10 To Watch in 2012: Movies

<i>By <a href=mailto:chris@chrisarrant.com>Chris Arrant, Newsarama Contributor</a></i> <p>This week, Newsarama looked at what to watch in 2012 when it came to <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/10-to-watch-in-2012-creators-111226.html>creators</a>, <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/10-to-watch-in-2012-characters-111228.html>characters</a> and <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/10-to-watch-in-2012-series-111229.html>comic book series</a>. <p>But we know you love movies too, so thus we present this list, looking at 10 movies to watch out for in 2012 (keep in mind <I>Man of Steel</i> has been bumped to 2013). <p>Click "start here" in the upper-left corner to start the countdown, and right here check out the films that didn't quite make the list, but are still worth keeping an eye on: <p><b>World War Z</b>: If <I>The Walking Dead</I> is the heir to the zombie crown of George Romero, then Max Brook's novel <I>World War Z</I> is second in line to the throne. And now, actor Brad Pitt and director Marc Forster are bringing this oral history of a zombie outbreak to the big screen. With a screenplay by J. Michael Straczynski, this international thriller is part horror, part conspiracy that <a href= http://www.aintitcool.com/node/36168>Ain't It Cool News said</A> could be Best Picture material after reading the script. Quick can anyone do a photoshopped zombie version of the golden man on the Academy Award? <p><b>G.I. Joe: Retaliation</b>: Despite the lackluster first outing, the trailer for the new <I>G.I. Joe</I> film has a lot of tongues wagging. Blame it on dance film director Jon Chu or new blood Dwayne The Rock Johnson and Bruce Willis, but whoever's at fault will owe us a refund if it's not as great as the trailer makes it out to be. <p><b>John Carter</b>: Although born in pulp stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the Civil War veteran turned Martian rebel has a long history in comics. After seeing what animation-turned-live action director Brad Bird did with <I>Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol</I>, it gives us new hope that his fellow Pixar director Andrew Stanton can do the same here. In many ways this looks reminiscent of <I>Avatar</I> in terms of scope and scale, but with novelist Michael Chabon among the credit screenwriters it could be even better. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p>


Although there was a bit of an uproar when news came out that Sam Raimi was kicked of the <B>Spider-Man</I> film franchise, all of that uproar turned into praise once the players in the rebooted film franchise came to light. <p>Indie filmmaker Marc Webb (<I>500 Days of Summer</i>) was put in the director's chair, with <I>Social Network</I> alum Andrew Garfield in the title role and buzzworthy actress Emma Stone playing Gwen Stacy. Set for release on July 3rd, <I>The Amazing Spider-Man</I> is poised to be a webcrawler for a new generation the question is, are they ready to forget the one that came before?


Although the last time Ben Affleck was involved with a comic-related movie it left movie-goers nonplussed, since his rise as a director with films like <I>The Town</I> he's quickly evolved into a new kind of star. <I>Argo</I> sees the former <I>Daredevil</i> working double-time as director and lead actor in a true story about how a fake science fiction film saved the lives of six hostages in the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. What does this have to do with comics? Jack Kirby was the man behind the fake film. <p>Affleck leads a sizzling hot cast including Bryan Cranston (<I>Breaking Bad</I>) and John Goodman, with character actor Michael Parks set to step into the shoes of Kirby himself. There's no word yet on how big (or small) Parks' role will be in the film, but it will definitely add a new wrinkle to Kirby's legacy.


Although none of PIXAR's films have been based on comics (<I>The Incredibles</I> came close), they spring from the same well of inspiration as the comics we know and love. <p>This summer, Pixar dips its toes in action and fantasy with the Scottish adventure film <I>Brave</I>. In the story, a skilled archer named Merida breaks from her family's customs and unknowingly sets off events that threaten to tear her civilization apart. Taking from the film's title, Merida seeks the knowledge of a wise woman to break the curse and set right what she did.


We've listed this film before, but it looks like it's finally coming out. Filmed in 2009, <b>Cabin In The Woods</b> brings together <I>Buffy</I> and <I>Angel</I> collaborators Joss Whedon (producer and co-writer) and Drew Goddard (director and co-writer) to bring a new spin on the classic horror trope of, you guessed it, a cabin the woods. <p>Featuring a number of Whedonverse alums like Amy Acker and Fran Kranz along with <i>Thor</i>'s Chris Hemsworth, it's great to see that it'll finally be released.


It's been built up as one of the most eagerly awaited films in some time, and with good reason. This summer's <I>Prometheus</I> puts director Ridley Scott back in the sci-fi genre where he made his name 20 years ago on <I>Blade Runner</I> and the original 1979 <I>Alien</I> film. Enlisting an all-star cast comprised of Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace, the film is a futuristic archeological adventure exploring ruins that could give clues to the human race as well as some familiar face-hugging creatures from Scott's past. <p>Originally planned as a prequel to the <I>Aliens</I> film franchise, in became something more as director Ridley Scott and writer Damon Lindelof sat down to plot out the movie. Although still tied to <I>Aliens</I>, it's described as neither prequel or sequel but something standing on its own. Described by actress Noomi Rapace as brutally beautiful, the film is set for release on June 8.


If you've ever shared a movie theater with annoying people and ringing cellphones, then you know a little law is needed. This fall, get ready for a whole lot. <p>Judge Dredd returns to movie screens 17 years after his lackluster first outing in a revamped sci-fi noir production simply titled <I>Dredd</I>. Karl Urban steps into the title role, with <I>Vantage Point</I> director Pete Travis shooting the film and Danny Boyle (<I>Slumdog Millionaire</I>, <I>28 Days Later</I>, <I>Trainspotting</I>) producing. <p>This new <I>Dredd</I> film is described as more faithful to the comics, and that starts with Judge Dredd never taking off his helmet. The character's co-creator John Wagner described the script as a high-octane slay ride through the dark underbelly of a vast future city, with Dredd training a new recruit named Anderson to see if she has what it takes to be a Judge. When the film's released on September 21, it should be a refreshing change of pace from the superhero comics-to-film adaptations and could possibly give the more mainstream American creations a run for their money.


A few years ago, a new James Bond film seemed unlikely given MGM's financial troubles, but it turns out good spies never give up. This 23rd Bond film, titled <I>Skyfall</I>, sees Daniel Craig reprising the titular role and <I>American Beauty</I> director Sam Mendes joining the franchise. Set for release in the late fall, it finds James Bond questioning his superiors' true motives while having to defend them from the film's villain, played by Javier Bardem. <p>Although not based on comic books (though Marvel did have a <I>James Bond Jr.</i> series in the '90s), James Bond hits that sweet spot that'll bring comics fans out in droves.


It's the film Marvel's been building towards for years, and on May 4 it finally arrives. <p><I>The Avengers</I> sees Marvel's four film franchises <I>Iron Man</I>, <I>The Hulk</I>, <I>Thor</I> and <I>Captain America</I> unite in a film that would be ambitious in any genre, not just comics. In this epic blockbuster, those four heroes (along with Nick Fury, Hawkeye & Black Widow) unite to fend off a revenge attack by Thor's brother Loki. Marvel has been keeping much of the story under wraps, so expect big surprises when you see it opening weekend (and we know you will).


Has any superhero film ever approached the amount of critical acclaim received by Christopher Nolan's <I>Batman</I> franchise? We don't think so, and this summer he and Christian Bale finish their trilogy with what could be their most dynamic story yet: <b>The Dark Knight Rises</b>. In the summer film, Gotham City gets two new residents: Bane, the man who broke Batman's back and Catwoman, the woman who knows him like no other. Set eight years after the last film, Batman returns to the city for the first time with the specter of his actions looming large, and Bane terrorizing Gotham. <p>Can this film eclipse 2008's massively-successful-on-every-level <I>The Dark Knight</I>? We hope so.


Although the Harry Potter franchise might qualify as the biggest fantasy film franchise ever, Peter Jackson's adaptation of the <I>Lord of the Rings</I> ranks among its best. After years of it happening and not happening Peter Jackson is back in New Zealand doing the fourth (and in many ways the first) of Tolkien's series, <I>The Hobbit</I>. <p>Set a generation before the events of the first <I>Lord of the Rings</I> film, it follows Gandalf and another hobbit Bilbo, a relative of Frodo. Joining forces with a group of dwarves, they set out to reclaim a lost Dwarven treasure from a dragon known as Smaug. Along the way, Bilbo meets two of the central elements of Tolkien's franchise the ring and the creature who craves it, Gollum. <p>Held off for release until the final weeks of 2012, <I>The Hobbit</I> will nevertheless be one of the most talked about movies of the year. Not bad for a story about an old man and a gaggle of diminutive fable folk.

10 To Watch in 2012: Movies

Date: 30 December 2011 Time: 06:08 PM ET