The dinosaurs will be back, and we're not talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis, who are returning to the big screen.
No, "Jurassic Park" is getting the 3-D treatment and so is "Top Gun." A fifth "Die Hard" installment, with the cop who has a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, will arrive on Valentine's Day.
Fairy tales and fantastical settings will carry us aloft through the winter, just as a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics is transported from dusty Kansas to the Land of Oz. James Franco stars in "Oz the Great and Powerful," arriving in theaters March 8.
Last year brought "Safe House," an action thriller with Denzel Washington, while this year will deliver "Safe Haven," based on a Nicholas Sparks novel.
"The Hunger Games" won't be back till Thanksgiving, but another movie based on a young adult series will launch with "Beautiful Creatures," and novelist Stephenie Meyer has wrapped up "Twilight," but another of her books, "The Host," has been turned into a movie.
For the first time in months, there is no big studio movie filmed in Pittsburgh and scheduled to open in theaters. But some highly anticipated movies, such as "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Amour," will finally arrive along with the documentaries "Central Park Five," "West of Memphis" and "The Gatekeepers."
As always, dates are subject to change and some titles will be bumped or disappear and others will be added before "Iron Man 3" ushers in the summer movie season May 3.
"Gangster Squad": Once scheduled to debut in September, this movie was shifted after scenes with gangsters firing into a crowded theater seemed insensitive in light of the Colorado shootings in July. Based on a Los Angeles Times series about attempts to keep East Coast mobsters out of LA in the 1940s and '50s, the impressive ensemble features Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Sean Penn and Emma Stone, among others.
"Zero Dark Thirty": Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal, the Oscar-winning director and writer of "The Hurt Locker," reunite on this action thriller about the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. With Jessica Chastain, a sure Oscar bet as an obsessed CIA operative.
"A Haunted House": Spoof of found-footage horror movies co-written and starring Marlon Wayans along with Essence Atkins, David Koechner and Nick Swardson.
"Any Day Now": When a teenager with Down syndrome is abandoned by his mother in the 1970s, a gay couple welcome him into their home and hearts. But when the unconventional living arrangement is discovered by authorities, the men are forced to fight the legal system in this movie inspired by a true story.
"Brooklyn Castle": Documentary about five members of the chess team at a below-the-poverty-line junior high school that has won more national championships than any other in the country. Their biggest obstacle may not come from competitors but budget cuts to all extracurricular activities at their school.
"Broken City": Crime thriller starring Mark Wahlberg as a former New York City cop seeking redemption and revenge after being double-crossed and framed by the mayor. Russell Crowe is the politician, and Catherine Zeta-Jones plays his wife.
"Mama": Supernatural thriller about two little girls who disappeared into the woods the day their parents were killed. When they are rescued years later and begin a new life, they find that someone or something still wants to come tuck them in at night. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays their uncle and Jessica Chastain, his girlfriend.
"The Last Stand": Arnold Schwarzenegger makes his return to the big screen (in a starring role) in Korean director Kim Jee-woon's American directorial debut. Here, he's a sheriff who traded LA for a sleepy border town where a drug kingpin happens to escape from an FBI prisoner convoy.
"A Late Quartet": Members of a world-famous string quartet struggle to stay together in the face of death, competing egos and insuppressible lust in this movie starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener and Christopher Walken.
"Movie 43": Ensemble comedy with intertwined story lines, a dozen directors (including Pittsburgh native Rusty Cundieff) and 27 name actors, with such luminaries as Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Emma Stone and Kate Winslet.
"Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters": If you thought Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx were unlikely bounty hunters, just wait until you meet these title characters, played by Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton.
"Quartet": When the fourth and most famous member of a onetime quartet checks into a retirement home where her former husband and colleagues live, grievances and rivalries return. Dustin Hoffman directs a cast led by Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, Tom Courtenay and Pauline Collins in this adaptation of Ronald Harwood's play.
"Central Park Five": Documentary exploring how five black and Latino teenagers were wrongly convicted of raping the Central Park jogger and how a rush to judgment by the police, media clamoring for sensational stories and an outraged public contributed to that miscarriage of justice. The jogger was Trisha Meili, a graduate of Upper St. Clair High School who was 28 when savagely attacked in 1989.
"Warm Bodies": Zomromcom -- zombie romantic comedy -- about a zombie who rescues a young woman and seems to become increasingly human as they bond and struggle for survival. Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer play the couple in this twist on a classic love story.
"Stand Up Guys": Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin are retired gangsters (Mr. Pacino's character just got out of prison after serving 28 years for refusing to give up a close criminal associate) who reunite for one epic last night.
"Bullet to the Head": Walter Hill directs an action thriller based on the graphic novel "Du Plomb Dans La Tete," about a New Orleans hitman (Sylvester Stallone) and a Washington, D.C., cop (Sung Kang) who form an alliance to bring down the killers of their respective partners.
Oscar-nominated shorts: As it has in the past, Pittsburgh Filmmakers will bring the Oscar-nominated shorts in the animated and live action categories to town in time for office and party pools. The names of those nominees and all others will be revealed this morning.
"Identity Thief": The name and credit line belong to an accounts rep (Jason Bateman), but a woman (Melissa McCarthy) living on the outskirts of Miami is happy to steal his identity. He attempts to bribe, coax or wrangle her the 2,000 miles to Denver in this comedy directed by Seth Gordon, who made "Horrible Bosses."
"Side Effects": Rooney Mara looks nothing like "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" as she's caught up again in a case of murder (and suspect pharmaceuticals) in a Steven Soderbergh thriller also starring Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Channing Tatum.
"Top Gun 3D": Now you can really feel -- and see -- the need for speed. The 1986 Tom Cruise blockbuster has been remastered and converted to 3-D and is headed back to theaters, including IMAX for a limited time. The story of an elite group of pilots competing to be the best in their class also stars Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards and Meg Ryan.
"Beautiful Creatures": When "The Hunger Games" opened in March, stories asking about the next young adult novel to spawn a successful franchise mentioned this novel, first in a series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. In a small South Carolina town, where it seems little has changed since the Civil War, a 16-year-old boy is drawn to a new classmate with whom he shares a psychic connection and whose family hides a dark secret that may be revealed on her 16th birthday.
"A Good Day to Die Hard": Twenty-five years after starring in the first "Die Hard," released in July 1988 despite its Christmas backdrop, Bruce Willis is back. For the first time, though, he finds himself on foreign soil after traveling to Moscow to help his wayward son, unaware he's really a CIA operative on a mission.
"Safe Haven": Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough star in an adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel about a mysterious newcomer to a small North Carolina town who slowly puts down roots and starts a relationship with a widowed store owner with two young children. But dark secrets spell terror in this romantic thriller directed by Lasse Hallstrom.
"Escape From Planet Earth": 3-D animated family comedy, set on a planet called Baab where astronaut Scorch Supernova (voice of Brendan Fraser) is a national hero to the blue alien population. When an SOS is sent from a notoriously dangerous planet, Scorch rejects the warnings of his nerdy brother and falls into a trap. Other voices include Rob Corddry, Jessica Alba, William Shatner and Sarah Jessica Parker.
"Amour": The lives of a couple in their 80s, both cultivated retired music teachers, are changed and tested when she suffers a stroke. The National Society of Film Critics recently named this end-of-life drama best picture and singled out director Michael Haneke and actress Emmanuelle Riva for honors, too.
"Snitch": Action thriller with Dwayne Johnson as a father whose teenage son is facing a decade in prison for a drug crime he didn't commit. To save his son, the dad cuts a deal to work as an undercover informant and infiltrate a drug cartel, putting his life and family at risk. He stars alongside Susan Sarandon, Benjamin Bratt and Barry Pepper.
"Dark Skies": From the producer of a string of movies about creepy goings-on -- "Paranormal Activity," "Insidious" and "Sinister" -- comes another twist on the theme of a young suburban family under attack from ... aliens, apparently, who have a boy targeted for abduction. Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton star.
"Jack the Giant Slayer": An ancient war is reignited when a young farmhand (Nicholas Hoult) unwittingly opens a gateway between his world and a fearsome race of giants who want to reclaim the land they lost. Cast also counts Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane, Bill Nighy and Ewan McGregor.
"The Last Exorcism Part II": Picking up where the 2010 movie left off, Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell) is found terrified and alone in rural Louisiana. Back in the relative safety of New Orleans, she realizes she cannot remember entire portions of the previous months, only that she is the last surviving member of her family and evil is still haunting her.
"21 and Over": What was supposed to be one beer for a straight-A college student with a critical medical school interview looming turns into a night of chaos, overindulgence and debauchery thanks to a pair of visiting pals. Gee, that would never happen in real life.
"Stoker": "Oldboy" director Park Chan-wook directs this thriller starring Mia Wasikowska as a young woman whose father dies in an auto accident. An uncle (Matthew Goode) she never knew existed comes to live with her and her emotionally unstable mother (Nicole Kidman) in this movie written by actor Wentworth Miller, a 1990 graduate of Quaker Valley High School.
"The Sweeney": Big-screen adaptation of a popular British TV police drama starring Ray Winstone, Damian Lewis, Hayley Atwell and Ben Drew.
"Oz the Great and Powerful": When a small-time magician, Oscar Diggs (James Franco), pulls one flimflam too many, he is hurtled into the Land of Oz where he must somehow transform himself into a great wizard and perhaps a better man, too. He meets not two but three witches played by Mila Kunis as Theodora, Rachel Weisz as Evanora and Michelle Williams as Glinda in this fantasy adventure.
"Admission": Paul Weitz ("About a Boy") directs Tina Fey and Paul Rudd in a movie about the surprising detours encountered on the road to happiness. She's a straight-laced Princeton University admissions officer who is caught off guard during a recruiting visit to an alternative high school where she meets a gifted, unconventional student who might be the child she surrendered for adoption.
"The Incredible Burt Wonderstone": Steve Carell is the title character, a superstar magician who has ruled the Las Vegas strip for years with partner Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi). They may be friends in public but, in private, they loathe each other and their act is starting to seem stale next to a street magician (Jim Carrey) with a growing fan base and fondness for outrageous stunts in this comedy.
"The Croods": Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke and Cloris Leachman lend their voices to this animated comedy about the world's first family. When the cave that has always shielded them from danger is destroyed, they head out across a spectacular landscape.
"The Host": Saoirse Ronan, Diane Kruger and William Hurt star in an adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's 2008 novel in which people have become hosts for unseen enemies. Their minds have been taken over while their bodies remain intact. But one of the few remaining "wild" humans refuses to surrender her mind to the invading soul given the body. The pair become unwitting allies as they search for the man they both love.
"G.I. Joe: Retaliation": Once scheduled for late June 2012, this follow-up to 2009's "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" finds the G.I. Joes fighting their enemy, Cobra, and dealing with threats from within the government jeopardizing their existence. Cast includes Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis and Dwayne Johnson.
"Tyler Perry's Temptation": Jurnee Smollett-Bell is an ambitious married woman whose obsessive passion for a handsome billionaire leads to betrayal, danger and a life-altering choice. Cast also includes Lance Gross, Vanessa Williams and, apparently there's no escaping her, Kim Kardashian.
"The Place Beyond the Pines": Director Derek Cianfrance ("Blue Valentine") explores the consequences of a motorcycle stunt rider's fateful decision to commit a crime to support his child. Ryan Gosling is the criminal and Bradley Cooper a policeman who targets him in a movie also featuring Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta and Rose Byrne.
"Starbuck": See the Canadian French-language version of this before it's remade with Vince Vaughn as "Delivery Man." Patrick Huard stars as a Montreal man who discovers that, thanks to his talent as a sperm donor, he's fathered 533 children, and many want the clinic to reveal his identity.
"Jurassic Park 3D": Twenty years after Steven Spielberg and the late novelist Michael Crichton made us believe that dinosaurs could walk the Earth again, this blockbuster is coming back in 3-D. The cast of the epic remains the same, led by Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Samuel L. Jackson and Richard Attenborough.
"The Heat": The director of "Bridesmaids" pairs Melissa McCarthy as a foul-mouthed Boston cop and Sandra Bullock as an uptight FBI special agent. Initially incompatible, they become buddies as they work to bring down a ruthless drug lord.
"Oblivion": Tom Cruise will be back on the big screen -- the really big, IMAX screen and everywhere a week later -- as one of the last few drone repairmen stationed on Earth some time in the future. He's part of a massive operation to extract vital resources after decades of war, and his mission is nearly complete when he rescues a stranger from a downed spacecraft and begins to question everything he knows.
"42": This is the movie, produced by Thomas Tull, that brought Harrison Ford and Chadwick Boseman to town in mid-December. Mr. Boseman plays Jackie Robinson and Mr. Ford is Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey in the drama about men who changed baseball and the world.
"Pain & Gain": Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson play Florida bodybuilders caught in an extortion ring and kidnapping scheme in this Michael Bay movie that looks highly entertaining in the trailer.
"The Big Wedding": Ensemble comedy starring Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton as a long-divorced couple who must pretend to be married for the sake of their adopted son's biological mother, a Colombian who decides to attend his wedding. Also featuring Susan Sarandon, Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried, Topher Grace, Robin Williams and Ben Barnes.
JFilm Festival: The 20th annual festival (jfilmpgh.org) will have a new main home and a later date this year. It will use the remodeled Manor Theater in Squirrel Hill as its principal location April 11-21.
"Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's": Fashion documentary about the Manhattan landmark, with interviews with designers such as Karl Lagerfeld, Vera Wang and Christian Louboutin along with Mary-Kate Olsen, Ashley Olsen, Nicole Ritchie, Joan Rivers, Candice Bergen, and others. (April)
"Disconnect": A hard-working lawyer, attached to his cell phone, can't find time to communicate with his family, a couple use the Internet to escape their lifeless marriage, a widowed ex-cop struggles with a cyber-bully and an ambitious journalist sees a career-making story in a teen performing on an adults-only site in this exploration of modern technology. (April)
"West of Memphis": Excellent documentary about a perfect storm of injustice -- three murdered 8-year-olds, three oddball teens targeted as their killers, witnesses who lied (but didn't admit it for years), a coerced confession, misinterpreted autopsy results and a prime suspect who has been there all along. The case has drawn some big-name backers, including Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Eddie Vedder, as it's crept through the criminal justice system.
"No": In 1988, Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet, due to international pressure, is forced to call a plebiscite on his presidency. The country will vote yes or no to Pinochet extending his rule for another eight years. Opposition leaders persuade a brash young ad exec (Gael Garcia Bernal), to spearhead their campaign.
"The Gatekeepers": Charged with overseeing Israel's war on terror, the head of Israel's secret service is present at the crossroad of every decision. For the first time, six former heads of the agency share their insights and reflect on their actions and decisions in this documentary.