The Hunger Games (Mar. 23)
While the preliminary marketing for The Hunger Games left something to be desired (that minute-long teaser trailer? Really?), the longer form trailer made up for the shaky start and looks like the film adaptation will not only be faithful to the book, but really capture the feeling of a game that is a fight to the death. The anxiety Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) must have felt riding up the elevator to the stadium is palpable in the trailer and has me looking forward to (hopefully) seeing this feeling play out throughout the course of the film. And the soundtrack (and score) already sound like they are going to be pretty kick-ass. -AL
The Pirates! Band of Misfits (Mar. 30)
Having been a fan of Aardman Animations’ Wallace & Gromit series for years and years, I cannot possibly fathom why my utter enjoyment of 2011’s Arthur Christmas surprised me so greatly. And now Aardman is doing pirates? Oh, come on, it’s too easy. These are the pirate flicks I want to see, screw those Johnny Depp live-action Stephen Tyler impersonations. -KE
Watch the Pirates! trailer.
REC 3 (Mar. 30)
REC made me jump over the back of Luke Mullen’s couch in fear. REC 2 made me scream in public (which is frighteningly rare for horror movies these days). So why wouldn’t I be psyched to see a third installment? Plus, the sequel already proved that the backstory might be even more fascinating/terrifying than what we’ve already seen. It’s time to get bloody excited. -CA
Seeking a Friend For the End of the World (Apr. 20)
An asteroid is headed for earth. Your wife leaves you. What do you do? The premise alone (an appropriate one for 2012) is worth a look, and an ensemble cast led by Steve Carell and Keira Knightley makes it even more worthy. The fact that it’s the feature debut of the Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist screenwriter Lorene Scafaria seals the deal. There’s no doubt it will be comedy done well with a pinch of the bittersweet (and maybe even a little von Trier style apocalypse). -CA
Wettest County (Apr. 20)
The next historical drama from director John Hillcoat and screenwriter Nick Cave (The Proposition) comes with a real pedigree behind its name – a fact-based account of bootleggers in Prohibition Era Virginia. Based on the novel by Matt Bondurant (who wrote about his own family for his book), my only beef with said book was that it was too prime for cinema – I wanted the film almost instantly after reading it. With an all-star cast that includes Gary Oldman, Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy (in his last role pre-TDKR), Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Guy Pearce, and Mia Wasikowska, this one should go down smooth. -KE
The Five-Year Engagement (Apr. 27)
Who knew Emily Blunt was funny? Blunt surprised me with her physical comedy chops here (and the unexpected laughs it got out of me). Paired with established funny-man Jason Segel, the two make a pretty cute couple and their humor (and chemistry) work well together. Plus I really want Blunt (move over Heigl) to be America’s next sweetheart (even if she’s British). -AL
Watch the Five-Year Engagement trailer.
The Avengers (May 4)
Iron Man. Captain America. Thor. Hawkeye. Loki. Sexy leather-wearing lady with an accent. Joss Whedon is going to kill off at least three of these characters, and that alone makes The Avengers one of 2012’s must-see films. It’s also the culmination of a massive world-building effort that finally sees those post-credits scenes pay off as the heroes join forces to fight Loki and his alien horde. It promises to be either kick-ass entertainment or an underwhelming mediocrity. -RH
Watch The Avengers trailer.