2012 has a slew of big name releases coming up, The Hunger Games, The Avengers, Dark Shadows, Prometheus, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Dark Knight Rises, The Bourne Legacy, The Hobbit; the year is already shaping up to be better for film than 2011. There’s also John Carter, Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, Tarrantino’s Django Unchained, Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis and Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables. You might go broke actually heading out to the theater instead of waiting for Netflix or DVDs, but save some of your hard-earned pennies for these movies you might not (yet) know you should be excited about:
Looper: Directed by Rian Johnson (The Brothers Bloom, Brick), starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Paul Dano, Emily Blunt and Piper Perabo .
Premise: In this science fiction outing, Gordon-Levitt plays a hit man who works for a mob, killing people who were sent back from the future. Things go wonky when he recognizes a target as his future self (Willis).
Why You Should Care: JGL and Paul Dano, time travel and guns—duh! Rob thinks it could be one of the best films of 2012. And take a gander at that time machine Rian Johnson has…
Rust and Bone: Directed by Jacques Audiard (A Prophet), starring Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts, Bouli Lanners and Alex Martin.
Premise: From a book of short stories by Craig Davison, this film is at least in part based on the tale of a killer whale trainer who lost a leg and participates in an addict/amputee support group. Though in the book the trainer is male, it appears the role was changed for Cotillard.
Why You Should Care: David Lynchesque plotline and a topless (perhaps legless) Marion Cotillard… cavorting with orca and Frenchmen.
Moonrise Kingdom: Directed by Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr.Fox, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited), starring Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Jason Schwartzman.
Premise: A young couple runs off together, prompting an entire town (of whackos) to set out to find them. Presumably, hijinks ensue.
Why You Should Care: Anderson knows how to put together all the quirk; he’s assembled a glorious cast and promised “a big musical element…but there are not really songs in it.” (I don’t know what that means, but whatever—it’s Wes Anderson.)
Stoker: Directed by Chan-wook Park (Oldboy, Thirst), screenplay written by Wentworth Miller (“Prison Break, Underworld, The Human Stain), starring Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Jacki Weaver, Matthew Goode and Dermot Mulroney.
Premise: After a young woman, India (Wasikowska) loses her father (Mulroney), she and her emotionally unstable mother (Kidman) must deal with an odd, previously estranged uncle (Goode). Despite suspecting him of ulterior motives, India is drawn to this man she has never known. Described by Miller as a “horror film, a family drama and a psychological thriller,” his story used Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt as a jumping off point, then took things in a different direction. Not about vampires.
Why You Should Care: For Park’s first English language film, he’s chosen an eclectic cast and interesting source material. After proving himself as a film festival favorite with Oldboy and Thirst, it will be exciting just to see if he can put Kidman’s icy demeanor to good use.
There’s not much in the way of images out there—but there are reports of a murder scene being filmed at the Motel Murfreesboro in Tennessee:
Cloud Atlas: Directed by the Wachowski s (The Matrix films, V for Vendetta and Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer), starring Tom Hanks, Hugo Weaving, Jim Broadbent, Keith David, Ben Whishaw, Jim Sturgess, Hugh Grant, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandan and James D’Arcy.
Premise: A science fiction tale that brings together multiple storylines and characters who each affect each other’s lives and will feature actors in multiple roles. In any other hands it could be a giant mess, but I’ve got faith in those Wachowskis—just look at their concept art.
Why You Should Care: Hugo Weaving and Keith David! Wachowskis! What more do you need to know?
Cindy Davis needs a bigger piggy bank.