5. The Pirates! Band of Misfits
This film had one of the best trailers for any animated film that I’ve seen in a long time. It had all of the trademark humor missing from Aardman Studios since the days of Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run, and with Hugh Grant in the starring role, it looks to be as charming as its stop-motion predecessors. Not only that, but the animation used in this film maintains an extraordinary level of detail and panache. This is easily my most anticipated animated film of 2012.
4. The Amazing Spider-Man
I may be more alone on this one than I had thought due to the stupid CGI POV teaser, but I really am very excited for The Amazing Spider-Man. First of all, the fact that they’ve rebooted the series means that they can really begin to adhere to some of the more interesting storylines of the Spider-Man mythos. I’m very much hoping they follow in the footsteps of the incredible Spectacular Spider-Man television show and plant many seeds in this film that imply other villains in subsequent films past The Lizard. I also hope they make a point of emphasizing a) Peter Parker’s intellect and b) his life*as* a high schooler and the drama endemic to that.
This brings me to my next point: Marc Webb. Aside from having a name perfectly suited to a Spider-Man film, Marc Webb’s first major hit, (500) Days of Summer, proves he has what it takes to combine comedy and drama into an effective, emotional cocktail. That, combined with the brand-new talents of Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker), Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy), and of course Martin Sheen, Sally Field, and Dennis Leary, should make for a very cool reinvention of Spider-Man on the silver screen.
UPDATE: Read my review of The Amazing Spider-Man here.
3. Seven Psychopaths
Martin McDonagh wowed us with his first big directorial feature, In Bruges, starring Brendan Gleeson, Colin Farrell, and Ralph Fines. Dark humor matched with wit, plot, and a strong influence from Harold Pinter to create at true gem of a film. Similarly, McDonagh’s brother, Michael, came out subsequently with a film also starring Gleason entitled The Guard, which was easily on par with, despite being tonally and stylistically quite different, In Bruges. And of course, Martin McDonagh also directed the extremely well-regarded Six Shooter short film. His new film, Seven Psychopaths, brings together Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, and Sam Rockwell into an intriguing premise about, well, seven very messed up guys. Suffice it to say, the film’s combination of cast and creator are sure to exceed expectations.
UPDATE: Read my review of Seven Psychopaths here.
2. The Avengers
I’m extremely excited for Joss Whedon’s The Avengers for a whole slew of reasons. First and foremost, Joss Whedon: he’s both the writer and director of the film. Many of you know my undying love of his other ensemble masterwork, Firefly, as well as his musical handiwork Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, and this extremely talented, diverse group of actors/heroes totally fits his MO. While I’m disappointed there’s no Norton here to play Banner, I’m sure Ruffalo will do a great job. And let’s not forget, Robert Downey, Jr. has really built himself up in the past two films as an egotistical narcissistic playboy, and that’s going to look great contrasting with Chris Hemsworth’s God of Thunder, Thor, and Chris Evans’ patriotic, do-good Captain America.
UPDATE: Read my review of The Avengers here.
1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
What is there to say? The first installment of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit is shaping up to be on par with, if not surpassing, the technical quality of The Lord of the Rings. While I’m not the biggest fan of the story itself (I was much more of a LOTR guy), I love Martin Freeman and every piece of behind-the-scenes footage is *very* promising. However, what really solidify’s this as my most anticipated film is the returning cast and crew members. Bottom line is, I’m positively ecstatic!
UPDATE: Read Ari’s review of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey here.
Thoughts? Post your comments below! And be sure to check out Ari’s list, too.