Saturday, February 04, 2012

25 Movies I'm CHOMPIN' AT THE BIT t'See!

I haven't watched a lot of (new) movies in the last two years. There are probably a variety of reasons for this, but mostly I think that I had been so movie-obsessed for the previous decade or so that I just needed a break. I've still been watching a shitload of movies, on Netflix, TiVo'd off of TCM, or at L.A.'s fine repertory (God, took me like twelve tries to hit on the correct spelling of that word) houses. I've seen some good movies that came out in the last two years, sure, and there are probably plenty more that I haven't seen, but the only one that's really blown me away (documentaries aside) was Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan.

But now, suddenly, it's 2012, and there are several big "event movies" that I'm actually interested in. And some of my favorite directors have new projects lined up. And last week, the reports started coming in from Sundance, and I started to get excited. So here's a list of 25 films I'm REALLY psyched about from the next year. Well, the next two years--a few of these (including my top pick) won't be out until 2013. And I'm sure some will be major disappointments. If the reviews out of Sundance are any indication, Red Hook Summer may already be a disappointment. But I digress...

25. Prometheus - Ridley Scott's 3-D sci-fi epic may or may not be a prequel to Alien.

24. Rock of Ages - Adam Shankman musical with lots of cheesy 80's songs and Tom Cruise as a rock star. It looks unbelievably horrible, but it could be unbelievably horrible in an awesomely entertaining way!

23. Moonrise Kingdom - Wes Anderson directs an amazing cast: Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban, Kara Hayward and, of course, Jason Schwartzman.

22. Much Ado About Nothing - Joss Whedon filmed an ultra-low-budget Shakespeare comedy in his house, starring his friends (mostly cast members from his various T.V. shows) in one week after wrapping The Avengers.

21. Oldboy - By all rights, I should be annoyed at the idea of an American remake of this singular Korean masterpiece, but it's a Spike Lee joint, and Josh Brolin is starring, so...

20. Smashed - Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally and Octavia Spencer in a comedy/drama about alchoholism.

19. The Hobbit - Part of me wants to say "enh...," but it's been a decade since Return of the King (wow, is that true?), and I've always thought The Hobbit was a better book than Lord of the Rings anyway, so what the hell, I'll follow Peter Jackson once more into that breach.

18. Gravity - Alphonse Cuaron sci-fi starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.

17. Beasts of the Southern Wilds - This was the big hit coming out of Sundance. I'm not even sure what it's about, but those that saw it seem to think it's something special.

16. Inside Llewellyn Davis - The Coen Brothers next project seems to be about a fictional 60's folksinger along the lines of Pete Seegar or Phil Ochs. Not exactly my kind of thing, but if the Coens are behind it, I'm in.

15. Kill Bin Laden - We don't know if that will be the title yet, but we do know that Kathryn Bigelow is following up The Hurt Locker with a film about Seal Team Six and the Bin Laden hit. And really, that's all we need to know.

14. The Avengers - Chances that this will actually be a good film are very slim, but it should at least be a fun time at the movies, and it will be the first big movie of the summer, and it's pretty much Joss Whedon's make-or-break moment, so let's break out the popcorn.

13. Skyfall - New James Bond with a halfway decent director (Sam Mendes).

12. The Invisible War - Kirby Dick's documentary on rape in the military (evidently, an epidemic).

11. Red Hook Summer - Spike Lee indie with Spike reprising his role as Mookie, starring Lester Freeman--er, I mean, Clarke Peters.

10. Compliance - Sort of the opposite of Beasts of the Southern Wilds, this was the most controversial film coming out of Sundance. I remember the disturbing news story it's based on, and I'm fascinated by the idea.

9. Casa de mi Padre - Will Ferrel's deadpan Spanish-language comedy.

8. The Dark Knight Rises - I had a lot of problems with Christopher Nolan's first two Batman movies, but in retrospect, the things I liked about them well outweigh the things I hated, and I can't wait to see what they do with this final chapter.

7. John Dies at the End - Don Coscarelli's psychedelic, transdimensional sci-fi/horror/stoner/monster flick.

6. The Master - Paul Thomas Anderson directs Philip Seymour Hoffman as a cult leader who was not in any way based on L. Ron Hubbard, so don't even say he was!

5. The Dictator - But I guess it's OK to say that Sacha Baron Cohen's new character is based on Muamar Ghadaffi. He ain't gonna sue nobody.

4. Room 237 - In the tradition of recent unreleasable documentary-as-film-criticism movies like Los Angeles Plays Itself, this doc features critics describing their most far-out theories about the subtext of Stanly Kubrick's The Shining, illustrated entirely by clips of The Shining and other (mostly Kubrick) movies.

3. Django Unchained - Quentin Tarantino's "spaghetti southern"--i.e., it's in the style of a spaghetti western, but set in the pre-Civil War South. Jamie Foxx is a runaway slave-turned-bounty hunter who returns to free his family and exact bloody revenge on his former master.

2. Cabin in the Woods - Drew Godard directed, Joss Whedon produced, and the two collaborated on the script for this low-budget horror flick, possibly a riff on Evil Dead, with apparently some clever plot twists along the way.

1. Pacific Rim - Guillermo Del Toro. Giant robots battling giant monsters. Charlie from It's Always Sunny as a scientist. And a painfully tantalizing July 2013 release date.


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