For a movie fan, January is a most exciting month.
All the big Oscar bait releases — like “Zero Dark Thirty,” opening Friday, for example — start arriving in the cities outside New York and Los Angeles.
Here in Utah, and for movie freaks who can afford the trip here, there are the independent delights of the Sundance Film Festival.
And there’s the anticipation that January brings for everyone, of a whole year loaded with promise.
Hollywood likes to load up the year, especially the summer months and the holidays, and tends to throw out the trash in January. That’s why we get movies like “Texas Chainsaw 3D,” which opened last weekend to a sickeningly large box-office haul.
Even a jaded movie critic drools a little bit with anticipation for big movies. Here (in chronological order, and excluding the myriad sequels) are 10 titles I’m looking forward to seeing by the end of 2013:
“Warm Bodies” • Zombies enter the romantic-comedy genre with this comedy about an undead guy (Nicholas Hoult) who starts having feelings for a still-living survivor (Teresa Russell). (Feb. 1)
“The Heat” • Director Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”) puts a female twist on the buddy-cop action movie, casting Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy as combative crimefighters. (April 5)
“The Great Gatsby” • Director Baz Luhrmann’s long-delayed and presumably eye-popping adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel of Jazz Age excess boasts a cast that includes Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Isla Fisher, Joel Edgerton and Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role. (May 10)
“Much Ado About Nothing” • Director Joss Whedon filmed this modern-dress version of Shakespeare’s farce in his own house over 12 days during the post-production break after shooting “The Avengers,” employing many of his familiar acting troupe (with “Angel” alums Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof in the leads). (June 7, limited)
“Man of Steel” • It’s been a long time — “Superman II” in 1981, in fact — since there was a good movie based on DC Comics’ caped superhero. Here’s hoping director Zack Snyder (“300,” “Watchmen”) is up to the task. Henry Cavill plays Clark Kent, but the real draw is the rest of the cast: Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as the Kents, Russell Crowe as Jor-El, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White and Michael Shannon as General Zod. (June 14)
“Pacific Rim” • Guillermo Del Toro shows what promises to be a “Transformers” with brains in which humans create massive robots to battle gargantuan monsters from another planet. (July 12)
“Oldboy” • Spike Lee directs a remake of Park Chan-Wook’s Korean neo-classic, with Josh Brolin as the kidnapping victim out for revenge against his captor. (Oct. 11)
“Elysium” • In the year 2159, the super-rich live on a space station while the 99 percent struggle on what’s left of the Earth in this futuristic tale from director Neill Blomkamp (“District 9”) and starring Matt Damon. (Aug. 9)
“The World’s End” • Director Edgar Wright reteams with his “Shaun of the Dead” pals Simon Pegg and Nick Frost for this apocalyptic comedy about five old friends reuniting for a pub crawl that may determine the fate of the Earth. (Oct. 25)
“Mr. Peabody & Sherman” • As a fan of Jay Ward’s cartoons from way back, I have to hope this live-action/animated update on the famed history-hopping dog and his boy will be good. (Nov. 1)
Sean P. Meanswrites The Cricket in daily blog form at www.sltrib.com/blogs/moviecricket. Follow him on Twitter @moviecricket or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/seanpmeans. Email him at email@example.com.