I may have made a few miscalculations last year when it came to my top 5 (ughh what was I thinking with Cowboys & Aliens?). I may make them again this year, but I'll tell you what - all these movies have me super excited for next year. There's going to be a guaranteed blockbuster with the potential to draw record numbers, a possible surprise breakout hit, possibly the best romantic comedy next year, a somewhat risky war movie and finally, a movie from the man who knows how to make some of the most iconic movies in Hollywood. This will be a good year if nothing but these five movies fulfill their promises and live up to the hype. Man I cannot wait!
Starring: Jason Segal, Emily Blunt
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Release Date: April 27
I will admit I'm showing some bias here. Not only is this one of the few romantic comedies that looks good, but the movie was filmed in Ann Arbor, a stone's throw away from where I work! So yeah, I'm excited to see this movie! Of course it doesn't hurt that Jason Segal is in it. I'm pretty sure I'll watch anything he's involved with. I love how this time around, it's the guy who's waiting on getting married. Plus you have the director from Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek involved as well. And I thought those movies were absolutely hilarious. I'm sure the movie's going to follow most standard romantic comedy troupes and cliches, but I think the comedy from the actors and writers involved will make this one especially special. Plus Alison Brie (Annie from Community) is in this and affecting a British accent! How cool is that! Maybe she'll show off her cleavage! And Chris Pratt (the adorable goofball Andy Dwyer from Parks & Rec) is in this! Yes! Exclamation points abound! I think this is going to be great simply for the fact that Emily Blunt get's punctured by an arrow and Jason Segal has a hipster beard. That's worth paying for, for shiz.
4. Untitled International Thriller
Starring: Jason Clarke, Tom Hardy, Rooney Mara
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Release Date: December 19
I thoroughly enjoyed The Hurt Locker two years ago. It was my favorite movie that year and totally deserving of the Best Picture Oscar. Even before she started working on The Hurt Locker, Bigelow was working on this movie, but got sidetracked with her Oscar winning movie. After that, she got back to the project but was again sidetracked with the actual killing of Osama Bin Laden. Her and her writing partner (Mark Boal, who also wrote The Hurt Locker) were left scrambling to rewrite the script after the events unfolded on May 2. The movie even got pushed back a few months from an October release to December. And this movie has got a wonderful cast - I don't doubt that we will be hearing Oscar buzz from this once fall hits. A definite Oscar contender, to say the least. I have confidence that there's going to be heart-pounding, edge-of-your-seat moments in this movie even though we all know what happens at the end of the movie. Knowing the ending didn't hurt Titanic from earning gobs of money and an Oscar, so I won't be surprised if this does big money. Who doesn't want to see Osama get killed??? It's a temptation that plays on our animalistic tendencies for justice through revenge. But I simply don't believe Bigelow will leave it at just that - there's more grey to this event than some people would like to admit and I am confident that Bigelow will shine a light on these dark areas making for a thoroughly engaging study on war and specifically the war on terror. But at the same time, I'm sure it's going to be awesomely badass, too! This is one I'm extremely excited for because there's virtually been no news about how this movie is shaping up. And that leaves me wanting to just know what this will end up being like.
3. The Dark Knight Rises
Starring: Christian Bale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy
Director: Christopher Nolan
Release Date: July 20
I'm sure this is on most people's mind when they think of the biggest release for next year. Some may be shocked to see this listed as only 3, but to me, this list is sometimes about the unknown and The Dark Knight Rises, in my opinion, is a known quantity. I know this is going to be great and a huge hit. It will undoubtedly be the top-grossing movie next year. When the previous entry is the third highest-grossing movie of all time, there's no doubt the final (well, final for Nolan and company) movie in the trilogy could do even bigger business (but then again you don't have Heath Ledger's Joker in this movie either). Hell, the 7-minute prologue that's accompanying Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol is getting buzz itself (and may help that movie sell more tickets than usual!). And on top of all that, you have two of the buzziest actors appearing in sizable roles (Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy). It's hard to come by movies that are considered events in and of themselves, but this is as close as you can get. As far as I know, the movie takes place eight years after The Dark Knight and follows Batman trying to save Gotham once again from a notorious and mysterious terrorist named Bane. If anybody has ever followed the comic book story and read about Bane, he's the one villain that finds out who Batman really is and eventually confronts him in the Batcave and breaks Bruce Wayne's back, making him a paraplegic. I don't know if that's where Nolan wants the film to end, but it wouldn't surprise me - it would be a somewhat fitting ending to the story of Bruce Wayne (although extremely dark, but isn't that where the story has been taking us?). Who knows? I'm sure this film is going to live up to the hype and we'll soon find out where Batman ends up - whether it's on a gargoyle statue overlooking the city or in a wheelchair.
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt
Director: Rian Johnson
Release Date: September 28
Rian Johnson is waiting for his breakout hit. He's on the same trajectory as Christopher Nolan, in my opinion. Nolan made a splash with his second movie, Memento and won the director's chair for Warner Brother's reboot of the Batman Franchise. And so it began. Rian Johnson was a critical darling for his debut effort, Brick and it's one of my favorite films (it's a noir film set in the present day in high school about a kid who finds his ex-girlfriend dead and he's determined to find the reasons why). When people ask me to find a movie for them that they may have missed, my first instinct is to show them Brick. It's by no means a perfect movie, but you can see where Johnson has the potential to be a great filmmaker. He followed up Brick with the very underrated The Brothers Bloom. And now I think Looper is going to be his breakout hit. Well, at least I'm hoping. The movie hits all the right notes for me: A present-day killer works for a mob in the future and kills people who are sent from the future. He recognizes one victim as himself and hesitates, resulting in the escape of his older self. It has a little bit of Twelve Monkeys (seriously one of the best sci-fi movies ever made) and Inception. Plus you got JGL, who can do wrong playing the lead role. And Willis is just icing on the cake. I have no doubt this is going to mess with your head with all the time traveling involved, but I can't wait to get lost in this one and watch it over and over again. You know with Willis involved there's going to be some heavy-duty action and I can't wait to see him face off with JGL. This is going to be epic in every way possible.
1. Django Unchained
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jamie Foxx
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Release Date: December 25
Once again, my number one movie this year falls on Christmas. Like Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, this is a great feel-bad movie for Christmas. And it's going to be huge. When Will Smith was first attached to this movie, I don't think this would have made the top 5. But thankfully, he's not attached anymore and Foxx is a suitable replacement. Tarantino's previous film, Inglourious Basterds, was my second choice to win the Oscars (behind The Hurt Locker). I didn't catch it in the theaters thinking it wasn't my cup of tea. And then on DVD, I fell in love. It's Tarantino's best movie, hands down. And I think he's going to run away with his take on the western. I cannot wait to see what he has in store for us. You know the dialogue is going to be sharp and the action and tension in this movie will be spectacular. The plot is pretty simple: With the help of his mentor, a slave-turned-bounty hunter sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner. There's something special about Tarantino and what he can infuse into a genre. And the western seems to be on the rebound as of late, with True Grit raking in the dough from last Christmas. And you have a great cast! Joseph Gordon-Levitt is da man - he's in every single movie in the top three! I may be a bit biased toward the dude, but I didn't even know he was in this movie until I started writing tonight! Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson (It's mandatory that he show up in a film like this), Sacha Baron Cohen and Kurt Russell! How crazy is this film going to be? Crazy like a fox. I have full faith that I will be blown away with this movie - it has all the right ingredients to become an instant classic.
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