10 movies we can't wait to see in 2012

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From the January 5, 2012 edition

I’m already looking forward to warmer months. Not just because of the weather.

We’re entering the traditional January-April dumping ground for bad movies (key exceptions being late rollout on Oscar bait like “The Artist”).

So let’s look forward to the bright spots. Here are 10 movies we can’t wait for in 2012.

“Haywire” (Jan. 20)

The bright spot in winter may be Steven Soderbergh’s pulpy action flick about a female special ops agent who’s out for revenge. He cast MMA fighter (and ex-American Gladiator) Gina Carano for added realism in the fight sequences.

“The Hunger Games” (March 23)

Wildly popular young-adult book series becomes (hopefully) wildly popular movie series. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

“The Avengers” (May 4)

Marvel’s superhero team finally joins forces after years of teasing, but perhaps most exciting is the fact that nerd royalty Joss Whedon is directing.

“The Dictator” (May 11)

Sacha Baron Cohen may have run out of characters from “Da Ali G Show,” but he returns with a new character — a deposed dictator who seems a lot like some of his old characters.

“Prometheus” (June 8)

What was rumored to be Ridley Scott’s prequel to “Alien” apparently isn’t exactly that. Whatever it is, it looks badass.

“G.I. Joe: Retaliation” (June 19)

Fool me once, shame on me, but I’m suckered in by the trailer for this one. The first “Joe” movie was an overstuffed mess, but some streamlining could make for great summer action fare.

“The Dark Knight Rises” (July 20)

Um, duh. Christopher Nolan made superhero movies all grown-up with his trilogy. Most anticipated movie of the year. Bane!

“Total Recall” (Aug. 3)

Yeah, they remade it, and yeah, it’s probably unnecessary. But the crazy Philip K. Dick tale is juicy sci-fi, and Colin Farrell is a jarring enough switch from Schwarzenegger.

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” (Dec. 14)

Peter Jackson returns to adapt J.R.R. Tolkien’s predecessor to the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Oh, and it was shot in 3D, so expect the best use since “Avatar.”

“Django Unchained” (Dec. 25)

As far as I’m concerned, any new Quentin Tarantino film is cause for celebration. This spaghetti-western-style tale of a slave’s revenge in the Deep South is already on my Christmas list.