Top 40 Most Anticipated Films of 2012: #31-40

Most Anticipated Films of 2012 #31-40

Looking over the list of the films set to hit theaters in 2012 I feel like a kid in a candy shop. There's so much to choose from, how do I pick just one? Fortunately I didn't have to choose just one, I chose 40, but even that proved to be a tough task as boiling down a year's worth of movies into an arbitrary number of films that I am anticipating is always difficult. Something is always going to be left off. Then again, that just leaves more to be discovered.

In previous years I've made lists of 50 anticipated films, last year I broke it out into four different parts and this year I had 44 films listed before I trimmed four off to have a nice even 40. The greatest thing about movies, however, is the fact the films you anticipate the most aren't likely to be the ones you truly love once things are said and done.

Of the 25 films I listed as my 25 Most Anticipated of 2011 only two -- Hanna and Midnight in Paris -- made my year end top ten. Interestingly enough, the first film in my list of most anticipated films of 2010 made my 2011 top ten, but that's just how these things work.

As for this year, I will be breaking it out into four parts so it isn't one massive overwhelming list of films as I did my best to detail each, offer images where I could, trailers if I could, release dates and at least some details so you know what each one is about.

So today we begin with numbers 31-40 and links to my three other installments can be found on the bottom of page two.

The Paperboy
TBA 2012

2012 preview Paperboy
Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron in The Paperboy
Photo: Millennium Films

This film would not have made my list had it not been for that kick-ass retro poster that recently debuted. However, now I'm hoping it lives up to its imagery as Precious helmer, Lee Daniels, brings us an adaptation of the Peter Dexter novel of the same name.

The story follows Ward James (Matthew McConaughey), a Miami Times reporter who returns to his hometown to investigate the murder of a local sheriff who is eventually helped by his younger brother Jack (Zac Efron) as they investigate the possible wrongful conviction of a man on death row. Throughout the process Jack falls for the woman (Nicole Kidman) whom the convict (John Cusack) has been romancing through prison correspondence.

The film could be great or a bust, but I'm certainly looking forward to it with high hopes.

TBA 2012

I'm interested primarily because I think this can be a great story and obviously Daniel Day-Lewis in the lead role is exciting, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I had some trepidation based on the fact Steven Spielberg is directing. Spielberg and I just haven't seemed to jibe as of late as it's been some time since I out and out enjoyed a Spielberg feature. This, however, looks as if it's a straight-forward drama, no need for cloying sentimentality or crazy antics.

Along with Day-Lewis, Spielberg has also attracted an impressive cast (no surprise), which includes Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Hal Holbrook, James Spader, John Hawkes, Tim Blake Nelson, Bruce McGill, Joseph Cross, Gloria Reuben, David Warshofsky, David Strathairn, Walt Goggins, Lee Pace, Jackie Earle Haley, David Oyelowo and Jared Harris. Add to that a script adapted by Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Kushner (Munich, "Angels in America"), John Logan (Gladiator) and Paul Webb and you have a pretty stacked deck.

Lincoln truly could be the return to form for the iconic helmer and a film that makes people realize this was the director we want Spielberg to be, not the man that brought us Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, War Horse and The Adventures of Tintin.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
December 14

2012 preview The Hobbit
Martin Freeman in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Photo: Warner Bros.

Some may be wondering why Peter Jackson's return to Middle Earth ranks so low on my list of most anticipated. Well, it's because I can't get over the feeling of "been there, done that" with this film. That isn't to say I won't be excited to see it when I finally do, but to say I'm actually "anticipating" it with any great level of passion would be disingenuous.

However, I fully expect my anticipation for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to grow as we inch closer to its December release date. I just truly hope the decision to turn it into two films doesn't result in a bloated mess.

The Company You Keep
TBA 2012

2012 preview Company You Keep
Shia LaBeouf on the set of The Company You Keep
Photo: Celeb Buzz

Robert Redford is back behind the camera and he's attracted some serious talent to his new film, The Company You Keep, with a script by Lem Dobbs (Haywire, The Limey, Dark City), based on the novel by Neil Gordon.

The film chronicles the story of a former Weather Underground militant wanted by the FBI for 30 years, who must go on the run when his true identity is exposed by a young, ambitious reporter hell-bent on making a name for himself. Redford plays the former radical at the center of this nationwide manhunt and Shia LaBeouf, the determined journalist doggedly chasing him and his story.

Along with Redford and LaBeouf, the film also features Nick Nolte, Brit Marling, Susan Sarandon, Julie Christie, Richard Jenkins, Stephen Root, Sam Elliott, Brendan Gleeson, Terrence Howard and Anna Kendrick. The films doesn't yet have distribution, but if The Conspirator can find a distributor I assume this one can too, though I expect we'll be seeing it on the film festival circuit later this year.

The Burial
TBA 2012

2012 preview The Burial
Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams in The Burial

Like anyone else that loves movies, I anticipate anything from Terrence Malick, perhaps not with the rabid intensity of most, but the man knows how to attract an audience and suck you into his films like no other. As for his latest, whether you call it The Burial or the Untitled Terrence Malick Project, the story is said to follow a philanderer (Ben Affleck) who travels to Paris, where he enters an affair with a European woman (Rachel Weisz) whom he later marries upon returning to his hometown of Oklahoma, but when the relationship founders, he rekindles a romance with a hometown girl (Rachel McAdams) with whom he's had a long history.

Additional members of the cast include Javier Bardem, Olga Kurylenko, Barry Pepper, Amanda Peet, Michael Sheen and Jessica Chastain.

  • Dave

    There's a couple in this list that I haven't heard of until now that look like they could be pretty good.

  • Nick

    Interesting, both The Hobbit and Cloud Atlas are in my Top 3.

  • The Dead Burger

    I'm trying to predict whether TDKR is going to be #1 (or at least #2 or 3) or not - looking back, you gave both Inception and TDK an A+, but I feel like a lot of critics are shying away from ranking it as their most anticipated. Perhaps we're all lowering our expectations, prepping for what will likely be a disappointment compared to TDK.

    Anyway, as long as Looper and TDKR are at least in your top 10, I'm good.

    Totally agree on the Hobbit placement. It's so much more small-scale than LotR, but so similar. Certainly won't be the cinematic achievement the original movies were.

  • Josh Batchelder

    The Hunger Games is my #1.

  • Ă„lskling

    Are you sure this list isn't inverted? I should think The Hobbit would be at the top of the list.

  • adu

    Wow, if those are 31-40, how freakin amazing is 2012 gonna be?

  • Chris138

    "simply returning to make another Hurt Locker-esque picture as opposed to exploring something new."

    I feel the exact same way about Bigelow's next film, but I am mainly curious to see it because I read the book it's based on a couple of years ago. I hope it doesn't end up feeling like The Hurt Locker 2.

    Aside from that, I am also looking forward to Terrence Malick's next film. Hopefully it's actually released this year and not in another five years from now.

  • Khaira

    Agree on The has given that "been there done that" vibe ever since it was announced...not really excited about that one as much as ppl might disagree...Its not goin to get anywhere near the Trilogy...

    Prometheus is my #1 followed by TDKR, Django Unchained ,World war Z , Gravity & Skyfall....

  • mfan

    Anticipated: The Hunger Games; Cosmopolis.

    Interested: The Burial.

    Haven't heard of: The Company You Keep; Cloud Atlas.

  • Carson Dyle

    What claptrap. Tintin and War Horse are major Spielberg works. No "return to form" needed.

    • Minas


    • bobo

      If someone can't see Spielberg in Tintin or War Horse (Which were both wonderful BTW) I'd suggest opening your eyes.

      What's funny is that as soon as he does do something different (A.I., Munich) people complain he should stick to what he knows. So he does that (Indy 4, War Horse, Tintin) and people complain he should do something different. This is the problem when you become a brand. Now every Spielberg films is put into some category as opposed to being seen simply for what it is. His films always bring out the oddest criticisms from some people. Though I suppose that's a good thing.

      • Phil

        I completely agree. Tintin and war horse were both amazing film making. People complain about Spielberg no matter what he does. I also think it's stupid to put the hobbit where it is and your reasons for it...if it has this been there vibe you talk about, then why did my FB breasted blowup when the first trailer came out, and why are ALL of my friends dying to see it. Anyone who has read the books know that the hobbit isn't as 'epic' as LOTR. But we're excited because we know Peter Jackson is going to do it justice and do it right. Plus he's adding in background stories from other books to flesh it out.

  • rami

    amazing List ! Paperboy Made it !!

  • Topy

    Thanks for telling us about Savages and The Company You Keep.

  • Garrett

    "Based on David Mitchell's novel of the same name, Cloud Atlas is described as an epic story of humankind in which the actions and consequences of our lives impact one another throughout the past, present and future as one soul is shaped from a murderer into a savior and a single act of kindness ripples out for centuries to inspire a revolution. I haven't read the book so I have no idea what to expect, but based on that synopsis the Wachowskis seem like the right people to spearhead this."

    Ok, I'm not sure who is describing Cloud Atlas that way, but that's not a particularly accurate description of what it's about. Cloud Atlas is 6 stories set in different time periods ranging from the mid-1800's to several hundred years in the future. The gimmick of the novel is that each story is written in the style of the period it's set. So the mid-1800's story is written as if Herman Melville wrote it and the 1970's story is written like cheap pulp detective fiction of that time, etc. When one starts reading the book you're in the Melville-esque story but then midway through it the "journal" you're reading stops because the lead character from the 2nd story only has half of it and then you pick up with his story until the letters he's writing break off halfway through and you move into the 3rd story. Once you get through the entirety of the 6th story, the main character from that one comes across the second half of the 5th story and you read through it until its main character comes upon the latter half of the 4th story, etc until the book folds back on itself and you get the resolution of the first story last.

    It's an interesting conceit for a novel, but I do not think it's going to work on film.

    The idea of the whole thing, by the way, is that the main character in each story is a reincarnation of the same soul throughout history.

    And the Wachowskis are certainly not the people to bring this tale to life. There is no action in the entire thing. It's actually an incredibly erudite and literary work of fiction and I cannot imagine any directors less qualified to make it into a film than the Wachowski siblings. I think someone like Martin Scorsese would have been the guy to do this. He could have used different styles of filmmaking for each section or something that would have been interesting. As it stands, I'll probably see it but I have nothing in the way of expectations for it.

  • Alex Roggio

    Could you tell me what were the four films you knocked off the list to make an even 40? I'd like to know in case they seem just as good as the other ones.

  • jack

    I lol'ed at this list. Do you really expect me to take this list seriously. The Hobbit and The Dark Knight Rises are the most anticipated films and you put one on #7 and one on #38. Bullshit.

  • JohnDoe

    I'm definitely not as enthusiastic about TDKR as some are. I thought Ledger was brilliant, but ultimately TDK seemed like a big mess to me, many boring areas of the film, and the tension was gone because the characters felt the need to tell the audience everything they already knew.

    Lincoln and The Hobbit being so low on this list is deeply, deeply suspect.

    Oh, and people who think The Hobbit isn't going to the cinematic achievement LotR was are kidding themselves, or have never read the book...there's a fire-breathing dragon in it for Christ's sake! I personally found The Hobbit more enjoyable to read than LotR, but that's just me.

    I also will bet that The Hobbit makes more money globally than The Dark Knight Rises.

  • Cinesnatch

    Good for your for tempering your excitement for The Hobbit. However, I find it hard to get excited about anything starring Shia Le Beouf.