Entertainment & Arts

Cinemas gear up for another bumper year

With 2010 drawing to a close, which movies should you look out for in the 12 months ahead?

Here we preview 20 high-profile titles that are coming soon to a UK cinema screen near you.

Image caption Helena Bonham Carter (r) plays the future Queen Mother in Tom Hooper's film

1) THE KING'S SPEECH

Released 7 January, this handsome period drama is fast emerging as a right royal awards contender in the run-up to next year's Academy Awards on 27 February.

Colin Firth has been tipped for greatness for his performance as reluctant British king George VI, a monarch who turns to an unconventional speech therapist to cure him of a debilitating stammer.

2) TRUE GRIT

Released 14 January, this old-school western is less a remake of the 1969 John Wayne vehicle than a gritty adaptation of the book that inspired it.

Jeff Bridges swaps his futuristic costumes from Tron: Legacy for an eye-patch and Stetson in this tale of a US marshal who helps a young woman pursue her father's killer.

3) BLACK SWAN

Released 21 January, this heady drama sees Natalie Portman don a tutu to play a young ballet dancer obsessed with the dual lead roles in Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake.

Its US director Darren Aronofsky previously directed Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler, another story of an obsessive athlete driven to the extremes of physical endurance.

Image caption Tangled was originally named after its hirsute heroine Rapunzel (r)

4) TANGLED

Released 28 January, this 3D interpretation of the Rapunzel fairy tale is the 50th animated feature to be produced by the Walt Disney company.

It's a charming and boisterous affair in which its long-tressed heroine - voiced by singer Mandy Moore - is anything but a shrinking violet.

5) THE DEBT

Released 11 February, this remake of a 2007 Israeli film is a tense thriller about Mossad agents on a mission to kill a Nazi war criminal in the 1960s.

Avatar star Sam Worthington and Dame Helen Mirren head the cast of a John Madden film sure to invite comparisons with Steven Spielberg's 2005 drama Munich.

6) THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU

Released 4 March, this futuristic thriller tells of a politician and a dancer whose romance faces unexpected opposition from literal 'agents' of fate.

Matt Damon and Emily Blunt co-star in a film that - like Blade Runner, Minority Report and Total Recall before it - takes its inspiration from the writings of sci-fi guru Philip K Dick.

7) THE EAGLE

Released 18 March, this adaptation of classic children's novel The Eagle of the Ninth tells of a Roman officer and his British slave who venture beyond Hadrian's Wall into tribal Caledonia (Scotland).

US actor Channing Tatum and Billy Elliot's Jamie Bell - both using their natural accents - play master and servant in this gritty saga from Scottish director Kevin Macdonald.

Image caption Aaron Eckhart (centre) will also be seen in 2011 in family drama Rabbit Hole with Nicole Kidman

8) BATTLE: LOS ANGELES

Released 25 March, this science-fiction action epic views an alien invasion of Earth from the perspective of the US soldiers fighting against it.

Aaron Eckhart and Michelle Rodriguez are among the Marines on the ground in a film that, despite being set in the City of Angels, was largely shot 1,600 miles away in Louisiana.

9) THOR

Released 29 April, the latest fantasy film from the Marvel Comics universe tells of a Norse god from a distant planet who is banished to Earth.

Starring Australian Chris Hemsworth in the title role and Sir Anthony Hopkins as his father Odin, it represents a change of pace for director Kenneth Branagh after several big-screen Shakespeare adaptations.

10) PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES

Released 18 May, the fourth instalment in Disney's swashbuckling series sees Johnny Depp reprising his Oscar-nominated role as wily pirate Captain Jack Sparrow.

Geoffrey Rush and Penelope Cruz are also along for the ride, which sees them embarking on a quest to find the mystical Fountain of Youth.

11) X-MEN: FIRST CLASS

Released 2 June, this prequel - like 2009 release X-Men Origins: Wolverine - charts the early lives of superheroes from the enduring comic book series.

Image caption McAvoy (l) plays the young Professor X to Michael Fassbender's Magneto

Directed by Matthew Vaughn, it sees Atonement's James McAvoy and Hunger's Michael Fassbender as younger versions of the characters Sirs Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen played in the X-Men trilogy.

12) RISE OF THE APES

Released 24 June, Rupert Wyatt's Planet of the Apes prequel imagines how that film's intelligent simians first came to be genetically engineered.

Andy Serkis - no stranger to monkey business after 2005's King Kong - plays another primate alongside Spider-Man actor James Franco and Freida Pinto from Slumdog Millionaire.

13) TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON

Released 29 June, the third instalment in the toy-inspired fantasy series promises more explosive mayhem involving giant sentient robots.

Shia LaBeouf is once again caught up in the craziness, though this time his Sam Witwicky character won't have Megan Fox to help him out of scrapes.

14) HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2

Released 15 July, the eighth movie in the boy wizard series brings the decade-long franchise - based on the bestsellers by JK Rowling - to an action-packed conclusion.

For those who have grown up alongside Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, David Yates's film is sure to be an emotional experience.

15) CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER

Released 29 July, 2011's second raid on the Marvel Comics back catalogue sees Chris Evans - the actor, not the DJ - play a young man transformed into a superhero during World War II.

Image caption Gary Oldman is the latest actor to portray le Carre's enduring protagonist

Rising British actors Dominic Cooper and Hayley Atwell pad out the cast of a film that shot key scenes in London, Liverpool and south Wales.

16) TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY

Released 16 September, this big-screen adaptation of the John le Carre spy novel sees Gary Oldman take on the George Smiley role made famous by Sir Alec Guinness.

Set during the Cold War, the film - in which Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch also appear - tells of a retired MI6 agent drawn back into the world of international espionage.

17) THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN: THE SECRET OF THE UNICORN

Released 28 October, this eagerly awaited blockbuster sees director Steven Spielberg bring Herge's iconic cartoon hero to life using sophisticated motion-capture technology.

To the layman, this means the characters will look like we remember them, even if they are "played" by the likes of Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis and Simon Pegg.

18) THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 1

Released 18 November, the fourth Twilight film is the first of two to be drawn from the final book in Stephenie Meyer's best-selling vampire series.

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson will return as Bella Swan and her bloodsucking beloved Edward, with Dreamgirls' Bill Condon becoming the latest director behind the camera.

Image caption Jeremy Renner (l) becomes the latest member of the Mission: Impossible ensemble

19) MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL

Released 16 December, the latest Mission: Impossible film sees Tom Cruise play Ethan Hunt for the fourth time.

Filming on Brad Bird's action adventure has already taken place at the world's tallest building - the Burj Kalifa in downtown Dubai.

20) THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

Released 26 December, the English language version of Stieg Larsson's international bestseller stars Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara as its Swedish crime-fighting duo.

David Fincher directs the first of three proposed movies based on the late author's novels, which have already been filmed in their native Scandinavia.