Here, in a few broad strokes, is how 2012 is shaping up entertainment-wise


The New York singer-songwriter has already caused a splash with her singles

Video Games

(lovely) and


Born to Die

(the title track to her forthcoming debut LP). And she's also attracted much comment about her curiously pouty lips - best seen on the

Video Games

video - and her persona. But when that album arrives, expect her to become a) unavoidable until April or so; b) the voice of the year; c) pop's new style icon; d) all of the above.

Having delivered the biggest box office flick of his career with Alice in Wonderland, director Tim Burton returns to more characteristic haunts, as it were, in Dark Shadows. It's based on an American TV vampire series of the 1960s and stars Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer and Burton's missus, Helena Bonham Carter. He's also got Frankenweenie, a feature-length version of this animated short about an unholy hound heading cinema-wards.

Yes, they're bigger than ever with two Snow White movies and one Hobbit film making this a vintage year for height-challenged fantasy characters. The two Snow Whites are Snow White and The Huntsman and Mirror Mirror, the former with Kristen Stewart as the princess up against Queen Charlize Theron, while the latter has Julia Roberts as the nasty sovereign and newcomer Lily Collins as the one tucking Grumpy et al in at night.

Movie Jack the Giant Killer is a grown-up take on the beanstalk legend with X-Men/Superman Returns guy Bryan Singer directing. Meanwhile, on new season TV series Once Upon A Time, the creators of Lost are bringing fairy tale characters into the modern world after Snow White got pregnant to Prince Charming and didn't live so happily ever after.

Well, there's Hollywood giving The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo a few more piercings than she had in the earlier Swedish screen adaptation of the Steig Larsson novels from two years ago. Among other recyclings of past pop culture coming to the big screen are 21 Jump Street, Total Recall, Red Dawn, The Three Stooges as well as 3D makeovers for Titanic and Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace.

Some - like The Dark Knight and possibly Men in Black III - are much anticipated. Some others possibly less so - Wrath of the Titans, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Scary Movie 5, Step Up 4, The Expendables 2, and Paranormal Activity 4. Both Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and G.I. Joe 2 prove the theory - see also last year's Fast Five - that unwanted sequels can apparently be saved by the casting of Dwayne Johnson.

Nearly a decade after The Lord of the Rings trilogy, here we go again. The first of Peter Jackson's two 3D Hobbit films, An Unexpected Journey is due on screens in December and it won't just be the lunch bars of Matamata pleased at the return of Middle-earth fever. For diehard sci-fi/fantasy fans, the most eagerly anticipated prequel - if it is that - is Prometheus, the space thriller from Ridley Scott which might come from the same galaxy as his 1979 classic, Alien.

The Bourne Legacy has Jeremy Renner as its new lead. He's not replacing Matt Damon as Jason Bourne but another from the same programme that trained the original amnesiac assassin. Meanwhile, in another fourth instalment, The Amazing Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield, replaces Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker in a film taking the web-slinging teen superhero back to high school.

The Steven Spielberg-produced Terra Nova has folks from an uninhabitable Earth of 2149 heading back 85 million years to give mankind a new chance - if the dinosaurs don't get them first. While J.J. Abrams's new Alcatraz uses America's most notorious prison much like his Lost used that island. It seems the real reason the prison shut down in 1963 was because its most dangerous inmates disappeared. Now they've returned, not particularly rehabilitated by the experience.

Having been knocked off in Robert Redford's The Conspirator of last year, Abraham Lincoln is alive and kicking in two forthcoming films - Steven Spielberg's biopic Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role, and the possibly slightly less factual Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the undead being the real reason behind the US Civil War, apparently.

Pip Brown aka Ladyhawke has been pretty quiet since winning that haul of NZ Music Awards in 2009, but she's been working on her "tricky second album" entitled Anxiety, due out in March. Other forthcoming big local releases imminent include King Kapisi's long-awaited fourth album, Hip Hop Lives Here and, from the indie department, the debut by Opossum - Kody Nielson with partner Bic Runga and fellow ex-Mint Chick Michael Logie, should be an album of the gleeful impulsive 60s inspired pop they've been delivering live.

Reunion tours can be fun and oh so profitable. Reunion albums, on the other hand ... ah well. Among the acts having put aside those musical differences to spend some quality time in the studio are Gwen Stefani's old band No Doubt, Big Day Out headliners Soundgarden, the Beach Boys (complete with Brian Wilson), Garbage, Outkast, Aerosmith and Black Sabbath.