As most of the movie world takes a look back at the 2011 year in film, I look ahead at my most anticipated movies of 2012!

First I’ll start with the honorable mentions, ten films I’m highly excited to see but weren’t quite able to crack my list:

  • Argo
  • The Bourne Legacy
  • Chronicle
  • Cloud Atlas
  • Gangster Squad
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Lincoln
  • Skyfall
  • Wettest County
  • World War Z
  • And now for the top ten:

    #10 Moonrise Kingdom

    In my opinion, Wes Anderson is one of the most accomplished directors of the past 15 years. So when news comes around of him making a movie featuring the likes of Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, and Harvey Keitel, all as supporting characters, I can’t help but be ecstatic. Following a young couple who flee their small 1960’s New England town and go on the run, this film has all the ingredients to be one of the best of 2012.

    #9 Only God Forgives

    Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling. Enough said. The Drive duo reunites only a year later to tell the story of a Bangkok police lieutenant and a gangster settle their differences in a Thai-boxing match. Sounds pretty badass to me. Not only was Drive one of my favorites of 2011, but Nicolas Winding Refn has a pretty incredible track record of his own, with films like Bronson and Valhalla Rising under his belt, Only God Forgives is extremely intriguing in its own right.

    #8 The Hunger Games

    The much-awaited adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ wildly successful novel is nearing release, and I couldn’t be more excited. Lionsgate went with a very unconventional director in Gary Ross, whose past few films Seabiscuit and Pleasantville are both unique and pretty fantastic films in their own right, and I’m very curious to see what he’s done with this material. Jennifer Lawrence is a perfect choice to play Katniss, as she’s demonstrated with her Oscar-nominated performance in Winter’s Bone, she’s more than up for the job. Additionally, Ross has surrounded Lawrence with some fantastic supporting actors, as I expect The Hunger Games won’t disappoint.

    #7 Django Unchained

    Quentin Tarantino making a spaghetti western? Yes please! With each film that Tarantino releases, the buzz surrounding it seems to increase tenfold, beginning with his masterful Pulp Fiction all the way up to this current release. Featuring a cast that includes Jaime Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington, Sasha Baron Cohen, Michael K. Williams, and more, the story of Django on a journey to rescue his slave-wife Broomhilda sounds too good to be true. Here’s to hoping Django doesn’t disappoint!

    #6 The Dark Knight Rises

    Christopher Nolan, who has taken the superhero movie to heights not thought possible, is back for his final go at Batman in The Dark Knight Rises. With an intriguing new villain in Bane (Tom Hardy), and the usual outstanding supporting cast, and another hefty budget provided by Warner Bros., this latest film from Nolan should be the highlight of the summer box-office season. Let’s hope it’s well earned!

    #5 Anna Karenina

    Joe Wright is among my favorite directors working today. When given great material to work with (Atonement), he has made some of the greatest films I’ve seen. Even with less-than-stellar material (The Soloist), his skills have been able to salvage what could be a bad film into something of value. Now Wright sets his sights on Tolstoy and one of his crowning works, Anna Karenina. Reuniting with Keira Knightley, star of his Pride and Prejudice and Atonement, the film also stars the likes of Jude Law, Aaron Johnson, Kelly Macdonald, Olivia Williams, Emily Watson, Dohmnall Gleeson, the film should be spectacular. Look out for Wright’s signature long, single-take shot to appear in this one!

    #4 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    Peter Jackson returns to Middle Earth, and this writer could not be more excited! As fantastic and cinematic as The Lord of the Rings is, the story at the center of The Hobbit is equally incredible, and I am truly thankful that Peter Jackson finally agreed to helm its adaptation, as he alone is master of this universe. From the trailer we’ve seen, Martin Freeman looks to be perfect for the role of Bilbo, and Jackson has amassed a ridiculously talented cast to support him.

    #3 Looper

    As anyone who read the article on my top 10 movies of all-time will know, I was a huge fan of Rian Johnson’s debut, Brick. It should therefore come as little shock just how excited I am to see his latest feature, Looper, which has been described as a time travel thriller. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt, the film follows the maddeningly complex synopsis of a mob hitman who recognizes his next target to be his future self. Just try to wrap your mind around that one…So far reviews from test screenings have been overwhelmingly positive, and I’ll be sure to be lining up for this one.

    #2 Seven Psychopaths

    Again, this pick can be harkened back to my top 10 movies of all-time post, as Martin McDonagh’s previous feature film, In Bruges, also made my list. His next project, Seven Psychopaths, reunites this Oscar and Tony winner with Colin Farrell, who plays a screenwriter wrapped up in a dognapping scheme gone horribly awry. With a fantastic supporting cast including Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Gabourey Sidibe, Tom Waits, and Olga Kurylenko, Seven Psychopaths has the potential to be the best of the year.

    #1 Gravity

    Alfonso Cuaron’s latest is finally in production amidst much anticipation and after a lot of casting difficulties. Cycling through 3 different leads, including Angelina Jolie, Natalie Portman, and Blake Lively, as well as having Robert Downey Jr. signed on for a supporting character, Gravity has its two main characters cast in Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Following the lone survivor of a failed space mission attempting to return to Earth, Gravity reportedly features minimal dialogue and characters. With Cuaron reunited with his Children of Men cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, this space thriller should feature some stunning visuals!

    Now I’ve chimed in, give us you’re list of what you can’t wait to see at the movies come 2012. Another fantastic year for film is just right around the corner!

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