Lincoln (Dec. 2012)
The second of two Abraham Lincoln films in 2012, Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Goodwin’s detailed historical record finds our sixteenth President (Daniel Day-Lewis) battling a divided and broken country during the onset of the Civil War. We’ll have to wait to see exactly what kind of tone the director of War Horse and Schindler’s List strikes with this depiction of an essential episode in Lincoln’s legacy, and which Lincoln film will be the victor in terms of attracting audiences (the “serious” or the “silly”), but one thing’s for certain: Lincoln as embodied by Day-Lewis will certainly be an Honest Abe like we’ve never seen him before. –LP
Les Miserables (Dec. 7)
A musical with an extensive stage history, an iconic novel that represents a time of turmoil, a director coming off an Oscar win. There’s no denying the power of the story of the French revolution as seen through the eyes of a young girl and an ex-con, and although Hugh Jackman is no Jean-Paul Belmondo, this is a grand opportunity to showcase his Tony award-winning talent. Plus, Tom Hooper is going to make all his actors sing on camera, which will be an interesting experiment especially as they try to navigate the constantly-spinning stage. –CA
The Hobbit (Dec. 14)
At the risk of sounding like a total dork, I am a total dork. Therefore I cannot help but be all tingly in the shorts region for the return of Peter Jackson to the Tolkien universe. The first installment of the two-part 3D The Hobbit looks, from the trailer, to prove Jackson hasn’t lost a step since last he left Middle Earth. –BS
World War Z (Dec. 21)
Even though everything we’ve heard about this adaptation of Max Brooks‘s excellent zombie apocalypse chronicle has said that it will be far different from the book upon which it’s based, we can’t help but have some faith in the creative team behind it, the likes of director Marc Forster and star/producer Brad Pitt. It’s the zombiepocalypse on a grand scale, a massive version of all the parts you like about The Walking Dead. If done right, it could end up being the exclamation point on this most recent zombie craze. –NM
Life of Pi (Dec. 21)
How many films to be released in 2012 include a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker? Only one, friends. Only this one film from director Ang Lee, who will guide a cast that includes Tobey Maguire and Irrfan Khan in the adaptation of Yann Martel’s best-selling story of a boy who, in an attempt to move from India to Canada, ends up stranded in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and the aforementioned tiger. It’s going to be a magic, wonderful, strange and if Lee is on his game, quite magnificent adventure. –NM
This is 40 (Dec. 21)
Did you want to know more about the volatile couple, Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) from Knocked Up? I did – so the idea that Judd Apatow is making a movie focusing more on those two characters (along with a few new ones) can pretty much guarantee a seat in the theater with me in it. And with everyone telling me your 30s are awesome (I don’t want to talk about it), I want to find out the truth that lies for me if I survive that decade. –AL
Django Unchained (Dec. 25)
A former slave (Jamie Foxx) learns the fine art of bounty hunting and heads out to rescue his wife from a cruel plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio). Quentin Tarantino is hit and miss just like any other writer/director, but his last film, Inglourious Basterds, was my favorite movie of 2009 so my expectations are high. In addition to DiCaprio in the bad guy role the film also stars Christoph Waltz, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Sacha Baron Cohen, James Remar, Kerry Washington, Don Johnson and Kurt Russell. That’s right. Kurt freaking Russell. –RH
Honorable Mention: Cabin in the Woods – for making the list last year and waiting infuriatingly to come out this year! It’s still worth anticipating.
What movies are you looking forward to the most?