Wednesday, January 05, 2011

2011 Most Anticipated Movies, Part 1

There's no way to tell at this early stage what all the most exciting movies in 2011 are going to be. At best, we're grasping at straws, betting on past performance, and investing in what looks good on paper. But it's a start. And going back to when i was a kid, I was always thrilled by looking ahead at an entire year's worth of movies. From the future! I'm going to start back up with my seasonal movie previews in the next couple days. But I'd like to start with a very unofficial look ahead at the movie projects that have me most intrigued for 2011.

In alphabetical order...

I have no idea what to expect out of first-time director George Nolfi with The Adjustment Bureau, but the trailer, if nothing else, promises some exciting chemistry between Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, as well as a slick conceit that blends Dark City with Catch Me If You Can and the Bourne movies.

Directed by Paul Feig (Freaks and Geeks) and co-written by Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids has all the makings of a fantastic comedy, with a cast full of tremendously funny women: Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy, and Ellie Kemper. Plus Jon Hamm and Rose Byrne. And a small but no-doubt pivotal role for Melanie Hutsell!

Look, I don't care how much people hate on it, I think the Natalie Portman/Ashton Kutcher rom-com No Strings Attached looks charming. No doubt I'm going to have a similar uphill battle with Portman's Black Swan co-star Mila Kunis and her own fuck-buddy comedy Friends with Benefits with Justin Timberlake. And give me all the hell you want, but JT has his clothes off in a whole hell of a lot of the red-band trailer. And he and Kunis seem totally adorable together. And Patricia Clarkson! Hey, you all liked Easy A, right? Well it's got the same director, okay? Stop looking at me like that.

I don't suppose I need to list all the reasons why I'm psyched for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2, right? I know Part 1 wasn't the best of the Potter movies (that, for me, is Half-Blood Prince, followed by Order of the Phoenix), but as far as the people complaining that it was a complete waste of a movie that had no value but in serving as an empty cash grab for Warner Brothers? Haters to the left. Regardless, all my favorite emotional climaxes are yet to come, and I so cannot wait.

Director Duncan Jones made one heck of a splash with Moon, and while Source Code looks to be a definite step into the mainstream, a) he could do worse than Jake Gyllenhaal, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright, and Michelle Monaghan for a cast, and b) Moon certainly suggests that Jones has the stuff to inject something new into the time-travel-to-save-the-past story.

J.J. Abrams has really nailed down how to deliver a satisfying mainstream blockbuster. There's still one hell of a shroud of mystery over Super 8, but it has a Cloverfield ring to it, and I really loved that one.

Errol Morris's new documentary, Tabloid, showed up at the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals last September and got a strong reception. The movie follows the sensational coverage in 1970s Britain of a woman who either abducted a Mormon man and chained him up for sex or else attempted to rescue and deprogram the love of her life. I'd probably already be in even if the movie wasn't made by the same man who gave us The Fog of War.

Sarah Polley comes back with her directorial follow-up to 2007's lovely Away From Her with Take This Waltz. The plot description alludes to Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen as a married couple who get shaken up by a charming third wheel. Oh, and Sarah Silverman as Rogen's sister. It's not a total slam-dunk, but I am incredibly intrigued and I've got enough faith built up on Polley that I'll be right there for this.

Not even subpar efforts like X-Men 3 and Wolverine have dampened my affection for Charles Xavier's band of mutants, and my excitement for X-Men: First Class (despite my eye-rolling annoyance at the new rebooting trend) was cemented by the brilliant cast: McAvoy! Fassbender! Jennifer Lawrence! I'll even accept Nicholas Hoult as Beast and January Jones as Emma Frost, despite their respective limitations. Matthew Vaughn, I know I hated Kick-Ass, but please don't hold that against me.

Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody are back together with Young Adult, where Charlize Theron returns to her hometown with intentions on winning back Patrick Wilson. As anyone would. I had a few problems with Juno but generally feel like it's been piled on too much. Strangely, in the years since, Reitman was lauded for Up in the Air, while Cody was alternately ignored for her contributions to United States of Tara and smacked down for Jennifer's Body. As far as I'm concerned, that is all the exact opposite of what should have happened. Hopefully Young Adult will be good enough to turn the tide for Ms. Cody (and give Ms. Theron her first solid role in years).

Next post: Anticipated performances...


Bernice Clifton said...

I hadn't even heard of The Adjustment Bureau (where I have I been?), and it looks great. Plus, John Slattery. Is it weird to really like Emily Blunt?

Joe Reid said...

Is it? It shouldn't be. She's excellent.

Robert Hamer said...

I'm not holding the fact that you hated Kick-Ass against you, I'm holding the fact that I hated Kick-Ass against Vaughn. I guess we should be expecting HI-larious depictions of mass murder and probably an underage Rogue in skimpy outfits in this film?

Joe Reid said...

Yeah, I get that. I'm choosing to chalk that up to the Kick-Ass source material. Maybe Vaughn will be just as faithful for the X-Men.

Walter L. Hollmann said...

Vaughn also gave us Stardust! STARDUST! That movie was a complete charmer!

I'm joining you on the No Strings Attached/Friends with Benefits train. They both look adorable/sexy, and feature sexy stars (Portman/Clarkson). Why would people doubt?

JA said...

There are a lot of movies on this list that I have plenty to say about, I want to see all of them, but I think I can narrow it all down to the two most important words:


Joe Reid said...


Her time has come, America. Get with it.

DuchessKitty said...

Joe, have you been reading my diary?
I'm excited about most of the same movies that you are, for the same reasons.
Especially The Adjustment Bureau, Bridesmaids, and the latest X-Men. Although that First Class moniker is weak as hell.