2012 looks to be a banner year for filmmakers and moviegoers alike. There appears to be a great number of potential blockbusters on the calendar, which may help to alleviate headaches among studio executives who view 2011 as a not-so-banner year for box office successes (the rampaging Harry Potter and Mission Impossible sequels notwithstanding). Thus, I present to you my list of the top 5 movies I'm most anxious to see – in no particular order. These five films are sure to find an audience, and very well could be the five highest grossing movies of the year.
Dark Shadows – Once again, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp team up for a quirky Gothic tale (this one about vampires) that is sure to delight. Depp stars as Barnabas Collins, a man who is entombed in 1752 and released in 1972 where he must deal with his new surroundings and distant relatives. The movie is based on the cult TV series by the same name, and costars Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jonny Lee Miller, and Helena Bonham Carter (of course). Dark Shadows is set for a May release.
The Bourne Legacy – This Bourne series reboot stars Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross, another CIA operative with issues. I know, I know: "You can't have a Bourne movie without Matt Damon!" I don't agree. Renner is more than capable of carrying this movie, and with Tony Gilroy behind the camera (He wrote the screenplays for the other Bourne movies.), The Bourne Legacy is going to surprise the skeptics. There are not many details available yet on this film, but it is scheduled for an August release.
Gangster Squad – Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Josh Brolin, Nick Nolte, Giovanni Ribisi. Do you really need to know more? Really? Well, okay. The movie is about a group of LAPD officers trying to put away the LA mafia in the 1940s and 1950s. There are big shoes to fill in the world of mafia movies and period cop dramas, certainly, but this cast has me dreaming of fancy suits, fedoras, and Tommy Guns. Scheduled for an October release.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Peter Jackson's latest take on Tolkien doesn't arrive until December, but the lines are probably forming now, so invest in a snug sleeping bag and a comfy camping chair. The movie stars Martin Freeman (Sherlock, Hot Fuzz) as Bilbo Baggins who journeys to reclaim a stolen treasure. You don't have to be a sci-fi or fantasy "fan boy" to enjoy the Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit. Jackson has made them accessible and entertaining for us all. This film certainly will be remembered as a classic, just as the Lord of the Rings series before it.
Django Unchained – Two words: Quentin Tarantino. Two more words: Leonardo DiCaprio. Need to know more? Okay. Tarantino returns to action (finally) with this period action thriller about a slave-turned-bounty hunter (Jamie Foxx) who sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner (DiCaprio). You just know this is going to epic. And yes, Samuel L Jackson makes an appearance. Look for this one in theaters in December as well. What a month that is going to be!