Alright people, it’s almost the end of the year – which means some big releases are coming out. Some of the biggest albums, movies, and video games are slatted for release, making for one incredible last quarter in 2012. Enough of this, let’s get to our selections.
(Disclaimer – As per usual to our quarterly write-ups, not everything being released is on this list. This is a list of the things we are most excited for, which is why gamers don’t need to freak out when some big names like the next Call of Duty or the console release of the WiiU are not on this list. Feel free to tell us why you think those titles not listed deserve to be mentioned on the list in the comments below! Also release dates are always subject to change.)
Butter (Oct. 5th – limited)
Lauren: Competition is nothing new to films, but there are always different things that can provide the drama of victory and defeat. How about butter carving!
Zac: I have heard this is great and that is terrible, but I like the cast so I might get it OnDemand as it is already available on those sort of services.
Heather: Wow…. I am speechless… but it has a great cast at least.
Frankenweenie (Oct. 5th)
Zac: Can’t wait for this. Looks like Tim Burton might have got his groove back and the animation looks spectacular. The movie is supposed to be a giant monster movie homage and I am particularly excited by the Godzilla angle they are possibly having. Show us you still got it Burton.
Lauren: Yeah Burton, show us.
Heather: Not really too much of a fan of Burton animated movies (yeah I said it), but I like weenies (weeny dogs that is!)
The Paperboy (Oct. 5th)
Zac: Lee Daniels’s last film was Precious, but this film has me far more intrigued. I like the cast, I have heard mixed things about it, but I will gladly give it a chance when it hits theaters. I think Efron has potential.
Argo (Oct. 12th)
Alan: This is one of those dramas that I think will help define this year, along side The Master and maybe The Life of Pi. Ben Affleck has really come into his own as a director as of late, and I feel like this will be the next jewel to come from him. Look for this one to be an Oscar contender come February.
Lauren: I can agree with that, but honestly I wouldn’t have without seeing the trailer. Without it I would have just groaned at another war/political driven drama and moved on. Granted it could still be just that and nothing more, but I’ll live with my suspension of disbelief for a little longer.
Zac: Affleck is two for two and I have heard nothing but good things about this one from the festival circuit. Again the cast looks great, the production values through the roof, and true stories are always a leg up on being compelling.
Sinister (Oct. 12th)
Zac: The rare horror movie I think actually looks good, the trailer for this is seriously creepy. Skip out on the sequel series and try something original for a change. This could be great.
Lauren: First of all, you can’t talk cuz you haven’t even seen “the sequel series” I believe you are referring to (it comes up later on the list). Secondly, “Once you see him nothing can save you” does not scream originality, nor would I say does the trailer, so let’s not dis on the other horror films making their rounds. With that said, it definitely does look creepy enough to force the necessity to sleep with the lights on for a while after watching it.
Heather: Just in time for Halloween! That dude with the scary face should maybe consider plastic surgery. Just a thought.
Seven Psychopaths (Oct. 12th)
Lauren: You thought Butter sounded ridiculous? How about a premise about people who kidnap dogs to get the reward money, only this time they kidnapped a dog from a really dangerous man.
Alan: This looks pretty fantastic. It’s from the writer/director of In Bruges, Martin McDonagh, which is one of my personal favorites. This looks just as off-the-wall weird as that movie was, and I can’t wait to laugh at Colin Farrell all over again.
Grant: You guys are right. The plot sounds good, and the return of McDonagh/Farrell sounds good. But the ensemble cast is another reason to get excited: Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, and Christopher Walken. What do they have in common? They are not only good actors, but also hilarious.
Zac: In Bruges = full support for this film. Look at that cast!
Heather: I’d see it. Puppies!
Paranormal Activity 4 (Oct. 19th)
Lauren: Yes I know, this franchise slowly gets worse after each film, with an ending to that third movie that really made me angry. Like The Last Exorcist ending angry. Or maybe that one wasn’t that bad… I can’t really remember. The point is that even with this in mind I can’t stop being excited for this one because we’re getting away from all that happened with Katie’s family to F everything up and moving on to a different one. Granted now this new family is going to be dealing with it now… You know what I am just going to stop thinking about it and enjoy!
Zac: Haven’t seen any and don’t really want to!
Heather: Remind me to ask you what happened at the end of the third one. And the second one for that matter…
The Sessions (Oct 19th)
Zac: The buzz out of Sundance was Oscar front runner roles for this film’s stars, John Hawkes and Helen Hunt. I love Hawkes and Hunt only comes out of the wood work for something good, plus the reviews have been great. Put it on the calendar.
Holy Motors (Oct 19th)
Zac: I have heard from multiple people that this might be the best movie of the year. Some argue ever made. Yowzers, I am in.
Cloud Atlas (Oct 26th)
Zac: The Wachowski’s are back with Tom Tykwer, a hell of a cast, and the most ambitious film of the year. The adaptation takes place over multiple centuries with actors playing multiple characters, and the film is supposed to be incredibly epic. Those that have liked it love it, and I hope to find myself in that later category.
Lauren’s #1 Pick: Well if those that liked it loved it, aren’t those two categories one in the same? Think on that! Most movies give themselves away in a 1-2 minute trailer; this trailer was over 5 minutes long and I still can’t put together what I saw. It just looks so ridiculous. I can’t wait to see it.
The Man With The Iron Fists (Nov. 2nd)
Lauren: I really have no idea what “presented by Quentin Tarantino” means, but OOO look at the stylized violence! Someone get’s an eyeball punched out! [starts miming skilled fighting]
Zac: This looks crazy fun, I just wonder if it will be crazy good? I think it just might, color me optimistic.
Alan: This will be interesting. Written and directed by RZA of the Wu Tang Clan, this definitely has the potential to be dreadful. But all the action sequences I’ve seen look amazing. This movie is on the fence for me, but who knows how good it will be until November.
Flight (Nov. 2nd)
Zac: Robert Zemeckis is back in live action for the first time since Cast Away and he is bring Denzel Washington along for the ride. I don’t know what the film is going to be after that big set piece with the plane crashing, but I am sure it will be entertaining at its worst.
Lauren: I guess it isn’t Unstoppable 2 after all. From what I can tell though, the stuff post crash just looks annoying.
Wreck-It Ralph (Nov. 2nd)
Lauren: When the villain of a video game gets fed up of being just that, he decides to jump ship into the lands within other games to show that he can be a hero too. There’s even a villain support group with some familiar faces to even the most casual gamer! How adorable is that?
Zac: Sold. Show me a Banjo-Kazooie cameo! Oh and a Mega Man 2! Actually, I hope this film can overcome the cameos they are selling the film on currently.
Lincoln (Nov. 9th – limited)
Zac: Spielberg released two of my top 12 last year and I am sure this should be right in the running as well. I don’t know what the plot is going to be for this, but again, look at that cast!
Lauren: I’m confused. That’s definitely Abraham Lincoln, but there don’t seem to be any vampires. Zzzzzzzzzz…
Skyfall (Nov. 9th)
Lauren’s #2 Pick: It’s Bond, James Bond. If that name got me through all those Pierce Brosnan films (which I have forgotten for the most part, thankfully) then it’ll have no problem getting me into the theater for another installation with Daniel Craig.
Zac: Quantum of Solace forever. I for one am bummed they are breaking away from the continuity they built up in the first two Craig films, but I am not going to complain about a Sam Mendes Bond film. This bad boy is going to be at the least GORGEOUS.
Alan: I’m a big Bond fan, and this movie only looks better and better with every trailer to come out of it. I’m really hoping that Javier Bardem’s villain role is something to be commended. I don’t think it will be as amazing as No Country for Old Men‘s Anton Chigurh, but it doesn’t hurt to wish for it.
Anna Karenina (Nov. 16th – limited)
Lauren: Any time Keira Knightley and Joe Wright come together something special happens. Plus it’s about time I figure out what the characters were going on and on about during Anna In The Tropics…
Zac: I love me some Knightley and Wright, Hanna and The Soloist are good too, but this looks beautiful. The whole stage thing looks interesting and while I am not sure about Aaron Johnson in this one, I think this could be truly great.
Heather: Figures Keira Knightley would be in this. Can she not be in anything set in the current day? That said, I will still be seeing this.
[Don't yell at Heather, we will be showing her Knightley's imdb page]
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (Nov. 15th)
Zac: If the fighting is as plentiful and as fun as Eclipse, this could be a good movie. That’s right, I said it.
Lauren: I know I just want to see how they do the child’s growth spurt, as well as the imprinting, because there’s no way it doesn’t come off completely ridiculous. Goodness knows it did in the books.
Heather: Finally, it ends. Now PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me they are not making Fifty Shades of Grey into a Movie. I would rather stab my eyes out with ice picks than watch the Fifty Shades Movie. And yes, I have read the book, so I know what I am talking about. Look for my review soon.
Silver Linings Playbook (Nov. 21st)
Zac: Another much buzzed about festival film, David O. Russell has got a pair of excellent leads in Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. The film feels Oscar baity, but apparently it doesn’t play that way in the slightest once you settle in. Russell can be great when he is great and I hope this is another great entry after The Fighter underwhelmed this viewer.
Lauren: I loved The Fighter! Granted I don’t know how comparable this can really be to that. I just know Lawrence owes me a better movie after The House at the End of the Street, and this definitely has the potential. Plus the lack of social skills between Lawrence and Cooper’s characters should be pretty funny.
Life of Pi (Nov. 21st)
Zac: Love the book, the movie looks gorgeous, and I am incredibly intrigued to see how this adaptation works. I think a lot of people are going to hate it, but it could be a movie to treasure.
Heather: Why would they hate it? The book was AMAZING! I am really excited to see this one!
Red Dawn (Nov. 21st)
Zac: This has been delayed forever; Chris Hemsworth was pre Thor when they filmed this, but I am not going to lie that the trailer looks pretty fun.
Lauren: Yeah, and goodness knows you don’t mess with America on our own soil! Think of all the guns we have!
Rise of the Guardians (Nov. 21st)
Zac: Love that DreamWorks is pumping out another original movie and this one certainly looks interesting. The 3D will be great, lets just hope the film’s mythology is as well.
Lauren: Since when did these guys become guardians of children? Did they just get really bored and start handing out eggs, coins and presents? They guard a child’s innocence maybe? I just don’t know. This film is going to have to work much harder to sell itself to me.
Alan: I don’t know what kind of universe I’m living in when I’m more excited about a Dreamworks animated movie than I am a Pixar and a Disney movie. The visuals look fantastic, and the cast (and who they’re playing) look and sound pretty good. I hope DreamWorks doesn’t blow this opportunity to be awesome.
Rust and Bone (Nov. 23rd)
Zac: Jacques Audiard’s last film, A Prophet, is one of the new century’s best, and Marion Cotillard is supposed to deliver a top notch performance in this one. I can’t wait to see this one.
Lauren: But can it beat Free Willy?
Killing Them Softly (Nov. 30th)
Zac: The team that brought us the amazing Assassination of Jesse James is back together and I cannot wait. Jesse James is one of the best films of the new century and I would follow Dominick and Pitt anywhere. Plus, anyone that thought their last film was too long, this one is only an hour and a half!
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Dec. 14th)
Zac: Yes it is three films, yes I think it is still going to be great, and I am really excited that Peter Jackson seems to have really nailed the look of the film to look like they made it when they filmed the LOTR trilogy. Full confidence!
Lauren: But the book isn’t that long, so what the heck all is he adding to this thing to warrant three films? Put me on the opposite side of the fence from Zac, in the land of the skeptical, even if I still fully expect to end up liking the trilogy in the end.
Heather: You can’t expect to like it and be skeptical at the same time! It just doesn’t work that way! I can’t wait for the hobbit, even knowing that none of the characters will live up to the splendor of Samwise the Brave.
This is 40 (Dec. 21st)
Lauren: I don’t know if all movies can really pull off a spin-off, but I know I’d love to spend more time with Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann’s family from Knocked Up as they begrudgeoningly inch over the hill.
Zero Dark Thirty (Dec. 19th)
Zac: The hunt for Osama bin Laden, recreated by Katherine “Hurt Locker” Bigelow, what more do you need to know. Oh yeah, Kyle Chandler is in it, Coach Taylor!
Lauren: As long as they don’t take a dive randomly into The Bourne Identity territory like she did in Hurt Locker… Unless it’s actually fitting this time.
Jack Reacher (Dec. 21st)
Zac: Tom Cruise is back, Zac is in.
The Impossible (Dec. 21st)
Zac: The recreation of a tsunami in this film is supposed to be worth the price of admission alone, I will come for that and Ewan McGregor.
Lauren: Yeah, but Hereafter recreated the tsunami as well and look where that got it. This looks miles ahead though.
Django Unchained (Dec. 25th)
Grant: We’ve been eagerly awaiting Quentin Tarantino’s new film for over a year now. Escaped slave played by Jamie Foxx (cool), plantation owner villain played by Leonardo DiCaprio (fantastic), and a followup collaboration with Christoph Waltz as a protagonist (equally fantastic). I try to avoid watching trailers, but how could I resist. In the trailer, the music and the humor immediately stood out. This movie has incredible potential. And I’ll send a ‘thank you’ to Will Smith for passing up Tarantino’s offer to play the title role!
Zac: Smith would have killed it and this movie is going to be great either way. I agree with everything Grant says.
Les Misérables (Dec. 25th)
Lauren’s #3 Pick: I’ve never been lucky enough to so Les Misérables on stage, so merry Christmas to me!
Zac: This looks really good. The whole singing on set is going to go a long way if you ask me.
Alan: I’ve always loved the soundtrack to Les Mis. And with a cast like this, I can only expect them to do justice to this amazing musical.
Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Good Kingdom, m.A.A.d City’ (Oct. 2nd)
Alan: Lamar made it big last year with his hit mixtape ‘Section .80,’ and has sky rocketed into the stratosphere of the hip hop echelon. Now, teaming up with Dr. Dre, Lamar is ready to bring out the big guns with his first official release. Although I couldn’t get into his first single “Swimming Pools,” my hopes are still high that he will put out some excellent material come the first week of October.
Ellie Goulding’s Halcyon (Oct. 9th)
Heather: I’ve been hooked on Goulding ever since Lights. I still haven’t gotten sick of it, despite the fact that there for a while it seemed to be on the radio ever time I got in the car! So I’m pretty excited to see what her next album is like. I don’t expect it to be an album that I can listen to over and over again (like I can with the recently released Mumford and Sons or the Avett Brothers), but I hope it’s every bit as light and frothy as her first album!
Between The Buried And Me’s The Parallax II: Future Sequence (Oct. 9th)
Alan: BTBAM is not for everybody. They’re loud, abrasive, and all over the place sonically – even for a metal standpoint. Their complex musicality, however, is why I keep coming back. BTBAM explores different elements of metal, not being afraid to slow things down to make a larger statement later on. With songs lasting upwards to nine minutes, it’s great to hear a metal act that can be engaging for that long of a time. I warn you; the link below is pretty loud. Listen with caution.
A Fine Frenzy’s Pines (Oct. 16th)
Heather: A Fine Frenzy is coming out with her third album this fall, supposedly drawing her inspiration from California/Washington’s Cascade Mountains. Her voice is beautiful, and I’m sure she’ll do justice to all those pine trees out there. If you haven’t heard her, her sound is on the slower, mellower side, perfect for ushering in fall and winter and saying goodbye to those peppier summer jams.
Lauren: “The Minnow and the Trout” will always be one of my favorite songs, which is on top of a load of other great songs on her first album. If you don’t know who she is you at least know “Almost Lover.” The second album didn’t provide the amount of songs I always go back to; heck, I don’t even think I can name a song off that album, but that doesn’t mean that it still doesn’t provide some lazy Sunday listening. Hopefully this album will lean towards the first album in memorability, but if not I’m sure it will still get a decent number of plays from me.
Benjamin Gibbard’s Former Lives (Oct. 16th)
Grant: I’m still recovering from the incredible slate of September releases: Ben Folds Five, The XX, Grizzly Bear, and Mumford & Sons. But looking forward, I am excited about Benjamin Gibbard’s solo album Former Lives. His consistently great albums with The Postal Service and Death Cab for Cutie force me to give him the benefit of the doubt. I half expected a somber breakup album considering his divorce with Zooey Deschanel, but from what I’ve heard, it seems to be a well-rounded album. Gibbard, when not divorcing famous people, is a big Seattle Mariners fan. He recently released a musical tribute to Ichiro Suzuki, its fun, but it is not quite up to his normal standards, and I was glad to see it wasn’t on the album. Anyway, the album seems to have less of the Death Cab for Cutie distorted guitar, but it should still feature Gibbard’s great songwriting.
Taylor Swift’s Red (Oct. 23th)
Lauren’s #1 Pick: It really doesn’t matter how much “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together ” seemingly departs from Taylor Swift’s typical sound, all the complaints will die down with what will undoubtedly continue her ridiculously successful album streak. And it’s just in time because I am ready to switch to something new following Speak Now. Oh who am I kidding, I’ll keep listening to that for forever and ever, especially because I doubt she can create something to knock “Enchanted” from its seat on high.
Heather’s #1 Pick: Yay for the return of Swifty! I wasn’t necessarily a fan of her last single at first, but it sort of grew on me after a while…although I could really do without the bit in the middle where she breaks out into a convo about how she is really never going to get back together with him….like ever…. But regardless, I will be buying her CD for sure.
Andrew Bird’s Hands of Glory (Oct. 30th)
Heather: Once again, I have Amy (and Zac) to thank for introducing me to another great artist, Andrew Bird. His new album is supposed to be the companion to last year’s Break It To Yourself, with three new songs and then a few covers. I’m not typically a fan of covers, unless they are songs that I have never heard the original of…so we’ll see about this.
Big Boi’s Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors (Nov. 13th)
Alan: Doesn’t look like we are getting a new Outkast album this year. That doesn’t mean we aren’t getting some great hip hop thought. Enter Big Boi, one half of Outkast. His first solo effort two years ago was fantastic – from the out there beats to the amazing rhymes. Basically, typical Big Boi. Hopefully, he will bring that same type of intensity here on Vicious Lies and make a case for Hip-Hop Album of the Year.
OneRepublic’s [TBA] (Nov. 13th)
Lauren’s #1 Pick: OneRepublic’s Dreaming Out Loud had a handful of radio friendly songs that brought an exponential amount of popularity, rightfully so, and they continued on from that with Waking Up, in all it’s freakishly amazing glory (even if The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was trying to put a bad taste in my mouth with the overuse of “Secrets”). At this rate this next album will completely destroy my computer because it will be too awesome to handle.
Heather’s #2 Pick: For me, OneRepublic just seems to be getting better with each new album. I really liked Dreaming Out Loud, I loved Waking Up, and I hope that the next album will be so amazing it blows my pants clear off.
Bruno Mars’ Unorthodox Jukebox (Dec. 11th)
Heather’s #3 Pick: He’s finally back!!! I have been waiting for 2+ years, and am so excited for Bruno’s next album. He makes happy music. Just happy. And inspired the greatest proposal of all time.
Dishonored (Oct. 9th)
Lauren: With Dishonored, Assassin’s Creed 3, and Hitman: Absolution, there sure is a bunch of assassination going on this quarter in video games. This new IPtakes us into the story of a man who was wrongfully accused of the murder of the person he was sworn to protect, so now it’s our job to strike vengeance on those who did this to him. Unlike the other two games mentioned, this has us playing from the first person perspective, using supernatural abilities like “blinking” from one position to another instantaneously, or sending ourselves into the body of a rat to move past guards, or swarm them with a plague-filled death if we’re the more violent type. And most intriguing of all, this game is also being hyped as an assassination game in which you don’t have to actually kill anyone. Should be one interesting achievement to attempt to get.
Assassin’s Creed 3 (Oct. 30th)
Lauren: As fun as Ezio was, it is about time that we finally move on from his story to a new assassin. And what better place than the American Revolution!? I cannot wait to go running around the forest, which thankfully seems to be working perfectly with the climbing, rooftop running skills that we have used in the past. Plus I cannot wait to catch someone in my trap, jump down from the tree all the while dragging them up. Let’s just hope the naval combat sequences don’t ruin the flow of the game like the inclusion of car racing often does in other games for me. Check out the full gameplay footage below for a bunch of cool new tricks up our assassin’s sleeve.
Lego Lord of the Rings (Oct. 30th)
Zac: I am a big fan of the Lego series and I think I am more excited for this release then any previous. I loved the Harry Potter Lego games and the inclusion of the dialogue from the film could be an interesting change of place. Plus, the idea behind the hub world sounds amazing!
Lauren: LEGO games are always a good time, and there isn’t anything that I can think of that fits more with the style of the games than The Lord of the Rings. Should be another fun time as long as the dialog does not restrict the humor. With that said, they better allow for repeat cutscene viewings because I cannot wait to watch LEGO Gandolf screaming you “shall not pass!” over and over again. Now please tell me I get to play as Smeagol!
Halo 4 (Nov. 6th)
Zac: I don’t care Bungie is out, the formula is there and the series could use a little bit of a mix up if you ask me. Having said that, how much will Microsoft mess with said formula? We will see soon.
Lauren: I didn’t come into the series until Halo 3, and let’s face it: that was only because it was really cheap used at GameStop. It’s just not my favorite style of combat/shooters as I prefer cover-based gameplay, but it still provided a fun experience none-the-less that did bring me back for ODST and Reach (which was definitely my favorite with the 4-player co-op and amazingly dramatic ending). But now that Master Chief and Cortana are back with a new enemy I guess I have some catching up to do, maybe with Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary? Just don’t expect me to enjoy all the tea-bagging that will undoubtedly happen if I step into a multiplayer match.
Hitman: Absolution (Nov. 20th)
Lauren: Another series I came in late for, Hitman: Blood Money offered the chance to lose plenty of hours of your life because of how many different ways you can go about your task (and eventually perfectly earn the silent assassin rank). The first gameplay footage I saw for Absolution showed off some of the new “powers” that Agent 47 has that seemingly moved away from what I came to love in the previous game, but based on the footage below I’d say that it hasn’t removed itself as much as I once feared. Phew. That and the level of environment interaction should be really impressive. Now let’s just hope you can turn off that “hint” notification that keeps popping up in the middle of the screen.
Alan: I haven’t played any of the Hitman series since Contracts came out years ago. But for the past couple of E3′s, I’ve only seen incredibly pretty footage and what looks to be the tight gameplay that the series is known for. I might have jumped off the bandwagon when Blood Money came out, but I’m all for Absolution.
Goodness what a ridiculous amount of stuff coming out at the end of this year! Now that you’ve read what the writers here at HST are excited for the most, it’s your turn. We release you to the comments section!