Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Point V2. - Vol. 5 - The Most Anticipated List

The anticipation for this list of upcoming movies has been built up for so long now that the wait has been killing my loyal readers, but look no further... it has arrived:

Procrastinator's Point Reveals the Most Anticipated Movies in 2012

Did Batman sway the vote with his "Vote or Die" campaign?
The Point's Poll Results
The Dark Knight Rises - 30%
The Avengers - 15%
Men in Black 3 - 10%
The Hunger Games - 10%
The Amazing Spiderman - 5%
The Great Gatsby - 5%
The Hobbit - 5%
Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter - 5%
World War Z - 5%
Looper - 5%
Skyfall - 5%

Now, I know why Hollywood does what it does. Each of the films voted for here was either a remake/sequel/prequel or an adaptation from another source (classic literature, fiction writing, or a comic book). Only one of these fifteen upcoming films has an original screenplay. The movie is Looper which is a film about time traveling hitmen, you know that old story. But to be fair, almost every movie that I made available on the poll has an adapted screenplay instead of an original one.

Let's get this party started with a quick explanation. This is NOT a list of films that I think will be the BEST ones in 2012, it is simply a list of movies that I cannot contain my excitement for.  With that said, let's kick off the top 15 movies that I am looking forward to throughout 2012. But first, I have a substitute for any movie that may fall off this list as we near their debuts (#14 and #15, I'm looking at you).  Django Unchained would be that choice. If I knew more about this movie, it would probably be in the top 10 because it is writer/director Quentin Tarantino's newest original film. It has one hell of a cast with Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel Jackson, and Joesph Gordon-Levitt among many others. It is set for release Christmas of 2012. The Tarantino tag and ensemble cast warrants excitement, but I needed a little bit more (like a set photo) to peak my interest to add this on my list.

#15 - Snow White and the Huntsman
Mirror Mirror on the wall, which fairy tale movie will top them all?
Honestly, I wanted Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters on this list, but for reasons unknown it was pushed back until early 2013.  So, I added another fairy tale movie in its place. It was either this one, Mirror Mirror, or Jack the Giant Killer. This is an alternative take on the Snow White story starring Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart, and Chris Hemsworth that I'm really not that excited about. 

#14 - World War Z
Max Brooks' popular zombie novel is getting the 125-million-dollar big-screen treatment...or so I thought. It turns out that director Marc Forster is taking quite a lot of liberties with the narrative. But it sounds like this will be a mixture of an action movie and the horror genre with Brad Pitt starring in it (think 24 and the Walking Dead combined). Basically, the movie studio wants to capitalize on the zombie movie genre craze by using the already popular franchise tag of World War Z. When I first heard of this project, I had a lot of excitement, but as more news is released, I am losing faith in it. It is another film that I'm on the fence about, but with the rumor that it is a zombie movie shooting for a PG-13 rating, my hopes are diminishing quickly.

This time around, Karl Urban is "the law."
#13 - Dredd 
Perhaps you remember Sylvester Stallone spouting the phrase, "I am the law" back in 1995's Judge Dredd. Seventeen long years later for Rob Schneider, he finally has his own sitcom that will probably fail in the next few weeks and he can put this bad movie behind him. Or so he thought, the British science-fiction character from the 2000 AD comic series is being rebooted, and everyone is revisiting their nightmares of Sylvester and Schneider's debacle of a movie.  While I never read the comics, the character is an interesting one. Dredd is the story of a law enforcement officer in Mega City One in a world plagued by violence. These Street Judges enforce the law as police officers, judges, juries, and executioners (if necessary).

#12 - The Hunger Games 

Hawkeye, Green Arrow, & Robin Hood  look out for Katniss Everdeen
I'm hungry like the wolf. While that line from Duran Duran comes to mind every time I hear about this movie, it has nothing to do with it. This story takes place in a future world where the Capitol selects by lottery two youngsters to represent their respective district. A male and female from from each of the 12 districts get to compete in a televised fight to the death. The prize? A sandwich. This is the first of a trilogy of novels by Suzanne Collins to be adapted into a film. Personally, I heard about this movie and immediately thought about the Running Man with Arnold Schwarzenegger with the details slightly twisted.  Instead of prisoners fighting for freedom, you have kid combatants fighting for a gift certificate from Applebees. Then, I read that it was a book, so I wasted a rental for it via our Kindle Fire. I read 7 or 8 pages and thought it was horribly written. It felt like something a teenager would read...then I realized why it's's the next Harry Potter or Twilight franchise.  Still, I like the premise and look forward to seeing this movie, but I refuse to read the book.

#11 - Total Recall 
Since we are reminiscing about the Governator, I seem to recall Arnold headlining a movie with this title once upon a time. This time, Colin Farrell takes the lead as the man who suspects he might actually be a spy.  The first movie wasn't anything special, and I'm not a fan of Colin Farrell, so why am I interested in this film? 
Fright Night, Total Recall...what will be Farrell's next remake?
One reason could be the supporting cast doesn't just include Jessica Biel, Jon Cho, and Bryan Cranston but it also reunites Kate Beckinsale and Bill Nighy with Director Len Wiseman (Underworld, Live Free or Die Hard). The actual reason I want to see this movie is because it is based on Philip K. Dick's short story, We Can Remember It For You Wholesale.  Dick wrote multiple science-fiction stories using authoritarian governments, altered states, and monopolistic corporations to focus on political, sociological, and metaphysical themes. Since his death, ten of his science-fiction stories have been adapted into films (e.g. Blade Runner, Minority Report, Paycheck, Next, The Adjustment Bureau).  Some of them better than others, but I think the story behind Total Recall is one of the more interesting ones. I'm excited to see where this remake goes and how it differs from the 1990 original.

#10 - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Bilbo searches for the know, an Oscar for Andy Serkis
The last trip to Middle Earth was in 2003 and next winter Peter Jackson brings another one of J. R. R. Tolkien's classic tales to the big screen. The Hobbit, or There and Back Again was published in 1937 and takes place before the events in the Lord of the Rings.  
Now you may ask, why isn't this movie higher on the list? And, I'll give you my short answer, "PREQUEL."  Thanks to George Lucas, I'll never expect that great of things from a prequel ever again.  I can't fully support something that I know won't be as exciting as the Lord of the Rings, but I still want to see it in the theater.  This will be the first film in a two part Hobbit adventure that brings back most of the old cast.

#9 - Skyfall
Ian Fleming's James Bond returns for his 23rd film appearance with Daniel Craig reprising the role for the third time.  So far, very little has been released about this movie including only one promotional shot from the set that doesn't even have James Bond in his trademark tuxedo. Instead, the photo is of 007 sitting poolside. So far, all that is known is Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to PerditionJarhead) will be directing his first bond film.
007 must solve the mystery of who peed in the pool
This time around Dame Judi Dench (as M once again) has a story revolving around her personal business and an attack on MI6.  Javier Bardem has been cast as the villain, and Ralph Fiennes as an unknown participant. What else can be expected? How about cool gadgets, car chases, action-packed scenes, suspense, and Bond girls...if that isn't enough to peak your interest, then maybe a martini, shaken not stirred, will get you in the mood.

#8 - Looper
Rian Johnson confused the prop time machine as back-stage Porta-Potty

As I said earlier, this film has an original screenplay and that is one reason why I am excited for it.  The other reasons, Joesph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Piper Perabo, Emily Blunt, and Jeff Daniels are all starring in it. Rian Johnson directs and writes this film about time traveling hitmen. The plot is that Joesph Gordon-Levitt gets the order to kill a mark but realizes that it is his future self (played by Willis). Time traveling movies are usually hit and miss. Back to the Future, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, The Terminator, and J.J. Abrams Star Trek are examples of great time travelling stories whereas The Butterfly Effect, Timeline, Black Knight, and Star Trek Generations all handled the time traveling storyline terribly.  Then, movies like Hot Tub Time Machine and 12 Monkeys teeter that line.  You may groan at the thought of another time travel movie, but this one sounds too interesting to pass up in my book.

#7 - G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Have a failing franchise? Just call up The Rock's agent.

As any fan of the cartoon can tell you, "And now you know and knowing is half the battle!"  Those in charge of the retooled sequel (dubbed a "requel") of the G.I. Joe franchise must have known what a disappoint the first film was to fans with characters like Marlon Wayan's Ripcord and those ultra-cheesy special effects. However, I've said before that the first film wasn't the worst movie that I've ever seen. It just didn't meet my expectations, but I still sort of liked it...mainly because it was one of my favorite cartoons as a kid.  If you would have told me last summer that the G.I. Joe sequel would be a movie that I'd be highly anticipating, I'd ask you to go get a CAT Scan for your head.  Then, the sequel's trailer debuted in December.  I wrote a lengthy review of a two minute trailer.  I could barely contain my excitement.  Basically, G.I. Joe is a reboot with a bunch of new cast members  (including Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson, Ray Stevenson, and Bruce Willis) and very few of the old ones making the cut (Channing Tatum, Arnold Vosloo, and Ray Park return).  A new director was signed on for this film, and they kept part of the story-arc from the first movie with the secretive Cobra spy Zartan taking over the White House. By using that plot-line, Cobra is able to assassinate a good portion of the Joes to help this movie start fresh. That's how they are making the film half reboot and half sequel.  The film avoids the special-effect driven, campy "accelerator suits" and returns to realistic, militaristic action with more practical effects.  Plus, The Rock is the go-to-guy if your franchise is slipping away...just ask Fast Five and Journey 2: Mystery Island. Go watch the trailer and tell me that this movie doesn't excite you...that is hard to do after the first movie was such a disappointment.

#6 - Prometheus
In movie theaters, employees will hear Scott's fans' delightfully scream.
Ridley Scott finally helms another sci-fi genre movie after 30 years.  This is the first time since Alien and Blade Runner catapulted this director to prominence in the early 80s. Originally, Prometheus was called the prequel to Alien.  Nowadays, the actual story is shrouded in mystery.  Is it a straight-up prequel with face huggers and Xenomorphs or is it just a movie set in the same "Alien" universe without any traces of the Xenomorph creatures? We don't know, yet. In some interviews and promotional pictures, the Space Jockey's backstory has been featured. So far, the Space Jockey is only known as a skeletal space suit for an alien being. What that being looks like is still unknown and the story behind them will hopefully be told in Prometheus.  Otherwise, I don't know any plot details besides the human crew finding a clue to mankind's origin on Earth, so they travel to a deep corner of space and end up fighting for the survival of the human race.  The film stars Noomi Rapace (Lisbeth Salander in the the Swedish film version of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy), Michael Fassbender (X-men: First Class), Patrick Wilson (Watchmen), Guy Pierce (Memento), and Charlize Theron (Hancock).  After seeing the trailer for the film mimic the Alien trailer and seeing the resemblance of both movie posters' taglines (Alien - "In space, no one can hear you scream." Prometheus - "In space, something can hear you scream."), I am more than excited for this horror/sci-fi movie to get to theaters.

#5 - The Amazing Spider-Man
Spider-Man loses yet another contact lens at an inconvenient time
Ten years ago, Sam Raimi directed Tobey Maguire in a film about a boy who gets bitten by a radioactive spider. At the time, it was the most spectacular thing any web-slinger fan ever saw. Looking back at it now, it reminds me of watching the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. They milked the Raimi/Maguire combo for three films.  Then, Homer Simpson gave us Spider-Pig. I didn't think the Spider-Man franchise could expand more that that until I heard about Peter Parker's Broadway musical. And, there has always been a plethora of Spider-Man video games.  So while fans were waiting for a 4th installment of the decade old franchise, Sony Pictures went another route and scrapped the whole thing.  They started fresh with a new director (Marc Webb, (500) Days of Summer) and a new Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield, The Social Network). A reboot of a franchise at this point seemed a bit hasty, but in my opinion, it was necessary. Raimi's films were good at the time, but they seem too cheesy for my tastes now (after Iron Man, The Dark Knight, and X-men: First Class raised the bar of comic book movies to a new level). I'm excited to see another take on the Spiderman franchise. In the comic book world, there are multiple titles about the same character, so I like that the movie versions are now mimicking that trend. 

#4 - Men in Black 3
Tommy Lee Jones looks younger than ever
Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Rip Torn, and their Ray-Ban sunglasses haven't got jiggy with aliens for a decade. 2002's sequel in the franchise wasn't the best movie of that year and didn't capitalize on the success of the first film.  But, it still was a fun action-comedy film that was enjoyable for a watch.  Men in Black brought to life the conspiracy theorists belief in a governmental agency that keeps alien life secretive from the general public on Earth. It was funny with Will Smith being recruited into the organization and an alien-bug running around in an Edgar suit. Then the lackluster sequel tried to copy the first movie's successful formula by using role-reversal with Tommy Lee Jones being the unknowing one. It was far from a comic masterpiece.  This time, they are putting time travel into the equation. Agent J (Smith) must travel back in time to save Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) from assassination. By traveling to the MIB's early years in the late 1960s, I expect hilarious comedy from Smith being out of his element in this time period and of course Josh Brolin playing a young Agent K to keep Smith in check. All three movies in the franchise have been directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and this one will be in 3D for all you fans of gimmickry and special camera shots. 

#3 -Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Benjamin Walker as the iconic President chopping vampire trees

Slavery wasn't the only thing that Abraham Lincoln fought. In this film, we learn about Honest Abe's younger years when he was a slayer of the undead and the true (fictional) road traveled to become the 16th President. In this piece of historical fiction, Seth Grahame-Smith weaves actual historical facts with horror fiction to create a secret back-story of vampires guiding Lincoln towards the Civil War. 
The reason I am so excited for this film is that the mash-up of these genres in the book is great. Lincoln's secret journal was given to the author by a vampire, Henry Sturgess, so that a historically correct biography of the former President could be written. That's not enough of a reason, then how about Seth Grahame-Smith is adapting his own comic novel into a film directed by Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) and produced by Tim Burton (Beetlejuice, Nightmare Before Christmas).  It is a rare occasion when the author of a book is actually the person adapting the screenplay, so I'm excited to see his own personal vision on-screen. 
Also, Seth Grahame-Smith has a track record of writing things that I like. His first published book, a non-fiction piece on pornography, happened seven years ago. Next, he published a book about my favorite superhero, The Spider-Man Handbook: The Ultimate Training Manual. Then he wrote a couple comedy books, one about how to survive a horror movie and the other was apology letters for different parties wronged by President George W. Bush's administration. Then, he moved into the mash-up genre by using Jane Austen's works from the public domain to create Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Now, he is doing script writing for movies like this year's Dark Shadows reboot and has teamed up with David Kratzenberg creating Kratsmith Productions to work on a multitude of television and big-screen projects, including a sequel to Beetlejuice. So, that explains my genuine over-excitement for this project.

Brothers don't shake hands, brothers hug
#2 - The Dark Knight Rises
In the comics, Bane is a physical and mental equal to Batman. This is a villain that has never been properly portrayed in a live-action Batman film.  Christopher Nolan has taken some liberties with Bane's character, but since he has directed some of today's best films, I won't argue. I can only hope that Nolan can recapture the essence of this franchise for the final movie in his Batman series.
Christian Bale will don the cowl once again with Gary Oldman and Michael Caine returning as Commissioner Gordon and Alfred, respectively. Thomas Hardy debuts as Bane, and Anne Hathaway slips on Catwoman's cat-suit. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard are also making appearances in this adaptation of Bob Kane's creation. This film takes place eight years after the previous installment and will be the final chapter of Christopher Nolan's trilogy. I've had cinematic wood since seeing the teaser poster and teaser trailer last summer. I cannot wait for this final installment of the series. Will Bane break the Bat? Find out this summer when TDKR arrives at theaters and IMAX theaters!

#1 - The Avengers

Thor and Captain America searching for their misplaced head gear 
Marvel Studios made five movies in four years to build up to this film. When Marvel Studios created Iron Man and had Sam Jackson in the secret scene after the credits, every fan of comic book movies collectively wet themselves. Movie theaters were saturated with fanboy urine. It was disgusting. Whereas TDKR will most likely be an excellent addition to the Batman mythos, I don't think that it has built up the anticipation for me that the Avengers has. The reason being that the Avengers is a new breed of film with multiple crossover movies that culminate into this one unthinkable franchise while TDKR is another chapter in an already successful franchise by one of  today's better directors. I think the confusion about which film is the most anticipated resides in the certainty that TDKR will be superior because Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures along with Nolan and his screenwriters know the formula for success, and the Avengers is the first film of its kind... a gigantic risk for Marvel Studios especially since the fan-favorite director (Joss Whedon) hasn't directed an actual blockbuster film. Never before has one studio put so much pressure on a director.  Never before has a studio gambled by making four different character films (and one of those characters with a sequel film) to lead up to one explosive collaboration. I have no doubt that the Avengers and TDKR will both reek of awesomeness. But because of the risk involved and the years of excitement building up to this film, my opinion is that the Avengers should be considered the most anticipated film of 2012.  This summer look out as Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye, the Black Widow, Nick Fury, and the incredible Hulk unite to save the world against Loki and his followers.

Katie's Choices
My loving wife wanted her list to be known and who am I to argue.

5) Effie - Dakota Fanning period piece...I can't seem to contain my excitement.
4) The Dark Knight - YES!
3) The Hobbit - 2 in a row...nicely done honey.
2) The Avengers - Wow. I knew I married her for a reason.
1) The Great Gatsby - Tobey McGuire and Leonardo DiCaprio in an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel.  Well, 3 out of 5 isn't bad.

And if you are still daughter has only one movie she is looking forward to (so far)...

I hope that you've had as much fun reading this list as I did writing it. This year is a very exciting one for movie goers.  I'm looking forward to so many films that I'll probably go broke buying movie tickets. Did you agree with my list?  What movies are your favorites of 2012? Let me know in the comments...and if no comments appear, I know that I've created the ultimate list!