2012: Guilty Cinematic Pleasures (Part 1)

Welcome once again to more of my random posting and topic shifting folks (I can’t help it, this is the problem with the information age – too much bloody information!), today I’ve changed direction to movies. More specifically I’m looking at movies that are going to be releasing in this coming year, 2012, which by the way I’m anticipating to be a spectacular year for movies (and for comics as well, just saying) and so for the first time in a LONG time I’m making a list like this one.

This had to be split into two parts because I realised the sheer number of good-looking and/or seemingly flat-out good movies this year is staggering. I mean think about it, we’ve barely started the year and between The Descendants and The Artist (to name 2 you might know) its already been a great time for movie-goers and it promises to just simply keep getting better and better.

So this first post does not in fact list my most anticipated movies, so much as is a list of movies from which I have no expectations of depth and leaps forward in movie-making but expect to love just for what they are and thoroughly enjoy them regardless! Of course that slight bit of hope that they makers have actually given them something more than just summer-movie coolness and such and they are actually quality cinema, well that’s just one hell of a bonus I would venture.

And now on to the lists!!

I hereby resolve to kill every vampire in America.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Ok. Now for those of you who know this movie and are familiar with it as I am, it needs no introduction. For everyone else, just step back, read that title again. Maybe go and check out the trailer if you like and then tell me you don’t want to watch this movie. I mean really. Based on the brilliant and highly entertaining novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, if they stay true enough to the source material I look forward to loving this movie! I find people take themselves and things too often either too seriously or just the other extreme but its stuff like this that is just not taking itself seriously but enough to make a go of it and just have a total blast – I mean utter and total fun. And if you can look me straight in the eye and tell me a movie about Abe Lincoln as a Vampire Hunter (after watching the trailer) would not be just completely awesome, well then we’ll have to agree to disagree good sir! Oh and its got master movie-maker of the macabre and weird, Tim Burton, backing it. Enough said!

Dog Fight

This movie has the potential to be one hell of a comedic master-piece and it just barely made it from my main list to this one. Directed by Jay Roach who helmed all the Austin Powers flicks and the Meet The Parents movies and here directs Will Ferrell, Zack Galafinackis in the leads as two southern-American politicians battling it out to be elected to Congress – this movie has just based on this basic setup the ability to be a highly anticipated comedy outing. Of course throw in that it ALSO stars the inimitable magnificent John Lithgow along with Dan Akroyd (in his first time in a movie in years), Jason Sudekis and Brian Cox as supporting players and all I can say is that it would take a miracle for this to be a bad movie!

Haywire

Yeah, I know, it’s already out and been on screen and such. But I live in India and finding a chance to watch this on the big-screen did not present itself to me and so now since it was on for a stupidly limited amount of time and circumstance just played against me that whole damn week. But I was anticipating this movie for a while after seeing the previews and trailers a while ago and after its release all the positive reviews have just vindicated that faith and for now this remains on the list of “To Watch” movies.
Again, for those unaware, the movie follows a black-ops super-spy type character portrayed seemingly quite well by Gina Carano (who looks awesome by the way!) who along with acting and such was also a big-time MMA fighter so when she does action, you know its not like Angelina Jolie in that snooze-fest that was Salt and such. With a monster cast of sheer awesome that includes *deep breath* Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, Michael Fassbender, Michael Angarano and even pretty-boy Chaning Tatum *whew* and helmed by Steven Soderberg… well this just looks like more fun than several barrels of monkeys!

John Carter

This is a movie that I imagine will be quite a controversial one until its release, and likely after, amongst those that know what the hell it is to begin with. You see most people will see it as just the latest in block-buster, action, scifi geekiness to be thrown at the big screen, but it has the potential to be so much more. Boasting a magnificent cast that includes the very talented young Taylor Kitsch in the title role supported by Byran Cranston, Mark Strong, Ciaran Hinds, Willem Dafoe, James Purefoy, Dominic West and the exceedingly lovely Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris
Just so you know, John Carter of Mars is a character that predates most of what you know and are familiar with in the genre – he was originally created by Edgar Rice Burroughs way back in 1912 when he debuted. And yes, that’s the same writer who will be well known to most for his other iconic creation: Tarzan of the Apes.
This movie is an adaptation of the first story when Civil War soldier John Carter, lost and at sea in his life, one day inexplicably finds himself transported to the planet we know as Mars, but the natives refer to as Barsoom. Here he must fight to survive and find a place for himself and in a bonus kind of moment for him, he discovers that the weaker gravity on Mars means that his Earth-norm gravity trained and evolved muscles are super-humanly powerful – allowing him to be almost like the Superman of old in a sense (leap blah, blah in a single bound, more powerful than a locomotive, etc, etc..) though clearly not THAT powerful, but I think you get the idea – you definitely will if you’ve seen the trailer for it.
It’s being released this year, a year that marks the 100th year since the character debuted. Now while that’s a good way to a cash in on promotional activity and build hype, I hold out hope that this movie that was made without much fan-fare and public knowledge will show a love for the source material that will allow it to be a worthy version of an epic character and story.

Ted

Ok, so I have no idea what to expect from this movie but something about it is really making me look forward to it!
Basically, it’s a movie about a man and his teddy bear, a teddy who comes to life somehow as the result of a childhood wish. And to make it even better, the bear is a cursing, smoking, hard-ass voiced by the writer/director of the movie – the infamous creator of Family Guy and American Dad, Seth McFarlane. Yup, you heard that right and no, it’s not an animated movie. It’s actually his first foray into live-action movies and stars none other than the always lovely Mila Kunis and the talented yet imminently punchable Mark Wahlberg as well as Giovanni Ribisi, Laura Vandervoort (Supergirl from Smallville) and the one-of-a-kind master of his own unique brand of comedy and an all time favourite, Patrick Warburton.
Now I don’t know about you, but I’m looking to enjoy this more than a little!

Skyfall

Ok, so the latest “Bond” series and its leading man have been terribly divisive amongst the fans, but personally I’ve been enjoying this more raw and ballsy James Bond story-telling with intrigue, conspiracy and character development (hey, it’s enough of it for me) taking some precedence over the over-the-top and purely stupid nonsense that the franchise had become not long after they cast Pierce Brosnan, though I don’t blame him for it mind you.
This new movie promises to be everything the first two were and more still, with a more story/character heavy 1st film followed by a fairly well-balanced 2nd sequel leading into it. Daniel Craig once again is Commander Bond, Dame Judi Dench returns as M, a spectacular choice for villain in Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes in an unspecified part and in a nice moment we have the return of (a much younger) Q after being absent from the franchise for a bit. This This time around the project is helmed by multi-award winning film-maker Sam Mendes who takes us closer to answering the questions that have been building in the last two movies and we get to delve a little into who exactly ‘M’ is as her past comes back to haunt her. All this is penned by the very talented John Logan who holds screenplay credits for the likes of Gladiator, The Aviator, Last Samurai, Sweeney Todd and the hilariously awesome recent animation, Rango – I daresay we can expect a good Bond flick here
And of course no Bond movie is complete without the requisite Bond-Girls and this time around once again the new franchise picks well (at least in terms of looks alone) as we have the lovely Naomie Harris and Bérénice Marlohe stepping into the shockingly hot shoes of the two previous ladies in the series, Eva Green and Olga Kurylenko. Sounds good? Yeah, to me too.

You have GOT to expand and see this stuff!

Wrath of the Titans

Let me start by saying that I did not much care for the first movie. I honestly thought that they took what could have been great fun and hacked, chopped and diluted it and the result was a truly mediocre summer-blockbuster that was trying desperately (like every single bloody movie has since then) to cash in on the 3D craze that launched after Avatar – plus the fact that the final monster, the Kraken itself which should have been the highlight of the whole thing was an utter let-down and boring to boot.
For some reason that I can’t quite fathom though, the trailers for this sequel actually have me intrigued. The fact that they’ve not only still got Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Sam Worthington on board (though that could just be contractual obligation) but also have Bill Nighy, Danny Huston and Tony Kebbel on board makes me want to watch it, of course the excellent looking CGI and action stuff helps. The only sad part is that they’ve replaced Alexa Davalos with Rosamund Pike as Andromeda, no offense to Ms. Pike but I definitely like the more fiery Davalos to her unique brand of ice-queen-ness.
All in all though, should be a boat-load of fun any which way.

Bourne Legacy

A lot folks have had issues with the Jason Bourne movies, I know a lot who had serious issues with the changes between book and movie and others who felt dislike for varying other reasons. I actually enjoyed all three quite a lot and in some ways felt like the film-makers really felt more confident and experimented and had fun making them, fun that was visible to audience members like myself who enjoyed what they were creating.
I was highly skeptical at first when I heard about this fourth Bourne movie because honestly, what can they do with it now? I can imagine the people hired to write it having a hard time – heck the guy who helmed the first three couldn’t do it. But now they’ve gotten the screenwriter to take over the directors chair and both the original director and Damon saying they might come back for a follow-up but I think that will depend partly on how this one goes.
Picking up right where Ultimatum leaves off, we have several returning cast members including Joan Allen as Pamela Landy and Albert Finney as the good doctor but get new protagonists in Rachel Weisz and Jeremy Renner (he’s having a busy year!) with Edward Norton (wicked!) coming in as a new antagonist for our heroes.
Not a prequel or direct sequel as such, this is something between a spin-off and a sequel that follows Renners character who was in a program much like the one that birthed Jason Bourne, but not quite precisely the same and essentially the only detail revealed is that the plot deals with the fallout from Bourne’s actions in the last one.

60 years+ and still kicking a***

Bullet to the head

Yet another graphic novel adapted to the big screen. That alone would make me curious, but this is one that has the potential to be highly entertaining. Starring the talents of Stallone accompanied by Sung Kang (remember him as Han from the Fast and Furious franchise?) in the lead as a hitman and a cop respectively, brought together by two murders and them teaming up to solve a mystery and get some serious payback. Accompanied by Jason Momoa, Christian Slater, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and the beautiful and talented Sarah Shahi, I anticipate that whatever else this movie may or may not be, it will most definitely be great entertainment. Of course having the team of Alfred Gough and Miles Millar behind it definitely helps it’s cause but I anticipate enjoying this outing and maybe it’s just me, but I like seeing Sly back in his element proper!

The Expendables 2

This is without the shadow of a doubt one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year ahead for action fans – unless you were one of those that just flat out did not like the first one (for whatever insane reason!).
But let me just say this: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Scott Adkins, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, and of course Chuck Norris PLUS the loveliness that is Charisma Carpenter, Yu Nan and Nikolette Noel. If that alone doesn’t get your butt in the theatre then you’re on your own my friend.
As expected, there is far from a deep and engaging story – Mr. Church (Willis) from the first movie seemingly double crosses our heroes and then they are ambushed by a rival merc squad led by the muscles-from-Brussels himself and now they are facing all out action packed madness as they go in to get some payback and some answers. Love it!

MIB3

What can I say about this movie? It’s a Men In Black movie has been directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and see’s Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith return to take their rightful places as the last line of defence against the worst scum of the universe.
That alone would make me watch it, just for the sheer entertainment that is pretty much a given as being part of this. Yes, the franchise is a little in danger of shark-jumping if you ask me since they went the time-travel route this time around but as a saving grace we have Josh Brolin coming on board as a young version of K (Jones) and I think he is a fantastic choice for the part. Long story short, J has to go back in time to save K from being assassinated by an alien and save history, you know how this goes!
As a bonus we have two new additions to the MIB cast in the form of massively talented Emma Thompson, her taking this on makes me retain some hope for the movie being more than anticipated, and Bill Hader who is without a doubt one of my favourite serving members of the SNL cast members for some time now.

Rise of the Guardians

This is one of those rare animated movies that seem worth watching as more than cutesy fare. The last one I enjoyed was Rango and so I have high expectations from this, especially given its voice cast.
Basically the movie follows a story encompassing fictional characters and such in an interesting new avatar as an evil spirit names Pitch (voiced by Jude Law) does what all good villains do and tries to take over the world. Of course we need some heroes to thwart his evil plans and (in this case) protect the imagination of children the world over. Yeah, believe me I see how easily this could be screwed up by saccharine-isation as studios tend to do in order to ensure moolah recovery and squeezing. But the end result remains to be seen.
In the meantime we have a team of heroes that include St. Nick North (Alec Baldwin), Jack Frost (Chris Pine), Tooth the tooth-fairy (Isla Fisher) and Bunnymund the Easter bunny (Hugh Jackman) who must kick some serious back-side and save the day. Personally I get the impression this will could be something good and I hope fervently I’m right on this one!

Well folks, there you have it! Hope this was of help to you and gave you something new to add to your own list or at least gave you something interesting to read for a bit and divert your mind as the weekend near.

I’ll see you all in a few days as I make a final compilation of the movies I’m most looking forward to with no doubts as to how good they will be when I finally do. Cheers!

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