Hobbits, Spiderman, Jason Bourne and the Dark Knight are all back on the big screen this year
Published Monday January 2nd, 2012
BY JAY STONE
Last year at this time, we were talking about all the upcoming movies that have numbers after the titles: 2011 was going to be a year of sequels.
Well, looking over the 2012 slate, what do we find but a lot of movies with numbers after the titles, including Wanted, Journey, Scary Movie, Men in Black, Madagascar, Step Up, G.I. Joe, Clash of the Titans, Hitman, The Expendables, Paranormal Activity, Taken, and The Twilight Saga. And that’s not counting the new Ghost Rider, Resident Evil and Die Hard movies.
Yes, it’s deja vu all over again, a sequel of sequels, but what are you going to do? In Hollywood, familiarity breeds content.
Fortunately, we don’t have to travel that road. There is much to look forward to next year: a Spider-Man reboot, a new Batman, another Bourne, and the return of Jay Gatsby.
Anyway, here, in the order they will open, are 12 to look forward to in 2012:
Jeff, Who Lives at HomeI’ve been haunted by this odd little comedy since I saw it at the Toronto International Film Festival. Jason Segel stars as a sweet-natured slacker, a pothead who lives in his mother’s basement and believes in some kind of mystical connection of all things. A wrong number sends him out on an 83-minute adventure that’s awkward, uneasy and strangely gratifying. (March 2)
The Three StoogesOnce upon a time, Jim Carrey, Sean Penn and Benicio Del Toro were going to star in this Farrelly brothers film version of the slapstick comedy trio. Well (nyuck nyuck), it now looks like a somewhat diminished cast – Sean Hayes, Chris Diamantopoulos and Will Sasso – will be bopping each other on the head with monkey wrenches instead. The Farrellys haven’t been on the cutting edge of comedy since There’s Something About Mary, but if this material isn’t right up their alley, why I oughta . . . (April 13)
The DictatorWe’re stepping out on a limb a bit on this one, but we’ve been seduced by the filmmaker (Larry Charles), the cast (Sacha Baron Cohen, Megan Fox, Anna Faris, John C. Reilly and Ben Kingsley) and the tagline: “The heroic story of a dictator who risks his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed.” (May 11)
The Amazing Spider-ManFiasco or brilliant re-invention? Tobey Maguire, who’s 36, quit the series, reportedly because he didn’t like a script that sent his character back to high school. In stepped Andrew Garfield, who’s only (ahem) 28, and a new love interest in Emma Stone. Besides, director Marc Webb made 500 Days of Summer. (July 3)
The Dark Knight RisesThis is more like it: Christopher Nolan directs Christian Bale, who brought just the right combination of brooding and pecs to The Dark Knight in 2008. This time, Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy are the villains, and several members of the Pittsburgh Steelers will make cameo appearances. Well, you can’t have everything. (July 20)
The Bourne LegacyMaybe it’s just leftover affection for the Bourne trilogy of Matt Damon films, but we have high hopes for this follow-up with Jeremy Renner as a new CIA agent (Damon said he wouldn’t return without director Paul Greengrass). The project is slightly second-hand – it’s based on a novel by Eric Van Lustbader, using Robert Ludlum’s characters – but it’s being directed by Tony Gilroy, who co-wrote the other movies and directed Michael Clayton. Plus, Edward Norton plays the villain. (Aug. 3)
Cloud AtlasBased on an ingenious novel by David Mitchell, this film tells six intertwined stories, starting in the South Pacific in 1850 and moving to a post-apocalyptic future, then back again. The cast includes Tom Hanks, Hugo Weaving, Halle Berry, and Hugh Grant and it’s directed by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) and the Wachowski brothers (The Matrix films).
Gangster SquadWe’re a sucker for this kind of thing: Sean Penn plays Mickey Cohen, a real-life hoodlum who ran things in Los Angeles in 1949 – the gambling, the prostitutes, the cops – until a squad of uncorrupted police, led by Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling, set out to clean things up. (Oct. 19)
SkyfallDaniel Craig returns as James Bond. That’s probably enough, even without Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes. Bond must destroy enemies attacking MI6 or something. As long as he has gadgets, we’re happy. (Nov. 9)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyFunny title for a movie we’re been awaiting for the better part of a decade, but there you go. Just to reiterate: Peter Jackson directs many of your Lord of the Rings favourites, including Elijah Wood’s Frodo, Hugo Weaving’s Elrond, Orlando Bloom’s Legolas, Ian McKellen’s Gandalf, and, of course, Andy Serkis’s Gollum. The story: We lose our precious, and a nasty Hobbit finds it. (Dec. 14)
The Great GatsbyIn this quintessential American story of the self-made man, Leonardo DiCaprio plays Gatsby (less stiffly, we trust, than Robert Redford in the 1974 version), with Carey Mulligan as his Daisy and Tobey Maguire, too old for Spider-Man but just right for Nick, the outsider who narrates their glittery story. We look for big things from director Baz Luhrmann: Moulin Rouge! big. (Dec. 25)
LincolnTall American president presides over Civil War. Steven Spielberg directs, Daniel Day-Lewis stars. Anything else you need to know? (December)