7 Films Colin Wants To See in 2012


 
Happy New Year and stuff! I hope your New Year’s Eve was more exciting than mine. A year ago I celebrated the new year drunk atop a snowy hilltop in Prague watching fireworks explode around a panorama of castles and classy old buildings. This year I sat around my room in my underwear and listened to a bootleg of Bruce Springsteen’s New Year’s Eve show from 1980. One of these things was better than the other.

Anyway, it’s now 2012 and that means a new year of shit to look forward to. I didn’t see nearly as many movies as I wanted to last year, and I’ll probably be playing catch up with 2011 films for the next few months. There are however quite a few movies coming out this year that I’m really dying to see.
 


Prometheus (dir. Ridley Scott)
 
 

If you follow me on twitter you may have recently spotted me tweeting about the first three Alien films which I received on blu ray this Christmas. I’m a big fan of the first three films in the series and they look great in HD. Unfortunately, the brand has been quite sullied over the past fifteen years with Alien: Resurrection and the two Alien Versus Predator films, all three of which are quite shitty.

Prometheus could be a return to glory. Ridley Scott, director of the first film, returns with a pseudo prequel to Alien which promises to be a bold new story and not just a cash grab like the last three films. Gone is Sigourney Weaver and in her place we have people like Michael Fassbender (playing a very aryan looking Android), Charlize Theron, Idris Elba and Guy Pearce fighting off the unknown in deep space.

There are two things that worry me though: One is that while Ridley Scott is a great with visuals, but I don’t thing he’s a very intellectual guy and he doesn’t really seem to care much about deeper meanings in stories- see his argument for Harrison Ford being an android in Blade Runner because it would be “neat” even though it thematically doesn’t make any sense. Two is that the film has been written by Damon Lindelof who proved with Lost that he knows how to really build up his story in the first act and doesn’t have a clue on how to pay any of it off in a meaningful way. Still my fingers are crossed for this film.

 


Argo (dir. Ben Affleck)
 

 

If you told me five years ago that I’d be looking forward to Ben Affleck’s latest film I would have laughed in your face, but the guy has managed to turn his career around like few others are able. His first film, 2007’s Gone Baby Gone, was a great directorial debut, a morally complicated detective story with a great performance from his brother Casey, and his second film The Town was a pretty exciting bank robber thriller that was way better than it should have been.

With Argo, Affleck is moving away from the world of Boston crime and setting his sights toward Iran. Based on this article for Wired Argo tells the tale of how back during the Iran Hostage crisis a couple of CIA Agents pretended that they were Hollywood producers scouting for locations for a big budget science fiction film in Iran, and how they used that cover to smuggle out hostages. It’s one of those so crazy that it has to be true stories and with a cast that includes Brian Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin and Ben Affleck’s steady directorial hand this is a film that I’m really looking forward to.
 


The Wettest County (dir. John Hillcoat)
 

 
Back in 2006 director John Hillcoat filmed a script written by the Australian king of rock and roll, Nick Cave entitled The Proposition. The film was a gritty western set in the Australian outback, and told the tale of an outlaw played by Guy Pearce who is given the proposition of either hunting down and killing his evil older brother or watching his younger simpleton brother hanged. As a middle son myself, I definitely connected with Guy Pearce’s dilemma and was taken aback by the harsh beauty of Australia, which Hillcoat elegantly framed and Nick Cave’s haunting score. In 2009 Hillcoat adapted Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road, which was an incredibly bleak, but not totally unrewarding film.

With The Wettest County Hillcoat is again working from a script by Nick Cave this time telling the tale of bootlegging brothers in prohibition era Virginia under threat by the law. Considering how well Cave and Hillcoat’s previous tale of brothers under peril turned out, I have no reason to believe that this won’t be the same or better. Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf are the brothers and Gary Oldman and Guy Pearce are the law out to stop them. Nick Cave should be back writing the score as well, and all of these elements combined make this a film to look out for.

 


Cogan’s Trade (dir. Andrew Dominick)
 

 
Andrew Dominick is the other Australian director who made a western with a Nick Cave score, 2007’s The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, a truly beautiful and elegiac film starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck as Jesse James and Robert Ford.

After a five year hiatus, Dominick is reuniting with Brad Pitt for this tale of a mob enforcer investigating the heist of a mob poker game. It’s based on a book from 1974 by George V. Higgins, and features a cast that includes James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins and Sam Shepherd. Brad Pitt’s a great actor when he’s not in movie star fluff mode, and based on his previous work with Dominick and the above picture of him holding a shotgun I suspect he’s going to be pretty good here.

 


Moonrise Kingdom (dir. Wes Anderson)
 

 
Wes Anderson has yet to make a movie I haven’t loved. Even when he overindulges in his own tweeness like in The Life Aquatic he still manages to make a charming film, with enough of an emotional hook to keep me from rolling my eyes. That’s a difficult feat and Anderson accomplishes it every time because at this point he’s a master. His last film was the absolutely delightful stop motion animation film The Fantastic Mr. Fox which I haven probably watched a dozen times at this point.

Anderson returns to the world of live action filmmaking with Moonrise Kingdom with a cast that includes Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel alongside his regulars Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman. The film is set in the 60s and concerns a small town in New England that is beside itself tracking down two young lovers who have gone on the run missing. I suspect we’re going to get an incredibly witty, impeccably framed, heartwarming film with a great soundtrack that I’ll watch a million times over.

 


The Master (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)
 

 
Paul Thomas Anderson is the director of Boogie Nights, the film I consider to be the best film of the 90s, and There Will Be Blood and it’s been five years since he’s had a film released. We should have gotten The Master much earlier but PTA ran into some problems with funding, supposedly due to the fact that the film is a thinly veiled attack on Scientology which has its fingers deep in Hollywood. Luckily the film was saved by trust fund baby turned movie producer Megan Ellison who has taken up the cause of funding financially troubled art house films including both The Master and The Wettest County.

The Master stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the titular character, a man who founds his own religion and Joaquin Phoenix as his bruiser second in command. Supposedly the film will explore the psychology of someone who creates their own religion and the effect it has on his followers and those close to him, and the notions of truth behind belief. PTA’s biggest problem is that he knows how amazingly talented he is and sometimes he overindulges resulting in something like Magnolia which is a little up its own ass. Considering the trials and tribulations that have had to been overcome to get this film, I have the feeling that this is going to be PTA at his best.

 


Django Unchained (dir. Quentin Tarantino)
 

 
Tarantino needs no introduction at this point. From Reservoir Dogs back in 1992 to 2009’s Inglourious Basterds he’s proved himself to be a master of the cinematic language, and who the fuck are we to question him? Inglourious Basterds may have been his best film, a truly glorious blend of Spaghetti Western and World War II adventure film. Like PTA, Tarantino knows how talented he is and his arrogance can be a turn off to some, but not to me. When Brad Pitt says “This might be my masterpiece” at the end of Inglourious Basterds, that’s really Tarantino speaking directly to the audience and I’d hate the guy for doing it if he wasn’t right about it.

Django Unchained promises to return to the genre of Spaghetti Western, but this time the setting is pre-Civil War south. Django was the title of a Spaghetti Western film from 1966 starring Franco Nero as a Union soldier out to avenge the death of his wife. The film was so popular that movie studios over in Europe just starting calling every western Franco Nero starred in Django and even western films where he didn’t appear!

Django in Tarantino’s film is played by Jamie Foxx, a slave who has been freed by Christoph Waltz’ character, a dentist turned bounty hunter who trains Django for his quest to save his still enslaved wife from the clutches of the evil plantation owner, Calvin Candie to be played by Leonardo DiCaprio. The rest of the cast is filled by the likes of Kurt Russell, Sam Jackson, Joseph Gordon Levitt, James Remar, Don Johnson, Sacha Baron Cohen, The RZA and Kerry Washington as Django’s wife. Here’s hoping that Tarantino fills the soundtrack with great lost musical cues by Ennio Morricone and he’d be daft to not include the theme from Franco Nero’s original Django film, which is one of my favorite pieces of film music and currently my cell phone ringtone.
 

 
With that cast and Tarantino’s talents, Django Unchained is my most anticipated film of 2012 and it’s going to be hard to wait the twelve months left until its December release.


What other films are coming out this year that you’re looking forward to?

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Categories: Film

Author:Colin Holmes

I love movies. I love watching them and I love writing about them. My taste ranges from Jean Pierre Melville to Jean Claude Van Damme and everything in between as long as it isn’t mediocre. I’ll take a crazy failure of a movie over a middle of the road one any day. I'm an American currently living abroad in Oz and am relishing how my accent makes me sound like a cowboy to everyone I meet here.

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2 Comments on “7 Films Colin Wants To See in 2012”

  1. 01.4.12 at 5:17 PM #

    Honorable Mention Skyfall?

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