2011 was a bad year for movies, but fortunately 2012 promises to be much better.  I’ve already got about 100 movies on my list of ones I want to see, and that’s just counting films with some sort of release date.  Here’s part one of that list, broken into categories (some wittier than others).  Categories this time include: Adult Drama, Animated, Apatow, Awesome, Bizarre Remake, Can’t Be Real, and Chase.

ADULT DRAMA

Albatross (Jan 13) –  Trailer here.  Haven’t seen Like Crazy yet, but Felicity Jones is supposed to be great.

Being Flynn (Mar 2) – Trailer here.  Seems like I’ve seen the trailer a million times in the past few weeks, so I almost felt obligated to put it on the list.  But it looks like De Niro maybe might have stopped doing whatever it is that he’s done for the past decade.  I’m always in the tank for Paul Dano, and the blog loves Olivia Thirlby.  Plus, Chris Weitz has directed a lot of dreck since American Pie and About a Boy, but there’s always potential for a return to form.

The Deep Blue Sea (Mar 30) – Trailer here, though it is atrocious, so not recommended.  Rachel Weisz is supposed to be fantastic in this adaptation of a play.  Based on the trailer and imdb’s plot description, though, it does seem like a whole lot of nothing happens.  Which is a price I’ve paid before to see a Rachel Weisz film.

Learning to Fly (Mar 30) – If you are looking for reasons to not see this one: it opens in March, is from the director of Beastly and the imdb description is “Two mothers team up to make a difference at a local school.”  But, it does star Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Holly Hunter.  Plus, Ving Rhames apparently plays a principal.

ANIMATED

Brave (Jun 22) – Trailer here.  I can’t stand the discussion topics surrounding the fact that this film is Pixar’s first with a female protagonist.  A good story is a good story is a good story.  And Pixar knows good stories.  Also, Kevin McKidd gets to voice a character using his (presumably) natural accent.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits (Mar 30) – Trailer here.  From Aardman Studios, who do the Wallace and Gromit stuff, so certainly gets the benefit of the doubt.  Great voice cast, including Hugh Grant, Brendan Gleeson, Jeremy Piven, Lenny Henry, and others.  Also, I don’t believe it is in that trailer, but the line that goes: “Some of you are as ugly as a sea cucumber, some of you are closer to being a chair or coat rack than pirate, and some of you are fish I’ve dressed in hats” keeps making me laugh.  Doesn’t take much.

ParaNorman (Aug 17) – Trailer here.  Looks kinda insane.  In a good way.  Plus, John Goodman.

Hotel Transylvania (Sep 21) – Voice talent maybe isn’t the most inspiring in the world (Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Sandler’s SNL crew, Miley Cyrus).  But they had me at: “Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world”.

Frankenweenie (Oct 5) – A Tim Burton joint, so obviously a must-see.  The screenplay was written by frequent collaborator John August, whose blog is highly recommended for people interested in movies.

Wreck-It Ralph (Nov 12) – A brilliant premise (a bad guy from a video games who longs to be a good guy busts out of his game), great voice actors (John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, and Jane Lynch), and directed by a guy who’s done episodes of The Simpsons, The Critic, and Futurama.

APATOW

This is 40 (Dec 21) – Written and directed by the man himself, this is the Knocked Up spinoff starring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann.

The Five Year Engagement (April 27) – Trailer here.  After Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Muppets, I’m so completely in the tank for Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller.  Starring Segel and Emily Blunt, the supporting cast somehow includes Alison Brie and Chris Pratt.  Plus, Rhys Ifans and Jacki Weaver.

AWESOME

Gangster Squad (Oct 19) – I dare you to find something not awesome about this movie.  It is about the LAPD taking on the mafia in the 40s and 50s.  The cast includes Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Nick Nolte, Anthony Mackie, and Emma freakin’ Stone.  It is directed by the guy who did Zombieland and written by a writer for Castle.

Looper (Sep 28) – This one is about a time traveling hit man.  It is from Rian Johnson (Brick), and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, and Bruce Willis, with a supporting cast that includes Paul Dano, Jeff Daniels, and Mahandra from Wonderfalls.  I couldn’t ask much more from a movie.

Seven Psychopaths (TBD) – Doesn’t have a release date, but was too awesome not include.  From the guy who did In Bruges, this one also stars Colin Farrell, plus Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, and Christopher Walken.

BIZARRE REMAKES

21 Jump Street (Mar 16) – Trailer here.  Call me crazy, but I kinda liked the trailer.  Plus, the script was co-written by one of the guys who wrote Scott Pilgrim.  And the love interests are Ellie Kemper and Brie Larson.

The Three Stooges (Apr 13) – Trailer here.  I also smiled at this trailer, so it is entirely possible I’m an idiot.  Still, the Farrelly brothers were born to write a Three Stooges movie, don’t you think?

Dark Shadows (May 11) – Of course Tim Burton would remake a gothic horor TV show that ran for five seasons in the 60s.  The cast, though, is SO Tim Burton (Depp and Bonharm Carter, of course, with Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloe Moretz, Jackie Earle Haley, and Christopher Lee).

CAN’T BE REAL

Ted (Jul 13) – Seth MacFarlane co-wrote and directed this film about a guy whose teddy bear comes to life.  Yup.  And it stars Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis.  And Joel McHale is in it.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (Feb 17) – Trailer here.  Sure, it is from the guys who did Crank.  Of course, they also did Crank 2Gamer, and Jonah Hex.  Also, I don’t think a single person wanted this sequel, even if it does have both Idris Elba and Ciaran Hinds.  And it was roundly booed by comic fans at its first showing, so…who was this movie for, exactly?

The Raven (Mar 9) – Trailer here. I don’t know why it had to be Edgar Allen Poe turning into a detective trying to track down a killer borrowing from his stories.  But I’m glad it exists and that John Cusack is Poe.  And that Brendan Gleeson and Alice Eve co-star.

47 Ronin (Nov 21) – So you’ve got a story about 18th century samurai.  Who do you cast as the lead?  Duh, Keanu Reeves.  And who do you get to write the screenplay?  Duh, Oscar-nominated screenwriter Hossein Amini AND the guy who wrote Cellular and three of the Fast and the Furious sequels.

CHASE

 Premium Rush (Aug 24) – Trailer here.  A dirty cop chasing a bike messenger may not sound like the most exciting thing in the world, but when the two are played by Michael Shannon and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, things change a little bit.  Plus, David Koepp knows his way around a big, broad action script.

Outrun (Aug 24) – Stupid Dax Shepard plays a stupid former getaway driver with the stupid name of Charlie Bronson who goes into Witness Protection because he is stupid and then the bad guys find him.  No, I’m not still bitter that he’s with Kristen Bell.  Who is also in the movie, along with Kristin Chenoweth, which makes me happy on multiple levels.  Bradley Cooper is also in the film, as is Ryan Hansen.

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