Saturday, November 6, 2010

What's Ahead in 2011

I chuckled at a recent online quote from Iron Man director Jon Favreau about next summer's movie prospects. Favreau is prepping a new popcorn epic called Cowboys and Aliens, with Harrison Ford. I give Favreau credit for not jumping on the sequel bandwagon, which happens every summer. Anyway, Favreau is worried about his film's chances in the middle of next summer's genre avalanche. Favreau said, "It's gonna be Omaha Beach. There's going to be blood on the carpet and teeth on the floor just about every weekend next summer." Meaning: the slate is so crowded that something's going to get buried. Maybe a lot of somethings.

So I was inspired to take an early look at what's ahead in 2011. I usually save this column for January, but this time I couldn't resist. I found a lot of retreads, a lot of superheroes, and some interesting gems in the mess. See what you think:


THE GREEN HORNET. Seth Rogen lost some serious weight to get this role, so husky guys like me should probably give him the benefit of the doubt.
THE RITE. Did you know there's a real exorcism school lodged within the Vatican? Neither did I. Interested? Me neither. But it's Anthony Hopkins, back in genre mode!


SANCTUM. I saw the trailer for this one, and it looked nice. Producer James Cameron supplied the same 3D technology he used for Avatar to make the film, about a deep-trench expedition (I think) trapped far underground.
DRIVE ANGRY 3D. Nicolas Cage plays a dead guy who escapes from Hell to get revenge on the cultists who murdered his daughter. Evidently he drives really, really fast to do this. Hence the title.


BATTLE: LOS ANGELES. This one is being promoted as a cross between Cloverfield and Black Hawk Down. Aggghhhhh! Shaky-cam alert! Shaky-cam alert!!
THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU. Yet another film based on a Philip K. Dick property (Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, you name it) with Matt Damon as a Senate hopeful who bucks Fate by falling in love. No, seriously, Fate is majorly pissed; Fate is actually a bunch of men in dark suits who chase you down if you don't turn the right corner, push the right button, etc, etc.
SUCKER PUNCH. Zack Snyder, who made Dawn of the Dead and Watchmen, ramps it up again with this live action comic book about hot-looking babes fighting monsters, ninjas, giant robots, indoor plumbing...okay, I made that last one up.


SCREAM 4. After ten years, Ghostface is back. Maybe this time it'll be Courtney Cox under the mask, and she'll go after her ex. Fool around on me, huh? We'll see about that! Eat THIS! Slash...slash...
THE THING. This is a prequel to the John Carpenter classic, relating the events at the Norwegian outpost. I predict the dog gets away at the end.


PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES. Johnny Depp is back as Jack Sparrow, looking for the Fountain of Youth with Penelope Cruz. Wouldn't we all.
THOR. Marvel Comics is back with another superhero, and Anthony Hopkins plays Odin. No-name Chris Hemsworth sure looks the part in the pictures.
KUNG FU PANDA: THE KABOOM OF DOOM. I only listed this one because I love the title.


X-MEN: FIRST CLASS. The Marvel onslaught continues with this prequel to the earlier X-Men movies. We get James McEvoy as a young Charles Xavier and Michael "Inglourious Basterds" Fassbinder as a young Magneto. I'm still cheesed they didn't sign McEvoy to play Bilbo in The Hobbit, but you can't have everything, I guess.
GREEN LANTERN. Ryan Reynolds fills the emerald tights as one of DC Comics' most popular heroes. What, you thought it was all about the Bat at DC?
RISE OF THE APES. Yet another prequel, this one from Fox, in a loose remake of the long-ago Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, with James Franco as a present-day scientist working with highly-evolved monkeys, or something like that. Isn't it cool how I can get away with such long sentence fragments? Just keep adding commas!
CARS 2. I only mention it because it's Pixar's 2011 model. No car pun intended.


TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON. Which is where I wish all those big-ass robots would just go away to live, and leave the rest of us alone. And take Shia LeBoeuf with you, please.
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2. Remember Favreau's comment about Omaha Beach? This is the cruise missile that will probably do the most damage. I give Marvel Comics props for having the cajones to bring out their Captain America flick the following week.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER. I'm still hoping they move the date on this, because I'd love to see it, but I have a feeling that the boy wizard will eat it for breakfast and spit it out for lunch. A big thumbs up, though, for deciding to film it as a World War II period piece.
COWBOYS AND ALIENS. Guess what, Favreau? You're probably right; those are your teeth on the floor.




    FRIGHT NIGHT. Colin Farrell plays the vampire next door in this remake of the '80s classic. Anton Yelchin, who I believe played Chekov in the new STAR TREK, plays the kid here.
    CONAN 3D. Are you kidding? Doe John Milius know about this? It looks like August is truly turning into Remake Hell.
    FINAL DESTINATION 5. Okay, I won't lie. I plan to see this. I love the demented Rube Goldberg-style deathtrap set-ups. The guiltiest of guilty pleasures.
    SPY KIDS 4: ARMAGEDDON. It's Jessica Alba in a tight black leather catsuit. What else do you need to know?


    STRAW DOGS. Remake Hell trickles over into September, although this time they're going after Sam Peckinpah. Sacrilege! Sacrilege! The action moves from the English countryside to the deep South. Rod Lurie directs.


    CONTAGION. Not much has been revealed about this, but check out the details: directed by Steven Soderbergh, starring Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Marian Cotillard, about a viral epidemic thats leapfrogs around the globe. IMAX and 3D screens are being reserved for it. Who knows?


    THE TWILIGHT SAGA - BREAKING DAWN PART I. I didn't realize the book was big enough to warrant a Part 2. Then again, I haven't read any of the books or seen any of the movies.

    And finally, check out this final month. Unbelievable!


    THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. David Fincher, the director of this year's best film (so far) THE SOCIAL NETWORK, is directing the English-language version of the worldwide best-seller, starring Daniel Craig.
    MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL. Tom Cruise returns with Ving Rhames. I think the premise has Cruise passing the reins to Jeremy Renner. We'll see.
    SHERLOCK HOLMES 2. All the principals are back -- Robert Downey, Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, director Guy Ritchie. I wish they'd gotten Depp to play Moriarty. I keep forgetting you can't have everything.
    HUGO CABRET. Last year's Caldecott winner for Best Children's Picture Book, about a young French lad who lives in the Paris train station and meets Georges Melies, is currently being filmed for 3D by Martin Scorsese. The cast includes Ben Kingsley, Chloe Moretz, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Christopher Lee.
    THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN: THE SECRET OF THE UNICORN. Steven Spielberg directs Daniel Craig, Andy Serkis, Jamie Bell, and Simon Pegg in this motion capture extravaganza, with Peter Jackson's assistance. Check for early pictures. They look good.

    And that's it. December looks fantastic, and the rest of the year ain't bad, either.

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