directed by Roland Emmerich
The millennium came and went without catastrophe, but unfortunately this means another Roland Emmerich disaster film. In 2012, the director’s latest venture in doomsday cinema, humans are once again faced with the threat of complete obliteration. This time around, the culprit is an ancient Mayan prophecy that predicts the world will end on December 21, 2012. John Cusack stars as a science-fiction writer, and part-time limousine driver, who most likely saves the world near the end of the movie. The film’s trailer makes us yearn for the days of a Cameron Crowe-imagined Cusack, or the fast-talking music enthusiast in High Fidelity. But if you’re a sucker for special effects and predictable endings or thought The Day After Tomorrow was sheer genius, 2012 will surely deliver.

Pirate Radio
directed by Richard Curtis
Pirate Radio, re-released under a new name for American audiences (originally The Boat that Rocked), reminds us why we love the British. Curtis follows up his directorial debut of Love Actually with this comedy about a group of misfits who illegally operate a radio station from a boat during the 1960s. Although we are sure the ensemble cast will take part in the expected cliches of the decade—free love, recreational drug use and political activism—we trust Curtis and his talented cast will leave the audience happily entertained, if not slightly nostalgic. The soundtrack looks great, and the return of Philip Seymour Hoffman to the DJ booth sets Pirate Radio up for a warm reception on opening weekend.

Fantastic Mr. Fox
directed by Wes Anderson
Finally, we can all release a huge sigh of relief: Wes Anderson is back! In Fantastic Mr. Fox, Anderson reinterprets Roald Dahl’s classic book of the same name through the use of stop motion animation. After the poor reception of The Darjeeling Limited and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Anderson’s star has begun to fade, and we hope his best work is not behind him. But you can never underestimate Anderson, and Fantastic Mr. Fox appears to capture the wonder and mischief of the original story. We cannot imagine a better actor to voice Mr. Fox than George Clooney and, because it wouldn’t be an Anderson movie without Bill Murray, listen for his voice as Badger.

The Messenger
directed by Oren Moverman
Oren Moverman’s The Messenger premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and marks his directorial debut. The drama follows two soldiers, played by Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster, as they take on the formidable task of informing family members of war casualties. The heavy material may affect the box office sales, but both Harrelson and Foster have received promising reviews. The Messenger may be a welcome departure from the other movies coming out this week, or it may fall victim to the public’s aversion to Iraq War films. The film opens in New York and L.A.