FOREWORD: This is, as usual, not a definitive list, and I know it’s way overdue… but in my defense, it’s the longest list I’ve ever done. I’m not going to talk about a lot of this year’s obvious releases: I will not discuss Harry Potter, Twilight, Cars 2 or Justin Bieber. I’m also not going to talk X-Men since I haven’t seen ANY of the X-Men movies. I will only mention wide releases, though many of 2011’s limited releases look pretty excellent. I also left out everything from January, seeing as they’re already out and I posted them in Part I. The rest of the movies discussed in Part I are repeated here.
Sanctum (2.04) – There is not a single thing about this movie making me even close to excited. It’s produced by James Cameron, which I imagine means director Alister Grierson is little more than a figurehead, really, since Cameron is such an arrogant prick, but I digress… from the trailers it looks ridiculously over produced for what could have been a really elegant, simple thriller, especially since it’s based on a true story. Instead, it looks like all these majestic and overdone shots of underwater caves… and in 3D of course. Even the title is annoyingly over dramatic. It just annoys me because it’s one of those based-on-a-true-story movies that really ought to be about the human drama, not the spectacle. But, you know. It’s James Cameron.
Gnomeo and Juliet (2.11) – When I first saw this trailer, I thought it had to be a joke… but this one has apparently been on the table at Disney for years, but kept getting pushed back. It looks pretty absurd, but despite my inexplicable aversion to CGI Animated movies – especially those produced by Walt Disney [not Pixar] – I’m morbidly fascinated and determined to see it. It could either wind up a tragic and laughable flop, or just maybe it will dazzle me with its spunk and personality… either way I’m pretty sure I win.
The Eagle (2.11) – I love Kevin Macdonald. He’s a fantastic director. I also love period pieces – WHEN DONE PROPERLY. I don’t hate Channing Tatum in the proper roles, though I still can’t understand why people find him attractive, but hey I’m insane like that. Either way, I’m reasonably excited to see The Eagle… there hasn’t been a proper Ancient Roman drama released in years. And for the record, no I do not count 300 OR Troy. Troy isn’t even Roman. It’s Greek. God I hate people that confuse those two. *RAGE*
I Am Number Four (2.18) – This looks pretty dark and fairly mature for a Disney film, but at least for me that’s a good thing. When I first heard about it, I shrugged it off as a sort of Witch Mountain type Disney Sci Fi flick. But… this one actually looks… good? It doesn’t hurt that they’ve got cast members like Glee‘s Dianna Agron and Lost‘s Kevin Durand, along with a slew of young up-and-comers. The edgier direction can be attributed to director D.J. Caruso (Disturbia, Eagle Eye) and writers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, creators of Smallville… I have to say that I Am Number Four is looking to be one of the movies I’m most fascinated (if not excited) to see in 2011.
Unknown (2.18) – Jaume Collet-Serra may not have the best credits as a director. He is the man responsible for the unfortunate 2005 remake of House of Wax, as well as 2009’s Orphan. This time, however, he has the perpetually epic Liam Neeson, along with Diane Kruger, Frank Langella, and Aidan Quinn. Considering what an improvement Orphan was from House of Wax, I’m reasonably optimistic.
Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (2.18) – Dear Hollywood, please cease and desist immediately with your production of black-men-cross-dressing-in-fat-suits movies. They aren’t funny. They never were funny really, they were at the very most, novel. However, they are by definition no longer novel since you seem to produce a new one every year, and they all have the same five jokes, re-hashed and recycled. This is the lowest common denominator of humor. It is condescending, it is offensive, it is insulting, and it is obnoxious. Stop it, or face the wrath of Kelsey.
Rango (3.04) – I’m SO excited for Rango, especially now that I know it’s animated using motion-capture, meaning we’ll be getting all the quirky nuances of Johnny Depp’s performance in animated Chameleon form. It looks so phenomenally charming and off-beat, I can’t really think of anything else to say about it.
The Adjustment Bureau (3.04) – Bourne writer George Nolfi and star Matt Damon are back with another conspiracy thriller. Only this time, there’s a twist: Nolfi is directing as well. It looks like a pretty solid piece, and from the trailers I don’t see any indication that Nolfi has failed as a director… so definitely be on the look out for this one!
Apollo 18 (3.04) – This is another one of those virally marketed low-budget sci fi movies that are all the rage these days. Think Paranormal Activity, and The Fourth Kind. I admit, I’m definitely intrigued by the premise, or at least what we know about the premise, which is that it has something to do with the cancelled Apollo 18 moon mission of the 1970s. It has me hoping and praying that I’ll finally get the alien conspiracy movie that the Transformers teaser trailer so cruelly taunted me with back in ’06-’07. Remember that first trailer? Where they set up the 2003 Mars Rover and suggested NASA had suppressed footage that proved the existence of life on Mars, and then just as I let myself get excited, the fucking Transformers logo popped up and ass-raped my soul. Sorry, that was very off-topic but I’m still beyond bitter about that trailer. The point is: Apollo 18‘s viral marketing and non-disclosure-of-plot is working. I’m dying of curiosity. DAMN THEM!!!
Take Me Home Tonight (3.04) – 80’s comedies are so hot right now [read that in Mugatu voice]… which is only to be expected since those who lived through high school/ college in the 80s are coming up on their midlife crises, and the affectionate mockery of ’80s fashions has become a national pass time for todays young adults. That second fact is one I don’t fully understand, but whatever. Take Me Home Tonight definitely has a strong, and broad target audience, so it’s a pretty sure thing in terms of box office, but I’m not yet convinced it’ll have any real merits outside of being a bright and energetic 80s tribute.
Battle: Los Angeles (3.11) – Columbia Pictures seems to be investing a lot of confidence in this movie, and so do my future employers, The Asylum, who are producing one of their amazing mockbusters, Battle of Los Angeles, featuring Kel Mitchell. I’m pretty damn excited for both films, but sadly I’m way more excited for The Asylum’s version. Regardless, Battle: Los Angeles can count on my ticket purchase already. Alien invasion movies are almost always good… even when they’re bad.
Jane Eyre (3.11) – This is definitely a new direction for director Cary Fukunaga, but I’m excited. I’m positively squealing with excitement for the cast: Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre, Judi Dench as Mrs. Fairfax, Jamie Bell as St. John Rivers, and best of all, the beautiful, brilliant and British Michael Fassbender as Edward Rochester. I can’t wait!!!
Red Riding Hood (3.11) – UGH. I hate Amanda Seyfried, I hate Catherine Hardwicke (director of Twilight), I hate stupid over-the-top gothic horror visuals… but somehow they got their grubby little hands on Gary Oldman AND Michael Shanks, and as much as it shames and pains me to admit this, I’ll probably condescend to watch this simply thanks to the irresistible temptation of Daniel Jackson on the big screen. But it will be AWFUL. Nothing but depressed pathetic pre-teen girl masturbation material. It will make me rage and rant and fume… and it will make me bitter. DAMN YOU MICHAEL SHANKS!!!!
Mars Needs Moms (3.11) – I still don’t like Zemeckis’s motion capture. I know I’m all excited about Rango being motion capture, but I still find motion-capture humans in the vein of The Polar Express and A Christmas Carol just beyond creepy. Granted, from the trailers, this appears to be a vast improvement on those films (as evidenced in Tron: Legacy, motion capture technology has improved by leaps and bounds) but I’m still not completely sold. Also, I can’t say I completely understand the plot. I’m just underwhelmed by the entire concept.
Paul (3.18) – Simon Pegg, Seth Rogen, Jane Lynch, Sigourney Weaver, Jason Bateman and Bill Hader, in a film directed by Greg Mottola, written by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost… with aliens? YES PLEASE!!! I think 2011 is looking up to be my year… a refreshing lull in the zombie/vampire trend in favor of something I actually like. ALIENS!!!
Limitless (3.18) – There is a lot of potential for greatness here, but just as much potential for failure. It’s another conspiracy drama, apparently, dealing with a new drug that enhances intelligence. I’m excited, if only because it’s being directed by Neil Burger (The Illusionist).
Beastly (3.18) – Again, I talked about this one last year. It was originally meant to come out July 2010. At the time I was bizarrely optimistic, despite cast members Mary-Kate Olsen and Vanessa Hudgens, but this is no longer the case. Now having seen the design of the ‘beast’, not even the presence of Neil Patrick Harris can redeem this for me. It’s a total Twilight knock off, and it belongs in hell.
Sucker Punch (3.25) – I’m not a huge Zack Snyder fan. The 300 and Watchmen visual style does nothing for me. This one even less so. A bunch of hot chicks with guns and stylized Zack Snyder violence? It’s every man’s wet dream…
Source Code (4.01) – This is Duncan Jones’s sophomore film as a director, his follow up to Moon, which (if you haven’t seen it) is phenomenal, and trippy, and everything good Science Fiction ought to be. When I first read the synopsis for Source Code I was underwhelmed; Jake Gyllenhaal goes back in time and has 8 minutes to figure out who bombed this train. Having now seen the trailer, however, I have to say that despite Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead role, Source Code looks like it might have the potential to be even better than Moon.
Super (4.01) – This one is hot on the home-grown super hero fad, in the vein of Kick-Ass. Thus far I’ve found pretty much this whole genre incredibly disappointing, but the critical reception for Super has been almost universally favorable since it’s debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. It’s got a pretty impressive cast too: The Office‘s Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, and Kevin Bacon. I’m really hoping for a backyard-super-hero-movie I can get behind.
Hop (4.01) – I never really thought about it, but I guess the Easter Bunny is kind of a holiday deity wrongly forgotten by Hollywood. I can’t think of a single Easter movie, and that really surprises me… you’d think he’d be a box office gold mine for the family crowd. Anyway, he finally got his own movie, though if I were the Easter Bunny I’d be a little disgruntled seeing myself voiced by Russell Brand. It’s also directed by Nick Hill, who I adore as a writer (SpongeBob SquarePants, 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd, Rocko’s Modern Life) but as a director… not so much. He’s responsible for Alvin and the Chipmunks and Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties. Right now I think this looks like a pretty unfortunate follow-up to Despicable Me for Illumination Entertainment.
Your Highness (4.08) – The director of Pineapple Express goes Medieval… in what looks like The Princess Bride in a frat house. It’ll be successful, it’ll be wildly popular, because it’s immature and stupid and so is America.
Hanna (4.08) – I want to like Saoirse Ronan. I haven’t really liked anything she’s been in yet (Atonement, The Lovely Bones, Kick-Ass) but I never disliked her. In fact, she was just about the only thing I did like in Atonement aside from the score (seriously I don’t understand why everyone loved that movie so much). MOVING ON- I also really want to like Hanna – a teenager raised as an assassin by her crazy ex-CIA Dad, on the run in Europe… it all sounds very exciting. But it’s directed by Joe Wright. I have also not enjoyed a single movie he’s ever made (Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, The Soloist)… so I’m left with not a whole lot of hope but a desperate desire to be wrong.
Rio (4.15) – When the trailer first started, I thought it looked kind of cute, but then once they started going through the list of vocal talents, I stopped caring. It’s not that I have any particular dislike for anyone in the cast (actually I love Jemaine Clement) but when you assemble a cast like this for an animated movie, it almost always turns into a cavalcade of distinctively voiced caricatures, and you end up with a series of punchline rather than a story with relatable characters; this is a huge part of my problem with animated movies, which I’m finally coming to understand. I’ll be doing a whole entry about that later. Anyway, Rio doesn’t look very promising to me… but better than Hop.
Scream 4 (4.15) – Really? Well. Okay. That’s cool I guess. I don’t really have anything to say, I’m not a huge fan of the Scream franchise but just didn’t feel right not including this on the list. So… yeah.
Soul Surfer (4.15) – This is totally a Disney Channel Original Movie in disguise. We have AnnaSophia Robb (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Bridge to Terabithia, Race to Witch Mountain) in the lead as a teenaged girl who lost an arm in a shark attack and is trying to return to surfing. Carrie Underwood makes her debut on the big-screen (I smell a corny, optimistic, Disney-worthy power-anthem in the sound track!!!), and it’s directed by Sean McNamara, director and guest-director for many Disney Channel Original Series (such as Jonas, Even Stevens and That’s So Raven)… He also directed 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain, and more recently you’ll know him as the director of Bratz. And don’t even get me started on his credits as a Producer. It’s going to be nauseatingly wholesome and inspiring and obnoxious. Oh, and Dennis Quaid is in it too… if he counts for anything anymore.
Madea’s Big Happy Family (4.15) – Because one black-man-cross-dressing-in-a-fat-suit movie a year simply isn’t enough, God blessed us not only with ANOTHER sequel to Big Momma’s House, mentioned earlier, but also ANOTHER fucking Madea movie from Tyler Perry. This entire genre makes me so infuriated and ashamed to be an American. It’s like every fucking year, Hollywood grabs a new or slightly used pile of cat vomit, throws it at a movie theater and makes billions of dollars doing it, because American audiences are retarded.
Water for Elephants (4.15) – I haven’t read the book, but the movie actually looks really quite wonderful, Robert Pattinson and all! I’m particularly excited because it’s directed by Francis Lawrence, whom I’ve always felt has had so much potential he wasn’t living up to with films like Constantine and I Am Legend. He also directed the first 3 episodes and was an executive producer of the short-lived show Kings; a show which I feel could have been mesmerizing had it not been ass-raped and sabotaged by NBC. I’m really hoping Water for Elephants is successful enough to propel Lawrence in a new direction with his films, away from Constantine and I Am Legend, though I’d love for him to give TV another shot.
Prom (4.29) – It’s a live-action from Walt Disney Pictures set in high school, but frankly it doesn’t look anywhere near as juvenile as it sounds; DEFINITELY not as juvenile as High School Musical, which I know is the comparison I immediately wanted to make. Also, I love Nicholas Braun. He hasn’t been in anything even remotely good – just Disney Channel Original movies, Sky High and 10 Things I Hate About You: The Series – but I have developed a huge soft spot for him. I love that the cast really is entirely populated by young actors like Baum who are up-and-coming. The director, Joe Nussbaum, is much in the same position, what with little more than a direct-to-video American Pie sequel and forgettable Amanda Bynes vehicle under his belt. Still, I’m erring on the side of excited. Why? Joe Nussbaum directed the short George Lucas in Love. Despite everything, I’m actually kind of looking forward to Prom.
What’s Your Number? (2011) – A woman (Anna Farris) looks back at her last 20 boyfriends to figure out if one of them might have been the one. Meh. RomComs. When they’re good, they’re great, and when they’re bad they’re infuriating, and it’s often difficult to figure out which is which until you’re already in the theater. There isn’t a trailer out for this one yet, but we do know that this woman’s adventure will lead her to encounter the likes of Ryan Phillippe, Zachary Quinto, Andy Samberg, Joel McHale, Thomas Lennon, and Ed Begley Jr. With the exception of Ryan Phillippe, I quite like all of them. My main concern right now is that the director, Mark Mylod, has only really worked in Television prior to this (most notably Entourage), and the plot of this movie leaves much danger of becoming episodic. I’ll be keeping an eye out for the trailer though.
Thor (5.06) – I cannot put into words how insanely excited I am for Thor. It’s directed by Kenneth Branagh, whom I adore, so there’s no doubt in my mind Thor will be beautiful. Chris Hemsworth looks perfect in the lead role, and the additional casting choices of Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins make me very, VERY happy. I think I can safely say I’ve never been more excited for a comic book movie; not even for The Dark Knight.
Priest (5.13) – I’m actually going to call this one Legion: Redux. Though the plot is completely different, the star and the director are the same, as is the genre and overall feel, which leaves me even more broken-hearted than I was about Legion. Priest looks just as bad, but in 3D… and what leaves me really distressed is that I know Paul Bettany is capable of so much more than this. He was for a time one of my favorite actors, but now his bad films are just as numerous as his good ones…
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (5.20) – When I first heard Pirates was getting a fourth installment, I was enraged. While the first film remains one of my favorite adventure films, the second and third movies did little more than piss me off, landing the Pirates franchise in the same waste basket as Tim Burton and Rent as things I love, but hate to admit that I love because I find their fanbases so incredibly infuriating. When the trailer for On Stranger Tides first began, I wanted to scream and stomp my feet and destroy everything around me. But, much to my dismay, by the end of the trailer, I was totally pumped. On Stranger Tides looks like it might actually be an improvement on the last two Pirates films, and it’s delightfully rid of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, both of whom I loathe. Remaining are Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush, both of whom I love, and the new cast members have me rather excited too: Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane, and Judi Dench. I’m excited.
The Hangover Part II (5.26) – Prepare yourselves for this startling revelation. I have not seen The Hangover. There. I said it. I also don’t have much desire to see it but I know someone will eventually sit me down Clockwork Orange style and force me to. Anyway, I’m not really qualified to form an assessment on this sequel, but I know it involves Liam Neeson and Thailand… so Hangover fans, go nuts.
Kung Fu Panda 2 (5.27) – THIS DID NOT FREAKING NEED A SEQUEL, DREAMWORKS!!!! FUCK YOU AND YOUR FUCKING MAKING FRANCHISES OUT OF EVERY MEDIOCRE MOVIE YOU MAKE!!!
Beginners (6.03) – If I ever had to cast the role of a terminally ill old man coming out as gay to his fully-grown son, I would totally cast Christopher Plummer. If I had to cast the son, Ewan McGregor would probably wind up on the short list as well, so I think writer-director Mike Mills did a pretty fine job. I can’t really say much more than that, what with no trailer or detailed plot info to go on, but it looks promising enough.
Super 8 (6.10) – Yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES. Aliens and action and Area 51, brought to us by two of the most gloriously capable minds in Science Fiction… ever: producer Steven Spielberg and director J.J. Abrams. Oh and it’s set in 1979 so the tribute-ness of it is only going to add another layer of awesome. The teaser trailer is epic as hell, and I can’t wait for more info!!!!!!
Green Lantern (6.17) – I don’t really care for Ryan Reynolds, but Green Lantern looks pretty decent. I’m hardly an expert on super hero/comic book movies, and I’m definitely not an expert on The Green Lantern, but the trailer did look quite spectacular. I’m still more excited for Thor, but I know Green Lantern has a stronger fan base, so look out, folks, we have another super hero franchise on the move….
Rise of the Apes (6.24) – This is a prequel to Planet of the Apes in which James Franco creates hyper-intelligent apes and all hell breaks loose. As much as I want this to be good, I am a firm believer that origin stories are best kept shrouded in imagination land where they may be used to tease and tantalize the audience, and add a layer of mystery to the story by inviting the audience to build their own narrative. But, you know, when Hollywood sees a loose end with the potential to make money, they must grab it. Cynicism aside, I’m still kind of excited. I love Planet of the Apes, and I’m uncharacteristically unopposed to re-launching the franchise. You know, as long as Tim Burton stays far, FAR away. They’ve assembled a good cast: James Franco, Andy Serkis, John Lithgow, Freida Pinto and David Hewlett, among others… but until they give me a trailer, I really don’t know how to feel. It could go either way – good or horrendous – pretty easily. The apes will also be 100% CGI this time around, which is fine, but must be executed properly. Anyway, this is one of the movies I’m going to be watching most closely this year.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (7.01) – Hooray! Michael Bay gets to make giant robots explode around… someone other than Megan Fox! …there was a lot of sarcasm in that celebratory statement, just in case you missed it. What makes me laugh the most are all the people I’ve heard in genuine panicked curiosity, desperately wondering how on earth they’re going to write Mikaela Banes out of the plot. These are the people that make me want to lobotomize myself. I will admit that my recollection of Transformers is hazy, at best, but I don’t really remember Mikaela having anything like, a personality, or a fundamental role in forwarding the plot. Please, feel free to correct me if this is inaccurate. But, so what, Megan Fox is gone; just throw in another generic hot chick, and chill the fuck out, nothing will change. Actually, I think these people are more trying to conceal their subconcious rage that Megan Fox had the good sense to bail on this franchise before they did.
Larry Crowne (7.01) – Tom Hanks not only stars in, but directs this film, co-starring Julia Roberts along with Wilmer Valderrama and Taraji P Henson. Oh yeah, Tom Hanks also wrote this. It’s about a middle-aged man who decides to go back to college, and I’m sure plenty of midlife-crisis-coming-of-age-antics ensue. I’m not going to invest a lot of energy in this one; I’m sure it will be entertaining, but I doubt it will be any sort of magnificent tour-de-force.
Monte Carlo (7.01) – Chicks on vacation in Europe blah blah blah, one of them is mistaken for a princess, blah blah blah *insert generic antics here*. It’s merely a vehicle for the gaggle of teen idols they’ve assembled in the cast: Leighton Meester and Katie Cassidy (Gossip Girl), Selena Gomez (Wizards of Waverly Place) and Cory Monteith (Glee). I’m guessing it will be like Sex and the City a la The Olsen Twins (you know, before they went crazy; back in the 90s when they put out a shitty teenage-girl-antics movie every month)
Zookeeper (7.08) – Finally! You know, when Mall Cop came out, I kept thinking, “Darn. This movie could have been so awesome if it just had some animals.” Well, it seems I have gotten my wish. Kevin James, with all his glorious pratfalls and fourth-wall raping mugs to the audience, PLUS talking animals. It’s like Night at the Museum, if you vacuumed out all that pesky charm and wit, and infused it with a shot of George of the Jungle. Lovely.
Winnie the Pooh (7.15) – YES YES YES YES YES YES YES!!! Hand-drawn Disney!!! The gang from Hundred Acre Woods is back in FIVE classic stories, with John Cleese as the narrator, and Craig Ferguson stepping in as the new voice of Owl (genius casting, just genius). Actually, most of the cast features new voice acting, which is to be expected; Jim Cummings is, of course, still providing the voices of Pooh and Tigger… and Gilbert Gottfried is in the case… for some reason… BUT, I am incredibly excited, and from the trailer, the casting decisions seem quite good; not really imitating the previous voice actors, but capturing the personalities of the characters, which is as it should be. My summer will not be complete until I see this.
Captain America: The First Avenger (7.22) – I hate Captain America. And he’s kind of a difficult character to make work outside of comic books. It’s the costume. It’s beyond dated, and completely laughable. Nevertheless, the profitability of comic book movies has Marvel and DC pumping out movies for every hero they’ve ever had. despite the impressive cast, which includes Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Tommy Lee Jones and Stanley Tucci, I remain skeptical that Captain America can really be inserted into the current super hero trend – which is dark and gritty, and makes his costume doubly problematic. There aren’t any trailers yet, but the poster isn’t exactly raising my hopes.
Friends with Benefits (7.22) – Another no-strings-attached sex movie. This one has Mila Kunis, Rashida Jones, Justin Timberlake, Andy Samberg and Woody Harrelson… and much to my surprise, it actually looks genuinely hilarious. I was so skeptical, but Will Gluck did a fantastic job with Easy A, and this looks like a very worthy successor, especially since Emma Stone and Patricia Clarkson are reuniting with Gluck here. I’m very much looking forward to this one.
Cowboys and Aliens (7.29) – Yes. I am slightly concerned by how many writers there are; in screenwriting, more is generally not better, but among the writers we do have three of J.J. Abrams’ closest TV Compatriots: Damon Lindelof of Lost and Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci of Fringe. And, you know, Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford definitely don’t hurt. Plus, the very concept is so delightfully campy that there’s no way I won’t see it. Then there’s the team behind the movie: among the producers are Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard; Directing, we have Jon Favreau (Iron Man), and doing Cinematography is Matthew Libatique (Iron Man, The Fountain, The Number 23, Black Swan). Now, I don’t want to call this a sure thing… but it sure smells like epic win.
Crazy, Stupid, Love (7.29) – Steve Carrell is funny. I like him. Actually, I really like most of the cast here: Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Kevin Bacon and Marisa Tomei. That’s the kind of cast I want in a good romantic Dramedy. They’ve even randomly got Josh Groban! Directing we have the always-hilarious team of Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, so I doubt there will be any shortage of laughs here.
The Smurfs (8.03) – No. The whole ‘children’s characters get magically transported out of their world and into ours’ has been done to death, and seldom done well. This… almost certainly isn’t going to be one of those times. Directing, we have Raja Gosnell, director of such cinematic gems as Home Alone 3, Big Momma’s House, Scooby-Doo, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua. The cast, although many of them are quite talented, cumulatively becomes so annoying that I’m bound to have nightmares; Hank Azaria is a genius choice for Gargamel, but everything else is just… painfully stereotypical. Katy Perry voices Smurfette, Alan Cumming as Gutsy Smurf, George Lopez as Grouchy Smurf, Paul Reubens as Jokey Smurf (that pains me. It physically pains me.), Kenan Thompson as Greedy Smurf, Jeff Foxworthy as Handy Smurf, and finally, Wolfgang Puck as Chef Smurf. Ouch. You don’t need me to tell you that this movie is going to suck… the filmmakers did that for me.
The Change-Up (8.05) – Olivia Wilde is in fucking everything this year. But, this one looks pretty stupid. Somehow Jason Bateman switches bodies with Ryan Reynolds in order to woo Olivia Wilde… which leaves us with the inevitable result of hackneyed jokes we’ve seen in all other body-switching movies. Actually my first question was why the hell Jason Bateman needed to switch bodies with Ryan Reynolds, seeing as Jason Bateman isn’t exactly ugly. The answer to this question made me even more annoyed with the prospect of this movie; his character is married. Now we have a tired premise and a completely reprehensible lead character. I’m not interested, but I think most of you will be – it’s written by the team that brought you The Hangover, so… go wild.
The Darkest Hour (8.05) – There’s nothing I like more than good science fiction. I hope this is good science fiction. It’s not cookie-cutter, so I like that. This one is about a group of kids who are trying to survive after an alien invasion. And it takes place in Russia… so that’s cool. There’s an impressive international cast here too, including Emile Hirsch. Director Chris Gorak has worked mostly as an Art Director, and his work is impressive, including Fight Club, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Minority Report… so The Darkest Hour is sure to be visually stunning.
Mr. Popper’s Penguins (8.12) – As soon as I heard about this movie, the only thought in my head was, “Skittles will love this.” but then I began to panic that seeing this movie would encourage him to go steal a penguin and turn into Jim Carrey. Anyway, the gist of the plot is… Jim Carrey comes into the possession of penguins, ergo: antics. I hope they’re the good kind of Jim Carrey antics, but one never knows. The presence of Angela Lansbury in the cast definitely lends some rays of optimism, though.
Fright Night (8.19) – I can’t say I have any particular fondness for the 1985 original, but that doesn’t make me any less disgruntled by the prospect of a remake. Still, Vampires are chic these days, so I suppose it was bound to happen. They have assembled an impressive cast: Colin Farrell, David Tennant, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Anton Yelchin – all of whom I like. So, it does have the potential to be genuinely funny.
Conan the Barbarian (8.19) – It’s weird, but I’m actually kind of excited about this one, if only because of the decision to cast Jason Momoa (Stargate: Atlantis) as Conan. Other casting decisions – such as Rose McGowan – are also totally in line with the Conan atmosphere. It would have been pretty badass if they’d succeeded in getting Dolph Lundgren to play Conan’s father, but Ron Perlman is also a pretty epic choice. I can’t wait until they roll out the trailers and I can finally see if my hope and excitement is warranted… the odds are against me, but I remain optimistic.
Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World (8.19) – Actually, this really just makes me feel sorry for Dimension Films. It’s been 10 years since Spy Kids came out, and 8 years since the last film in the franchise; the Cortez kids… aren’t really kids anymore. Alexa Vega, who plays Carmen Cortez, is 22. And, frankly, without Alan Cumming… what’s the point? I actually really like the first two Spy Kids movies. They’re fun… but Alan Cumming is a huge part of that.
Untitled 3D Shark Thriller (9.02) – Given that this movie doesn’t even have a working title, I ordinarily wouldn’t include it here; but how could I not talk about something so…. right up my alley? Actually; there isn’t really much to say, except: this is happening. And it’s being brought to you by David R. Ellis (Anaconda)… and that’s epic.
Piranha 3 DD (9.16) – I saw Piranha 3D twice. It was badass. I am thrilled at the prospect of a sequel. The release date is definitely not set in stone yet. IMDB has it for August 2011, other sources have it as September 16… but given that it’s still in pre-production and isn’t fully cast yet, I’m expecting that date to get pushed back further. We’ll see.
Abduction (9.23) – I don’t like Taylor Lautner. The gist here is that he’s adopted, he finds his baby picture on a missing persons website… something about a conspiracy, I don’t know. I DO really want to see a trailer… if only to clarify the several inherent plot holes I spy in the description. Primarily: if it is, in fact, a baby photo, recognizing himself might be a little tricky, unless the parents that abducted him conveniently kept a copy of the same baby photo in the house… but that only speaks to the idiocy of the abductors. This is going to bother me now… GIVE ME A TRAILER, SO I CAN GO BACK TO HATING TAYLOR LAUTNER IN PEACE.
Anonymous (9.30) – I WANT THIS TO COME OUT RIGHT NOW. NOW I SAY!!! Here we have a movie that finally asks the question, “who the fuck was this Shakespeare guy and did he really write all that stuff?”… awesome. The film is based on the assertion that it was actually the Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere, who wrote Shakespeare’s plays. What really blows my mind? It’s being directed by Roland Emmerich (Stargate, Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012). To be fair – he also directed The Patriot; he’s been wanting to break away from his action-movie reputation for a while and diversify his portfolio, and I’m so excited he’s doing it.
Dream House (9.30) – Mystery/Thrillers are awesome. Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz are awesome. Naomi Watts… is. I love the whole everyday-people-uncovering-a-mystery premise, and Jim Sheridan is a great director (In the Name of the Father, My Left Foot, Brothers), so I certainly don’t see this turning into the bad horror movie it sounds like on paper (despite the near certainty of a supernatural twist). And no disrespect to Daniel Craig (love him), but it would have been kind of awesome if Sheridan had gotten Daniel Day-Lewis… they’ve worked together 3 or 4 times now I think.
Real Steel (10.07) – Robots beating the crap out of each other…. and no Michael Bay? Surely you jest! But no… robot boxing. Still no idea whether or not there is an actual plot, but two solid hours of robots beating the hell out of each other in the presence of Hugh Jackman doesn’t seem like a bad idea.
The Three Musketeers (10.14) – This is a mixed bag. I love The Three Musketeers, but I sense the inherent romance and elegance might be stripped away with Paul W. S. Anderson at the helm. He’s the man behind Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil, Alien vs. Predator, Death Race, Resident Evil: Afterlife, and others. Right now, the available media for the film looks good, and some of the casting is really superb (Christoph Waltz as Cardinal Richelieu and Matthew Mcfadyen as Athos) but I remain hesitant; I could happily do without Orlando Bloom, for example. But still, at least it’s a period piece without Keira Knightley… praise the lord.
The Thing (10.14) – Yeah. They’re making it again. I’m by no means opposed to this, mind you, but I’ll be interested to see how this goes. The director is a newbie, and I’m pretty unfamiliar with the work of the rest of the major players on the cast and crew, so I find myself at a frustrating disadvantage in assessing this film’s potential, at least until they release a trailer.
Footloose (10.14) – I danced when Zac Efron backed out of the lead role. I fucking love Footloose, and Zac Efron replacing Kevin Bacon was totally unacceptable. Kenny Wormald, who replaced Efron, definitely looks better for the part: and the boy can definitely dance. Hopefully, he can act too. I’m totally fine with Julianne Hough as Ariel, and Dennis Quaid and Andie MacDowell as Rev. Shaw Moore and Vi Moore is just perfect. I haven’t found any information on the soundtrack yet, so I’ll keep my eyes peeled… here’s hoping!
Contagion (10.21) – This is the latest from the fabulous Steven Soderbergh, with a top-notch cast and a fantastic writer. This is going to be one of THE movies to watch this year. Essentially we’re dealing with some new unknown disease and shit hits the fan. A simple premise is often the best, in my mind.
Now (10.28) – This is a pretty awesome premise; aging is a thing of the past, and people live forever… that is, if they can afford to. Instead of dollars, time is currency, and if you go into debt, Time Keepers come and collect. That’s genius. It’s also the greatest plot-device for assembling a cast of only young, beautiful people, such as Olivia Wilde (I told you, she’s in everything this year), Amanda Seyfried, Alex Pettyfer, Cillian Murphy, Justin Timberlake and Yaya DaCosta. It was also written and directed by Andrew Niccol, whose credits include Gattaca, The Truman Show, and The Terminal, so I’m reasonably excited.
Puss in Boots (11.4) – Yeah. He got a spin off. There isn’t really much more to say.
Immortals (11.11) – Gods and Titans and Mickey Rourke, oh my! Tarsem Singh is a really interesting filmmaker, so I’m having a hard time imagining where this is going; he made The Cell and The Fall, which are both very different and beautiful movies, so I’m very interested to see his take on Greek mythology.
11 11 11 (11.11) – Some horror movie… Heaven’s 11th gate opens or something… According to IMDB it’s currently filming yet there’s no cast list. It’s being directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II, III & IV), so gore is inevitable. Though, right now it sounds disgustingly Shyamalan-like. Anyway. It looks stupid. Shame, too… I always thought the 11:11 phenomenon had a lot of movie potential.
Jack and Jill (11.11) – Four words: Adam Sandler in Drag. Follow up question: Why? Basically Adam Sandler plays a man, and that man’s twin sister… Jack and Jill. Fabulous, right? Rounding out the cast we have Al Pacino, Katie Holmes, Regis Philbin, Dana Carvey and – I kid you not – Shaquille O’Neal. How the hell do projects like this get green-lighted?
The Muppets (11.23) – There has been a tragic lack of muppets recently, and it’s about time they remedied that. They brought in Flight of the Conchords director James Bobin, and a stellar comedy cast, including Amy Adams, Ricky Gervais, Zach Galifinakis and Rashida Jones. Other rumored participants include Jack Black, John Krasinski, Katy Perry, and Billy Crystal. The project is currently filming, so we’re still waiting on more info… but I’m excited.
Arthur Christmas (11.23) – I don’t know whether I find the trailer funny or annoying… but the premise is good and goofy. All I know is Santa has a son named Arthur and a giant sleigh that looks like an alien spacecraft. Congratulations, Sony Pictures Animation, you have my attention.
New Years Eve (12.9) – The question is, will it be Love Actually (meaning good) or morph into Valentine’s Day (meaning tedious)? Well, considering it’s from the same writer and director as Valentine’s Day, my hopes are not high. Just as with Valentine’s Day, they’ve assembled quite the ensemble cast, ranging from Robert De Niro to Lea Michele to Michelle Pfeiffer to Frankie Muniz, and just about everyone in between. There’s hardly a name on the list you won’t recognize. So I suppose my next question is, can we stop re-hashing the same stupid formula, and do something different, please?
Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol (12.16) – Well, I’m sorry to say that soon you’ll have start comparing your life to Mission Impossible 5 next time you want to emphasize the difficulty of a situation, because on December 16th, we WILL be getting Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. And frankly, I think this is one of the more interesting assemblages of talent this year; obviously we have Tom Cruise, and Simon Pegg returning… but we also have Jeremy Renner, and Lost‘s Josh Holloway. Most interesting to me is the director: Brad Bird, director of The Incredibles and Ratatouille. Still, with JJ Abrams returning as a writer, and stepping in as a producer, Ghost Protocol is sure to be dynamic and well-crafted.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (12.21) – The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels are amongst the best foreign films I’ve seen in recent years… and if anyone can come close to capturing their grit and reality, it’s definitely David Fincher. I also have no reservations accepting Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist, or Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander. Stellan Skarsgard and Christopher Plummer are also fantastic casting choices. I’m really excited to see this story reach a broader American audience, though I would still encourage everyone to go out and see the Swedish original.
A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas (12.23) – I mentioned this last year, but apparently they bumped the release to 2011. In any case, it is REALLY in Post-Production now, so I see no reason for it to get bumped again.