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
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
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
Kill List (Jan. 4)
British director Ben Wheatley took the traditional route to garnering favor with Austin movie geeks: he had a kick-ass film play Fantastic Fest. In 2009, his gangster dark comedy Down Terrace won the festival’s Next Wave Award, and our sincerest respect for the man behind it. His new film promises to be a return to crime film form. -BS
Check out the trailer for Kill List.
Red Tails (Jan. 20)
It’s true that newcomer Anthony Hemingway is an unproven entity in the world of features, but it’s the names involved with the project (from George Lucas producing to Bryan Cranston, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Terrence Howard starring) alongside the historical bombast of the Tuskegee Airmen that makes this one worth fighting for. And if that hadn’t sold it, the trailer sure as hell did. -CA
Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax (Mar. 2)
Zac Efron is one of the voices! Kidding (not really), but when one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books from my childhood is being made into a movie, it’s naturally something I’m going to want to see. Especially when it is done in stunning 3D (and I rarely say that about 3D) making it look like one of the more magical (and heartfelt) films of next year. -AL
Watch The Lorax trailer.
Jeff Who Lives At Home (Mar. 2)
This may be a bit of a cheat on my part, as I’ve already seen (and loved) the Duplass brothers’ latest, a Jason Segel-starring gem, thanks to last month’s AFI FEST (review HERE, for those of you who don’t give a whiff about spoilers). The film is the most accessible and charming project yet from the pair, starring Segel and Ed Helms as loser brothers (who are both losers in very different ways) who embark on a mission of discovery with, ding ding, unexpected results. It’s not the stoner comedy some people may be expecting, and that’s why I’m still anticipating it – I cannot wait to see how audiences react to a film I already love. -KE
John Carter (Mar. 9)
In one of the big surprises of 2010, Pixar star Brad Bird made a splash in live-action with the latest Mission: Impossible film. Next year, one of his Pixar all-star brethren, Andrew Stanton, will make his live-action debut with his twist on Edgar Rice Burroughs’s “John Carter of Mars” tale. This hero is just John Carter (of Earth), and he’s surrounded by what appears to be some ambitious visuals. In the end, story will be the hinge on which John Carter lives or dies, but with Stanton’s track record, we’re more than comfortable betting on the former. -NM
The Raven (Mar. 9)
Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack) searches for a serial killer who’s using Poe’s own grisly stories as inspiration, and you’re either on board with that concept or not. You should be though, as it looks to be a more action-oriented From Hell, and that’s not a bad thing. Plus, we can all agree that the awfulness of Ninja Assassin is canceled out by the awesomeness of V for Vendetta, so that means director James McTeigue is working from a clean slate here. -RH
Salmon Fishing In The Yemen (Mar. 9)
It may have the worst title of any upcoming film, but Lasse Hallstrom’s next film has already wowed audiences with its incredibly charming trailer. More than anything, it should (hopefully) be a return to form after Hallstrom’s last effort, the cookie-cutter Nicholas Sparks flick Dear John, which was boring and manipulative as only Sparks films can be. Ewan McGregor! Emily Blunt! Salmon fishing! 15 Yemen Road, Yemen! -KE
Casa de mi Padre (Mar. 16)
Will Ferrell’s Gary Sanchez productions has put together a film that only somebody with Ferrell’s star power can get away with: an entirely Spanish-language feature length melodrama. Because studios think Americans hate to read, Casa de mi Padre has a pretty small-time distributor for Ferrell (Pantelion), but it’s great to see a big-name comedian try something risky, different, and bizarre (if we’re assuming he’s not simply making a film for a non-Anglophonic continental American audience). Casa de mi Padre vaguely resembles a recurring Spanish language telenovela skit Ferrell did back in his SNL days, so it could turn out to be a one-joke potro…or it could be brilliant. We’ll see. -LP
Watch the trailer for Casa de mi Padre.
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.
Dark Shadows (May 11)
Director Tim Burton has two more Gothic tales coming next year, including the stop-motion animated Frankenweenie and this, another Johnny Depp led telling of a familiar tale. This time he’s remaking a cult television show into a two-hour movie version, in which Depp will bring famed vampire Barnabas Collins back to life on the bigger, slightly less black and white screen. If there’s one thing this project has going for it, it’s that it’s already walking down a very Gothic path, one that Tim Burton will have no problems following wherever it may lead. -NM
Moonrise Kingdom (May 16)
Marking Wes Anderson’s return to live-action after the beloved Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom concerns a young couple who go off the map, prompting a search party to look for them. Bruce Willis plays the town sheriff, Harvey Keitel wears a scout uniform, and Bill Murray and Frances McDormand portray the young girl’s parents. Animation seemed so perfectly fitting for Anderson’s style in Mr. Fox, so I’m hopeful but reserved about his return to live action in this revisitation of themes about family, community, and Bill Murray. However, it’s the intriguing cast and enduring promise of Anderson’s work that makes me look forward to his next. -LP
Snow White and the Huntsman (June 1)
Based on the trailer alone, this film looks like it could be fairly spectacular (at least visually). I love the idea of taking a classic fairytale and looking into a different (and darker) aspect of it. Throw in Charlize Theron looking all sorts of scary as the wicked queen (her turning into a bunch of black crows in the trailer stuck with me) and I am hoping Kristen Stewart’s Snow (who seems fairly secondary in the trailer) remains that way as this really should be Theron’s show. -AL
Prometheus (June 8)
Whether it is or isn’t a prequel to Alien (and there seems to be some controversy between director and screenwriter on this point), the fact of the matter is we are getting a new Ridley Scott sci-fi epic in 2012. Oh and by the way, there’s no way it’s not a prequel to Alien. Have you seen that trailer? Come on. -BS
Brave (June 22)
Pixar finally gets a lead female heroine, a Scottish princess with a panache for both mischief and archery. With a slightly tweaked animation style and an epic story to tell, it would be the shock of the year if Brave didn’t up a new animated classic. -KE
Check out the trailer for Brave.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (June 22)
The first of two Abraham Lincoln films in 2012, Timur Bekmambetov’s adaptation of Grahame-Smith’s irreverent historical fiction novel finds our sixteenth President (Benjamin Walker) battling vampires and their slave-owning assistants. We’ll have to wait to see exactly what kind of tone the director of Wanted and Night Watch strikes with this retelling of the story of Lincoln, and which Lincoln film will be the victor in terms of attracting audiences (the “silly” or the “serious”), but one thing’s for certain: Lincoln according to Grahame-Smith will certainly be an Honest Abe like we’ve never seen him before. -LP
Magic Mike (June 29)
Steven Soderbergh continues his non-retirement with a flick that focuses on male strippers, complete with a cast of dudes that, yes, I would pay to see naked. Starring Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, Matt Bomer, and Joe Manganiello, the film has a scantily-clad dream team to recommend it at least for gawking purpose, but it also comes complete with a story based on Channing Tatum’s pre-stardom life. This sounds like to the closest thing to a Soderbergh train wreck that we’ll ever get, and I cannot wait. -KE
The Amazing Spider-Man (July 3)
This is the reboot that no one asked for, and that alone makes it fascinating. How will Sony handle introducing us to a character we already know intimately? How will Marc Webb do on his first outing after 500 Days of Summer? How will he be behind the wheel of a larger budget franchise vehicle with only his second feature film? Will Stan Lee make a cameo after all? Is he playing Gwen Stacy? Is he?! All of these questions and more will be answered, and whether the movie is a triumph or a big pile of microwaved spandex, the anticipation level is still as high as Spidey can swing. -CA
Watch the trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man.
Ted (July 13)
A man and his teddy bear was enough to pique my interest, but to then have that teddy bear come to life? And be a drug addict? Yeah – pretty much sounds like something I’m going to want to see. Particularly if that bear’s owner is played by Mark Wahlberg and the screenplay was penned by Seth MacFarlane. Now let’s just hope it fairs better than FX’s polarizing Wilfred. -AL
The Dark Knight Rises (July 20)
Batman (Christian Bale) goes out with a bang against the back-breaking power of his toughest foe yet, Bane (Tom Hardy). Hopefully the third time will be the charm for Christopher Nolan and friends, eh? But seriously, everything about this project warrants a high anticipation level. Everything but Anne Hathaway/Catwoman anyway. I’m still a bit queasy about that one. -RH
Watch the Dark Knight Rises trailer.
Neighborhood Watch (July 27)
The world ending might just be the default trend for 2012, but a feisty band of surburbanites plans to ensure it doesn’t happen. Akiva Schaffer (1/3rd of the turtleneck sweater-wearing Lonely Island) directs this comedy, written by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, starring Jonah Hill, Ben Stiller, Will Forte, Vince Vaughn, and Billy Crudup, Richard Ayoade and Doug Jones. Will it be the white bread Attack the Block? Probably not, but I’ll still call it that anyway. -CA
The Bourne Legacy (Aug. 3)
The Bourne Legacy is a strange franchise extension if there ever were one: it features no character named Bourne, and isn’t an adaptation of any of Robert Ludlum’s novels on the character (though the last two Bourne films were largely adaptations in-name-only). The film will clearly take place in the same universe as Matt Damon’s Bourne, but how Jeremy Renner’s Aaron Cross plays into this universe is not yet known. However, there are two factors that make me excited about this sequel/relaunch/whatever, and that’s the incredibly talented director Tony Gilroy and the rising star that is Renner. -LP
Total Recall (Aug. 3)
A man (Colin Farrell) begins to suspect he’s not who he thinks he is and heads to Mars for the truth. The Paul Verhoeven/Arnold Schwarzenegger original is a ton of goofy fun, so why anticipate a remake? Good question. Len Wiseman in the director’s chair doesn’t mean much, but Philip K. Dick’s original story is as cool and engaging as it’s always been so hopefully the new film finds new avenues to explore. If nothing else, we can mute it and simply ogle Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel for ninety minutes. Plus, I’ll be anticipating the release weekend anyway because it’s Cole’s birthday, and he’s my hero. -RH
Warm Bodies (Aug. 10)
Jonathan Levine follows up his critical cancer comedy hit, 50/50, with an en vogue type of affair – a zombie love story based on a YA novel. But Isaac Marion’s source material shares considerably more with Romeo and Juliet than it does with The Walking Dead and that, along with its up-and-coming cast (Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Analeigh Tipton, Dave Franco, Rob Corddry, and no less than John Malkovich) recommend this original look at love at the end of the world. -KE
ParaNorman (Aug. 17)
In no uncertain terms, the first trailer for ParaNorman charmed my pants right off. Hip (thanks to its Donovan song), cute (thanks to adorable Norman), and scary (thanks to, well, all the dead things), the next from Laika Entertainment (who also brought us the equally as hip, cute, and scary Coraline) is easily the most intriguing and exciting animated feature of the coming year. -KE
Argo (Sept. 14)
A CIA agent devises a rescue attempt for six Americans trapped in Iran during the revolution of the late seventies. Ben Affleck stars in and directs this thriller based upon true events, and that’s all the reason you should need to add this to your 2012 watch list. His first two directorial efforts, Gone Baby Gone and The Town, are different in many ways but equally entertaining. If Argo proves to be as engaging and well crafted as those two Affleck just may find himself crowned as Clint Eastwood’s heir apparent. Early Eastwood… -RH
Looper (Sept. 28)
I will pretty much sign up for anything Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt are in, but a story that sounds a bit like The Terminator (future selves and all) and directed by Rian Johnson (Brick)? Count me in. Plus I have been following the film’s Twitter for almost a year now so, you know, color me excited. -AL
There’s also a dreamy Tumblr page, which is where we got this image and the image for the article header. -Ed.
Taken 2 (Oct. 5)
Olivier Megaton isn’t just the most aptly named action director in the business. He’s quickly becoming producer Luc Besson’s go-to guy for sequels. He did right by the Transporter series and almost hit his stride with his catsuit-heavy hitgirl film Columbiana, and now he’ll come back to the Besson well with Taken 2, in which Liam Neeson will return with his very specific and considerable set of skills. Only this time, it’s Neeson’s Bryan Mills who gets taken. Who will come and rescue him? Silly reader! He will rescue his own damn self. -NM
Frankenweenie (Oct. 5)
Burton’s live-action films have been pretty hit-or-miss (mostly miss) for the past decade, but his animated work has consistently proved interesting. Frankenweenie in particular should give frustrated fans of Burton even more hope since the project marks a return to roots for the director. It’s a feature-length adaptation of his 1984 animated short about a boy who resurrects his dead dog Mary Shelley-style. Plus, there’s no Johnny Depp in sight! -LP
Gangster Squad (Oct. 19)
Director Ruben Fleischer has punched a ticket to Zombieland and delivered hilarious pizza action in 30 Minutes or Less, and now it’s time for his career to evolve into the dramatic. What’s in his future? The past. This crime flick heads back to the 40s and 50s when the Los Angeles Police Department struggled to make sure the cold-veined gangsters of the East didn’t feel welcome in the land of the sun. Even though Bryan Cranston won’t be involved after all, the cast is still filled to the hat brim with talent. -CA
Cloud Atlas (Oct. 26)
Recently some wild concept art from the Wachowski produced sci-fi epic was released, showing a future version of Seoul, Korea that was astonishing. If the rest of the movie pans out as the Wachowskis and director Tom Tykwer intend, it’s going to be the most ostentatious science fiction film in a year that will see quite a few ambitious projects from brilliant filmmakers. And with a cast that includes Tom Hanks, Hugo Weaving, Hugh Grant, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Ben Whishaw, Keith David and more, it’s bound to be well-acted. Prepare for something big, something colorful and if we’re lucky, a bit of slow-motion. -NM
Skyfall (Nov. 9)
All my life I’ve been a Bond nerd, go ahead and ask me the year of release of any entry and the artist behind its title song (if you want proof of how sad my obsession really is). Given the financial turmoil at MGM, the uncertainty of Daniel Craig‘s return, and the overall disappointment that was Quantum of Solace, it isn’t hard to understand why we are so pumped to know we are definitely getting a new Bond film independent from now flat-lined storyline of the first two. -BS
Gravity (Nov. 21)
Two astronauts (Sandra Bullock, George Clooney) encounter trouble in the darkness of space and are forced into desperate measures in their attempt to get home. The script for this film reads like ‘Speed on a space ship’ and both Bullock and Clooney are wonderfully engaging actors, but the number one reason this film should be high on your radar is director Alfonso Cuaron. And if you’ve seen the magical adventure that is A Little Princess then you know why. Children of Men is also pretty good. -RH
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?