 2012

Written by Marko Orlic

As a fan of cinema, I hate the month of December almost as much as I love it.  While I geek out over the Christmas season’s onslaught of Oscar-hopeful releases, I can’t help but dread the next three or four months, where moviegoers are subject to the types of films that distributors have absolutely zero faith in and actors take on strictly for paycheck purposes — Exhibit A: Man On A Ledge (yes, you read that correctly).  Now that January is upon us, I guess the best way to cope with the first quarter slog is to catch up on the classics and scope out the back-loaded titles due out later in the year.  So, without further ado, here are 10 films to look forward to in a stacked 2012, and man, do they look good on paper:

1. The Master

The Players: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams & Laura Dern

The Plot: “A 1950s-set drama centered on the relationship between a charismatic intellectual known as “the Master,” whose faith-based organization, called “The Cause,” begins to catch on in America, and a young drifter who becomes his right-hand man.”

The Draw: Paul Thomas Anderson and Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood.  And, well, Scientology’s always a fun topic.

2. The Dark Knight Rises | Watch The Trailer

The Players: Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman & Matthew Modine

The Plot: “Eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, 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.”

The Draw: Christopher Nolan completes his Batman trilogy, as Tom Hardy (Bane) and Anne Hathaway (Catwoman) do their best to make audiences forget about Heath Ledger’s unforgettable turn as The Joker.  If the Inception-inspired, gravity-defying IMAX prologue playing in front of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is any indication, this third installment will be every bit as exciting as its predecessor.

3. Django Unchained

The Players: Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington, Sacha Baron Cohen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Don Johnson, Anthony LaPaglia & The RZA

The Plot: “With the help of his mentor, a slave-turned-bounty hunter sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner. ”

The Draw: Quentin Tarantino replaces Nazis with slave owners, while Leo plays a villain for the first time since 1998’s The Man With The Iron Mask.  I’ll watch Sacha Baron Cohen in anything.  The RZA is icing on the cake.

4. Looper

The Players: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Paul Dano, Piper Perabo & Garret Dillahunt

The Plot: “In the future, the mob contracts its hits in a very unique way: by using outlawed time travel technology to vanish targets by sending them to the past, before time travel was invented, where specialized hitmen known as “Loopers,” take out said targets. One Looper in particular attempts to carry out a hit on a target, quickly realizing it is his future self.”

The Draw: With Brick, Rian Johnson displayed an even-handed command of mood, atmosphere, and dialogue. Early screening reviews say that, with Johnson’s impressive genre skills already in tow, Looper‘s concepts and ambition will catapult him to the big time. Apparently, Shane Carruth, helmer of time travel mindfuck, Primer, is also involved in some capacity.

5. Wettest County

The Players: Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain, Guy Pearce, Mia Wasikowska, Noah Taylor & Jason Clarke

The Plot: “Set in Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, a bootlegging gang is threatened by authorities who want a cut of their profits.”

The Draw: Director John Hillcoat, screenwriter (and bandleader) Nick Cave, and the eternally overlooked Guy Pearce reunite after delivering quite possibly the filthiest and most ruthless Western I’ve ever seen, The Proposition, in 2005.  Masters of conveying the desperation and lawlessness of the past, the Aussie trio, along with a dream supporting cast, are bound to leave viewers asking, “Nucky who? Boardwalk what?”

6. The Gangster Squad

The Players: Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Emma Stone, Anthony Mackie, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Pena, Nick Nolte & Robert Patrick

The Plot: “A chronicle of the LAPD’s fight to keep East Coast Mafia types out of Los Angeles in the 1940s and ’50s.”

The Draw: Ruben Fleischer has never worked outside of the comedy genre before, but his debut, Zombieland, showed a very distinct visual style, supplying a ton of creative zombie-killing thrills.  With an action-driven plot, and the most stacked cast of the year — that’s saying a lot if you look at the movies listed above — he shouldn’t have many problems adjusting to more serious fare.

7. The Place Beyond The Pines

The Players: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Rose Byrne, Eva Mendes, Ben Mendelsohn, Ray Liotta & Bruce Greenwood

The Plot: “A motorcycle stunt rider considers committing a crime in order to provide for his wife and child, an act that puts him on a collision course with a cop-turned-politician.”

The Draw: Just two years ago, director Derek Cianfrance and Ryan Gosling brought us Blue Valentine, one of the most painful relationship dramas put to film.  If this tag team can reignite the same kind of chemistry, we should be in line for a visceral crime story, grounded in personal stakes and authentic human emotion realized by three dimensional characters. This approach will be a welcome change of  pace from your typical plot-driven actioner.  Throwing Animal Kingdom‘s quietly intimidating Ben Mendelsohn into the mix doesn’t hurt, and neither do the director’s comparisons to The Godfather and The Deer Hunter.

8. Prometheus

The Players: Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Patrick Wilson & Logan Marshall-Green

The Plot: “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.”

The Draw: Ridley Scott finally returns to the sci-fi genre, which he owned in the ’80s with classics like Alien and Blade Runner.  This time, he’s accompanied by three of Hollywood’s biggest up-and-comers; Shame‘s Michael Fassbender, The Wire‘s Idris Elba, and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo‘s Noomi Rapace.  Most importantly to some, this is supposedly a prequel to the aforementioned Alien.

9. The Great Gatsby

The Players: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher & Jason Clarke

The Plot: “Nick Carraway, a Midwesterner now living on Long Island, finds himself fascinated by the mysterious past and lavish lifestyle of his neighbour, Jay Gatsby. He is drawn into Gatsby’s circle, becoming a witness to obsession and tragedy.”

The Draw: This is one of the most inspired casting jobs to date — all three leads are their literary counterparts.  Unfortunately, Martin Scorsese and (fortunately) Adrian Grenier/Vinny Chase won’t be involved, as Entourage would have you believe, but Baz Luhrmann’s (Moulin Rouge!, Romeo + Juliet) grandiose set designs, art direction, and costuming may very well end up being a perfect fit for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s canonized source material.

10. The Grandmasters | Watch The Trailer

The Players: Tony Leung, Ziyi Zhang & Chen Chang

The Plot: “The story of martial arts master Ip Man, the man who trained the illustrious Bruce Lee.”

The Draw: With his otherworldly floating camera, Hong Kong’s Wong Kar-Wai is a god of the visual medium.  He also happens to be my favourite (active) foreign-born director.  Akin to Marty and Leo, Wong will be collaborating for the seventh time with leading man Tony Leung, a Chinese actor capable of making a grown man cry without uttering a single word.  The final piece to this puzzle is, of course, Yuen Woo Ping, martial arts choreographer of a few action flicks you might have heard about: The Matrix, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Kill Bill & Fist Of Legend.  Pretty, pretty, pretty good. (c) Larry David



    1. Recording Live From Somewhere’s 2012 Oscar Picks « Recording Live From Somewhere…
    2. The Best Movies of 2011 « RLFS
    3. “Gangster Squad” (Ruben Fleischer/Gosling, Penn, Brolin, Stone, Nolte, Mackie, Ribisi, Pena, Patrick, Enos, Grillo, Stapleton &) Trailer «
    4. “Looper” (Rian Johnson/Gordon-Levitt, Willis, Blunt, Daniels, Dano, Dillahunt & Perabo) Trailer #2 «

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