films is set eight years after the conclusion of The Dark Knight. Bane steps into the villain spotlight, and whether he lives up to his comic book legacy as The Man Who Broke The Bat (by literally snapping Batman’s back over his knee), remains to be seen. A visibly bloody, beaten, and limping Bruce Wayne teased in the trailer certainly suggests so. Add in Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, a winter set Gotham City under siege, stolen Tumblers, plus the Batwing? This will be epic. Also we can look forward to seeing select sequences shot in IMAX, which is the format the six-minute prologue is currently being presented in on the big big screen.
The be-all and end-all of superhero movies (so far), with all the Marvel Studios big screen heroes teaming up in the same movie. Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Black Widow, Nick Fury, and Hawkeye to stand side by side take and take on Loki (and probably another threat yet to be revealed). Geek God Joss Whedon masterminds this surefire summer hit. If one has to wonder how you go back to the solo films still on the way in 2013 from Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor that the actors are contractually obligated to suit up for, just remember with all this star power sharing screen time here, you might be able to count on one hand how many lines each hero gets to actually deliver in this movie. But who’s counting? The film has been shot in 2-D and will be converted to 3-D. Joss promises the 3-D will be good.
The cat is out of the bag and there should be no further doubt that this is a prequel to Ridley Scott’s iconic 1979 sci-fi thriller Alien starring Sigourney Weaver. Scott has admitted on record that this film will share “DNA” familiar to fans of the Alien series. What started out as another entry in the franchise developed into a high concept sci-fi epic that hopefully won’t be too high brow for folks who want to see Prometheus stars Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, and Michael Fassbender duke it out with a hoard of acid blooded Xenomorphs. This story is grounded with an interstellar search (and discovery) for humanity’s origins from an ancient race of super beings. And expect the journey to end right where Alien begins. The film has been shot in 3-D.
Hard to believe we a getting a full-on reboot of the Spider-Man series when the last entry starring Tobey Maguire was released in 2007. The wall crawler goes back to basics as a angst ridden high schooler as Andrew Garfield assumes the title role. Emma Stone steps in as Gwen Stacy, Peter Parker’s girlfriend ever before Mary Jane Watson enters his life. As in the comics, Spidey returns to using mechanical wrist web shooters and the Lizard is set to wreck havoc on New York City. The film has been shot in 3-D.
Peter Jackson returns to Middle Earth with the first installment of the two-part prequel to The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. After countless production delays, including the departure of director / screenwriter Guillermo del Toro, it was uncertain these films would ever see the light of day. Peter Jackson stepped back in to the hot seat to tell the early adventures of Bilbo Baggins, now played by Martin Freeman. Fret not, familiar faces will be back for the quest for the One Ring. Elijah Wood will cameo, and Ian McKellan, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, and Orlando Bloom will be back as well in addition to characters new to the big screen. And of course, Middle Earth would not be complete without Andy Serkis as Gollum / Smeagol. The two part epic is being shot in 3-D.
It took some bumps on the road to actual production, but the 23rd James Bond film and third starring Daniel Craig will hit theatres in November. This time we can also look forward to the return of MI6’s gadget master Q. If he adds even a hint of humor to this installment after the straightforward anger and violence that plagued the soulless Quantum of Solace, it will be a good thing. Sam Mendes directs this film in 2-D.
The Rise of Cobra was savaged by critics, but what was a G.I. Joe movie really going to deliver? Big screen war imagery on par with Platoon? The sequel has jettisoned most of the original cast and gone ahead with several Generation Two characters: Flint, Lady Jaye, and Roadblock (played by Dwayne Johnson). The trailer is surprisingly kick ass, with lots of action from Johnson, fan favorite Snake Eyes in all his ninja coolness, and Bruce Willis enlists this time out as Joe Colton, the original G.I. Joe character our dads played with in the ’50s. Though the absence of Destro and Cobra Commander questions the title of the first film. Director Jon Chu, who also helmed Step Up 3D, shot this film in 2-D for 2-D presentation.
With Harry Potter neatly wrapped up and Twilight standing firmly in the on-deck circle to end its run, the next big thing of young adult books-to screen looks to be The Hunger Games, based on Suzanne Collins’ series of novels. Jennifer Lawrence landed one of the hottest lead roles for young Hollywood. Cast as Katniss Everdeen, Lawrence plays a teen in a post apocalyptic State and is forced to compete to hunt and kill fellow young citizens drafted to participate in a lethal game of high stakes survival. Think Battle Royal meets The Running Man.
Steven Soderbergh takes a crack at the action genre with mixed martial arts queen Gina Carano (aka Crush from that American Gladiators update on NBC), Michael Fassbender (who seems to be in every movie these days), and Ewan MacGregor. Carano plays a Black Ops agent seeking revenge after a betrayal by her superiors. Ass kicking ensues. Soderbergh ain’t the 3-D type.
There is no middle ground: either this is very much your type of movie, or it is not. The first plus for the second helping of The Expendables, ringmaster Sly Stallone has beefed up the roles for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis. Second plus is the new additions to the action all-star team including Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme (joining Jason Statham, Terry Crews, Jet Li, and Dolph Lundgren). Plot need not apply. Just show up.
TOTAL RECALL (August 3)
Colin Farrell follows up his starring role in the Fright Night remake by stepping in for Arnold Schwarzenegger in the reboot of the ’90s sci-fi film that made the line “Get Your Ass To Mars” a pop culture catchphrase. This version promises to adhere closer to Philip K. Dick’s source material,”We Can Remember It For You Wholesale,” so we may not see Quatto ooze from some one’s belly and howl “Quuaaaaaaid!!” or have cameos from Martian bar patrons with three breasts.
SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN (June 1)
One of the two movies in 2012 based on the Snow White story. This version sees Kristen Stewart portray Snow White as a hardened warrior. Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen and Chris Hemsworth saddles up at the Huntsman. When in doubt, I vote go dark and edgy, and this movie looks in tone to be everything Mirror, Mirror (the Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen version) is not.
THE CABIN IN THE WOODS (April 13)
Sadly sitting on the shelf for years, this film written by a very pre-Avengers Joss Whedon and stars a very pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth finally sees the light of day in 2012. Joss taking on an R-rated horror movie with some of his Whedon-verse alumni Fran Kranz and Amy Acker along for the scream ride sounds like it could be fun.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER (June 22)
The title pretty much says it all.
THE BOURNE LEGACY (August 3)
Neither Bourne star Matt Damon, nor director of the previous two entries Paul Greengrass, signed on for film number four. Jeremy Renner adds another A-List franchise to his busy resume, playing a new agent to root for, Aaron Cross. While this film will wipe the franchise clean, chances are Damon will be back as Jason Bourne sometime down the line.
Shutting down what could be a $200 million production a year ago (and midway through the shooting schedule) for script re-writes is always a positive sign, right? Here is a threequel involving time travel that nobody really asked for. The whole gang is back, Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, and director Barry Sonnenfeld. Josh Brolin will play the younger version of Tommy Lee Jones’ Agent K in the ’60s, and paparazzi photos of pug pups on set suggest that Frank The Pug’s ancestry will be addressed. Need you ask if this will be in 3-D?
Number four in the series. Kate Beckinsale returns as Selene in this chapter, to get the franchise back to its roots. Though let’s not put a stake through Rhona Mitra’s heart for anchoring the third one. This one pits Lycans verus Vampires versus humans. All the stops in D are being pulled upon release, 3-D, RealD 3D, and IMAX 3D.
RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION (Sept. 14)
Numero five for the Resident Evil franchise. With zombies being as hot as they are, why would RE stop now? Milla Jovovich toughs it out again as sexy slo-mo zombie slayer and all around Umbrella Corporation hater Alice. 3-D is expected.
There was an awful lot of money spent on this movie based on a board game, and anyone who is willing to pay to see it is just waiting to hear “You sunk my Battleship!” The commercials would like you to know (to no one’s surprise), that Sports Illustrated cover girl Brooklyn Decker looks great in a standard issue military ensemble. Also of note, Rhianna plays a Naval Gunner. Yep.
GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE (February 17)
Was this the one where Nic Cage’s agent officially threw in the towel? Will it be 3-D? Check.
David Hasselhoff is aboard, and will probably lampoon, harpoon, and flat out exploit his years of wearing red Baywatch shorts. Gary Busey stars too. Directed by John Gulager, the guy who won the third season of Project Greenlight. And as promised, presented in 3DD. It’s going straight to DVD in the U.K., and its U.S. release is up in the air.
JOHN CARTER (March 9)
Don’t feel bad if you skip this. Everyone else will too. Could possibly make 2011’s Conan The Barbarian remake look like a box office smash hit.
THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 2 (November 16)
It’s coming. There is nothing we can do about it. But it will all be over soon enough and Twi-Hards can then move on to their next obsession. You know who you are.