Your movie checklist and hottest 50 to see


An asterisk denotes a top 50 film. 


* Life of Pi (now showing) Ang Lee brings to life Yann Martel's novel about a shipwreck survivor adrift for 200 days with a Bengal tiger.

* Jack Reacher (now showing) Tom Cruise shoot-'em-up.

* Gangster Squad (January 10) Cops in 1950s LA bend the law to beat the mob. Stars Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Nick Nolte and Sean Penn.

* Hitchcock (January 10) Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren play Alfred Hitchcock and his wife Alma Reville during the filming of Psycho in 1959.

ParaNorman (January 10) Spooky 3D stop-motion animation for kids.

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (January 17) Anthony Hopkins, Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin and Naomi Watts star in Woody Allen's romantic drama set in London.

This Is 40 (January 17) This "sort-of" sequel to Knocked Up from Judd Apatow has Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann (Apatow's real-life wife) wondering what's next in life after turning 40.

* Django Unchained (January 24) Quentin Tarantino's pulpy blaxploitation western stars Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz.

The Guilt Trip (January 24) Mother-and-son road-trip comedy with Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen.

The Impossible (January 24) Tourists Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts brave the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

Flight (January 31) Pilot Denzel Washington averts an air disaster but is he a hero or to blame?

* Silver Linings Playbook (January 31) David O. Russell (The Fighter) comedy-drama about a bipolar ex-teacher (The Hangover's Bradley Cooper) who moves back in with his parents (Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver).

* Zero Dark Thirty (January 31) Director Kathryn Bigelow and her Hurt Locker screenwriter Mark Boal recount the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Oscar contender.


* Lincoln (February 7) Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln. Steven Spielberg directing. Just add Oscars.

* Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (February 7) This ain't your grandma's fairytale as Jeremy Renner (The Avengers) and Gemma Arterton (Clash of the Titans) slay witches in 3D.

Safe Haven (February 7) Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook, Dear John) romance about a small-town widower (Josh Duhamel) with two young children.

The Sweeney (February 14) Remake of 1970s London cop show with Ray Winstone and Homeland's Damian Lewis.

Anna Karenina (February 14) Pride & Prejudice director Joe Wright tackles Tolstoy's epic romance with Keira Knightley and Jude Law.

Beautiful Creatures (February 21) Southern Gothic mystery starring Emma Thompson and Jeremy Irons.

I Give It a Year (February 21) Rom-com with Rose Byrne and Simon Baker.

Cloud Atlas (February 21) The Matrix makers have Tom Hanks play multiple roles in this time-warp puzzle.

The Last Stand (February 21) Border-town sheriff Arnold Schwarzenegger tries to stop a drug boss escaping to Mexico. Johnny Knoxville provides comic relief.

Save Your Legs! (February 28) Mates in a suburban cricket team tour India on a mission to meet Sachin Tendulkar. Stars Stephen Curry and Brendan Cowell.

Playing for Keeps (February 28) Rom-com with Gerard Butler's divorced ex-soccer star coaching his son's team, much to the delight of the soccer mums. Also stars Jessica Biel, Uma Thurman and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

* The Paperboy (February 28) Nicole Kidman's wild "death-row groupie" in 1960s Florida writes love letters to jail inmates.


Great Expectations (March 7) Mike Newell does Charles Dickens, with Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham.

Broken City (March 7) New York conspiracy drama with Russell Crowe and Mark Wahlberg.

Side Effects (March 7) Director Steven Soderbergh re-teams with Magic Mike star Channing Tatum for this psycho-drama about a young wife's chaotic reactions to a new anxiety medication. Also stars Rooney Mara.

Oz: The Great and Powerful (March 7) Sam Raimi (Spider-Man) directs this 3D Wizard of Oz prequel about a circus magician (James Franco) who lands in Oz, where he's caught between two witches (Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz).

Carrie (March 14) Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don't Cry) directs this remake of Brian de Palma's 1976 horror classic. Stars Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass).

* The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (March 14) Rival magicians Jim Carrey, Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi compete on the Las Vegas strip.

Parker (March 14) When thief Jason Statham (The Transporter, Crank) is double-crossed by his gang, J-Lo helps him hijack their latest heist.

Deadfall (March 14) Eric Bana crime thriller.

Jack the Giant Slayer (March 21) Bryan Singer (X-Men) retells Jack and the Beanstalk with CGI.

About Time (March 21) Time-warp rom-com from Love Actually writer-director Richard Curtis. Stars Rachel McAdams.

* A Good Day to Die Hard (March 21) Bruce Willis is back as wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time ex-cop John McClane. For Die Hard 5, he's in Moscow to help his wayward son (played by Aussie Jai Courtney).

* Stoker (March 28) Creepy thriller starring Aussie Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) as young India Stoker, whose uncle (Matthew Goode) moves in after her father dies. What dark designs does he have on India and her mother (Nicole Kidman)?

G.I. Joe: Retaliation (March 28) Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis join Channing Tatum in the sequel (retrofitted with 3D) to 2009's toy-inspired action flick.

The Croods (March 28) DreamWorks animation about a prehistoric family man named Grug (voiced by Nicolas Cage).

The Company You Keep (March 28) Conspiracy thriller directed by star Robert Redford.

Hyde Park on Hudson (March 28) Bill Murray plays Franklin D. Roosevelt.


The Heat (April 4) Buddy cop comedy with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy.

* Oblivion (April 11) TRON: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski's sci-fi stars Tom Cruise as a drone repairman stationed on an Earth ravaged by war with aliens. A woman in a downed spacecraft challenges his beliefs about the war.

* Warm Bodies (April 11) Zombie rom-com with Nicholas Hoult and Aussie Teresa Palmer.

Scary Movie 5 (April 11) Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan have cameos.

* Bullet to the Head (April 18) Revenge never gets old for hitman Sylvester Stallone. Directed by Walter Hill (48 Hrs.).

* Iron Man 3 (April 25) Robert Downey jnr's armoured Avenger tackles two villains – Guy Pearce and Ben Kingsley. Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) takes over as director.


Evil Dead (May 2) Gory remake – produced by original filmmakers Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Bruce Campbell – of the 1981 horror.

Identity Thief (May 2) Con artist Melissa McCarthy makes Jason Bateman's life hell.

Welcome to the Punch (May 9) London crime drama with James McAvoy and Mark Strong.

The Place beyond the Pines (May 9) Cop (Bradley Cooper) and robber (Ryan Gosling) drama.

* The Big Wedding (May 9) Long-divorced couple Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton pretend to be married for a family wedding.

* Star Trek into Darkness (May 16) Writer-director J.J. Abrams' sequel to his hit 2009 Star Trek reboot has Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) on villain duties.

* The Hangover Part III (May 23) Bradley Cooper and the Wolfpack on a road trip.

* The Great Gatsby (May 30) Baz Luhrmann's re-do of the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel promises lush and lavish 3D visuals. Stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan.


* The Fast and the Furious 6 Speed demons Vin Diesel and Paul Walker burn rubber through London.

* After Earth M. Night Shyamalan sci-fi with Will and Jaden Smith (The Pursuit of Happyness) as a father and son who crash-land on an abandoned planet.

* Now You See MeOcean's Eleven meets The Prestige as a gang of magicians stage bank heists. Stars Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine.

Epic 3D animated forest adventure from Ice Age director Chris Wedge.

* Jobs Ashton Kutcher plays Apple icon Steve Jobs.

* Monsters University Pixar's prequel to Monsters, Inc. takes Sulley (voiced again by John Goodman) and Mike (Billy Crystal) back to their student days.

* World War Z Brad Pitt versus the zombie apocalypse.

* Man of Steel Look, up on the screen, it's "Superman begins", a reboot directed by Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen, Sucker Punch). Henry Cavill dons the blue tights as Superman/Clark Kent.

* Despicable Me 2 Steve Carell's grumpy Gru returns with his little yellow minions. Al Pacino voices the villain – his animated debut.

White House Down Secret Service agent Channing Tatum rescues the US president.

* The Internship Retrenched mates in their 40s take internships at a dotcom run by twentysomethings. Stars Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell.


* The Lone Ranger Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean) directs and Armie Hammer (The Social Network) is the titular masked cowboy. Did we mention that Johnny Depp plays Tonto?

* Pacific Rim It's a giant robots movie not directed by Michael Bay! Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) pits giant robots piloted by humans against Godzilla-sized alien monsters. Stars Idris Elba, from TV's The Wire and Luther.

* The Wolverine Let's just pretend that lacklustre spin-off X-Men Origins: Wolverine never happened, OK? Hugh Jackman returns as the steel-clawed mutant superhero who goes to samurai school in Japan.


* Red 2 Retired spies Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren get the band back together.

* This Is the End The apocalypse crashes James Franco's party. His guests include Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Danny McBride and Michael Cera.

300: Rise of an Empire Aussie Sullivan Stapleton is the ancient Greek warrior Themistocles.

* Kick-Ass 2 Jim Carrey joins the DIY superhero teens as a nutty military type called Colonel Stars and Stripes. And, yes, Chloe Grace Moretz is back as potty-mouthed crim-slayer Hit-Girl.

* Elysium Neill Blomkamp's follow-up to District 9 is another sci-fi tale of class warfare. The year is 2159 and while the rich live on an orbiting space colony, the rest struggle to survive on a ruined planet Earth. Matt Damon is the hero. Jodie Foster is the villain.

We're the Millers Jennifer Aniston comedy about a pot dealer's fake family.

* Pain & Gain A dark comedy by Michael Bay (Bad Boys, Transformers) based on the true story of bodybuilders (Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson) whose kidnap and extortion plot goes horribly wrong. Also stars Aussie Rebel Wilson.

I'm So Excited Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas have cameos in Spanish director Pedro Almodovar's comedy about passengers on a plane who, fearing it will crash, confess their secrets.


Prisoners Cop Jake Gyllenhaal tries to stop desperate family man Hugh Jackman taking the law into his own hands.

* R.I.P.D. A slain cop (Ryan Reynolds) joins a squad of undead police officers – the Rest in Peace Department – to find the man who murdered him. Based on a graphic novel.

* The Tomb Prison escape action with Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Smurfs 2 Neil Patrick Harris works blue again.

Turbo DreamWorks animation about a speedy snail.

Insidious Chapter 2 Sequel to the horror chiller.

Runner, Runner Crime drama with Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake.

Rush Ron Howard directs Daniel Bruhl (Inglourious Basterds) as formula one champ Niki Lauda. Chris Hemsworth plays his racing rival James Hunt. The script is by Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon and The Queen). Oscars, anyone?


Captain Phillips With Tom Hanks in the title role, Paul Greengrass (United 93, The Bourne Ultimatum) directs a fact-based drama about a US cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates.

* Gravity Astronauts Sandra Bullock and George Clooney float through space, tethered together by a shared oxygen tube, after their shuttle is destroyed. Written and directed by Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban).

* Sin City: A Dame to Kill for Eight years later, Robert Rodriguez returns to Frank Miller's Sin City comics. Mickey Rourke is back for more hard-boiled action, as are Clive Owen, Jessica Alba and Rosario Dawson.

* Oldboy Spike Lee remakes the Korean puzzler about a man (Josh Brolin) locked up for 15 years for reasons he's hell-bent on uncovering when he's released.

* Malavita Mafia clan relocates to France under witness protection. Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer star. Luc Besson directs.

* The World's End Simon Pegg and Nick Frost re-team with writer-director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) for this comedy about five friends recreating their epic pub crawl of 20 years ago when they discover they are humanity's last hope.


Diana Naomi Watts plays the people's princess.

* Ender's Game Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield (Hugo), Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) and Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) star in this adaptation of the Orson Scott Card sci-fi novel about children recruited to defend Earth against alien invaders.

* Thor: The Dark World Alan Taylor (TV's Game of Thrones) directs as Chris Hemsworth's God of Thunder battles Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who).

Frozen Disney's animated musical based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) directs this sequel.


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Part two of Peter Jackson's Bilbo Baggins trilogy.

* Jack Ryan Chris Pine (Star Trek) plays the young CIA operative in this reboot of the Tom Clancy thriller franchise.

* The Muppets 2 Ricky Gervais and Modern Family's Ty Burrell join Kermit and the gang.

* Anchorman: The Legend Continues Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy returns with the Channel Five news crew, including Steve Carell's Brick Tamland.

Note: Release dates are subject to change. Exact release dates are given up to May only.

This story Your movie checklist and hottest 50 to see first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.