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The Playlist's 50 Most Anticipated Films Of 2012

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist January 4, 2012 at 12:02PM

Well here we are, in the brave new world of 2012. And at present, it's not too scary, although we swear that we'll beat the next person to death who makes a joke about the Roland Emmerich film. And after a 2011 that turned out to be a pretty decent year for cinema (if not necessarily one for the ages), we're now staring out across a few months that seem fairly barren, as the early months of the year always do.
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Wishful Thinking: Destined For 2013, But You Never Know...

Labor Day

Labor Day
Synopsis: On a Labor Day weekend in the 1980s, a divorced, depressed single mother (Kate Winslet) encounters a large man (Josh Brolin) bleeding profusely while shopping with her 13-year-old son. They give him a ride and later learn that the police are looking for an escaped convict.
What You Need to Know: “Labor Day” will be Jason Reitman’s fifth film, and for the first time, seems to mark a move away from the comedy genre, calling for a more sincere tone than "Up in the Air" or "Young Adult". Based on the novel of the same name by Joyce Maynard, the story sounds like a suburban drama akin to something like “Little Children.” Reitman still has to cast 13-year-old Henry as he’s the narrator of the novel, likely looking for an unknown, and its one of the reasons the film hasn't started shooting yet (that and schedules for the two busy leads).. It’s definitely going to be a showcase for Winslet as this will be her first truly leading role in a feature film since she pulled double-duty on “Revolutionary Road” and “The Reader” in 2008, and we're intrigued to see how she works with Brolin. Filming likely won't get underway til the summer, which makes it a near certainty for a 2013 release, unless Reitman wants to fastrack even quicker then he did with "Up In The Air" (which did come out the same year it was shot).
Release: TBD

Frank Or Francis

Frank Or Francis
Synopsis: A delicious satire on Hollywood: the worlds of an online internet commenter and a self-important filmmaker collide.
What You Need To Know: Look, of course we have an interest in this. If anyone knows about the ugly, back-biting world of narcissistic online film criticism, it’s us, and every other movie site you may frequent. Charlie Kaufman, who is writing and directing, may be throwing us a curveball, however, as he often does. “Frank or Francis” pivots around a vain filmmaker (Steve Carell) who represents half the title (he writes, directs and plays every part in his opus, “You”), a bitter, but sharp online film commenter (Jack Black), as well as a failed comedian with a resume of unflattering fat-baiting time-wasters, including “Fat Dad” (playing against type, it's Nicolas Cage). Add to that a rival filmmaking team, led by Kevin Kline, that designs a computer program to create the ultimate award-winning movie, and it’s clear that the mixed-to-negative reaction given to Kaufman’s ambitious directorial debut “Synecdoche, New York” possibly struck a chord in him. Even if his agenda wasn’t so clear (and it probably isn’t, since predictable is never a term associated with him), Kaufman is one of the unique filmmaking voices of his generation, and even if he were to direct a documentary on sloth mucus, we’d come running. Oh, and did we mention it’s a musical?
Release Date: TBD -- After a flurry of casting activity last summer, things have gone quiet, so we're doubtful this'll arrive before the end of the year.

Jonze Kaufman

"Untitled Spike Jonze/Charlie Kaufman Project"
Synopsis: A satire about a gathering of world leaders as they plan a series of world-changing events, from wars to shifting oil prices.
What You Need To Know: After moving away from his frequent collaborator for the excellent "Where The Wild Things Are," Spike Jonze has returned to Charlie Kaufman's side for the first time in a decade, since 2002's "Adaptation," and we couldn't be more excited. The project's being kept tightly under wraps, but it seems at first glance to be a "Dr. Strangelove"-style satire, which would mark quite new territory for the pair, with Warner Bros. and Annapurna Pictures backing the project. Furthermore, it's got two excellent cast members on board already, with Joaquin Phoenix and Carey Mulligan joining the project in the fall. Word's been quiet ever since, but we're assuming things are ticking along.
Release Date: TBD -- Last we heard, the project had a March start date, which means its likely a 2013 film (Jonze was in the editing room for two years on "Where The Wild Things Are"), but stranger things than a 2012 release have happened.

Also Long-Shots For 2013: James Gray gets moving on period drama "Low Life" in the new year, but he's such a Cannes favorite we imagine he'll hold our a Croisette premiere in 2013. Noirish thriller "Broken City," with Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe, is currently set for next January, but could move into awards season if it has the right stuff, while Paul Greengrass' "Captain Philips," with Tom Hanks, might try the same if production goes smoothly.  And who knows how many other surprises might be waiting?

-- RP, Kevin Jagernauth, Oliver Lyttelton, Sam Chater, Cat Scott, Cory Everett, Gabe Toro, Drew Taylor, William Goss, Christopher Bell, Simon Dang

This article is related to: Features, Anticipated 2012, The Master, The Dark Knight Rises, Moonrise Kingdom, Cogan's Trade, Django Unchained, The Great Gatsby, The Bourne Legacy


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