Six titles that prove film ain’t dead yet in 2012

Cloud Atlas
New Zealand release date TBA

The Wachowski sister co-directs with Tom Tykwer of Run Lola Run fame, the Wachowski brother co-writes with all three. More of a success than the failure it could have been if initial reviews and screenings are to go by, Rotten Tomatoes has already scored it a 74%, with 14 fresh reviews to 6 rotten, and given the potential this film had to completely polarize its audience that’s a pretty good sign. The film is a sprawling epic, concerning how the actions of people throughout time impact the past, present and future. The film jumps from century to century, with the ensemble cast of Tom Hanks, Helle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Jim Strurgess and Hugh Grant to name a few playing multiple characters, all who undergo changes depending on the period of time. Sounds like pretty complex stuff, the most ambitious film the Wachowski brothers have created since The Matrix and their most successful since the original it seems. Also looks like it returns to themes found within a lot of Tykwer’s work, surrounding time, consequence, human relationships etc… Should be visually stunning and a thrilling ride, if a little over ambitious at times. But there’s nothing wrong with that.

The Master
New Zealand release date TBA 

Paul Thomas Anderson’s first film since There Will Be Blood will be great, no matter what your preference in film. Post World War II America provides the backdrop for a tale apparently inspired by scientology and its founder L. Ron Hubbard. Joaquin Pheonix plays a Naval veteran who is tantalized by a religious group called The Cause, the leader of which is played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman. The critics are raving, audiences are jizzing, its gonna be a good one. I’m hoping it will reinstall my faith in Hoffman as a good actor after watching The Boat That Rocked a few nights ago. That film sucked.

Looper
New Zealand release date 27th September

Time travel thriller that sees Jason Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, a looper, who kills men sent by the mob from a future in which time travel exists, yet is only available on the black market. The mob one day decides to close the loop, sending future Joe played by Bruce Willis back to be killed. Sounding kind of like The Terminator, giving off the vibe similiar to that of a Nolan thriller and featuring a director whose debut, Brick was as a modern noir comes, Looper has so far recieved no bad reviews (out of 23) and looks likely to be a spectacular event film. We don’t get enough good time travel films, a concept which is always a little difficult to pull off, so lets all relish getting one as kick ass as this.

To The Wonder 
New Zealand release date TBA

Terrance Malick’s next film and fastest follow up in history might very well be more difficult than The Tree of Life and stands the risk of appealing only to die hard Malick fans, but at the very least it’s going to do something interesting with the language of cinema and for that I remain excited. Ben Afflick plays a committment hesitant man caught between a new love affair and the rekindling of an old one, in this tale set in Paris and the States. Initial reviews state of the lack of dialogue, the striking visuals and the subtle performances. Sounds like a good companion peice to Tree of Life. Unlike that film we won’t have any massive excursions into the beginning of the universe, nor any CGI dinosaurs, but we have a unique cinematic investigation of love, fear and faith within human relationships. The film will probably make us work for it, but we don’t always have to be passive spectators being guided along by the Hollywood machine eh?

Cosmopolis 
New Zealand release date 1st November

Ooohhhh yeah, Cronenburg’s back with a brand new addition. Robert Pattinson plays Eric Packer, a Wall Street financial golden-boy who is ferried across NYC to get a haircut from his father’s old barber, watching his monetary empire plummet during the course of the journey. Chaos meanwhile erupts around the city, imfringing upon Packer’s virtual financial concerns. If the trailer is anything to go by the film looks to be a return to old-school Cronenbury weirdness. Maybe not the body horror, but it looks like there’s going to be a lot of paranoia, some violence and probably some surreal imagery wrapped up in a plot obviously influenced by the contemporary political/global climate. It’s already had a stateside release, and the reviews are mixed, but for fans of Cronenburg it should be an interesting watch.

Dredd
New Zealand release date 21st September

Karl Urban plays Judge Dredd in this film adaptation of the comic that according to current US reviews – gets it right. Violent, stylish, with a healthy dose of self-satire and humour 2012 is finally in for an action blockbuster that will meet (or most likely excell) expectations. Fuck The Dark Knight Rises and Prometheus (Ok, maybe not the former, but the latter can suck a fat one), this looks to be the top Hollywood action release of the year. I was already curious, given Urban’s inclusion and also given the strength of the director Pete Travis, who had previously helmed political thriller Endgame and docu-drama Omagh. Its usually a good sign when a director of a high budget, high concept action film has experience and perhaps intellect beyond that genre. Travis in this case looks like he’s to Dredd what Paul Verhoeven was to Robocop. 

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