"The To-Do List"
What Is It? One of our most anticipated comedies of the year, this is the writing-directing debut of comic Maggie Carey, the wife of 'SNL' star Bill Hader. Aubrey Plaza stars as a high-school grad trying to work her way through a sexual check-list before college, with a mighty supporting cast including Hader, Andy Samberg, Clark Gregg, Donald Glover, Johnny Simmons, Alia Shawkat, Rachel Bilson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Connie Britton.
What Are The Odds Of Seeing It This Year? The movie shot last summer, so it's likely finished, or close to it, but there's been no word on the project. We're almost certain we'll see this at TIFF, but the only question is when it'll hit theaters, and imagine it's not going to be before the end of 2012. The film is set over a long hot summer, so November/December would be an odd fit. Plus they'd want Plaza available for press duties whenever it comes out, and she'll be busy shooting the next season of "Parks & Recreation" until the spring.
"Under The Skin"
What Is It? The return of director Jonathan Glazer ("Sexy Beast," "Birth"), this sees the filmmaker adapt Michel Faber's novel about a murderous, man-eating alien (Scarlett Johansson) tracking the Scottish Highlands for prey.
What Are The Odds Of Seeing It This Year? Firmly under the radar so far, with only a couple of stills to confirm its existence, this shot last year, but word's been very quiet. That being said, there's no reason it shouldn't make the festival circuit. "Birth" premiered in Venice, so that would seem to be a good bet, or possibly even London in October. That being said, the film, like last year's U.K. production "Wuthering Heights," isn't the easiest sell, and if it gets a smaller pick-up (anyone bar Focus/Fox Searchlight/Weinsteins) may well end up hitting the U.S. well into 2013. Indeed, we think that's probably going to be the case.
"Untitled Ramin Bahrani Project"
What Is It? Acclaimed American-Iranian director Ramin Bahrani moves into the starrier world, with his tale of a farmer (Dennis Quaid) who comes into conflict with his race car driver son (Zac Efron). Heather Graham, Clancy Brown and Kim Dickens also star.
What Are The Odds Of Seeing It This Year? The unlikely team-up of arthouse favorite Bahrani ("Goodbye Solo") and the star of "High School Musical," this was another film pegged for Cannes by many that didn't make it. It shot last year, so it's likely complete, or close to it, but we suspect it was promised elsewhere. Bahrani's previous efforts "Man Push Cart," "Goodbye Solo" and "Plastic Bag" premiered at Venice, and that would appear to be an excellent bet for where to see the director's latest, with Telluride and/or Toronto following. A full release is more in question, but our gut says this'll be in limited release before December is done.
"Untitled Terrence Malick Project"
What Is It? The latest from the reclusive auteur, a lower-key relationship drama starring Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams, Rachel Weisz, Javier Bardem, Barry Pepper, Michael Sheen and more.
What Are The Odds Of Seeing It This Year? With Terrence Malick? Lord knows. Two films in two years would be unheard of productivity the filmmaker, but the film did wrap well over a year ago. Many had their fingers crossed for Cannes, which didn't happen, but U.K. distributors StudioCanal are expecting the film before the end of the year. And while Malick is already beginning work on his next two features "Lawless" and "Knight of Cups" this year, who knows if he'll continue tinkering with this one. It should also be noted the film is still without a U.S. distributor despite selling in many worldwide territories already with Malick reportedly turning down early offers (footage has screened for buyers, however). While a fall festival appearance is a possibility, again, who knows with Malick. But if it does unspool this fall, and becomes an awards contender, a limited release before the end of the year isn't entirely out of the question.
"Welcome To The Punch"
What Is It? A British crime/conspiracy thriller from director Eran Creevy with James McAvoy as a cop, and Mark Strong as his criminal adversary. Andrea Riseborough, Peter Mullan, David Morrissey, Daniel Mays, Daniel Kaluuya and Johnny Harris are all in support.
What Are The Odds Of Seeing It This Year? In the U.K.? Very good. The movie shot last summer, and Momentum Pictures, the British distributor, had tentatively penciled it in for a September 7th release there, before taking it off the calendar, likely to put some distance between it and fellow London-set cop actioner "The Sweeney," which hits on September 12th. It's still likely it'll land before the end of the year, and we'd wager it'll wind up at Toronto in September, but a full U.S. release may be further off. British product can take a while to cross the channel, and with McAvoy tied up on the "X-Men First Class" sequel shoot from January, it may be the summer of 2013 until he's available for promotional duties.