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In the January 1999 issue of Empire, the magazine’s big preview of the year only gives a cursory little box in the corner to The Matrix, one of the defining movies of that decade. And The Phantom Menace dominates it. That’s the problem with all the 2012 previews that have been cluttering the interwebs for the last month – the movies that really blow you away are the ones that come out of nowhere.

I’ve particularly noticed a lack of comedies on the these lists, and I suppose that to be expected when it’s one of the few places that mainstream Hollywood doesn’t always rely on pre-existing properties or franchise building (though it would have been awesome if Zach Galifianakis had shown up at the end of Bridesmaids to hype a 2013 crossover…).

So, here’s a list of films that potentially could be bring an unexpected smile to your face in 2012 between being let down by superheroes.

Have a look at the list below and let us know what you’re looking forward to in the comments section below.

Written by Will Jones from Achingly Chic.

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Carnage

Release date: 3rd February

Our coverage: Trailers / Posters / review

Released February 3rd, Carnage is the one film on this list we’ve actually seen, since it popped up at the LFF and was working the festival circuit for most of last year. Roman Polanski’s latest in a single location four-hander, with Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz and John C Reilly as two New York couples squabbling over a playground scrap between their respective offspring.

Reilly is the only one of the cast known for their comedic chops, but the all four excel trading insults sharper than Wolverine’s claws. It’s a cracking comedy of manners, even if it never quite escapes its theatrical origins.

American Pie: Reunion

Release date: 2nd May

Our coverage: Trailers / Posters

AKA the franchise player – the one comedy that can match your Avengers and Dark Knights and Hobbits in terms of expectations. The whole cast are back on board, though to be fair only Seann William Scott and Alyson Hannigan really had anything better to do (Eugene Levy has actually appeared in all four DTV spin-offs, to his eternal shame). Yeah, it’s a total nostalgia kick, but the trailers have genuinely been quite decent, and as soon as that cover of James’ ‘Laid’ kicks in, you know you’re unashamedly excited.

American Pie: Reunion is set for a May 4th UK release.

Men In Black 3

Release date: 25th May

Our coverage: Trailers / Posters

The other big comedy franchise making a comeback in 2012. Yet where as American Pie: Reunion has hit the 90s nostalgia sweet-spot, MIB seems to have squandered all of its goodwill due to both the utter forgettable-ness of the first sequel and the fact the characters really seem to have fallen off the pop culture landscape.

The time travel plot seems intriguing though, the casting of Josh Brolin as a young Tommy Lee Jones is inspired, and to be honest, as long as Will Smith records another theme song I’m sold.

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