From Spider-Man to The Hobbit, it’ll be an epic year: A season by season look at the best of 2012

Saturday, 7 January 2012 00:47 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

While the clouds of economic woe gather overhead, cinema may be the best place to shelter in 2012. My most eagerly-awaited film of the year is the first part of The Hobbit, but I’ll have to wait until next December for that. In the meantime, there are lots of reasons to be cheerful.



Steven Spielberg’s unashamedly sentimental War Horse, out on January 13, is a classic family film that will wow audiences, and deserves more acclaim than it will get from critics.

From Clint Eastwood, who at 81 shows no signs of slackening his pace, there comes J. Edgar (January 20), the biopic of the former FBI chief. Leonardo DiCaprio, flatteringly, plays Hoover. I wonder if we’ll be seeing him in a tutu, which was J. Edgar’s idea of casual wear.

I’ve already had the pleasure of watching The Descendants (January 27), a superb comedy-drama by Alexander Payne that’s an Oscar contender in at least three categories: Best Picture, Actor (George Clooney) and Supporting Actress (Shailene Woodley).

Another dramatic highlight will be Roman Polanski’s Carnage (3 February), featuring excellent performances by Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly.

Daniel Radcliffe begins his post-Potter film career with The Woman In Black (10 February), a chilling thriller transferred from the stage by James Watkins, an under-rated British talent who made a striking directorial debut with Eden Lake.

I’m also looking forward to One For The Money (24 February), the first movie to be made out of Janet Evanovich’s long series of entertaining comic thrillers.


Had your fill of reality TV? Then look out for Gary Ross’s  The Hunger Games (March 23), based  on Suzanne Collins’s novels, where 24 young people fight to the death on live TV in a sort of post-apocalyptic X Factor. Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson star, and three sequels are in the pipeline, so someone must have confidence in it.

Comic-strip fans will be eager to watch what Joss Whedon makes of The Avengers (27 April) — nothing to do with the TV series, but a showcase for Marvel superheroes including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans).

And on the comedy front, I have high hopes of The Dictator (18 May), in which Sacha Baron Cohen plays an only-too-topical tyrant (pictured, right).


Ridley Scott makes his return to sci-fi 30 years after Blade Runner, with Prometheus (June 1), starring Guy Pearce, Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron.

And at last they’re releasing The Amazing Spider-Man (6 July), starring Andrew Garfield (pictured below) and Emma Stone. Let’s hope it does better than the Broadway musical of Spidey,  Turn Off The Dark — it was last year’s biggest stage flop. Just as eagerly awaited will be The Dark Knight Rises (20 July), another Batman movie directed by Christopher Nolan, again starring Christian Bale.

Promisingly, the villain, Bane, is played by the excellent Tom Hardy, and the cast also includes Marion Cotillard and Anne Hathaway — who, as Catwoman, has plenty to prove after One Day.

Autumn and Beyond

Spielberg’s biopic of Abraham Lincoln, due out at the end of the year, has the asset of Honest Abe lookalike Daniel Day-Lewis in the lead.

I’m also looking forward to Frankenweenie (5 October), directed by Tim Burton, in which a dead dog is brought back to life with unintended consequences.

If you want to put money on a sure-fire hit for 2012, Mr Bond, Skyfall (26 October) is your film. It’s directed by Sam Mendes, and the principal villain is Javier Bardem.

Baz Luhrmann’s version of The Great Gatsby should also be great to look at; DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan are ideally cast as Gatsby and Daisy.

And on 14 December, Tolkien fans can get a new fix with the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Martin Freeman will give us his Bilbo Baggins, and his TV co-star from Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch, is the voice of Smaug, the dragon.

Andy Serkis, Ian McKellen and Christopher Lee all reprise their roles from The Lord Of The Rings; and thinking woman’s crumpet, 6ft 2in Richard Armitage, will play dwarf leader Thorin Oakenshield. The whole thing is shot in 3D. I can hardly wait.