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Digital Spy's Top 20 Must-Watch Movies for 2012

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In 2011, we've seen Brits sweep the board at the Academy Awards thanks to The King's Speech, and witness the Harry Potter series coming to an emotional close. As the curtain closes on an event-packed 12 months, 2012 promises blockbusters galore and new films from the likes of Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, Peter Jackson and Ridley Scott.

Digital Spy previews the 20 must-watch movies of for the upcoming year.

20. Ted
Mila Kunis
Released: August 3
Why you should see it: Family Guy and American Dad mastermind Seth MacFarlane makes his big-screen debut writing and directing this comedy about a man whose childhood teddy bear comes to life. MacFarlane voices the eponymous 'Ted', while Family Guy's Mila Kunis lines up alongside Mark Wahlberg in the cast. Expect plenty of profanity and risqué humour.

> Mila Kunis joining MacFarlane's Ted

19. The Cabin in the Woods
The Cabin In The Woods
Released: April 13
Why you should see it: Buffy and Angel pair Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard's horror has been on the shelf for an eternity thanks to studio MGM's bankruptcy. It will emerge in all its terrifying glory in 2012, however, with Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Chris Hemsworth and Whedon veteran Amy Acker among the cast.

> Joss Whedon's Cabin in the Woods poster unveiled

18. The Bourne Legacy
Jeremy Renner
Released: August 17
Why you should see it: Can this popular spy franchise survive without the involvement of Matt Damon's Jason Bourne? That question will be answered when Jeremy Renner steps into the role of Aaron Cross, an agent tied to a shady CIA training programme. The leading man certainly has chops, but isn't this a bit too much like making a James Bond movie without 007?

> Jeremy Renner reveals Bourne Legacy plot details

17. The Woman in Black
Daniel Radcliffe in The Woman In Black
Released: February 10
Why you should see it: Daniel Radcliffe steps out of the Harry Potter franchise to play a lawyer who witnesses supernatural events when he is dispatched to a village to attend to a recently deceased client's papers. Switching from fantasy to horror is a smart move for Radcliffe, who seems the best-equipped out of all the Potter graduates to sustain a screen career. The promising early trailers certainly sent a shiver down our spine!

> Daniel Radcliffe in new The Woman in Black poster


16. American Reunion
The happy couple Jim and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan).
Released: April 6
Why you should see it: American Pie returns to the big screen after a slew of cheapo direct-to-DVD offerings. The entire original cast is back to celebrate the 10-year high school reunion, with Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) now proud parents. There will be no respite for Jim though - he'll suffer plenty more embarrassments to rival his infamous pie tryst.

> American Reunion in pictures

15. Gangster Squad
Ryan Gosling
Released: November 9
Why you should see it: This crime thriller takes place in 1940s Los Angeles as the LAPD find themselves at odds with the East Coast mob. Director Ruben Fleischer has assembled an all-star cast featuring Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Nick Nolte, Anthony Mackie and Emma Stone. Certainly ones for fans of Boardwalk Empire and The Untouchables.

> Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone's Gangster Squad set pictures

14. Looper
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Released: September 28
Why you should see it: Rian Johnson put a unique spin on film noir with his debut Brick and impressed with heist comedy The Brothers Bloom, so the director taking on time travel certainly has our interest piqued. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a temporally displaced hitman who recognises that his next target is his future self, played by Bruce Willis.

> Emily Blunt talks Looper

13. Brave
Still from the trailer for 'Brave'
Released: August 17
Why you should see it: Pixar never usually let us down (unless automobiles are involved, ahem), so how could any 2012 preview be complete without the latest offering from the Toy Story masterminds? The Scottish highlands is the setting for this mythical adventure, which sees Kelly Macdonald voice a princess who must undo a curse of her own making.

> Brave: New Pixar movie gets full trailer

12. The Amazing Spider-Man
The Amazing Spider-Man
Released: July 4
Why you should see it: Andrew Garfield swings into action as Marvel's iconic New York superhero. Flashing back to Peter Parker's high school years with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), this blockbuster is looking to inject fresh life into the comic book saga. Will Tobey Maguire be missed? How will Spidey look hurtling past skyscrapers in 3D? All will be answered come next summer.

> The Amazing Spider-Man full coverage


11. The Iron Lady
Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady
Released: January 6
Why you should see it: In what could be this year's answer to The King's Speech, The Iron lady casts Meryl Streep as divisive Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Her terrific performance carries the film and is all but guaranteed an Oscar nomination. But does it have what it takes to sweep aside the competition like last year's Colin Firth drama?

> Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in Iron Lady poster

10. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2
Bella and Edward dance in Twilight: Breaking Dawn
Released: November 16
Why you should see it: In just four years Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series has become a big screen phenomenon and turned Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner into household names. Now that Bella's transformation into vampire is complete, the scene is set for the big finale. Love it or hate it, this will be the movie event of 2012.

> Twilight: Breaking Dawn full coverage

9. Snow White and the Huntsman
Kristen Stewart
Released: June 1
Why you should see it: We weren't totally sold on this until the recent trailer landed, promising a dark take on the old fairytale. Charlize Theron's evil Queen certainly looks to have the edge on Julia Roberts's hammy interpretation, and it'll be great to see Kristen Stewart play outside of her mopey Bella Swan alter-ego.

> Snow White and the Huntsman trailer

8. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Released: December 14
Why you should see it: Peter Jackson's return to Middle Earth nearly didn't happen after studio fall-outs and MGM's bankruptcy. Guillermo del Toro stepped away from the director's chair and Jackson swooped in to save the day. The likes of Andy Serkis, Orlando Bloom and Elijah Wood will return for An Unexpected Journey, the first of two films based on JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit.

> The Hobbit full coverage

7. War Horse
A still from 'War Horse'
Released: January 13
Why you should see it: Steven Spielberg's latest offering tugs at the heartstrings as it sends a horse through the battlefields of World War I. A sweeping epic in every sense, this has the potential to hoover up Oscars and box office cash next year. A Spielberg movie has to be seen at the cinema, and this old school drama is best seen on the biggest screen possible.

> War Horse full coverage


6. The Avengers
The Avengers
Released: April 27
Why you should see it: Marvel's finest Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Hulk unite to stop a world-threatening force in Joss Whedon's blockbuster epic. Comic book fans are eagerly awaiting this team-up, and with the director a superhero geek himself, expectations are sky high for The Avengers. We're hoping for plenty of crackling Whedonesque dialogue to go with the abundant explosions.

> The Avengers full coverage

5. The Hunger Games
Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games
Released: March 23
Why you should see it: In Hollywood's race to find the new Twilight, Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games trilogy is leading the pack. The movie, fronted by Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence, sees a group of kids selected to take part in an annual televised fight to the death. This is Battle Royale for the web generation, and far edgier than anything involving sparkling vampires.

> The Hunger Games full coverage

4. Skyfall
Berenice Marlohe, Daniel Craig and Naomie Harris at the James Bond: Skyfall photocall
Released: October 26
Why you should see it: Daniel Craig's third outing as James Bond will see him face off against Javier Bardem in director Sam Mendes's Skyfall. Old favourite Q is back (in the form of Ben Whishaw), while rumors suggest that Naomie Harris is playing Moneypenny and Ralph Fiennes is a big baddie pulling all the strings. The movie promises a 007 who has his loyalty to M tested, but apart from that we're very much in the dark about Skyfall's story.

> Skyfall full coverage

3. Django Unchained
Jamie Foxx celebrates the release of his new album 'Best Night of My Life' in Las Vegas
Released: December 26
Why you should see it: It seems like an eternity away, but anything from Quentin Tarantino is worth talking about. Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L Jackson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Christoph Waltz star in the director's first Western, about a slave-turned-bounty hunter who sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner. Can next Christmas hurry up, please?

> Django Unchained gets Christmas release

2. Prometheus
Logan Marshall-Green, Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender explore a distant planet.
Released: June 1
Why you should see it: It's an Alien prequel... wait, no it isn't an Alien prequel! Who cares, Prometheus is Ridley Scott back doing science fiction 30 years after Blade Runner! Noomi Rapace leads a group of scientists to a distant planet that may or may not provides a threat to the human race. We're a little spooked out already just thinking about a possible face-hugger encounter.

> Prometheus full coverage

1. The Dark Knight Rises
Bane (Tom Hardy) from 'The Dark Knight Rises'
Released: July 20
Why you should see it: The last of the Christian Bale/Christopher Nolan Batman movies, this promises a monumental showdown between the Dark Knight and Tom Hardy's musclebound villain Bane. Will Bats get his back broken? Will Commissioner Gordon make it out of that hospital bed? Will we ever see Robin? (probably not!). We'll have to wait until the summer to find out! This had to be number one, right?

> The Dark Knight Rises full coverage


Which movies are you looking forward to most in 2012? Leave your comments below!

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