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