Thursday, August 23, 2012

Upcoming (and Current) Films of 2012

I know I've been way behind in putting up lists of films I'm interested in seeing this year. But, since it's still 2012 (and to make up for it), I've decided to culminate a list of films, consisting of those that have come out so far this year and those that have yet to be released. (I don't know very many people who do this, other than at the end of the year, for retrospect reasons.) But I hope you enjoy, and are intrigued.

First, here are a few basic and general lists to give you an idea of what's still in theaters, what's coming soon to theaters, and what's now on video.

Now on (or coming soon to) Blu-ray and DVD:
Red Tails
Safe House
The Secret World of Arriety
Act of Valor
Being Flynn
Dr. Seuss' The Lorax
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
21 Jump Street
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Movie 43

In theaters:
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
The Avengers
Moonrise Kingdom
Safety Not Guaranteed
Your Sister's Sister
The Amazing Spider-Man
The Dark Knight Rises
The Bourne Legacy
Total Recall
Ruby Sparks
The Odd Life of Timothy Green
The Expendables 2

Coming to theaters:
Hotel Transylvania
Parental Guidance
Rise of the Guardians
The Master
The Silver Linings Playbook
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Anna Karenina
Les Miserables
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Life of Pi
Cloud Atlas
Django Unchained
The Great Gatsby

Films I want to see from this year:

Beasts of the Southern Wild (still in select theaters)
I've been hearing a lot of interesting things about this Sundance sensation of a film. Set in a fictional Louisiana location known as the Bathtub, a young girl called Hushpuppy (played by newcomer Quvenzhane Wallis) goes on a search for her lost mother after her hot-tempered father develops a mysterious illness.

Chronicle (on Blu-ray and DVD)
What seems like another gimmick of the found-footage sub-genre (a la Blair Witch) actually looks to be an intriguing take on the superhero genre. Three high school friends each develop superhuman-like powers (as well as darker personalities) after being exposed to an underground substance.

Cloud Atlas (October 26)
If you thought last year's "The Tree of Life" was ambitious, wait until you see the nearly-six-minute preview of this sci-fi-genre-bending epic from the creators of the "Matrix" trilogy, along with director Tom Tykwer ("Run Lola Run"). A summary of the film would consist of interconnections and actions of individual lives in the past, present and future, combining science-fiction, drama, action, and complex storytelling. But I'll let the trailer speak for itself. Stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, and Wackowski-regular Hugo Weaving, among others.

Flight (November 2)
Robert Zemeckis ("Cast Away," "Forrest Gump," "Back to the Future") directs his first live-action feature in over a decade, with Denzel Washington as a pilot who saves a group of passengers from a near plane crash, but is put on investigation for supposedly-illegal issues involved. A promising cast also includes John Goodman, Don Cheadle, Melissa Leo, and Bruce Greenwood.

Life of Pi (November 21)
I was amazed at director Ang Lee's ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Brokeback Mountain") visual and visceral storytelling when I saw the trailer for this. Based on the bestselling novel by Yann Martel, "Life of Pi" tells the story of a zookeeper's son who finds himself in the company of a group of zoo animals after a shipwreck leaves them stranded in the Pacific Ocean. The trailer alone recalls the emotional quality of such films as "Whale Rider" and "Slumdog Millionare," and I have no doubt this will be one of the year's best. Deeply astounding.

Lincoln (November 16)
Steven Spielberg directs Daniel Day-Lewis (Oscar-winner for "There Will Be Blood") in this biopic of the sixteenth president of the United States. Although there are no trailers released yet, the three already-published photos (including a newly-released poster, as well as Day-Lewis on set) suggest this will be brilliant. Also stars Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Sally Field, and David Strathairn. Written by Tony Kushner ("Angels in America," "Munich").

The Master (September 21)
Paul Thomas Anderson ("Magnolia," "Punch-Drunk Love," "There Will Be Blood") returns to the director's chair with his script about what is being speculated as the birth of a religion. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the leader of this newfound organization, taking Joaquin Phoenix under his wing. Will definitely challenge many filmgoers this season. Also stars Amy Adams and Laura Dern.

Moonrise Kingdom (still in select theaters)
Wes Anderson's ("Rushmore," "The Royal Tenenbaums," "Fantastic Mr. Fox") throwback to 60s childhood innocence and angst has made some impressive marks at the Cannes Film Festival and with audiences since then. The story is about two young lovers who run away together, but are soon followed by a local search party (including Bruce Willis as a local officer, Edward Norton as a scout master, and Bill Murray and Frances McDormand as the young girl's parents). Along that same note, the film has also been said to contain some very adult-related issues and themes regarding romance, relationships and character. Looks terrific, well-made, and intriguing (with discernment) nonetheless.

Ruby Sparks (still in select theaters)
"Little Miss Sunshine" veterans Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris direct this intriguing romantic comedy about a novelist (Paul Dano, another "Sunshine" veteran), suffering from writer's block, who creates a female character that comes to life. Also stars Chris Messina, Annette Bening, Antonio Banderas, and Zoe Kazan (who also wrote the script).

Safety Not Guaranteed (still in select theaters)
Three newspaper writers (including Aubrey Plaza of "Parks and Recreation") go on a quest to find the story and person (mumblecore expert Mark Duplass) behind a classified ad involving time travel. This low-budget indie flick looks quirky, deadpan, sophisticated, and intriguing, and may remind viewers that the smallest films can create the greatest effects.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (on Blu-ray and DVD)
Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt play a fisheries expert and consultant, respectfully, in this dramedy about fulfilling a sheik's dream of bringing the sport of sfly-fishing to the desert. Critics and audiences have called this a "feel-good" and enlightening movie. Written by Simon Beaufoy (Oscar-winner for "Slumdog Millionaire"), based on the novel by Paul Torday.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (still in theaters)
Steve Carell and Kiera Knightly headline this apocalyptic comedy-drama about two strangers on a quest to find the former's old high school flame as an asteroid heads toward earth. Also stars Patton Oswalt ("Ratatouille," "Young Adult"). Directorial debut of Lorene Scafaria (screenwriter for "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist").

The Silver Linings Playbook (November 21)
This may be one of the most impressive and promising trailers I've seen this year. Bradley Cooper ("The Hangover," "Limitless") plays a former school teacher who moves in with his parents after returning from an eight-month stint in a mental intitution and hopes to get his life back on track, including reuniting with his ex-wife. Things get complicated when he meets a mysterious woman (Jennifer Lawrence, who's had an impressive resume since "Winter's Bone") with problems of her own. Yet, the trailer suggests unexpected bonds and promises. Co-starring Robert DeNiro and Jacki Weaver (Oscar-nominee for "Animal Kingdom") as Cooper's parents, Julia Stiles, and Chris Tucker. Written and directed by David O. Russell ("I Heart Huckabees," "The Fighter").

Wreck-It Ralph (November 2)
A video-game villain gets tired of his role and wants to be the good guy. That's the basic premise of this latest Disney offering, sure to unite Comic-Con fans, video-game lovers, and children and adults of all ages. (Watch for cameos from classic arcade villains in this clever and funny teaser trailer.) Featuring the voices of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch, and Jake McBrayer.

Your Sister's Sister (still in select theaters)
Mumblecore expert Mark Duplass (who's been making films with his brother, Jay, for a few years now, including "Cyrus" and this year's "Jeff, Who Lives at Home") headlines this romantic dramedy as a man who's invited by his friend (the always amazing Emily Blunt) to stay at a remote cabin after the death of his brother. He soon meets his friend's sister (Rosemarie DeWitt), and things get complicated from there. Another promising low-budget feature.