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2012 – Through The Looking Glass

A look ahead to the big releases in the year ahead from Dublin-based film writer Barry Bracken who recently launched his own site at

Barry has worked for and RTÉ and is the front-man with the pop group Bouts.

2012 - Through the Looking Glass

One thing’s for sure, 2012 will be dominated by The Dark Knight Rises. Christopher Nolan will finally finish his Batman trilogy and we, the critical community, the fans, the geeks will royally round on him for producing quite possibly the biggest blockbuster cock-up since Kevin Costner thought Waterworld was a good idea. Ok, so that turn of events is unlikely in the extreme. But just one request Chris – don’t make it as bum-achingly long this time. The Dark Knight had enough endings to show LOTR: The Return Of The King a thing or two. Sticking with the comic book theme and another superhero world should come to close this Summer (but probably won’t if Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 get the final go-ahead) as The Avengers splashes down. After teasing us for, oh, I don’t know how many Marvel Universe movies at this stage, Samuel L Jackson will take centre stage in one of his one. Only to find that, well, everybody else (ever) is in it as well. A positive orgy of superhero talent to take our eyes off what *red-blooded guy alert* Scarlett Johansson will be wearing.

J Edgar opens in Ireland and the UK late January and although advance word is poor I always find it interesting (if a only from a mainstream Hollywood perspective) to see what next “worthy” Oscar bait project Sunset Boulevard royalty throws at the plebs. Sometimes it works (Silence Of The Lambs) sometimes not (Dances With Wolves – sorry again Kevin). Anyway, Leo in front and Clint behind the camera (at eighty – EIGHTY years of age for god’s sake!) is enough for mild diversion at the very least. And it may still be better than the Total Recall remake – starring somebody called Colin Farrell and somebody else called Bokeem Woodbine (cool name though) and, lest we omit, the excellent, incomparable Bryan Cranston. It will undoubtedly be one of the hype movies of the year. Let’s hope they don’t muck up one of Arnie’s true lasting (positive) cinematic legacies. Ridley Scott’s Prometheus is another huge event movie this year. With a cast of stars as long as your arm (Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba – Stringer Bell yo! – and er, Patrick Wilson) this might be his best film since, well, Alien! Alright alright * hands up* I jest, Blade Runner then. Also starring Charlize Theron, Young Adult should be more than worth a look when it’s released this side of the pond in March. Diablo Cody (writer of Juno) scripted and Jason Reitman (Juno, Thank You For Smoking, Up In The Air) directs – a quality team. It bodes well.

They’re rebooting Spiderman again (again!). Maybe it’s not too late to unboot, but with a release date of July The Amazing Spiderman is coming at us whether we’ve short memories or not. Keep a watchful eye out for Alps, Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ follow-up to the bonkers Dogtooth. Spielberg’s Lincoln is due towards year’s end. Will it be his best effort since Munich? Or if we’re being really honest the brilliant (and getting better with age) Minority Report. Come on Stevie it’s been ten years! Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is also out in the Summer. Spielberg won’t be directing that. Joesph Gordon Levitt stars in Lincoln but keep an eye out for him also in Premium Rush – due August. An unremarkable action premise on paper, what make’s it more promising is the amount of talent it’s hung on – David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Panic Room) writes and directs and the excellent Michael Shannon (Take Shelter, Boardwalk Empire) co-stars. The Bourne Legacy with Jeremy Renner as our new, friendly, CIA super-soldier should be worth investigating. Series writer Tony Gilroy takes directorial duties this time round. And how can we not be expectant of the man who could reasonably be held responsible for accidentally, single-handedly revitalising Bond. Saving it from the clutches of a stale formula and an aging Brosnan. But I digress.

Moving into dodgy sequel land, Paranormal Activity 4, The Expendables 2 and Taken 2 will all arrive this year. And the will it / won’t it be any good dilemma that is Men In Black III will resurrect from it’s dormant slumber. Strange but true career sidestep of the year will be by director Jay Roach. Responsible for such socially conscious, hard hitting, politically aware potboliers as Austin Powers & Meet The Parents / Fockers he brings us Dogfight and Game Change – both highly political in their orientation. Dogfight is a comedy about two North Carolina politicians fighting for a seat in the House of Representatives. Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis star, but an intriguing supporting cast (John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Dan Aykroyd anyone?) bulk up the numbers. And although Game Change is a stateside HBO television production, it should, if possible, be well worth catching – especially with none other than Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin. And, to be fair, Roach has been chipping away at the political mould in made-for-tv land since 2008’s really quite good Recount.

To close, 2012 will also feature the bizarre spectacle of two of Hollywood’s most preposterous egos in a “see which Hollywood superstar glams up as the best rock-star” competition. We’ve Sean Penn in (the partly filmed in Ireland) This Must Be The Place and Tom Cruise in Rock Of Ages. Some serious alter-ego indulgence at play here. What is certain is both will be plainly ridiculous. Open to correction on that, but alas, we must wait and see. Happy watching folks!

What are your most anticipated releases for the year ahead?