Only God Forgives
The Film: Drive was our favourite film of 2011, and that was mostly thanks to two very important people – the film’s director Nicolas Winding Refn, and its star Ryan Gosling. Which means we’re positively chewing our first in anticipation of the pair’s next offering, Only God Forgives .
Sticking with the gritty action theme, Gosling plays a gangster who settles his differences with a Bangkok police officer (Yayaying) by getting in the ring and unleashing some furious fists. Meanwhile, Kristin Scott Thomas is apparently terrifying as a “merciless mafia godmother”. Has epic written all over it.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be a remake of a cool Japanese flick.
MS One: Maximum Security
The Film: Guy Pearce with a gun. Five words that pretty much mean we have to see MS One , which was previously going under the (better, in our opinion) title Lock-Out .
Pearce plays a man wrongly convicted of conspiracy who’s offered his freedom if he can save the president’s daughter from a space station. Awesome.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be based on an '80s video game.
The Film: Sundance lovely and indie filmmaker Ry Russo-Young teams up with Juno wise-cracker Olivia Thirlby for this whimsical-looking drama, in which a family takes a young artist into their home. Expect it to be artsy and affecting.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be a biopic of a now-famous artist.
Lords Of Salem
The Film: Having tired of watching Michael Myer kill people on screen, director Rob Zombie’s moved away from Halloween territory for this supernatural horror.
Given the title, we know the setting, as 300 witches descend on Salem after a DJ plays a, um, cursed record. This is gonna be crazy.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be a trashy comic book.
The Film: Banged Up Abroad director Bart Layton heads to the movies but sticks to what he knows with this documentary, which follows a young French guy who manages to convince a Texan family that he is their long lost son. This should be the Catfish of 2012.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be based on real life.
The Film: TF favourite Paul Dano heads up this drama from Treeless Mountain (lovely, check it out) director So Yong Kim.
Dano’s a young musician who goes on a long-distance trip to fight his ex-wife for custody of their daughter. After the quiet beauty of Treeless Mountain (which dabbled in similar themes), this should be a real treat.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be a Westernisation of Treeless Mountain.
The Film: They didn’t get to meet in Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows , but Sherlock gals Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams are teaming up for this dramatic thriller, in which a young businesswoman plans revenge on her boss for stealing her idea.
If It Was Based On Something: It'd be the as-yet-unpublished fourth book in the Millennium trilogy.
The Film: Noomi Rapace again, getting all the roles that Swedish film can throw at her. This time she’s paired up with her hubbie for an examination of the career of Swedish boxer Bosse Högberg, and his romance with cabaret singer Anita Lindblom.
If It Was Based On Something: It'd be Anita's memoirs.
The Film: “All the stuff that actually happens in the movie is entirely fictitious and made up because we wanted to take liberties and we wanted to make it good,” says Channing Tatum, who dreamed up the concept for Magic Mike based on his time as a male stripper.
Alongside Alex Pettyfer and Matthew McConaughey, Tatum plays a stripper who’s teaching his skills to a new generation. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, it’s expected to be rated a “hard R”, though you shouldn’t expect any full frontal nudity. Shucks.
If It Was Based On Something: Uh, it’d be based on Tatum’s experiences working as a stripper…
The Film: After years spent dabbling in mo-cap CGI movies, director Robert Zemeckis (Back To The Future ) is back working in live-action filmmaking – and thank God he is.
With Denzel Washington in the lead as a pilot who saves a plane from crashing – only to find out something disturbing about the plane’s malfunctions - this sounds like the best thing Zemeckis has worked on in years.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be a leaked secret government file.
The Five-Year Engagement
The Film: Romcoms are entering a new phase – the post- Bridesmaids phase. Which is what’s splashed all over the one-sheet for this comedy from Forgetting Sarah Marshall helmer Nicholas Stoller.
Jason Segel and Emily Blunt play a couple who decide to get married, but whose wedding is delayed interminably by that thing called life. Can it reach the heady highs of Bridesmaids ? Considering the talent involved, we like them odds.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be a little-heard-of piece of chick lit.
The Film: Terence Malick is on a roll after Tree Of Life . The famously perfection-seeking director spent 20 years attempting to follow up 1978’s Days Of Heaven , and has worked in drips and drabs ever since. But on the heels of Life , he’s delivering this, which stars Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams in a tale of romantic passion.
If It Was Based On Something: It'd be based on something that once happened in Malick's life, though he'd never cop to it.
The Film: It’s been four years since Hollywood scriptwriter David Koepp helmed fun comedy Ghost Town , but he’s finally back behind the view-finder for this Joseph Gordon-Levitt-led action thriller.
Squeezing into a shiny cyclist’s outfit, JLG is a bike messenger who catches the attention of a dirty cop when he picks up a delivery. Cue chase scenes galore – and JLG in cycling shorts. What more could you want?
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be a Black List screenplay.
The Film: Coolest man alive William Fichtner leads the cast of Quentin Dupieux’s fourth feature film. And it sounds a little more convention than the director’s last – Rubber , which followed a sentient and murderous tyre.
Jack Plotnick is Dolph Springer, who wakes up one day to find that his dog is missing. So Springer goes on a mission to find him - and gets himself into a right tangle. OK, it’s not more conventional than Rubber at all. This could get weird.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be based on a really weird dream that Dupieux had and only half remembered.
The Film: Kirsten Dunst is on a roll when it comes to edge of reality movies at the moment.
After watching the world end in Melancholia , she’s pivotal to the plot of Upside Down , which follows a young man (Jim Sturgess) who searches an alternate universe for a long-lost love.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be a Philip K. Dick novel.
Knights Of Badassdom
The Film: It was shot ages ago, but it’s finally hitting the big screens - and not a moment too soon. Where distant genre cousin Your Highness attempted to fuse fantasy and funny stuff and ended up a muddled mess, Badassom looks generally, well, brilliant.
For a start it stars sci-fi totty Summer Glau, while Margarita Levieva ( Spread , Adventureland ) plays a succubus who’s summoned from hell by role-playing nerds. This is gonna be good.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be based on some kind of WoW computer game.
The Film: Danny Boyle melds minds with James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson. The result? A crime thriller that follows what happens after a botched art heist involving McAvoy and Vincent Cassel, who both fall for Dawson’s charms.
“The film is a real mind-bender. It is one of those films where, very easily, you can get confused about what you’re doing,” says Macca. “But, we’ve had an excellent time.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be an Alex Garland novel.
The Film: Dax Shepard writes, directs and stars in this thriller, in which he plays a former getaway driver who jeopardises his witness protection plan to help his beleaguered girlfriend (Kristen Bell).
In the wake of Drive (which pretty much cornered the market on getaway drivers), this has a lot to live up to.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be a sequel to Drive .
Struck By Lighting
The Film: Saved! director Brian Dannelly makes a welcome return to movies after spending the last eight years directing (quality) TV shows like Weeds , Pushing Daisies and The United States Of Tara.
It seems to have been worth the wait, as he’s assembled the likes of Christina Hendricks ( Drive , Mad Men ) and Dermot Mulroney for a tale about a man who dies after being hit by lightning.
If It Was Based On Something: It'd be a best-selling novel.
End Of Watch
The Film: Yes, that is Jake Gyllenhaal with a shaved head and a gun, screaming right in your face. Why? Well, he’s playing a cop in David Ayer’s hard-bitten cop drama.
It’s more ambitious than that initially sounds, though. The film's composed entirely from footage that's shot to look like it’s been captured through the handheld cameras of police officers, as Jake and Michael Peña work to keep the dirty city streets clean. Jake’s compared it to Glengarry Glen Ross . Make of that what you will.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be based on the biography of a retired cop.
The Film: First-time director Nima Nourizadeh calls the shots on this coming-of-ager, which sees three high school buddies attempt to throw the party to end all parties.
Except then the party gets out of control, which means it’s likely to be the party nobody ever forgets – for all the wrong reasons.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be a spin-off/sequel to Superbad .
Welcome To People
The Film: Star Trek and Transformers writer Alex Kurtzman wades into the directing pool with thissun, and he’s grabbed himself a might impressive female cast in the svelte forms of Olivia Wilde, Michelle Pfeiffer and Elizabeth Banks.
Meanwhile, Kirk himself Chris Pine is on hand playing a man who must deliver a load of his dead father’s money to a sister he’s never laid eyes on. Jon Favreau’s also in it. (Friends in high places and all that.) “That is a beautiful script,” says Pine.
If It Was Based On Something: It'd be an old Western that needs some serious updating.
The Film: For his first film, director Rodrigo Cortés put Ryan Reynolds in a box for 90 minutes and watched him squirm.
Now he’s thinking outside the box with Red Lights , recruiting Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver and Robert De Niro for his second feature – a thriller that revolves around De Niro’s supposed psychic, who Weaver’s attempting to expose as a fraud. We expect much from this.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be a belated spin-off from Ghostbusters .
The Film: Any film directed by Wes Anderson gets our vote – but it gets a double vote when it’s got a title like Moonrise Kingdom . Wonder if it'll feature a cameo by My Little Pony.
Starring Bruce Willis, Frances Mcdormand and Tilda Swinton, Kingdom 's plot revolves around a hunt for two lovers who flee their New England town.
If It Was Based On Something: It would be the just-discovered journals of the star-crossed lovers.
The Film: Shaky-cam sci-fi thriller, in which a trio of high schoolers discover they suddenly have supernatural powers after an encounter with some weird glowly substance.
It was made for next to nothing, but boasts some impressive-looking visuals and a fun premise. The trailer’s awesome.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be an X-Men comic book, obviously.
The Film: Go-to horror gal of the moment Sara Paxton (Last House On The Left , Shark Night 3D ) lends her lungs to another chill-inducing screamer.
Except this one looks way better than the sodden Shark Night , as Paxton attempts to root out the ghosts at the inn where she works. Also, no, Bill isn’t her dad (though they’re distantly related).
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be a horrible old urban legend.
The Film: Pixar’s 13th feature film, but will it suffer under the supernatural weight of that particularly unlucky number? Pffft, doubtful.
Despite being their 13th, Brave is stuffed full of Pixar firsts, including their first female heroine – the red-mained Merida – and their first film set in Scotland. It’s also their first full-on fantasy, and from footage that we’ve seen, it’s going to be remarkable.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be a Scottish old wive’s tale.
The Film: Bothered and bewildered throughout a torturous pre-production that saw off former star Angelina Jolie, Alfonso Cuarón’s ( Children Of Men ) ambitious sci-fi is finally underway and set for a 2012 release.
With new stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney onboard, it’s sounding fantastic – a sparse space movie that has Bullock scraping off the make-up. Apparently, it opens with a single 20 minute tracking shot.
If It Was Based On Something: It'd be some sort of NASA manual. With a little artistic license, of course.
The Film: Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a younger version of Bruce Willis. Wait, wait, come back! That may sound like a bit of a stretch, but we’re confident that in the hands of Brick director Rian Johnson, it’ll all make some kind of cool sense.
Also, the premise – JGL’s contract killer is tasked with offing his future self – has us salivating like a starved mutt.
If It Was Based On Something: It'd be a pulpy sci-fi novel.
The Cabin In The Woods
The Film: Much-delayed but much-awesome-looking, Cabin In The Woods has been on our radar for ages thanks to the involvement of Buffy alumni Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard. They scripted this convention-flouting horror, while the latter (who also scribbled Cloverfield ) is making his directorial debut.
If that hasn’t got your juices flowing, the cast list also features a veritable who’s who of amazing, including Chris Hemsworth, Richard Jenkins and Angel beauty Amy Acker.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be an uncharacteristically smart reboot of the Friday The 13th franchise.
The Film: An Indonesian film. With a Welsh director. Kooky enough for you? It’s certainly got us seeing stars, with Indonesian newcomer Iko Uwais playing Rama, who finds himself dragged into an underworld where gangsters and killers use a high rise apartment building as a safe house.
Word has it that it’s brilliantly brutal and features a star-making turn from Uwais. Could well be this year’s Kill List.
If It Was Based On Something: It'd be an old script treatment that nobody was brave enough to develop.
The Film: Paul Thomas Anderson’s sixth, and his first film since the grimy masterpiece that was 2007’s There Will Be Blood .
It also marks the return of Joaquin Phoenix, who’s given up stunt acting to play a drifter who becomes the right hand man of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s charming intellectual. Together, they found a religious organisation post-WW2. Expect massive themes and unforgiving storytelling.
If It Was Based On Something: It'd be a crafty alt-future novel by somebody like Stephen King.
The Film: Yes, that is Ben Affleck with a massive beard, but that’s not the only reason to get excited about Argo . It’s also the star’s third film as director, and after Gone Baby Gone and The Town , that’s really something to wet your pants over.
Argo has Affleck testing his filmmaking limits again, this time mounting a historical drama set during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. He’s got Bryan Cranston and John Goodman on the cast list, and George Clooney producing.
If It Was Based On Something: It'd be a news report, which it sort of already is.
The Film: Not another vampire story, but Oldboy director Park Chan-wook’s English-language debut. With the Scotts (Ridley and Tony) producing, he’s making a grand entrance, too, as Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman and Matthew Goode lend their talents to his dark drama.
Goode plays Uncle Charlie Stoker, who moves in with Wasikowska’s India when her father dies. Needless to say, they don’t make for happy roomies.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be a creaky old Gothic novel.
Jeff Who Lives At Home
The Film: The Duplass brothers rebound from Cyrus for this scripted indie drama, which stars Jason Segel and Ed Helms. Just think of it as an indie union made in heaven.
Segel and Helms play brothers who are each struggling with their own issues – the former’s 30 and living in their parents’ basement, while the latter’s just emerged out of a failed marriage. We spy heart-touching humour on the horizon.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be a Saturday Night Live sketch.
House At The End Of The Street
The Film: Jennifer Lawrence, soon to be seen in the movie adaptation of The Hunter Games (fist in gob), sticks to genre fare for this creepy horror.
She’s a teenage girl who moves into a new house that just happens to sit opposite a house where a double murder took place. Before you can say “where’s the nearest estate agents?”, she’s made friends with the only survivor...
If It Was Based On Something: It'd be a sort-of remake, sort-of sequel to Last House On The Left .
The Film: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill are the titular watchmen who set up their own protective ring as an excuse to have some time away from their families.
Except then they stumble across a plot to destroy the Earth, and they’re the only ones standing in the way.
If It Was Based On Something : It’d be another SNL skit. There are loads of those things, aren’t there?
Martha Marcy May Marlene
The Film: The Olsen twins spent years pedalling their cutesy double act, but who knew they had a younger sister just waiting in the wings to entirely eclipse them?
Making her movie debut, Elizabeth Olsen brings spare, measured trembles to this drama about a brain-washing cult. And a star is born. Do not miss this one.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be based on an unsettling newspaper report.
The Film: Credit to Seth Macfarlane. A lesser man would make his movie debut by transferring his most famous TV property – say Family Guy – to the big screen. Nice and safe. Instead, he’s taken the more dangerous route by concocting an original story for his break into the movies.
The story? When he was a kid, John wished for his teddy bear to come to life. Years later, John’s (Mark Wahlberg) grown up and Ted’s still around – except he’s a miserable, belligerent nuisance. Funny bones will be tickled.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be a disused draft of Kubrick’s AI: Artificial Intelligence.
Welcome To The Punch
The Film: When Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong) returns to London despite being wanted for some horrible crimes, detective Max Lewinsky (James McAvoy) seizes on the opportunity to bring Sternwood down.
Is Macca the busiest man working in the movies right now? It seems that way, but at least he’s not sacrificing quality for quantity – this sounds like a great little pot boiler.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be a Sherlock Holmes novel.
The Film: Charlize Theron gripes, moans and cusses herself blue in the face in this foul-tempered dark comedy from Juno creators Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman.
As an author of young adult fiction, Theron’s Mavis returns to her hometown in Minnesota and does everything in her power to woo back her old high school boyfriend. Critics have been raving - in a good way.
If It Was Based On Something: It would be a belated follow-up to Juno following what happened when Juno became a thirtysomething.
A Fantastic Fear Of Everything
The Film: Simon Pegg dons a frightwig to play Jack, a children’s author who becomes a paranoid wreck when he researches the lives of Victorian serial killers for his new crime novel.
Pegg’s had mixed luck away from the safety net of his Frost/Wright triangle, but this one sounds like a fun little quirkfest.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be a novel.
The Film: Long distance relationships have formed the crux of movies before (don’t even get us started on Going The Distance ), but they’ve never been examined as tenderly as in Drake Doremus’ quiet little love story.
Anton Yelchin ( Star Trek ) and Felicity Jones ( Cemetery Junction ) play two lovers separated by the Atlantic. As they miss each other (yes, like crazy), they find life keeps getting in the way of their plans for a happily ever after. Moving stuff nicely complemented by some fine performances.
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be the real-life memoirs of a lovesick teen.
The Film: A-Team director Joe Carnahan has called this Liam Neeson’s finest hour, and looking at early shots from the film, it’s hard not to believe him.
Neeson plays Ottway, who’s stranded in Alaska after a plane crash. As if surviving the harsh conditions isn’t challenge enough, he then has to contend with some very hungry wolves...
If It Was Based On Something: It’d be the true story of a real-life bad-ass.
The Film: In Bruges director Martin McDonagh unites Woody Harrelson, Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken for a mean-looking drama that involves extreme violence (or so we’ve heard) and Olga Kurylenko.
The plot? A writer gets caught up in a dog-kidnapping scheme. Consider McDonagh’s behind the wheel, we expect it to be about a whole lot more than just that.
If It Was Based On Something: It'd be a quirky bit of literature that's set the bestseller's list ablaze.
The Film: From the makers of Coraline , ParaNorman is a 3D stop-motion marvel that looks like a cross between The Goonies and Eerie, Indiana.
Norman is a young outcast who has an ace up his sleeve – he’s able to talk to the dead. Which comes in handy when his hometown is overrun with zombies. We want to see this yesterday.
If It Was Based On Something: It'd be a really scary kids pop-up book.
The Film: Showing first at this year’s Sundance festival, Smashed has Mary Elizabeth Winstead trying her hand at more hard-hitting drama than we’ve known her for in The Thing and Scott Pilgrim.
She plays Kate Hannah, whose relationship with husband Charlie (Aaron Paul) revolves almost entirely around their love for the drink. But when Kate decides to sober up, can their relationship survive?
If It Was Based On Something: It'd be a past relationship of the director.
Wish You Were Here
The Film: Teresa Palmer’s had a rough couple of years. After impressing in Wolf Creek , she’s found herself sidelined in a string of big budget films that failed to do good ( I Am Number Four , Take Me Home Tonight ). This should change that.
Starring opposite fellow countryman Joel Edgerton, Palmer looks to be on top form in this tourist drama, which is stuffed full of mystery and secrets. We’ll be checking it out at Sundance, so be sure to come back for our verdict.
If It Was Based On Something: It'd be an autobiography where we're never quite sure if the narrator's reliable.
The First Time
The Film: Brit boy Craig Roberts makes an appearance in this American romantic drama, which follows the first weekend of a new romance between two high schoolers.
It also stars Teen Wolf funny guy Dylan O’Brien and is directed by Jon Kasdan, who cut his teeth as a bit-player on Dawson’s Creek .
If It Was Based On Something: It'd be a TV series like, say, Dawson's Creek ...
The Film: A big hit at the South By Southwest film festival, director Lena Dunham's tightly-scripted indie flick may look like a mumblecore production, but Dunham's adamant it's got more to it than that.
Dunham stars as Aura, who returns from college and finds she doesn't have a clue what to do with her life. After taking a job at a restaurant, she becomes the object of two men's affections, and struggles to define herself away from them. According to those who've seen it, this is a tiny movie with massive heart.
If It Was Based On Something: It'd be a new instalment in the literary Borrowers saga.