The next films to watch in 2012 (version 3)

Some of this blog's most popular posts are those on roundup of films shown or upcoming. Proves again how lists are the most eye-catching content produced online, just look at the success of Listverse and the immense popularity of publications' special list issues such as the Time 100, National Geographic's Best Photos or Forbes' Celebrity 100 (where J.Lo dethrones Oprah as top this year) and so on.

So it's July, halfway through the year. We haven't had a notable, save for maybe the overrated buster The Avengers and the morally mediocre The Hunger Games. Have I missed anything? Anyway, doesn't matter, here's a list of the next films to watch this year:

The Dark Knight Rises (July)

Photo by Ron Phillips – © (c) 2012 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Legendary Pictures Funding
So producers have successfully looped director Christopher Nolan into the Bruce Wayne franchise again after giving him a shot at a film where he could artistically call the shots. Inception wound up a surprising smash success, and in this stylistic (and box office) league is The Dark Knight Rises to hit the theaters this month.

The Magic of Belle Isle (independent | limited)

© 2012 - Magnolia Pictures 
The feel of this movie may remind one of The Bucket List or About Schmidt because of its self-finding storyline. Morgan Freeman stars as a wheeled ex-author who moves into a small town whose dwellers help him redefine and find again his love for his abandoned craft. Some previewers have commented though that its subtle, romantic undertones might be a potential turn-off. So watch and stick to the main plot.

The Well-Digger's Daughter (foreign release | original title: La Fille Du Puisatier)

Still of Daniel Auteuil and Astrid Berg├Ęs-Frisbey in The Well Digger's Daughter 
A French family drama set in World War II, The Well-Digger's Daughter (remade from Marcel Pagnol's 1940 version) demonstrates how a family braves life's tides together. This film has been released last year in Europe, but only now can worldwide audiences enjoy it in selected big screens. Lifted from the classic tale, expect this movie to remind you why French cinema has a refreshing charm in telling stories, exploring characters and moving audiences with its wisdom-driven plots.

Samsara (documentary | limited)

© 2012 - Oscilloscope Pictures 
Perhaps out of all the films listed in this post, this the one I'm most excited about. Samsara, which literally means "the eternal cycle of birth, suffering and death" in Sanskrit, covers five years, 25 countries, a kaleidoscope of color and culture in 7.1 surround sound and 70mm film. Sounds Greek to you? Just another way of saying that even if it doesn't make a lot of plot-driven sense, it's worth watching just for its attempt. But watch out for its (probable) new age / zen suggestions.

© 2012 - Oscilloscope Pictures 
A writer from says, "Samsara is instantly one of the most visually-stunning films in the history of cinema is reason enough to cherish it, but Fricke and co-editor Mark Magidson achieve truly profound juxtapositions, brimming with meaning and emotion. It sounds preposterous, but it's true: In 99 minutes, Samsara achieves something approaching a comprehensive portrait of the totality of human experience. If you're even remotely fond of being alive, Samsara is not to be missed."

The Odd Life of Timothy Green (August)

Photo by Phil Bray – © Disney Enterprises, Inc. 
Sure, this will not be a critical favorite, but for its interesting plot line and, well, Jennifer Garner(!) paired with Darth Vader's half-brother--I mean, actor Joel Edgerton--it's worth your shot. "A childless couple bury a box in their backyard, containing all of their wishes for an infant. Soon, a child is born, though Timothy Green is not all that he appears." See how Owen Lars, I mean Mr. Edgerton, still sports that Tatooine costume in this screencap.

The Bourne Legacy (August)

© 2012 - Universal Pictures
New Bourne lead Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross crosses life events adapted from Robert Ludlum's novels. Matched with a-listers Edward Norton and Rachel Weisz and filmed partially in the streets of Manila, The Bourne Legacy will surely be a hit, at least among those interested to see what Renner does wearing the big shoes of Jason Bourne main man Matt Damon.

The Words (September)

Photo by Jonathan Wenk – © 2012 - CBS Films
Bradley Cooper, whose popularity shot from TV-show Alias sub-star to in-demand leading man, stars as a struggling desperate writer who also shoots to immediate fame after the release of "his" novel. The work, however, was not written by him, and he lives under threat of being discovered a fraud. This should be a promising (though potentially complicated) drama that involves family, relationships, professional ethics and personal aspirations.

Hotel Translyvania (September)

© 2011 - Sony Pictures Animation
Adam Sandler lends his voice to Count Dracula, the owner of a mysterious resort staffed by quaint creatures lifted from classic horror lit. A boy discovers this remote area and falls in love with the Count's teen daughter voiced by Selena Gomez. By its plot alone, I feel this is another minor animated feature that won't even make waves nor buzz. But hey, it's family entertainment. We need more of such these days.

Middle of Nowhere (October | limited)

A still from Sundance entry Middle of Nowhere directed by Ava DuVernay.
So this is an indie, and it better be. By being such the grit and simplicity are retained without the commercially-driven compromises in its plot. A husband is sentenced behind bars for 8 years. His wife quits a potential medical career to look after him while incarcerated. It's not the ideal marriage, obviously, but the couple works their way to persevere, which leads to "a journey of self-discovery," the official summary says.