|Noomi Rapace in 'Prometheus'|
Make no mistake, 2011 was a big year at the movies, but it’s nothing compared to what 2012 will be. It’s a year of big names pushing big movies with big ideas, and I can’t wait. Here are the 12 films I’m most excited to check out this year, in order of release.
John Carter (March 9)
Directed Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, Wall-E) steps away from animation to get his shot at a major blockbuster with Disney’s adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars. It’s a major sci-fi epic co-written by Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon, and Stanton is a visual dynamo.
The Avengers (May 4)
Joss Whedon (the nerd god behind things like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Serenity) takes the helm of the biggest superhero movie ever made, bringing together Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk and other Marvel Comics superheroes into one supermovie.
Moonrise Kingdom (May 25)
Wes Anderson is one of the most original cinematic storytellers of the last 20 years, and this is his latest, a period piece with a cast that includes Bill Murray, Bruce Willis and Edward Norton.
Prometheus (June 8)
Ridley Scott returns to science fiction with this epic tale of space explorers who encounter something they never expected. Loosely connected to his classic film Alien, this is Scott’s chance to play with big ideas about human existence, and it might be the best sci-fi film you see all year.
Brave (June 22)
After 15 years as the best movie studio in the world, Pixar Animation has finally made a film with a female protagonist. Early trailers for Brave promise it will be one of the best family-friendly adventures of the year.
The Dark Knight Rises (July 20)
Christopher Nolan concludes his Batman trilogy with what promises to be its most ambitious installment. A new villain, a new era and the end of the greatest chapter in Batman’s cinematic odyssey.
Twylight Zones (Oct. 19)
David Chase, the genius behind The Sopranos, makes his feature film debut this year with a rock ‘n’ roll coming of age story set in 1960s New Jersey.
Skyfall (Nov. 9)
This is the year that we finally get another Daniel Craig James Bond film. As an added bonus, it’s got a cast that includes the likes of Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes, and it’s directed by the great Sam Mendes.
Gravity (Nov. 21)
Alfonso Cuaron, widely viewed as a sci-fi visionary, directs George Clooney and Sandra Bullock in this tale of two astronauts trapped on a failing space station.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Dec. 14)
Peter Jackson returns to Middle-earth with the first installment in his two part adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy novel. Much of the original Lord of the Rings cast returns as well, including Sir Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis.
This Is Forty (Dec. 21)
Judd Apatow returns to the director’s chair this year with his fourth film, starring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann reprising their roles from his second film – Knocked Up – and dealing with the perils and pitfalls of middle age.
Django Unchained (Dec. 25)
Quentin Tarantino is finally making a full-blown Western. That’s more than enough to get me excited.