05 January 2012

2012 Movie Preview: Part One

Box office revenue and attendance at movie theaters were down in 2011, but Hollywood is eyeing a big year in 2012.

The schedule is packed with the latest adventures of Batman, Spider-Man and other superheroes, James Bond, the sparkly vampires of “Twilight,” Abraham Lincoln and a return to Middle-Earth.

Here is a sampling of what to expect at the movies in the first half of this year.

“Contraband” (Jan. 13)
Director: Baltasar Kormakur
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Giovanni Ribisi, Kate Beckinsale
Plot: A former smuggler heads to Panama to score millions of dollars in counterfeit bills to protect his brother-in-law from a drug lord.
Maki Meter of Anticipation (on a scale of 1 to 10): 4

Gina Carano is shown in a scene from "Haywire."
“Haywire” (Jan. 20)
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas
Plot: When freelance covert operative Mallory Kane is double-crossed, she becomes the subject of an international manhunt while trying to exact revenge on those who betrayed her.
Maki Meter: 8

“Underworld: Awakening” (Jan. 20)
Directors: Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein
Stars: Kate Beckinsale, Michael Ealy, India Eisley
Plot: Humans wage war on both vampires and lycans.
Maki Meter: 5

“The Grey” (Jan. 27)
Director: Joe Carnahan
Stars: Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo
Plot: A pack of wolves hunts an oil drilling team whose plane crashes in the wilds of Alaska.
Maki Meter: 5

“One for the Money” (Jan. 27)
Director: Julie Ann Robinson
Stars: Katherine Heigl, Jason O’Mara, Daniel Sunjata
Plot: Stephanie Plum lands a job at her cousin’s bail-bond business, and her first assignment puts her on the trail of a local cop from her romantic past. Based on the popular book series by Janet Evanovich.
Maki Meter: 4

“Man on a Ledge” (Jan. 27)
Director: Asger Leth
Stars: Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks
Plot: While a police psychologist works to talk down an ex-con threatening to jump from a Manhattan hotel rooftop, the biggest diamond heist ever is in motion.
Maki Meter: 4

“The Woman in Black” (Feb. 3)
Director: James Watkins
Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer, Ciaran Hinds
Plot: A young lawyer travels to a remote village where the ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals.
Maki Meter: 5

“Big Miracle” (Feb. 3)
Director: Ken Kwapis
Stars: Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski
Plot: In small-town Alaska, a news reporter recruits his ex-girlfriend to help save a family of gray whales trapped by ice in the Arctic Circle.
Maki Meter: 2

“Safe House” (Feb. 10)
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Stars: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Robert Patrick
Plot: A young CIA agent is tasked with looking after a fugitive in a safe house, and finds himself and the fugitive on the run when the safe house is attacked.
Maki Meter: 6

“Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” (Feb. 10)
Director: Brad Peyton
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Josh Hutcherson, Michael Caine
Plot: Sean Anderson teams with his mom’s boyfriend to find his grandfather, who is thought to be missing on a mythical island.
Maki Meter: 1

“Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” (Feb. 17)
Directors: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Ciaran Hinds, Idris Elba
Plot: Johnny Blaze is called upon to stop the devil, who is trying to take human form.
Maki Meter: 2

“This Means War” (Feb. 17)
Director: McG
Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Tom Hardy
Plot: Two CIA operatives wage an epic battle against one another after they discover they are dating the same woman.
Maki Meter: 5

Paul Rudd, left, and Jennifer Aniston are shown in a scene from "Wanderlust."
“Wanderlust” (Feb. 24)
Director: David Wain
Stars: Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston, Malin Akerman
Plot: Unemployment causes a New York City couple to move to a rural commune where free love rules.
Maki Meter: 9

“Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” (March 2)
Director: Tommy Wirkola
Stars: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Peter Stormare
Plot: Fifteen years after their gingerbread-house incident, Hansel and Gretel have become a team of bounty hunters that tracks and kills witches.
Maki Meter: 6

Jason Segel, left, and Ed Helms are shown in a scene from "Jeff, Who Lives at Home."
“Jeff, Who Lives at Home” (March 2)
Directors: Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass
Stars: Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Judy Greer
Plot: Jeff, dispatched from his basement room on an errand for his mother, might discover his destiny when he spends the day with his brother as he tracks his possibly adulterous wife.
Maki Meter: 7

“John Carter” (March 9)
Director: Andrew Stanton
Stars: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe
Plot: A Civil War veteran is transplanted to Mars, where he discovers a lush planet inhabited by 12-foot tall barbarians.
Maki Meter: 6

John Cusack is shown in a scene from "The Raven."

“The Raven” (March 9)
Director: James McTeigue
Stars: John Cusack, Alice Eve, Luke Evans
Plot: Edgar Allan Poe pursues a serial killer whose murders mirror those in the writer’s stories.
Maki Meter: 8

“Silent House” (March 9)
Directors: Chris Kentis and Laura Lau
Stars: Elizabeth Olsen, Adam Trese
Plot: A young woman descends into madness while trapped inside her family’s lakeside retreat.
Maki Meter: 5

“Mirror Mirror” (March 16)
Director: Tarsem Singh
Stars: Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer
Plot: An evil queen steals control of a kingdom, and Snow White enlists the help of seven rebels to win back her birthright.
Maki Meter: 3

“21 Jump Street” (March 16)
Directors: Phil Lord and Chris Miller
Stars: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube
Plot: A pair of underachieving cops is sent back to a local high school to bring down a synthetic drug ring.
Maki Meter: 4

“Casa de mi Padre” (March 16)
Director: Matt Piedmont
Stars: Will Ferrell, Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna, Nick Offerman
Plot: Trying to save their father’s ranch, the Alvarez brothers go to war with Mexico’s most feared drug lord.
Maki Meter: 6

Jennifer Lawrence is shown in a scene from "The Hunger Games."
“The Hunger Games” (March 23)
Director: Gary Ross
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson
Plot: In a post-apocalyptic future, 24 teenagers must fight to the death in the televised Hunger Games. Based on Suzanne Collins’s best-selling young adult novel.
Maki Meter: 7

“Wrath of the Titans” (March 30)
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Stars: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes
Plot: Perseus ventures into the underworld to rescue Zeus, who has been captured by his traitorous son, Ares, and his brother, Hades. Sequel to “Clash of the Titans” (2010).
Maki Meter: 2

“American Reunion” (April 6)
Directors: Jon Hurwitz, Hyden Schlossberg
Stars: Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Seann William Scott
Plot: It’s high school reunion time for the “American Pie” crew.
Maki Meter: 4

From left, Chris Hemsworth, Jesse Williams, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz and Kristen Connolly are shown in a scene from "The Cabin in the Woods."
“The Cabin in the Woods” (April 13)
Director: Drew Goddard
Stars: Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Chris Hemsworth
Plot: Bad things happen when five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods. Written by Goddard and Joss Whedon.
Maki Meter: 9

“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” (April 20)
Director: Lorene Scafaria
Stars: Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, Patton Oswalt
Plot: As an asteroid nears Earth, a man and his neighbor take a road trip to find his high school sweetheart.
Maki Meter: 7

“Lock-Out” (April 20)
Directors: James Mather and Stephen St. Leger
Stars: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace
Plot: A man wrongly convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage against the United States can win his freedom by rescuing the president’s daughter from an outer space prison taken over by the inmates.
Maki Meter: 5

“The Five-Year Engagement” (April 27)
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Stars: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt
Plot: A comedy charting the ups and downs of an engaged couple’s relationship.
Maki Meter: 7

“The Avengers” (May 4)
Director: Joss Whedon
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson
Plot: The heroes of “Iron Man,” “Captain America,” “Thor” and “The Incredible Hulk” come together.
Maki Meter: 9

“Dark Shadows” (May 11)
Director: Tim Burton
Stars: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, Helena Bonham Carter, Jackie Earle Haley, Chloe Grace Moretz
Plot: Based on the soap opera that ran from 1966 to 1971 about vampire Barnabas Collins.
Maki Meter: 7

“Battleship” (May 18)
Director: Peter Berg
Stars: Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker, Liam Neeson
Plot: Action movie based on the classic guessing game.
Maki Meter: 3

“Men in Black III” (May 25)
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Stars: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin
Plot: Agent J travels to the 1960s to stop an alien from assassinating Agent K and changing history.
Maki Meter: 5

“Moonrise Kingdom” (May 25)
Director: Wes Anderson
Stars: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Jason Schwartzman, Edward Norton, Harvey Keitel
Plot: A search party looks for a couple that has fled its New England home.
Maki Meter: 4

“Snow White and the Huntsman” (June 1)
Director: Rupert Sanders
Stars: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron
Plot: The Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed becomes her protector and mentor.
Maki Meter: 4

“Prometheus” (June 8)
Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Michael Fassbender
Plot: Discovering a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, explorers journey to the darkest corners of the universe, where they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.
Maki Meter: 8

“Jack the Giant Killer” (June 15)
Director: Bryan Singer
Stars: Nicholas Hoult, Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor
Plot: A young farmer leads an expedition into the giants’ kingdom to rescue a kidnapped princess.
Maki Meter: 6

“I Hate You Dad” (June 15)
Directors: Sean Anders and John Morris
Stars: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Leighton Meester, Susan Sarandon, James Caan
Plot: A father moves in with his son before his wedding and begins sparring with his daughter-in-law.
Maki Meter: 0

“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” (June 22)
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Stars: Benjamin Walker, Rufus Sewell, Dominc Cooper, Anthony Mackie
Plot: Detailing the 16th president’s secret life stalking the undead.
Maki Meter: 9

“Brave” (June 15)
Directors: Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
Stars: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Craig Ferguson
Plot: Granted one wish, Princess Merida must rely on her bravery and archery skills to undo a beastly curse. From Disney/Pixar.
Maki Meter: 6

“G.I. Joe: Retaliation” (June 29)
Director: Jon M. Chu
Stars: Channing Tatum, Dwayne Johnson, Ray Park, Bruce Willis, Ray Stevenson
Plot: The G.I. Joe team faces off against Zartan and the world leaders he has under his influence.
Maki Meter: 2

Stay tuned for part two of my 2012 preview (July through December).


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otherGreg said...

Holy hell, that's a long and depressing list.

I'll see Batman and the Avengers because, well... aren't we legally obligated to at this point? I'll need to get in touch with an entertainment laywer, but I'm pretty sure we are.

Aside from that, though, I think the only thing I've any real interest in is The Woman in Black. I'm familiar with the story and the play and it's a fun and spooky tale.

I don't know... my wife will probably make me see that Jason Seagull flick. But... I don't know...

Maybe I'll read a book or something this year. Go outside and climb a rock or whatever.