Movies to look out for over the next few months…
Dir: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman and Steve Purcell
Cast: Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly and Robbie Coltrane
Released: 3 August in Scotland, rest of UK 13 August 2012
Whilst the critical mauling received by Cars 2 may have blemished Pixar’s reputation as the world’s leading purveyors of animated family films, any new release from this iconic studio will always be met with elevated anticipation. Set in a mythical incarnation of ancient Scotland, Brave was fittingly chosen to close this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival and was met by unanimous praise from both critics and audiences alike. A marked departure from their usual output, Brave’s childhood fable may have the appearance of a conventional Disney film, yet undoubtedly boasts the breathtaking visuals so often associated with a Pixar movie.
The Bourne Legacy
Dir: Tony Gilroy
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Edward Norton and Rachel Weisz
Released: 17 August 2012 (Previews 13-16 August)
Regardless of Paul Greengrass flippantly suggesting that if there were to be a fourth Bourne movie it should be called “The Bourne Redundancy”, Universal clearly believe there’s still life in Robert Ludlum’s super-assassin. Former Bourne screenwriter Tony Gilroy has been drafted in to helm this expansion of Ludlum’s universe with Jeremy Renner (fresh from his appearance in Joss Whedon’s Avengers Assemble) replacing Matt Damon as the franchise’s rogue CIA operative. From the teaser trailer it’s evident the film’s narrative has been interwoven into the events which occurred during the original trilogy’s final chapter, with The Bourne Legacy clearly aiming to take the familiarity of this successful franchise and inject it with a fresh new perspective.
Berberian Sound Studio
Dir: Peter Strickland
Cast: Toby Jones, Tonia Sotiropoulou and Cosimo Fusco
Released: 31 August 2012
British director Peter Strickland follows his Romanian set revenge drama, Katalin Varga, with this Italian giallo inspired deconstruction of the horror genre. Toby Jones plays Gilderoy, a sound engineer who’s sent to Italy to work on a gruesome horror film about witchcraft and the persecution of women. However, when art begins to imitate life he finds the horrors he witnesses on screen begin to manifest themselves within his own nightmares. Building a profoundly unsettling atmosphere akin to the work of David Lynch, this Dario Argento inspired narrative is far more of a psychological examination of fear than its generic façade would have you believe.
Dir: John Hillcoat
Cast: Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce and Jessica Chastain
Released: 7 September 2012
Despite mysteriously renaming his adaptation of Matt Bondurant’s brilliantly titled novel “The Wettest County in the World” with the easier to remember but unimaginative moniker of Lawless, Hillcoat’s third collaboration with eccentric musician and performer Nick Cave was one of the hottest tickets at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Tom Hardy and Shia LeBeouf star as a pair of sibling outlaws in this depression-era tale of moonshine and bootlegging in Franklin County, Virginia, and are joined by an extraordinary supporting cast including such luminaries as Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman and Jessica Chastain. Amalgamating Bondurant’s enthralling novel and Hillcoat’s uncompromising direction with an intoxicating prohibition-era vibrancy means Lawless is a frighteningly auspicious proposition.
Killing Them Softly
Dir: Andrew Dominik
Cast: Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta, Sam Shepard and James Gandolfini
Released: 21 September 2012
The last time Brad Pitt teamed with Andrew Dominik, it was for the hauntingly beautiful The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford. Killing Them Softly promises to be a return to the blackly comic, bonecrunching thrills of Dominik’s directorial debut, Chopper. The plot sees Pitt’s top mob enforcer bite off more than perhaps even he can chew when he’s called in to find and punish the ruffians who ripped off his bosses at a poker game, run by Ray Liotta. It also boasts an excellent cast – including Sam Shepard, Scoot McNairy, Richard Jenkins and James Gandolfini as a world-weary hitman.
Now Is Good
Dir: Ol Parker
Cast: Dakota Fanning, Rose Leslie and Kaya Scodelario
Released: 21 September 2012
The second feature from director Ol Parker (best known for writing the adapted screenplay for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) sees a wealth of young female acting talent brought together to bring Jenny Downham’s award-winning young adult novel, Before I Die, to life on the big screen. A heartfelt affair, the film focuses on the last days of a girl dying of leukaemia who compiles a list of things she’d like to do before passing away. As well as the three female leads the cast also includes Brit film heavyweights Olivia Williams and Paddy Considine.
Big Boys Gone Bananas!*
Dir: Fredrik Gertten
Stars: Alex Rivera, Alfonso Allende and Arvid Jurjaks
Released: 21 September 2012
In 2009 Fredrik Gertten released the documentary film Bananas!* detailing the conflict between the Dole Food Company and banana plantation workers in Nicaragua over alleged cases of sterility caused by a pesticide. Upon the doc’s release the film was heavily criticized by Dole for containing “patent falsehoods”, and after a screening of the film at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June 2009, Gertten was sued for defamation by Dole on July 8. Adding further fuel to the fire, this documentary details the lawsuit and how Gertten’s film company was sued by Dole – what better way to get your own back!
Dir: Rian Johnson
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt
Released: 28 September 2012
Rian Johnson has cultivated a reputation as a master melon-twister with quirks worthy of Wes Anderson and plot developments that M. Night Shyamalan would appreciate. Looper could be his piece de resistance – a time-travel movie so seemingly complex you may have to go back in time and watch it several times in order to be any wiser. The premise is pure sci-fi popcorn – Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a hitman who bumps off targets sent back in time by his Mob paymasters, only to run into serious complications when his latest target turns out to be his future self, played by Bruce Willis.
Dir: Leos Carax
Cast: Denis Lavant, Edith Scob and Eva Mendes
Released: 28th September 2012
In David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, Robert Pattinson’s character, Eric Packer, ponders, “Where do all the limos go at night?” If he had watched Leos Carax’s latest surreal adventure Holy Motors, he’d not only have found out, he would also have discovered they can speak. Carax’s first feature since 1999’s Pola X sees him reunited with his muse, Denis Lavant, who plays the film’s endlessly morphing protagonist Monsieur Oscar, a mysterious character who journeys from one life to the next in the guise of varying personas, from assassin to monster to captain of industry. Episodic in form and totally bonkers, Carax’s latest is a surreal examination of the fine divide which separates life and art – and also boasts a cameo by Kylie Minogue.
Dir: Oliver Stone
Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Blake Lively and Benicio Del Toro
Released: 28th September 2012
Oliver Stone returns to his darker side with Savages, the tale of a narcotics-smuggling love triangle in which the three protagonists quickly find themselves out of their depth. Taylor Kitsch will be looking to bounce back from the box-office failings of his recent star turn in John Carter and is joined by Aaron Johnson and Blake Lively in Stone’s energetic thriller. The ever watchable Benicio Del Toro is on villain duty, playing the malevolent henchman to Selma Hayek’s Mexican cartel boss, and the film promises a ferocious mix of unrelenting tension and unnerving high jinx, all set against a sundrenched Mexican backdrop.
Dir: Olivier Megaton
Cast: Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace
Released: 4th October 2012
The only real surprise about this forthcoming sequel is how long it’s taken to come to fruition. Liam Neeson, in his unrelenting midlife-crisis quest to become one of The Expendables, once again stars as retired CIA operative Bryan Mills. This time, however, the tables have been turned and Mills and his wife find themselves held hostage in Istanbul by the father of a kidnapper Mills killed whilst rescuing his daughter. Expect plenty of cleverly edited violence, some exceptionally gravelly dialogue and, most importantly, a cavalcade of stupid yet thoroughly enjoyable action sequences.
On The Road
Dir: Walter Salles
Cast: Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart and Kirsten Dunst
Released: 12 October 2012
A film adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s cult classic novel has been a long time coming. The author apparently contacted Marlon Brando directly in 1957 about a starring role, and since buying the rights in 1979 exec producer Francis Ford Coppla has had many names attached to the project. It is Brazilian director Walter Salles, who impressed with his adaptation of The Motorcycle Diaries, who finally brings us this big screen portrait of the Beat Generation, with a fantastic cast including Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart and Kirsten Dunst.
Dir: Sam Mendes
Cast: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Naomie Harris, Javier Bardem
Released: 26 October 2012
007 producers Eon have ditched the overarching storyline of the previous Craig outings – in which the best spy in the biz tracks down evil organisation, in favour of a return to old-school Bondage. There will be stunts galore, glamorous girls (in the shape of Naomie Harris, as a Bond accomplice, and Berenice Marlohe as femme fatale Severine) and, for the first time in a while, there will be gadgets, courtesy of Ben Whishaw’s Q. With Javier Bardem on bad guy duties, and the likes of Ralph Fiennes and Albert Finney, and the shots are being called by Sam Mendes. 007 never had it so good.