1) Before Midnight
Two of my favorite movies of all time are Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, which I like to think of as an inseparable tandem (like the way a lot of people think of the first two Godfathers). I have supreme confidence that director Richard Linklater and actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy can craft a worthy addition to this ongoing love story. (Hopefully not the last installment, though there have been intimations that it might be. :( )
2) Upstream Color
It’s been 8 years since the release of Primer, writer/director Shane Carruth’s mind-bending, super-indie movie about time travel. Carruth has been MIA ever since, until now. Upstream Color is debuting at the Sundance Film Festival, which doesn’t bode well for a wide theatrical release. But considering that Carruth is embracing the digital distribution model (he is offering Primer on his website, DRM-free, for $15), I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to buy or rent it online in the spring. I’m eager to see if Carruth can deliver on the potential he displayed with Primer and emerge as one of the really talented American filmmakers working today.
It’s been 6 years since Alfonso Cuarón’s last movie, the well-regarded Children of Men. The details of this movie have been kept largely under wraps, driving my curiosity through the roof.
4) To The Wonder
A new Terrence Malick film is always cause for celebration. This one didn’t have a great reaction at the Toronto Film Festival, the common complaint being that it was too Malicky. (Star Ben Affleck quipped: “To The Wonder is for people who like a little Malick with their Malick.”) Sounds good to me.
5) Star Trek Into Darkness
I was such a big fan of the 2009 reboot, despite initial reservations. I found it ridiculously entertaining, full of great characters that were perfectly cast, as well as it being just a gorgeous-looking movie. I had my doubts about JJ Abrams, but this movie made a believer out of me. I expect this one to be just as good if not better than the first.
6) The Great Gatsby
One of my most anticipated movies of 2012, pushed back to summer ’13. Baz Luhrmann is a master at what he does, combining visual panache with epic storytelling while getting actors to give surprisingly great performances. Moulin Rouge is, of course, unimpeachable, but Australia remains an underappreciated gem.
7) Iron Man 3
The Avengers sealed it: I could watch Downey do this character for a dozen more movies. There’s a little bit of intrigue with the director’s chair belonging to Shane Black this time around, but I’m sure the end result will be the super entertaining movie we’ve come to expect from this franchise.
Lars von Trier usually has a strong sexual component to his films, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens when he makes sex the overriding (har) theme of his next movie. He’s on something of a mid-to-late-career roll—his last two movies, Antichrist and Melancholia, are worthy additions to his filmography. We’ll see if he can keep it up. (har har)
9) The Unknown Known
Errol Morris might be the most consistently good filmmaker working today. He seems to hit a home run every time out, regardless of subject matter. This one’s about Rumsfeld, but that’s really beside the point. Just know that there’s a pretty good chance that it’ll be a fantastic movie.
10) Pacific Rim
Liberated from Hobbit hell, Guillermo del Toro returns with what seems to be a bombastic piece of film pop. Giant robots vs. giant monsters? Yeah, I guess I’ll see that.