As we said around Christmas, we’d also like to take the opportunity to thank everybody that has supported us over the last year, and what a terrific year it has been. We certainly have plenty to be thankful for, and it wouldn’t be possible without the really enthusiastic response we’ve had from the studios, our fellow critics and writers and of course, you the readers. You make this worthwhile.
So what does 2012 hold for us? We’ve already let you know what our Most Anticipated Films of 2012 are, so here are our plans for the next 12 months. Check back in December to see if what they say about mice and men is right. This list is obviously not final, but this is what we think will be going on.
The first month of the year is often a catch-up session of those last few films of 2011 for Australians, so things like Hugo, J. Edgar, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Muppets and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows will get releases here. The old DVD Bits site (may she rest in peace) had an annual Oz Movie Month, and we will certainly be featuring Australian movie content this month with the new release of A Few Best Men and several poster and list specials. On the 80s Bits, we’ll be doing a Muppets special including The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Follow That Bird and The Dark Crystal. We’ll also welcome the nominations for the 84th Academy Awards.
Of course, film’s night of nights arrives on 26 February with the 84th Academy Awards, where we find out what Hollywood thinks was the best film of 2011. 80s Bits will feature Australian and international queer screen culture in the lead up to Mardi Gras in March 2012.
The heavy-hitters start arriving in March, including Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, John Carter, The Rum Diary, The Hunger Games, Wrath of the Titans and one of our strangely most anticipated, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. We will also be covering the Australian Film Festival, which runs at the Randwick Ritz in Sydney from 7 to 17 March. Festival season really kicks off as the Alliance Française French Film Festival, running through from 6 March to 9 April in 6 capital cities around Australia, and feature over 40 films this year including opening night film Valérie Donzelli’s Declaration of War, Fred Cayavé’s Point Blank, Paris-Manhattan (featuring Woody Allen), Phillippe Loiret’s Welcome follow-up All Our Desires, Café de Flore and Malgorzata Szumowska potentially controversial Elles, with Juliette Binoche.
The Bits travels! Throughout most of April, we’ll be taking a little bit of a break by travelling to the Spring climes of Paris, Barcelona and London. Can you blame us? Naturally, we’ll be doing something film-related (and visiting a Disneyland) when we cover the inaugural Sundance London Film Festival. This really excites us, as it will be our first overseas film festival. Of course, before that happens we’ll be doing a series of Easter specials.
At the end of the month one of our most anticipated films – along with the rest of the world – will be hanging out to see The Avengers. For once, Australia is incredibly lucky in getting this film a week earlier than the US, and will undoubtedly be one of the events of the year.
Blockbuster season arrives with Men in Black 3, which gives us very little time to recover from our holiday. Other highlights will include The Five Year Engagement and musical adaptation Rock of Ages for reasons the world may never understand. Don’t stop believing, people.
This is where we all go a little bit mad. Prometheus is undoubtedly our most anticipated film of the year, but in a month that also includes Brave, The Dictator, Jack the Giant Killer, Snow White and the Huntsman and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, there is ample reason to seek shelter from the rain (at least in Australia). If it is raining it also means that it is time for the 2012 Sydney Film Festival, the first under brand new festival director Nashen Moodley. Having seen over 30 films at the SFF last year, we will endeavour to break that record this year. Or maybe not. With so many other blockbusters coming out, it seems unlikely that we can maintain a work/life/sanity balance in the face of such bold film watching. This is the month that separates the film wheat from the film chaff, an analogy that we didn’t intend to offend coeliacs. If we survive, it is onwards to July and the biggest titles of the year.
The Amazing Spider-man. The Dark Knight Rises. Does there really need to be anything else said about a month that relaunches one superhero franchise and closes the latest chapter on another? These films were both on our most anticipated list for 2012, and what better way to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of The Reel Bits on July 4 than with Spider-man and the release of a new Ice Age movie?
Last year we attended the 60th Melbourne International Film Festival, and while it is unlikely that we will be quite as adventurous this year (2 – 19 August), we look forward to the always interesting program as the iconic festival enters its seventh decade. It will be screening a little later this year, but with just over two weeks of film programming, it is sure to be jam-packed like a thing filled with some kind of jam. The month will also be no less filled with blockbusters, as reboot Bourne Legacy is launched, The Expendables 2 and Total Recall.
The other big event for us in August/September is, of course, KOFFIA – the Korean Film Festival in Australia. Entering its third year (!), the festival has greatly expanded the profile of Korean cinema in Australia, and we have been proud to be a Festival Partner and an active participant in the events, including the weekly free films.
September is the home of the Sydney Underground Film Festival, bringing you those films that you would otherwise miss in your daily lives. Do yourself a favour, grab a season pass and take the plunge into everything on offer. We’ll be seeing a bunch of these for sure. For those with more mainstream tastes, you can check out the 3D re-release of Finding Nemo, an animation with a difference in Paranorman, and Oliver Stone’s newie, Savages. There’ll also be the kick-off of the Italian Film Festival around Australia, sure to be a crowd-pleaser as spring gets sprung around the country.
With only one film announced so far, this will be a time for reflection perhaps? Unlikely, as Halloween will kick 80s Bits into high gear again. The second local festival season is in full swing as the Greek Film Festival and the Hola Mexican Film Festival snake their way around the nation, and the domestication of the cat will continue unabated.
Ah, November. Fear it, if you dare. Not simply because the final chapter in the fangy saga known simply as The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 will be released onto an expectant public, but because the slightly more manly Bond film Skyfall will also be going large. Hadn’t really thought about it before typing this, but it might be a good time to look back the James Bond films of the 1980s in 80s Bits, which will allow us such gems as Octopussy, A View to a Kill and Licence to Kill.
Our calendar highlight is undoubtedly the 16th Japanese Film Festival, which we already know will kick off with Always: Sunset on Third Street 3. We saw all 30 films at the 15th Japanese Film Festival in 2011, and if they play more this year, we’ll break that record too. This is the must-see festival of the calendar, and we’ll be there through it all.
Look at the photo above. Now back to here. Now back to the photo, now back to here. Sadly, we don’t have anything new to add about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, but if you hold on for just another 12 months you can see the film. We can also see The Great Gatsby and if luck holds, Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. December in 2011 was big, but we think December 2012 is going to be even bigger. Look again, your film tickets are like diamonds. Anything is possible when you read The Reel Bits. We’re on a horse.