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Enough about 2011; let's look ahead to 2012. This past year was good about offering a diverse set of films that catered to many tastes, especially crowds that wanted something out of the range of standard multiplex fare. But 2012 looks like a much stronger year. We can almost always look ahead to a new year and say that there is a great batch of new films from established favorite filmmakers, movies with wonderful casts, giant event movies and promising indies. But 2012 looks like it has more of those than usual. It's going to be a good year for movie watchers. After some deliberation (which no doubt has still allowed me to overlook something for which I'll facepalm later) here is a list of ten films that I'm very excited to see in 2012, followed by a full page of discussion about a whole bunch of other movies that didn't make my personal cut »
- Russ Fischer
Ben Affleck's a man of action now, isn't he? A few years ago, his career relegated him to romcom barf fests like "Gigli" and "Surviving Christmas." Not anymore -- he's built up plenty of critical momentum and box office success through gritty dramas like "Gone Baby Gone" and "The Town," enough to allow him to take on more heady roles, like next year's "Argo."
That's the one where he's a CIA operative posing as a member of a film crew in order to rescue diplomats who've been taken hostage, all in 1979 Tehran. The movie they're pretending to work on? Naturally, it's a sci-fi film called "Argo." This first photo shows him looking a little shaggy, a little determined; definitely not the clean-cut wise guy he earned his early career heartthrob status through. He's looking very deliberately at some documents, but we've got no idea what they might be. Maybe it's a Denny's menu. »
- Jeremy Gordon
By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: We’ve spent so much time analyzing the past year, singling out spectacular performances and breaking down key contenders in the 2011 Oscar race. It’s time, with the New Year fast approaching, to look forward. What movies due out in 2012 are you most looking forward to? Which ones will earn the most cash? Which ones will collect the most Oscar nominations and eventual trophies?
I’m going to list my 10 most anticipated movies of 2012. Most are obvious. We’re all film fans, and the same ones that float your boat likely will sit at or near the top of my 2012 list (hello there, “The Dark Knight Rises”).
But I also want to go off the grid in a few spots and highlight a handful of titles that you might not yet be aware of. Let’s discover these gems together. And in the comments section below, »
- Sean O'Connell
I think I figured out where Matt Damon’s hair went. In a newly released image from next year’s Argo, Ben Affleck sports a new coif, fitting in perfectly with the very hairy decade known as the 1970s. The film, also directed by Affleck, surrounds the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The actor proved with the heist-centric The Town that he knows how to topline a thrilling drama — it will be fun to see him play on the other side of the law as Argo’s CIA agent come Sept. 14. Is 2012 here yet?
- Kate Ward
Argo, Ben Affleck’s third time directing a feature film, is by far one of the films I’m most looking forward to in 2012. By far. Both of his last films, Gone Baby Gone and The Town, were Oscar-nominated, and both were brilliant. The Town, especially, took the box office a little by storm last year when it went straight to #1 across theAtlantic, in what was one of the best films of 2010.
After directing his brother Casey Affleck in Gone Baby Gone and leading The Town himself, Affleck is once more stepping both behind and in front of the camera in Argo, assembling a fantastic supporting cast that includes Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Kyle Chandler, Alan Arkin, Scoot McNairy, Michael Parks, Taylor Schilling, Clea DuVall, and Tate Donovan.
Warner Bros. have now put out the brilliant first official image from the film, via ComingSoon.net, in which we can see »
- Kenji Lloyd
Germain's prepping his '10 most anticipated movies for 2012' list right now and I'll probably put one together as well just as soon as I get back from Texas. One movie I'm pretty sure will be on his list and I know would be on mine is Argo, the third film directed by Ben Affleck. As we've mentioned a few times in the past while covering the casting for the film, this movie is based on a real situation in which a handful of CIA operatives posed as key members of a movie crew in order to extract diplomats who had been taken hostage in 1979 Tehran. They're not posing as just any film crew, but as guys scouting locations for a sci-fi film called, naturally, Argo. Above, that's part of the first official image of Affleck as one of the primary members of that crew; see the whole thing below. »
- Russ Fischer
Argo is Ben Affleck’s third film behind the camera and we are hoping for, his style will show a clear knack for pace and plot-driven storytelling. His sophomore directorial/co-writing effort was last year’s very good, but slightly overpraised movie The Town. No doubt, Affleck has proven himself to be a considerable talent with 2007′s celebrated [...]
- Nick Martin
Plus Clean, Hi-Res Images of 'The Dark Knight Rises,' 'The Hobbit' & 'Gangster Squad' To quote Matt Damon in a recent episode of Kcrw's The Business, after the Bennifer flap of the early aughts, his "hetero lifemate" Ben Affleck had to work twice as hard to frame his name back into a respectable part of the film industry. "He was very sober about what it meant for his career," Damon said. "He knew he was going to go into the penalty box for an undetermined amount of time. The worst place you can be," he added. "We had to write our way into the game," Damon said about their Oscar-winning screenplay for "Good Will Hunting." "And he had to do it again. He directed 'Gone Baby Gone' and still couldn't get out of jail... and he finally did 'The Town,' and he wrote, directed and »
Coming off his excellent but underseen Gone Baby Gone and the engaging but slightly overpraised The Town, Ben Affleck is getting ready to release his third film next fall. Argo, based on a real-life Iran hostage event, sees Affleck assembling a fantastic cast that includes himself, Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Zeljko Ivanek, Richard Kind, Scoot McNairy, Chris Messina, Michael Parks, Kerry Bishe and Kyle Chandler.
Warner Bros. has provided the first official image from the film today, which features a very 70s-looking Affleck dissecting some government documents, likely before he goes on the mission. The Town‘s heist scenes were the most thrilling of that film, so I’m intrigued to see if Affleck can provide the same tension here. Also starring Rory Cochrane, Christopher Denham, Tate Donovan, Clea DuVall, Victor Garber and Taylor Schilling, one can click the image below for higher resolution.
Based on true events, »
- email@example.com (thefilmstage.com)
In October of 2010, Sound on Sight asked me to do my first commemorative piece on the passing of filmmaker Arthur Penn. I suspect I was asked because I was the only one writing for the site old enough to have seen Penn’s films in theaters. Whatever the reason, it was an unexpectedly rewarding if expectedly bittersweet experience which led to a series of equally rewarding but bittersweet experiences writing on the passing of other filmdom notables.
I say rewarding because it gave me a nostalgic-flavored chance to revisit certain work and the people behind it; a revisiting which often brought back the nearly-forgotten youthful excitement that went with an eye-opening, a discovery, the thrill of the new. Writing them has also been bittersweet because each of these pieces is a formal acknowledgment that something precious is gone. A talent may be perhaps preserved forever on celluloid, but the filmography »
- Bill Mesce
As you might expect from of one of the most critically acclaimed TV shows of recent years, if not ever, the cast of AMC's "Mad Men" have begun making inroads to the big screen. Star Jon Hamm has been the most successful in finding decent roles, thanks to "Bridesmaids" and "The Town," but his cast-mates are finding work as well, even if the parts have generally been one-tenth as interesting as their characters on Matthew Weiner's show: John Slattery reprised Roger Sterling (but in a hat) in "The Adjustment Bureau"; Vincent Kartheiser got villainous in "In Time"; Elisabeth Moss played the thankless girlfriend in "Get Him To The Greek" and January Jones stood around in a push-up bra in "X-Men: First Class." Taking the slow-and-steady approach is Christina Hendricks, who plays the indelibly hourglass-shaped Joan Holloway on the show. She's not yet taken a lead role, but she's been. »
Baby, it's cold outside. So what better way to warm your toes (and your heart) than by curling up with a Christmas movie? But choose wisely, dear reader. Christmas movies can be a minefield of shmaltz. Allow us to present you with our not-quite-definitive list of the best and worst of the genre.
The best ...
It's A Wonderful Life, 1946
It may be an obvious choice and we may nod in half-hearted agreement with the New York Times' original description of the movie as "sentimental" and "facile" but despite that, Capra's ending still makes me weep.
Best moment: "That's a lie Harry Bailey went to war…' A despairing Jimmy Stewart realizes just what he's lost
See also: Miracle »
- Sarah Hughes
They are still, as far as we're aware, the best of pals, but it's hard not to see a vague sense of rivalry between Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. After all, they arrived together, the disgustingly young stars and writers of "Good Will Hunting," winning an Oscar for their trouble with the script, and swiftly became Hollywood's hottest properties. Initially it was Affleck who looked to be the bigger star, with "Armageddon" and "Shakespeare in Love" arriving in quick succession, but he soon became stuck in the likes of "Paycheck" and "Gigli," while Damon became a megastar thanks to "The Bourne Identity" and has barely put a foot wrong since. Now, Affleck's redeemed himself thanks to a pair of strong directorial efforts, "Gone Baby Gone" and "The Town," with a third, "Argo," on the way in 2012. But not to be outdone, his former writing partner is getting in on the act, »
Since breaking out with Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon has gone from huge franchises (Bourne, Ocean’s films) to smaller independent projects (Margaret, Gerry) to prestige films (The Departed, Syriana) to bigger gambles like this year’s The Adjustment Bureau, all while having some fun (Stuck On You, Dogma). He will now be taking his career to the next level (as his pal Ben Affleck has done with success in The Town and Gone Baby Gone), by directing his first feature.
This fall we got some new details on the untitled drama developed by author Dave Eggers (Where the Wild Things Are) and co-written with The Office‘s John Krasinski. They will both star in the film that follows “a salesman who arrives in a small town only to have his whole life called into question.” We finally have some more insight into the project, as Damon stopped by Kcrw »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (thefilmstage.com)
In this weekend's "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol," Jeremy Renner plays an overqualified Imf analyst; but it wasn't long ago that the Academy Award nominee was making his film debut as an underachieving student in the long-forgotten '90s comedy "National Lampoon's Senior Trip."
Renner's interest in acting blossomed relatively late, when the California native decided to pursue a double major in theater and psychology at Modesto Junior College. Shortly after graduation, Renner made his way to Los Angeles to parlay his passion into a career. His first opportunity came via the play "Search and Destroy," which earned him early buzz from critics. From there, Renner jumped into his first film role at the tender age of 24 with "Senior Trip."
In the critically reviled 1995 teen comedy, Renner costars as Mark "Dags" D'Agastino, a perpetually stoned, flannel-wearing high school senior who, along with his obnoxious classmates, heads to Washington D.C. »
- Julie Miller
After earning back-to-back Academy Award nominations -- in 2010, for his breakout role in Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker and in 2011, for his supporting part in Ben Affleck's Boston crime drama The Town -- Jeremy Renner decided to dive headfirst into the action genre with four consecutive big-budget action projects. The first, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, which co-stars Renner as a mysteriously overqualified Imf agent assisting Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt on his latest globe-sweeping assignment, premieres this weekend in IMAX. The next three films, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, The Avengers and The Bourne Legacy, will all hit theaters next year, making the California-raised actor the busiest action star of 2012. »
Release Date: June 1
The Scoop: One of the most popular and acclaimed Broadway musicals in recent memory, "Rock of Ages" tells the story of a couple of small-town dreamers who get caught up in the big-city spotlight -- and it tells that story using the transformative power of '80s rock. That's enough for us, but if you're somehow not sold, the film version of "Rock of Ages" also features a Who's Who of Hollywood stars, including Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Bryan Cranston and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Rock on!
Release Date: June 1
- Scott Harris
There’s very little reason to come out of Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol doubting Brad Bird‘s skill as a live-action filmmaker. To date, of course, he’s known best for his Pixar contributions, which include the directorial oversight of The Incredibles and Ratatouille, but with the fourth installment of this Tom Cruise-headlined franchise, Bird proves just as adept at staging large-scale set pieces in physical locations. The difference, though, is that his two previous films both had the foundation of intelligent screenplays, while the written material for Ghost Protocol, co-penned by Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec, is just plain dumb.
“Hang on a second there,” you might say, “this movie isn’t supposed to be a smart actioner.” And I would agree with you (for the most part, because, at 133 minutes, the film outstays its welcome by at least 20, and there are one-too-many let’s-take-an-action-break-and-get-emotional monologues). But what »
- email@example.com (thefilmstage.com)
So many movies these days try to frighten us with effects. But nothing surpasses the look in someone's hard eyes. Jeremy Renner has it
The festive season has gifts, but some are harder to evaluate than others. So it looks like a big leap forward for 40-year-old actor Jeremy Renner that he is one of the team in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, the latest in those Tom Cruise extravaganzas. I haven't seen it, but I know the trailer almost by heart, with its close-ups of the implacable face of Renner looking at Cruise and the entire venture as if to say: "What the hell am I doing here?"
It's a good question, along with the one about how Cruise let so forceful an actor into the film to stare at him in disbelief. Cruise looks like the character he played in Magnolia – that liar to himself – with a dozen years added on. »
- David Thomson
Since 2009, Jeremy Renner has established himself as the go-to guy for characters with mysterious pasts and unpredictable futures. In fact, he’s so good at it, he got two Oscar nominations in a row playing them in “The Hurt Locker” and “The Town.” In “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” Renner plays another character, Will Brandt, whose history is linked in unrevealed ways to the series’ longtime hero, Ethan Hunt, and in perhaps predictable form, Renner is reluctant to say too much about Brandt, even in an interview about the film. The Playlist joined a small group of journalists in Los Angeles to chat with Renner, who talked at length about 'Mission: Impossible,' offered some insights into his experiences playing Hawkeye, and reflected on how his life and his career have changed since he received acclaim and commercial recognition in the last few years. Does it give you an advantage to walk into a franchise. »
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