No time to dwell on the best movies of 2010! ...Well, that's a dirty lie -- there is PLENTY of time to dwell on the best movies of 2010, and expect me to do so in some depth. But we can also take time to look ahead at the first few months of 2011 and the ... interesting mix of movies found therein. I'm chucking January as a no man's land (sorry, Green Hornet) and starting in February. Yes, I know "spring" isn't for another couple months, but Feb.-April is a seasonal grey area, and we should all just deal.
[Previously: Part 1]
Movie: Drive Angry 3D (Patrick Lussier)
High-Concept Synopsis: Nicolas Cage. ...Okay, if you'd like to know more: Cage plays a criminal who breaks out of hell in order to seek revenge against the cult who murdered his daughter (and to save his granddaughter). William Fichtner plays the demon assigned to stop him. Amber Heard is the short-shorts-wearing piece of tail.
Who Will Be Seeing It: The same people who paid good money for the last Nicolas Cage piece of crap (I should know, I'm one of them). William Fichtner enthusiasts (he does seem to be the liveliest part of this whole thing). People who are REALLY invested in this whole 3D concept.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: The same people who paid good money to laugh at the last Nicolas Cage piece of crap (I should know, I'm one of them). People who are sick to goddamn death of Amber Heard being cast in every fucking thing. People who's zeal for terrible movies in fast cars is going to be satiated by the fifth Fast and the Furious movie this spring.
Why I'd See It: You know, the trailer, in all its Fichtner-y glory, actually made this look like it could be a junky good time. But I know how quickly that good time can go away when Nicolas Cage is involved. February 25
Movie: Hall Pass (Peter and Bobby Farrelly)
High-Concept Synopsis: Owen Wilson and Jason Sudekis hate their stupid wives and thus are overjoyed when they get a "hall pass," aka one week where they get to not be married and have SO MUCH SEX, you guys. Christina Applegate and Jenna Fischer collect paychecks and lament the state of female roles in comedies. Richard Jenkins lowers himself.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of battle-of-the-sexes comedies which are just so underrepresented in today's marketplace. Jason Sudekis fans, who are just happy he's getting a shot at a lead role. Farrelly Brothers fans hopeful that they're back to doing truly offensive movies rather than the Fever Pitches and Heartbreak Kids of the world.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Husbands who can't get away from their awful harpy wives long enough to see a movie for bros. People who like this uniformly strong cast too much to watch them in something so unlikeable. Anybody who caught the Joy Behar cameo in the trailer.
Why I'd See It: As you may have gleaned, this one offers almost zero appeal to me. I realize that the movie is making fun OF these doltish husbands as much as it's making hay of their henpecked condition, but that really doesn't make it better. February 25
Movie: Shelter (Mans Marlind, Bjorn Stein)
High-Concept Synopsis: Julianne Moore's a shrink whose patient (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) has multiple personalities, each one a murder victim. Somehow, there are also religious overtones.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People who really liked that Frances McDormand scene in Primal Fear. People who really like demonic-possession movies. People who love Jonathan Rhys Meyers and are happy that he's got a story-based reason for all the pouting.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who have seen Julianne Moore travel down the supernatural genre before. People who aren't sure what dumb-headed twist will reveal itself in the final ten minutes but are nevertheless certain there will be one. People who are fairly certain that supporting players Frances Conroy, Nathan Corddry, and Jeffrey DeMunn can do better.
Why I'd See It: This used to be exactly the kind of bad movie I'd fool myself into thinking could be good on the basis of actors I like and a freaky premise. But I've been burned so many times. February 25
Movie: The Adjustment Bureau (George Nolfi)
High-Concept Synopsis: Matt Damon is an aspiring politician whose star-crossed meeting with ballet dancer Emily Blunt runs counter to the plans of the men who make sure the universe unfolds as it should. They're called the Adjustment Bureau (among them Terrence Stamp, John Slattery, and Anthony Mackie). Damon must defy his pre-determined path to be with her, and the Bureau is not about to let that happen. Based on a Philip K. Dick story (aren't they all?).
Who Will Be Seeing It: Movie fans starved for anything that looks even halfway decent, after the shit sandwich that was February. Fans of British actresses like Blunt being able to actually keep their British accents despite being in an American movie (let's let this become a trend, huh?). Fans of John Slattery wearing suits.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Audiences fatigued by the "somebody's manipulating reality" genre. People who are a bit nervous about first-time director Nolfi. Anybody who saw the last few Philip K. Dick adaptations, like Next and Paycheck.
Why I'd See It: Maybe it's just the dearth of better options this spring, but I am super excited for this one. Matt Damon and Emily Blunt have great chemistry, just from the trailer alone. And everybody looks so sharp in their suits and fedoras! The only downside is that they couldn't have gotten Matt Bomer to make an appearance while on his White Collar lunch break. March 4
Movie: Take Me Home Tonight (Michael Dowse)
High-Concept Synopsis: Holy shit, it's the '80s! (Okay, you want specifics? Topher Grace is the aimless college graduate attending the "Less Than Zero" style first-weekend-home party where he ends up fronting to the Pretty But Bitchy And Probably Wrong For Him Girl of His Dreams that he works at Goldman Sachs or some such. Meanwhile, his sister (Anna Faris) is getting proposed to by Chris Pratt. It's One Crazy Night of partying and major life decisions, all set to a self-conscious '80s soundtrack!)
Who Will Be Seeing It: Anyone for whom the above clichéd description sounds JUST FINE. Fans of charismatic leads Topher Grace and Anna Faris, even if the trailer sometimes makes it seem like they're best friends who should end up together instead of siblings. People who might see it only for the title song, easily one of the top 5 "Holy Crap, That's So '80s" songs of all time.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Audiences who've had any and all '80s nostalgia purged right out of them by movies like Hot Tub Time Machine. People who are now really freaked out by Grace and Faris as brother and sister (they REALLY seem like the romantic leads!). People who are sick of the Obnoxious Fat Sidekick trop in general and of Dan Fogler's take on the archetype specifically.
Why I'd See It: Look, I'm not going to lie: more than 50% of my enthusiasm for this is based on how much I love the song. But, yes, I also enjoy the actors (including a chance to see Faris and Chris Pratt, real-life marrieds, as an on-screen couple), and One Last Crazy Night movies are just my kind of guilty pleasure. March 4
Movie: Beastly (Daniel Barnz)
High-Concept Synopsis: High-school pretty boy Alex Pettyfer gets a bit too arrogant, run afoul of gypsy witch Mary-Kate Olsen (as we all must at least once in this life), and ends up cursed with a hideously scarred visage. Can Vanessa Hudgens love him anyway??
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of really ridiculous-looking fairy-tale adaptations. Fans of anything in which Mary-Kate Olsen shows up as a gypsy witch AND Neil Patrick Harris as a snarky tutor. Fans of operatic high school drama writ large.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who sides with Zac Efron and not Hudgens after the breakup (so: everybody). People who only see the "bad movie" part of the "awesomely bad movie" description. People who want to see Alex Pettyfer deliver in one of the 3,000 movies he's in this year before plunking down 12 bucks to see him all disfigured.
Why I'd See It: This looks ridonk, but the trailer suggests the right kind of ridonk. March 4
Movie: Battle: Los Angeles (Jonathan Liebesman)
High-Concept Synopsis: Aliens attack. We fight back. Shaky cameras make it all look VERY real.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People who enjoy a good alien invasion movie. People who enjoy third-tier casting choices like Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Bridget Moynihan, and Michael Peña. People who were into the impressive and weirdly operatic trailer.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Pinkos who think we should do gay shit like imagine peaceful contact with aliens. Folks who wonder why they couldn't at least cram a Bruce Willis cameo into this for some marquee value. Plugged-in moviegoers who figure director Liebsman must've done something wrong with this in order to score the Clash of the Titans sequel as a follow-up.
Why I'd See It: That trailer does make it seem like a solid actioner -- like all the blow-uppy parts of District 9 played out for a couple hours. And I am weirdly fond of Michelle Rodriguez. March 11
Movie: Jane Eyre (Cary Fukunaga)
High-Concept Synopsis: Among the misty moors of England, a vulnerable young woman (Mia Wasikowska) moves into a creepy house that might be haunted but definitely houses a ridiculously hot, slender man (Michael Fassbender).
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of Charlotte Bronte's beloved novel, who have gone without a filmed adaptation since 2006. Fans of couldn't-be-hotter rising stars Wasikowska and Fassbender (also Jamie Bell, Judi Dench, and Sally Hawkins). Fans of director Fukunaga's quietly devastating breakthrough film Sin Nombre.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who are kind of ooked out by the age difference between prospective lovers Wasikowska (21, though she's never played that old) and Fassbender (33, and already making a name for himself and deflowering teens on screen). Audiences who need another costumey English drama like they need a hole in the head. Wuthering Heights fans who are pissed that this beat Andrea Arnold's Emily Bronte adaptation to theaters (and to casting Fassbender).
Why I'd See It: I totally flipped for Fukunaga's Sin Nombre (my #10 film of 2009), and while I can't say I don't wish he were taking on less trod-over story material, it'd be pretty cool if he brought something totally new out of it. March 11
Movie: Red Riding Hood (Catherine Hardwicke)
High-Concept Synopsis: The classic grim fairy tale gets an update that leaves events in medieval times but places it squarely in the middle of the Twi-hard milieu. Amanda Seyfried plays the crimson-cloaked girl in a village that's in the throes of werewolf hysteria. Shiloh Fernandez plays the boy she loves who might possibly be a wolf.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Twilight fans eager to see Hardwicke brings that Forks vibe to medieval Bavaria (or wherever). Fans of Amanda Seyfried's big ol' eyeballs. People who have taken a gander at this Shiloh Fernandez person.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who resent having heavy-breathing, star-crossed teen romances shoved into their gothic fairy tales. People who are pretty sure they've guessed the big twist ending even without knowing for sure that there will be a big twist ending. People who'd like to see Seyfried stop making movies about mooning over boys.
Why I'd See It: I mean ... I suppose it might be fun? Okay, this looks awful. But I definitely want to see if I'm right in my steadfast conviction that the BIG SHOCKING TWIST is that Seyfried herself is actually the werewolf. No spoilers, just an awesome guess. March 11
Movie: Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami)
High-Concept Synopsis: British author encounters, spends a flirty, talky, romantic afternoon with French woman in romantic Italy. Are they meeting for the first time? Catching up after years apart? It's all very vague and European.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Cannes devotees, following the brilliant festival buzz this got last spring. Juliette Binoche fans, eager to see a performance that earned her the Best Actress award at Cannes. People intrigued by occasional comparisons to Before Sunset.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who don't much dig "vague and European." People who didn't much dig Before Sunset. People who will take their moviegoing cues from pretentious and snooty American film festivals, thank you.
Why I'd See It: Frankly, it had me at "talky, French, Before Sunset, Juliette Binoche." March 11