by Rob Boylan
Just to supplement Justin's piece this week on some of the lesser known fare of 2012, there are a few more that I'mlooking forward to that could make or break the year (or be completely meaningless to the year, or not even be released this year at all).
2012 looks to actually be shaping up to be a pretty good year for film, at least on a mainstream level. It's too tough to call the indie and foreign scene until after Cannes and Sundance (though, you'll see my attempt coming up soon in the paper). Anyway, if The Amazing Spider-man is right, nothing can be wrong.
Wreck-It-Ralph: Not all that much is known right now about Disney’s November CGI feature, Wreck-It-Ralph, except that it stars the voice of John C. Reilly as the titular main character, who is an 8-bit arcade game baddie out to prove that he can be a good guy too. That, my friends, is a hell of a concept. Disney created the arcade machine for D23 Expo, which you can find on YouTube for a few hints about the design at least. It’s directed by Rich Moore, who cut his teeth on The Simpsons and Futurama, and co-stars Jack McBrayer (as the game’s hero, Fix-It-Felix), Jane Lynch and Sarah Silverman. Hey, Moore: don’t screw it up. Seriously.
Gravity: Director Alfonso Cuarón has been quiet since he made Children of Men in 2006, but he returns with a stereoscopic vengeance in 2012 with this 3D space drama starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, who play astronauts stranded in space after debris destroys their ship. I would be wary about that logline from most directors, but I have enough faith left in the Mexican director to overcome even the most egregious of Sandra Bullock-y moments. If nothing else, Cuarón can create intense atmospheres that fold you personally into the action, and that is what sells most space films anyway.
Only God Forgives: Drive combo director Nicolas Winding Refn and über star Ryan Gosling reteam for this revenge drama set in Bangkok that also features Kristin Scott Thomas. Only God Forgives is a Western homage set in the modern criminal underworld, where Gosling’s younger brother is murdered and their mother vows revenge. The title does have a whiff of God Forgives, but I Don’t to it, which is great, but did you really need to know more than Refn and Gosling’s names to be excited?
Last Stand: I have no idea what to really expect from the first English language film from South Korean director Kim Ji-woon (I Saw the Devil, A Tale of Two Sisters). I suspect not a lot, honestly, because he's coming here to make a picture about a drug cartel boss being hunted down by Sheriff Arnie Schwarzenegger after escaping custody. But I'm curious nonetheless. The crazy cast also includes Luis Guzman, Forest Whitaker, Peter Stormare, Harry Dean Stanton and Johnny Knoxville. What the hell?
Stoker: And here is another Korean director, Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Lady Vengeance) coming Stateside for his first English language film (though there is a fair amount of English in Lady Vengeance). He's making the much more down-to-Earth family drama with Mia Wasikowska playing a young girl grieving the death of her father, when an uncle she's never met, played by Dermot Mulroney, shows up. Nicole Kidman stars as well, with a script by Wentworth Miller. After the disappointment that was Wong Kar Wai's My Blueberry Nights I try to keep a distance from Asian directors making films in English, but from what I understand, Park Chan-wook's English is pretty decent, so maybe he'll be able to hear the bad takes, which Wong Kar Wai couldn't.