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2012 Movies Preview

If the movies are your escape, then you’ll find plenty to escape to in 2012, from sci-fi adventures to historical dramas to a triple threat of animated features. Here are our Pyxis Mag picks for the Top 12 (for 2012, duh) Most Anticipated Movies of the New Year (sorry, popcorn and annoying people on their mobile phones not included.) 

12 | The Great Gatsby | Director Baz Luhrmann | Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire | in theatres 25 December
Maguire may not be Spiderman this year (that torch has been passed), but here he is in one of the few costume dramas of the year, alongside a spiffy DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby himself. Retelling the Gatsby story yet again (the 1974 Coppola version with Robert Redford is the reigning classic) is am ambitious undertaking, but chances are Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge) is up to the challenge.

11 | Lincoln | Director Steven Spielberg | Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones | in theatres December
Spielberg must be eyeing Oscar with this historical drama, which will follow Lincoln’s life toward the end of slavery and the end of the Civil War. The director calls Lincoln ‘the greatest working President in American history” and has chosen Day-Lewis to represent him, with Sally Field as the Flying Nun, uh, we mean First Lady.

10 | Dorothy of Oz | Director Will Finn | Lea Michele, Hugh Dancy, Martin Short | in theatres 3 August
Dorothy Gale’s back in Kansas, but it must be a little dull there, as she’s decided to go back to Oz to help the friends she left behind. Glee’s Lea Michele voices the heroine, alongside the usual suspects from the original Oz story, plus new characters Dancy as Marshall Mallow, the man made of marshmallows; Short as the Wicked Jester; and the esteemed Patrick Stewart as a tugboard with multiple personalities. Make it float!

9 | Salmon Fishing in the Yemen | Director Lasse Hallstrom | Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt | in theatres 9 March
It sounds just odd enough to be successful – Ewan McGregor plays a fisheries expert approached by consultant Blunt to help a sheik bring the sport of fly-fishing to his desert homeland. Desert. The plot itself is quirky, the messages in the film seem affecting without being pushy, and the trailer showcases the charming dance between McGregor and Blunt’s characters.

8 | Life of Pi | Director Ang Lee | Starring Tobey Maguire, Irrfan Khan, one tiger, one zebra, one hyena, and an orangutan | in theatres 21 December
If you haven’t read the book yet (by Yann Martel), you’ve still got plenty of time before the film hits theatres. And you should, because it’s going to be interesting to see how this unique story – about the son of a zookeeper set adrift in the Pacific Ocean after a shipwreck with several zoo animals on board, including a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker – translates from page to screen.

7 | The Pirates! Band of Misfits | Director Peter Lord | Starring Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, David Tennant, Brendan Gleeson | in theatres 30 March
It’s a plunderful life when you’re a pirate! (Don’t blame us, that’s the tag line…) We’re not sure who we’re looking forward to hearing more – Grant’s plummy tones as the Pirate Captain in this animated feature, or David (Doctor Who) Tennant as the voice of Charles Darwin.

6 | Les Miserables | Director Tom Hooper | Starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe | in theatres 7 December
Although it’s going to be difficult to top Liam Neeson’s intensity as Jean Valjean in the 1998 version of this classic, if anyone can do it, Jackman can. We’re not too sure about Crowe in a musical, in spite of his, erhm, rock band experience, but Hathaway should prove a good foil for Jackman as Fantine, and Helena Bonham Carter’s sure to chew up the scenery delightfully as Madame Thenardier.

5 | Looper | Director Rian Johnson | Starring Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Joseph Gordon-Levitt  |in theatres 28 September
A sci-fi time-travel epic featuring Willis as a hitman (what else?) working for the ‘mob of the future’ twists the plot right around when Willis recognizes one of his targets as himself in the future. To make things even more baffling, doesn’t this sound a lot like the Philip K. Dick-inspired The Adjustment Bureau (2011)? And wasn’t Blunt in that one, too? This could go terrifically and be one of the best popcorn movies of the fall, or it could go the way of Paycheck. Time – ha – will tell.

4 | Gravity | Director Alfonso Cuaron | starring Sandra Bullock, George Clooney | in theatres 21 November
Sandra Bullock could pull a Tom Hanks here, given that this unusual film is most easily compared to Cast Away in space. As a medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, Bullock is thrown into disaster when the shuttle is destroyed during a spacewalk, leaving her and veteran astronaut Clooney tethered to each other – and to nothing else. How are they going to get out of that one?

3 | The Dark Knight Rises | director Christopher Nolan  | starring Christian Bale, Gary Oldman | in theatres 20 July
Bale and Oldman return as Bruce Wayne and the sympathetic Jim Gordon, respectively, in the latest big-budget episode of the Batman saga (which is rumored to be Bale’s last.) Also on board are new characters Bane, played by Tom Hardy, and Catwoman as interpreted by Anne Hathaway; and what would a Batman movie be without Alfred (Michael Caine) and Lucius (Morgan Freeman)?

2 | The Lorax | Director Chris Renaud | Starring (voice) Taylor Swift, Zac Efron, Danny DeVito | in theatres 2 March
Classic Seuss, this is bound to be as cute as a button, especially in a nostalgia sense, for adults who grew up with the Seuss books. And can’t you already hear DeVito grumbling away as the voice of The Lorax?

1 | The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey | director Peter Jackson | starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis | in theatres 14 December
When we heard that Freeman was going to be making the trip from the Restaurant at the End of the Universe to Hobbiton as the youthful Bilbo Baggins, we danced with big-footed glee. Hearing that McKellen and so many others from the Lord of the Rings cast were also returning just put the icing on the Elevensies cake. This should be a box office smash, indeed. – Kristi Kates