Thursday, January 13, 2011

30 Movies to Look Forward to in 2011: Pt. I

We're already 13 days into 2011, and I'm woefully behind on all sorts of posts.  The new year, new job, new responsibilities, and that whole nasty business of the Love and Squalor domain name change (loveandsqualorfilm.com, anyone?) have been throwing me off my game.  Excuses, excuses.  Anyhow, while I've been deliberately holding off on my list of the best films of 2010 (to coincide with the Oscar nominations, yes, so I can rant and rave about what the Academy managed to overlook this year),  it's time to cut to the chase and list the 30 movies I'm anticipating the most in 2011.  Nope, I'm not excited about Green Lantern or Thor.


1. The Muppets (11/11) - Hands down, without a doubt, the #1 movie I'm sort of dying to see is Jason Segel's vintage reboot The Muppets.  Regular readers of Pop Candy Arcade know by now that I've got a serious soft spot for Jim Henson's puppet stars, and it's been a long while since their feature length film credits were on par with the wit and humor of the original films and television show.  Forgetting Sarah Marshall's Segel is a die-hard Muppet fan, and he has expressed (numerous times) his desire to restore the old glory of Kermit and company.  As writer and star, we can hope he does just that. 


2. The Tree of Life (5/11) - Terrence Malick's long awaited, metaphysical sci-fi family drama already looks like a beauty.  Starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn (as father and son, believe it or not), the expectations for this film are running at an all time high.  Will it be the cerebral, almost literary meditation on innocence and experience film aficionados are hoping for?  Or, will it be Benjamin Button part II?

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt. 2 (7/11) - Self-explanatory.  The end of an era which just happens to feature the Hogwarts showdown the world is dying to see. 


4. Melancholia (?)- It's no secret that Antichrist transformed me into one of those absolutely pretentious film snob assholes who are totally transfixed by the efforts of Lars Von Trier.  What do we know about his next film Melancholia?  Well, not much.  It stars Charlotte Gainsbourg (who was phenomenal in Antichrist), Kirsten Dunst, Kiefer Sutherland, Stellan Skarsgard, Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, Alexander Skarsgard, and Udo Kier....which is already a hell of a start.  It also bears Von Trier's promise of "no more happy endings"  and is supposedly Von Trier's take on the sci-fi disaster movie.  Two sisters and a planet.  With the Danish director at the helm, expect the unexpected. 


5. Hugo Cabret (12/11) - Marty Scorsese is tackling children's literature, guys.  Yes.  He's making a 3D kids movie.  Is there any doubt he'll do it well?  Not really. The book, if you've not read it, is a much celebrated graphic novel mystery about a young Parisian boy in the 1930's and a mysterious automaton toy.  The film's supporting cast is something to talk about, boasting 'it' child Chloe Moretz, Jude Law, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ben Kingsley, and Christopher Lee. 

6. We Need to Talk About Kevin (?) - Before you see this movie, you really should read the book it's based on.  Lionel Shriver's tightly spun tale of the mother of a school shooting gunman is a remarkable piece of literature.  I know it sounds like some sort of pettily dramatic Oprah book, but seriously, it was shockingly potent stuff, as scathingly entertaining and darkly comic as it was disturbingly, wrenchingly emotional.  I loved the book, and I'm thrilled the film is in two sets of capable hands.  Director Lynne Ramsay, who did wonders with Morvern Callar and Ratcatcher, is at the helm while Tilda Swinton plays Eva, our burdened protagonist.  Read the book then tell me this isn't perfect casting...


7. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (12/11) - Book=bad.  Swedish movie = good.  David Fincher movie = ?  Do we need an American remake of the first installment of Stieg Larsson's wildly popular Millenium trilogy?  I don't know, but we're getting one, and if Fincher is in charge, I will be there.  The source material is pitch perfect for Fincher, dark, stark, ominous, and chock full of a certain kind of psychopath.  Daniel Craig picks up the role as fallen journalist Mikael Blomkvist, while The Social Network's Rooney Mara is bound for instant success as pint-sized bad ass Lisbeth Salander.  We've just gotten a sneak peek at our American Salander (gauged ears and Die Antwoord haircut) on the cover of W, can Mara top Noomi Rapace?

8. A Dangerous Method (?) - David Cronenberg + Viggo Mortensen (again) + Keira Knightley +Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds, Fish Tank) + Vincent Cassel + the story of the relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud = you seriously should not have any questions about this.


9. Hanna (4/11) - Director Joe Wright, who brought us the really rather lovely adaptations of Atonement and Pride and Prejudice, is switching gears to bring us the cold blooded tale of a 14-year old little girl killing machine.  Saoirse Ronan stars as the titular character, a girl assassin on a mission, stealthily evading agents (led by Cate Blanchett) out to bring her in.  Yessssssssss.

10. Sucker Punch (3/11)- In all likelihood, Sucker Punch will be absurd.  In spite of this, I still really want to see it.  I'm a big fan of Zack Snyder's aesthetic, and merging wild visuals with bad ass heroines, imaginary realms, and an anime brand of logic sounds like fun to me.  Bring it on.

11. The Hangover part II (5/11) - It's not wise to bank on a comedy sequel.  We all know this.  There's a possibility that attempting to recreate the surprising critical/monetary success of the first Hangover will result in literal recreation: guys get together, go on a trip, do something dumb, have to retrace their wild adventures.  It's already ludicrous.  What's the likelihood of something like that happening twice?  But...this time they're in Bangkok.  The original cast is all there.  We can hope. 


12. Damsels in Distress (?) - No, it's not what it sounds like.  No princess nonsense here.  Damsels in Distress is the first film from writer/director Whit Stillman since Last Days of Disco in 1998  (its alternate title has been noted as Diorissimo).  As such, what you can expect is a talky, dialogue-driven story about social classes, affluence, and posturing.  This one in particular is centered on a group of college girls bonded by their obsession with the elegance of the past. Prepare for some WASPy chatter with Greta Gerwig and Adam Brody.


13. Super 8 (6/11) - What is Super 8?  Shrouded in mystery, that's what.  It's a JJ Abrams movie, it's a big deal, it's a secret, but maybe it's something about Area 51?  Don't ask, you're going to see it anyway.


14. Source Code (4/11)- Duncan Jones (fresh off of Moon) makes a Groundhog Day style action thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal. Only, he'll probably make it more interesting than that.


15. Submarine (?)- Submarine made the festival rounds in 2010 and received so much positive buzz that I've been anxious to check it out since late summer.  I've got to keep waiting, though.  The British indie, co-starring Happy-Go-Lucky's Sally Hawkins, is supposedly a stunner of a coming of age dramedy, and, well, I love a good coming of age dramedy. 

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