15. The Master
It seems as if everyone is coming back with a film for 2012 as hope persists that Paul Thomas Anderson‘s religious feature The Master will see the light of day inside the next twelve months.
Already picked up by the Weinstein Co., the film, written by Anderson, centers on Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a man who returns after witnessing the horrors of WWII and tries to rediscover who he is in post-war America. He creates a belief system, something that catches on with other lost souls. Joaquin Phoenix plays as Freddie Sutton, an alcoholic drifter that becomes the faith leader’s right-hand man.
Amy Adams, Laura Dern, Lena Endre, Jesse Plemons, David Warshofsky, Rami Malek and Joshua Close round out the cast, but when we will finally see it is entirely unknown.
14. The Place Beyond the Pines
Ryan Gosling isn’t only re-teaming with his Drive director this year, he’s also back again with Derek Cianfrance who directed him in Blue Valentine in 2010. However, unlike Only God Forgives, The Place Beyond the Pines is almost assured to see the light of day this year as it is already in post-production and seems like a real possibility for Cannes after Blue Valentine played there in 2010 as one of the Un Certain Regard selections.
Here, Gosling doesn’t seem like he will be straying too far from his Drive character as he plays Luke, a professional motorcycle rider who turns to bank robberies to support his newborn son, but when he crosses paths with a rookie police officer (Bradley Cooper) their violent confrontation spirals into a tense generational feud.
Along with Gosling and Cooper, the film co-stars Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta, Rose Byrne and Dane DeHaan.
13. The Grandmasters
It’s been five years since I last saw a film from Wong Kar-Wai and The Grandmasters will hopefully arrive this year as it was one of the films rumored for Cannes last year. Starring Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi, Chen Chang and Hye-kyo Song, The Grandmasters tells the story of martial-arts master Ip Man, the man who trained Bruce Lee.
One cause for the long delay with this film was when Leung broke his arm during filming, but hopefully it will be ready for a Cannes debut this year. I’ve included the first teaser trailer for the film to the right, now just imagine if elements of color Kar-Wai is known for from films such as In the Mood for Love and Chungking Express are peppered throughout the rest of the feature. As long as the storytelling is there I don’t see how this one can miss.
12. The Bourne Legacy
The Bourne Legacy bounced all over my anticipation list. Am I excited to see it? Wary? What?
Either way, I’m definitely curious to see what Tony Gilroy and Jeremy Renner will bring to the table especially with Edward Norton cast as the lead villain as they set out to continue the Bourne franchise, sans Matt Damon.
Plot details are pretty much at a minimum at this time, though we know Renner plays Aaron Cross and his character’s history is somehow tied to the events of the first three films and he is caught up in “life-or-death stakes” as a result. Along with Renner and Norton, the film also features Rachel Weisz, Oscar Isaac, Joan Allen, Albert Finney, Stacy Keach and Scott Glenn, so there was no skimping on the cast. Here’s to hoping this wasn’t merely an effort to churn out another moneymaker and hope there was also some semblance of an attempt at quality and reason as well.
11. Cogan’s Trade
Andrew Dominik‘s last feature film was The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. It had a long and ridiculous title, Warner Bros. released it in only 301 theaters and it still managed $3.9 million at the box-office along with two Oscar nominations. On top of all that, it was a great film that made my top ten for 2007 and Dominik is finally back with a new film, again starring Brad Pitt and co-starring Sam Rockwell.
Cogan’s Trade is a New Orleans-set adaptation of George V. Higgins’ novel and it follows professional enforcer, Jackie Cogan (Pitt), who investigates a heist that occurs during a high stakes, mob-protected, poker game. Additional members of the cast include Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta, Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn.
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