Looking over the list of the films set to hit theaters in 2012 I feel like a kid in a candy shop. There’s so much to choose from, how do I pick just one? Fortunately I didn’t have to choose just one, I chose 40, but even that proved to be a tough task as boiling down a year’s worth of movies into an arbitrary number of films that I am anticipating is always difficult. Something is always going to be left off. Then again, that just leaves more to be discovered.
In previous years I’ve made lists of 50 anticipated films, last year I broke it out into four different parts and this year I had 44 films listed before I trimmed four off to have a nice even 40. The greatest thing about movies, however, is the fact the films you anticipate the most aren’t likely to be the ones you truly love once things are said and done.
Of the 25 films I listed as my most anticipated films of 2010 made my 2011 top ten, but that’s just how these things work.
As for this year, I will be breaking it out into four parts so it isn’t one massive overwhelming list of films as I did my best to detail each, offer images where I could, trailers if I could, release dates and at least some details so you know what each one is about.
So today we begin with numbers 31-40 and links to my three other installments can be found on the bottom of page two.
40. The Paperboy
This film would not have made my list had it not been for that kick-ass retro poster that recently debuted. However, now I’m hoping it lives up to its imagery as Precious helmer, Lee Daniels, brings us an adaptation of the Peter Dexter novel of the same name.
The story follows Ward James (Matthew McConaughey), a Miami Times reporter who returns to his hometown to investigate the murder of a local sheriff who is eventually helped by his younger brother Jack (Zac Efron) as they investigate the possible wrongful conviction of a man on death row. Throughout the process Jack falls for the woman (Nicole Kidman) whom the convict (John Cusack) has been romancing through prison correspondence.
The film could be great or a bust, but I’m certainly looking forward to it with high hopes.
I’m interested primarily because I think this can be a great story and obviously Daniel Day-Lewis in the lead role is exciting, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I had some trepidation based on the fact Steven Spielberg is directing. Spielberg and I just haven’t seemed to jibe as of late as it’s been some time since I out and out enjoyed a Spielberg feature. This, however, looks as if it’s a straight-forward drama, no need for cloying sentimentality or crazy antics.
Along with Day-Lewis, Spielberg has also attracted an impressive cast (no surprise), which includes Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Hal Holbrook, James Spader, John Hawkes, Tim Blake Nelson, Bruce McGill, Joseph Cross, Gloria Reuben, David Warshofsky, David Strathairn, Walt Goggins, Lee Pace, Jackie Earle Haley, David Oyelowo and Jared Harris. Add to that a script adapted by Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Kushner (Munich, “Angels in America”), John Logan (Gladiator) and Paul Webb and you have a pretty stacked deck.
Lincoln truly could be the return to form for the iconic helmer and a film that makes people realize this was the director we want Spielberg to be, not the man that brought us Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, War Horse and The Adventures of Tintin.
38. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Some may be wondering why Peter Jackson‘s return to Middle Earth ranks so low on my list of most anticipated. Well, it’s because I can’t get over the feeling of “been there, done that” with this film. That isn’t to say I won’t be excited to see it when I finally do, but to say I’m actually “anticipating” it with any great level of passion would be disingenuous.
However, I fully expect my anticipation for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to grow as we inch closer to its December release date. I just truly hope the decision to turn it into two films doesn’t result in a bloated mess.
37. The Company You Keep
Robert Redford is back behind the camera and he’s attracted some serious talent to his new film, The Company You Keep, with a script by Lem Dobbs (Haywire, The Limey, Dark City), based on the novel by Neil Gordon.
The film chronicles the story of a former Weather Underground militant wanted by the FBI for 30 years, who must go on the run when his true identity is exposed by a young, ambitious reporter hell-bent on making a name for himself. Redford plays the former radical at the center of this nationwide manhunt and Shia LaBeouf, the determined journalist doggedly chasing him and his story.
Along with Redford and LaBeouf, the film also features Nick Nolte, Brit Marling, Susan Sarandon, Julie Christie, Richard Jenkins, Stephen Root, Sam Elliott, Brendan Gleeson, Terrence Howard and Anna Kendrick. The films doesn’t yet have distribution, but if The Conspirator can find a distributor I assume this one can too, though I expect we’ll be seeing it on the film festival circuit later this year.
36. The Burial
Like anyone else that loves movies, I anticipate anything from Terrence Malick, perhaps not with the rabid intensity of most, but the man knows how to attract an audience and suck you into his films like no other. As for his latest, whether you call it The Burial or the Untitled Terrence Malick Project, the story is said to follow a philanderer (Ben Affleck) who travels to Paris, where he enters an affair with a European woman (Rachel Weisz) whom he later marries upon returning to his hometown of Oklahoma, but when the relationship founders, he rekindles a romance with a hometown girl (Rachel McAdams) with whom he’s had a long history.
Additional members of the cast include Javier Bardem, Olga Kurylenko, Barry Pepper, Amanda Peet, Michael Sheen and Jessica Chastain.