THE beauty of reviewing films is the prospect that something new and brilliant is just around the corner, the constant promise of redemption in a pile of what is, sometimes, utter, utter garbage.
Luckily enough for me the way Irish film releases work out, the last three months of any calendar year and the first month of the following year are usually choc full of the best that US cinema has to offer, due to Oscar voting deadlines.
Already on the slate for the coming weeks are Oscar heavyweights Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty and Les Miserables.
Added to that, such unconventional awards fare as The Sessions (welcome back Helen Hunt!) and Django Unchained are on the menu.
Django, of course, is the latest film from Quentin Tarantino, a bloody revenge quest that shows Jamie Foxx on top of his game-a beautiful sight.
In February, Denzel Washington and Robert Zemeckis combine for Flight, the story of a pilot who saves everybody on a doomed flight, but may not be ready for the spotlight that is shone on him afterwards.
Also in February, Bill Murray plays Franklin D Roosevelt.
When you digest that and after numerous viewings of the trailer, you get the sense that this is the role Murray was born to play.
The tale of the meeting between the King of England and the gregarious US president just before World War II, Hyde Park On Hudson looks like this year’s The King’s Speech.
Another biopic will light up February, as Anthony Hopkins plays Alfred Hitchcock, driven crazy by the making of Psycho.
Judd Apatow goes back to the well of Knocked Up, giving Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann’s married couple their own film in This Is 40 late in February and early word from the States is that it more than lives up to its predecessor.
In March, Matt Damon goes full action hero in District 9 director Neil Blomkamp’s Elysium. Little is known about the film as yet, but the marketing campaign is exceptional. Check out www.armadyne.net for more.
Oz: The Great and Powerful will tell the story of the Wizard, pre-Dorothy.
James Franco takes on the Wicked Witch as a Kansas circus magician transported to Oz by, of course, a tornado. Sam Raimi directs one that could go either way.
Now You See Me could also be decent, as Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson and Isla Fisher try to evade Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine.
Tom Cruise returns in April with Oblivion, the story of a veteran soldier sent to a distant planet, while The Evil Dead reboot could be either excellent or utterly awful.
The back-end of the month will be dominated by Tony Stark, as Iron Man 3 lands.
Another film that has been shrouded in mystery, Shane Black has taken the reins from Jon Favreau, reuniting with Robert Downey Jr for the first time since Kiss Kiss Bang Bang relaunched both of their careers.
June will belong to Spock and Kirk as JJ Abrams brings us his Star Trek sequel, Into Darkness.