2012 may be the end of the world as we know it. I mean, it's not, but just in case, Hollywood decided to cram some amazing movies into the calendar just in case we need an exciting sendoff into Oblivion. With so many great films on the horizon, it's honestly pretty tough to keep track. But take umbrage. I've done the legwork for you. Here are 10 movies to look forward to, with some bonus honorable mentions.
10. Take This Waltz, dir. Sarah Polley-The beautiful and talented Michelle Williams is married to loveable schlub Seth Rogen, but she finds herself tempted by their studly new neighbor. And, for the record, Sarah Silverman goes full monty in this one. Whether that's a positive or a negative on your scorecard, up to you, but it's in my top 10 for a reason... 4/22
9. This is 40, dir. Judd Apatow - Judd's first film as writer/director since the disappointing Funny People, so I expect him to bring his A-Game. Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann reprise their roles from Knocked Up in an examination of a married couple hitting the big 4-0. 12/21
8. Lincoln, dir. Steven Spielberg - Quite possibly our greatest living director working with this generation's greatest actor to bring to life the story of this country's greatest leader. I realize that's a lot of hyperbole, but so what? It's frikkin' Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln! 12/something
7. The Master, dir. Paul Thomas Anderson - The auteur's first movie since the brilliant There Will Be Blood is a thinly-veiled biography of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. Phillip Seymour Hoffman starts his own religion, and aimless drifter Joaquin Phoenix (finally out of his bizarre I'm Still Here mode) becomes his right-hand-man. And, I can only assume, shit goes bad. 10/12
6. Django Unchained, dir. Quentin Tarantino - Say what you want about Tarantino, but the man delivers. His worst film (Jackie Brown) is still better than most filmmakers at their best. And when he's really on (Inglourious Basterds, Pulp Fiction), there is absolutely no one better. This time, he takes the spaghetti western to the South, as freed slave Jamie Foxx has to save his wife from evil plantation owner Leonardo DiCaprio. 12/25
5. Safety Not Guaranteed, dir. Colin Trevorrow - The most interesting thing about this movie: it's based on a real classified ad seeking a time travel companion. One early review calls it movie Back To The Future as directed by Wes Anderson. Throw in Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass, and I'm sold. 6/8
4. Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World, dir. Lorene Scafaria - A sweet romantic road-trip comedy set just before the end of the world. Steve Carell, Keira Knightly, Patton Oswalt, Melanie Lynskey, Adam Brody, Gillian Jacobs, Connie Britton, TJ Miller, William Petersen, and Rob Corddry star. If that premise and cast don't get you, then you and I aren't friends. 6/22
3. Moonrise Kingdom, dir. Wes Anderson - It's Wes Anderson being all Wes Andersony. You already know whether or not this movie is for you. Count me firmly in the pro-Wes Anderson camp. 5/16
2. Looper, dir. Rian Johnson - With Brick and The Brothers Bloom under his belt, Johnson has quickly become one of my favorite working filmmakers. In this sci-fi actioner, he re-teams with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays a hitman hunting down his future self (Bruce Willis). 9/28
1. Argo, dir. Ben Affleck - A couple years ago, I couldn't have guessed that Ben Affleck would become one of the premiere filmmakers in the game, but then came Gone, Baby, Gone and The Town. So, here we are. Argo is based on a stranger-than-fiction true story in which the CIA teamed with the Canadian government to rescue hostages from Iran by posing as a movie crew shooting a sci-fi flick in the country. Affleck leads an amazing cast featuring the likes of Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Kyle Chandler, Alan Arkin, Michael Parks, and many more. 10/12
And the honorable mention goes to:
Jeff, Who Lives At Home, dir. Jay Duplass & Mark Duplass - I'm cheating here because, technically, I've already seen this movie. But, it's absolutely brilliant. Part sad, part heartwarming, all charming. Jason Segel, Ed Helms, and Susan Sarandon really bring it, especially Segel. He could have easily been a one-note stoner, but his Jeff is such a sweet idealist, he's impossible not to root for. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and most importantly, you'll leave smiling. Already released in select cities. Look for it at a theater near you.
Also coming in 2012 (in no particular order)
The Dark Knight Rises, dir. Christopher Nolan - Nolan finishes off his trilogy, and it's sure to please.
The Avengers, dir. Joss Whedon - Marvel's biggest heroes together on the big screen.
The Amazing Spider-Man, dir. Mark Webb - Rebooting Spider-Man already? Eh, worth a look.
From Rome With Love, dir. Woody Allen - Following up Midnight In Paris with another European spectacle.
The Hobbit, dir. Peter Jackson - Back to Middle Earth we go.
Prometheus, dir. Ridley Scott - Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron vs. aliens.
Gangster Squad, dir. Ruben Fleischer - Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Josh Brolin, Nick Nolte and more.
Killing Them Softly, dir. Andrew Dominik - Brad Pitt reunites with his Assassination of Jesse James director.
Gravity, dir. Alfonso Cuaron - George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, lost in space.
Skyfall, dir. Sam Mendes - The director of American Beauty tackles Bond.
The Great Gatsby, dir. Baz Luhrmann - Leo is gonna get that Oscar one of these days.
Les Miserables, dir. Tom Hooper - Hugh Jackman singing and dancing. What could be better?
Only in 2012 would a new Batman movie and The Avengers on the big screen not make my top 10. Goes to show ya, this is gonna be one hell of a year, people.