by Francesca Peak
Hyde Park on Hudson – 7th December 2012 This will either prove to be terrible or brilliant. Bill Murray is Franklin D. Roosevelt and Laura Linney his mistress in the film that focuses on the visit of King George VI and his wife – the Queen Mother to you and me – to the United States, the first ever by a British monarch, mere months before the outbreak of World War Two. Judging from the cast and context, it’s meant to be a comedy, and I really hope they pull out the laughs or this will fall flat on its face. Neither FDR nor King George deserve that. (NB: When I saw a film about FDR was coming out, I thought it was this one. Sadly not.)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – 14th December 2012 If this needs explaining, you must have been living in Gollum’s cave for the past fifteen years. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is generally accepted as one of the best trilogies out there. The acting wasn’t brilliant, but for the most part, the casting was spot on, and the visual effects and music made the eye so elated the ears were drowned out, pun intended. Martin Freeman takes on the role he was perhaps born for, as no-one has ever looked more suited to being a hobbit, whilst Peter Jackson directs and Ian McKellan returns to the role he was perhaps born for. Much of the cast from TLOTR return too, but for me it’s the booming British voice of Benedict Cumberbatch as the dragon Smaug that’s something to look out for. I don’t know if you can be attracted to a dragon by its voice alone, but I’ll let you know. My only concern is why they’ve split the book into three films – having read it, I’m not sure this is necessary.
Django Unchained – 18th January 2013 Again, no introduction needed. Directed by Quentin Tarantino and set a few years before the American Civil War, Django Unchained follows the story of the slave Django (Jamie Foxx) and the bounty hunter who bought him (Christolph Waltz) as they trek across the country in search of the Brittle Brothers, in exchange for which he will help Django free his wife from the plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). As if that description didn’t give you enough to go on, the cast is pretty much unparalleled, with Tarantino regular Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington and Jonah Hill making appearances. It’s been four years since the last Tarantino spectacular. Let’s do it again.
Lincoln – 25th January 2013 Steven Spielberg directs Daniel Day-Lewis out of hibernation and into the figure of arguably the greatest American President in history. The film focusses on the last few months of the Civil War, which would prove to be Lincoln’s last. Loosely based on the very accomplished and absorbing book Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin and starring Day-Lewis alongside Joseph Gordon Levitt and Tommy Lee Jones, it seems everyone involved in this film has three-worded-names. I just don’t see how it can fail, and I really hope it doesn’t.
The Great Gatsby – 10th May 2013 This is a long way off yet, but the trailer promised Christmas so I got far more excited than I should have. This gloriously lavish adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic has all the makings of a great film – Baz Luhrman, tonnes of money, and strategic casting, with Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy and Tobey Maguire as Nick. In addition, Adelaide Clemons, who played Valentine in BBC’s Parade’s End also stars. The modern music in the trailer (Kanye West/Jay-Z and Jack White) suggests this will have huge appeal to today’s crowd, whilst still maintaining the glamour of the 1920s. Can’t wait.
Others to Watch: Life of Pi, because I’m intrigued to see how the book will translate onto the screen; Oz: The Great and Powerful, because it has a seriously hot cast;Robot and Frank, because it looks funny, heart-warming and intriguing; The Host, because I’m a sucker for that teenage sci-fi nonsense; Man of Steel, because it’s Henry Cavill in lycra; I, Frankenstein, because I love the book and the plot sounds like they’ve mashed up Paradise Lost with the original novel.