9. THE TREE OF LIFE

Director: Terrence Malick
Stars: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain
Release Date: May 27
Why we’re excited: Comic book heads have Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, and arthouse types and film purists have The Tree Of Life.

Within the Turner Classic Movies sect, acclaimed director Terrence Malick’s (Days Of Heaven, The Thin Red Line) grandiose drama has been the subject of immense anticipation and enigmatic appeal for over a year now. Not a great deal is known about the plot, other than its examination of how a grown man’s (Sean Penn) childhood experiences (growing up under a father played by Brad Pitt) shaped his adult self. Oh, and there are dinosaurs. And 2001: A Space Odyssey-esque light-shows.

As a weighty option outside of this summer’s blockbusters, The Tree Of Life is unrivaled amongst the movies on this list. It’s perhaps the only one with serious Oscar potential, in addition to dinosaurs. Don’t sleep on the dinosaurs.