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The 30 Most Anticipated Movies of 2012

January 25, 2012  |  10:46am

First, a clarification: When we say “most anticipated,” we mean by us. So no teenage vampire sequels here, though you will find a zombie love story along with new films from the Dardenne brothers, the Duplass brothers and the Coen brothers. Plus Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson, David Cronenberg, Ridley Scott, Joss Whedon, Christopher Nolan, Peter Jackson and Alfonso Cuarón.

Here are the 30 movies we’re most looking forward to in 2012.

1. The Kid with a Bike
Release Date: March 16
Director: Jean-Pierra Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Starring: Thomas Doret, Cécile De France, Jérémie Renier
Why we can’t wait: The Dardenne brothers aren’t exactly household names in the States, but we listed them at #12 on the list of the Best Living Filmmakers and called their 2005 film The Child one of the 50 Best Films of the Decade.

2. Jeff Who Lives at Home
Release Date: March 16
Director: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass
Starring: Jason Segal, Judy Greer, Susan Sarandon, Ed Helms, Katie Aselton
Why we can’t wait: The Duplass brothers got their start in the mumblecore scene with The Puffy Chair and Baghead before the uncomfortably funny Cyrus garnered a wider audience.

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3. The Hunger Games
Release Date: March 23
Director: Gary Ross
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson
Why we can’t wait: A gripping book that begged for a film adaptation. T Bone Burnett and Danny Elfman did the score. And my teenager daughter and I already have a date planned for March 23.

4. Blue Like Jazz
Release Date: April 13
Director: Steve Taylor
Starring: Marshall Allman, Claire Holt, Jason Marsden, Tania Raymonde
Why we can’t wait: Another book we loved, Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz was a funny, warm autobiographical account of a guy trying to come to terms with the worst aspects of his faith and to live a life outside of its safe boundaries.

5. The Avengers
Release Date: May 4
Director: Joss Whedon
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth
Why we can’t wait: Remember that awful Joss Whedon project? Us neither. (The first few episodes of Dollhouse don’t count. It got really good by the end.)

6. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Release Date: May 4
Director: John Madden
Starring: Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson
Why we can’t wait: The director of Shakespeare in Love and Proof has a clever concept—an elderly couple “outsourcing” their retirement to India—and a solid cast.

7. Moonrise Kingdom
Release Date: May 16
Director: Wes Anderson
Starring: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Frances McDormand, Harvey Keitel
Why we can’t wait: Because it’s a new Wes Anderson movie, and this is the trailer.

8. The Dictator
Release Date: May 11
Director: Larry Charles
Starring: Sascha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris, Megan Fox, Ben Kingsley, John C. Reilly
Why we can’t wait: The team that gave us Borat returns with “The heroic story of a dictator who risks his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed.”

9. Prometheus
Release Date: June 8
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce
Why we can’t wait: The director of Alien and Blade Runner returns to his sci-fi beginnings. Plus, Stringer Bell.

10. Brave
Release Date: June 22
Director: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman
Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, Kevin McKidd
Why we can’t wait: Pixar doesn’t make bad movies, and it rarely makes merely good ones.

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