Image: Warner Bros
While 2012 might not have been the best year for film, many of the year’s most hotly anticipated releases have yet to hit our screens. Over the next quarter we can look forward to a clutch of potential classics, cult hits and undoubted disasters. Here’s our definitive list of what movies to look out for, or in some cases avoid…
The Big One
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Key Cast: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis and Cate Blanchett
Director: Peter Jackson
So we’ve looked back on The Lord of the Rings trilogy and we’ve got to admit that as balanced and likeable as the first instalment was, Middle Earth got a little dull in the last two films. This was probably down to the overly grand CGI heavy battles. Thankfully in The Hobbit the fighting doesn’t really kick in till later, so this first film should hopefully offer us a chance to enjoy a little character development. If used properly Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan and Richard Armitage have enough charisma to keep us interested, while cameos from a clutch of Scots including Billy Connolly should provide a little added curiosity.
The Guilty Pleasure
Key Cast: Liam Neeson and Famke Janssen
Director: Olivier Megaton
Paris went from couth European metropolis to graveyard for evil doers in the previous incarnation of this Liam Neeson action vehicle. High octane lunacy was all that was on offer as a retired secret agent tried to save his daughter from the most unlikely of abductions. This follow up promises more of the same. Taking the action away from France, events unfold in Istanbul where Neeson is forced to save his ex-wife (why bother?). Expect broken bones and ended lives aplenty as the star kicks, stabs, gouges and shoots everyone in the city who even resembles a bad guy.
The Book Adaptation
Key Cast: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant and Susan Sarandon
Director: The Wachowski Brothers
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell is the sort of book which, if not treated properly on-screen, will leave a lot of fans very unhappy. A unique, multi-layered novel, it managed to link several strands of time and place together to create a true cult classic. While the set pieces should translate well onto the big screen, the worry is that its mysticism and messages may be lost. It’ll also be interesting to see whether The Wachowski Brothers (The Matrix) have grown up enough to handle the emotional pull of the material.
The De Niro Turkey
The Big Wedding
Key Cast: Robert De Niro, Robin Williams, Diane Keaton and Susan Sarandon
Director: Justin Zackham
The big question here is whether Robert can find the time to actually completely destroy his reputation before he retires. Taxi Driver, The Godfather Part II and The Deer Hunter already look like movies made by another man, so our bet is he can achieve complete ridicule before colostomy bags and false teeth beckon. Anyway if you’re at all interested this film is about a wedding, it’s directed by the guy who gave us Going Greek (we have no idea either) and Mrs Doubtfire is in it. Nuff said.
The Thespian Showcase
Key Cast: Cameron Diaz, Alan Rickman and Colin Firth
Director: Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman, though not a household name, is definitely a director capable of steering more classically trained talent in the right direction. Which is a good thing in this instance as renaissance men Alan Rickman and Colin Firth head up Gambit’s cast. Set in America, this crime-caper has all the hallmarks of the bewilderingly successful ‘charming’ British comedies of recent years. Worth a peek if you like that sort of thing.
The Dark Horse
The Man with the Iron Fists
Key Cast: RZA, Jamie Chung, Lucy Liu and Russell Crowe
Take an ancient Chinese setting, throw in a little Steampunk weirdness, some rap music and the endorsement of Quentin Tarantino and voila you have all the ingredients required for either a sure-fire disaster or unexpected hit. Early clips suggest there’ll be a lot of jumping around, nasty pointy weapons and plenty of blood. If that’s all there is it’ll sink, but the presence of Crowe and praise from the Reservoir Dogs director suggests the script might not be totally devoid of wit.
The One You’ve Seen Before
Key Cast: Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem and Helen McCrory
Director: Sam Mendes
How will the opening song sound? What will the Bond babe look like? Will there be enough explosions? Is the super villain super enough? Are the gadgets geeky enough? Which of the blatant product placements is most obvious? Is Daniel Craig really a good Bond? How many of the locations have you been to on holiday? Hey, is this not just the same as the last one? All these questions and more will be answered in this latest outing for the re-vamped franchise.
The 3D Shocker
Silent Hill: Revelation 3D
Key Cast: Heather Mason, Sean Bean and Carrie-Anne Moss
Director: Michael J Bassett
The first Silent Hill film is probably the best film ever to have been based on a computer game. While this isn’t saying much, the gloomy visuals and creepy characters gave it a real unsavoury, dirty foreboding feeling. Throwing audiences between sleepy small town USA and the eerie and inhospitable Silent Hill, this raw horror may just deliver the right amount of shocks to satisfy. At the very least it’ll have you rummaging in your cupboards for your Playstation and Silent Hill game discs.
The Post-Harry Potter
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Key Cast: Emma Watson, Logan Lerman and Paul Rudd
Director: Stephen Chbosky
While Emma Watson might be one of the most photographed women on the planet, her non-Harry Potter work represents a fairly slim slice of her CV. With the franchise finished she’s set about doing her best to get involved in as many different projects as possible. From biblical epic Noah, to tongue in cheek apocalypse offering The End of the World she’s certainly getting out there. Fingers crossed for her this doesn’t flop.