11 October 2012

Movie Wish List #14

I thought it was time to do a new movie list! Below are a movies that are being released soon (or into 2013) that I think sound interesting. These are taken from IMDB. Tell me what you think!

(Last Updated: 29 December 2014)

Argo (2012), 120 min - Drama | Thriller
As the Iranian revolution reaches a boiling point, a CIA 'exfiltration' specialist concocts a risky plan to free six Americans who have found shelter at the home of the Canadian ambassador.
Director: Ben Affleck
Stars: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin
The Buzz: It's getting hard to recall the time when Ben Affleck lost his initial lustre, now that he's matured into a filmmaker and left the world of celebrity back in his 30s. Handling a weird-but-true story once buried in the CIA's classified files and a cast that ranges from A-list to the criminally underused, I'm thinking Affleck has a third critical and popular hit in front of him.

Seven Psychopaths (2012), 109 min - Comedy | Crime
A struggling screenwriter inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster's beloved Shih Tzu.
Director: Martin McDonagh
Stars: Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken
The Buzz: It's tough to bring together comedy, crime, and thriller elements in the same screenplay, but Martin McDonagh created a seamless, multi-genre hit with In Bruges, and the cult audience who thinks that is the best film ever has been growing over the last several years. When Mickey Rourke left the production after a semi-high profile clash with McDonagh, Woody Harrelson replaced him, and the project suddenly seemed more legitimate -- funny how Rourke's credit rating has slipped again.

Smashed (2012), 85 min - Comedy | Drama
A married couple whose bond is built on a mutual love of alcohol gets their relationship put to the test when the wife decides to get sober.
Director: James Ponsoldt
Stars: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul, Octavia Spencer, Nick Offerman
The Buzz: Toss Mary Elizabeth Winstead's name into the Best Actress Oscar buzz pool, since her work in James Ponsoldt's indie has been tipped for such an honour since the drama's Sundance debut. In a perfect world, her equally awesome co-star, "Breaking Bad"'s Aaron Paul, would also get a nomination, while real-life couple and Smashed supporting players Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally would win some sort of Best Couple statue. Also, did you know that Winstead is currently making a record with Gorillaz/Handsome Boy Modeling School producer Dan the Automator? She's so Zooey Deschanel right now.

Nobody Walks (2012), 83 min - Drama
A Silver Lake family's relaxed dynamic is tested after they take in a young artist so she can complete her art film.
Director: Ry Russo-Young
Stars: Olivia Thirlby, John Krasinski, Jane Levy, Dylan McDermott
The Buzz: Knowing that "Girls" creator Lena Dunham co-wrote this screenplay with director Ry Russo-Young, we're looking forward to the New York City vs. Manhattan dynamic since Dunham herself is in real life fulfilling one of her character's dreams of being a voice of her generation. Also, it will be refreshing to watch one of her creations where a main character is actively working on something.

3, 2, 1... Frankie Go Boom (2012), 89 min - Comedy
Frank Bartlett has been tortured, embarrassed, and humiliated by his brother Bruce -- usually on film -- his entire life. Now that Bruce is finally off drugs and has turned his life around, things should be different. They are not.
Director: Jordan Roberts
Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Chris O'Dowd, Lizzy Caplan, Chris Noth
The Buzz: As he did in Bridesmaids, look for Chris O'Dowd to run away with the movie, as we get to see the first project from director Jordan Roberts since Around the Bend. We also hear that Lizzy Caplan's genius is somewhat wasted.

The Sessions (2012), 95 min - Drama
A man in an iron lung who wishes to lose his virginity contacts a professional sex surrogate with the help of his therapist and priest.
Director: Ben Lewin
Stars: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy, Moon Bloodgood
The Buzz: With a lighter tone than you might expect given the subject matter, this could be an increasingly rare instance of a Sundance hit that connects with audiences outside of the festival circuit. Strong performances by John Hawkes (the subject), Helen Hunt (the surrogate), and William H. Macy (the priest) might put the film in awards contention, but the person we're watching is Ben Lewin, the sixty-something writer/director whose bawdy charm and early-life experience with polio makes for a fascinating read. For example, he freely admits to discovering Mark O'Brien's writing as he was surfing the internet for anything having to do with sex and the disabled for "The Gimp," his initial pitch for a TV sitcom.

Cloud Atlas (2012), 164 min - Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi
An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.
Directors: Tom Tykwer| Andy Wachowski| Lana Wachowski
Stars: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Hugo Weaving
The Buzz: Hugh Grant plays a killer, Susan Sarandon plays a man, and Tom Hanks makes his most engaging starring-role choice in years in the new project from the Wachowski Starship, collaboration with co-director Tom Twyker and an adaptation of David Mitchell's celebrated science-fiction novel that (pardon if we sound obvious and/or naive) sounds like the literary offspring of Ray Bradbury and Samuel Delany. Reincarnation is a main thread, and we're stoked for the visuals and nervous about narrative cohesion or lack thereof. In a year where Prometheus proved that a film can be a spectacle, an epic, and somewhat of a letdown all at once, the Wachowskis and company have tricky territory to navigate if they want both box office and critical success -- and there better not be any shenanigans (or dance-rave numbers) a la The Matrix Revolutions.

Silent Hill: Revelation 3D (2012) - Horror |Mystery |Thriller
When her father disappears, Heather Mason is drawn into a strange and terrifying alternate reality that holds answers to the horrific nightmares that have plagued her since childhood.
Director: Michael J. Bassett
Stars: Sean Bean, Radha Mitchell, Carrie-Anne Moss, Kit Harington
The Buzz: For some of us, Silent Hill was a dark-arts homework assignment as murky/foggy as the original video game, but its overall mood and memorable sequences made it a worldwide hit. (Pyramid Head was an underutilized terror, the climatic barbed-wire bloodfest scene was worth the wait, and Laurie Holden looked great as a lady cop in leather.) Six years later, an upstart distributor takes over the reins for the sequel's US release, and the storyline seems to be even more dense than the original, with Sean Bean playing two different characters and Radha Mitchell potentially still stuck in a different reality than her husband. We can almost hear the voiceover explaining everything during the intro credits, and we cannot wait to for some hopefully over-the-top acting from Malcolm McDowell and Carrie-Anne Moss.

Wreck-It Ralph (2012), Animation | Comedy | Family
A video game villain wants to be a hero and sets out to fulfill his dream, but his quest brings havoc to the whole arcade where he lives.
Director: Rich Moore
Stars: John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Sarah Silverman
The Buzz: Disney had this project on the backburner for a while, but its release date was given a prime holiday berth after more time was needed for Pixar's Monsters University -- which is just fine by us because we love this premise as much as the movie's voice cast.

A Late Quartet (2012), 105 min   -   Drama
Members of a world-renowned string quartet struggle to stay together in the face of death, competing egos and insuppressible lust.
Director: Yaron Zilberman
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken, Catherine Keener, Mark Ivanir
The Buzz: Likely to cause confusion this Oscar season with Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut is this equally starry drama from writer/director Yaron Zilberman. Notes from the Toronto Film Festival, where the film debuted, indicate that the acting outshines the direction -- but really the picture's chances hinge on potential word-of-mouth amongst the art-house crowd, who are likely to embrace mainstays Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, and the rest of the cast.

The ABCs of Death (2012), 123 min - Horror
A 26-chapter anthology that showcases death in all its vicious wonder and brutal beauty.
Directors: Kaare Andrews| Ernesto Díaz Espinoza| Thomas Cappelen Malling| Jorge Michel Grau| Banjong Pisanthanakun| Timo Tjahjanto| Andrew Traucki| Jake West| Mikael Wulff| Angela Bettis| Hélène Cattet| Jason Eisener| Bruno Forzani| Adrián García Bogliano| Xavier Gens| Lee Hardcastle| Noboru Iguchi| Yoshihiro Nishimura| Simon Rumley| Marcel Sarmiento| Jon Schnepp| Srdjan Spasojevic| Nacho Vigalondo| Ti West| Ben Wheatley| Adam Wingard| Yudai Yamaguchi
Stars: Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Iván González, Kyra Zagorsky, Lucy Clements
The Buzz: Indie distributor looks to twist the horror genre into a new shape with two of its year-end releases: V/H/S, a brutalizing, 5-segment wraparound endurance test arrives first, followed by this horror omnibus from an international array of directors.

Silver Linings Playbook (2012), Comedy | Drama
After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.
Director:  David O. Russell
Stars:  Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver
The Buzz: Initially, David O. Russell's follow up to The Fighter has earned more attention for who isn't starring as loony teacher Pat Peoples; Mark Wahlberg wanted the role that ultimately went to Bradley Cooper, creating a rift between Russell and his former leading man/best bro. The main thing that bums me out with all this casting/friendship drama: Wahlberg's at his best when Russell guides him. Meanwhile, Cooper looks to diversify his appeal with his most promising role to date, and the entire project is being positioned as an Oscar contender.

Life of Pi (2012), Adventure | Drama
The story of an Indian boy named Pi, a zookeeper's son who finds himself in the company of a hyena, zebra, orangutan, and a Bengal tiger after a shipwreck sets them adrift in the Pacific Ocean.
Director: Ang Lee
Stars: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Adil Hussain, Tabu
The Buzz: When the tiger and the other animals heard that M. Night Shyamalan was originally set to direct, they refused to get on the boat. Enter Ang Lee and the film is out ahead of most other year-end releases as a definite Best Picture candidate.

Killing Them Softly (2012), 97 min   -   Crime | Thriller
Jackie Cogan is a professional enforcer who investigates a heist that went down during a mob-protected poker game.
Director: Andrew Dominik
Stars: Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins, Scoot McNairy
The Buzz: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford goes down as one of the starriest films to be passed over during its initial release, but Andrew Dominik's second film -- as cult-y and enduring as his debut, Chopper -- has earned its audience over time. And when your fans include Harvey Weinstein and upstart producer Megan Ellison (a true hero if the film industry has one, especially since she avoids the press), talent and money follow. Hollywood would be wise to generate more high-profile, hard-boiled thrillers for the worldwide audience.

Deadfall (2012), 95 min - Crime | Drama | Thriller
A thriller that follows two siblings who decide to fend for themselves in the wake of a botched casino heist, and their unlikely reunion during another family's Thanksgiving celebration.
Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Stars: Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde, Charlie Hunnam, Sissy Spacek
The Buzz: Nearly every review I've encountered confirms my initial reaction to this plot outline: a good movie is hiding within the overworked and convoluted narrative. Looks like another case of a foreign director losing his way with an American production; in this case, it's Stefan Ruzowitzky, whose The Counterfeiters won the Best Foreign Language Oscar.
The cast still makes me want to see this!

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), Adventure | Fantasy
A curious Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, journeys to the Lonely Mountain with a vigorous group of Dwarves to reclaim a treasure stolen from them by the dragon Smaug.
Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis
The Buzz: This is the most anticipated prequel since ... The Phantom Menace? Peter Jackson's return to the work of J. R. R. Tolkien and the masterful universe that Jackson and his crew created is the kind of event that shatters records over at Apple trailers and revives ailing movie studios; interestingly, the two-part project has met some resistance from people who wonder what this all might have looked like if Guillermo del Toro had remained in the director's chair.

This Is 40 (2012), Comedy
A look at the lives of Pete and Debbie a few years after the events of Knocked Up.
Director: Judd Apatow
Stars: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jason Segel, Melissa McCarthy
The Buzz: One of the smartest ideas Judd Apatow has made since he segued into Hollywood super-producer mode was to train the focus on the supporting characters from his best comic environment and continue the story of the people we like the most. So there will be no Seth Rogen or Katherine Heigl nosing around as we see catch up with Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) sometime after Knocked Up. Leslie Mann is funnier than KU and Bridesmaids combined.

Django Unchained (2012), Drama | Western
With the help of his mentor, a slave-turned-bounty hunter sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Jamie Foxx, Don Johnson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington
The Buzz: This December is stacked with the sort of fare that could stand up to any summer blockbuster. And while last year's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was an indication that holiday audiences might not warm to violent content, an original Quentin Tarantino is in a different league than a David Fincher adaptation. If anyone can turn ultraviolence and coarse language into a hit ... And let's not forget that audiences seem to prefer Leonardo DiCaprio when he's in original and cool movies, like Inception and Catch Me If You Can, so we expect this to eclipse The Great Gatsby.

Promised Land (2012), Drama
A salesman for a natural gas company experiences life-changing events after arriving in a small town, where his corporation wants to tap into the available resources.
Director: Gus Van Sant
Stars: Matt Damon, Frances McDormand, John Krasinski, Hal Holbrook
The Buzz: We'd love to know exactly what transpired to make Matt Damon bow out of directing this enviroment-minded drama but remain as its star; Damon's industry edge has surfaced since The Bourne Ultimatum and we have ever-increasing respect for the former Oscar wunderkind who has matured into a talky, opinionated fortysomething who is dedicated to a clutch of filmmaker. A wave of '90s nostalgia finds Damon reuniting with his Good Will Hunting director Gus Van Sant, though we are out and proud defenders of their other project together, Gerry.

Gangster Squad (2013), Crime | Drama
A chronicle of the LAPD's fight to keep East Coast Mafia types out of Los Angeles in the 1940s and 50s.
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Stars: Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Giovanni Ribisi
The Buzz: For his new movie Ruben Fleischer makes a wise directorial move away from action comedies and goes back to the midcentury for a hard-boiled crime drama with a fine ensemble cast. It's an awards friendly release date, but I'm thinking this will find its true success with audiences here and abroad. Screenwriter Will Beall is developing the potential Logan's Run remake to which gangster squader Ryan Gosling is attached.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013), Action | Comedy | Fantasy | Horror
In this dark spin on the fairy tale, siblings Hansel and Gretel are a formidable team of bounty hunters who track and kill witches all over the world.
Director: Tommy Wirkola
Stars: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Peter Stormare, Famke Janssen
The Buzz: For a minute there, we wondered if this one would ever get off the ground; to put it in perspective, development on writer-director Tommy Wirkola's follow up to Dead Snow has been in effect since David Fincher was circling Black Hole as his post-Benjamin Button option. Fast forward through all the actresses who've come and gone as Gretel (Diane Kruger, Eva Green, Noomi Rapace) and now we're just nervous that the movie's horror-comedy angle might prevent it from being a crossover hit.

Mama (2013), Horror
Annabel and Lucas are faced with the challenge of raising his young nieces that were left alone in the forest for 5 years.... but how alone were they?
Director: Andres Muschietti
Stars: Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nélisse
The Buzz: Looks like Guillermo del Toro is in proud-papa mode as he mentors filmmaker Andres Muschietti, who here adapts his short into what could be one of the most effective spins on the admittedly tired haunted-kid horror story. And we totally love Jessica Chastain's Dragon Tattoo makeover.

Warm Bodies (2013), Drama | Horror | Romance
After a zombie becomes involved with the girlfriend of one of his victims, their romance sets in motion a sequence of events that might transform the entire lifeless world.
Director: Jonathan Levine
Stars: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, John Malkovich, Dave Franco
The Buzz: Better than The Wackness or even 50/50 is director Jonathan Levine's first film, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, so I'm happy to see him returning to the horror genre for what could be the next undead date movie -- the sub-genre introduced by Zombieland.

A Good Day to Die Hard (2013), Action | Crime | Thriller
John McClane and his son take on local forces in Russia.
Director: John Moore
Stars: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Amaury Nolasco, Cole Hauser
The Buzz: If the Patrick Stewart casting rumours turn out to be true, John McClane's fifth outing might have a villain as iconic as Hans Gruber. Talk about a franchise we still love but would benefit from some vitality; as happy as we are to Jai Courtney in the role of McClane's son, the Die Hard saga needs more than youth to truly revitalize our interest. As The Expendables and Red have proved, aging action heroes can be more than just a box-office draw; they can be pop-cultural events, too.

I, Frankenstein (2013), Horror | Thriller
Frankenstein's creature finds himself caught in an all-out, centuries old war between two immortal clans.
Director: Stuart Beattie
Stars: Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Miranda Otto, Virginie Le Brun
The Buzz: This sounds like classic Universal horror meets the Underworld franchise for a reason: the source material is a graphic novel created by Kevin Grevioux, who co-wrote the story that introduced us to the vampire warrior, Selene. Aaron Eckhart plays Dr. Frankenstein's creation, who has survived into modern times due to a genetic anomaly, but I am more excited by the notion of Bill Nighy playing a demon-army leader.

Elysium (2013), Action | Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller
Set in the year 2159, where the very wealthy lives on a man-made space station while the rest of population reside on a ruined Earth, a man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds.
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Stars: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga
The Buzz: With its A-list cast, rumoured alien-planet setting, and layers of secrecy, Neill Blomkamp's follow-up to District 9 is this year's Prometheus.

Oz: The Great and Powerful (2013), Action | Adventure | Fantasy
How the Wizard arrived in Oz and became the ruler. A prequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Director: Sam Raimi
Stars: James Franco, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis
The Buzz: If you accept the notion that most of Sam Raimi's movies have been dark fairy tales, then perhaps James Franco will find more mainstream success as the star of a second, formerly objectionable prequel. Speaking of dark fairy tales, have you had enough of the trend or do you want more?

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