2011 isn’t quite over yet, but it’s not too early to plan your 2012 cinematic calendar. We've compiled a list of must-see movies for the coming year:
“Declaration of War” -- January 27 (Limited)
A darling of Cannes 2011, the autobiographical French film arrives stateside next month. Director Valerie Donzelli and co-star/writer (and former boyfriend) Jérémie Elkaim mined the real-life experience of their son’s cancer diagnosis and treatment, bringing a lighthearted/indie touch to the heavy material. “Declaration of War” (La Guerre est Declare) was France’s submission to the Academy Awards for the Best Foreign Language Film.
“Footnote” -- March 9
From Israel, “Hearat Shuluyim” examines a complicated rivalry between father and son Talmudic studies scholars. Writer/director Joseph Cedar won the screenplay award at Cannes.
“Casa di me Padre” -- March 16
Will Ferrell teams up with Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal in this Spanish-language romp from former SNL writer and “Anchorman” director Adam McKay. The trailer says it all.
“The Hunger Games” -- March 23
Jennifer Lawrence stars as a teenager who volunteers the ultimate death match in the much-anticipated adaptation of the dystopian Scholastic novel series that was accused of ripping off “Battle Royale.” Yep, that is indeed Lenny Kravitz as Katniss’s “stylist.”
“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” -- April 20
We don’t know too much about this film yet – no trailer or production stills have yet been published – but we do know that we are very much looking forward to the “End of the World”: Steve Carrell, Keira Knightley, Melanie Jane Lynskey and Patton Oswalt are members of an impressive ensemble cast in the sophomore feature from “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” director Lorene Scafaria. Carrell plays a man desperate to reunite with a high school sweetheart before an asteroid strikes the earth.
“The Five Year Engagement” -- April 27
Emily Blunt and Jason Segal play an otherwise happy couple who’ve had some difficulty pinning down a wedding date. Segal reunited with “Muppets” co-writer Nick Stoller, who also directs. Given their track record (Stoller directed Segal in the riotously funny “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”) this one looks like a win.
“First Position -- May 4
Warmly received at the Toronto Film Festival, this documentary follows a half-dozen young dancers as they prepare to for the Young America Grand Prix -- a competition that will determine their future in ballet.
“Moonrise Kingdom” -- May 25
Wes Anderson returns to live action with this 1960’s love story set in a New England town (and filmed in Newport, R.I.). The young lovers who flee the town are played by relative unknowns, but Anderson veterans Bill Murray and Jason Schwartman are among the award-winning cast, which also includes Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Ed Norton and Tilda Swinton.
“The Dark Knight Rises -- July 20
Expectations are high for the final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series, which picks up eight years after Batman went into hiding.
“Savages” -- September 28
Oliver Stone helmed the adaptation of Don Wilson’s drug cartel novel of the same name, with John Travolta, Benico del Toro, and Blake Lively among the ensemble cast. The movie recently finished production and no trailer has yet been released, but Stone has already given high praise to Lively -- and he seems rather smitten. “She is a lot more than what people have seen,” Stone told the Huffington Post.
“Looper” -- September 28
Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt play the same character in Rian Johnson’s time-travel mob movie. Johnson previously directed Gordon-Levitt in the well-received “Brick.” No trailer yet, but there’s a fun tumblr.
Django Unchained -- December 25
It's still a year out, but it's not too soon to get excited about Quentin Tarantono's follow-up to the superb Inglorious Basterds. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who is perched to become next year's Ryan Gosling) stars alongside Samuel Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio. Sacha Baron Cohen, Christoph Waltz (“Inglorious Basterds”), James Remar (“Dexter”), and Kerry Washington are among a very Tarantino-esque supporting cast.