2012 was a strong year for film, delivering numerous high quality event movies and also a ton of very excellent serious fare as well. But perhaps it's the overall high quality that made us take note of the moments in which we were wrenched out of our suspended disbelief, or maybe it's just that the gods of moviedom knew something had to be done to prevent people from taking themselves too seriously. Either way, the year was blessed with some rather amazeballs moments of unintentional awkwardness that really forced us to step back and gasp, "Did that really happen?!" [SPOILERS!] more »
We can all agree that 2012 has been an excellent year for the movies, but the more salacious among us will note that it's been an awesome year to perv out at the movies. Although we didn't get another look at the Fassmember and all the conflicting feelings it brought up (Hotness! Confusion! Embarrassment at being psyched to see him naked in Shame when actually it's really f***ing depressing!) there were some rather interesting trends that reared their heads that invite a closer look. Whether studios are getting braver or filmmakers are getting bolder is a debate for another time — and please don't suggest that 50 Shades had too much to do with it. Let's salute all the sexin' that happened onscreen in 2012.
2012 was a ho-hum year for "serious" cinema. As proof, the Oscar race has narrowed to films like the chipper Argo and dreary Zero Dark Thirty — a chase so routine that the alternative is a Steven Spielberg period piece as wholesome and agreeable as enriched bread. But it was also a banner year for the films that we'll still want to watch in 2022: Ambitious over-reachers (Cloud Atlas, The Master, Les Miserables), loony passion projects (Killer Joe, Magic Mike, The Paperboy), and perfect popcorn flicks (Step Up 4, The Expendables 2, Premium Rush).
That last category is frequently left off top ten lists, but it deserves our applause. When studios get tired of risking $250 million on a single blockbuster (and audiences get tired of paying $14 just to keep up with water cooler conversation), mid-priced modest hits like Looper will be our collective salvation — and help build the next generation of filmmakers and stars. The films that made my Top Ten did so because they were bold, memorable and flawless (or at least two of the three). But of course, if critics can judge art, we should take our own creative risks. And so I've written my remarks in haiku.
As we trudge into the fourth week of 2012 -- one of those all-too-rare years that influenced a movie title -- a question arises: What's the best film named after a year? The worst? Because it went so well the last time we tried something like this, let's give it another shot:
Depending on your conspiracy theory of choice, the world may end 11 months and change from now, give or take a few days. And just in case all of those qualified real scientists are wrong about the 2012 doomsday being complete hooey, we’ve got filmmaker Roland Emmerich’s 2009 opus 2012 on hand to guide us for the potential cataclysm ahead. So grab a notepad and jot down the 18 or so essentials you’ll need to start stockpiling if you’re going to be ready to face down ultimate destruction, John Cusack-style.
Not to be terribly negative at the start of the new year – because any year that gifted us the Fassboner had to be a pretty good year, amirite? – but there were a handful of recurring trends in the movies of 2011 that could stand a rest as we charge ahead through 2012. First let’s list the good ones, the motifs in otherwise disparate films, from a wide range of filmmakers indie and studio-backed, new and established, that were actually kind of awesome to marinate in this past year. (Goslingmania comin' atcha!)
That poor Red Dawn remake just has not been able to catch a break, what with the MGM bankruptcy that stalled its initial release, the hubbub over digitally changing its baddies from Chinese to North Koreans, and the uncertainty in the air as it sat, waiting, for a new slot on the release calendar. But! It's finally set to see the light of day November 2, 2012 -- nearly three years after it was filmed -- giving stars Josh Hutcherson, Chris Hemsworth, Isabel Lucas, and Adrienne Palicki more time to get even famous-er. [Coming Soon]
Kathryn Bigelow's upcoming movie about the team of Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden was originally set to debut right before election day 2012, prompting U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) to call for an investigation of the extent of the Obama administration's assistance to the project. Now, that point seems moot; Sony has rejiggered its release schedule so that the Mark Boal-penned picture will debut after the Presidential election, and possibly not until 2013. Then again, with today's news of Muammar Gaddafi's death, Obama might not need as much help raising the victory flag, pre-election. [NYT]
MGM's remake of Red Dawn has been languishing on the shelf for ages now, seeking a new home -- and it looks like it found one in FilmDistrict, who is reportedly making a deal to release the film. The action pic, which cast up-and-comers like Chris Hemsworth, Isabel Lucas, Adrienne Palicki, and Josh Hutcherson before theirs stars began rising in the last few years, will likely hit theaters in 2012 featuring the altered plotline involving evil North Korean invaders. [LA Times]
Well, isn't this quite the youthful shake-up! The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has announced the producers who will create next year's Oscars telecast: previous telecast director Don Mischer and Rush Hour/X-Men 3 director Brett Ratner. Does this mean less snooze and more explosions for the annual awards season centerpiece?
Now that Lionsgate's Hunger Games casting roll-out is juuuuust about done (where art thou, President Snow? [UPDATE: There you are!]), Movieline has assembled the cast members of Gary Ross's YA now-filming novel adaptation for your perusal. After the jump, behold the faces of District 12 heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her friends, family, fellow fresh-meat tributes, and key players.
With J.J. Abrams not quite yet confirmed (but expected) to return to helm Star Trek 2, which Paramount has already set for a June 29, 2012 release, Deadline does the math: That leaves 13 months to go from what Paramount currently has in hand -- a 70 page outline, according to Roberto Orci -- to fully delivered film. But is that truly enough time to finish scripting, prep, shoot, and edit a massive, effects-heavy summer action tent pole?
After combining on the award-winning, Oscar-nominated stop motion animation Coraline, Focus Features and LAIKA Inc. have re-teamed for a new 3-D stop motion animated dark comedy about a boy who can speak with the dead (voiced by Let Me In's Kodi Smit-McPhee) who must save his town from a zombie attack. Full first look after the jump!
A week after reportedly battling fellow funny ladies Kristen Wiig and Gillian Jacobs for the role, Anna Faris is in talks to star in the Larry Charles-directed The Dictator opposite Sacha Baron Cohen and Ben Kingsley. Cohen will play the titular "heroic" dictator, who is replaced by a lookalike and gets lost in America; Faris will play an organic food store owner who comes into his life. Paramount is already set to release the improvised comedy on May 11, 2012. [Deadline]
In a presentation Tuesday at CinemaCon, Disney/Pixar announced that their forthcoming 2012 sequel to the Oscar-winning Monsters, Inc. will be called Monsters University, and is actually a prequel to the original exploring the origins of the friendship between Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman). Stars Crystal and Goodman are expected to return along with Steve Buscemi as rival scream-collector Randall Boggs, while a writer and director have yet to be named. Cue the college movie cliché conjecture! What familiar campus experiences might our heroes face -- and what do monsters hang on doorknobs if they don't wear socks? [THR, First Showing]