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Upcoming Film Highlights of 2012

I did one of these at the end of 2010 last year and 50% of the films turned out to be rather crap. Let's hope my picks for 2012 have been of a slightly higher standard:

W.E.
Stars: Abbie Cornish, James D'Arcy, James Fox and Andrea Riseborough
Director: Queen Madonna
Release: 20th January

Why? Madonna is a genius, well musically speaking anyway, and her ventures into the film world have a wonderful trashy value. But W.E. looks like a genuine attempt to break away from this image and I have a feeling I'm going to love it regardless whether it's a touching and heartfelt historical drama or just a big shiny Madge flop. I wonder if they're be a recreation of Madonna & Willem Dafoe's bathtub-candlewax scene from Body of Evidence with Edward & Mrs Simpson?


Albert Nobbs
Stars: Glenn Close, Mia Wasikowska, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Aaron Johnson
Director: Rodrigo Garcia
Release: 29th April

Why? I was getting emotional just watching the trailer. This looks like a truly remarkable and brave performance from Glenn Close (who's been missing from the big screen in quite some time), as well as interesting supporting cast. The concept alone is fascinating and this looks set to be a powerful watch.


The Wicker Tree
Stars: Brittania Nicol, Henry Garrett, Christopher Lee, Graham McTavish and Honeysuckle Weeks
Director: Robin Hardy
Release: 27th January

Why? I've been waiting for this film for over 5 years now and it has been plagued by constant delays and set-backs. Hardy's novel, Cowboys For Christ, on which this is based, it's a wonderful trip back to Wicker Man territory in this tale of American missionaries in a Scottish pagan community.


Carnage
Stars: Kate Winslet, John C. Reilly, Jodie Foster and Christoph Waltz
Director: Roman Polanski
Release: 3rd February

Why? Polanski's work has never declined in quality, in my opinion and his latest feature looks like a wonderful comedy with a stellar cast. I'm sure you can expect some magnificent dialogue, direction and performances.


This Means War
Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Chelsea Handler, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy
Director: McG
Release: 17th February

Why? This looks set to be an incredibly fun popcorn flick with a young, sexy and fun cast. The inclusion of comic Goddess, Chelsea Handler makes this a must see for 2012.


The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Stars: Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith and Tom Wilkinson
Director: John Madden
Release: 24th February

Why? This cast is to old British thesps as to what The Expendables is too action stars. This looks like a fun British comedy and is striking parallels with the excellent A Bunch Of Amateurs, which was released a couple of years back.


Contraband
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Giovanni Ribisi and Kate Beckinsale
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Release: 16th March

Why? Contraband looks like a highly entertaining action thriller and it will be nice to see Mark Wahlberg back in the tough guy role.


Carmel
Stars: Josh Hutcherson, Hayden Panettiere and Lauren Bacall
Director: Lawrence Roeck
Release: Mid-March

Why? This charming little independent movie takes a look at the world of art forgery and stars screen Goddess Lauren Bacall.


Piranha 3DD
Stars: Ving Rhames, Gary Busey, David Hasselhoff and Christopher Lloyd
Director: John Gulager
Release: May 11th

Why? Gary Busey + David Hasselhoff + Water Park + Piranhas = Gold. This sounds like such a mess of a film and if it's anything like the first it will be absolutely great fun.


Cogan's Trade
Stars: Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins and Ray Liotta
Director: Andrew Dominik
Release:

Why? It's not often you see a modern gangster film that blows you away but with both Andrew Dominik and Brad Pitt involved, I have very high hopes for this one.


The Cabin In The Woods
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford
Director: John Gulager
Release: 13th April

Why? Judging by the poster and trailer, The Cabin In The Woods looks incredibly creepy R- Rated horror and dare I say it? An original idea.


The Lucky One
Stars: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling and Blythe Danner
Director: Scott Hicks
Release: 4th May

Why? Zac Efron has proven himself to be a talented young actor in recent years and this looks like the perfect vehicle to further showcase his talents. And that wasn't sarcastic.


Untitled Phil Spector Biopic (Miniseries)
Stars: Al Pacino, Helen Mirren and Jeffrey Tambor
Director: David Mamet
Release: Unknown

Why? The story of Phil Spector is an intriguing one. I've been fascinated by the man ever since reading about an encounter he had with musical Goddess, La Toya Jackson, where she was locked in a drawing room and he spied on her through eye holes cut out of paintings. He would occasionally appear in the room speaking in various accents , and on the fifth time asked her if she wanted a stay in the Bates Motel. Anyone, I'm getting off-topic! If there's an actor who could play the deranged genius then it's Pacino and judging by his previous foray into miniseries with Angels in America, I have high hopes for this.


On The Road
Stars: Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart and Sam Riley
Director: Walter Salles
Release: Unknown

Why? Jack Keruoac's novel is a thing of beauty, encompassing the time of the beat generation. With the incredibly talented Garrett Hedlund taking the role of Dean, I can't wait to see the end result.


Magic Mike
Stars: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey and Olivia Munn
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Release: 29th June

Why? Hopefully this will be a male equivalent to the genre defininig Showgirls and Striptease. I'm expecting a hot mess filled with strippers.


The Expendables 2
Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Jean Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis
Director: Simon West
Release: 6th August

Why? Purely for that cast - JCVD, Arnie, Brucie and Chuck. I only wish Charles Bronson was alive to be featured in the cast, alongside making Death Wish 24. Although I can't help but feel bad for Steven Seagal, he's like the annoying kid that never gets invited to the party.


Sparkle
Stars: Mike Epps, Derek Luke and Whitney Houston
Director: Mara Brock Akil
Release: 10th August

Why? Whitney is an extremely talented singer but is plain crazy, the end result of this is going to be a massive critical slating but I'm excited nonetheless.


Ted
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis and Seth Macfarlane
Director: Seth Macfarlane
Release: 10th August

Why? Seth MacFarlane is one of the funniest men working today, so to see that he's acting, directing and has written Ted fills me with great hope. The concept alone makes me laugh - the story of a man who's teddy bear is brought to due to a wish. And that photo of Marky Mark as Darth Maul is genius.


Total Recall
Stars: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsdale, Bill Nighy and Jessica Biel
Director: Len Wiseman
Release: 22nd August

Why? The original isn't perfect and doesn't hold huge amounts of sentimental value to me, so I'm quite happy to see it remade. Len Wiseman impressed me with Die Hard 4.0 and has lined up an impressive cast for this remake, so all is looking fairly positive at the moment. Beckinsdale and Biel are surely two of the best female action stars working today, but where is Milla Jovovich?


The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D
Stars: Scott Eastwood, Alexandra Daddario, Tania Raymonde and Bill Mosely
Director: John Luessenhop
Release: 5th October

Why? I love all the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films (even The Next Generation, and the remake & prequel) but I'm immediately drawn to this as it's a direct successor to the first. As well as that Clint Eastwood's handsome son has taken a starring role and Tobe Hooper and Gunnar Hansen have been lined up for roles.


Skyfall
Stars: Daniel Craig, Helen McCrory, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes and Judi Dench
Director: Sam Mendes
Release: 26th October

Why? Although I've majorly lost interest in current Bond, I'm still a Bond fan and have flutters of excitement just thinking about the latest addition to the series. As well as Skyfall, we have the 50th anniversary celebrations to look forward to in 2013, bring back Sean, George, Roger, Timothy and Piers in a Casino Royale (1967) inspired celebration, I say.


Halloween III
Stars: Unkown
Director: Patrick Lussier
Release: 26th October

Why? There's literally been very little progress on Halloween III and the Weinstein's are likely to delay it. Like the TCM series, I'm a devout fan and admired Rob Zombie's controversial takes but I'm excited to see what Patrick Lussier has up his sleeve. The casting of Tom Atkins as Loomis is a cert.


Red Dawn
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Isabel Lucas and Josh Hutcherson
Director: Dan Bradley
Release: 2nd November

Why? Not mad on the original, but it's an interesting concept and most likely a controversial one.


Django Unchained
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Kurt Russell, Don Johnson, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Release: 26th Decemeber

Why? Tarantino is one of the most exciting directors working and to see him tackle the spaghetti western is something I'm really looking forward to. The cast alone is exciting but he hasn't cast Franco Nero (the star of the original Django Unchained) which seems like madness.


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