Today I offer my next batch of ten films I am anticipating over the course of this next year as we make our way to my top ten, which I will be publishing tomorrow, but this batch of ten may stand just as good a chance as the tomorrow's ten of offering up some of the year's best films, though there are a few in here that may not be able to hit theaters by year's end.
Among the names included in today's ten you have directors such as Chan-wook Park, Andrew Dominik, Wong Kar-Wai, Derek Cianfrance, Joe Wright and a few I'll leave unnamed so as not to spoil the entire list along with actors such as Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Ben Affleck, Sean Penn, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tony Leung, Brad Pitt and Sam Rockwell. Yeah, 2012 has no shortage of big films and big stars to anticipate, but of these ten films, only four have official domestic release dates so let's cross our fingers and hope that changes very soon.
So have a look at my most anticipated films of 2012, numbers 11-20 and I've included links to my three other installments at the bottom of page two.
Chan-wook Park is best known for directing Oldboy and his 2009 vampire thriller, Thirst, was unique to say the least. Of course, then there's the rest of his "Vengeance" trilogy including Lady Vengeance and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, all of which has me hoping Stoker, Park's first English language feature, is yet another unique and intriguing feature to place alongside an already fascinating filmography.
Starring Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska and Matthew Goode, Stoker tells of a girl (Wasikowska) and her mother (Kidman) who are visited by a mysterious uncle (Goode) after the girl's father dies.
Just to throw another little nugget related to this project on the fire, it was written by "Prison Break" star Wentworth Miller and includes an impressive supporting cast such as Lucas Till, Alden Ehrenreich, Dermot Mulroney and Animal Kingdom's Jacki Weaver. I can't wait and am really hoping it shows up at Cannes as a nice little surprise offering.
The Wettest County
There was talk The Wettest County would hit theaters December 2011, but the month came and went and no sign of it. No surprise, after all it's a Weinstein Co. feature and they have a knack for missing release dates.
Directed by John Hillcoat (The Road, The Proposition), The Wettest County is based on Matt Bondurant's novel telling the story of the Bondurants boys (Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy), bootlegging siblings who take the law into their own hands in Prohibition-era Virginia while making a run for the American Dream. Jessica Chastain, Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman, Mia Wasikowska, Jason Clarke and Dane DeHaan co-star.
If I had posted this a week ago when I first wrote up my thoughts you would have read how I thought the Weinstein Co. was making a mistake releasing the film in April, ahead of The Dark Knight Rises, which would have meant it wouldn't have taken advantage of Tom Hardy's continually rising star following his appearance as the film's villain. But then that's exactly what the Weinstein's did, adjusting it to August 31, also giving it a chance to debut at the Venice Film Festival. Good move. After all, I don't think This Means War is going to give them the buzz they needed for this one.
After Gone Baby Gone and The Town, Ben Affleck has done more than prove he can direct so now it has come time to look forward to whatever he's going to bring us next and Argo sounds like it will be yet another solid feature to add to the young helmer's filmography.
Based on true events, Argo chronicles the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans, which unfolded behind the scenes of the Iran hostage crisis -- the truth of which was unknown by the public for decades. The kicker is that the rescue mission is undertaken as the CIA poses as a Hollywood film crew scouting a movie.
On top of directing, Affleck will also star alongside a stacked cast that includes Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston, Scoot McNairy, Tate Donovan, Taylor Schilling, Clea DuVall, Richard Kind, Kyle Chandler, Rory Cochrane, Christopher Denham, Victor Garber, Zeljko Ivanek, Chris Messina and Michael Parks.
The screenplay was adapted from Joshuah Bearman's article "How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans from Tehran" which you can read right here.
The Gangster Squad
I'm concerned Ruben Fleischer's The Gangster Squad may run the risk of being a film that looks good on paper but is unable to live up to expectations, but I'm keeping my hopes up because on paper it sounds amazing. Let's begin with the story...
Based on the "Tales From the Gangster Squad" series of Los Angeles Times articles by Paul Lieberman (read all seven here), The Gangster Squad will explore the efforts by the LAPD to deal with a chaotic and corrupt Los Angeles by forming what was dubbed the Gangster Squad to keep the East Coast Mafia out of the city. At the center of it all is Mickey Cohen, a former boxer who became an associate of Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel. While charismatic, he was also considered an ultra-violent sociopath. And that's the short version, you can get a more detailed version here. Now for the cast...
Sean Penn will play Coen and he's surrounded by Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Michael Pena, Anthony Mackie, Giovanni Ribisi, Holt McCallany, Emma Stone, Robert Patrick, Mireille Enos, Nick Nolte and Troy Garity. Now the question...
Can the director of Zombieland and 30 Minutes or Less pull together a potentially epic crime drama?
Joe Wright (Hanna) is re-teaming with his Atonement and Pride and Prejudice star Keira Knightley to bring a new adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's 1878 novel, Anna Karenina, back to the big screen. Additional members of the cast include Jude Law, Aaron Johnson, Kelly Macdonald, Matthew MacFadyen, Emily Watson, Olivia Williams and Ruth Wilson and while the film doesn't yet have a distributor it still seems like a surefire project to hit the festival circuit later this year, be it Venice or Toronto, and make an awards season run in December.
As a fan of Wright's work including Hanna, Atonement and Pride and Prejudice, all of which made my top ten in their respective years, this is simply one more film of his I can't wait to see.