By the NUMBers...
Before we go any further into this year I wanted to mention what I'm looking forward to in the coming year on the silver screen...
Since this is 2011 I thought I'd give you my Top Eleven films that I'm looking forward to over the next twelve months. Some of them are obvious and some might be a surprise. I know many of you will notice the absence of several films I've talked about before. These are simply what I've found most interesting. I had to make the cut somewhere and eleven it was, or twenty-two if you count the runner ups. Again, personal taste here. Your list will most likely be different than mine since you, are naturally not me. No big surprise there, but if you have your own preferences feel free to leave them in the comments section, guys.
The Top Eleven:
1: Captain America: The First Avenger - One of favorite Marvel characters finally comes to life in an authentic adaptation. And it's set in World War II with period dialog. I am so there. Joe Johnston has always had a particular look that I feel suits this property, but he's never had a great script to work with. From what I've heard, the script for this is spot on and he has no excuse not to make a great, pop-culture piece of cinema this time.
2: X-Men: First Class - Matthew Vaughn has made some entertaining films. I've been a fan of all three of the films he's made, particularly "Layer Cake" and "Kick-Ass." He's one of those people in Hollywood that gets it when it comes to comic books and adapting them. This being the origin of how Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Children began is intriguing. Setting it in a retro-James Bond 60's!? A period comic book movie!!? One that actually follows the time line of the original comic!!!? Bring it on.
3: Sucker Punch - I remember hearing about Zack Synder's "Dawn of the Dead" film and was totally against it. Till I was forced to watch it. I thoroughly enjoyed "300" and yes, even "Watchmen," so I was curious to see what his first film not based on a comic would be. I still have no clue, but man does it look like a visually, drug induced trip to someplace I want to be. Watching this trailer made me imagine what's in store for us with his "Man of Steel" project. Until then, this film is what will be calling me in March.
4: Super-8 - Spielberg and Abrams together. A film that hearkens back to the Wunderkind's early days of Ambin and all that magic he created? A science fiction piece that sounds like a dark "E.T." meets "Stand By Me" from this duo is just what summer was created for.
5: Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol - Yeah, I hear you. Two words: Brad Bird. That alone is enough to get me in that theater seat. Add in to the mix the story being from J.J. Abrams and his "Lost" writers and I'm willing to see this. Bird has never done me wrong so I'm not going to doubt him now. He's a director that has an amazing sense of story and action and pacing with endearing characters that you feel for. I hated MI 1 and MI2, but really liked MI3. It was the only one of the three that seemed to have a soul. I have high hopes that this one will be even better than Abrams own take on the franchise. Fourth time's the charm.
6: The Beaver - This script was on the Black List a year or so ago as one of the best unmade scripts. Jodie Foster is a very good, restrained director with an eclectic taste in material. I have heard rumors that Mel Gibson gives a performance that is Oscar worthy and unflinchingly raw with emotion. One that could bring him back in the graces of many in Hollywood. Come March, we'll all find out.
7: Cowboys & Aliens - We've reached the saturation point where no one genre can support itself it seems. Everything that's been done, has been done. So now we have to meld them together. Sci-Fi and Western are or were a hard concept to fathom, until seeing the trailer featuring the new James Bond and the only Indiana Jones in the Old West. Spaceships and steam trains? In the war for new ideas this is a battle I'm ready to sign up for.
8: Hugo Cabret - Very simple. A phrase I never thought I'd hear. A children's film by Martin Scorsese in 3D. I know it's a period piece that involves an innocent boy and the world he constructs around him. Other than that, all I know is that I'll be in line on opening night.
9: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - When December comes around it's always time for another David Fincher film. This one is a remake of Swedish film based on an incredibly popular novel in a series based on a female investigator named Lisbeth Salander. It sounds like a "Corporate Se7en" with shades of elements from "The Big Sleep." I look forward to seeing this film from the future director of "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." It is Fincher after all, his credit sequences are better than most films.
10: Kung Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom of Doom - I adore "Kung Fu Panda," as it's the only film that DreamWorks Animation has done that is Pixar quality ("How to Train Your Dragon" was a close second). It'll be interesting to see if the sequel can hold up to the original. I certainly hope so and plan on paying to find out. All those little teasers so far have been hilarious. And how can you go wrong with a screenplay that was polished by Charlie Kaufman?
11: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows - Part 2 - I thought that part one of "Deathly Hollows" was the best in the series. Some found it slow and boring, but I loved getting to see these characters react to their increasingly bleak futures. I hear that part two is nothing short of a full blown action film with wizards and battles between good and evil. I'm bringing my wand and hoping for a satisfying finish to one of the most successful franchises in film history.
And the Top Eleven Runner Ups (in no particular order):
Battle: Los Angeles - Black Hawk Down meets District 9? I'm in.
Immortals - Another visually interesting take on mortals and the gods that abuse them? So long as it's not rushed into conversion like "Clash of the Titans" was.
The Hangover: Part 2 - Laughed my backside off watching the original and hope for the same with this one. Will it? Don't know, but will give it a chance.
Source Code - Duncan Jones' Sci-Fi story of a soldier that wakes up in a different body of an unidentified man and forced to relive over and over again a horrifying train bombing until he can figure out who is responsible for it.
Rango - A very surreal Western told with animals. Gore Verbinski's first animated film. Curious to see. It should be interesting, no mater what.
Haywire - Steven Soderbergh's spy-action story of a female black ops super soldier that gets betrayed on a mission and seeks revenge. This should be a nice warm up before he films "The Man from U.N.C.L.E."(with I hope, George Clooney).
Drive Angry - This looks like a perfect drive-in movie for an age that doesn't know what a drive-in is. Nick Cage looks cheesy in a very good way and this film looks like something that I want to see. Similar to how I felt about "The Expendables" last year.
We Bought A Zoo - I would watch a foot massage commercial if Cameron Crowe directed it. The story for this doesn't sound that interesting to me, but Cameron Crowe directed it.
The Adventures of Tin Tin: The Quest for the Unicorn - I am not European and therefore have no idea what Tin Tin really is. I know it's well loved, even beloved in the Old Country, but the reason for me is Spielberg teaming up with Peter Jackson.
The Rum Diary - This film keeps getting pushed back, but I've been wanting to see Johnny Depp play in another work of Hunter S. Thompson's for the longest time. "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" was a bizarre, but absolutely mesmerizing experience. I look forward to more of this tale of a reporter lost amid the daze of revolution, violence sex and drugs. Lots and lots of drugs, it is Thompson of course.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - The trailer for this has me yawning. That said, I love Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow, I love adventure films and my favorite attraction at Disneyland is Pirates of the Caribbean. I'll be there, I just hope a great script turned into an enjoyable film will also.
And then there are several foreign films that I'm looking forward to coming out in 2011, but I'll leave that for another post at another time...