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Five least-anticipated films of 2012

Here we are, a brand-new year full of brand-new movies (or brand-new versions of old movies). 2011 is behind us and we’ve got a clean slate, and new adventures to go on.  Now comes the time where we make a list of all the films we’re looking forward to, right? Wrong.

If I were to write out a list compiling everything I’m excited for this year, not only would it be long but it probably wouldn’t vary much from every other list that’s already out there, placement aside. And personally, I almost find it more interesting to hear about what someone isn’t looking forward to. No, what someone is loathing, the films that make them physically sick just by thinking about them, the cinematic abominations that they pray will fail miserably and destroy the careers of everyone involved in it. You know, the stinky ones.

This is why I’ve taken the time to compile a list of the five films coming out in 2012 that I’m looking forward to the least. Some you may agree with, others may leave you scratching your head, and a couple may have no impact on you whatsoever, just try to enjoy. But first, here’s a few that couldn’t quite pull it off…

Honorable mentions: Underworld: Awakening, The Amazing Spider-Man, 21 Jump Street, Mirror Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Expendables 2, Resident Evil: Retribution

And now, for the bread and butter…

Ghost Rider: The Spirit of Vengeance

Though it may hold some sort of novelty appeal (Nic Cage films often do), it’s pretty much a guarantee that Spirit of Vengeance is not going to be a good movie. The first film took a dark and even tragic character and turned him into an all-around poorly made cheese fest.

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With Cage returning and the helming duties falling to the visually creative but story-challenged team of Neveldine/Taylor, its fate (critically, at least) appears to have been sealed. Plus, the tongue-lashings it took at Harry Knowles’ annual Butt-Numb-A-Thon weren’t too promising.

This Means War

Tom Hardy. Chris Pine. Two decent talents with a nice screen presence that could potentially make for some good chemistry. Who would be opposed to watching them on-screen together? Well, when the film they’re in is a romantic comedy by McG, where they play two spies fighting over Reese Witherspoon’s heart (unfortunately, not literally), everybody should be scratching their heads.

Over the years, there have been a number of people who have tried to give McG the benefit of the doubt, holding onto some hope that he’d make something good. But after the mess that was Terminator Salvation, one would hope that there aren’t any stragglers. Thankfully, we’ll also get to see Hardy throw a punch or two in The Dark Knight Rises, and Pine will be busy with Star Trek 2. I don’t know what Reese Witherspoon is doing.

The Great Gatsby

I’ve never been a fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s celebrated novel. Say what you will, but I found it grating and unappealing. Couple it with Baz Luhrmann, whose previous directorial efforts haven’t done a thing for me, and the use of 3D technology on a story that doesn’t seem to need it, and you get a movie that I, personally, couldn’t care less about.

Leonardo Di Caprio’s casting seems spot on, and Carey Mulligan has been wonderful in virtually everything I’ve seen her in, but it’s a moot point when in order to see them together, I’d have to watch them play characters that I cannot stand. I hope that everybody who’s interested in it finds it to be everything they want it to be and more, but I’ll be passing.

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The Three Stooges

This movie was doomed from the get-go, and I’m not talking about the casting, or taking a shot at the Farrelly Brothers (though I do enjoy doing that). I’m talking about the subject matter itself. The Three Stooges work incredibly well…for their time. They were creatures of their period and that’s where they should stay. But alas, the brothers Farrelly saw fit to update them, and Vaudeville slapstick probably isn’t going to work nearly as well in 2012, because our comedic style, though perhaps influenced by the Stooges in some ways, has changed.

Of course, you could always update them completely, but then that brings in a whole new mess of problems. The fact is, the Three Stooges belong in the 1930s, not the next millennium. Maybe it’ll make money, I don’t know. But artistically it’s going to backfire, because Moe and Snooki should never, ever share the screen.

Titanic/ Star Wars Episode I/ The onslaught of 3D re-releases

And here we are, the laziest thing you could do next to remaking something.

Overall, I’m not opposed to 3D. Do I think it’s going to stick around? No. But I’m open to the idea that it can be used to enhance an overall experience and even story during a film’s theatrical viewing, even if these days it’s mostly being used as a gimmick in order to get a little bit more of your hard-earned cash. But if you’re going to do a film in 3D, it should be shot in 3D. Converting it, especially when it wasn’t shot for the format to begin with, never tends to look good.

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And that’s why these 3D re-releases, which seem to have become the next big thing, are ultimately pointless. Well, that and you could easily just watch the film from the comfort of your own home. Disney seems to be the biggest proponent of this trend (and with the money that The Lion King brought in, why wouldn’t they be?), but George Lucas is hot on their heels, planning to re-release the entire Star Wars saga in 3D. Help us…

William Bitterman