It’s already the second day of 2012, which means we’ll all be sober within the next day or two. It also means that we can officially start looking (through blurry eyes) ahead to the future. A future of promise and potential. A future of hope. A future of tingling anticipation that the road stretched out in front of us that leads to the cinema will be paved with gold.

Will there be piles of excrement along the way? Of course, but we don’t know how many or how badly they’ll tarnish our yellow-bricked roller coaster ride. All we can see from this far out is the shimmering wonder of movies to come – the vast unknown that looks wonderful (and might just live up to the hype).

In past years (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), we’ve gone with a fairly arbitrary count of 20-30 movies. This year, we decided to prove that there were 52 movies worth prematurely celebrating (even though what we found were many more). That’s one for every week (even if there are some weeks with a few and some weeks with none at all).

Regardless of the number, Rob Hunter, Neil Miller, Kate Erbland, Allison Loring, Landon Palmer, Brian Salisbury and Cole Abaius have joined forces to remind us all that there are a lot of great movies to hope for this year. Go grab a calendar and pencil in everything that gets your blood pressure up toward unsafe levels.

It’s going to be a busy, flick-filled 2012. Here are the 52 most anticipated movies.

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild Untold Story of Cannon Films (TBA)

If you are a cult movie geek, then you already known that documentary director Mark Hartley is one of our most important and celebrated archivists. His first two docs, Not Quite Hollywood and Machete Maidens Unleashed, about Aussie and Filipino genre films respectively, are as hilarious as they are informative; featuring larger than life personalities and edited with music video sensibility. The prospect of Hartley lending his reverent, rock-n-roll treatment to the Cannon Films legacy is enough to make me run slowly away from enormous explosions with my fist raised in triumphant salute. -BS

Cosmopolis (TBA)

I am admittedly excited to see what Robert Pattinson can do outside of the Twilight juggernaut as I suspect there might be more to him than just a pretty face (although I am also prepared to be proven wrong as I was after my similar predictions of Channing Tatum). But really, this film had me at “David Cronenberg.” -AL

The Master (TBA)

A P.T. Anderson movie is always an event, and in his latest he seems to be working more in a There Will Be Blood mode than his mosaic narratives of Boogie Nights and Magnolia by focusing on another eccentric, power-hungry individual. Reportedly based loosely on the life of L. Ron Hubbard and his founding of the Church of Scientology, The Master stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the leader of a growing religious organization who recruits a drifter (Joaquin Phoenix) as his assistant.

The film will certainly be a showcase for the talents of the always-amazing Hoffman, marks the return of an ostensibly un-bearded Phoenix to the silver screen (for what that’s worth), and the alleged basis for its narrative will likely prove controversial for a church that isn’t known for taking criticism lightly, especially in Hollywood. The film is currently in its post-production stages and has yet to receive a release date, but here’s hoping we’ll get an opportunity to know The Master sometime this year. -LP

Only God Forgives (TBA)

People seem to like that Nicholas Winding Refn character, and they seem to like it when he teams up with Ryan Gosling. At a basic level, it’s beyond fantastic to see an unconventional director receive so much notice. At an even simpler level, it’ll be great to see him make a movie about a policeman and gangster busting leg bones together in a Thai boxing ring. It’s another exploration of violence to look forward to from a man obsessed with it. No word yet on whether hammers are allowed in Muay Thai. -CA

Cogan’s Trade (TBA)

If I have to spend the rest of my life extolling the copious virtues of Andrew Dominik’s stunning The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, that’s fine by me, but I have a feeling that the director’s next, crime drama Cogan’s Trade, will do the job for me. The film reunites him with Assassination stars Brad Pitt and Garret Dillahunt, along with Scoot McNariry, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta, and Sam Shepard. I’ll stop there – that’s all you need. -KE

Stoker (TBA)

A teenage girl (Mia Wasikowska) dealing with her father’s death finds a mystery in the arrival of her eccentric uncle (Matthew Goode). Perhaps the family name has some bearing as to where the tale is going… The cast and story seem fairly solid here, but the real draw for me is that it’s Park Chan-wook‘s English language debut. Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, Oldboy, Thirst and others have shown him to be a director more than capable of exciting the eyes and mind, and it’s doubly exciting to see him take on this new challenge. -RH

Inside Llewyn Davis (TBA)

Not much has been revealed about the Coen Brothers’ latest except that it depicts the life of a fictional folk musician during the heyday of the Greenwich Village scene. That the Coens might do here for Bob Dylan-era folk music what O Brother Where Art Thou? did for Woody Guthrie-era folk is promising. The film also marks the first major leading role for Drive’s talented Oscar Isaac, and could be another showcase for Mulligan’s musical talent that we first got a glimpse of in Shame last year. The last four films from the Coens have all been markedly different, so there’s no telling what they have in store for us this year. -LP


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