The hot list

The Sun­day Tas­ma­nian ’ s favourite cinephile Leigh Paatsch has given us a run­down on the hottest flicks com­ing our way.

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DE­CEM­BER

Mis­sion Im­pos­si­ble: Ghost Pro­to­col

De­cem­ber 15 mis­sion­im­pos­si­ble­movie.com.au

Stars: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Ren­ner, Paula Pat­ton, Si­mon Pegg.

They say: The IMF is shut down when it’s im­pli­cated in the bomb­ing of the Krem­lin, caus­ing Ethan Hunt and his new team to go rogue to clear the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s name.

We say: Granted, the plot ain’t much on the fresh side. Nev­er­the­less, the fran­chise ( based on a 1960s TV se­ries) has a habit of de­liv­er­ing the big- screen goods through hy­per- imag­i­na­tive thrills, spills and kills.

Close up: The long- awaited live- ac­tion de­but of gifted an­i­ma­tion guru Brad Bird ( Iron Gi­ant, Rata­touille ). Bird should be able to han­dle the job with ease, as his 2004 Pixar out­ing The In­cred­i­bles was, well, in­cred­i­ble.

Wide shot: Cruise ( right) has been quiet this year, hasn’t he? This $ 140 mil­lion block­buster marks ei­ther a new phase in an en­dur­ing ca­reer or a clear in­di­ca­tion au­di­ences have had enough.

The Ad­ven­tures of Tintin

De­cem­ber 26 tintin- movie. com. au

Stars: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Si­mon Pegg.

They say: Tintin and Cap­tain Had­dock set off on a trea­sure hunt for a sunken ship com­manded by Had­dock’s an­ces­tor. But some­one else is in search of the ship.

We say: The clas­sic comic books by Herge have a global fol­low­ing. But what will Tinti­nol­o­gists make of the au­da­cious move to film their hero in the mo­tion- cap­ture for­mat made fa­mous by Po­lar Ex­press ?

Close up: This here’s the first- ever an­i­mated film from the le­gendary Steven Spiel­berg, who’s held the Tintin rights for three decades. Per­for­mances were ‘‘ cap­tured’’ in 2009, be­fore years were spent pol­ish­ing the ef­fects.

Wide shot: Peter Jack­son was the one who per­suaded Spiel­berg to roll the dice and go with mo- cap. Blame him if you don’t like the out­come.

War Horse

De­cem­ber 26 warhorse­movie.co.uk

Stars: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Wat­son, Peter Mul­lan, David Thewlis.

They say: At the height of WWI, a young man ven­tures to the front lines of France to res­cue his horse, which has been sec­onded by the Bri­tish army.

We say: The ti­tle could have been Sav­ing Pri­vate Equine. How­ever, the Michael Mor­pugo chil­dren’s novel cour­ses deeper than mere blood­shed on the bat­tle­fields.

Close up: The sec­ond ma­jor sum­mer re­lease to be di­rected by Steven Spiel­berg. Mor­pugo’s 1982 book took on a new lease of life in re­cent years as a hit play ( com­ing to Aus­tralia next year). Spiel­berg has held firm to the haunt­ing tone.

Wide shot: Spiel­berg shot the film in ex­treme se­crecy in the UK last year. Re­ports of hundreds of horses on set and in­tri­cately chore­ographed cavalry se­quences sug­gest au­di­ences can ex­pect a ma­jor spec­ta­cle.

The Iron Lady

Out De­cem­ber 26 theiron­la­dy­movie.co.uk

Stars: Meryl Streep, Jim Broad­bent, Richard E. Grant, Olivia Col­man.

They say: A look at the life of Mar­garet Thatcher, the former Bri­tish PM, with a fo­cus on the price she paid for power.

We say: Cometh the Os­cars, cometh an­other likely best ac­tress gong for the great La Streep ( left). If any­one can find a pulse in the oft- heart­less Thatcher, it will be Meryl.

Close up: This fac­tual drama is sure to ap­peal the ma­ture- age au­di­ence that sent He­len Mir­ren’s The Queen through the roof. Story largely cen­tres on Thatcher’s defin­ing po­lit­i­cal power play dur­ing the runup to the Falk­lands War.

Wide shot: Streep ( pic­tured) ap­plied her usual brand of im­mer­sive re­search to the role, ob­serv­ing sev­eral ses­sions of Bri­tish Par­lia­ment at close quar­ters.

ALSO OPEN­ING IN DE­CEM­BER

Me­lan­cho­lia ( De­cem­ber 15): Too much Christ­mas cheer and too many kids films about? Let di­rec­tor Lars von Trier and his ‘‘ op­er­atic sci- fi’’ about a pos­si­ble apoc­a­lypse darken your mood im­me­di­ately. Stars Kirsten Dunst. Happy Feet Two ( De­cem­ber 26): Se­quel to the Aussie- made an­i­mated hit ( above) met with frosty re­cep­tion over­seas, but is sure to be re­ceived warmly by the fam­ily crowd on home turf. Tower Heist ( De­cem­ber 26): Now the Ocean’s 11 fran­chise is on ex­tended hia­tus, here’s where to get all the en­sem­ble crime capers you need. Stars Ben Stiller, Ed­die Mur­phy, Matthew Brod­er­ick. We Bought a Zoo ( De­cem­ber 26): The ‘‘ We’’ be­ing Matt Da­mon and Scar­lett Jo­hans­son. Based on the true story of a writer who ac­ci­den­tally bought a me­nagerie in the UK.

JAN­UARY

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shad­ows

Janaury 5 sher­lock­holmes­movie.com.au

Stars: Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Noomi Ra­pace, Jared Har­ris.

They say: Sherlock Holmes and his side­kick Dr Wat­son join forces to out­wit and bring down their fiercest ad­ver­sary, Pro­fes­sor Mo­ri­arty.

We say: The first one was bet­ter than it had to be. But now Holmes’s famed arch­neme­sis Mo­ri­arty en­ters the fray, the se­quel has to be even bet­ter.

Close up: Some new re­cruits to the se­ries in­clude the orig­i­nal Girl with the Dragon Tat­too, Noomi Ra­pace, and Stephen Fry as Holmes’s brother.

Wide shot : Warner Bros are so con­fi­dent about the chances of Sherlock 2, they have re­leased eight min­utes of the movie to the in­ter­webs al­ready. Take a look at j. mp/ shlock2012

Hugo

Jan­uary 12 hugo­movie.com.au

Stars: Asa But­ter­field, Chloe Moretz, Jude Law, Emily Mor­timer.

They say: In 1930s Paris, an or­phan who lives in the walls of a train sta­tion is wrapped up in a mys­tery in­volv­ing his late fa­ther and a me­chan­i­cal hu­man.

We say: A kids’ film? Di­rected by the great Martin Scors­ese ( Good­fel­las, The De­parted )? In 3D? At a cost of $ 170 mil­lion plus? How can you not be cu­ri­ous?

Close up: Based on Brian Selznick’s book The In­ven­tion of Hugo Cabret, this en­chant­ing ad­ven­ture fan­tasy has al­ready gar­nered some of the best re­views in re­cent mem­ory. Os­cars ac­tion looks cer­tain.

Wide shot: The 3D photography in Hugo car­ries the high­est en­dorse­ment. Avatar di­rec­tor James Cameron calls it the best use of the for­mat he has ever seen, and ‘‘ a mas­ter­piece’’ to boot.

The Girl with the Dragon Tat­too

Jan­uary 12 Dragontat­toomovie.com.au

Star: Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig, Stel­lan Skars­gard, Christo­pher Plum­mer.

They say: A jour­nal­ist is aided in his search for a wo­man, who has been miss­ing or dead for 40 years, by a young fe­male hacker.

We say: Here comes the Hol­ly­wood re­make we had to have. The Swedish adap­ta­tions of the late Stieg Lars­son’s Mil­len­nium tril­ogy may not turn out to be the de­fin­i­tive ver­sions for fans.

Close up: Creative pedi­gree is im­pec­ca­ble, with di­rec­tor David Fincher com­ing hot off a tri­umph with The So­cial Net­work. Fac­tor in a bud­get of $ 100 mil­lion and a pledge not to tinker with the source text and the prospects are tan­ta­lis­ing.

Wide shot: Rel­a­tive un­known Rooney Mara ( above) beat ev­ery ac­tress in Hol­ly­wood un­der 30 for the lead role of anti- hero­ine Lis­beth Sa­lan­der. Mara will be a huge star by the time the se­ries is com­plete.

Tinker Tai­lor Sol­dier Spy

Jan­uary 26 tinker- tai­lor- sol­dier- spy. com

Stars: Gary Old­man, Tom Hardy, Colin Firth, Mark Strong.

They say: In the bleak days of the Cold War, es­pi­onage vet­eran Ge­orge Smi­ley is forced from semi- re­tire­ment to un­cover a So­viet agent within MI- 6’ s ech­e­lons.

We say: Spy movies are still big busi­ness at the box- of­fice and, as there hasn’t been a Bourne flick for so long, this old- school trench- coater will make mass ap­peal to dis­cern­ing con­spir­acy the­o­rists.

Close up: Old­man says he went on a se­cret mis­sion to ‘‘ nerd my­self up’’ to por­tray the mid­dle- aged mas­ter spook Smi­ley. On went the weight, off went the hair and then came in­tense re­search of an­cient govern­ment files.

Wide shot: The tril­lion- sell­ing John le Carre novel of the same name has eluded the clammy clutches of film­mak­ers un­til now – un­less you count that so- so TV minis­eries from the late 1970s.

ALSO OPEN­ING IN JAN­UARY

Alvin & the Chipmunks – Chip­wrecked ( Jan­uary 1): A sec­ond squeakuel from those dreaded ro­dents ( right) with the he­lium- bal­loon voices and high- jinks only a child truly un­der­stands.

The Descen­dants ( Jan­uary 12): Ge­orge Clooney’s lat­est bid for Os­cars glory has him play­ing a guilt- stricken prop­erty ty­coon try­ing to re­con­nect with his chil­dren be­fore its too late. Di­rected by Alexan­der Payne ( Side­ways ).

The Muppets ( Jan­uary 12): The muchan­tic­i­pated re­turn of Ker­mit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo and the gang. Sure to play as well with nos­tal­gic par­ents as it does with the kids. Stars Ja­son Segel, Amy Adams.

J. Edgar ( Jan­uary 26): Leonardo Dicaprio ( left) stars as J. Edgar Hoover, the no­to­ri­ous FBI chief with more than the av­er­age num­ber of skele­tons in the closet. Di­rected by Clint East­wood.

FE­BRU­ARY- MARCH

The Artist ( Fe­bru­ary 2): Hol­ly­wood, 1927. Silent movie star Ge­orge Valentin ( Jean Du­jardin) won­ders if the im­mi­nent ar­rival of talk­ing pic­tures will cause him to fade into obliv­ion.

Safe House ( Fe­bru­ary 9): Den­zel Washington is back to his badass Train­ing

Day ways, play­ing a crook with as­so­ci­ates who want him freed from CIA house ar­rest. Star Wars Ep. 1 : The Phan­tom Men­ace 3D ( Feb 9): Ge­orge Lu­cas cor­dially in­vites you to ex­pe­ri­ence the life- chang­ing won­der of Jar- Jar Binks in 3D.

My Week With Mar­i­lyn ( Fe­bru­ary 16) : Michelle Wil­liams plays the doomed icon Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe in the true story of her bat­tle with Sir Lau­rence Olivier ( Ken­neth Branagh) dur­ing the film­ing of The Prince

and the Show­girl.

John Carter ( March 8): A Civil War vet­eran ( Tay­lor Kitsch) finds him­self on Mars, where he is held cap­tive by 4m- tall bar­bar­ians.

21 Jump Street ( March 15): Two un­der­achiev­ing cops ( Jonah Hill and Chan­ning Ta­tum) are sent back to a lo­cal high school to blend in and bring down a syn­thetic drug ring.

The Hunger Games ( March 23): Jen­nifer Lawrence ( Win­ter’s Bone) will be pro­pelled into the big time on the back of this fu­tur­is­tic ac­tioner based on the best- sell­ing novel by Suzanne Collins.

ELE­MEN­TARY: Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr star in Sherlock Holmes, out in Jan­uary.

DOOMED: Michelle Wil­liams as Mar­i­lyn with hus­band No. 3, Arthur Miller ( Dougray Scott), in My Week With Mar­i­lyn; Tay­lor Kitsch in a scene from John Carter ( left).

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