What follows are a bunch of movies which could turn out to be very worthwhile. This list is way too long and self-explanatory for me to do an in-depth introductory paragraph, so let’s just dive right into it. Quick note: This list is in alphabetical order. If I’m especially excited about any movie in particular, you’ll know it. Also, it remains to be seen if all fifty of these movies will actually be released in 2012.
Based on a true story about a 1979 CIA attempt to rescue American hostages from Iran, this is Ben Affleck’s next movie, co-starring Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, and Victor Garber, among many other tremendous character actors. Far as I’m concerned, Affleck is two-for-two after Gone Baby Gone and The Town. That’s a good track record. And look how happy (and beardy) he’s feeling about it!
2. Bad Ass
There’s a good chance this movie doesn’t actually exist, but if it does, and we can see this thing… Lenny… it’s a Danny Trejo action movie. I am on record as being in the pocket for anything resembling a Danny Trejo action movie.
Previously known as Skeleton Lake (awesome), this is a story about six nasty bank robbers who basically run into a deranged Rambo-type in the woods. I’d watch that. I’m also a sucker for a cool poster, as above.
Pixar’s first movie featuring a female protagonist is about a Scottish princess with mad archery skills. Looks a little less cutesy and a little rougher than usual. I like that. My niece likes the princess part. Should be fun for the whole family.
5. Bullet To The Head
An action film about a cop and a hitman teaming up Sylvester Stallone and Jason Momoa may or may not be all that exciting, but throw in Sarah Shahi (for my money one of the hottest actresses on the planet) and the super-cool Sung Kang from Fast Five, and top it off with direction from the should-be-even-more-legendary-than-he’s-currently-considered Walter Hill, and I’m all the way in.
6. The Cabin In The Woods
Joss Whedon is a great writer. Drew Goddard is a great writer. Cinematographer Peter Deming shot Evil Dead 2, Drag Me To Hell, Lost Highway, and Mullholland Dr. The scuttlebutt on this movie says that these dudes have done some majorly inventive things with the horror movie. I make it a practice to always believe scuttlebutt. With a name like “scuttlebutt”, it has to be sincere.
7. Casa De Mi Padre
It’s a Spanish-language film, played in the overwrought style of telenovelas, starring Will Ferrell. I like the cut of that jib.
8. Cogan’s Trade
Last time Andrew Dominik and Brad Pitt got together, they made The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford. You should see that movie, again if you have already. This time they’ve got James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta, Sam Shepard, and Vincent Curatola (Johnny Sack!), among others, to add grizzle to an already grisly-sounding story of a mob enforcer investigating a ripped-off poker game. Basically, if Tony Soprano would have outsourced the Season 3 Jackie Jr. problem to Brad Pitt.
David Cronenberg’s next movie. If you need to know any more than that, check out his resume and realize that you don’t need to know any more than that.
10. The Curse Of The Buxom Strumpet
This is the best title on this list, or on any other list anywhere on the internet. Plus, it stars Sir Ian McKellen, one of my favorite voices to imitate, which means I’ll be intoning “The Curse Of The Buxom Strumpet!” often enough to drive my nearest and dearest totally crazy by October.
11. The Dark Knight Rises
Yeah I’ll be keeping an eye out for this obscure little indie production. Me and everyone else on earth.
12. Dark Tide
Halle Berry versus great white shark. Sold.
13. The Dictator
To me, Sacha Baron Cohen is one of those comedians who isn’t just hysterical, he’s necessary. I liked Bruno better than most people did, and Borat is pretty clearly one of the best comedies of the past decade. In this movie, he’s going after the absurd and horrifying excesses of dictators like Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong-Il (BIH) and all the others who are still out there. Not only that, but you will see comedians JB Smoove and BJ Novak, both each other’s opposites, on screen together for the first time anywhere.
14. Django Unchained
Speaking of Sacha Baron Cohen, he’s but one of the amazing talents crowding Quentin Tarantino’s latest movie. There’s Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Christoph Waltz, James Remar, M.C. Gainey, Tom Savini, and Michael K. Williams. And more. I’m a little disappointed that Will Smith didn’t take the lead role as rumored, although Jamie Foxx is a serviceable enough substitute I guess, and I have reservations about Tarantino tackling the subject of slavery, seeing as how I still have mixed feelings about his handling of Jews and Nazis (although I admittedly find Inglourious Basterds to be extremely rewatchable). But it’s about time Tarantino made a Western. I can’t wait to see what calamity has ensued.
15. End Of Watch
I was so impressed with David Ayer’s script for Training Day that to this day I’m interested in any project he wrote (and directed also, in this case.) I don’t think that Dark Blue, Harsh Times, or Street Kings turned out quite as well as Training Day did, but I’ll keep turning up all the same.
16. For A Good Time, Call…
This essentially looks like a Jewish version of Girl 6, but I’m easy sometimes. That girl Ari Graynor up there is pretty cute, and Seth Rogen is in this also.
17. Gangster Squad
Will Beall is another writer whose projects I follow, since I thought his novel L.A. Rex was such a great read, kind of like The Shield on paper. This movie, about L.A. cops in the 1940s fighting off the East Coast mob, stars Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Nick Nolte, Anthony Mackie, Robert Patrick, Jon Polito, and several other actors who will make it totally watchable at the very least.
18. GI Joe: Retaliation
If you’ve seen the trailer for this movie, you already know that it’s making a noisy case for being a proud contender for stupidest movie of 2012. It looks even stupider than the previous G.I. Joe movie, which was plenty stupid. Unfortunately, when it comes to stupid, I’m quite often a moth to a flame.
Sandra Bullock has arguably never made a great movie. Alfonso Cuarón has arguably made nothing but. When the two of them team up (with George Clooney and the great cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki) to make a movie about an astronaut stranded in space, whose career path will be the one to veer drastically in which direction?
20. The Grey
This is the movie, from writer/director Joe Carnahan (The A-Team), which will for better or worse be known to most as “the movie where Liam Neeson fights wolves.” Even if that’s all there was to it, that’d be enough for me to crave it. Knowing that it’s more than that, I have to say that if this list were narrowed from 50 to 5, this movie would be at the tippety-top.
21. El Gringo
If you don’t follow direct-to-video action movies, you may not know who Scott Adkins is. Eventually, you will. Maybe his role in The Expendables 2 will help raise his profile, but either way this dude is bound to break through. He may not be Philip Seymour Hoffman on the acting tip, but he looks like Ben Affleck and can legitimately kick tons of ass. He’s as good a candidate for big-time action star as anyone. El Gringo finds Adkins drifting down to Mexico to stir shit up. It looks like an Eastwood/ Leone riff, which I believe to be a thing Adkins can manage.
22. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
There ae few new genres less promising to me than all this “adult fairy-tale” nonsene, but if you cast the beautiful Gemma Arterton and the badass Jeremy Renner in an action movie with horror overtones, then I will be compelled to buy a ticket anyway.
Screenwriter Lem Dobbs is the guy who wrote The Limey for Steven Soderbergh. That was a terrific, totally underrated movie (and a must-hear DVD commentary too.) I’ve been waiting a dozen years to see them collaborate again. And this is a movie about a badass lady on a revenge tear, which is the only thing better than a badass dude on a revenge tear.
24. The Hobbit
My excitement for this one hasn’t kicked in yet, but it will. This one has a dragon in it. Also I loved the Lord Of The Rings trilogy like anyone else, and I think Martin Freeman is an even more relatable and likable lead than Elijah Wood was. I’m a little creeped out by the promo pictures of all the dwarves, but I think that’s kind of the point. Ultimately I’m pretty sure I’m siding with the nerds on this one.
25. Hyde Park On Hudson
An unofficial sequel to Rushmore, or a stunt-casted historical drama? This movie stars Bill Murray and Olivia Williams as Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt. So either way you know I’m down.
I’m gonna stop there for now. Look for Part Two’s thrilling conclusion tomorrow!