It's that time of year...again. 2012 has flown by. It's been a big year at the movies with heroes (The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Hunger Games), franchises (Madagascar 3, Skyfall), indies (Moonrise Kingdom, The Perks of Being a Wallflower), and some surprises (Magic Mike, Argo) lighting up the box office and setting records worldwide.
Luckily, the world isn't over just yet (we've still got a few weeks to go), so there's still plenty of time to get in a few good movies before we all disintegrate or disappear. To get you prepared for the year's biggest and best films, here's a list I've compiled of the most notable releases for the rest of the year, beginning with this weekend's critically-praised release of Spielberg's Lincoln biopic starring Daniel Day-Lewis, plus the end of the vampire era with the release of the final chapter in the Twilight saga.
These are the movies that will be hits at the box office, that you'll brag about or rag about to your friends the next day. They're the ones that will make you cry or keep you on the edge of your seat. And, they're the ones that you'll hear during awards season, meaning they hold some caliber compared to your run-of-the-mill cinema fare. Here is the 2012 Holiday Movie Guide.
Spielberg forgoes shiny special effects and edge of your seat thrills for an intense, and realistic, view of our nations 16th president. Daniel Day Lewis stars as the titular leader and is supported by a stellar cast, including Sally Field, Joseph Gordon Levitt, and Tommy Lee Jones.
Tolstoy's epic romance is known as the greatest novel of all time, so it's fitting that Joe Wright would tackle the sweeping story after his successful Pride & Prejudice adaptation. Filling the Russian woman's cheating shoes is Wright's muse, Keira Knightly. Besides being a period piece, Wright has taken some creative liberties, setting the entire production in an old theater.
THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKG DAWN, PART 2
In the final chapter of Stephanie Meyers' vampire "masterpiece" (for lack of a better term, in regards to it's cultural prowess, not necessarily regarding its quality), we see the Cullen's in a new light as they do everything to protect Edward and Bella's new child. Only the twi-hards will flock to this one, but with an "A" Cinemascore and a shot at a box office record, it's hard to argue it's power. And, it sadly shows that quality doesn't always rule the box office like it used to.
RISE OF THE GUARDIANS
One of 21 films to qualify for the Academy Award nominations in Best Animated Feature, this Dreamworks project depicts a rough-around-the-edges, elite group of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and Jack Frost, as they target and destroy the Bogeyman.
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
One of the more successful stories out of the festivals this year, plus a major frontrunner for the Best Picture prize, the lovable dramady stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence like you've never seen them.
LIFE OF PI
Considered to be one of the first 3D "art films", Ang Lee's adaptation of the bestselling novel, Life of Pi, has received some pretty strong and positive reviews from the festival scene. The story follows a young boy after a horrific disaster at sea, which leaves him on a lifeboat with an equally uncomfortable Bengal tiger. Beautifully shot, Life of Pi is expected to be the next great 3D film following Avatar and Hugo.
Anthony Hopkins stars as the British filmmaker in a love story of Hitchcock and his wife, Alma Reville (Helen Mirren) during the filming of Psycho. With a witty cast of young Hollywood playing some of Hollywood's iconic actors/characters (Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel, James D'Arcy), Hitchcock is receiving some interesting reviews, most marking it as a unique look at one of Hollywood's most-loved auteurs.
RUST AND BONE
Oscar winner Marion Cotillard stars in this drama centered on a whale trainer who loses her legs in a tragic accident. The film screened at Cannes to great reviews, especially for Cotillard, who may be up for another gold statue.
KILLING THEM SOFTLY
Touting an incredible cast including Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta, and James Gandolfini, Killing Them Softly is a rough and tumbled tour de force that follows Jackie Cogan, an enforcer investigating a heist-gone-wrong during a mob poker game. Drama and blood follow.
THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY
Bilbo Baggins gets the film treatment in this J.R.R. Tolkein adaptation by the man who knows the Shire the best, The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson. Baggins journey to the Lonely Mountain with a team of dwarves to reclaim a treasure stolen by an evil dragon is the center of this first part of a three piece franchise. Let's hope it lives up to the LOTR success and not become an overdone epic.
Rated: (Not Yet Rated)
An elderly couple's love is put to the test after a health scare in this Palme d'Or winner from French director, Michael Haneke.
ZERO DARK THIRTY
Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) brings to life the events surrounding the successful hunt for Osama bin Laden. Starring Jessica Chastain as a CIA analyst, the big question is whether or not Zero Dark Thirty will live up to the hype it's already receiving, despite having even screened yet.
The harrowing true story of a family vacationing at a Thai resort in 2004 when the deadly tsunami hits, separating the family amidst the devastation. Starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, The Impossible is slowing picking up pace to potentially become one of the biggest critical successes of the year, leading possibly to some Oscar gold.
ON THE ROAD
In the first adaptation of Jack Kerouac's Beat Generation classic, Sam Riley and Garrett Hedlund travel cross-country with Kristen Stewart in a '49 Hudson sedan. Another film that's made the festival rounds, the reviews have been mixed, most stating that Stewart shows something a little different here, which is refreshing. Co-stars Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst.
THIS IS 40
Judd Apatow is back with a semi-sequel to Knocked Up. This film follows the beloved and wacky Pete and Debbie (Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann) as they deal with the joys and pains of getting older.
Tom Cruise is Jack Reacher, a former military cop investigating a spree of sniper killings. The film is an adaptation of the bestselling Lee Child's novels. Not much to say about this one. Tom Cruise. Action. Stunts. Same ole, same ole.
The King's Speech director Tom Hooper brings to life the beloved stage musical based on the 1862 Victor Hugo novel. Starring an A-list cast, including Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables is setting itself up to be a huge hit, critically and commercially. Plus, thanks to its filming/recording techniques, it could prove to be one of the better musicals in recent years.
Rated: (Not Yet Rated)
WEST OF MEMPHIS
Peter Jackson produced this documentary that chronicles the dramatic journey of the West Memphis Three, who were accused of murder in 1993 but ended up being released last year after appeals and reviews of the case and evidence.
One part classic spaghetti Western, another part Tarantino, Django Unchained is the in-your-face, top-notch caliber movie of the season. Starring Jamie Foxx as the titular Django, a slave with vengeance in his grasps, Tarantino takes the viewer on a journey of repentance and self-redemption as only Tarantino can. Co-starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz (who earned an Oscar for Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds).
What movies are you looking forward to? Which ones are you definitely going to see? Let me know, AND come back here and give us your thoughts after you've seen them!