On Twitter: @JamesEppler
By my reckoning, 2012 hasn't been a very good year for movies, and we're two-thirds of the way through it. Summer had a few gems, but most of the hyped releases didn't live up to the promises made.
So the four months that remain in the year have to deliver. Here are the ten movies I think have the most potential to impress: 1. "The Master" (Sept. 14)
Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson is among my absolute favorite filmmakers. While he claims this is not a movie about Scientology, the movie starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as a scientist and spiritual leader certainly has some similarities. My only worry: A September release date may indicate it's not good enough to get in on the Oscar rush. 2. "Django Unchained" (Dec. 25)
Quentin Tarantino ventures into spaghetti western territory with Jaime Foxx as a former slave bent on taking revenge on a plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio) who has his wife held captive. "Inglorious Basterds" Oscar-winner Christoph Walz co-stars. Merry Christmas, indeed. 3. "Lincoln" (Nov. 9)
No vampire hunting in this one. Steven Spielberg directs Daniel Day Lewis in the title role from a script written by Tony Kushner ("Angels in America"). The movie focuses on the final months of the President's life before that fateful night at the theater. 4. "Les Miserables" (Dec. 14)
My favorite musical of all time should look and sound smashing on the big screen. Hugh Jackman has the pipes to deliver in the lead as Jean Valjean, and I'm interested to hear what Russell Crowe can do as Javert. Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried also star. Direction is by Oscar-winner Tom Hooper ("The King's Speech"). 5. "Argo" (Oct. 12)
Yes, Ben Affleck was the bomb in "Phantoms," yo, but he's also killer good behind the camera. "Argo" is his third film to direct after excellent work with "Gone Baby Gone" and "The Town." This is a true story about a mission to rescue hostages from a war zone under the guise of shooting a fake movie. Cool. 6. "Life of Pi" (Nov. 21)
Ang Lee ("Brokeback Mountain") directs this adaptation of the best-selling book about a young boy lost at sea with a ferocious and hungry bengal tiger. Sound strange? Watch the trailer.
This 3D adventure looks like it has the chops to blow us away. 7. "Hyde Park on Hudson" (Dec. 7)
Bill Murray has been making such interesting choices over the last ten years or so. I'd argue he's been robbed for an Oscar at least twice ("Rushmore," "Lost in Translation"). Maybe this will be his year as he plays President Franklin D. Roosevelt, during a historic 1939 meeting with England's King George VI. 8. "The Sessions" (Oct. 26)
The great John Hawkes plays real life journalist and poet Mark O'Brien, a man confined to an iron lung because of polio. When he decides he finally wants to lose his virginity, he hires a sex surrogate played by Helen Hunt. Watch the trailer
and try not to be moved. 9. "Zero Dark Thirty" (Dec. 19)
The Oscar-winning director of "The Hurt Locker," Kathryn Bigelow, tells the story of the take-down of Osama Bin Laden. There are rumors they got top secret details from the White House on how this went down. The Obama administration denies this, but don't pretend you don't hope it's true. 10. "Skyfall" (Nov. 9)
As a huge James Bond fan I'm excited to see Daniel Craig in the role again. What makes this one especially interesting is the director, Sam Mendes ("American Beauty," "Road to Perdition"). Can "Skyfall" live up to the greatness of "Casino Royale?" I can't wait to watch them try.
Also promising: "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
but do we reeeeallly need three of these movies? "Looper"
looks like super-cool time travel mind-melt. "Jack Reacher"
because Tom Cruise is awesome. "Trouble with the Curve"
with Clint Eastwood talking to real people. "Arbitrage"
with Richard Gere getting Oscar buzz as a billionaire white collar crook." "Frankenweenie"
because I love Tim Burton's visual style with animation. "Killing them Softly"
because despite the stupid title, Brad Pitt rarely makes a misstep. "Not Fade Away"
with the creator of "The Sopranos," David Chase, delving into the music that inspired him. "Cloud Atlas,"
the first movie from the Wachowski siblings since "Speed Racer" with Tom Hanks in multiple roles. "Flight"
with Denzel Washington as an airline pilot who saves passengers "Sully" style, but hides a secret. "Silver Linings Playbook"
because I'm always up for a David O. Russell movie, especially when it stars Jennifer Lawrence. "This is 40,"
Judd Apatow's sequel to "Knocked Up" focusing on married couple Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann. "Parental Guidance,"
with Billy Crystal and Bette Midler as grandparents called on to babysit.
Thanks, but no thanks: "Dredd 3D"
Looks as bad as the original with Stallone. "Resident Evil: Retribution"
Please stop. "Taken 2"
Liam Neeson is the worst husband/father ever. "Atlas Shrugged pt. 2"
Paul Ryan already has his tickets. "Here Comes the Boom"
Another Kevin James nightmare. "Paranormal Activity 4"
Enough already. "Twilight: Breaking Dawn part 2"
Will werewolf Jacob get the daughter of his old crush to fall in love with him? Creeeeepy. "Red Dawn"
We don't need this remake. The original with Swayze is awesome enough.