Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Notable Films of 2012: Volume Two

In this second volume I look at films that include Batman's final outing, an old vampire soap reborn, a thriller set almost entirely in a limousine, a Jason Bourne film without the amnesiac spy himself, a story of a soul across six different points in history both past and future, a repressed Englishwoman's sexual awakening, a long-delayed spoof of isolated geographical horror, a CG animated tale of kilts and red hair, and more...

Opens: March 16th 2012
Cast: Jennifer Garner, Ashley Greene, Olivia Wilde, Rob Corddry, Hugh Jackman
Director: Director: Jim Field Smith
Analysis: Jason Micallef's debut script landed him right onto the 2008 Black List which saw this comedy quickly head into production. The story follows an adopted teen who discovers her talent for butter carving and finds herself pitted against an ambitious local woman (Garner) in their small Iowan town's annual contest.
Screened at Telluride, reviews for this Midwest satire were quite strong saying that while it does pander to crowd pleasing conventions at the end, much of the runtime is wickedly edgy with a mean streak recalling Alexander Payne's earliest efforts like "Election" and "Citizen Ruth". The cast is very strong and Garner looks to deliver her best work in the genre in years, hopefully this will be an indie that can break through ala "Little Miss Sunshine".
The Company You Keep
Opens: 2012
Cast: Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf, Anna Kendrick, Richard Jenkins, Susan Sarandon
Director: Robert Redford
Analysis: Redford both stars in and directs this political action thriller adaptation of Neil Gordon's 2003 novel. Redford plays a former Weather Underground militant wanted by the FBI for over three decades who is now living as an attorney. When his identity is inadvertently exposed he must flee and abandon his young daughter.
Thrown into the mix is numerous other subplots including an ambitious newspaper reporter (LaBeouf) and his FBI agent ex girlfriend (Kendrick), a profiling college professor (Jenkins), an old flame who can help clear his name (Julie Christie) and the now grown up lovechild of that affair (Brit Marling). It's all pretty complicated, while big supporting turns from Terrence Howard, Brendan Gleeson, Sam Elliott, Nick Nolte and Stanley Tucci amongst others make it seem almost overstuffed.
It has been a while since Redford's done a good thriller, a genre that has seen him deliver some of his best work like "3 Days of the Condor", "All the President's Men" and "Sneakers". He's got a great team behind and in front of the camera, and a release likely being targeted for the end of year - this is one of those films that could straddle the line between healthy box-office returns and critical appeal.
Opens: 2012
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Paul Giamatti, Jay Baruchel, Juliette Binoche, Kevin Durand
Director: David Cronenberg
Analysis: After reinventing himself with 2005's "A History of Violence", David Cronenberg's second coming has kept up its strong track record with both "Eastern Promises" and this year's "A Dangerous Method" scoring very good notices.
Now comes this high-concept adaptation of Don DeLillo's popular novel in which "Twilight" star Robert Pattinson plays a financial whiz who risks his immense fortune by betting against the yen on one particularly chaotic day.
Much of the action is set inside a limousine with Pattinson's character transported from one location to another so expect a fairly tight little piece akin to "Phone Booth" - a deliberate comparison considering Colin Farrell was originally cast in the lead role.
Pattinson has yet to really tackle a film not primarily aimed at women, and it'll be an interesting experiment to see if both critics and Cronenberg fans can get over their issues with a "Twilight" star being in this and judge it fairly.

darkhorizons for the rest


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