"Inside Llewyn Davis"
What Is It? The latest from the Coen Brothers, set among the folk scene of the 1960s, with a cast that includes Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, Garrett Hedlund and John Goodman.
What Are The Odds Of Seeing It This Year? Pretty good, all told. Filming might not have begun until early this year, but it's in the can as of a few weeks ago, and the Coens work fast -- their last film, "True Grit" didn't start shooting til March of 2010, but was still in theaters by that December. It might not yet have a U.S. distributor (StudioCanal are funding), but we're sure they'll be lining up, even if this seems more "A Serious Man" than "No Country For Old Men." That being said, given the tight timetable, don't be surprised if it skips the fall the festival circuit.
What Is It: The return of James Gray ("We Own The Night," "Two Lovers"), venturing into serious period territory for the first time, for the story of a Polish immigrant (Marion Cotillard) torn between a pimp (Joaquin Phoenix) and a magician (Jeremy Renner).
What Are The Odds Of Seeing It This Year? Strong. While the film didn't get before cameras until this January, the shoot, which Gray calls "my best work" went well, and he told us a month ago that film should be ready in time for either Venice or TIFF. Even then, there's no distributor in place, and with Phoenix starring in another highly-anticipated period piece this fall, in Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master," and Gray never having been an awards favorite, putting it out before the end of 2012 may not be a priority for whoever picks it up unless it picks up some very serious heat.
"Only God Forgives"
What Is It? The reunion of the director and star of "Drive," Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling, for an even more violent piece, this time about an exiled British gangster in Bangkok out to avenge the death of his brother at the hands of the police. Kristin Scott-Thomas co-stars.
What Are The Odds Of Seeing It This Year? With Gosling so busy, this didn't get underway in Thailand until early this year, a slight delay from the original plan, but even so, this is looking relatively good to surface before January with
Refn tweeting last month "we're pushing hard toward our goal: be ready for last week of August." That is, of course, just ahead of the Venice/Telluride/TIFF trifecta of key fall festivals. The Weinsteins' new shingle Radius picked the film up earlier this year, and we feel like they'll probably roll it out before the end of 2012, although that could arguably get pushed and much will depend on what happens with "Gangster Squad" and "The Place Beyond The Pines," but they could conceivably follow the "Drive" pattern and bring it out as soon as September.
"The Place Beyond The Pines"
What Is It? In Gosling's reunion with "Blue Valentine" director Derek Cianfrance he plays a motorcycle stunt rider whose criminal ways bring him into conflict with a cop-turned politician (Bradley Cooper) that spans across generations. Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne and Dane DeHann co-star.
What Are The Odds Of Seeing It This Year? Very good. The film was seemingly screened for the Cannes selection committee and editing has been underway for a while. The big factor in this picture arriving in 2012, will be landing a U.S. distributor which it doesn't yet have. However, given the progress on the film a Venice or Telluride premiere seems extremely likely. But as we've already said, with both "Only God Forgives" and "Gangster Squad" both in the mix for 2012 release (and more crucially, with distributors already lined up), we could see 'Pines' being pushed to 2013 to give everyone a bit more breathing room to let the movies shine.
What Is It? Penned by "Prison Break" actor Wentworth Miller, this is a pitch-black, oddball family drama marking the English language debut of Park Chan-Wook ("Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance," "Oldboy") about a girl (Mia Wasikowska) grieving the death of her father, just as her sinister uncle (Matthew Goode) arrives back in town. Nicole Kidman, Jacki Weaver, Dermot Mulroney and Alden Ehrenreich also star.
What Are The Odds Of Seeing It This Year? Given his success at the festival in the past, many had pegged Park Chan-Wook's latest as a possibility for a Cannes premiere, but the film's actually still in post-production and was never screened for the selection committee. Even so, it has a distributor, and is seemingly complete (it's been given an R-rating by the MPAA already) , so Venice is a possibility, and TIFF almost a certainty. When Fox Searchlight chooses to roll it out is a bigger question. Unless Wasikowska, Goode or Kidman get awards heat (and it's not an Oscar-baity film, although the roles are good ones), they may not find a 2012 release a priority. That said, it could be a nice antidote to heavier fare like "Shame" and "Martha Marcy May Marlene" the studio offered last fall.