15. COGAN’S TRADE (release date unknown)

He only has two films under his belt (CHOPPER, THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES…), but on that pair alone, director Andrew Dominik has earned the benefit of the doubt from me. COGAN’S TRADE is adapted from the 70s crime novel of the same name, and stars Brad Pitt as a professional enforcer tasked with tracking down cash heisted from a mob-protected high-stakes poker game. Dominik, Pitt, a great supporting cast, and the subject matter is enough for this to trump another of Brad’s projects, WORLD WAR Z (an adaptation I don’t have much faith in), for the 15th spot.

Brad Pitt in "Cogan's Trade"

14. SKYFALL (Nov. 9)

I really like Daniel Craig as Bond, and dug the heck out of CASINO ROYALE, but thought its drab followup, QUANTUM OF SOLACE, was one of the worst outings in the prolific franchise’s history. Since that uninspired, shaky-cam misstep, MGM filed for bankruptcy, suspended the 23rd installment for over a year, and nearly sold off the rights to the lucrative series entirely. But 007 is back on track with Oscar-winner Sam Mendes (ROAD TO PERDITION, AMERICAN BEAUTY) at the helm. And it doesn’t hurt that Mr. Bond will be contending with the likes of Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes. Let’s hope that SKYFALL rights the ship…

Bond 23

13. JOHN CARTER (March 9)

Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “John Carter of Mars” novels were the first non-mandatory books I devoured as a yute, so needless to say, I’ve been waiting years for a big screen adaptation. The property was stuck in development hell for literally 80 years, with Disney ultimately ending up with the rights. They put WALL*E writer/director Andrew Stanton at the helm, and are using partner company Pixar for the special effects. My big fear is that JOHN CARTER will bomb big time due to its less-than-stellar marketing and similarities to AVATAR and–ugh–ATTACK OF THE CLONES, even though the latter films clearly ripped major elements from the former. Here’s hoping the film at least meets expectations…

12. LOOPER (Sept. 28)

Rian Johnson, the writer/director of THE BROTHERS BLOOM and BRICK, reunites with Joseph Gordon-Levitt on this heady sci-fi flick about hit men who knock off targets and send them back in time to cover their tracks. One of the marks Levitt’s character encounters turns out to be the future version of himself, played by Bruce Willis, a dude who’s 1 for 1 as time-travel movies go (12 MONKEYS, one of my favorites). LOOPER also stars Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, and Jeff Daniels. I really liked Johnson’s first two efforts, and I’m definitely looking forward to this one. This year’s SOURCE CODE, methinks.

Bruce Willis in Rian Johnson's

11. GRAVITY (Nov. 12)

Alfonso Cuaron (CHILDREN OF MEN, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN) is writing and directing a sci-fi flick about a lone survivor of a space mission to repair the Hubble telescope desperately trying to return to Earth and reunite with her daughter. Not too much is available on this one yet, but it sounds like another ambitious project for the Mexican auteur (rumor is, it contains a 20-minute+ opening shot and more than half of the film’s being created via CGI; Guillermo del Toro’s calling the film “completely mind-blowing”). I’m a big fan of Cuaron, and I’m interested to see what he and stars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock do with GRAVITY.

Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity"

  1. Wayne Dannecker says:

    Wohh exactly what I was looking for, regards for posting.

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