Back in December, when I released my annual list of movies I am most excited about heading into the year, I only did through the first half. I promised a second list to follow in June. Well, believe it or not, June is now over, and so here is my list.
The reason for two lists is that while compiling the first list, I noticed the futility of someone like myself trying to forecast the second half of a year in film so early. It’s fairly impossible anyway, but I certainly didn’t have enough information back in December to know what interesting movies might be coming out in November. Even now, in June, I’ll still miss some movies I don’t even know about yet (the way I missed this month’s Beasts of the Southern Wild back in December), while also picking some films, that by the time they are released, I don’t even bother seeing (like what happened with March’s John Carter).
Here is the original list for the first six months of 2012. As a brief review of that list, a great majority of the films I listed in the main list were well worth my excitement, and I loved almost all of them, almost. However, there is a second part of the list, and I haven’t seen a single film from that list, so I guess I wasn’t so excited after all (although, one never came out, and has been pushed back to 2013… bonus points if you can identify which one?) As those films got closer, and more information was released, they just turned out to look really horrible.
Since the list is going to be hit or miss anyway, I’ve just included 30 films that are on my radar, to varying degrees, for one reason or another. I only embedded trailers I’ve never embedded before. Thus, if you see a trailer for a movie on this list, it’s a newer version than the ones I’ve shared in the past.
Awaaaay we go:
1. The Amazing Spider-Man – July 3rd
This film comes out just a few days after this list will finally be posted. Buzz from late this week has been fairly strong, with many people apologetically supporting the movie, as if they were dishonoring the Raimi series. Don’t get me wrong, I liked those films. It’s just that it was pretty far away from all of the things I’ve always loved about Spider-Man. I have a feeling this is going to reintroduce those elements back into the character. I’m excited.
2. Easy Money – July 11th
Martin Scorsese loved this Swedish film so much that he personally took responsibility for making sure American audiences took notice, and that the film got a theatrical release here in the States. I’ll be seeing this one post-haste.
3. The Dark Knight Rises – July 20th
Does anything need to be said? What does Nolan have up his sleeve for us as he ends this remarkable series? The answer is less than a month away.
4. The Watch – July 27th
This film, original titled Neighborhood Watch until the Trayvon Martin tragedy, could be hilarious, action oriented fun… or it could be awful. I’ll be taking my chances.
5. Ruby Sparks – July 27th
I’ve shared the trailer before for this film about a writer whose invented female character somehow comes to life in this indie summer counter-programming.
6. Total Recall – August 3rd
I must confess, I’ve never seen the first film adaptation of Total Recall. I find it really hard to enjoy Arnold movies, so chances are it will be a while before I finally get around to it. However, based on the trailers, I honestly believe this film has some potential, especially if they borrow more from Philip K. Dick’s original source material, and less from the Gubenator. Although, the first film could be amazing, since I’ve never seen it.
7. The Bourne Legacy – August 3rd
Many of the folks I’ve read in early responses to this film’s existence have used the word ‘unnecessary.’ “Do we really need another Bourne movie?” they ask. No, of course we don’t, but that’s a really stupid way to gauge a movie’s value… we don’t need any movies. You could ask that question about just about every movie ever made, and the answer will always be ‘No, we don’t need it.’
The only questions that matter are whether or not a film is good in its own right. Does it tell a good story? Does it engage us on one level or another? What is our experience of the film as we watch it? Whether a film is a sequel, a reboot, an adaptation, or an original screenplay doesn’t matter as much as whether or not the film is good. Also, let us all stop bitching about so many movies being based on something else, and not original ideas. 1. There is no such thing as an entirely original idea. 2. The vast majority of the most celebrated films of all time were based on something else, whether it be a book, a play, true events, or a previous film.
The Hangover 2 wasn’t bad because it was a sequel, it was bad because it was a lazy rehashing of the first film that failed to tell a compelling story, or be funny. Was a sequel to Star Wars necessary? No, the first movie was a complete story. Yet, Empire Strikes Back was fricking amazing. Was The Godfather enough on its own? Yes. A sequel wasn’t necessary, and yet, many believe the sequel transcended the original… also, the entire series is based on books. On the other hand, Gigli, one of the consensus worst movies of all time, was completely original in terms of not being based on anything else.
This film could be really great, or it could fall flat and be an injustice to the previous three films. Yet, the quality of the film will have nothing to do with whether or not the film was necessary. It will either be a good story and an exciting film, or it won’t.
8. The Campaign – August 10th
The trailers for this film have been fairly underwhelming to me. Yet, I’m holding out hope it will be good, because I really want it to be.
9. ParaNorman – August 17th
Why is this film coming out in August? I don’t know. I guess they want to avoid competing with Frankenweenie in October. Either way, I’m excited it means I don’t have to wait as long to see it.
10. Lawless – August 29th
Again, I’ve shared the trailer before. As far as I’m concerned, the involvement of Hardy, Chastain, Oldman, Wasikowska, and Pearce is more than enough to get me excited. Also, I don’t hate Shia the way so many do.
11. Gangster Squad – September 7th
The trailer is suprisingly lackluster in my opinion, based on all the talent involved. However, I really hope the film is actually as good as it should be when all is said and done. Either way, at least Josh Brolin is an international badass, and Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, and Anthony Mackie are dreamy.
12. Killing Them Softly – September 21st
Brad Pitt as a mob enforcer, brought in to get to the bottom of a heist which hit a high-stakes, mob poker game. Once he gets to the bottom, he’ll kill everyone he finds there. No trailers yet, but there are brief clips. Here’s one:
13. End of Watch – September 28th
Another previously shared trailer. I’m hoping it’s as good as it has the potential to be.
14. Looper – September 28th
What better way to celebrate this movie’s inclusion on my list than with a brand new 2:30 trailer!
15. Trouble with the Curve – September 28th
A baseball related movie in which Clint Eastwood is a scout who brings his daughter (Amy Adams) along on one final scouting trip.
No trailer or poster available yet.
16. Frankenweenie – October 5th
Hopefully, it will at the very least be a return to form for Tim Burton.
It’s also another movie for which the studio was courteous enough to release a brand new trailer just in time for this list.
17. Argo – October 12th
No new trailer for this one. Just the one I shared in the past.
18. The Master – October 12th
19. Wreck-it Ralph – November 2nd
I really hope that all the classic game character appearances in the trailer are just the tip of the iceberg. Either way, there is so much awesome here. Please don’t suck!
20. Seven Psychopaths – November 2nd
Hasn’t it been a while since there’s been a really well-executed dark crime-caper comedy? Well, this might fit the bill.
The story: A struggling screenwriter inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster’s beloved Shih Tzu.
The cast: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Tom Waits, Olga Kurylenko
Also, the poster has Tom Waits holding a rabbit. So far, so good.
21. Skyfall – November 9th
If I had to turn this list into a top 5, Bond would make the cut.
22. Anna Karenina – November 9th
The director of Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, and Hanna, adapting Anna Karenina with a strong cast? Yes, please.
23. Life of Pi – November 21st
I adored the book, and it has one of my favorite final lines of any book I’ve ever read. Let’s hope the movie does the novel justice.
24. Silver Linings Playbook – November 21st
I like movies about lovable people with mental illness, because I have a mental illness, and I hope at least to be lovable. Now, if only all of us who suffer from mental illness could be crazy hot like the folks in this movie.
25. High Park on Hudson – December 7th
When you have a movie starring Bill Murray, set in the Hudson Valley where I grew up, I’ll see it. End of story.
26. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – December 14th
27. Les Miserables – December 14th
One of my favorite stories ever, one of my two favorite musicals. If they get this right, it will be glorious. Trailer here.
28. This is Forty – December 21st
I just hope they can create the same energy, chemistry, and improvised line-o-rama back and forth from Knocked-Up.
29. Django Unchained – December 25th
30. The Great Gatsby – December 25th
My only hesitation is that I don’t believe that Tobey Maguire can act. Trailer here.
Bonus: Dredd – September 21st.
While writing this post two weeks ago, I was still just really curious to learn more about Dredd. The first was abominable by consensus, to the point that Sly later apologized for it. Yep, a movie that was so bad that Sylvester Stallone actually apologized for it… However, that has no bearing on how good the reboot might be. Believing otherwise is akin to believing that Batman Begins would suck because of how bad Batman and Robin was.
However, during a brief writing hiatus while I took a trip to Southern California, the trailer came out. Now that there is a trailer, it seems Dredd could genuinely turn out to be a gritty, enjoyable sci-fi action movie… but it could also still turn out to be a weak, shallow, mentally handicapped explosion festival á la Michael Bay.
Well, boys and girls, what did I miss?