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The Scoop: 2012 Film Previews

James Tyas previews the most hotly tipped film releases of 2012.

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Nouse takes a look at the films set to make a mark in the coming year.

1. Shame
Release Date: January 13th

Following his brilliant 2008 debut, Hunger, Steve McQueen brings us Shame, a portrayal of a life ruled by sex addiction. Following its premiere at last year's London Film Festival, there has been much talk of exceptional performances from Micheal Fassbender and Carey Mulligan as well as a particularly controversial full-frontal scene, making it one of most anticipated films of the year.

2. The Descendants
Release Date: January 27th

The Descendants sees the return of American auteur Alexander Payne (Sideways, About Schmidt) following a seven-year absence. This Hawaii- set family drama, starring George Clooney, has already received Golden Globe nominations for Best Motion Picture and Best Actor indicating further success at the Oscars.

3. The Muppets
Release Date: February 10th

The Muppets' return to the big screen has garnered universal acclaim in the US, receiving a 97% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Co-written and starring Jason Segal, the revitalisation of the franchise looks to be in safe hands. Anyone who watched The Muppet Christmas Carol over the festive period is sure to be eagerly awaiting its release.

4. We Bought a Zoo
Release Date: 23rd March

Based on Benjamin Mee's account of running Dartmoor zoo and starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, We Bought a Zoo looks to be one of the strangest Hollywood films of recent times. It has even led to the very funny parody twitter account @WEBOUGHTAZOO. Cameron Crowe's recent directorial record (Vanilla Sky, Elizabethtown) suggests this may be one to steer clear of, but then again, he did direct Almost Famous.

5. The Dark Knight Rises
Release Date: 20th July

Christopher Nolan's final instalment of his Batman trilogy is possibly the most anticipated film of 2012 featuring Tom Hardy as Bane and Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. In addition Marion Cottillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are also on the cast list but information about their roles remain secret which will see excitement levels reach fever pitch come summer, but following The Prestige, The Dark Knight and Inception you do wonder how long Nolan's peerless run can last.

Release Date: February 3rd

Again a superhero movie, but one at the opposite end of the spectrum, at least in terms of budget, Chronicle is a found- footage format film in which three high school friends gain super powers after discovering a mysterious crater. With a screenplay by Max Landis, son of legendary director John Landis, and an amazing trailer Chronicle looks to be one of the most exciting films of 2012.

7. Prometheus
Release Date: June 1

Ridley Scott returns with Prometheus, a 'sort- of' prequel to Alien. Scott has said that while "Alien felt epic, but this one is Epic," giving some indication of the film's scope. With its $100 million budget and starring man of the moment Michael Fassbender alongside Charlize Theron, Prometheus looks set to be a contender for biggest summer blockbuster.

8. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Release Date: December 14th

The long- awaited prequel to the phenomenally successful Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey looks to be a lighter and more whimsical offering than the three previous films. This might be good for anyone put off the previous films by the dark, portentous atmosphere, which could have seemed at odds with the fact that it was a film about elves and goblins. This cheerier, comic tone, along with the casting of loveable everyman Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, might sway anyone previously impervious to the Lord of the Rings trilogy's charms.

9. Skyfall
Release Date: October 26th

After the tedious Quantum of Solace, 2012 will see the release of the third Daniel Craig bond film. Better known for critically acclaimed, cerebral dramas (American Beauty), the announcement that Sam Mendes was to direct raised a few eyebrows, but is a potentially inspired choice. Javier Bardem has been cast as the villain and as anyone who has seen his performance in No Country For Old Men will attest, he has the potential to be the first truly terrifying bond villain for some time.

10. Young Adult
Young Adult is the fouth film from acclaimed indie director Jason Reitman, but more importantly his second with screenwriter Diablo Cody. The film sees Mavis Gray (Charlize Theron), former school bitch, return to her hometown in hope of rekindling her relationship with her old flame, who happens to be married with a kid on the way. Judging from the trailer, if you are a fan of off-beat comedy dramas such as Reitman's previous films Juno and Up in the Air, chances are you will enjoy this.

11. The Dictator
The Dictator is Sacha Baron Cohen's follow up to 2009's Bruno and tells " the heroic story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed." Cohen plays General Admiral Alladeen, leader of the Republic of Wadiya.Like Cohen's previous outings (Borat, Bruno), you will probably laugh more than you ever have done in a cinema but will forget it soon after. Fun while it lasts though.

12. The Avengers
In recent years superhero movies have dominated the multiplexes and 2012 looks set to be no different. The premise is simple enough: an unexpected enemy emerges who threatens global safety and security and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) head of international peace-keeping agency shield puts together a team of superheroes in order to save the world. Bringing together the stars of Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America means that this film is already a guaranteed success.

13. The Master
The Master sees the return of Paul Thomas Anderson after 2007's incredible There Will Be Blood. Set in the 1950's, the always-brilliant Phillip Seymour Hoffman stars as Lancaster Dodd, a charismatic intellectual who invents a religion called 'The Cause'. But this has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with L. Ron Hubbard and scientology.

14. The Hunger Games
Based on the Suzanne Collins novel of the same name, The Hunger Games is a high concept science fiction drama set in a future where teenagers are randomly chosen by the Capitol to battle each other to the death in high- tech arenas in order to keep the general populace in line. The Hunger Games is already being compared to Twilight due to the central love triangle and the phenomenal success of the books.

15. American Reunion
The most iconic teen movie series is back. The premise is pretty simple: The original class of 1999 return to East Great Falls for their high school reunion. Anyone who loved the first three should be excited.

16. Men In Black III
Men In Black III is probably one of the most surprising upcoming releases of 2012: in its decade long absence there hasn't seemed to be any real demand for another instalment in the series. The third instalment sees Agent J (Will Smith) travel back in time to the 60s. Judging from the trailer and stories of numerous script rewrites, Men In Black III has the potential to be a huge flop but it looks fun all the same.

17. The Great Gatsby
Baz Lurhmann brings one of the most- loved works of American literature to the big screen. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby and Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, the story of jazz- age excess may be timely due to the theme of critisicm of the irresponsible lifestyles of the rich.

18. Django Unchained
Quentin Tarrantino returns this year with Django Unchained. Inglourious Basterds was a semi- return for form for Tarrantino, but it remains to be seen whether he has fully recaptured his verve. Jamie Foxx stars as an escaped slave who teams up with a German bounty hunter to take down the plantation owner who previously held him captive. Tarrantino has never been one to shy away from controversy and that seems to remain unchanged for Django Unchained, which deals with slavery and forced prostitution.

19. Jeff Who Lives At Home
Jeff Who Lives At Home stars Jason Segal and Ed Helms as brothers, one still living at home in his parents' basement, the other struggling with a failed marriage. Directed by Jay and Mark Duplass, part of the vanguard of the 'mumblecore' movement along with directors such as Noah Baumbach and Joe Swanberg, this will appeal to anyone who enjoyed Cyrus and Greenberg.

20. This Is 40
Very little is known about this forthcoming Judd Apatow comedy, apart from the fact it is a sequel to Knocked Up and stars Jason Segal and Paul Rudd. For those reasons alone, it is worth getting excited about.

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