The 50 Most Anticipated Movies of 2012: Gangbusters

List: 50-46 | 45-41 | 40-36 | 35-31 | 30-26 | 25-21 | 20-16 | 15-11 | 10-6 | 5-1 | Runner-Ups: 10-6 | 5-1

The hardest part about selecting a lot of these movies is there's really no hard evidence has to how good these movies are. Trailers are hard to come by for movies that are more than four or five months out from release and even then you can't really estimate how good or bad it is. Remember the Terminator Salvation trailer? That was so good and the movie was so bad! Or a seemingly terrible trailer can mask the true greatness of a movie - Red from 2010 is a great example (that trailer made the movie to be some goofy Paul Blart-esque type action/comedy. And that movie was way better than that). So here's the next five movies - all with pretty stellar casts and great directors.

Starring: Ben Johnson, Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively
Director: Oliver Stone
Release Date: September 28
When I first heard about this movie - I was ultimately "meh" on it - it seems like a good story, and I'm sure the book is pretty kick-ass. A couple of pot growers (one an ex-mercenary) rub a Mexican drug cartel the wrong way for moving in on their business. They refuse to back down, the fight escalates when the cartel kidnaps their confidante and shared girlfriend, Ophelia. Ophelia's "abduction sets off a dizzying array of ingenious negotiations and gripping plot twists that will captivate readers eager to learn the costs of freedom and the price of one amazing high." (Amazon). But what spun this story around for me was who is attached to the film. Oliver Stone directs which isn't a huge draw for me, but you know he's a solid director and the film is in good hands. No, it's the cast - not only do you have Mr. Kick-Ass himself, Aaron Johnson, but you got Taylor Kitsch (TIM RIGGINS!), Emile Hirsch, Benicio Del Toro, Uma Thurman, John Travolta and Salma Hayek. The only weak component is Blake Lively. In my mind, she hasn't proven she can act with A-list actors. Sounds like a solid movie - it might move up my list if the trailer is awesome. This could be a surprise hit in the fall, much like The Town was a year ago.

Starring: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis
Director: Jay Roach
Release Date: August 10
I will admit, Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis's comedy bit has run a bit dry as of late. I still think they're funny men - but it's nice to see them branch out from time to time (Everything Must Go and It's Kind of a Funny Story come to mind as solid evidence these two actors are more than just comedy geniuses). But much like Talladega Nights and Step Brothers, this pairing of two eccentric and crazy comedians might just be a match made in heaven. They play dueling southern politicians who are vying for the same seat in Congress. This could turn out to be funny, but people, including me, might be wary of any kind of political comedy come August of next year. But this could be a nice escape from all the doom and gloom of the upcoming campaign season. Who knows? It could go either way and I really hope there's a lot of laughs with this one no matter what political reality we're faced with next year.

Starring: Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Release Date: October 19
After playing the video game L.A. Noire, I wanted to delve deeper into the world of crime and crooked cops and - lo and behold! - along comes the announcement of Gangster Squad. Set in the 40s and 50s, it's a crime drama about the LAPD's fight to keep the East Coast Mafia out of Los Angeles. Ruben Fleischer, the talented director behind Zombieland and 30 Minutes or Less, is tackling unfamiliar territory with this drama. I think he's up for the task and there's a great cast to support him. The white hot Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone pair up again along with Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Nick Nolte, Giovanni Ribisi and Michael Peña. That's a solid cast and I'm expecting nothing less than an instant classic film noire with Stone playing the femme fatale. I've always loved film noire and I certainly can't wait to see how this modern take on the genre shapes up!

Starring: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey
Director: Pete Travis
Release Date: September 21
After the deluge of comic book movies this year, you would think Hollywood would take a break, but nope! There's a handful of reboots and sequels heading our way next year. None of which carry as much baggage as Dredd. Aside from a much-lampooned film version in 1995 starring Sylvester Stallone, Judge Dredd really isn't well-known. This movie has a lot of potential - Karl Urban is pretty bad ass and a good fit for the role, but Juno's friend (Olivia Thirlby) as Dredd's rookie partner? Plus, the film has had a bumpy production - the studio refused to allow Pete Travis, the director, to edit the film citing "creative disagreements." Which is just code for "we hated the movie." So there's still a lot of time before this one comes out (not surprising that they opted out of a summer release). So it sounds like this could be a huge mess. Or this could very well be an amazing superhero film. BTW - the film's plot seems pretty ho-hum: In a violent, futuristic city where the police have the authority to act as judge, jury and executioner, a cop teams with a trainee to take down a gang that deals the reality-altering drug, SLO-MO. But all the drama behind the scenes has me at least intrigued, plus I'm anxious to see how goofy (or good?) that helmet will look throughout the film.

41. Warm Bodies
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, John Malkovich
Director: Jonathan Levine
Release Date: August 10
I am definitely tired of zombies. In fact, I'm pretty much tired of all the supernatural storytelling craze that's exploded in the past five years. But there's always room for quirky and inventive takes on these genres. And Warm Bodies fits that bill. The movie's based on a book where the narrator is a zombie himself. R (as he cannot remember his name) moves through a post-apocolyptic America where he gets high on people's memories after feeding on their brains. After one particular memory, he falls in love with a woman and sets out to save her from his kind. It sounds like this one is filled with a lot of dark humor and who better to take up the director's chair than the guy who directed the cancer comedy 50/50? And you have Nicholas Hoult (Beast from X-Men: First Class) and Teresa Palmer (I Am Number Four, all around hottie) playing the leading roles - they're up and coming actors that I really have enjoyed (if you haven't seen the original British version of Skins, do yourself a favor and watch the first season - Hoult is a standout in that cast). This could be a real winner - I wouldn't be surprised if this is a breakout hit next year.

List: 50-46 | 45-41 | 40-36 | 35-31 | 30-26 | 25-21 | 20-16 | 15-11 | 10-6 | 5-1 | Runner-Ups: 10-6 | 5-1

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