'Rock of Ages'
Release Date: June 1
Starring: Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise
The Scoop: One of the most popular and acclaimed Broadway musicals in recent memory, "Rock of Ages" tells the story of a couple of small-town dreamers who get caught up in the big-city spotlight -- and it tells that story using the transformative power of '80s rock. That's enough for us, but if you're somehow not sold, the film version of "Rock of Ages" also features a Who's Who of Hollywood stars, including Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Bryan Cranston and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Rock on!
'Snow White and the Huntsman'
Release Date: June 1
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron
The Scoop: What if the classic fairy tale "Snow White" was actually a dark and moody fantasy epic? That's the premise behind "Snow White and the Hunstman," which features "Twilight" superstar Kristen Stewart as the titular heroine and Chris Hemsworth ("Thor") as the huntsman sent to kill her. Oh, and the evil queen? Well, thanks to Charlize Theron, who knows a thing or two about murdering rival chicks (see: her Oscar winning performance in "Monster"), we're pretty much going to be avoiding apples for the rest of our life. One of the most anticipated films of the year.
Release Date: June 8
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson
The Scoop: If it seems like decades since director Ridley Scott last filmed a sci-fi flick, that's because it has been. But since his previous two efforts in the genre happen to be the undisputed classics "Alien" and "Blade Runner," well, chances are the wait was worth it -- especially since "Prometheus," which stars the original "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" Noomi Rapace, looks to be a prequel to the original "Alien." So will lightning strike a third time? "Prometheus" is set to prove that when you play with fire, you're going to get awesome.
'Jack the Giant Killer'
Release Date: June 15
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor
The Scoop: If you think vampires, zombies and robots have all pretty much been exhausted at this point, don't worry, because the next big thing is coming -- literally. Yes, it's giants! "Jack the Giant Killer" stars Nicholas Hoult ("X-Men: First Class") as a regular dude who leads an expedition into the land of giants in order to rescue a princess in a modern mashup of "Twilight" and Jack and the Beanstalk." Stanley Tucci, who is required to be in everything (and be awesome in everything) costars, as does Ewan McGregor and noted non-giant Warwick Davis. No spoilers here, but our money is on Jack.
'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter'
Release Date: June 22
Starring: Benjamin Walker, Rufus Sewell, Dominic Cooper
The Scoop: If you study history closely, you can learn all sorts of fascinating details. For instance, did you know that our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, was actually a noted vampire hunter? Okay, it's not true, but imagining Honest Abe throwing down with Nosferatu is awesome enough that we're more than willing to overlook any (minor) historical inaccuracies. Benjamin Walker ("Flags of Our Fathers") plays Lincoln, who, after his mother is murdered by a vampire, decides to eradicate the creatures -- creatures which also happen to be behind the institution of slavery. Suddenly that whole Civil War thing makes a whole lot more sense.
Release Date: June 22
Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson
The Scoop: Pixar has made a living -- and some undeniably great films -- by turning fish, insects, cars and robots into wonderfully animated main characters, but aside from "The Incredibles," actual humans have been few and far between. That's set to change in a big way when "Brave" hits theaters. Stepping squarely into Disney Princess territory, "Brave" tells the story of a plucky medieval Scottish lass who rebels against the traditional female role forced on her. Unfortunately, her desire for independence may unleash a hideous evil on the world, which means one thing: quest time! We'd pretty much follow Pixar into hell itself, so if they're "brave" enough to make this movie, we're "Brave" enough to watch it.
'G.I. Joe: Retaliation'
Release Date: June 29
Starring: Channing Tatum, Dwayne Johnson, Ray Park
The Scoop: The first "G.I. Joe" wasn't exactly an overwhelming success, but thanks to J.J. Abrams dragging his feet on "Star Trek 2," Paramount suddenly had a giant, blockbuster-sized hole in their 2012 schedule. And who better to call in an emergency than America's most trusted special agents, the folks at "G.I. Joe"? Things look a little bit different this time around -- Channing Tatum returns as lead Joe, but half the cast has been jettisoned in favor of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson -- and expectations are much higher, as "Step Up" and "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" director John M. Chu steps up behind the camera. The forces of evil have no shot.
Release Date: June 29
Starring: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Olivia Munn
The Scoop: Speaking of Channing Tatum, the beefy star is doing double duty on June 29, as "Magic Mike" and "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" go head-to-head at the box office. But they probably don't have quite the same target demographic anyway; "Magic Mike" is the story of a veteran male stripper (that's Tatum -- try not to hyperventilate, ladies) who takes a newbie ("I Am Number Four"s' Alex Pettyfer) under his wing. This one is directed by Steven Soderbergh, who was hoping Tatum could draw on the experiences he gained working a stripper himself as a young man.
'The Amazing Spider-Man'
Release Date: July 3
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans
The Scoop: Considering Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" trilogy is one of the most successful franchises in film history -- and considering it just ended five short, short years ago -- the folks behind this reboot have some pretty big expectations to fill. Luckily, they've got a not-so-secret weapon: Emma Stone, who plays Gwen Stacy opposite spideriffic love interest Peter Parker ("The Social Network" star Andrew Garfield). We're not sure how amazing this "Spider-Man" is going to be, but we're very sure just how amazing Stone is -- and our Awesome-Sense is tingling like crazy.
Release Date: July 13
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane
The Scoop: Seth MacFarlane can pretty much do anything he wants to do inside his Fox animation empire, but it turns out that what the creator of "Family Guy," The Cleveland Show" and "American Dad" really wants to do is direct. Hence "Ted," MacFarlane's directorial debut, which stars Mark Wahlberg as a mostly normal guy with one fairly major quirk: His best friend is his fully sentient childhood teddy bear (voiced by MacFarlane, naturally). That becomes an issue when Wahlberg meets the woman of his dreams (Mila Kunis, aka the woman of everyone's dreams). Sorry, Fox, but it looks like MacFarlane may have just found himself another career.
'The Dark Knight Rises'
Release Date: July 20
Starring: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
The Scoop: When "The Dark Knight" came out in 2008, it became the second highest-grossing film of all time. And the expectations are even higher this time around thanks to a little movie director Christopher Nolan did in his spare time: "Inception." With the "Dark Knight" trilogy and the Christian Bale era both set to come to an end -- and with "Inception" stars Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt cranking up the fan dial -- "The Dark Knight Rises" is poised to become the film event of the summer. We're not sure how you can go higher than the perfection of "The Dark Knight," but if anyone can find a way to rise even further, it's Nolan. We can't wait.
Release Date: July 27
Starring: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill
The Scoop: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill bring the star power and name recognition to this comedy, about a group of bros who form a neighborhood watch to get out of the house and accidentally end up having to save the world. But it's the man behind the camera that has real comedy fans buzzing: Akiva Schaffer. Schaffer, you see, is one third of the "Saturday Night Live" comedy splinter group Lonely Island, and you don't need to be on a boat to know that means major league laughs. His first film, "Hot Rod," wasn't exactly a smash, but with that under his belt, Schaffer is poised to knock "Neighborhood Watch" out of the park. Guess that island won't be lonely for much longer.
'The Bourne Legacy'
Release Date: August 3
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton
The Scoop: Matt Damon may be gone, but his film legacy lives on in the form of "The Bourne Legacy," which examines the world of the "Bourne" series without technically being a straight sequel or prequel. Instead, Jeremy Renner heads a mostly new cast as the spy community and the other castoffs from Project Treadstone wrestle with the aftermath of "The Bourne Ultimatum." Film fans looking for some continuity between films can rest easy, as Joan Allen returns in the role of upper level agent Pamela Landy -- and Tony Gilroy, who wrote the first three films, writes and directs -- but this time around it's Renner, not Damon, who will make the movie sink or swim or kill a guy with its bare hands. Or all three at the same time. Hey, it is a "Bourne" film after all.
Release Date: August 3
Starring: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Bryan Cranston, Jessica Biel, Bill Nighy
The Scoop: Philip K. Dick is dead, alas, but his legacy lives on in the unending stream of sci-fi films adapted from his novels and short stories. And just when you thought there were no more to adapt, Hollywood has started remaking the legendary sci-fi author's earlier films, such as this redo of the 199o hit "Total Recall." While the original was a classic tongue-in-cheek Arnold Schwarzenegger action romp, though, the remake -- which stars Colin Farrell in the Arnold role -- aims to be a much more serious and gritty take on the tale of a man who messes around with his own memory and ends up fighting mutants on Mars as a result.
Release Date: August 10
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, John Malkovich
The Scoop: The summer of Nicholas Hoult continues on August 10 as the star of "Jack the Giant Killer' takes on a menace of a decidedly ... deader variety in "Warm Bodies." Hoult plays a zombie who ends up beginning a relationship with a living girl. What she doesn't know? Well, the fact that he ate her last boyfriend. That will tend to put a damper on things, assuming the whole "zombie" part didn't do that already. So can Hoult do for zombies what R.Pattz did for vampires? If anyone can make the walking dead seem sexy, it's him.
'The Expendables 2'
Release Date: August 17
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Jason Statham, Jet Li, et al.
The Scoop: If you've ever wanted to raid the local rest home, today is the day, because chances are it will be emptied out as everyone heads to the theater to see their peers in action in "The Expendables 2." Okay, we kid. We're actually stoked to see Sly Stallone and his ragtag crew of action film veterans get back on the big screen, especially since Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger are expected to have much bigger roles this time around. Despite the title, this pop culture grouping is quickly becoming irreplaceable.
Release Date: August 17
Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
The Scoop: "ParaNorman" writer-director Chris Butler may not be a familiar name, but fans of animation are certainly familiar with his work as the storyboard artist on films like "Coraline" and "Corpse Bride." Now he's taking that off-kilter aesthetic to new heights, as "ParaNorman" -- which features voicework from the likes of John Goodman, Caesy Affleck and Anna Kendrick -- tells the tale of a kid who uses his ability to speak with the dead to save his town from an ancient curse. Zombie movies: They aren't just for adults any more.
Release Date: September 14
Starring: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman
The Scoop: Director Ben Affleck -- yes, director is his primary credit these days, thanks to "The Town" and "Gone Baby Gone" -- also stars in this amazing true story about the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. Featuring an all-star cast that includes Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Kyle Chandler and more, "Argo" relates how a group of hostages managed to escape by pretending to be the crew of a fake movie invented by the CIA. "Good Night and Good Luck" writer Grant Heslov cowrote the screenplay with Affleck, so yeah, this one pretty much has awesome all over it. Is it too early for 2013 Oscar buzz yet?
Release Date: September 28
Starring: Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively
The Scoop: Based on Don Winslow's bestselling thriller of the same name, "Savages" tells the story of two potheads (Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch) who are blackmailed by Mexican drug lords after their shared girlfriend (Blake Lively) is kidnapped. Naturally, they embark on a mission to save her. And since "Savages" is directed by Oliver Stone, you can pretty much bet the house that all hell is going to break loose -- which may explain why notorious hell-breakers Uma Thurman, John Travolta and Benicio Del Toro are in the cast. It's always interesting when Stone goes to work.
Release Date: October 5
Starring: Winona Ryder, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short
The Scoop: Way, way back in the day -- we're talking the early '80s -- an unknown artist by the name of Tim Burton developed a short film by the name of "Frankenweenie" for his bosses at Disney. And they hated it. Fast-forward over two decades and Burton, who in the interim has become an icon of cinema, finally gets his chance to realize his vision of a feature-length "Frankeweenie" film. Take one part Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" and two parts "The Nightmare Before Christmas," and you'll have the formula for perhaps the most offbeat animated film of the young century. Looks like Burton gets the last laugh this time -- and best of all, we all get to laugh with him.
'The Gangster Squad'
Release Date: October 19
Starring: Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Josh Brolin
The Scoop: When you see the name of director Ruben Fleischer in the credits, you know it's a certain type of black comedy; after all, this is the guy who brought the world "Zombieland" and "30 Minutes or Less." But not so fast, folks, because "The Gangster Squad" has the kind of cast that serious dreams are made of, with Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Nick Nolte and a half dozen other big names powering the story of the cops who cleaned up L.A. in the 1940s. Now that's a gang we'd like to be part of.
'My Mother's Curse'
Release Date: November 2
Starring: Seth Rogen, Barbra Streisand, Adam Scott
The Scoop: Buddy comedies are a dime a dozen, and road movies are just about as cheap. You know what costs a little bit more, though? A buddy road comedy starring Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand. That's right: Rogen and Streisand -- THE Barbra Streisand, mind you -- play a mother and her inventor son who embark on a road trip in a quest to get backing for his latest crazy idea. An idea crazier than Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand costarring in a buddy road trip? Good luck getting funding for that, pal!
Release Date: November 9
Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem
The Scoop: For a while there it looked as though we might never get another James Bond movie, or at least not one while Daniel Craig was still young enough to shake his martini. Luckily all the legal woes that had the franchise stuck in limbo have been cleared up, meaning "Skyfall," Craig's third mission for her Majesty's Secret Service, is a go. And this time around there's a new wrinkle -- or several of them -- as the story focuses on the secret past of Dame Judi Dench's unflappable M. Can Bond save the day again? Unless you're Chicken Little, we're guessing this is one "Skyfall" you can rest easy about.
'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2'
Release Date: November 16
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
The Scoop: Yes, you read that date right: Even though filming on "Breaking Dawn - Part 2" has long since been completed, New Line has decided to sock away some savings for a rainy day by waiting an entire year to release the final installment of "The Twilight Saga." That's basically a form of cruel and unusual punishment for the franchise's billions of fans, but we're guessing that any resentment over the long wait will be erased with one final look into Robert Pattinson's smoldering eyes. And hey, look at the bright side: The delay means you have another whole year to revel in "Twilight" mania. Oh, yeah.
Release Date: October 19
Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
The Scoop: Director Alfonso Cuarón has made some pretty sweet movies -- think "Children of Men," "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" and "Y Tu Mamá También" -- so you'd think he wouldn't have much trouble finding stars to appear in his upcoming sci-fi drama about an astronaut who is trapped in space after an accident. But one star after another came and went through "Gravity's" long development process. Luckily, though, Cuarón's own personal gravity finally captured two bona fide A-listers: George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, who's in the lead role. With that kind of star power, chances are you'll have a hard time staying out of this film's orbit.
'The Silver Linings Playbook'
Release Date: November 21
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Julia Stiles, Robert De Niro, Jennifer Lawrence
The Scoop: Bradley Cooper does the rom-com thing in this adaptation of a novel by Matthew Quick. He and his abs star as Pat Peoples, an ex-teacher who is committed to a mental institution for four years. When he finally emerges, he decides to try and get back together with his former wife, with "The Hunger Games" star Jennifer Lawrence acting as a go-between. And you thought your ex was crazy! David O. Russell ("The Fighter") handles directing duties.
Release Date: December 7
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter
The Scoop: This high-powered adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel of the French Revolution has a lot to live up to, considering the "Les Miserables" musical is one of the most popular and successful shows in history. Director Tom Hooper knows a thing or two about period pieces, though -- you might know his last film, "The King's Speech," or his Emmy-winning miniseries "John Adams" -- and with a cast that includes Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, he certainly has the talent to pull it off.
'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey'
Release Date: December 14
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage
The Scoop: The most unexpected part of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is the fact that we're getting to see the film at all. Hard to believe, but by the time this thing comes out, it will have been nine long years since Peter Jackson finished off "The Lord of the Rings" by winning 11 Oscars and earning enough money to buy a whole herd of miniature giraffes. Legal matters, though, sent "The Hobbit" into limbo for the last decade, which will make it all the sweeter when Martin Freeman finally gets to don his hairy prosthetic feet and embark on J.R.R. Tolkien's legendary quest as Bilbo, the hobbit who had the courage to leave home to find a dragon. About effing time.
'Life of Pi'
Release Date: December 21
Starring: Tobey Maguire, Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Suraj Sharma
The Scoop: First off, before you panic, there's not really any math in "Life of Pi." Pi happens to be the name of an Indian kid who survives a shipwreck only to find himself stranded on an island with a menagerie of weird animals. Based on the novel of the same name by Yann Martel, "Life of Pi" is directed by Ang Lee, who previously won an Oscar for helming "Brokeback Mountain." "Life of Pi" was originally scheduled to debut on December 14, but wisely moved to avoid being steamrolled by "The Hobbit," so adjust your calendar accordingly.
'This Is Forty'
Release Date: December 21
Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jason Segel, Melissa McCarthy
The Scoop: Paul Rudd and his best bro Judd Apatow are back together for another comedy from the Apatow factory, this time with a bit of a twist: Rudd and costar Leslie Mann are reprising their roles from the 2007 film "Knocked Up," with Jason Segel in support this time instead of vice versa. So what can you expect from "This Is Forty"? Well, given the cast and the pedigree, expect more of the patented Apatow humor -- and don't be surprised if a couple of years from now there's another spin-off featuring one of this film's supporting players.
'World War Z'
Release Date: December 21
Starring: Brad Pitt, Matthew Fox, James Badge Dale
The Scoop: There are zombie movies, and then there are zombie movies starring Brad Pitt. Which are you going to go with? Well, if you answered Brad Pitt, then you're in luck, because "World War Z" stars Pitt as a member of the human resistance fighting back in a war against the zombie horde. He's joined in his efforts by Matthew Fox ("Lost") and the always awesome James Badge Dale ("Shame"). And it's not just the talent in front of the camera that deserves a nod; directed by acclaimed filmmaker Marc Forster ("Monster's Ball," "Finding Neverland"), this adaptation of the popular Max Brooks novel was produced by Pitt from a screenplay cowritten by "Babylon 5" creator J. Michael Straczynski. Zombies, you don't stand a chance.
Release Date: December 25
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson
The Scoop: Quentin Tarantino might have killed Hitler in his last movie, but that was pretty much just a warm-up for his most audacious film yet, "Django Unchained," which stars Jamie Foxx as a runaway slave who returns to the plantation to wreak vengeance on those who mistreated him. An all-star lineup of superstars (Leonardo DiCaprio, anyone?) and Tarantino favorites (Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson) round out this revenge fantasia. A Tarantino movie about slavery? That comes out on Christmas day? We're not sure the Internet will be able to handle it.
'The Great Gatsby'
Release Date: December 25
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton
The Scoop: The novel that has been described as the quintessential American story is being adapted for the big screen by a fairly unlikely figure: the unabashed ambassador of all things Australian, Baz Luhrmann. Frankly, though, it's hard to imagine the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic being in better hands, especially with Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan on board in the lead roles. Of course, audience attention may be a bit split -- DiCaprio's collaboration with Quentin Tarantino, "Django Unchained," comes out the same day -- but that's fine, as a Luhrmann-Tarantino double feature is a real Christmas gift.
Release Date: December
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones
The Scoop: There are films with serious pedigrees, and then there's "Lincoln," which exists on a whole different level: The story of America's most beloved and revered figure is being directed by Steven Spielberg, with acting legend Daniel-Day Lewis in the lead role. He's also supported in this adaptation of the Doris Kearns Goodwin book "Team of Rivals" by the stellar Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tommy Lee Jones among many, many others, leaving us with just one question: Is Spielberg also going to adopt a third name for this production? Either way, "Lincoln" is the perfect way to cap off what is shaping up to be a great year of cinema.