Monday, January 03, 2011

2011 movie outlook: 20 flicks I'm really looking forward to

Predicting how any year will turn out during its first week is, of course, the definition of a fool's errand, but I've certainly been called worse, so here goes: Twenty flicks I'm definitely looking out for this year, in order of release date:

"The Cabin in the Woods": The fact this was delayed for many months simply for some post-filming 3-D conversion certainly isn't promising, but in better news, it is a horror movie from the minds of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"/"Angel" mastermind Joss Whedon and co-conspirator Drew Goddard, so I'm in. (Jan. 14)

"Cedar Rapids": Ed Helms of "The Office" stars in this Miguel Arteta comedy about insurance salesmen at a conference in the titular city. This looks like the broadest kind of comedy, so here's hoping it plays wide too. (Feb. 11)

"Jane Eyre": Mia Wasikowska, easily one of my favorite young actresses, steps into the now-all-too-familiar role, but with "Sin Nombre" director Cary Fukunaga in charge and the truly haunting feel of the trailer, I'm betting this will have something new to offer. (March 11)

"Paul": Director Greg Mottola reunites the "Shaun of the Dead"/"Hot Fuzz" comedy team of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost for this flick about two geeks who encounter the titular alien on their way to Comic-Con. (March 18)

"Sucker Punch": If anything, director Zack Snyder's first movie based on an original idea - about a young woman who fights her way out of a mental institution - just might be too crazy, but I'm almost certain it will be a heck of a lot of fun, too. (March 25)

"Source Code": Director Duncan Jones follows up his fantastic debut, the seriously smart sci-fi flick "Moon," with this fairly generic sounding thriller about a man (Jake Gyllenhaal) who changes bodies with a soldier to stop a train bombing. Hope for the best here. (April 1)

"Your Highness": If you're looking for more than high stoner comedy, stay away, but director David Gordon Green proved he's a master of it with "Pineapple Express" and he's back with more this time around - with James Franco, Natalie Portman, Danny McBride and Zooey Deschanel all in tow. (April 8)

"Hanna": Saoirse Ronan reunites with "Atonement" director Joe Wright for this tale of a young lady raised by her father, an ex-CIA agent, to be the ultimate assassin. Right up my alley. (April 8)

"Water for Elephants": Sara Gruen's best-selling novel, easily one of my favorites, gets a cast worthy of the grand historical romance it unfurls at a traveling circus: Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon, Christoph Waltz and Hal Holbrook all star in one of the movies I'm most looking forward to for next year. (April 22)

"African Cats": The Disney Nature movies have all been beauties to behold, but this one should finally have a great story to match as it focuses on two families, one of lions and one of tigers, and what they do to survive and thrive in Africa. (April 22)

"X-Men: First Class": After reviving the comic book movie with the big ball of fun that was "Kick-Ass," director Matthew Vaughn now tries to breath much-needed life into the mutant saga, with a new class including James McAvoy as Professor Charles Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magneto and even Reel Fanatic fave Jennifer Lawrence as Raven/Mystique. (June 3)

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2": It will certainly be a bit sad when the grand saga ends, but part one - while not the best of Harry's flicks - set the stage for a rousing finale. (July 15)

"Cowboys and Aliens": Movie titles just don't get much more straightforward than that, and unlike, say, "Snakes on a Plane," this one should deliver all the fun it promises. When aliens invade the old American West, they find they have to take on not only Indiana Jones, but James Bond too. (July 29)

"30 Minutes or Less": "Zombieland" director Ruben Fleischer serves up what should be a second helping of very funny with this flick about two fledgling criminals who strap a bomb to the chest of a pizza delivery boy (Jesse Eisenberg) to get him to rob a bank. I promise it will be a whole lot funnier than I'm making it sound here. (Aug. 12)

"The Help": Another of my recent favorite novels, Kathyrn Stockett's "The Help," comes to the big screen with a great young actress (Emma Stone) in the lead role of Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan, a Southern woman who convinces a group of Mississippi maids to tell their stories in the '60s. Sounds more than a little "Oprah" to me, and it is, but it should also be a lot of fun to watch. (Aug. 12)

"Moneyball": There are few genres I love better than a great baseball movie, and this flick based on Michael Lewis' book about the Oakland A's should hopefully deliver exactly that. Features Brad Pitt as bean counter Billy Beane and Philip Seymour Hoffman as A's manager Art Howe. (Sept. 23)

"The Muppets": After what seems like at least a three-year wait, there will indeed be a new Muppets movie next November, with this shortened title and our beloved puppets staging a show (of course) to save their theater from some evil oil barons. (Nov. 23)

"Hugo Cabret": It should be a banner year for literary adaptations, as now Martin Scorsese takes on this great children's novel by Brian Selznick about a boy who grows up in the walls of a Paris train station and encounters the world of George Melies' automatons. With Asa Butterfield as young Hugo and Hit-Girl Chloe Moretz co-starring, I can't see how even thoroughly unnecessary 3-D will ruin this. (Dec. 9)

"The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn": No less than Steven Spielberg directs the first installment of an expected trilogy as the young Belgian detective finally comes to the big screen and, this time out, hunts for treasure on a sunken ship. (Dec. 23)

"We Bought a Zoo": Director Cameron Crowe - at last - returns to making movies with what should be a fun ride, the story of a man (Matt Damon) and his family who indeed move to the English countryside and buy and operate a zoo.

And there you have it. I'm more than certain there are some I've forgotten, so please feel free to let me know what they are or just sound off on your favorites. Peace out.


J. Marquis said...

I saw a preview for "Sucker Punch" and I have to say it looked awesome. My wife said it looked like it was made especially for me and 13 year old boys everywhere.

Reel Fanatic said...

I had the exact same reaction, Mr. Marquis .. I'll be shocked if it's anything but a wild and fun ride

*lynne* said...

I only rarely go to the theatre and catch movies "live": in 2010 only Avatar and Harry Potter 7.1 received such honors.

That said, next year I know I will be watching the final Harry Potter film in the theatre. Depending on the reviews I might drag the hubby to see Tintin, I grew up on the series, and would love to see it translated into live action and big screen :)

Others, like Paul, Cabin in the Woods, Cowboys & Aliens, are already on our Netflix queue, LoL!

Reel Fanatic said...

I should probably adapt to that strategy, Lynne, but I think I'll always be a sucker for watching at least one movie a week in a theater

Angela said...

I saw a preview for "Sucker Punch" and I have to say it looked awesome. My wife said it looked like it was made especially for me and 13 year old boys everywhere.