Life in Technicolor: “La La Land” Rewrites the Musical Genre

la-la-land-585c617a5f650

Contemporary cinema is all about nostalgia these days. But where most films recede into self-referential tedium, along comes a fresh, beautiful little marvel that not only provides an entertaining cinematic experience, but, I think, rewrites the concept of the musical entirely.

La La Land is the darling of the current awards season, and rightly so. The film has an interesting (if somewhat a bit predictable) storyline, excellent music, and some of the best cinematography I’ve seen in recent years. It is not just a musical love story, but a love letter to the idea of Los Angeles itself: the hope, the dream, the romance and the craziness that is the “city of stars.”

Approaching the film from a design perspective, this has to be one of the most gorgeously photographed pictures I’ve seen. Linus Sandgren, director of photography, did a knockout job in capturing not just the remarkable colour tone of the film, but setting that against the backdrop of Los Angeles made for a dynamic pairing. The use of primary colours and accents stood out for me in creating the hyper-reality that contributed to the dreamlike narrative. It’s certainly refreshing to see such attention to detail paid to subtle things like colour (especially after watching the washed-out tones of recent DC and Marvel superhero movies). That photo above captures this aptly: the costume designer expertly manipulated the perfect colour tone to complement both characters; the bright colours for Stone’s Mia and the stylish yet subtle hues for Gosling’s Seb perfectly complement each other whilst making the characters pop on-screen; it’s hyper-real cinema at its best.

The entire picture feels surreal; the breakouts into song and dance, coupled with these vibrant colour tones, truly transport the viewer to this alternate reality. They heighten the sensory experience of the city, and in this exaggeration emphasize the relationships between the characters and magnify an otherwise standard plotline.

Director Damien Chazelle did a good job in getting sterling performances from the leads. Gosling and Stone have undeniable chemistry (this isn’t their first on-screen pairing), and their voices aren’t that bad either. The songs, composed by Justin Hurwitz, are catchy. I loved the use of jazz as a metaphor for the entire film – being used both literally as a narrative device for Gosling’s character Sebastian, and more abstractly as that moment of magic, that tension and dynamism that is Los Angeles and the romance with this city; the romance that emerges from this city. The refrain that becomes the film’s theme is beautiful; it carries the gravitas of the narrative whilst imbuing a certain nostalgia, a subtle longing for that golden age of cinema (this is how you do nostalgia: with classy subtlety, rather than in-your-face rehashing).

Here’s that theme:

That same feeling is conveyed in one of my other favourite numbers, City of Stars:

John Legend’s character Keith captured it best when he said:

“How are you gonna be a revolutionary if you’re such a traditionalist? You hold onto the past, but jazz is about the future.”

In a way this is what La La Land is about: using mechanisms of the past to proffer the idea of a bolder, new cinematic experience: one that uses the traditional tools of cinema (writing, music, cinematography) to create compelling new narratives and entertainment. As much as it is a love letter to the city it’s named after, La La Land is also a homage to Hollywood itself: capturing the frenzy, the absurdity and the magic of showbiz through the perspective of our heroes and their whirlwind romance.

In a world that’s getting darker each day, it’s refreshing to see a bit of technicolor injected into a movie experience that is true, unabashed escapism. La La Land transports you to a time when cinema meant something: losing yourself in the romance of the magic unfolding on the silver screen, getting catchy (but still good) songs stuck in your head, and reveling in the chaos of Hollywood and its bright colours, all in glorious Cinemascope.

As Seb says, “I guess I’ll see you in the movies.”

8/10

Superman: Modern Day Socrates

In Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill vol.2, Bill has a very interesting monologue. Perhaps the most famous monologue in the entire two-part saga.

The essence: he slices through the very nature of Superman, and argues for the idea that Clark Kent is the image Superman perceives of us, as a species, as the human race.

Here’s the speech:

(edited to remove spoilers)

As you know, l’m quite keen on comic books. Especially the ones about superheroes. I find the whole mythology surrounding superheroes fascinating. Take my favorite superhero, Superman. Not a great comic book. Not particularly well-drawn. But the mythology… The mythology is not only great, it’s unique.

[…]

Now, a staple of the superhero mythology is, there’s the superhero and there’s the alter ego. Batman is actually Bruce Wayne, Spider-Man is actually Peter Parker. When that character wakes up in the morning, he’s Peter Parker. He has to put on a costume to become Spider-Man. And it is in that characteristic Superman stands alone. Superman didn’t become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he’s Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red “S”, that’s the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. Those are his clothes. What Kent wears – the glasses, the business suit – that’s the costume. That’s the costume Superman wears to blend in with us. Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent. He’s weak… he’s unsure of himself… he’s a coward. Clark Kent is Superman’s critique on the whole human race.

–Bill, from “Kill Bill vol.2” (2004)

2014 in Film

It’s a new year, and a new set of exciting films are waiting in the wings. Keeping in tradition, here’s my pick of films to watch in 2014.

This year is going to be an epic one for cinema, from sequels to franchise reboots, to the return of some old favourites (I’m looking at you, The Hobbit: There and Back Again and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1). Release dates provided are international ones, but since Ster-Kinekor has upgraded to a full digital cinema system, they’ve said that we in South Africa should be getting these releases parallel to international dates. Let’s hope that remains true!

Without further ado, I give you 2014 in Film:

Films marked with an asterisk (*) are my must-see most anticipated picks.

  • I, Frankenstein [24 January] – a retake on the chilling horror story, starring Aaron Eckart and Bill Nighy.
  • The Lego Movie [7 February] – Lego Batman on an adventure. ’nuff said.
  • 300: Rise of an Empire [7 March] – Zack Snyder produces this follow-up that takes place before, during and after the events of 300.
  • * Noah [28 March] – Darren Aronofsky, he of the famed psychologically-driven character films, directs this Biblical interpretation starring a star-filled cast including Russel Crowe and Emma Watson.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier [4 April] – Steve Rogers and the Black Widow team up to take on a mystery that may endanger the entire world. Set two years after The Avengers, the duo soon encounter a powerful adversary – the Winter Soldier.
  • * Transcendence [18 April] – Wally Pfister, longtime cinematographer for Christopher Nolan, makes his directorial debut in this sci-fi thriller starring Johnny Depp, and Morgan Freeman. The story is very compelling: Dr Will Caster strives to create a machine that possesses sentience and collective intelligence. Like any good sci-fi film that doubles as a “thinking man’s action movie” (á la The Matrix), many philosophical implications and questions shall inevitably be brought up when discussing this film. One of my highly anticipated picks for the year.
  • Amazing Spider-Man 2 [2 May] – Eduardo Saverin – I mean, Andrew Garfield – is back as Spidey, shootin’ webs and takin’ names. The trailer hints at the possibility of a Marvel villain team-up movie following this. Looks really good too.
  • Godzilla [16 May] – the kaiju to end all kaijus is back in all its 21st Century CGI 3D glory. It stars Bryan Cranston and Ken Watanabe.
  • * X-Men: Days of Future Past [23 May] – The first trailer looks insanely epic. A time-travel story arc that brings the characters of the original and new X-Men movies together for the first time, this one stars Jennifer Lawrence, The Wolverine (aka Hugh Jackman), Michael Fassbender, Ellen Page, Sir Ian McKellen and most of Hollywood’s other A-listers.
  • 22 Jump Street [13 June] – Jencko and Schmidt are back, this time going undercover in college. I loved the first movie, and this one promises to continue that fun. Plus, you can’t go wrong with Jonah Hill in comedy.
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes [11 July] – the apes are rising against man. Will be interesting to see how they play the sympathies here. Enjoyed the first one, and looking forward to more. Starring motion capture expert Andy Serkis (aka Gollum) and Gary Oldman.
  • * Jupiter Ascending [18 July] – Mila Kunis stars in this sci-fi film by the inimitable Wachowskis (of Matrix and V for Vendetta fame). Jupiter is an unlikely hero who must fight against the Queen of the Universe to claim her birthright as the universe’s next leader. Also, did I mention Mila Kunis is in this? 😛
  • Guardians of the Galaxy [1 August] – Marvel’s Phase Two is wrapping up, and GOTG starts taking us intergalactic. With characters like Rocket Racoon (played by Bradley Cooper of all people), you know this is going to be a riot – of laughs, action, and more CGI than your brain can even comprehend. Sounds fun.
  • * Sin City: A Dame to Kill For [22 August] – Frank Millar and Robert Rodriguez direct this much-anticipated sequel. It packs an ensemble cast including Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Eva Green and Joseph Gorden-Levitt.
  • Jane Got a Gun [29 August] – Natalie Portman is Jane, a good girl married to one of the worst baddies in town. She decides to take matters into her own hands when her husband returns home with eight bullets in his back. A classic western movie starring Natalie Portman – what more is there to say?
  • * Interstellar [7 November] – Christopher. Freaking. Nolan. One of my favourite directors returns. This time, it’s a haunting sci-fi tale: a wormhole is discovered that can connect widely separate regions of spacetime… and a team of explorers embarks on the greatest voyage of mankind. According to The Hollywood Reporter: “The plot is beleived to involve time travel and alternate dimensions.” The teaser trailer is chilling, and builds intense expectations for a Nolan movie. He’s teaming up with his brother Jonathan Nolan on this – much like when they worked on Memento together. It has the complete Chris Nolan package: Hans Zimmer music, brilliant actors like Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Matthew McConaughey. And of course, it includes a dash of Michael Caine to round it all out. This one’s going to be epic indeed – it’s being filmed with a combination of anamorphic 35mm film and IMAX photography.
  • * The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 [21 November] – It started with a spark in Catching Fire, and now the rebellion is searing into a blaze with Mockingkay Part 1. Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss Everdeen as she prepares to take on the Capitol – but not before discovering some harrowing secrets buried (Hunger Games fans – excuse the expression :P). If it’s anything like Catching Fire, I’m certain this one’s going to be another blockbuster. Julianne Moore also enters the franchise as Coin with this, so they’re certainly taking things up a notch.
  • * The Hobbit: There and Back Again [17 December] – Bilbo and the band of dwarves finally made it to the Lonely Mountain in Desolation of Smaug. But that film had one of the best cliffhangers I’ve ever seen, and it only builds up the expectations and anticipation for this final instalment in Peter Jackson’s prequel trilogy (yes, there, I said it like it is). This one will definitely include the Battle of the Five Armies – and the tragic consequences of it. We’ll get to see more of the glorious Smaug. And it’ll be interesting to see where they go with the Tauriel-Kili-Legolas triangle (Tauriel was a new character introduced by the filmmakers, played by the brilliant Evangeline Lily). It’ll certainly take on a darker theme as we slowly transition into Lord of the Rings territory. What I’m most looking forward to in this one: Gollum! Missed that guy in the second film. Let’s hope he returns. PJ has proven himself to be capable of interpreting the mighty Tolkien’s work, so let’s hope he manages to stand on his own with this third movie that will indeed have to draw on additional materials, given that the story arc of The Hobbit begins to dwindle now that we’re onto film three.

So there you have it: the movies I’m looking forward to watching this year. Be sure to visit Pixelated Thinking to read my reviews and thoughts on some of them. Follow me on Twitter to get the latest, too: twitter.com/RahulDowlath

The Great Gatsby: The Jazz Age, brought to life

Baz Luhrmann crafts a cinematic love letter to the “Roaring Twenties”, at the same time cleverly bridging the gap between that era and our own, in his latest film The Great Gatsby. A film tasked with bringing to celluloid (or, rather, digital projection) F. Scott Fitzgerald’s magnum opus will undoubtedly be faced with many challenges. How is it possible to capture the very essence of an epoch in the same way that Fitzgerald managed to, almost effortlessly, chronicle it in his Great American Novel?

Lurhamnn’s film is perhaps an answer to that question.

Opening with a beautiful invitation to the 1920s, the film’s photography suggest that of a dream. Lurhmann’s unconventional direction (evidenced in Romeo + Juliet) presents a take on the Gatsby tragedy that is at once both a stunning display of insight into the story, and a presentation that, by its very difference, incites one to journey with the director into exploring the mind of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The film is beautifully crafted, there’s no doubt. Each and every piece of it was carefully considered; everything, from the opening titles, to the set design, to the camerawork, even the actors matched to their respective characters, was pondered to great extent. That was evidenced in the film’s execution. Interspersing text with dreamy visuals, cameras weaving between the buildings of New York and the void between Gatsby and Daisy’s homes – “the Green Light at the end of the dock” – those were all very clever touches. Which brings me to the actual aspect of the “green light” concept.

Studying this novel in my final year at high school, the metaphor of the “green light” was stressed to a great extent. It is, after all, an important concept in considering Gatsby’s unrelenting hope, his unyielding vision to attain his grand dream. However, I felt the whole concept a bit too stressed, too implied in Nick’s narration. What was excellent, though, was how Luhrmann played with this concept: opening the film with it, thus implying its importance from the get-go, using it in the most important scene in an interesting way – tracking the camera away from it as Gatsby’s vision slowly recedes – and fast-cutting to it in various scenes. Showing, not telling, is the key here.

I thought the idea to portray the narrator, Nick Carraway, as a psychologically damaged individual recounting the events of that fateful summer an interesting decision. It allowed Lurhmann to transcend many of the beautifully crafted words from the novel into film, without losing its essence or forcing anything through implications and cumbersome dialogue. Nick, played by Toby Maguire, becomes the eyes through which we perceive the tragic tale of the great Jay Gatsby. Maguire’s portrayal of this complex character was executed brilliantly – I thought he conveyed the distinct traits of the written character. However, the constant voice-over narration did seem a bit overwhelming at times; it felt like the director was choosing to “tell, not show” us the events unfolding, or allow us to read the character’s emotions through the individual actors. All in all, though, Nick’s step from the book to film was superb, and those familar with the novel will be hard-pressed to not make some connection between Nick and Fitzgerald – especially in that final shot (I don’t want to give any spoilers here… go watch it to understand this!)

Let’s talk about the music. The decision to use big-name rappers like Jay-Z, Kanye West, pop stars (sadcore singer Lana del Rey, rock extraordinare Jack White, even will.i.am and Fergie) was indeed controversial. “How could you possibly link these artists to the 1920s?!” it was decried from the high halls of Fitzgerald aficionados. Well, Mr Baz Lurhmann managed it – and managed it quite well. The way I interpreted this choice of soundtrack was linking it to the jazz music of Gatsby’s time. Jazz was to that era what our music – Hip-Hop, pop, electro-dance, alternative rock – is to us: a platform to chronicle the zeitgeist. By using contemporary music in a period film, Lurhmann inadvertently forged a bridge between these two times, essentially making Gatsby’s story relevant to us, indicating it to be a tale that could have happened just as much then as it could now. And also: it would draw in a younger crowd who would otherwise dismiss the opportunity to witness this film. Essentially: he makes this oft-complex story accessible to a generation perhaps struggling to get to grips with The Great Gatsby.

The fast-paced camera work, at times soaring and then fast-cutting, might be a bit disconcerting. But here, I interpreted this as a conscious decision by Lurhmann: a means of implying the restlessness of the time, the juxtaposition of Nick’s home in the staid Mid-West with the boom of Wall Street and dynamism of a fledgling New York. Using those fast-cut shots and dissolving transition effects in the early scene at the Buchanan residence allowed us to glimpse snippets of dialog lifted straight from the novel, whilst absorbing the aura of trouble about to brew.

Leonardo DiCaprio must be commended on his performance. I don’t think there’s anyone else who could play Jay Gatsby as well as I witnessed here. He brilliantly plays the quintessential charming, mysterious figure that inspires such speculation and masks an incredible ambition. This could very well by DiCaprio’s performance of his life. His Gatsby is carefully executed, tenuously wrung-out until that final explosion of anger and fear in the swelter of the Plaza room at the film’s main confrontation.

Carey Mulligan’s Daisy was just as I’d imagined her from the book: beautiful yet superficial, a woman who represents Gatsby’s “unattainable dream”, and, by extension, the great American Dream – the chance of dreaming big, of having enormous hope; the romantic notion of believing in the dream and fighting for it, in this case, to the very bitter end. Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan was superb: he manifested the “foul dust [that] floated in the wake of [Gatsby’s] dreams.” His confrontation with Gatsby was perhaps my favourite scene between Tom and Gatsby, well played by both actors. I was also pleasantly surprised by Amitabh Bachchan’s Meyer Wolfsheim. Whilst only in a small segment, and clearly a ploy on the studios to attract the lucrative Asia-Pacific market, the Bollywood legend seemed very well suited to the shadowy role of this mafia boss.

This adaptation of Gatsby is perhaps the most honest one yet. Yes, it’s a film that, aesthetically, is made very different to what many cinemagoers would expect. This is, after all, the daring Baz Luhrmann directing. However, I felt that the essence of the book was intricately carried over to the film. Many of the book’s major lines were not, as so often happens, truncated, or weirdly changed for some arcane cinematic purpose. Understandably  not everything will make it over to the film, but the choices Luhrmann made were good ones. The book’s ability to chronicle the zeitgeist of the Jazz Age was indeed mirrored in this film’s retelling of that, with the added touch of making it relevant to our time. It’s not something that can be achieved easily, and Luhrmann should be commended for that.

Reviews are quite mixed on aggregator sites like Rotten Tomatoes, and understandably so. The book’s been around for over 80 years now, so there’s bound to be many people with highly opinionated ideas of how this story should be told on the big screen – if it should even be told at all. You could listen to them, and decide not to watch this film. Or, you could take the chance and experience something magical, and interpret for yourself what this film means for the legacy of Fitzgerald, and of this remarkable book. And maybe even just have a good old time enjoying a well-made, entertaining cinematic experience too.

I’ve been waiting to watch this film for nearly two years now – ever since it was announced that Baz Luhrmann would be adapting this novel. I’d become familiar with Luhrmann’s style from Romeo + Juliet. His unique direction allows him to bring to life stories that are oft-plagued by the dense study of their eras. With Romeo + Juliet, he modernised the classic love story as a feud between two rival business families, adding guns and cars to the mix. And here, with Gatsby, the music, the visuals, the glamour, the lavishness and the decadent colours and sets transform the black-and-white words into a stunning portrayal of the classic Great American Novel. However, with the audacity to be different, to take existing, well-respected literature and just let yourself go, you’re undoubtedly setting yourself up for (very harsh) criticism. In that vain, I think this film won’t go down too well with some people. However, what can be gleaned from this is the willingness to accept another’s interpretation of this work. Literature by its very nature is open-ended, and up to the consumer of that literature to extract meaning. This film is just one man’s understanding of a very well written tale. And I thought he accomplished it with aplomb.

28 Films to Watch in 2013

Last year was one of my favourite years for cinema: some extraordinary films were released and I was privileged to have seen them. The Hunger Games (highest-grossing action film of 2012), Skyfall, The Bourne Legacy, Avengers Assemble and, of course, my no.1 film – The Dark Knight Rises. 

But from Sunday’s 70th Golden Globe Awards, it’s evident that 2013 is set to supersede last year when it comes to film. For the South African circuit, many of 2012’s nominees will only open in the next few weeks, and thus I have included them as part of my 2013 selection below.

I hope you enjoy this year’s selection. (2013 release dates given from the American circuit; local release dates may vary).

Award Season favorites (releasing in early-2013)

  1. Django Unchained: Written + Directed by Quentin Tarantino, starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio
  2. Les Misérables: Starring Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Sacha Baron Cohen
  3. Argo: Directed by Ben Affleck
  4. Zero Dark Thirty Directed by Kathryn Bigalow
  5. Lincoln Directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Daniel Day Lewis

2013 Releases

  1.  A Good Day to Die Hard starring Bruce Willis. February 14th.
  2. Oz the Great and Powerful directed by Sam Raimi, starring James Franco and Mila Kunis. March 8th.
  3. Oblivion starring Tom Cruise. April 12th.
  4. Iron Man 3 Starring Robert Downey, Jr. May 3rd.
  5. The Great Gatsby directed by Baz Luhrmann, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mullligan, Isla Fisher, Amitabh Bachchan. May 10th.
  6. Star Trek: Into Darkness. Directed by J.J. Abrams, starring Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg. May 17th.
  7. After Earth Directed by M. Night Shymalan, starring Will Smith and Jaden Smith. June 7th.
  8. Man of Steel Directed by Zack Snyder, starring Russel Crowe. June 14th.
  9. Monsters University starring Billy Crystal. June 21st.
  10. Kick-Ass 2 starring Nicolas Cage. June 28th.
  11. Despicable Me 2 starring Steve Carell. July 3rd.
  12. The Lone Ranger directed by Gore Verbinski, starring Johnny Depp. July 3rd.
  13. Pacific Rim directed by Guillermo del Toro. July 12th.
  14. The Wolverine starring Hugh Jackman. July 26th.
  15. 300: Rise of an Empire written by Zack Snyder (300). August 2nd.
  16. Elysium directed by Neill Blomkamp, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. August 9th.
  17. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters starring Logan Lerman. August 16th.
  18. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones 3D directed by George Lucas. September 20th.
  19. Gravity starring George Clooney, Sandra Bullock, directed by Alfonso Cuaron. October 4th.
  20. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For starring Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba. October 4th.
  21. Thor: The Dark World starring Natalie Portman, Chris Hemsworth. November 8th.
  22. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire directed by Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend), starring Jennifer Lawrence, Lenny Kravitz. November 22nd.
  23. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug directed by Peter Jackson, starring Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage and Ian McKellan. December 13th.

I hope to watch all these films above this year, and you can be sure to read my thoughts on a select few of them right here on Pixelated Thinking.

3D: It’s Not About Excessivness

After recently watching Men in Black : 3, I finally came to my personal conclusion about the 3D cinematic phenomenon. In fact, I kind of realised it when watching Alice in Wonderland. The 3D of today is not the same as the red-and-cyan-split 3D of the past, where it was all about the excessive spectacle of exaggerating perspective out of the screen-box.

Rather, today’s 3D is more about adding a sense of depth – both into the screen and spanning outwards from it, all in the hope of creating a more immersive cinematic experience. It’s almost like a modern version of the medieval puppet-boxes, except with CGI special effects.

However, I’m still very partial to 3D. I think that Hollywood is simply using it as a gimmick to sell more seats, and the technology still has a long way to go until it really becomes a good tool to augment the art of cinema.

2012: Another Great Year in Film

We’re almost halfway through the year already, and we’ve had some great films to enjoy – specifically,  The Hunger Games and The Avengers. But 2012 in film is just beginning – the majority of this year’s films “to look out for” lie in the second and third quarters. Here’s a selection of films that I’m personally looking forward to:

The Amazing Spiderman

A “re-boot” of Marvel’s webbed hero, this time with Andrew Garfield (the talented British actor who plated Eduardo Saverin in The Social Network) at the helm.

The Dark Knight Rises

Perhaps the greatest film of 2012? Directed by one of my favourite filmmakers, Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises is the closing of the Dark Knight saga that began with Batman Begins. A considerably darker superhero thriller, this film represents not only a cinematic triumph in creating such a haunting portrayal of the caped crusader, but a deep introspection at the nature of our society.

Men in Black 3

The third in the Men in Black sci-fi-(comedy?) franchise. A “franchise” film, so don’t go expecting some exceptional filmmaking talent, but a fun movie nonetheless.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

The famous American president. As a vampire hunter. ’nuff said. Directed by Tim Burton – after all, who else could pull something like this off?

Brave

Pixar Animation Studios returns with another classic tale that’s sure to bag an Academy Award for Best Animated Picture. Of note: this will be the first Pixar film to cast a female character in the lead (what took them so long?). It’s set in the Scottish highlands, considerably new territory (and new challenges) for this talented team of CGI innovators.

Skyfall

The final James Bond film in the three-part “reboot” of the franchise with Daniel Craig as 007, Skyfall sees Bond question his loyalty to M as secrets of her past surface, and it’s up to the quintessential British spy to save MI6 from an attack seeking to destroy the spy organization – regardless of the cost to himself.

Les Misérables

Starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Russel Crowe, it’s the latest adaptation of this classic Victor Hugo novel.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

We return to Middle-Earth in this first of a two-part film adaptation of the classic J.R.R. Tolkien novel The Hobbit. Directed by award-winning Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, the trailer sure looks enticing of this much-anticipated prequel series.

Django Unchained

Leonardo di Caprio, Jamie Fox and Christoph Waltz: directed by the epic mind of Quentin Tarentino in the western-themed film Tarentino always wanted to produce but never managed to previously. Along with Gatsby and Dark Knight Rises, a must-see.

The Great Gatsby

 Apart from The Dark Knight Rises, there’s just one other film that I cannot wait for: Baz Luhrmann’s cinematic adaptation of the legendary F. Scott Fitzgerald novel that has come to define an entire epoch. The tragedy is told in classic Luhrmann style, and after watching the trailer, I know we can expect another great cinematic experience.
Of the films listed above, my personal three films that I absolutely cannot wait to see have to be The Great Gatsby, The Dark Knight Rises and Django Unchained. Each directed by a legendary director and starring some brilliant actors, they’re sure to become the cornerstone of 2012 in cinematic excellence.