Ever wanted a soup-to-nuts list of all the crime films coming out next year? Lord knows I’ve lost sleep over the lack of one. Well, you’re in luck. We’ve stepped up to the plate and produced this shamelessly long list of The 20 Most Anticipated Crime Films of 2012.
Here you go: Your beginning-of-the-year excuse to watch your favorite trailers all over again while pretending to get started on whatever piled up at your day-job over the holidays.
20. THIS MEANS WAR
Release Date: February 17
Two Cents: Young Captain Kirk and Bane are spies battling over the heart of Tracy Flick. Think Rom-Com with 500% more explosions and snipers. Of all the trailers set to the bass beat of “99 Problems” by Jay-Z, this is the best.
Release Date: February 24
Two Cents: Amanda Seyfried’s sister gets abducted, and since Amanda had been nabbed by a serial killer earlier, she figures lightning struck twice and begins hunting them down. It promises to be “heart-pounding,” but the premise comes off as more “brain-twisting” to me.
18. THE RAVEN
Release Date: March 9
Two Cents: Another installment in the Hollywood trend of cramming grit and ADHD editing into 19th century crime fiction, we have Poe pitted against a killer emulating his gruesome novels. Looks like Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes colliding with the Saw films to me.
17. 21 JUMP STREET
Release Date: March 16
Two Cents: This action-comedy-crime-nostalgia-parody film pairs Jonah Hill’s new waistline with Channing Tatum’s comedic skills in a send-up of the ’80s cop show. No telling where between “promising” and “pitiful” this falls on the spectrum of Freaking Ridiculous.
16. CASA DE MI PADRE
Release Date: March 16
Two Cents: This hyper-dramatic “telenovela” features Will Ferrell as Armando Alvarez, who must protect the family ranch and the lady he loves from Mexican drug lords. It’s also entirely in Spanish, which Ferrell didn’t speak before making the film. Genius or madness, it’s up to you to decide. I’m going with genius, but my favorite film is Repo Man, so there you go.
15. THE RAID
Release Date: January 19
Two Cents: Recipe for Coconut Curry Over Bad Ass: Place 800 gallons of Indonesian martial arts, SWAT teams and exotic hired killers in a locked tenement building. Blend briskly with a Welsh director. Sprinkle liberally with Sony pictures’ hip-hop soundtrack. Serve chilled.
14. THE COLD LIGHT OF DAY
Release Date: April 6
Two Cents: An American family gets kidnapped on their vacation in Spain. That’s about all we know, except that it stars John McClane, Superman and Ripley from Aliens, and is produced by the dudes who did The Strangers. That’s a formula for fierce piece of film. Except for that nobody’s scared of Spain.
13. BULLET TO THE HEAD
Release Date: April 13
Two Cents: Stallone is a hitman named Bobo who teams up with New Orleans detective, Taylor Kwon, played by the Korean-American dude from the Fast and the Furious movies, to mess people up in the Big Easy. The German media is going apeshit over this; Lord knows why. Stallone talks about folks battling with fire axes, maybe that’s why. But it’s set in The Crescent City, so if you miss out on it, you can rely on me to have seen it for you.
12. HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET
Release Date: April 20
Two Cents: Not to be confused with Last House on the Left or House on Dead End Street, this ominous address is where the girl from Winter’s Bone moves in along with her mom, the babysitter from Adventures in Babysitting. Apparently, there was a massacre of a family there and a French boy is the only survivor. “Complications ensue.” Like the other films I know extremely little about, the German media is wild about this one too.
Release Date: April 20
Two Cents: Space prison! And there’s a massive breakout that traps the President’s daughter in with all those space convicts. The solution? Guy Pearce, who pulled a Bale and got enormous for the role. He plays a sarcastic asshole who is sent up solo to haul Ms. POTUS out of harm. Escape From New York in space.
10. THE AVENGERS
Release Date: May 4
Two Cents: The film culmination of 3 years of MARVEL movies: Iron Man, Thor, Captain America – it’s all built up to this. Screw the Mayan apocalypse; this is the big event of 2012.
9. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
Release Date: July 20
Two Cents: Did I just say The Avengers was the big event of 2012? I take it back. Nolan polishes off the only Batman series to do the name justice with a brutal final installment. But seriously, 2012 is like some crazy dream I had when I was 13, wherein the universe loved comics as much as I did. If they surprise us with Suicide Squad: The Movie directed by Aronofsky, my life will be complete.
8. THE BOURNE LEGACY
Release Date: Summer 2012 (?)
Two Cents: It’s a Bourne film. You know what to expect. Oh, except Matt Damon’s sworn not to be in this one. And, oh yeah, the director of the first three isn’t on it either. And the screenwriter’s directing. And it’s about Bourne’s allies “dealing with the consequences” of his actions. The Big Chill of Bourne movies.
7. PREMIUM RUSH
Two Cents: Winner of the award for most ironically named entry on the list, this film’s in no hurry to come out. I’ve already seen the trailer in theaters a few times, but they keep pushing back the release date on this film about a bike courier, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, getting wrapped up in a murderous conspiracy and hunted for his precious cargo. Maybe it’s because they’re getting sued for ripping off the novel, The Ultimate Rush, about a rollerblading courier getting wrapped up in a murderous conspiracy and hunted for his precious cargo.
Release Date: September 21
Two Cents: Danny Boyle produces Judge Dredd. You can count my ticket to Mega City 1 as good as bought. Pete Travis is going to direct it, and I only know him from Vantage Point, that weird Rashomon-style flick about the US President getting blown up in Spain. What’s with the fear of Spain anyway? Place isn’t that dangerous. Anyway, Karl Urban is Dredd, and I hope it does well enough to spawn a sequel, as I’ve always wanted to see the Dark Judges on film – Judge Death, Judge Mortis, Judge Fear and Judge, uhm, Flame or whatever.
5. GANGSTER SQUAD
Release Date: October 19
Two Cents: Alright, I’m just going to pitch words at you. You, in turn, have permission to get excited: Ryan Gosling. Sean Penn. Emma Stone. Giovanni Ribisi. LAPD in the ’40s. Wiping out the East Coast Mob invasion. Finally a better record of this epic LA era than Mulholland Falls.
Release Date: January 13
Two Cents: Marky Mark just can’t escape his life of crime! In this revenge thriller, Giovanni Ribisi tries to steal his family, so he “tries to fix this” with theft, arson, explosions, beatings and several hundred thousand live rounds. Things can’t get too exciting, because Mark’s incapable of expressing much excitement over anything, but hey, explosions!
3. MAN ON A LEDGE
Release Date: January 27
Two Cents: Sam Worthington is in trouble, again. Seems he’s always in trouble these days. This time, “trouble” is spelled “Ed Harris,” so you know shit is serious. So Sam, an ex-cop, accused burglar, and fugitive, stands on the ledge of a tall building while he and his allies try to unravel the tangled web Ed stuck them in. For a gimmick thriller like Phone Booth, it doesn’t look half bad.
2. ONE FOR THE MONEY
Release Date: January 27
Two Cents: Katherine Heigl, Hollywood’s sweetheart, as Janet Evanovich’s bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum. Rom-com crime. If you’re still curious, read my article on it and let’s just move on.
1. THE GREAT GATSBY
Release Date: December 25
Two Cents: Gatsby not crime, you say? Balderdash to you, I say! There are lots of crimes in Gatsby – the reigning champeen of Great American Novel should boast no less. So what do we expect out of Baz “Gangsta Romeo + Juliet” Luhrmann on this capital-E epic? Beyond Leo as Gatsby, I have no frigging idea. I only know that, and that we’ll probably see Joel Edgerton pop Carey Mulligan a solid one in the nose.
Buy your tickets now! Or wait until VOD streams them a week in advance. Up to you, modern filmgoer.
+Matthew Funk is a social media consultant, professional marketing copywriter and writing mentor. He is the editor of the Genre section of the critically acclaimed zine, FictionDaily and Full Stop. Winner of the Spinetingler award for Best Short Story on the Web 2010, M. C. Funk has been published at numerous sites online, indexed at his Web site, and in print with Needle Magazine, Howl, 6S and Crime Factory. He is represented by Stacia J. N. Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.