Looking forward into 2012

So 2011 was a tremendous year for film, I think we can all agree.  Despite it not being a banner year for box office receipts, it was for emerging talent and innovative concepts.  The studios may not have been happy, as there was no Batman sequel or INCEPTION-like tentpole from Christopher Nolan, nor was there a runaway summer superhero or action film, in fact many of the much-hyped titles all but flopped.  Instead, we see character driven movies, smaller independent stories, and sophomore efforts from promising filmmakers emerge once it was clear capital-H Hollywood had little to offer.  We saw rise of Jessica Chastain, Ryan Gosling, and Michael Fassbender, we saw Werner Herzog take documentary filmmaking to new heights and dimensions, and many auteur filmmakers added titles to their respective oeuvres: Woody Allen, Terence Malick, Alexander Payne, Lars von Trier, and Errol Morris.  Hollywood struck back in December, compensating with their lackluster summer, with huge titles like Spielberg's THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN, Brad Bird's MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL, and David Fincher's THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, which are all fairly safe projects for the studios given the bankable stars, directors, and subject matter.

So what does 2012 hold?  Who will rise and triumph, and who will crash and burn?  Hollywood has a promising slate: possibly the biggest film of the year will be Christopher Nolan's much hyped final chapter in his Batman saga, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.  Although the AMAZING SPIDERMAN, yes a re-launch of that series, might have something to say about that.  There will be an AVENGERS movie, which will also no doubt be a huge box office draw.  But what else is there?  What am I looking forward to in 2012?  (Aside from TDKR) I will tell you:

Director Rian Johnson with what may appear to be a time-traveling machine.
LOOPER, directed by Rian Johnson.

Johnson directed one of the great neo-noir films, 2005's BRICK, a gripping mystery set in a high school setting, with all the noir archtypes present: detective, kingpin, femme fatale, etc., and it worked incredibly.  He followed BRICK up with 2008's THE BROTHERS BLOOM which I enjoyed, but did not love.  LOOPER re-teams Johnson with BRICK star Joseph Gordon Levitt who has since exploded on the scene.  This time they are leaning towards sci-fi more with a story about a hitman who is sent into the future to do a hit and encounters his future self (Bruce Willis) who is waiting to be knocked off.  Or something.  That is basically what I have gleaned from the paltry amount of info on this movie.  Johnson has been running a LOOPER tumblr blog, posting post-, pre-, and production stills, as well as concept art there so it is an interesting browse!  Looking forward to this showing its face in October.

Wes Anderson, in typical garb.
MOONRISE KINGDOM, directed by Wes Anderson.

What can I say?  The Texas-born auteur returns in 2012 with another undoubtedly-charming film called MOONRISE KINGDOM, the plot of which IMDB says is so: "A pair of lovers flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out and find them."  It is fairly safe to say it will be funny and quirky, and will have a wonderful soundtrack full of rare Bob Dylan or Beatles or Lou Reed b-sides.  That's just speculation, but one thing that is known for sure is his ensemble cast is as big and varied as ever, including Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray (yeah!), Frances McDormand, Harvey Keitel, and Jason Schwartzman.  Plus I wouldn't be surprised if a Wilson brother or two made an appearance.  Personally, I feel Anderson peaked early in his career with BOTTLE ROCKET, RUSHMORE, and THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS.  I will admit I did not love either THE LIFE AQUATIC nor THE DARJEELING LIMITED, but FANTASTIC MR. FOX was amazing and restored my faith, so let's hope he is on the rise to a second peak in his career, this time staying there for good.

Ridley Scott and xenomorph
 PROMETHEUS, directed by Ridley Scott.

I love Ridley Scott's films when I get the sense he is completely submersing himself in a project.  Now that may seem ridiculous, because he is a professional director, but some of his films are different, think BLADE RUNNER, ALIEN, GLADIATOR.  There is something in these films that sets them apart, and for that reason they have become landmark films in their respective genres: sci-fi, sci-fi/horror, and historical action, respectively.  I deeply hope, that PROMETHEUS can be added to this trope.  PROMETHEUS is the prequel/sequel/different-story-same-universe to Scott's 1979 classic ALIEN, (along with the three other titles in this series), which has prompted much speculation and rumoring about the content.  There is talk it will reveal clues to the origins of the Aliens of title, of man himself, and even the universe.  Most interestingly perhaps, it will reveal some back-story about the enigmatic and unexplained "Space Jockey" seen in Scott's 1979 filmThe trailer swept through just before Christmas and provided some suspenseful imagery; I think it is safe to say the Alien series is being taken back into the sci-fi/horror genre.  The cast also looks excellent with Noomi Rapace (the original Lisbeth Salander), Michael Fassbender, Patrick Wilson, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, and Guy Pearce.  Let's hope this turns out to be as good as we all want it to be!

Cuarón on the CHILDREN OF MEN set.

GRAVITY, directed by Alfonso Cuarón.

Cuarón is responsible for one of my favorite films, the epic CHILDREN OF MEN, as well as the very excellent Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, so naturally I perked up when I heard he was doing another sci-fi film, this time with George Clooney and Sandra Bullock.  Rumors have also been swirling around this one, of a wildly technologically ambitious film told through motion capture, 3D, and most recently, of it being told in one long take, something Cuarón dazzled me with in CHILDREN OF MEN.  No doubt if it is "one long take", there will be cuts hidden digitally here and there, but it will be quite impressive.  I wonder if that means the story will be in real-time also?  Another news item that has recently come up is that Cuarón has said "no" to his actors wearing make-up in the film.  Interesting!  I'm sure this film will get a lot of press for its innovations when the publicity campaign ramps up in the months before its alledged November 21 release date.

No comments:

Post a Comment