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The 12 Most Anticipated Movies of 2012

February 1, 2012


The first month of the year is behind us and only a couple of movies (“Haywire” and “The Grey”) have stood out, which is actually a surprise. But, it’s time to take a look at what else is coming out this year, specifically the ones I’m looking forward to the most. Since there are so many movies that come out each year, I decided to choose 12 – because, well, it’s 2012.

These may be movies I know very little about, but for some reason – either the cast, the director, or the subject matter – struck my curiosity enough to earn my interest. The movies that were excluded from this list are the most of the sequels (“The Dark Knight Rises”) and reboots (“The Amazing Spider-Man”), I know for sure that I’ll be seeing, as well as the remakes (“Red Dawn” and “Total Recall”) I’m on the fence about. The other movies obviously on my radar would be “The Hobbit” and “Skyfall” the latest James Bond installment. And yes, I’m looking forward to “The Expendables 2” (despite Chuck Norris) and “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” (despite no Gordon-Levitt with a mechanical face-hugger mask).

All of those are movies I have a built-in anticipation for, making something about the movies in the list below (ordered alphabetically) somewhat unique or different, offering attractive aspects that rise above everything else. Some images and trailers are listed below with release dates (some dates may change, while others are TBD: to be determined).

For all I know, some of these could wind up to be duds, but as of right now – I’m interested….





starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlet Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Stellan Skarsgard & Tom Hiddleston

director(s): Joss Whedon

U.S. release date: 05-05-12

Why is this movie here and not the other superhero flicks coming out this year? Because for the first time ever, a major blockbuster release is assembling a team of established superheroes (no origins!)- and that’s a big deal. Let’s hope Whedon (“Serenity”) was been given freedom to do whatever he wanted to do with this Marvel Comics team.





Starring: Kelly MacDonald, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly, Julie Walters & Kevin McKidd

director(s): Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman

U.S. release date: 06-22-12

Sure, it may resemble “How to Train Your Dragon” but this is the first Pixar movie with a female protagonist. With Kelly MacDonald and Billy Connolly involved, with one of the creators of “The Prince of Egypt”, “The Lion King” & “Beauty and the Beast”- count me in!




starring: Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Christophe Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Samuel L. Jackson, Sacha Baron Cohen, Don Johnson, Kurt Russell

director(s): Quentin Tarantino

U.S. release date: 12-25-12

A freed slave (Foxx) is on a mission to rescue his wife (Washington) with help from a German bounty hunter (Waltz) from a plantation owner (DiCaprio). An assassin/slave/revenge flick by Tarantino. Need I say more?



starring: Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis 

director (s): Jay Roach

U. S. release date: 08-10-12

With the 2012 political campaign already hitting us upside the head, what we need is a comedy where two aspiring congressman (Ferrell and Galifianakis) run against each other. Roach could use a hit after “Dinner for Schmucks” and teaming with the writers of “Eastbound and Down” is a good move. The movie has a great supporting cast too: Dan Aykroyd,  John Lithgow, and Jason Sudekis.



starring: George Clooney and Sandra Bullock

director(s): Alfonso Cuarón

U. S. release date: 11-21-12

Robert Downey Jr. backed out due to scheduling conflicts. Both Natlaie Portman and Angelina Jolie refused the same role (Portman twice) and several top-notch actresses (Marion Cotillard, Carey Mulligan, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Rebecca Hall, and Scarlet Johansson) were tested. Director Alfonso Cuarón (“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and “Children of Men”) went with George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, who play two astronauts who find themselves stranded on a space station after a disastrous accident wipes out the crew and most of the structure. Alfonso co-wrote the script with his son Jonas Cuarón.



starring: Tobey Maguire, Gerard Depardieu, Irfan Khan & Tabu

director (s): Ang Lee

U.S. release date: 12-21-12

Directors M.Night Shayamalan and Alfonso Cuarón were at one time attached to the adaptation of this popular fantasy book by Yann Martel. There was talk of it going animated, but this story about a young boy surviving the sinking of a freighter by sharing a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. Lee is working from a script by David Magee (“Finding Neverland”) and will be releasing it in IMAX 3D.


Director Rian Johnson with his “Looper” time machine.



starring: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Piper Perabo & Paul Dano

direcor(s): Rian Johnson

U.S. release date: 09-28-12

One of the many sci-fi films to come out this year, “Looper” could be the film that will provide more exposure for writer/director Rian Johnson (“Brick” and “The Brothers Bloom”). This looks to be a provocative time-travel tale, which finds a present-day hitman (Gordon-Levitt) who kills people who come back in time, but when one of his targets turns out to be his older self (WIllis), he hesitates. Surrounded by an interesting cast and with Shane Caruth (“Pirimer”) as a visual design consultant, this looks to be a fascinatingly trippy movie.




starring: Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray

director(s): Wes Anderson

U.S. release date: 05-25-12

I could tell you this takes place in the 60s new Englund, featuring two newcomers as young runaways, but it doesn’t matter – it’s a new film by Wes Anderson! As an Anderson apologist, I’m immediately on board. Besides Anderson alums Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray, it’s exciting to see some faces as well: Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, Frances McDormand, Norton & Willis.




starring: Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce & Patrick Wilson

director(s): Ridley Scott

U.S. release date: 06-08-12

Is it or is it not an “Alien” prequel or spinoff? Who cares? It has probably the coolest teaser released in recent years. Co-written by Lost scribe, Damon Lindelof, the story sounds kind of familiar: a team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. And then there’s a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race. It’s Scott returning to an outer space where no one can hear you scream!



starring: Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann

director(s): Judd Apatow

U.S. release date: 12-21-12

The long-awaited sequel to “Knocked Up” is finally here – well, sort of. This time, the focus is on the characters played by Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann and their two kids (played by Mann and Apatow’s real-life kids) and clearly the film’s title plays a role. Charlyne Yi and Jason Segel reprise their roles and they’re supported by the likes of: Albert Brooks, John Lithgow, Megan Fox, Melissa McCarthy and Chris O’ Dowd. Considering I turn 40 this year, I feel obligated.




starring: Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Gary Oldman, Shia LeBeouf, Guy Pearce, and Mia Wasikowka

director(s): John Hillcoat

U.S. release date: 08-31-12

Based on the novel The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant, the story about Depression-era bootlegging brothers in Virginia is directed by the man who brought us “The Proposition” and “The Road” along with musician-turned-screenwriter Nick Cave. Hillcoat’s previous films have an undeniably immersive visual quality to them, so I hope for no less here. And look at that cast!



starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale,

director(s): Marc Forster

U.S. release date: 12-21-12

Since it reads like a historical account, adapting Max Brooks’ (son of Mel) excellent zombie apocalypse novel seems like quite an endeavor. But leave it to comic book writer and Bablyn 5 creator, Michael Straczynski to take on such a task. Forster (“Quantum of Solace” and “The Kite Runner”) directs Pitt along with some solid AMC series talent in Enos and Badge. It could be the first epic zombie film. For those sick of zombies, you got your “Breaking Dawn Part 2” as well this year.



 And here are 4 films that could come out in 2012 or 2013:




starring: Oscar Isaacs, John Goodman, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake & Garrett Hedlund

director (s): Joel and Ethan Coen

U.S. release date: TBD

Not much is known about the latest Coen brothers movie, except that it takes place im 1960s Greenwhich Village, based on folk musician Dave van Ronk, from his memoir The Mayor of MacDougal Street. Since I enjoy the Cones work and have an affinity of that music scene, so this is a no-brainer.



starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Laura Dern, Amy Adams

director(s): Paul Thomas Anderson

U.S. release date: TBD (fall)

It’s been 5 years since the last PTA masterpiece, “There Will Be Blood” and he returns with a film that is bound to stir up some controversy. The film is supposedly a dramatization of the life of L. Ron Hubbard (neither Tom Cruise or John Travolta are in it!) and stars Hoffman as a WWII vet returning home, who sets out to create a religion with his friend. Johnny Greenwood returns to supply his atmospheric music. I have a feeling though that we won’t see this one till January, but one can hope.



starring: Ryan Gosling

director(s): Nicolas Winding Refn

U.S. release date: TBD

Refn and Gosling (“Drive”) reunite – who cares what it’s about? Refn writes and directs this revenge flick that takes place in Bangkok, involving drug smuggling and Muy Thai boxing. I’ll take it. IMDb has a one sentence description: A Bangkok police lieutenant and a gangster settle their differences in a Thai-boxing match. It also stars: Kristen Scott Thomas, pop singer-turned-actress, Yayaying, and Vithaya Pansringarm. The only concern is that it’s currently filming, so here’s hoping that it will still get released this year.



starring: Seth Rogen, Michelle Williams, Luke Kirby & Sarah Silverman

director(s): Sarah Polley

U. S. release date: TBD

It’s described as: a funny, bittersweet, and heart-wrenching love story about a woman struggling to decide between two different kinds of love. Whatever it turns out to be, it has Williams in it and after “Away From Her” , I’m interested in any new movie by Polley.



What about you?

What movies are you looking forward to in 2012?

What movies did I erroneously exclude?


Shoot! This year is Lookin’ Good!

Dwayne Johnson will be boosting “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” with the same sweaty intensity that he brought to the “Fast Five” franchise.




7 Comments leave one →
  1. Wendi permalink
    February 1, 2012 7:33 am

    I hadn’t heard of “Looper” but I genuinely loved how time travel was handled in “Primer” so that sounds exciting.
    More Gosling/Winding Rifn? I don’t care what year it is I’m pitching a tent in line now!

  2. February 1, 2012 7:56 am

    Nice list David. Many of the films you mentioned are on my radar this year. I just found out about “Looper” recently and I gotta tell ya, I’m really excited about that one! I’m also really looking forward to “The Cabin in the Woods.” There’s a lot of “A” talent behind that one and it does not look like a typical horror film. It looks like a good year for movies. Much better than the last.

    • David J. Fowlie permalink*
      February 1, 2012 9:29 am

      Ah yes – “Cabin in the Woods” definitely has my cuiriosity and I actually meant to include it here. Written by Joss Whedon (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Firefly”) and directed by Drew Goddard (fantastic writer/producer of “Lost”, “Alias” & “Cloverfield” – and its upcoming sequel), making his directorial debut. It’s a plot that seems pretty formulaic, described on IMDb as: Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin in the woods, where they get more than they bargained for. Together, they must discover the truth behind the cabin in the woods. But from the looks of the trailer and knowing Whedon’s work, this genre-bender (horror/sci-fi) seems like it could actually be quite original.

  3. francesca permalink
    February 1, 2012 12:10 pm

    I can’t wait for the Dark Knight to rise in any reincarnation he chooses, these Bale as Batman films are my favourite adaptations. The poster is also fabulous. I’ll also be in the Q for the new Bond and Only God Forgives, is there anyone apart from the Academy who didn’t love Drive? I’ll be delighted to see Noomi Rapace again, I know she will be forever the best and only Lisbeth ( the US remake, sorry but awful) but I still want to see her in other roles too. I’m curious about Gravity, really wanting to see Django Unchained but not attracted to the Avengers, something between Robert Downey and me just doesn’t work…Chuck Norris? On TV here in Italy every day except Sunday, never on a Sunday then but maybe another day of the week 🙂

    • David J. Fowlie permalink*
      February 1, 2012 3:21 pm

      Isn’t that a great fan-made poster? As for “Drive” there’s actually many people who loathed the film. I don’t get it, but I guess neither did they. It’s a divisive film that’s for sure, but I love it. As for Rapace, she has a fascinating screen presence. That latest “Sherlock Holmes” film didn’t do her any favors, but I’m hoping a Ridley Scott sci-ci thriller will be just what she needs. As for Lisbeth, yes Rapace was the best, but Mara was not better or worse – just different. I prefer the more feral, unpredictable and alien-like Lisbeth and that would be Rapace. As for Chuck Norris – never liked his work nor him for that matter.

  4. April 14, 2012 1:42 am

    I admit, I’m a little disheartened at the fact the Ridley Scott is considering making “Prometheus” PG-13 in light of box office sales. I understand what he is saying…I’d be a fool to ignore the business aspect of film-making…but I’ve always liked Ridley’s work, and a ticket-sales-minded Ridley seems to be one that sacrifices art in the name of possible sequels. I’m not saying I need blood and gore (I’m actually fine without it), but I don’t want my most anticipated film in a LONG time, save for DKR, obstructed by monetary concerns. The Alien franchise, assuming we consider this movie in the same universe, needs art again, and I feel this is THE movie that can do it! I cannot imagine I’m the only Alien buff out there who’s been salivating since seeing the images of the “Space Jockey” as well as its ship, in the trailer. I dare say I’ve been waiting to see more of that monstrous alien since I first laid my eyes upon John Hurt with a face hugger.

  5. April 14, 2012 1:45 am

    I hear that they’re going to reboot Batman in 2015? I cannot imagine anyone following Chris Nolan!!! Then again, at the time, I thought Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman was epic…so who knows….

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