Collider’s Most Anticipated 2012 Movies: July to September

     July 2, 2012

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We’re halfway into summer 2012 and, with the exception of The Avengers, it’s been a bit of a disappointing blur.  The third-quarter of 2012 is now upon us and we hope that the second half of the summer season will turn around (possibly with the help of a caped crusader) and then lead us into a fall packed with the smaller dramas that signal the beginning of the awards race.

There’s a lot to look forward to in the next three months, so hit the jump for lists of our most-anticipated films from July to September.

Matt’s Picks


PARANORMAN

Directors: Sam Fell and Chris Butler

Voice Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Casey AffleckAnna KendrickChristopher Mintz-PlasseLeslie MannJeff GarlinJohn Goodman, and Alex Borstein.

Release Date: August 17

Why I’m Excited: I’m a huge fan of stop-motion animation, and I love the offbeat, strange look of ParaNormanThe Pirates! Band of Misfits missed the mark by being incredibly clever, but not laugh-out-loud funny, and Frankenweenie looks cute, but nothing remarkable.  Judging by the trailer, ParaNorman looks delightfully strange and weird, and I’m eager to see more of the flick.

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COSMOPOLIS

Directors: David Cronenberg

Cast: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoch, Sarah Gadon, Mathieu Amalric, Jay Baruchel, Kevin Durand and Paul Giamatti

Release Date: August 17

Why I’m Excited: This film is a return and a turning point.  It’s a return to the visually strange for Cronenberg who has kept his characters twisted but his worlds real with his last three pictures.  For star Robert Pattinson, this could be the moment where Edward Cullen shatters into a billion pieces and we can finally see the actor emerge.  The movie picked up strong buzz out of the Cannes Film Festival, and I would be happy to my summer with some outright lunacy.

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LAWLESS

Director: John Hillcoat

Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Mia Wasikowska and Dane DeHaan.

Release Date: August 31

Why I’m Excited: Confession: I’ve respected but not enjoyed Hillcoat’s previous two films, The Proposition and The Road.  I respect the craft, the performances, the tone, and everything else.  But I’m still waiting for a Hillcoat movie that gets in my head, gets in my heart, and won’t let go.  I know he has that movie in him, and I’m hoping Lawless is that movie.  Considering that Guy Pearce’s line, “Do you have any idea what a Thompson sub-machine gun does to a mortal?” is already one of my favorite lines of the year, I’m betting Lawless will be the Hillcoat film that finally sticks with me.

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KILLING THEM SOFTLY

Director: Andrew Dominik

Cast: Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta, Ben Mendelsohn, Scoot McNairy, Bella Heathcote, and Sam Shepard.

Release Date: September 21

Why I’m Excited: I adore Dominik’s previous film, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and I’m eager to see his long-awaited follow-up.  The cast is a great blend of established heavy-hitters like Pitt, Gandolfini, Jenkins, Liotta, and Shepard paired with rising stars Mendelsohn (who was terrific in Animal Kingdom), McNairy, and Heathcote.  Throw these talented actors into a crackerjack crime tale that picked up positive buzz at Cannes, and the wait for Killing Them Softly feels even longer.

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LOOPER

Director: Rian Johnson

Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily BluntPaul DanoNoah Segan, Piper Perabo, and Jeff Daniels.

Release Date: September 28

Why I’m Excited: Looper is easily my most-anticipated film of the third quarter, and one of my Top 5 most-anticipated films of the year.  Johnson’s debut feature, Brick, is a masterpiece of modern noir, and The Brothers Bloom was my favorite film of 2009.  While I’m still not 100% sold on the Willis-makeup on Gordon-Levitt, I’m completely sold on Johnson’s talents as a writer-director who knows how to take a genre and bend it to his will.  He’s mastered the noir and con-man genres, and with Looper it looks like he’s going to own sci-fi as well.

Adam’s Picks

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THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Release Date: July 20

Why I’m Excited: Why wouldn’t I be excited?  Nolan not only reinvigorated the Batman franchise with Batman Begins, but he kicked off a slew of superhero “reboots” that took characters in a darker, grittier direction than the colorful predecessors of the 1990s and 80s (for better or worse); the impact of his Batman series on the “blockbuster” genre is immense.  In addition to being one of the best superhero movies ever made, The Dark Knight was one of the best films released in all of 2008.  Nolan’s trilogy—and thus his Batman legacy—comes to a close with The Dark Knight Rises and I couldn’t possibly be giddier to see how it all ends.

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PARANORMAN

Directors: Sam Fell and Chris Butler

Voice Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Casey AffleckAnna KendrickChristopher Mintz-PlasseLeslie MannJeff GarlinJohn Goodman, and Alex Borstein.

Release Date: August 17

Why I’m Excited: I didn’t know much about ParaNorman until the first teaser trailer was released.  The stop-motion animated film comes from LAIKA, the studio behind the creepy yet endearing Coraline, and that first trailer hit all the right notes for me.  ParaNorman looks to be a spooky, goofy, fun, and offbeat story of a strange young boy whose ability to talk to the dead comes in handy when his town is overrun by zombies, ghost, witches and the like.  Throw in an impressive voice cast and truly stunning visuals, and ParaNorman may just end up being one of the best animated films of the year.

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LAWLESS

Director: John Hillcoat

Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Mia Wasikowska and Dane DeHaan.

Release Date: August 31

Why I’m Excited: I’m a sucker for period pieces, and a truly phenomenal cast taking on Prohibition-era bootlegging under the direction of John Hillcoat is supremely enticing.  The film’s trailer highlights the rawness with which we’ll be following Hardy and LaBeouf as two bootleggers in the South, and Pearce and Oldman look to be playing two bona fide badasses.  Hillcoat’s involvement ensures that Lawless won’t simply be a string of gunfights and chase sequences, and I’m more than eager to see how the drama unfolds.

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KILLING THEM SOFTLY

Director: Andrew Dominik

Cast: Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta, Ben Mendelsohn, Scoot McNairy, Bella Heathcote, and Sam Shepard.

Release Date: September 21

Why I’m Excited: Dominik’s solemn, introspective The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is one of my favorite films of the past decade, making this reteaming of Dominik and Pitt for Killing Them Softly a must-see for me.  The crime drama premiered to rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival, with many noting the pic’s social critique layered throughout the basic crime story.  The cast is stellar and Dominik truly is a one of a kind filmmaker, so hopefully this follow-up to James will have been worth the wait.

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LOOPER

Director: Rian Johnson

Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily BluntPaul DanoNoah Segan, Piper Perabo, and Jeff Daniels.

Release Date: September 28

Why I’m Excited: Johnson’s knack for wholly original storytelling is evident in his past two features, Brick and The Brothers Bloom, so it’s with great enthusiasm that we greet his first foray into the sci-fi genre (with time travel to boot!).  I’m a big fan of Gordon-Levitt, but I’d have Looper on this list even if it was full of a cast of unknowns.  In a marketplace crowded with explosion-filled actioners that are light on character and story, hopefully Johnson’s latest feature will be a massive breath of fresh air.

 

Brendan’s Picks

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SAVAGES

Director: Oliver Stone

Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Aaron Johnson, John Travolta, Benicio Del Toro, Salma Hayek, Emile Hirsch, and   Demian Bichir

Release Date: July 6

I’m 80% certain this will be terrible.  Oliver Stone’s glory days are well behind him, and Taylor Kitsch is having terrible luck this year after notable flops John Carter and Battleship.  But in the likely event that it is terrible, it won’t be boring.  The trailers make it clear that Savages will be audaciously terrible or—in that 20% where everything falls into place—extravagantly brilliant.  No in between.

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THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Release Date: July 20

This one is flying low under the radar right now, so you may not have heard much about it.  But mark my words: The Dark Knight Rises could be the surprise hit of the summer.

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LAWLESS

Director: John Hillcoat

Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Mia Wasikowska, and Dane DeHaan.

Release Date: August 31

Lawless features all your favorite actors at the moment: Hardy, Chastain, Pearce, Oldman, Wasikowska.  (Also, Shia LaBeouf.)  As directed by John Hillcoat, the film is simply covered in dirt and grime, a look that helps Lawless stand out among its contemporaries.  The reviews out of Cannes were mixed, but sufficiently positive to bolster my interest.

 

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FINDING NEMO

Director: Andrew Stanton

Cast: Andrew Stanton, Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould, and Willem Dafoe

Release Date: September 4

This is cheating, a bit.  But if the question is, “Which five movies am I most looking forward to seeing in theaters over the next three months?”—Finding Nemo is on that list.  I never saw it in theaters, and only watched it once on DVD in the years since.  I don’t even remember it all that well, so I have been saving myself ever since the re-release was announced.  I am pretty much indifferent to 3D, yet still I imagine this undersea world will look beautiful with the conversion.

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LOOPER

Director: Rian Johnson

Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily BluntPaul DanoNoah Segan, Piper Perabo, and Jeff Daniels.

Release Date: September 28

Rian Johnson’s feature debut, Brick, is astounding (and not just because the lead character is named Brendan).  His follow-up, The Brothers Bloom, was a step down, but still entertaining.  So all I need is to see that Johnson is taking on time travel (my single favorite movie plot device), and I’m in.  That was before I knew that this was the kind of time travel that requires consultation from Primer director Shane Carruth, the cinematic authority on hypothetically authentic time travel.

 

Dave’s Picks

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THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Release Date: July 20

Why I’m Excited:  I was excited to see all of Marvel’s superheroes gathered for The Avengers; double that and then some for DC’s Dark Knight.  There’s the simple fact that Nolan does not make a mediocre movie.  Add to that the fact that The Dark Knight Rises will be the conclusion to his epic trilogy, tying in plot points that were established in Batman Begins and further expanded in The Dark Knight. On a personal note, I was in Pittsburgh to watch portions of the filming and will be returning to the Steel City to view it opening night as a kick-off to my best friend’s bachelor party.  There’s no conceivable way for me to be more excited about this film!

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LAWLESS

Director: John Hillcoat

Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Mia Wasikowska and Dane DeHaan.

Release Date: August 31

Why I’m Excited:  I was a big fan of Hillcoat’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and I look forward to seeing him bring his own style to this prohibition-era flick.  Hardy is rapidly becoming one of my most anticipated actors to watch and it’ll be nice to see him out from behind Bane’s mask.  Pearce will get another chance to chew on some scenery after his Prometheus performance failed to live up to its viral predecessor.  I’ll be happy with LaBeouf as long as he keeps his pants on.

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PARANORMAN

Directors: Sam Fell and Chris Butler

Voice Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Casey AffleckAnna KendrickChristopher Mintz-PlasseLeslie MannJeff GarlinJohn Goodman, and Alex Borstein.

Release Date: August 17

Why I’m Excited:  This quarter is definitely action heavy with a few comedies sprinkled throughout.  I could have gone with The Campaign, The Watch or the romantic comedy Hope Springs which looks fantastic.  But after watching this behind-the-scenes making of ParaNorman, I was blown away by the craftsmanship and attention to detail.  Add to that a charming story, a stellar voice cast and some guaranteed summer laughs and this is an easy sell for me.

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THE WORDS

Directors: Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde, Jeremy Irons and J.K. Simmons

Release Date: September 7

Why I’m Excited:  This is my divergent pick from the rest of the crew.  I’ve seen the trailer a number of times in theaters and have yet to be jaded by it.  The plot centering on a struggling writer is nothing new, but the exploration of plagiarism and the effects it has on his career and personal life hits home for me.  Plus, the casting is fantastic and the chemistry between the leads gets me immediately invested.  Cooper proved in Limitless that he could do more than adult comedies and heartthrob roles.  This time around, I’m more interested to see the process of how his writer character gets into and out of trouble, rather than popping a MacGuffin pill.

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LOOPER

Director: Rian Johnson

Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily BluntPaul DanoNoah Segan, Piper Perabo, and Jeff Daniels.

Release Date: September 28

Why I’m Excited: Johnson and Gordon-Levitt have a long cooperative career ahead of them, so let’s enjoy these early days.  I checked out Brick after hearing the accolades from my co-workers and could not have been more pleased.  Looper will give the duo a chance to show off how much they’ve grown as filmmakers.  I’m also dying to see how Blunt plays into the plot as Johnson himself called her part “one of his favorites.”
Add in the time travel aspect/grandfather paradox and I’m sold.  Oh, one more thing: Bruce fucking Willis!

 

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