BWP's 40 Most Anticipated Movies of 2012, Part 3: 20 to 11
Each year, hundreds of movies hit theatre screens, and eventually, the shelves at your local DVD/Bluray shop. But with every passing year, the crap-to-good-movie ratio gets worse and worse. BWP is here to help you sift through all the bad stuff and get to the things that will be worth watching over the next 12 months. With that, here is our list of the 40 most anticipated movies of 2012!
40. John Carter
39. Hunter Killer
38. Iron Sky
37. 21 Jump Street
36. The Dictator
35. The Man With The Iron Fists
34. Moonrise Kingdom
33. The Raven
32. Cogan's Trade
30. Men in Black III
29. Voyage of Time
28. Bullet to the Head
27. The Silver Linings Plabook
26. This is Forty
25. Being Flynn
23. Cloud Atlas
22. Dog Fight
21. The Amazing Spider-Man
20. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Director: Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted)
Screenplay: Seth Grahame-Smith
Based On: Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith (2010)
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Benjamin Walker, Anthony Mackie
Producer: Tim Burton
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: June 22, 2012
Why we're excited: It’s a movie about the 16th president of the United States hunting vampires in his spare time. And you expected us not to put it on the list?
We're not really sure what to expect from Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Killer, despite the fact that the title seems to spell it out pretty clearly. Benjamin Walker plays a younger version of famous American president Abraham Lincoln, as he goes on a quest to avenge the death of his mother by killing a bunch of vampires. We're not really sure why this needs to exist, but we think we like it. If the filmmaker and writer (who also penned the novel) can manage to take the material in jest and not too seriously, then we could be in for a pretty good and surprising action film. It definitely has a little buzz surrounding it. That said, unlike Snow White and the Huntsman, we're going to call it a coincidence that there are two movies about Abraham Lincoln being released this year.
19. Total Recall
Director: Len Wiseman (Underworld, Live Free or Die Hard)
Screenplay: Kurt Wimmer, Mark Bomback, James Vanderbilt
Based On: We Can Remember It For You Wholesale by Philip K. Dick (1966)
Starring: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bill Nighy, Bryan Cranston, Ethan Hawke
Genre: Science-Fiction, Action
Distributor: Columbia Pictures
Release Date: August 3, 2012
Why we're excited: We’re curious to see whether this reboot ends up being closer to the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, or the Philip K. Dick novel.
The original Total Recall in 1990 was pretty epic. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone at the peak of her hotness, that three-boobed alien lady, bulging eyeballs, and massive amounts of epic death scenes. Why would anyone want to tarnish its legacy by remaking it? We're not sure, but we have a feeling that it might work. With Len Wiseman in the director's chair, and Colin Farrell taking on the role of Doug Quaid, Total Recall will hit screens in August, and has a lot of people buzzing on whether it will just be a shot for shot remake of the film, or something a little closer to Philip K. Dick's short story.
Farrell's stock has kind of dropped in recent years, but the guy can still carry an action film. Throw in Kate Beckinsale as his wife, Jessica Biel as Melina, and the likes of Bryan Cranston, Bill Nighy and Ethan Hawke in supporting roles, and you could have yourself a good action film. Maybe we're going a little easier than we should on this remake (or frankly easier than we normally do), but I don't know. Something about this feels right. As much as I love Arnie and his over the top action movies, there are a few that make you wonder. Would this movie be better if it was taken more seriously? If the acting was a little better? If the source material wasn't taken advantage of? After The Running Man, Total Recall may top the list when it comes to these questions. Let's be serious, it's not like the 1990s version is exactly one of the greatest films of all time, as good as it is for an action movie. Rubber heads and boobs and cheesy one liners? I'm down with seeing what a more mature Total Recall would look like, and at worst, we'll all go home and pop the original into our DVD players.
18. Neighborhood Watch
Director: Akiva Schaffer (The Lonely Island)
Screenplay: Seth Rogen, Evan Golberg
Starring: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Will Forte
Genre: Science Fiction Comedy
Release Date: July 27, 2012
Why we're excited: We thought this would be a run-of-the mill Seth Rogen/Ben Stiller type comedy. That is, until we read that there would be aliens.
When I first heard about Neighborhood Watch, I thought, well, here we go. Another movie for Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller to ruin. The two haven't exactly been on the best run as of late. Who are we kidding? The majority of their recent movies have been absolutely terrible. In fact, I was a little worried they'd be bringing Jonah Hill down with them, an actor who's been on sort of a role and looking at a potential Oscar nomination in the coming weeks. Then I read the plot. The film features a group of suburban husbands that form a neighborhood watch under false pretenses, in order to get away from their wives and families and partake in a little male bonding. Unfortunately, their lives are turned on their heads when they stumble onto an alien plot to destroy the world.
Just another run of the mill, Ben Still / Vince Vaughn-starring, "hey look at our amazingly hot wifes and all our first world problems" type of mov-- wait what? Aliens? That's right, Aliens! We could have had just another movie about rich people being unnecessarily upset about their families, but it's refreshing to see them take it to another level. It gets even better when you see who's behind the film. Seth Rogen isn't exactly beloved by all fans, but his comedic mind is definitely appreciated, and he definitely knows what he's doing with a screenplay (along with his buddy Evan Golberg). In the director's chair, Akiva Schaffer. If you recognize the name, it's because you've seen him in award-winning tracks such as I'm on a Boat and Jack Sparrow. That's right, one third of The Lonely Island is directing the film. Schaffer is responsible for directing pretty much everything you see from the trio, including the coveted Digital Shorts on SNL. This is his second film after Hot Rod.
All in all, Neighborhood Watch gives a solid cast and crew, and a plot that sounds too good to be true. We'll definitely be keeping an eye on this one in the summer.
17. G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Director: Jon M. Chu (Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, Step-Up 3-D)
Screenplay: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Starring: The Rock, Bruce Willis, Channing Tatum, Adrianne Palicki, Ray Park, RZA
Genre: Science Fiction, Action
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: June 29, 2012
Why we're excited: It looks better than the first one. That’s worth something, right?
In 2009, G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra pretty much disappointed everyone. It ruined the G.I. Joe canon (although we are talking about a children's cartoon from the 80s), it was poorly directed by a guy who hadn't done a movie in five year, badly written, and mostly miscast, and it was just an overall bummer. Needless to say, when the sequel was announced, most of us brushed it off as another probably flop. But you know what? The producers actually seem to be doing things right this go around. They brought in the writers from Zombieland, got rid of all the weak links on the cast and instead replaed them by the likes of The Rock and Bruce Willis. Directing is still a weak point, as you can see by Jon M. Chu's filmography, but we're willing to give him a shot, as I doubt Step Up or a Justin Bieber documentary are true examples of what someone is capable of behind a camera. Still, you can tell that the producers aren't really concerned about bringing in a hotshot director. But that might be okay.
G.I. Joe is popcorn flick material. We're not overly concerned about the canon, so long as they can give us a decent plot for an action movie, plenty of action and recognizable actors. Our expectations definitely aren't sky high, but, looking at the trailer below, there's really no reason why this can't be entertaining, and definitely a Step Up (pun intended) from the first disaster of a film.
16. Snow White and the Huntsman
Director: Rupert Sanders (debut)
Screenplay: Hossein Amini (Drive), Evan Daugherty
Based On: Snow White by the Brothers Grimm
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Ian McShane, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost
Distributor Universal Pictures
Release Date: June 1, 2012
Why we're excited: It looks like the better of the two Snow White films tapped for this upcoming year.
In 2011, we found out that Universal Pictures and Relativity Media would be releasing competing movies movies based on the well-known Brothers Grimm tale, Snow White. We of course all know Snow White from the classic 1937 Disney film, and you can tell that a bunch of studios were just scheming, waiting for Disney's copyrights to expire. Sure enough, 2012 will see the release of both Snow White and the Huntsman, as well as Mirror, Mirror. But the two films have seemingly taken very different approaches. While Mirror, Mirror is content basically ripping off Tim Burton's filmography and presenting it as a musical comedy, Universal actually seems to be taking it a little more seriously.
Snow White and the Huntsman seems like a serious action-drama that puts a twist on the classic fairy tale. The film takes the fact that the queen is supposed to be evil, and turns it up to the 11th notch with Charlize Theron in the role. They also give us a pretty serious badass in Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman, and Kristen Stewart as the titular Snow White. Now, we know what you might be thinking, but we're willing to give the girl a chance to step out of her Twilight shell with this one.
From where we stand, both of these films will likely be successful at the box office. Mirror Mirror will probably make more money, benefiting from its March release date, but Snow White and the Huntsman has some serious potential to be the better film, and that's why it comes in at number 16 on our list.
15. The Grey
Writer & Director: Joe Carnahan (The A-Team, Smokin’ Aces)
Producers: Ridley and Tony Scott
Starring: Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulruney, Frank Grillo
Genre: Survival, Action
Distributor: Open Road Films
Release Date: January 27, 2012
Why we're excited: Liam Neeson vs. CGI wolves. Enough said.
We already know how much of a badass Liam Neeson is. But the Irish actor will set out to prove it yet again with "The Grey", a movie about Neeson trapped in Alaska while fighting the elements to survive and get back to his loved ones. In this case, these elements are represented by digitally created wolves, and the fight is represented by broken pill bottles attached to Neeson's knuckles as he runs towards said wolves. There really are no words to describe the awesomeness that oozes out of The Grey's promotional material, which makes us wonder how we're going to even be able to review this cinematic masterpiece when it hits theaters in January. We may be setting ourselves up for disappointment, but there's no way that this isn't going to be good, right?
Neeson is a proven Hollywood megastar, who's make a kind of ridiculous transition from acclaimed, award-winning dramatic actor to pure action star in the last couple of years. It's an interesting transition for an actor to make at an advanced age, but Neeson is clearly the guy to make it work. When you take that route, the results tend to be a little hit and miss sometimes, as shown by Neeson's 2011 film Unknown, and also, inevitably, Battleship, due to come out later this year (don't worry it's not on the list). But Neeson has confidently pushed out some great action flicks as well, and we hope that The Grey will fall into the latter category, along with the likes of Taken. He definitely has the presence to pull it off, and the CGI wolves can only help his case.
14. The Wettest County
Director: John Hillcoat (The Road)
Screenplay: Nick Cave
Based On: The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant
Starring: Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain, Shia Labeouf
Genre: Crime, historical drama
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Release Date: August 31, 2012
Why we're excited: While The Dark Knight Rises may be the bigger roles for Oldman and Hardy, The Wettest County might be the one that lands them more critical acclaim in 2012.
While I never personally lived through it -- unless you count, you know, being underage -- I can imagine how the Prohibition Era sucked. Well, there were plenty of people around to help ease the load, in the form of bootleggers who would supply alcohol illegally. The Wettest County explores this topic by adapting a novel by the same name. Tom Hardy and Shia Labeouf star as brothers who take on the task of supplying their county with the sweet nectar that the government took away. Problem is the sheriffs want a cut of what they're making, and as you can imagine, that's a source for some conflict.
This movie sounds like something that should probably be higher up on the list. Great cast, good director, Harvey Weinstein at the helm. But something is amiss. The Weinstein Company moved the release from April 20 to August 31. April 20 wasn't exactly an awe-inspiring release date to begin with, but Labour Day Weekend is where movies go to die. It makes sense to put the movie on screens after The Dark Knight Rises, since Hardy and Gary Oldman will have unprecedented buzz coming out of it, but the timing still seems weird. The feeling at the pit of my stomach is that the Weinstein Company doesn't have faith in the movie, despite its awesome plot and cast (ignoring Shia Labeouf of course). Either way, this is a film that we'll definitely be keeping an eye out for, regardless of its release date.
13. The Hunger Games
Director: Gary Ross (Seabiscuit)
Screenplay: Suzanne Collins
Based On: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci
Genre: Action, Science Fiction
Release Date: March 23, 2012
Why we're excited: We’re hoping that The Hunger Games is closer to being the next Harry Potter than it is to being the next Twilight.
Every few years, movie producers get together in a dark room and ask themselves how they could milk young viewers out of more of their money. Earlier this decade it was Harry Potter. Then, unfortunately, it was Twilight. Now, with that series wrapping up, Hollywood turns their attention to the "young adult" yet again with The Hunger Games, the best selling book by Suzanne Collins (which is actually a trilogy). But is there value here for people who haven't read the books, or who aren't 14-year-old girls?
It definitely seems that way. Sure, The Hunger Games is sort of a love story for young people, but the film version has a pretty solid cast, and the plot is interesting -- even if it's basically The Running Man with kids (and yes, that's the second Running Man reference on this segment of our list). A futuristic world that forces kids to fight to the death on live television? I can buy that. Throw in the beautiful Jennifer Lawrence in the lead, and the likes of Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci and Lenny Kravitz for some reason as the supporting cast, and you might even get me to buy a movie ticket when the film hits theaters in March.
12. The Bourne Legacy
Writer & Director: Tony Gilroy (Armageddon, Bourne Trilogy)
Based On: Jason Bourne novels created by Robert Ludlum
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach, Joan Allen, Albert Finney, Scott Glenn
Genre: Action Thriller
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Release Date: August 3, 2012
Why we're excited: Without Matt Damon or Paul Greengrass, Tony Gilroy looks to use a great cast and a unique way of making a sequel to keep the franchise warm for their hopeful return.
The Bourne Legacy is a peculiar case. It's not a remake or a reboot. It's not, strictly speaking, a sequel or even a spin-off. It also won't be based on any of the Bourne novels, even though a "Bourne Legacy" novel has been written. No, The Bourne Legacy just kind of exists in the purgatory of the Bourne universe. With Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass refusing to participate in the project, but leaving the door open to potentially return for a future installment, Universal was in a precarious position. How do you continue one of your better franchises, without writing Damon's titular character out, and without making it completely suck? The solution is actually a little ingenious.
The Bourne Legacy will follow the events of The Bourne Ultimatum, leaving a new CIA operative, Aaron Cross (played by Jeremy Renner) to deal with the wake of destruction left by Jason Bourne. Cross is a product of the same program that created Bourne. Otherwise, we know absolutely nothing about the plot, as it is being kept under tight wraps for obvious reasons. But we do know that Renner will star alongside Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton (the villain), and Stacy Keach, and that's a pretty good cast. Joan Allen, Albert Finney and Scott Glenn will reprise their roles from the original trilogy, further cementing the film in the franchise's canon. We'll be watching carefully for this film, no doubt with the intent to potentially crap all over it if it ends up sucking.
11. Taken 2
Director: Olivier Megaton (Transporter 3, Colombiana)
Screenplay: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen (The Fifth Element, every modern action movie ever)
Starring: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Jansson, Rade Serbezija (a.k.a. Token Russian General)
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: October 5, 2012
Why we're excited: In Taken 1, Liam Neeson kills 35 people and cements himself as the ultimate badass. Needless to say, our expectations for the sequel are pretty high.
Probably the only list on the Internet that has two Liam Neeson movies on their most anticipated of 2012 is right here at Better With Popcorn (and despite the fact that it's guaranteed to suck, we almost made it three with Battleship. Almost). We've already talked about how badass "The Grey" will inevitably be, but the real story for Neeson in 2012 will be "Taken 2". If you haven't seen 2008's taken, then what are you waiting for? Go watch it, now. If you have, then you know exactly why it's on this list, and why it's so high. While many action films these days get lost in either trying to be too realistic, or trying to be too stylistic, Taken offered the perfect balance, blending a man's unquestioned love for his daughter with his willingness to do anything to complete his task, and in turn, over the top action sequences that added up to about 35 murders and several amazing action sequences.
In sum, Taken was pretty much the perfect example of how to do an action movie right, and it's one of my favorite action films ever. There's no way the sequel wasn't going on the list. That said, we don't know much about what's going to happen in "Taken 2", other than the fact that the tables will be turned on super-agent Bryan Mills, with his daughter (Maggie Grace) and her boyfriend (Luke Grimes) tasked to release him and his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) from the clutches of well-known action badguy Rade Serbejija, out for revenge against Mills for killing his son in the first film. It seems a little odd to place that onus on two non-action stars, but we're more than confident that Neeson will do his fair share of ass kicking and murdering, so that's not going to be an issue for us. Of course, the odds of the sequel living up to the first film are low, especially with Pierre Morel out of the director's chair in favor of the guy who usually takes on his sequels, Olivier Megaton. But there's no reason why Taken 2 shouldn't delight and entertain us, so long as it stays with the same high-octane gritty action that made the first one so good.
We’re almost there! The fourth and final part of our series is on the way. What will make the list? What have we left out? Let us know in the comments below!