The 2012 Film Release Calendar (Films Without Release Dates)
This is more like — films without official release dates.
I used to call it “The Rest Of,” but, that was last year, and last year I wasn’t really on top of my shit the way I am now. Last year, it was like, “What films are scheduled, then what films do I definitely know are coming out because I’m excited for them?” I limited that second list to 30! That was dumb. I missed shit like J. Edgar. So what I did this year was — real searching.
This year, I have a shitload of films that are either filming, in post-production, or are completed. Or are guaranteed to come out, because they always come out (looking at you, Paranormal Activity…). That’s the upside. The downside? There are lots of them. Like, a lot a lot.
I tried to put the ones that seem like they’re gonna go in certain months in those articles (and actually, I’ll probably do some more as I write them up, which won’t make any difference to you, since I’m doing this all well in advance, and everything will be finalized by the time this gets posted. Not that you needed to know that, but sometimes the man behind the curtain likes to have some fun. Just don’t interrupt his special alone time).
And a lot of these have temporary release dates, but honestly, I feel like it doesn’t matter when it’s gonna come out as much as it is — I preview it and guess a rating. The official dates don’t matter, since they get switched around anyway. And some of them might not come out, which may or may not help me next year. At the very least, it might get people excited for some smaller films that sound interesting but may never see the light of day.
Don’t worry, I’ve limited this to films that I know should come out, based on the people in it, or films that seem really interesting that I, or people who think like me, would be interested in. So, without further ado, because this is a huge list — everything else.
(I’m gonna be relatively brief (as brief as I can) with these. I’ll pretty much just tell you what it’s about, why I’m interested in it (if it’s not necessarily what it’s about), what its status is (though, all of them are either completed, in post, or filming, but we can be almost certain they’ll be ready to go for this year), and give a quick rating, just in case it does come out and I see it.)
All I know about this is that it’s “A look at what happens when partners from different social backgrounds engage in physical relationships.”
I know that’s vague, but films from established filmmakers can afford to be vague. Remember when all we knew about Inception for the longest time was that it was a “thriller set inside the architecture of the mind”?
This is being directed by Fernando Meirelles (who did City of God, The Constant Gardener and most recently, Blindness, which was an interesting concept that failed in the execution), and stars Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins and Ben Foster. That makes me curious. Director who knows what he’s doing, and a solid cast.
This film is finished. It’s officially labeled a 2011 film, but is being released in 2012. My guess is they’ll dump it in a few theaters. Reviews haven’t been too positive, so I don’t think they’ll try for an awards push.
Not sure what the quality will be here, but I’ll say 3 stars.
No photo, so why not go with the green dress?
This will certainly get a release date, and it will certainly be after it debuts at a film festival like Toronto.
The reason this is intriguing isn’t because of what it is — there have been several major adaptations of the novel: 1935 with Greta Garbo, 1948 with Vivien Leigh, The Russian version in 1967 — but rather who is making it.
Joe Wright, who, for my money, has made mostly solid films. I didn’t much care for Pride and Prejudice, but Atonement and Hanna were amazing. And we’re all just gonna forget The Soloist even happened.
The other impressive thing about this, aside from its director — is its cast. Keira Knightley (I see an Oscar nomination coming. Maybe not a win, since it’s pretty classical, but still), Kelly Macdonald, Jude Law, Aaron Johnson, Matthew Macfayden, Emily Watson, Olivia Williams — the cast is there.
I say this delivers. 4 stars.
It’s a Sundance film. And a comedy. Which, to me, means it’ll be low-key and character-driven. Whether it’s funny/interesting or not depends on the film. These indies can go either way.
The film is about “three friends (who) are asked to be bridesmaids at a wedding for a woman they used to ridicule in high school.” And it stars Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, James Marsden and Adam Scott.
I don’t know about this. Could go either way. I’ll be between 2.5-3.5 stars. So I’ll just go 3 stars and call it a day.
The Baytown Disco
Three brothers become targets of a hit after helping a young woman escape her abusive father.
Starring Billy Bob, Eva, Justin Chatwin, Meagan Good, Natalie Martinez, Michael Rappaport, Andre Braugher. All right.
3 stars. Why not?
Richard Linklater. Starring Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey, and Shirley MacLaine.
Shot in 2011, not released until 2012.
In small-town Texas, the local mortician strikes up a friendship with a wealthy widow, though when he kills her, he goes to great lengths to create the illusion that she’s alive.
Interesting. Not sure if it’ll deliver, but interesting.
3 stars. (Also, the reason I go 3 stars on these is that independent films, to me, always hold a lot of promise in the premise — hence why they got made — but always seem short on the execution. (Not always, but you get what I mean.) They always feel like nothing happens, and they’re about inner angst that never shows, and they all seem to follow the same format, and all seem to try to inject quirk for no reason.)
A chronicle of a young man’s rise to power in Paris via his manipulation of the city’s most influential and wealthy women.
Starring Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman and Christina Ricci.
2.5 stars, if I see it, which I probably won’t.
Independent movie. Which means one thing. The title is a reference to the Beatles song. I bet it will appear at some point in the film, via cover, or sung or spoken by the characters. And this is before I know anything about what it’s about.
Apparently it’s about “two desperate sibling fugitives on the run who subsequently collide with the holiday homecoming of a troubled ex-boxer.”
Uh huh. Apparently it’s a crime thriller. The word “collide” makes it seem like it’s a comedy.
Olivia Wilde and Eric Bana are the siblings. (You know that song has something to do with their childhood.) Charlie Hunnam (who, while I don’t know who he is, I know he’s on Sons of Anarchy) is the boxer. Kris Kristofferson and Sissy Spacek are in it. So are Kate Mara and Treat Williams.
Okay. Maybe it’ll get noticed enough for me to be able to see it. We’ll see.
3 stars. (It’s really hard to tell with these films.)
Just wanted to give you an idea of the three things you’ll be able to see in this movie.
A mother and daughter vampire duo form a deadly pact.
Quite descriptive, I feel.
Directed by Neil Jordan (who directed Interview with the Vampire), and starring Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan. I’ll bite. (Note: I’m fucking hilarious.)
I have to say 3 stars, because I don’t know.
A drama centered on a troubled young woman who moves to San Francisco, where she gets involved in pornography and aligns herself with a cocaine-addicted lawyer.
Maybe it’s the “cocaine-addicted lawyer” part that does it. I shouldn’t be interested in this synopsis, but I am. I’m picturing that dude Rosenberg from Grand Theft Auto. Sitting in his office, doing lines. I know this won’t be like that, but I felt the need to mention it anyway.
Heather Graham and James Franco are in it. Naturally, he’s the troubled young woman and she’s the cocaine-addicted lawyer. Also, Dev Patel is in this. That just fascinates me to no end.
3 stars. I really want to see what this is.
Jackie Cogan is a professional enforcer who investigates a heist that went down during a mob-protected poker game.
Directed by Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) and starring Brad Pitt.
4 stars. This will definitely come out.
The Company You Keep
A thriller centered on a former Weather Underground activist who goes on the run from a journalist who has discovered his identity.
Directed by Robert Redford, who always seems to direct good but not great movies. Starring Anna Kendrick and Shia Labeouf. Also starring Stanley Tucci, Chris Cooper, Brit Marling, Susan Sarandon, Sam Elliott, Nick Nolte, Julie Christie, Brendan Gleeson, Terrence Howard, Richard Jenkins, Stephen Root, and Redford himself.
I don’t see how this can’t be 4 stars. That cast — I have to say 4. Now I’m really interested in this.
Cronenberg is directing this. I was really interested when I heard Colin Farrell was starring in it, but I think he couldn’t because they forced him in for reshoots on Total Recall. Now Robert Pattinson is starring. Which, most people would think is a bad sign. I think it can work.
It’s based on the Don DeLillo novel, and is about a millionaire’s journey across Manhattan over one day to get a haircut. And all the shit that happens. And I believe, by the end of the day, he’s lost his entire fortune. That sounds amazing. Jay Baruchel is in it, as are Paul Giamatti, Samantha Morton, Juliette Binoche, and Mathieu Amalric.
I’d like to say 4 stars. I should say 3.5 stars, but I’m saying 4. It’s the amount of 3s on this page. It’s like playing poker and having folded 20 shitty hands in a row, and you finally get a good one. You just want to play.
Decoding Annie Parker
No idea what this is, but this synopsis is awesome:
Love, science, sex, infidelity, disease and comedy, the wild, mostly true story of the irrepressible Annie Parker and the almost discovery of a cure for cancer.
Samantha Morton is Annie Parker, and Alice Eve, Rashida Jones, Maggie Grace, Marley Shelton, Helen Hunt, Bradley Whitford, Richard Schiff and Bob Gunton are also in this.
It sounds really interesting. Not sure why, but I’ll say 3.5 stars. Why not, people? Why. Not.
Detachment is a chronicle of three weeks in the lives of several high school teachers, administrators and students through the eyes of a substitute teacher named Henry Barthes. Henry’s method of imparting vital knowledge onto his temporary students is interrupted by the arrival of three women in his life.
Interesting. Adrien Brody is the substitute teacher. James Caan is also in it. Christina Hendricks. Lucy Liu. Marcia Gay Harden, Bryan Cranston, William Petersen, Blythe Danner, Tim Blake Nelson. Great cast.
Let’s say…3 stars. 3.5 stars. I can’t tell. The cast has to assure you at least one of those, right?
Dorothy of Oz
It’s basically a redo of Return to Oz, just animated, right? Do I have that right?
Anyway, Lea Michele is voicing Dorothy. I remembered this because there’s the Sam Raimi film about Oz that James Franco and Michelle Williams are in. But apparently that’s scheduled for 2013. This one, I know, was announced at the same time. I wonder why it doesn’t have a date yet. I’ll guess late summer, early fall.
Either way, 3 stars. I don’t know if it’ll be good, but I’m interested in anything that does Oz. (I’m also patiently awaiting that Wicked movie, since I never got a chance to see the musical.)
I had to mention this. It’s Dario Argento doing Dracula in 3D.
I don’t even want to put a rating on this, because chances are I won’t ever see this. But — this exists. It’s happening.
Chances are I will never see this, but I mention it simply because the premise sounds interesting enough to mention.
It’s about “a contract worker who is tasked with infiltrating an anarchist group, only to find herself falling for its leader.” And it stars Ellen Page and Alexander Skarsgård.
Uhh…3 stars? I have no idea. I know I’ll see less than half of these. I think the real point of me doing this is because some of them will get big releases, some will be talked-up indies, and others will be ones I see on Netflix where I’m like, “Oh I remember talking about that. Okay, I guess I’ll put it in the queue.” And then I won’t get to it for months, but still. It’s something.
Emma Thompson wrote this. That interests me. Plus it’s about a Victorian art critic having a teenage bride. Not to mention that the teenage bride is being played by Dakota Fanning. And the film has a solid cast of Brit actors. So it’s worth a mention.
3 stars. Seriously, these are completely impossible to gauge. (Which is what makes them exciting.)
The End of Love
A drama centered on the relationship between a young father and his infant son after the death of the boy’s mother.
Interesting. Mark Webber wrote, directed and is starring in it. (That’s how you know it’s a Sundance film.) Michael Cera, Amanda Seyfried and Shannon Sossamon are also in it.
3 stars. (I love that I just give a blanket 3 to all indie movies that I know will not get releases.)
End of Watch
A drama centered on the long-term friendship and partnership between two cops.
The English Teacher
An English teacher’s life is disrupted when a former student returns to her small town after failing as a playwright in New York.
Starring Julianne Moore. I know what you’re thinking (and if you’re not, it’s what I’m thinking) — they’re gonna Oscar buzz the shit out of this. Why? Because anything Julianne Moore does now is met with, “Is this her time?” Like Michelle Pfeiffer, only more high profile. So this could be one of those indie movies that gets a nomination. As will suggest so many people when (and if) this gets press/screenings. Wait and see.
Anyway, Lily Collins, Michael Angarano, Greg Kinnear and Nathan Lane are also in this, so it has some luster. I’m interested to see what happens here.
3 stars. (Just assume 3 for all of them going in. 3 continues to mean, “covering my bases, let the film decide what it is.)
Escape from Planet Earth
Astronaut Scorch Supernova finds himself caught in a trap when he responds to an SOS from a notoriously dangerous alien planet.
Okay, the dead giveaway in the protagonist’s name aside, this could have been anything, right?
Yeah — starring Brendan Fraser, Jessica Alba, and Sarah Jessica Parker. But don’t worry, it’s animated, so it can’t be that bad. Plus James Gandolfini and Craig Robinson and Rob Corddry are also in it.
3 stars? Maybe 2.5. 2.5 sounds more like it. Stil, though, this looks like a minor film like Planet 51. Has to be, right? (Weinsteins are distributing. They’re so well-known for their animation.)
An airline pilot saves a flight from crashing, but an investigation into the malfunctions reveals something troubling.
It’s Robert Zemeckis. That assures at least some type of quality. Starring Denzel, Don Cheadle, Melissa Leo, Kelly Reilly and John Goodman.
3.5 stars. Like to go 4, but — let’s see.
The son of a slain NYPD officer joins the force, where he falls in with his father’s former partner and a team of rogue cops.
Oh, Robert De Niro, how it seems the only work you can get now are in bad action movies or bad cop movies. Oh well. Such is the life for an older actor.
Forest Whitaker is in this, as is 50 Cent. So this should be interesting. (Remember Righteous Kill? …and yes, I did just remind you of that movie.)
For a Good Time, Call…
This is about “two women who start a phone sex line.”
I’m interested. Ari Graynor and Lauren Miller (married to Seth Rogen, who is also in the film) are the two girls. Justin Long is in it too. It should be entertaining.
Holy shit, an Elmore Leonard adaptation. Haven’t seen one of these in a while. (Dude’s still alive, too! 86! Go Elmore!)
For those not familiar with the Elmore Leonard checklist, here are the films and TV shows based off of his work:
The big ones, of course, are Jackie Brown, Get Shorty (and Be Cool) and Out of Sight.
Also — Justified is based off his stuff as well.
Also, Hombre (1867, with Paul Newman), The Big Bounce (in 1969, and, terribly, in 2004, with Owen Wilson), Mr. Majestyk (1974, with Charles Bronson), 52 Pick-Up (made as such with Roy Scheider and Ann-Margret in 1986, and also as The Ambassador in 1984), Cat Chaser (1989, with Peter Weller and Kelly McGillis), Stick (1985, with Burt Reynolds), and Killshot (made in 2008, with Diane Lane, Thomas Jane, Mickey Rourke and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Don’t be surprised you don’t know it. It sucked).
Also, Bandits, with Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton and Cate Blanchett was originally based off the novel, but it ended up being something totally, totally different. So it doesn’t really count at all. I just wanted to mention, that movie came about because Willis had the rights to the book. They’re totally different, though. Not even remotely similar, really.
I’m pretty sure this book and “Tishomingo Blues” are the two that Hollywood’s been trying to make for the longest time. I remember with Tishomingo, Don Cheadle and Matthew McConaughey were attached for the longest time, and then it never happened.
But anyway, this one’s about “a pair of ’60s radicals (who) rely on their bomb-making skills on their way to becoming capitalists.”
Sounds interesting. It’s Elmore, so unless they really fuck it up, it’ll be at least 3 stars.
Friends with Kids
This was supposed to be released in 2011, never got picked up or something, and then it leaked on line. Which is terrible.
I actually saw this already, and liked it a lot. It’s a 3.5 star film. I put it on here because it’s getting released in 2012, and I think people should check it out. Because it’s a good film.
Basically — Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt are best friends. And they both decide they want kids. So what they do is have a kid together, but don’t get together, because they see that their friends (Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd as one couple, Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm as the other) are all miserable together. So they date other people, while taking care of the kid together. It’s a really good film. Megan Fox and Ed Burns are also in it.
The Frozen Ground
Cage movie. These always get mentions. Seriously, a new Cage movie is like Christmas morning. It really is.
Based on actual events, an Alaska State Trooper partners with a young woman who escaped the clutches of serial killer Robert Hansen to bring the murderer to justice.
Cage plays the trooper. John Cusack plays Robert Hansen. Vanessa Hudgens is the young woman. Radha Mitchell is also in it. 50 Cent plays someone named Pimp Clate.
Seriously, how can this not be good?
We’ll say 3 stars, because it’s a thriller. But if done well, it could go 3.5. Let’s not presume, though. Still, Cage movies on the whole are nearly always worthwhile. He’s got a really good track record with me.
It’s a remake of the 1966 film with Shirley MacLaine and Michael Caine. This one stars Cameron Diaz and Colin Firth. Not quite the strength of that original cast. Juust a bit outside.
Let’s just stick with the synopsis given:
An art curator enlists the services of a Texas steer roper to con a wealthy collector into buying a phony Monet painting.
What gives me hope here is that the Coen brothers wrote the script. And that Michael Hoffman, who directed One Fine Day (which I love), and Game 6 with Michael Keaton (which is one of the great hidden gems of the 2000s), and most recently The Last Station, is directing this. Plus Alan Rickman, Stanley Tucci and Cloris Leachman are in it.
Let’s say that puts it at 3.5 stars Why not?
The Giant Mechanical Man
An offbeat romantic comedy about a silver-painted street performer and the soft spoken zoo worker who falls for him.
Everything about that sentence makes me interested in seeing this.
It also stars Malin Akerman, Lucy Punch, Topher Grace, Jenna Fisher and Bob Odenkirk. That’s enough for me.
3 stars. Let’s hope it gets a decent release. I like offbeat things.
Why do I get the feeling that I’d rather just rewatch the 1970 Maysles brothers documentary instead of see this? (You know my pet peeve about song titles as film titles.)
About a pregnant teenager turned away by her Wall Street father because of her decision to have her baby. Forced into the streets, she embarks on a desperate journey of survival.
And look at this fucking picture…
That’s Vanessa Hudgens, by the way. I guess she’s trying to ‘act’. Brendan Fraser is in it, as, I guess, her father. Rosario Dawson is in this as well. And James Earl Jones. I put the picture with him in it at the top, because I need to remind myself that he’s the reason I’d see this.
2.5 stars. We’ll see if it’s any good.
A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III
You know that title’s getting changed. You know it’ll just be “Charles Swan.” You just know it. And if it isn’t — they’ll only release it in ten theaters.
A graphic designer’s enviable life slides into despair when his girlfriend breaks up with him.
The title isn’t the only thing that intrigues me. Roman Coppola (who co-wrote Darjeeling Limited, which I know is not exactly a positive thing to most people, including me) wrote and is directing it. And it stars Charlie Sheen as Charles Swan, and costars Bill Murray, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aubrey Plaza, Jason Schwartzman and Patricia Arquette.
Honestly, how can that cast produce anything less than a 3 star movie? (I’m saying 3.5 stars, though. I think it’ll be better than just 3.)
I’m gonna go line by line through this synopsis. Because I feel like it’s necessary.
Based on one of the most beloved Young Adult novels of all time:
Okay. That’s cool. I’ve never heard of this book. Have you? Maybe it’s just me. I’ll go with it.
Two kids are stripped naked and left together on an island in a lake
Wait, what?! Didn’t you just say “young adult”? Where in that does it sound like Holes?
Forget I said that. Let’s just keep going…
victims of a vicious summer camp prank.
Still, prank or no prank, that’s fucked up.
But rather than have to return to camp and face the humiliation, they decide to take off, on the run together.
You misused a comma. Also, is this Thelma & Louise?
What follows is a three day odyssey of discovery and self-discovery.
Are they both guys? Is this a sexual self-discovery?
Oh, no, it’s not. Okay, so that makes it somewhat sweet. I guess.
Still, though, that synopsis was very poorly worded.
It’s being directed by D.J. Caruso, who did Disturbia and Eagle Eye, two decent but unspectacular films. I think this might be better suited for him. I’ll give it a shot.
3.5 stars. Mostly because I go for shit like this (once you get past the creepiness of the synopsis).
Gods Behaving Badly
Greek gods living in modern-day New York intervene in the lives of a young couple.
This sounds awesome. Christopher Walken is Zeus.
Tell me no more. 3.5 stars. I’m there.
I said this for Jane Eyre last year — every year or two, a adaptation of a classic British novel comes out that stars either Emma Thompson or Judi Dench. I’ll need to amend that for this one. That’s not entirely true. (But it’s not exactly false, either.)
Anyway, this is a classy update of the novel, directed by Mike Newell. This one stars Helena Bonham Carter. Which, makes perfect sense. She’s perfect casting for Miss Havisham. And Ralph Fiennes is Magwitch, which is pretty awesome. Sally Hawkins is Mrs. Joe, which I’m really interested in seeing. Robbie Coltrane is Mr. Jaggers, Jason Flemyng is Joe, which is also pretty awesome, and Jeremy Irvine from War Horse is Pip. I’m actually really interested in seeing this.
3.5 stars. I like seeing Dickens adapted for the screen.
How I Spent My Summer Vacation
Not gonna do it. Not gonna say what most of us would say here.
A career criminal nabbed by Mexican authorities is placed in a tough prison where he learns to survive with the help of a 9-year-old boy.
I’ll go with it.
3 stars. Let’s see if it’s any good. Mel usually makes watchable movies, so I know it’ll be at least 3.
Hyde Park on the Hudson
This is about “the story of the love affair between FDR and his distant cousin Margaret Stuckley, centered around the weekend in 1939 when the King and Queen of the United Kingdom visited upstate New York.”
I’m actually intrigued. Bill Murray is FDR, Laura Linney is Stuckey, Olivia Williams is Eleanor Roosevelt — I think this will be pretty good.
4 stars Why not? This is clearly an awards film. Of all the ones on here, this is top five in terms of what is gonna look to get an awards push.
I, Alex Cross
Technically, Tyler Perry has three films this year. He hasn’t written this and isn’t directing this, so I won’t place any bias on it whatsoever. Personally, I think casting him here is genius. Because you know he’ll do more movies (all you need to do is pay him), and he brings an audience. I think it’s perfect casting.
After Washington DC detective Alex Cross is told that a family member has been murdered, he vows to track down the killer. He soon discovers that she was not his first victim and that things are now what they seem.
I honestly don’t care what this is about. They’re all the same.
But the cast is solid — Rachel Nichols, Jean Reno, Giancarlo Esposito, Ed Burns, Matthew Fox, John C. McGinley, Cicely Tyson — and Rob Cohen, while his resume isn’t perfect (DragonHeart, Daylight, The Skulls, The Fast and the Furious, xXx, Stealth, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor), I think is an okay choice here.
This feels like a 90s type movie. As such, I’ll say — well, I’ll still say 3 stars. But you know what? It can be 3.5. And this is the kind of movie I’d rather see plugged into the year, rather than that exorcism shit. I like when these films come out. (The Lincoln Lawyer was one of those. Make more of these. Midsize films based on mass market literature. They work!)
A playwright stages a suicide in an attempt to win back her ex, only to wind up in the custody of her gambling-addict mother.
Yeah, dark comedy! Also being directed by the duo who made American Splendor. They also did The Nanny Diaries and The Extra Man, both of which were — meh — but this sounds interesting. I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.
Kristen Wiig is apparently starring in it. Annette Bening is also in it. As is Matt Dillon. I’m down.
3 stars. I gave them the benefit of the doubt, but I’m not going to rate this high at all. Let it prove itself.
Inferno: A Linda Lovelace Story
One of two Linda Lovelace movies. This is the one that was gonna star Lindsay Lohan, and then didn’t, and then Malin Akerman came on board. And also Sasha Grey (actual former porn star), Paz de la Huerta (basically a porn star), Matt Dillon (Wild Things?) and Adam Goldberg (Jew) are co-starring.
Okay. One of those is in trouble. This or the one down there. I’m guessing it’s this one, since at least that other one has a publicity still.
Uhh..3 stars? No idea.
Jack and Diane
Jack and Diane, two teenage girls, meet in New York City and spend the night kissing ferociously. Diane’s charming innocence quickly begins to open Jack’s tough skinned heart. But, when Jack discovers that Diane is leaving the country in a week she tries to push her away. Diane must struggle to keep their love alive while hiding the secret that her newly awakened sexual desire is giving her werewolf-like visions.
I’ve been hearing about this film for at least four years. Pretty much every up and coming actress was cycled in and out of these roles. Now it’s Juno Temple and Jena Malone.
I have no idea what this will be, and if it’ll be any good. I’ve just been seeing this for so long, I’m just glad it’s finally gonna come out. 3 stars.
John Dies at the End
“Soy Sauce” is a drug that causes its users to drift into alternate realities. John and Dave are college drop-out slackers and best friends. When their world becomes the focus of an otherworldly invasion, John and Dave travel to an alternate dimension to confront “Korrok”, a huge carnivorous being that inhabits several dimensions as part flesh and part super computer.
Well, this sounds all sorts of fucked up. Not sure whether to go 3 stars or 3.5 stars here. I guess we’ll go 3 stars. Fucked up doesn’t always mean good.
A Late Quartet
This is a cast vote. Plus it sounds relatively interesting.
Follows four members of a world-renowned string quartet who struggle to stay together in the face of death, competing egos and insuppressible lust.
Christopher Walken and Philip Seymour Hoffman. That’s really all I need.
Also, apparently this is a 2011 film being released in 2012.
3.5 stars. Why not? Let’s live large.
Lay the Favorite
A dramedy centered on a thirtysomething woman who becomes involved with a group of geeky fiftyish men who have found a way to work the sportsbook system in Las Vegas to their advantage.
That sounds interesting. And Stephen Frears is directing, which actually eliminates the doubt I had when I saw Bruce Willis’s name at the top of the cast list.
Rebecca Hall and Catherine Zeta-Jones are also in this. And Vince Vaughn. Actually, this could be good.
3.5 stars. I want to see this now.
Learning to Fly
Two mothers team up to help make a difference at a local school.
Starring Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ving Rhames and Holly Hunter. I’ll bite. 3 stars. What is this? Is it getting a release?
When thirty-something Jesse is invited back to his alma mater, he falls for a young 19-year-old college student and is faced with the powerful attraction that springs up between them.
It was written, directed by, and stars Josh Radnor. I haven’t seen his first film, Happythankyoumoreplease, but I heard it was pretty good.
Elizabeth Olsen plays the student. I’m not sure if I’ll see it, but it’s nice to know to look out for it.
In a world connected by YouTube, iTunes, and Facebook, Lola and her friends navigate the peer pressures of high school romance and friendship while dodging their sometimes overbearing and confused parents.
You ready? You ready? You ready?
Starring Miley Cyrus and Demi Moore.
2 stars. Maybe 1. Unforgivable watch.
The Longest Week
Affluent and aimless, Conrad Valmont lives a life of leisure in his parent’s prestigious Manhattan Hotel. In the span of one week, he finds himself evicted, disinherited, and… in love.
Starring Olivia Wilde, Jason Bateman and Billy Crudup. Could be interesting.
I’ll believe this is coming out when they start shooting. This has been in production for years.
Amanda Seyfried is attached now. As are Peter Sarsgaard, Juno Temple, Sharon Stone and Wes Bentley.
3 stars. I have no idea. I’m just curious to see what happens with the dueling films.
The Man with the Iron Fists
This is a kung fu movie written and directed by RZA.
Right there — I was sold.
But… Russell Crowe is starring in it.
I’m not shitting you. That’s so awesome, I can’t describe it.
Lucy Liu and Jamie Chung and Pam Grier (Pam Grier!) are also in it.
In feudal China, a blacksmith who makes weapons for a small village is put in the position where he must defend himself and his fellow villagers.
Sold. 3.5 stars. Very excited for this.
Personally, I just hope this helps get his Last Dragon remake off the ground. Motherfucker, I want Samuel L. Jackson to play Sno’Nuff already!
A charismatic intellectual launches a faith-based organization following World War II. A drifter becomes his right-hand man but as the faith begins to gain a fervent following, the drifter finds himself questioning the belief system and his mentor.
Philip Seymour Hoffman is the charismatic leader, Joaquin Phoenix is the drifter, and Amy Adams is also in it. Oh, and did I mention this is Paul Thomas Anderson’s new movie?
5 stars. Anderson is brilliant. Everything he does is amazing.
New Woody Allen movie. You know it’s coming out, but no date is announced. Happens every year.
Naturally, we know nothing about what it’s about until it comes out. We just know the cast, and we know that we’ll see it.
He’s in this one, which is, I believe, his first appearance in one of his own movies since Scoop. And before that, I think was Anything Else, right? Then Hollywood Ending, Jade Scorpion and Small Time Crooks. A bit coincidental that the films people consider his best in years don’t have him in them? Just asking.
Jesse Eisenberg is also in it. As is Ellen Page. And Alison Pill (from Midnight in Paris. She was great as Zelda Fitzgerald), Penélope Cruz (her second with him now), Alec Baldwin (yeah, Alec!), Greta Gerwig, Roberto Benigni, and Judy Davis (her first appearance in a while).
Let’s see if it’s any good. I’ll say 3 stars, but I really shouldn’t put any rating on this whatsoever. This is a wild card of cinema. It has its own rating system. But for the whole business of doing this — at least 3 stars covers most of the bases.
Now is Good
A girl dying of leukemia compiles a list of things she’d like to do before passing away. Topping the list is her desire to lose her virginity.
Interesting. Even more interesting when you know the girl is played by Dakota Fanning.
That’s all I got, really. 3 stars.
In a California desert town, a short-order cook with clairvoyant abilities encounters a mysterious man with a link to dark, threatening forces.
There’s a lot to be interested in there. And the cast — Anton Yelchin, Willem Dafoe and Patton Oswalt. I like that. Yelchin picks good stuff, and Oswalt generally only does something if it’s worthwhile, and his track record is actually really good. So I think this will be pretty solid.
3.5 stars. Not sure why. Just saying it. It’s based on a Dean Koontz novel, and that goes back to me wanting more films based on mass market novels as #2s. (#2s to me are the films that won’t win the weekend, but are also being released. These are what make up a year. So while people are out seeing Madagascar 3, you can go see something like this. Films like this feel 90s to me, because that’s what I was seeing in the theater when I was a kid, going to the movies each week.)
It’s also being directed by Stephen Sommers, which is the second one of these films with a big action director whose heyday was in the late 90s, early 00s. I like the choice. I really want to see this now.
On the Road
It’s based on the Kerouac novel. That’s all you need to know.
Walter Salles is directing, which actually is an inspired choice.
The cast is Sam Riley (from Control), Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy), Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, Alice Braga, Steve Buescmi, Elisabeth Moss, and Terrence Howard.
It should be good. Right?
Only God Forgives
This is the only one that isn’t shot yet, but I’m mentioning it anyway because of who’s involved.
That’s Nicolas Winding Riefn and Ryan Gosling. Fresh off of Drive.
And here’s a synopsis, just in case you need more:
A Bangkok police lieutenant and a gangster settle their differences in a Thai-boxing match.
I’m down. 3.5 stars. Based off of nothing but that. Still probably gonna be 2013, though.
I was watching this one from 2010, since it was on the Black List that year. All those scripts were ones I’ve been tracking. I thought this would come out last year, and it is finished — they just never released it.
A guy falls for the daughter of a family friend, making life just a bit awkward for himself and the family.
Sounds good. Hugh Laurie is the guy. Leighton Meester, I think, is the girl. Catherine Keener, Alia Shawkat, Adam Brody, Allison Janney and Oliver Platt are also in the film.
I think that equates to 3.5 stars. I’m interested in seeing it.
A reporter returns to his Florida hometown to investigate a case involving a death row inmate.
The reason this interests me is because Lee Daniels is directing it. He just did Precious. (Did you know that was based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire?)
Zac Efron is starring in it. Not sure why. Nicole Kidman, John Cusack, Matthew McConaughey and Scott Glenn are also starring in it. I’ll give it a shot.
3 stars. (?)
Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding
An uptight NYC lawyer takes her two teenagers to her hippie mother’s farmhouse upstate for a family vacation.
I know, I know — it sounds like Wanderlust all over again. But hear me out.
Bruce Beresford (director of Tender Mercies and Driving Miss Daisy) is directing, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Catherine Keener (I’m guessing she’s the uptight lawyer), Elizabeth Olsen (one of the teenagers), Chace Crawford (the other. He’s the dude from Footloose, by the way), Rosanna Arquette, Kyle MacLachlan and Jane Fonda (Jane Fonda! Playing the hippie mother, no doubt based on that photograph) are starring in it.
That’s enough for me. 3 stars.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
An introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world.
I know the book is pretty popular, right? And the guy who wrote it is also directing it. Emma Watson is starring in it. The cast is pretty good, too. Paul Rudd, Logan Lerman, Dylan McDermott, Mae Whitman, Melanie Lynskey, Kate Walsh, Johnny Simmons, Nicholas Braun, Ezra Miller — should be interesting.
The haunted Captain of a Soviet submarine holds the fate of the world in his hands. Forced to leave his family behind, he is charged with leading a covert mission cloaked in mystery.
I’m interested. Even more interested when I see that William Fichtner and Ed Harris are starring.
Curious to see how this turns out. 3 stars.
This is definitely coming out in 2012, but there’s no official date. They said March, when they pushed this back in September, but now there’s nothing. My guess is, they’ll wait and put this back during Labor Day weekend, mostly because there’s nothing scheduled for September 7th, and because this is the type of film that’s perfect to come out that weekend. (The first one came out that weekend too.)
I’m sure it’ll be just as fucked up as the first one. 3 stars. This time they have David Hasselhoff and Gary Busey.
A comedy set in the world of college a cappella singing competitions.
I’m curious. Starring Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson, and people I don’t know. Still — curious. 3 stars
The Place Beyond the Pines
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.
Directed by Derek Cianfrance, who did Blue Valentine and starring Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper. You know this shit’s getting a wide release. And if it doesn’t, that means it’s really good and doesn’t go mainstream.
Rose Byrne, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta, Bruce Greenwood, Ben Mendelsohn and Harris Yulin are also in it.
3.5 stars. I’m not totally sold, but I have to assume at least some quality. Let’s hope it’s good.
Two teens battle their way through a religious apocalypse on a mission to defeat the Antichrist.
Starring Anna Kendrick, Ken Jeong, Craig Robinson, Tyler Labine, Rob Corddry, Ana Gasteyer, Paul Scheer, et al.
Could be good, or could be really bad. 3 stars
Red Hook Summer
That’s it. That’s all you need.
Psychologist Margaret Matheson and her assistant study paranormal activity, which leads them to investigate a world-renowned psychic.
Sigourney Weaver is the psychologist, I’m guessing De Niro is the psychic. Elizabeth Olsen is in it, probably as the assistant. Cillian Murphy is also in it.
Either way — enough pieces to make me look for it down the line.
I have a hard time believing this comes out in 2012. It hasn’t been shot yet, and is about Formula 1 racing. How will this get done in time for 2012?
A biography of Formula 1 champion driver Niki Lauda and the 1976 crash that almost claimed his life. Mere weeks after the accident, he got behind the wheel to challenge his rival, James Hunt.
Ron Howard is directing, which puts it of a certain quality. Daniel Brühl is Lauda, Chris Hemsworth is Hunt, Olivia Wilde is in it, and for some reason IMDB has Russell Crowe rumored to be playing Richard Burton, of all people. (Good luck trying to cast Liz, if that’s the way you’re going.)
Still, I doubt this’ll make 2012. If it does, 4 stars. It sounds interesting, and Howard knows what he’s doing.
Safety Not Guaranteed
Two magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified ad seeking a companion for time travel.
Now, this could be smart and funny, or it could suck. Kristen Bell, Jake Johnson and Aubrey Plaza are starring.
3 stars. Sounds interesting, could suck.
This used to be called “The Hungry Rabbit Jumps,” and was gonna come out last year. Then (as I said back on the end of the year recap), it was gonna get some sort of January date and be released on DVD, but that seems to not be the cast anymore. The film is online, so I don’t know. Maybe it is a 2012 film. I’ll see it in 2012, it’s just a matter of if it’ll come out.
2.5 stars. I’m worried. Based on all the problems with it (and the fact that Trespass wasn’t very good) in terms of release, it might actually be bad.
This was written, and is being directed, by Martin McDonaugh, who did In Bruges, which remains one of my favorite films from the past decade. It’s brilliant.
All I know about this (and I don’t really care to know more. I just want to see the film) is that it’s about “A screenwriter (who) gets caught up in his pal’s dog-kidnapping plot.”
Sure. Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Olga Kurylenko, Gabourey Sidibe, Tom Waits, Kevin Corrigan — stop me when we get to someone that doesn’t intrigue you.
All I needed was Martin McDonaugh.
4 stars. Can’t wait for this.
Silent Hill: Revelation 3D
Heather Mason and her father have been on the run, always one step ahead of dangerous forces that she doesn’t fully understand, Now on the eve of her 18th birthday, plagued by horrific nightmares and the disappearance of her father, Heather discovers she’s not who she thinks she is. The revelation leads her deeper into a demonic world that threatens to trap her forever.
Interesting. The first Silent Hill was pretty good. I actually quite enjoyed it. I almost like that they waited so long to make a sequel, since that means it can be pretty decent. Maybe.
Radha Mitchell and Sean Bean are returning. Carrie-Anne Moss and Macolm McDowell are new. Deborah Kara Unger is back. (Didn’t they kill her last time?) Oh fuck it, I don’t care. Let’s just hope they do it the way they did the last one.
An epic, sweeping and riveting tale of an impossible love set across two time periods and continents.
That hit a lot of key words for me. Plus Roland Joffé (The Killing Fields, The Mission) is directing. The cast — Josh Hartnett and Neve Campebll — isn’t the strongest, but fuck it. I’m willing to wait and see what happens.
3 stars. We’ll just see now, won’t we?
A man is surrounded by strange events and odd neighbors.
That’s all we know. It’s based on a book.
The reason I dog-eared this, so to speak, is its cast. Juno Temple, James Caan, Dolph Lundgren, Saffron Burrows, Peter Stormare, Billy Crystal, Matt Lucas, Johnny Knoxville, DJ Qualls, Rebel Wilson, Amanda Plummer, Rosie Perez, David Koechner — I am intrigued by this.
A married couple whose bond is built on a mutual love of alcohol gets their relationship put to the test when the wife decides to get sober.
Wait, what? Is this what this is about? Days of Wine and Roses?
I’m sure this isn’t a redoing of that, so I won’t hold the similarity against it, but still, really? Now I’m interested.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron Paul.
All right, then.
A tough, street-smart private eye is hired by the FBI to go undercover in a college sorority.
Oh, you know why this is here.
Starring Miley Cyrus.
1 star. Bring it on. We can always use more Unforgivables. (Well, no we can’t. But still. When you just serve them up on a platter like this…)
A teenage girl mourning the death of her father deals with an uncle who mysteriously shows up to meet the family.
Directed by Chan-wook Park (Oldboy).
That’s all I needed.
Oh, and by the way — Nicole Kidman, Dermot Mulroney, Mia Wasikowska and Matthew Goode are in this.
3.5 stars Park’s films are usually intriguing.
A former thief frantically searches for his missing daughter, who has been kidnapped and locked in the trunk of a taxi.
Wait for it — wait for it — starring Nicolas Cage.
There we go. I knew you’d like that.
Simon West, who just did the better than expected The Mechanic, is directing. And the guy who wrote Safe House (gee, you think he’s in demand now?) wrote it.
Malin Akerman, Josh Lucas and Danny Huston are costarring.
3 stars, lots of room for advancement. Go Cage!
Struck by Lightning
After being struck and killed by lightning, a young man recounts the way he blackmailed his fellow classmates into contributing to his literary magazine.
This feels like an indie film. (That’s a good thing.)
The Summer of Monte Wildhorn
In an effort to tap into his original talent, a wheelchair-bound author moves to a rural town, where he befriends a single mother and her three kids, who help reignite his passion for writing.
Directed by Rob Reiner and starring Morgan Freeman. That’s the reason this is on there.
Not sure how good it’ll be, but it’s worth mentioning.
Based on the 70s show, starring Hayley Atwell, Damien Lewis (from Band of Brothers) and Ray Winstone. I’m definitely interested in this.
Take This Waltz
Sarah Polley’s follow-up to the wonderful Away from Her, this was finished this past year but was held back for next year.
It’s about Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen, and apparently she is trying to (according to the synopsis) decide between two different types of love.
Sarah Silverman is also in it.
Really, Sarah Polley being behind it (and all the good things I heard about it) and Michelle Williams starring in it are what made me excited about it. 4 stars.
Thanks for Sharing
Three people undergo a 12-step treatment for sex addiction.
Starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Joely Richardson, Carol Kane and Pink.
It’s the unexpectedness of the cast that got me to put this on there.
Also, the dude who wrote it and is directing it also co-wrote Keeping the Faith (one of my favorite movies of the 2000s), The Girl Next Door (which I like), and The Kids Are All Right, which everyone else likes. So I think this can be decent.
Untitled Terrence Malick Project
This is the one he was shooting while we were all waiting for The Tree of Life to come out.
It’s never a sure thing that a Terrence Malick film will come out on time, but it seems this one will be ready to go by the end of the year.
A romantic drama centered on a man who reconnects with a woman from his hometown after his marriage to a European woman falls apart.
Starring Rachel McAdams, Jessica Chastain, Rachel Weisz, Ben Affleck, Michael Sheen, Javier Bardem, Olga Kurylenko, Amanda Peet and Barry Pepper. Good cast.
4 stars. Malick hasn’t made a bad film yet.
A man searches an alternate universe for a long-lost love from his youth.
It’s that alternate universe part that interests me.
Kirsten Dunst and Jim Sturgess star in it. It’s a Sundance film. Plus, this kind of thing is what I like (see: What Dreams May Come. I love that movie), so I’m really interested in seeing it.
3 stars. I hope it’s good.
It’s an Amy Heckerling film. Boy, her stuff has gone way downhill over time, hasn’t it?
Here’s a (chronological) list of her films: Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Johnny Dangerously, European Vacation, Look Who’s Talking, Look Who’s Talking Too, Clueless, Loser, I Could Never Be Your Woman, and this.
Some might say there never really was an upper part of the hill (since Fast Times is mostly Cameron Crowe, and even that, I feel, is a time period thing. I didn’t really love it. But I wasn’t a teenager in 1982, so I have no frame of reference), but still.
Two female vampires in modern-day New York City are faced with daunting romantic possibilities.
Alicia Silverstone and Krysten Ritter are in this. So are Sigourney Weaver, Wallace Shawn, Richard Lewis, Justin Kirk and Malcolm McDowell. Something tells me women (particularly those my age), will say they like this no matter what.
2.5 stars. This honestly means nothing to me, personally.
Violet and Daisy
Two teenage assassins accept what they think will be a quick-and-easy job, until an unexpected target throws them off their plan.
Starring Saorise Ronan and Alexis Bledel. Danny Trejo and James Gandolfini are also in it.
It was finished for 2011 but not released yet. I heard not so great things about this from some early screening earlier this year. I’m still interested in seeing this though. It sounds interesting enough.
Voyage of Time
An examination of the birth and death of the universe.
Terrence Malick again. Apparently he already shot it.
It sounds very Tree of Life. And Brad Pitt and Emma Thompson are apparently narrators. So it seems like it’ll be either a documentary or like Tree of Life, in that it’ll be CG shots of the universe with people talking over it. Either way, I’m sure it’ll be good.
Welcome to People
Alex Kurtzman (one of the biggest writers working today, and alum of my school) is making his directorial debut here. Apparently the script is really good.
A man is tasked with delivering $150,000 of his deceased father’s fortune to the sister he has never met.
Olivia Wilde, Elizabeth Banks and Michelle Pfeiffer are starring in it, as are Chris Pine, Jon Favreau and Mark Duplass.
I’ll wait and see if it’s good. 3 stars.
What Maisie Knew
In New York City, a young girl is caught in the middle of her parents’ bitter divorce.
I’ve heard of the novel this is based on. That’s why I put this on here.
3 stars. I just want to see what becomes of it, really.
Believe it or not — that’s Jeremy Irons in that photo.
When an aspiring writer claims another man’s long lost work as his own, the price he must pay is more than he could have ever imagined.
Starring Olivia Wilde (Jesus, she’s in fucking everything nowadays), Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, J.K. Simmons, John Hannah and Michael McKean.
Solid cast. Let’s hope it’s decent. 3 stars
I love that this film is rounding out this year’s list. Because Quentin Dupieux’s previous film, Rubber, was the final film I talked about when I did this last year.
This one — oh fuck it, who can explain what it’s really about. Just watch a trailer:
I don’t know, and I don’t care. 3.5 stars. The weirder, the better. Rubber was fucking amazing.
– – – – – – – – – –
This isn’t a complete list (obviously). But since the majority of them are films that will only come out in limited release, straight to DVD (or not at all), the ones I skipped will more than likely be more of the same. Though I’m sure there will be a few late season awards films that I just have no idea about. That’s just the nature of the beast. (Though a lot of those you see coming from festivals throughout the year.)
But if anyone (within the next few weeks. I’ll give you until February, since by then I’ll have forgotten about this and moved onto the next thing) thinks of a film I may have missed (with some sort of pedigree. Not some random independent film. I’m talking like, big name director or actor or actress whose films typically get decent releases and press. If I missed one of those, let me know. I’m trying to get as much stuff as will come out this year as possible. I really am curious to see how I do with a near-complete sample size.
One thing I think everyone should do — not necessarily with all of these that I just mentioned, but definitely with the other ones — is go through all the stuff that’s coming out and make rankings for yourself as well. Not necessarily written down like I did, even mentally will do. (Though I guess we all do that anyway. That was kind of the point of “How to Read a Hollywood Release.”) I bet you’d be fascinated by just how your mindset changes about things during the year, and be surprised at how right or wrong you were about everything. Not to mention how easy Hollywood films are to read.