Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Notable Films of 2012: Volume One

Back for its fourth year in a more truncated and concise form, today kicks off the first in a ten-part look at the various cinematic releases hitting the U.S. in 2012. Each volume contains an analysis of twenty five films set to hit both the big multiplexes and the small art houses next year with the remaining volumes to go up between now and late January.
Last year's ultimately incomplete attempt was simply far too ambitious for one already overextended person to assemble in the time allotted. As a result strict guidelines were put in place this year with my analysis kept short, sharp and most of all manageable.
I've confined my list to films that have either set a 2012 release date or have begun/completed production, and only films that have a good chance of getting some kind of theatrical release. Work on the next two volumes is already well underway, and each individual volume should hit within 2-3 days of the previous one.
The Apparition
Opens: August 24th 2012
Cast: Tom Felton, Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan, Julianna Guill, Luke Pasqualino
Director: Todd Lincoln
Analysis: Dark Castle's horror entry for this past September, this PG-13 sci-fi meets haunted house tale was delayed a full year - so something could well be reshot. It was filmed in Berlin, but set in a part of the San Fernando Valley where houses go unfinished though with no obvious reason, unlike say Réunion Island where it's for tax purposes.
The obvious influence here is "Paranormal Activity" but with a proper budget and a desire to beef up the number of scares, yet Twilight scene-stealer Ashley Greene and the still under-rated but always fun Sebastian Stan probably won't be able to salvage the material.
Bait 3D
Opens: 2012
Cast: Julian McMahon, Xavier Samuel, Sharni Vinson, Lincoln Lewis
Director: Russell Mulcahy
Analysis: A freak tsunami traps shoppers at a coastal Australian supermarket inside the building ... along with a pack of aggressive and very hungry tiger sharks.
You're not supposed to take this $20 million creature tale seriously, which already makes it more fun than this past year's god awful "Shark Night 3D". The cast is mostly former local soap actors who've had some U.S. success like Julian McMahon, Xavier Samuel and Sharni Vinson - perfect fodder for the beasties swimming along aisle three.
Director Mulcahy made his name with one of the all time great Aussie B-movie creature features - "Razorback" - before finding Hollywood success with "Highlander," "The Shadow" and "Resident Evil: Extinction". He should ensure a cheesy fun time which a leaked promo trailer earlier this year seemed to confirm.
Bel Ami
Opens: 2012
Cast: Uma Thurman, Robert Pattinson, Christina Ricci, Kristin Scott Thomas 
Director: Declan Donnellan, Nick Ormerod
Analysis: Though it shares the same name as Europe's most prestigious hardcore gay porn studio, this is an adaptation of French author Guy de Maupassant's much beloved 1885 novel about a young former soldier who screws his way up the social ladder of Parisian high society.
Recent trailers show a period faithful film that's pretty to look at but oddly inert in emotion, a not unexpected sign considering the author's legendarily efficient and involving prose is very difficult to translate on screen. As a classic French tale, if this English-language adaptation proves anything less than adequate it will likely get torn apart by European critics.

darkhorizons for the rest


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