1. Cloud Atlas: From the visionaries behind The Matrix (the Wachowskis) and Run Lola Run (Tom Tykwer) comes Cloud Atlas. This massive endeavor attempts to show the effect that human lives can have on each other through a web of interconnecting narratives set over time and across land based on David Mitchell’s award-winning novel. While directly tackling ‘meaning of life’ style subject matter in such a complicated fashion presents problems, Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant and newcomer Ben Whishaw seem up for the challenge.
Amour tells the devastating story of an elderly couple as they reach the end of their lives together. Although the grim vision may ruin your weekend, Amour promises to be one of the most moving films of the year.
3. Anna Karenina:
An adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s literary classic, Anna Karenina is the story of an upper-class woman’s love affair with a handsome count. Director Joe Wright’s visual style, as well as the casting of Keira Knightley and Jude Law, creates the potential for a fresh take on an old story.
In Ben Affleck’s third directorial effort, Boston is abandoned for Iran in the wake of their 1979 revolution. Argo is based on the true-life events called the “Canadian Caper” in which a CIA agent faked the production of a bizarre science-fiction film in a plot to smuggle six American hostages out of the country. The unnervingly timely film stars Ben Affleck, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston, Clea DuVall and Friday Night Lights’ Kyle Chandler – yes, please.
A raunchier breed of Bridesmaids, this film starring Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan and Isla Fisher, takes the audience through a bachelorette party gone awry. Dunst shines (think Drop Dead Gorgeous) as the awesomely mean-spirited center of it all in a movie that will have all of us talking.
6. Chicken With Plums:
Chicken With Plums is the story of a violinist whose instrument is broken and how his life unfolds after losing his passion. Brimming with originality and stunning cinematography, this film promises to be beautiful.
7. Django Unchained:
Django Unchained looks to be another revenge film disguised as a historical piece from Quentin Tarantino. This time, a former slave teams up with a bounty hunter to free his wife from a Mississippi plantation, with Leonardo DiCaprio as the brutal villain. As usual, expect gifted acting, bold script and a worthy soundtrack.
8. For a Good Time, Call…:
Two unlikely roommates operate a phone sex line out of their apartment. Hilarity ensues. Pass the popcorn.
9. Hyde Park on Hudson:
In Hyde Park on Hudson, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt deals with romantic feelings toward his cousin Margaret as he welcomes members of the British royal family on their first visit to the United States. The film allows insight into a unique historical moment and seeks to humanize FDR in the process, through the superb acting of Bill Murray and Laura Linney.
10. Les Misérables:
This adaptation of the beloved stage musical based on Victor Hugo’s novel centers on a man seeking redemption during the French revolution. Les Misérables seems to have the right cast (Hugh Jackman, Ann Hathaway) and director (Tom Hooper of The King’s Speech) to be a real success at the box office – no easy feat for a musical.