4. Only God Forgives (dir. Nicolas Winding Refn)
I’ve been a fan of Nicolas Winding Refn since I saw the Pusher trilogy in 2005, and this movie sees him reuniting with his Drive star Ryan Gosling to make a western set in Thailand. We don’t know much more about the movie than that, but those details are all I need. I’m eager to see what Refn can do with a big studio budget, but that can wait for his and Gosling’s Logan’s Run remake. In the meantime, lets see what happens when they go off the grid for this violent revenge tale.
(Release TBD — news recap)
3. Cloud Atlas (dir. Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski & Lana Wachowski)
I don’t know if this is going to be a disaster of epic proportion or a thing of wonder. (Or something in between, which is much more likely.) I do know that no other movie in 2012 matches Cloud Atlas in terms of ambition. You’ve got three directors, Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski, working with two parallel film units to shoot six vaguely interconnected stories that span centuries and narrative genres. Oh, and most of the cast (Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant and Bae Doona) play multiple roles, and in some cases actors are playing other races and genders. If you told me the Wachowskis were filming just one of the tales in Cloud Atlas — the dystopian future story set in a corporation-dominated South Korea — I’d be eager to see it. Add five other stories and all those other elements, and I don’t quite know what to expect, but I can’t wait to see it.
(Release TBD — news recap)
2. Prometheus (dir. Ridley Scott)
Ridley Scott has earned his master tag, but that doesn’t change certain truths. Do I really want to watch Body of Lies or Robin Hood ever again? Nope. But Alien, Scott’s 1979 fusion of sci-fi, horror and working class characters, is one of my most-watched movies. So Prometheus, conceived and then executed to some extent as a prequel to Alien, has a big advantage from stage one. I look at things in more practical terms, however: when was the last time Ridley Scott made a movie I was really, truly wild about? It has been a long time.
So Prometheus doesn’t place on pitch alone. But the Comic Con footage, which is echoed in the recently-released trailer, convinced me that there are visual ideas going on here that are wildly attention-getting. In the long run, will that be enough? No, but take the images, add the basic story of terraformers reshaping a planet and the themes implied by the title (man taking power that he’s not ready for), then mix in the cast (Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender) and there could be a lot going on. The images in the footage we’ve seen do combine with the pitch to suggest that Scott (with screenwriters Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof) might have tapped into something deep here, once again. And there is the 3D factor to consider. Martin Scorsese made this well-established 3D naysayer admit that the tech is useful when used well, so let’s see it applied to this universe.
(June 8 — trailer)