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Top 12 films for 2012

Sneaking a peek at the films to hit our screens this year, young Melbourne filmmaker Edward Drake gives his top 12 to look out for.

With the films of 2011 all but in the rear-view mirror, let’s look at what cinematic delights 2012 promises.

12) World War Z

If an adaption of a classic piece of zombie literature isn’t enough to make you weak at the knees, then perhaps having Brad Pitt in the lead role will help. World War Z, an oral account of the Zombie War by Max Brooks (son of Mel) was one of the most engrossing reads I’ve had in a long time. When news broke many years ago that Paramount had acquired the rights, zombie lovers rejoiced. whilst it underwent considerable rewrites in development hell, we can look forward to an adaption hitting our screens directed by Quantum of Solace helm Marc Forster on 21 December 2012.

11) Skyfall

Sam Mendes teaming up with Danial Craig to shoot what could be his last outing as the inimitable James Bond is an idea to good not to imagine. Mendes’ criminally underrated The Road To Perdition showed his deft take on creating genuine tension in a drama disguised as a gangster action film. The allure of Skyfall is slightly diminished when we keep in mind that Quantum Of Solace came no where near as close to reaching the heights of its predecessor, Casino Royale. Expect to see Bond in action November 007, 2012.

10) Cloud Atlas

Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski & Lana Wachowski team up to tell one of modern literature’s most ambitious tales: David Mitchell’s Cloud Altas. Wikipedia’s description is enough to raise eyebrows: ‘The novel consists of six nested stories that take the reader from the remote South Pacific in the nineteenth century to a distant, post-apocalyptic future. Each tale is revealed to be a story that is read (or watched) by the main character in the next.’

With a cast including Tom Hanks, Hugo Weaving, Halle Berry, Jim Sturgess and Hugh Grant, the 19 October release date is painfully far away.

9) Wettest County

One of Australia’s best directors, John Hillcoat (The Proposition, The Road), takes a step back into the ol’ times when alcohol bootlegging was an everyday occurrence and no one batted an eyelid when saloon fights broke out. So why should a story set in depression-era Virginia that follows the story of a bootlegging gang threatened by authorities who want a cut of their profits get you excited? The script has had rewrites from none-other than the baddest seed of all, Nick Cave. With a cast that includes Tom Hardy, Jessica Chasten, Gary Oldman and Shia LaBeouf, this will be one hot property come Oscar time in 2013! See for yourself  on 31 August.

8 ) Gravity

When the director of 2006’s seminal Children of Men announced that his next project would be a futuristic sci-fi drama set entirely in space with a 20-minute single opening shot, I started listening. Alfonso Cuarón has got George Clooney and Sandra Bullock to come along for the ride. Not much more is known at this stage, other than the actors had very little to no make-up on during filming, however, I can’t wait for its release on 21 November.

7) Django Unchained

Hands up who enjoyed the hell out of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. All of you, eh? Good. The man is back with a homage to Westerns in this tale of slave trade in Southern America circa 1900s. Throw in Joesph Gordan Levitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx, and stir until it comes to an awesome boil. I have absolute faith in my man Quentin and his story about a freed slave who, with help from his mentor, sets off to free his wife from the would-be ravishing of an evil plantation owner. We’re in for an awesome soundtrack, long-winded dialogue sequences and memorable characters come 25 December.

6) Seven Psychopaths

Controversial choice you may say, but let me explain. In Bruges is one of the most intelligent, engrossing and emotive films to ever be. The idea of its director, Martin McDonagh, re-teaming with Bruges lead, Colin Farrell, to tell a story about a screen-writer caught up in a plot to kidnap a dog is interesting. No release date yet, but the festival circuit is probably where we’ll catch our first glimpse of what it has to offer.

Sidenote: Martin’s brother, John Michael McDonagh, was the writer / director of one of 2011’s best films, The Guard.

5) The Dark Knight Rises

Why so low? The Dark Knight Rises is most certainly going to be one of the year’s cinematic highlights. Christian Bale will be moody, Tom Hardy will be moody, Christopher Nolan will be gritty, and I can’t help but wonder what new elements this third film will bring. It will undoubtedly reach number one on hundreds of ‘Top 12 for 2012’ lists, and I can’t wait to see it come 7 July.

4) The Avengers

This ensemble extraordinaire looks like a whole lot of fun. With Jose Whedon at the helm, The Avengers has tapped into our thirst for a fun action films and buzz has been building rapidly. The trailers make it look like Robert Downey Jr gets all the good lines, and that’s okay. Keep an eye out for Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Hawkeye, Thor and the rest on 4 May.

3) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Peter Jackson’s back in his element if the first trailer for The Hobbit is any indication. Joining him for the ride is Martin Freeman as a young Bilbo Baggins, and Sir Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey. Having recently re-watched the trilogy over Christmas I’m incredibly excited and hopeful for the film. Jackson has this amazing way of creating an epic fantasy tale that has that touch of excitement you get from reading the books. Get ready for the first part of the journey come 25 December.

2) Looper

By God. Rian Johnson is a filmmaker that is incredibly intelligent and has the swagger of a classic 1950s filmmaker. He understands the medium and his debut film, Brick, was what convinced me to become a filmmaker. The Brothers Bloom was a fun romp through the heist genre and now, for his third film Looper, he’s teamed up with Primer savant Shane Carruth (though we don’t know in what capacity).

The premise is awesome: in the future it is extremely hard to kill someone, so they send them back in time for Jospeh Gordan Levitt to take care of. However, when Joseph Gordan Levitt’s older self, in the form of Bruce Willis, is sent back, he needs to figure out how to survive when he already knows his future. The 28 September release date can’t come soon enough.

1) Prometheus

Ridley Scott is an interesting filmmaker to say the least, and I have it on good authority that Prometheus is going to be one of his most ambitious projects. But that’s not what makes this my number one most anticipated film for 2012. Watch the trailer. Seriously. With visuals like that and a line up including Noomi Rapace, Guy Pearce, Michael Fassbander and Charlize Theron, Prometheus is being hyped up as the cinematic event for 2012.

Hopefully this list has shed some light on the bigger releases of the year, and some more off-beat ones, too.

What are your most anticipated forthcoming films for 2012?


Edward Drake is graduate of  Media Studies at La Trobe University and a Melbourne-based filmmaker. His debut film, Animals, entered production early January 2012 and is expected to hit cinemas late 2012-early 2013. You can follow him on Twitter:  @EdJDrake.

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