Take an in-depth look at some future classics on the silver screen
Time Out Dubai
Django Unchained Provisional UAE release: January 17 Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L Jackson, Kerry Washington. It was cool to like Quentin Tarantino in the mid-90s, when he turned modern cinema upside down with fast-talking, Postmodern classics Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Then it became cool to smartly deride the one-note excess of the Kill Bill double header. Now he’s arguably lost a little of the edge and pretty much been accepted as part of the movie-making establishment, an eccentric auteur creating uniquely kooky blood and blastfests at whim. Early reviews of his latest have been especially positive, with old hand Sam Jackson said to be on extra special form. Loosely a remake of Sergio Corbucci’s spaghetti-western Django, we expect it to be a vehicle for another wise-cracking, and no doubt, head-scratching directional masterwork.
Lincoln Provisional UAE release: January 17 Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis. Originally set for release last June, Lincoln is Steven Spielberg’s follow-up to last year’s mixed bag of War Horse (too long) and The Adventures of Tintin (surprisingly spritely). Here he moves back to the more serious hues he last battled with 2005’s Munich, with a biopic of the US’s 16th president – the one found on today’s five-dollar bill. Based on the book Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, Spielberg’s film will focus on the political collision of Lincoln and his cabinet at the end of the Civil War. Day-Lewis was named as the star after Liam Neeson pulled out.
Gangster Squad Tentative UAE release: January 24 Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin. While audiences were expecting to see this released in September 2011, this action picture was understandably pulled following a mass shooting in an Aurora movie theatre last June. Trailers have been circulating on UAE screens for some weeks now and we’re pretty confident it will be worth the wait. Director Ruben Fleischer, who is best known for the 2009 cult comedy favourite Zombieland, has assembled an all-star cast for this ensemble gangster flick. Set on the dirty streets of LA during the ’40s and ’50s, the screenplay is inspired by memoir Tales of the Gangster Squad by Paul Lieberman, which chronicles the specialist cops’ battles against gangster kingpin Micky Cohen, played by a superb Sean Penn.
The Great Gatsby Provisional UAE release: May 16 Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Amitabh Bachchan, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire. After six previous renderings of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel on the silver screen, we’re not sure what more light can be shed on the life of the great Jay Gatsby. Reuniting director Baz Luhrmann and star Leo DiCaprio from 1996’s Romeo + Juliet, it will no doubt look fantastic, adding a delicious gloss to the decadent glow of 1930s America. The filmmaker behind Moulin Rouge (2001) and Australia (2008), Luhrmann has a taste for the overblown, overwrought and over-long; qualities, it can be argued, strangely at odds with Fitzgerald’s purposeful, elegiac prose and tales of loss and disappointment.
A Good Day to Die Hard Provisional UAE release: February 14 Starring: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Exactly 25 years after first stepping into mouthy cop John McClane’s shoes for the first time, Bruce Willis reprises the role for a fifth time – in a movie romantically released worldwide on Valentines Day (a hot date, or a place for date-less males to channel their aggression?). This sequel involves McLane (now older, probably wiser but surely less energetic) flying to Russia to bail out his son who’s in a spot of bother with the local police. Maybe McLane headbutts the police chief or spills a glass of bubbly over a politician. Whatever the kick-off, we can safely assume there’ll be a lot of running around, dodging of bullets and the uttering of such universally-recognised phrases as, ‘yippee ki-yay!’ There’s even a rumoured appearance by Patrick Stewart as a Russian general. We can’t wait.
Oz: The Great and Powerful Provisional UAE release: March 7 Starring: James Franco, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz. Triple Spider-Man director Sam Raimi helms this long-hyped Wizard of Oz prequel told from the point of view of the Wizard. James Franco takes the lead as Oscar Diggs, a circus magician who winds up in Oz with a trio of feisty witches (Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams). They’re sceptical about his talents, so he’s forced to prove his worth and improve his powers of wizardry. Zach Braff pops in for voice duty while Abigail Spencer (Cowboys & Aliens) also appears. There have been numerous attempts to bring Oz back to the screen – let’s see how this fares.
Oblivion Provisional UAE release: April 11 Starring: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman. After a foray into musicals with Rock of Ages and a very public divorce, Tom Cruise is back doing what he does best: big blockbuster action. Oblivion is certainly big. With a budget of Dhs700 million, the film follows a veteran soldier who is sent to a distant planet. Once there, he is instructed to destroy the remains of an alien race, but an encounter with an exiled traveller forces him to question his perceptions of the planet and his mission. It will be interesting to see if relatively new director Joseph Kosinski, whose only other credit is Tron Legacy, can transcend the trappings of a CGI sci-fi film.
Star Trek Into Darkness Provisional UAE release: May 16 Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana. After the critical and financial success of JJ Abrams’s giddily thrilling Star Trek reboot, it seemed likely that the promised sequel would see a warp-speed turnaround. But that never happened: it took two years for the script to be finalised and for Abrams to commit to directing. Plot details remain sketchy, but when the film does finally arrive, expect more of what we got in the first one: square jaws, sharp dialogue, searing CGI, strong casting and plenty of sneaky references to the original series – plus, very possibly, an appearance from Benicio del Toro as everyone’s favourite seven-foot space psycho – altogether now – ‘Khaaaaaaaaaaaaan!’.
Man of Steel Provisional UAE release: June 13 Starring: Henry Cavill, Russell Crowe, Amy Adams. A reboot of the Superman franchise from director Zack Snyder. Just as in The Amazing Spider-Man, the writers have decided to go back to the beginning with an origin tale: a child is sent to Earth from the dying planet Krypton. He is adopted by a couple and grows up to become a part-time journalist and full-time world saver. Those who are bored of comic remakes and reboots (and the dubious output of fanboy favourite Snyder) may choose to give this one a miss, but with a story by Christopher Nolan it might be worth keeping an open mind.
Monsters University Provisional UAE release: June 20 Starring: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi. Over a decade after the fantastic Monsters, Inc comes this prequel detailing the university days of Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman) – a time when they weren’t quite so chummy. Steve Buscemi will reprise his role as Randall Boggs while new voice cast members include Dave Foley, Julia Sweeney, Joel Murray and Peter Sohn. Also coming back for more is Jennifer Tilly as Celia. Dan Scanlon (Tracy) directs what could be the kids film of the year.
World War Z Provisional UAE release: June 20 Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, David Morse. The zombie movie for zombie fans, World War Z sees Brad Pitt lead the hi-tech, globalised battle against the undead. Based on the novels by Max Brooks, the film has been delayed endlessly, with script rewrites and reshoots – but when was the last time Pitt associated himself with a stinker?
The Lone Ranger Provisional UAE release: August 8 Starring: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Tom Wilkinson. Since 2003 Johnny Depp and director Gore Verbinski have been lining Disney’s pockets with Pirates of the Caribbean. By virtue of their loyalty to the Dhs14 billion franchise comes this original project: a Western based on 1930s radio serials. Depp will play a crow-hatted Tonto to Armie Hammer’s Ranger. With luck this will boast all the acting and directional prowess of Pirates, without bowing quite so close to the demands of the multiplex.