Here is one of my favorite lists, the movies of 2011 I’m most excited for.
Granted, it may seem a bit odd for me to be posting a 2011 list before all the 2010 lists are done, but I can’t help myself.
Last year’s list was a pretty good showing. Granted, a few of my choices last year were underwhelming, like Green Zone, Dinner for Schmucks, Alice in Wonderland, and Iron Man 2, (although, I will point out I enjoyed a few of them enough that I think they’re underrated). I also placed Shutter Island in the honorable mention category, which was a mistake, it deserved far more. Clearly, I made some missteps in judgment.
However, there were some, like Inception, Kick Ass, Scott Pilgrim, Toy Story 3, Harry Potter 7.1, and Tron: Legacy that made the list a success.
This year’s list will obviously not be exhaustive. There are plenty of 2011 films I just don’t know enough about yet, so they’ll sadly be missed. The list obviously tends toward blockbuster fare, because those are the films hyped furthest in advance, thus they are on my rader already. Also, I’m a nerd… so.
I could probably come up with honorable mentions all day, but a few off the top of my head would have to include The Hangover 2, Winnie the Pooh, and Moneyball.
Perhaps fewer will be missed this year, as I’m upping the total number of films listed from 10 to 25! With that many movies listed, there will obviously be several duds. I’m just hoping that 13 of these are hits, keeping me over the 50% mark.
Here it is, the most epic list I’ve ever made, in chronological order.
1. The Adjustment Bureau – March 4
Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, and John Slattery in an adaptation of a Philip K. Dick story. Yes, please.
Granted, Ben Affleck is Damon’s buddy, and he was in the atrocious Dick adaptation, Paycheck, but while he is certainly impressing with his directorial work, Affleck is no Matt Damon!
I know Emily and I will at least enjoy the film on a visual level. With Emily Blunt and Matt Damon involved, we’d probably pay 10 bucks to watch the movie with the volume off.
The premise definitely has potential, and I’m really hoping this will be a good time at the movies.
[The trailer below is actually a short featurette.]
2. Battle: Los Angeles – March 11
As I’ve said before, this sub-genre is hit or miss. If done well, it could be one of the best cinematic experiences of the year. If done poorly, it could be one of the biggest wastes of time and money.
The trailers have me excited that this will fall on the better end of the War of the Worlds spectrum.
[The trailer below is a newer trailer than the one previously posted here on Trailer Park.]
3. Paul – March 18
On paper, I’ve been excited about this one for a long time. Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, Jason Bateman, Kristin Wiig, Jane Lynch, Bill Hader, etc. This should be a comedic goldmine.
Yet, I must confess, the trailers have had me a little worried.
I’m going to be optimistic and hope that this film will effectively cash in on the potential of the cast and writers. If not, I’ll probably spend the week after I see it watching nothing but Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz over and over to inspire me to hope it’s just an aberration.
4. Sucker Punch – March 25
I like the concept. I enjoy the idea of imagination as more than mere escape, but as a way to better understand ordinary things, at times traumatic things, in a safe (and epic) way. It makes us braver when facing those ordinary and terrible things we face in life.
I know, it will probably be equal parts stupid and epic, but if nothing else, it will be bad-ass, gorgeous ladies and fun sci-fi action. Thus, in my book, it can’t be all bad.
5. Source Code – April 1
As the trailer goes, the film could go either way. It could be a smart, sharp, enjoyable sci-fi film. It could be a lame Bruckheimer-esque explosionfest.
Fortunately, the trailer isn’t all we have to go on. First, Michelle Monaghan is involved. In my book, that’s always good. Also, Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright are in the film, and they do solid work.
Yet, most importantly, Duncan Jones is directing. If you’re unfamiliar with the name, he directed Moon. If you haven’t seen Moon, you need to remedy that post-haste. It’s silly good. Meaning, since Jones is involved, I’m going to go see this film in the hope it’s even half as good as Moon.
6. Your Highness – April 8
This year, for my birthday, I get Zooey Deschanel. At least, at the movie theater I do.
I’m not exactly sure why it’s taken this long for there to be an R rated fantasy film. Fan boys and girls come in all ages, so why would the fare always be geared toward younger audiences. Sure, the huge budget stuff has to be that way, because you need to aim for everyone. However, you can have a manageable budget and succeed as an R rated film, which is what Your Highness aims to do.
The comedic chops of the cast is well established, as well as the hotness. I’m really hoping this film is good, and that it succeeds, so that there is more where this came from.
7. Thor – May 6
The geek who lives in my heart was sad about the lackluster showing we’ve been having for superhero films over the last two years. Iron Man 2 was disappointing, because Marvel Studios made Favs shove two films worth of ideas and character development into one movie. Wolverine was an epic train wreck, and there wasn’t much else going on. There were smaller comics that got great movies, like Kick-Ass and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. And, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about those one bit. I just longed for the epic superhero movie, like Nolan’s Batman films, and the first Iron Man.
Fortunately, I kept myself from overindulging in alcohol or resorting to narcotics because I knew that 2011 and 2012 were coming; two years that will promise to be so packed with superhero epicness that they could potentially make up for the recent drought with room to spare.
First on the docket, Thor. It should be saved from the turmoil that afflicted IM2, while continuing with Marvel’s refreshing departure from what one would expect in the realm of comic book films. Bringing in talent like Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, and The Wire’s Idris Elba, with a Shakespearean director in Kenneth Branagh, Marvel is clearly paying close attention to how to achieve a particular feel for each of their films.
Come May, I hope Thor can kick off the ’11/’12 superhero party in style.
8. X-Men: First Class – June 3
The third X-Men film was so bad, followed by Wolverine, that originally I couldn’t care any less that a new X-Men film was on its way. FOX had just made it clear they could screw up anything, and were pretty dead set on doing exactly that with their comic licenses. Yet, the closer we get, and the more news that comes out, the more excited I get.
First, it’s directed by Matthew Vaughan, who, with Layer Cake, Stardust and Kick-Ass, hasn’t done me wrong yet. It’s a period film about the birth of the X-Men, so, there’s a level of ambition involved. There’s also a remarkably talented cast, featuring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, Kevin Bacon, and January Jones.
They’re seeing this as the first film in a new trilogy. My primary hope is that, while they are calling it a prequel, they will go so far as to pretend the previous films never happened, and start from scratch. That would seem to be the case, but since the actual first class of X-Men are absent here, I guess that isn’t happening.
Once a trailer becomes available, I promise you’ll be able to find it here on RtM.
9. Super 8 – June 10
JJ Abrams is back with another mystery project. We know it will be a sci-fi homage to Spielberg’s work in the 70’s and 80’s. We know Spielberg himself is producing and helped come up with the story. We know Elle Fanning and Kyle Chandler are in it. We know Abrams will bring his usual mystery box and supernatural flare.
Everyone saw the teaser trailer before Iron Man 2, but we’re promised a new 30 second spot before the Super Bowl.
10. Green Lantern – June 17
Perhaps as much as any other movie coming out this year, I’m really pulling for this one. With the exception of Batman and Superman, DC just can’t get their shit sorted out for making film franchises out of their characters. Where Marvel sold off loads of characters, leaving Marvel Studios in the lurch with their most popular brands now that they are making their own movies, DC has an exclusive deal with Warner Brothers. Maybe now that the Harry Potter franchise will be behind them, we will get some good movement on new comic franchises.
DC has done well getting their adult titles out, with movies based on Vertigo Comics and such, but when it comes to capes, there has been little to see. I love DC. They started the revolution of giving superheroes darker, grittier lives. The writing is there, the characters are myriad, they just need to get some movies out.
Thus, for this to happen, Green Lantern has to succeed. It has to make money if there is hope for future installments, as well as films from other DC characters like Green Arrow, Aquaman, and The Flash. There was a brilliant idea at one point for a film called Supermax, which would be the first Green Arrow film, in which he is framed for a crime he didn’t commit and has to heist his way out of a prison specifically designed to keep super villains in. Characters like the Riddler, Lex Luthor, and the Joker would make appearances. The idea of making a comic film based on a sort of one-off storyline is inspired. The idea has since seemed to have fallen by the wayside, but perhaps a big success in Green Lantern would get it back into the realm of possibility.
11. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two – July 15
What really needs to be said? It all comes down to this. A phenomenon which been a huge part of the worlds of literature and film for over a decade finally comes to its conclusion. When we finished the last book, we knew we still had movies on the way. Not this time.
This is our last new Harry Potter ever, that is, unless Rowling makes the awesome decision in ten years or so to write some adult Harry Potter magical noir fiction crime dramas, with Harry as an Auror, tracking down magical crooks and killers. It could be loads of fun. Seriously, JK, call me. I’ve got ideas.
Anyway, this is it. Even the successful and enjoyable HP 7.1 was just prelude to this movie. To say this film is going to be epic would be a disservice to how big this movie is going to be. I can’t really wrap my brain around all the emotions I’ll probably feel before, during, and after I see this movie for the first time.
12. Captain America: The First Avenger – July 22
The second part of Marvel Studios 2011 one-two punch. This is the last individual installment leading up to 2012’s Avengers film. Chris Evans didn’t make any friends by being in the abysmal Fantastic Four franchise, but it would be unfair to ignore some of the great genre entertainment he’s been a part of, as recently as Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and as far back as his excellent turn in Danny Boyle’s Sunshine.
He has the chops to pull it off, as long as the story is there and the rest of the film is engaging. Marvel Studios is taking risks, in this case setting the story during WWII, which obviously is part of the traditional backstory for the character, but is a rough sell to many of the junior high kids who’ll need to show up in droves to make the film a success.
I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m excited until I see a reason not to be.
We’ll get to see our first trailer for the film Super Bowl Sunday.
13. Horrible Bosses – July 29 (tentative)
I don’t know much about this one, and it could become this year’s Dinner for Schmucks: funny, but failing to fully cash in on a great cast. This one features Jason Sudeikis, Jamie Foxx, Jason Bateman, Colin Farrell, Donald Sutherland, Charlie Day!!, Julie Bowen, Jennifer Anniston and Kevin Spacey.
According to wikipedia, the premise is that, presumably Sudeikis, Bateman and Day are “three friends [who] conspire to murder their awful bosses when they realize they are standing in the way of their happiness.” Sounds like it could be a darkly funny good time, especially with this cast. Color me excited.
14. Cowboys and Aliens – July 29
Directed by Jon Favreau, starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell, and Olivia Wilde. What else do you need?
I haven’t actually read the comic, so I can’t comment on the strength of the source material. I didn’t even bother watching last year’s Jonah Hex (then again, who did?). This looks to make right where that other cowboy themed adaptation of a comic went wrong. Also, for the record, Olivia Wilde is more talented, and is sooooo much hotter than Megan Fox. With Wilde teamed up with Craig, that’s a whole lotta sexy.
I also love when Keith Carradine plays a cowboy.
I am so seeing this movie opening night.
15. Contagion – October 21
Like many films over the last few years, Contagion epitomizes the idea of a dream team. Directed by Steven Soderberg, starring Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Marion Cotillard, and Laurence Fishburne.
Just like the title makes clear, it’s about a disease outbreak, and a team of international genius doctors brought in to stop it. It’s also given the genre ‘action-thriller.’ I sure hope this is as awesome as it could be.
16. Now – October 28
I’m actually a bit sad about this one, because the premise is an idea I had for a sci-fi story, but they beat me to it.
My idea, called Stopwatch, was that, as medical science advances, to the point of most probably being able to grow organs, humans could potentially live indefinitely, or at least for hundreds of years. If space travel never becomes a reality, then overpopulation would become an issue. Thus, minutes of life would become a commodity. You would be given an allotment of minutes at birth, along with a chip which stops your heart when you run out of time, and you have a watch or similar device that keeps track of your remaining time. Thus, time literally becomes the world’s most valuable commodity.
People who accomplish great humanitarian feats, as well as the extremely powerful and wealthy, would be awarded or sold ‘Infinity Passes,’ shutting their chip down entirely so they can live as long as they choose. However, the moderately wealthy will need to buy minutes from the down and out to keep living. Drug addicts, the cripplingly poor, people who can’t afford medical treatment for their kids… they could sell their own minutes to willing buyers.
You can leave minutes to relatives and friends, in the case you die in an accident or something, and obviously there will be hackers and activists of different stripes trying to steal from or bring down the system for various reasons. That’s the gist of the idea, with a bunch of other things that came to me mixed in.
Anyway, Now is set in a world where aging has stopped, and you must pay for time to stay alive. It stars Justin Timberlake, Olivia Wilde, Amanda Seyfried, and Cillian Murphy. Before The Social Network, I would have rolled my eyes at Timberlake’s inclusion. Now, I’m suspending judgment instead.
Now that they are taking away the originality of my idea, I hope they at least do it well.
17. The Muppets – November 23
In Forgetting Sarah Marshall, we’ve already seen what Jason Segel can do writing for puppets. Now we get to see it in feature length form, and with the most famous puppets in the world. Segel co-wrote and stars in the film. Other stars are Amy Adams and Ricky Gervais.
Do you need any other reason to see this movie? If so, you might want to head to a therapist, because you’re a crazy-person.
18. Hugo Cabret – December 9
Great source material. Martin Scorcese directing. Chloe Moretz, Jude Law, Michael Pitt, Sacha Baron Cohen, Christopher Lee, Ben Kingsley, Emily Mortimer and Ray Winstone acting.
Yeah, you had me at, “Hello.”
19. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol – December 16
Perhaps the franchise is due for another dud. M:I 1 and 3 were really fun, but 2 was the worst movie I’ve ever seen in the theater… and I saw S.W.A.T. in the theater.
I’m hoping this one is akin to M:I 3, because the talent involved is pretty exciting. JJ Abrams is responsible for the story again, Pixar’s Brad Bird is directing, and Tom Cruise and Ving Rhames, the mainstays for the franchise, are back. However, Simon Pegg is reprising his role from the third film, and this time around Jeremy Renner and Josh Holloway are coming along for the ride. I’ve read rumors that this film will shift the franchise from Cruise to Renner, which would be aaammmaaaazzziiinnng, but who knows if that’s true.
20. Sherlock Holmes 2 – December 16
After a successful first try, Guy Ritchie and the boys are back for round two. December was good to them last time, and that was the month of Avatar, so hopefully they’ll create a good film that does well enough to warrant a third installment in the franchise.
Among other reasons this one is interesting, like Moriarty and Mycroft being in this one, there is also the fact that Noomi Rapace stars in the film, and thus will be competing with the adaptation of the role she played in the Swedish Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The plot thickens.
21. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – December 21
I wasn’t as crazy about the novel as everyone else was. I didn’t hate it, but it felt like pretty standard popular fiction fare to me. Granted, the much smarter end of popular fiction, but still pop fiction.
The original Swedish film was pretty good, but that’s not why I’m excited for this one. With Fincher fresh off his wonderful directing turn from The Social Network, he reteams with Rooney Mara, and supposedly has changed the ending to make it a bit more satisfying. I like the book’s ending a lot more than the film’s ending, so I’m intrigued by what might the new ending might look like.
I’m excited to see the rise of Rooney Mara as well. Her dad helps run the Giants, so she has a special place in my heart.
If those reasons weren’t enough, we also have Daniel Craig, Stellan Skarsgård, Robin Wright and Christopher Plummer sweetening the pot.
22. The Adventures of Tintin: the Secret of the Unicorn – December 23
It seems like this has been in the works forever. I’ve never read the comics, but I loved the cartoon as a kid.
It’s one of those motion capture films, and with the right story it could be pretty fantastic.
It’s Spielberg’s pet project, but the incomparable Stephen Moffat and Edgar Wright have writing credits on the screenplay! The cast is pretty amazing too, featuring Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, Jamie Bell, Cary Elwes, Andy Serkis, Nick Frost and Mackenzie Crook.
I’d say, “I know what I’ll be doing for Christmas this year,” but I’m not sure I will be able to wait the two days for Christmas. Maybe I’ll be seeing it for a second time Christmas Day.
23. Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest – 2011 TBA
I’ve written about this before, so see that here.
It just screened at Sundance, and the only member of Tribe at the festival was Phife Dawg. Apparently, he got emotional during the Q&A, which “left attendees visibly moved and resulted in a standing ovation.”
When asked why he chose to be involved in the project, the LA Times reports that he responded as so:
“I wish the rest of them were here,”Phife said, after resting his head on the lectern. “They don’t understand. I’ve been listening to you guys’ responses throughout the movie. Q-Tip has no idea how many people love him. When he was up there cracking jokes, yo, I almost pissed my pants!”
Wow, the idea that Q-Tip wouldn’t realize how many people love him is amazing to me.
I’m sad that Rapaport changed the title, but if it helps the rest of the band come to terms with the film, then so be it.
I can’t wait to watch this movie!
[Sundance coverage via@LA Times]
24. The Rum Diary – 2011 TBA
Depp stars in this adaptation of his late friend Hunter S. Thompson’s novel. Some other favorites of mine, like Richard Jenkins, are also in the cast. Depp is due for a really great performance, and I’m hoping this is it. Although, with a TBA release date, it’s always possible this gets pushed back until 2012. Then maybe it will make this list two years in a row.
25. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and The Cabin in the Woods – The dreaded ‘Suspended Indefinitely’
The Cabin in the Woods: As the poster indicates, this movie was supposed to be out already. Co-written and produced by Mr. Joss Whedon, it fell prey to all that trouble that MGM has been happening over the last two years, and thus has been suspended indefinitely. If things come together for distribution, the movie could be out sometime this year, as far as I know, it’s done. Yet, it could also be pushed back beyond this year.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark: Similar in circumstance to the Cabin in the Woods, but this time, it’s Guillermo del Toro instead of Joss Whedon. Del Toro wrote it, Guy Pearce is in it, it’s ready to go, and was supposed to come out the 21st of this month, but because of some in-house shit with Miramax, it’s suspended indefinitely.
The trailer was up forever ago, but that was because it was still due out in January.