1. Skyfall: James Bond is presumed dead after a disastrous operation but is forced out of hiding after the identities of all the undercover MI6 agents are leaked. Standard Bond adventures ensue. This time the all-star cast includes Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney and Naomie Harris. Were 22 James Bond films enough? Not from where I’m standing.
This epic biographical drama, directed by Steven Spielberg, focuses on Lincoln during the end of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery. Based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals, screenwriter Tony Kushner worked on the script for six years. The all-star class includes Daniel-Day-Lewis aka Looks-Exactly-Like-Lincoln, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tommy Lee Jones, just to name a few. It should be a gripping portrayal of a complicated and beloved American president and the important players during perhaps our country’s most trying time.
3. Nobody Walks:
With co-writers Ry Russo-Young and Lena Dunham and actors John Krasinski and Olivia Thirlby, this story of a family that takes a young writer into their home promises charm, wit and authenticity.
4. Perks of being a Wallflower:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is about a bullied, friendless high school freshman and how his perspective and his life change through the help of a teacher and two new friends. A beloved story, talented acting and a stellar soundtrack combine to make this film, based on Stephen Chbosky’s novel of the same name, a potential winner.
5. Rust and Bone:
Rust and Bone by acclaimed French filmmaker Jacques Audiard is the story of an unemployed 25-year-old man who falls in love with a killer whale trainer, played by Marion Cotillard. The visionary filmmaker, the unusual plot turn and the incredible actors make this film a must-see.
6. The Paperboy:
This film centers on a reporter (Matthew McConaughey) who investigates a murder in order to free a man (John Cusack) from death row. Will I see any film where Nicole Kidman pees on Zac Efron? Sure. But this drama, based on Pete Dexter’s 1995 novel, is much more than that – and it also means filmmaker Lee Daniels’ follow-up to Precious.
7. The Sessions:
John Hawkes stars in the real-life story of Mark O’Brien, a man confined most of his life to an iron lung due to polio, who undertook a project to lose his virginity at age 38. Co-starring Helen Hunt and William H. Macy, this film looks charming, hilarious and, for lack of a better word, touching.
8. This Is 40:
This Is 40 finds Judd Apatow back in the director’s chair to revisit the couple played by Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd in Knocked Up. Expect on-point performances, belly laughs and perhaps an uncomfortably frank portrayal of marriage in middle age.
9. Wreck-It Ralph:
Wreck-It Ralph tells the story of a video-game villain who decides to take control of his destiny and become a hero instead. With cameos from Pac-Man, Frogger and Sonic the Hedgehog and with voice acting by John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch, this visually pleasing animation is stacked with talent and looks like the most promising film to come out of Disney’s Animation Studios in a decade.
10. Life of Pi:
Life of Pi tells the story of a boy who survives the sinking of a freighter only to find himself stranded on a lifeboat with unlikely company; an orangutan, a hyena, a zebra and a Bengal tiger. When I heard this 2001 bestselling novel by Yann Martell would be turned into a 3D movie, I had serious doubts. However, if anyone can handle the challenge of bringing such an unbelievable and fantastic story to the big screen, it is Ang Lee of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Brokeback Mountain.