A Look Ahead in 2012

By: Jeff Ford
By: Jeff Ford

A look at what's coming ahead in the New Year

Here are some of the films I’m looking forward to in 2012.

January usually brings us the dreck.  The month primarily consists of movies that are below par to put it politely, abysmal to put it bluntly.  The studios don’t know what to do with them.  They cannot survive in any other month.  These are movies that may have a b-list star to draw in a fan or two so they are dumped into the marketplace, just to avoid the direct to DVD stigma.  Looking through some of the new releases (Contraband, Joyful Noise, Underworld: Awakening, to name a few) my fears are well founded.

There is one film that gives me some pause.  “Haywire” is directed by the Academy Award winner Steven Soderbergh and yet, stars an MMA fighter, Gina Carano.  It has a fantastic supporting cast and might be one to watch come January 20th.

February continues the trend of bad movies.  It’s a month where Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is aping Brandan Fraser in the sequel “Journey 2” and the 3D rerelease of the second worst Star Wars film “The Phantom Menace.”  The only film I can even remotely look forward to will be classified under the Guilty Pain mantra I coined a few months ago while describing “The Three Musketeers”.

Anyone that knows my taste realizes I have an unhealthy fixation on Nicholas Cage movies.  I can never quite explain it.  He takes every movie that comes across his desk, whether it is good or absolutely terrible.  He had two films last year that, in my opinion, cover both sides.  “Season of the Witch” is a film I have yet to bring myself to watch.  From everything I have heard it is beyond terrible.  However, “Drive Angry 3D” ended up being one of my favorites of the year.  Which side will “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” take?  I will find out come February 17th.

March is when we start to see the better films released.  These are films that have studio support but may be lost in the summer shuffle.  There are films like Disney’s “John Carter”, the first of two Snow White films “Mirror Mirror”, the sequel to a 2010 hit “Wrath of the Titans”, and Aardman Animation’s “The Pirates! Band of Misfits.”  Of course there is also the Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum big screen update to the Johnny Depp TV series “21 Jump Street.”  They can’t all be winners.

The film I’m most looking forward to this month is actually based on a Young Adult novel series.  The source material for “The Hunger Games” is something that I really enjoyed.  The tale of 24 teens entering into a combat zone to fight to the death in front of a live TV audience is being helmed by Gary Ross.  He is the man behind “Pleasantville” and “Seabiscuit”, two films I count among my favorite films of all time.  I’m hoping for the best.

April is typically a slow month, but the quality is much better than January and February… usually.  These are films that are meant to give a nice breather before the summer season begins.  There is “American Reunion”, the fourth theatrical film in the “American Pie” franchise.  “Titanic” makes its attempt to reclaim the top money maker spot from “Avatar”, this time in 3D.  There is the Farrelly Brothers take of “The Three Stooges” that has me shaking my head.  “The Five Year Engagement” brings the “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” collaborators back into a more adult comedy situation after their brief flirt with “The Muppets.”

The one that I look forward to is a film that has been sitting on a shelf for a few years.  I’m amazed that it took so long for “The Cabin in the Woods” to finally hit the Cineplex.  I had the fortune of reading the script, co-written by one Joss Whedon (I’ll talk about him more in a bit), about a year ago.  If the film stays true to what was written, it may top my best of list at the end.  The film was completed and was set to be released in 2010 but was delayed due to MGM’s financial difficulties.  Lions Gate was able to pick up the rights and will release it to the masses on April 13th.   I’m crossing my fingers with this one.

May is the start of the summer box office season.  These next few months contain the tent poles that studios hang their many other productions.  They may not be Oscar winners (outside of technical categories) but they usually allow some great escapist fun.  Sacha Baron Cohen brings us his inner Kim Jong-Il in “The Dictator”.  Tim Burton collaborates with (here’s a great surprise) Johnny Depp in “Dark Shadows”.  Peter Berg has his take on the Hasbro game “Battleship”.  Finally we have the return of Agents K and J in “Men In Black III”.

Then there is the movie that opens the month.  After 5 films and years of building up hype, “The Avengers” assemble on the big screen.  Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America and Thor join forces to face a force that threatens the world.  The man that Marvel has brought in to helm this gargantuan task is one Joss Whedon.  He has only directed one film before but his television credentials are Marvel-ous (I need to crack my head open for the use of that pun.)  If any man can handle this many egos and still give us something resembling a great product, it would be Joss.  When May comes around, I’ll discuss this even more, but just so you know, this is my most anticipated movie of the year.

What May has started, June continues.  Here we have the second Snow White feature of the year “Snow White and the Huntsman”.  The Broadway play “Rock of Ages” stage dives into cinemas.  Ridley Scott comes back to Sci-Fi with “Prometheus”, a prequel of sorts to “Alien”.  The kids will enjoy “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.”  Bryan Singer climbs the beanstalk in “Jack the Giant Killer.”  Then there is Pixar’s summer selection “Brave”.

The one I’m most intrigued in is actually a sequel to one of the worst films in 2010.  “G.I Joe: Retaliation” ditches most of the cast from the previous film and brings us “The Rock” instead.  While that in and of itself may not mean much, the casting of Mr. John McClane, one Bruce Willis, has caused me to give a double take.  It won’t take much to top the original but this may just turn into a sleeper hit.  Then again, probably not.

July is the Apex of the summer movie season.  While the pickings are slim as of now, they also represent the most powerful punches.  “The Amazing Spider-Man” webs his way into the July 6th position.  Will it be enough to make me forget that this is a completely unnecessary reboot?  “Ice Age: Continental Drift” will have its fans.  And Tyler Perry brings us “The Marriage Counselor”.

Of course, then there is that other movie.  It’s the sequel to end all sequels.  I’m sure you already know what I’m talking about.  That’s right, it’s “The Dark Knight Rises”.  Christopher Nolan brings his Dark Knight trilogy to an end as Batman will be broken by Bane.  Nolan has yet to deliver us wrong in the series and I’m pretty sure he will end things with a “KRAKT!”

After July, there is bound to be let down, which is where August comes in.  These are the lesser blockbuster hopefuls.  Jeremy Renner takes over Jason Bourne in “The Bourne Legacy”.  Colin Farrell wants to see us at the party (Richter) in “Total Recall”.  Also Joseph Gordon-Levitt will bike his way into our hearts (and away from dirty cops out to kill him) in “Premium Rush”.

I’m an 80’s action guy though.  Give me “Commando” and “Rambo” any ole day and I’ll be happy.  So here’s hoping for the best in “The Expendables 2”.  It stars a who’s who of 80’s action icons like Stallone, Van Damme, Willis, Schwarzenegger, Lundgren and Norris, to name but a few.  The first was a cool little flick and here’s hoping for the same in part 2.

September doesn’t hold much promise.  Between the 3D rerelease of “Finding Nemo”, Oliver Stone’s “Savages”, a fifth film in a video game movie franchise “Resident Evil: Retribution”  and a retelling of a Stallone dud “Dredd”, there is not much to see here.  I’m holding out hope for “Argo”, the third directorial outing of Ben Affleck.  I loved “Gone Baby Gone” and “The Town” was pretty good as well, so maybe there is something.

October brings the horror film.  It’s odd that I’m not seeing either a “Saw” or a “Paranormal Activity” on the list but with Halloween being many months away, I’m sure they’ll scrounge something up.  As for now, there is the Untitled Taken Sequel, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D”, Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie”, “Here Comes the Boom” starring Kevin James, and “Halloween III”…maybe.  It’s supposedly being helmed by Patrick Lussier, the man behind “Drive Angry 3D” and “My Bloody Valentine 3D”.  There is not much word on it so it may not happen.  As long as Rob Zombie stays far away from the franchise (man I HATED “Halloween II”).

November is when the Oscar films start coming out.  However, the buzz for these usually begins later in the year so I’m not sure what these might be.  For now, we have the remake of the 80’s Soviet invasion film “Red Dawn”, James Bond’s return in “Skyfall”, the final film in the sparkling vampire, shirtless werewolf franchise “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2”, “Rise of the Guardians” (a film where Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Jack Frost and the Sandman battle the Bogeyman…is this “The Avengers” 2?) and “47 Ronin” where Keanu Reeves is… a samurai.  I’m not joking.

December is the end of times.  Just ask the Mayans.  As for films, there are the musical “Les Miserables” starring Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, “This Is 40”, Judd Apatow’s fourth time behind the director’s chair, and Baz Luhrmann’s take on a F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic “The Great Gatsby.”  It feels like I’m forgetting something.  Oh well.  Maybe I’ll figure it out in a bit.

That is my brief (brief???) take on the New Year.  I have not covered everything being released this year but have hopefully hit the main highlights.  The dates are accurate as of the time of this writing but that doesn’t mean things couldn’t change.  You never know what the future might hold.  Here’s hoping for a bright and fun filled year! 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh.  That’s right.  “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” comes out December 14.  Bye!

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