I had high hopes for the movies of 2010, and while some of the key ones were knocked-outta-the-park home runs (such as Inception, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Black Swan, Kick-Ass, The Social Network and 127 Hours), many of the films that I entered the year excited about failed to impress. Most of them, like Iron Man 2, were fun but failed to match my expectations. Others, like Cop-Out, just made me sad. So it is with much trepidation that I present my 11 most anticipated movies of 2011 (in no particular order). You can expect me to revisit this list at the end of the year to see which movies rocked…and which sucked. And don’t worry, Transformers: Dark of the Moon will not be appearing on this list. I posted the trailer as a joke.
The Movie: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost star as two comic book nerds travelling across America who meet a frat-boy alien at Area 51 (voiced by Seth Rogen).
Why I’m Looking Forward To It: The pairing of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost is comedic gold in my eyes, and frankly, the biggest draw of this movie for me is just seeing the two of them together again. Add to that Greg “Superbad” Mottola as director and you’ve got a winning mix. Jason Bateman as a Fox Mulder-like FBI agent is a nice touch too.
The Movie: Emily Browning leads a cast of foxy ladies who take a mind-trip to a strange world of zeppelins, mechs, dragons and katanas. It’s Alice in Wonderland with machine guns, and I think it looks like loads of crazy fun.
Why I’m Looking Forward To It: Tom Lando may hate me for saying this, but I really enjoy Zack Snyder’s films. Dawn of the Dead, 300, and Watchmen are all pulpy, stylish and totally entertaining (the less said about Legend of the Guardians, the better). So what could be better than having Snyder condense all my early teenage fantasies into a single movie? Hot girls in short skirts fighting robotic samurai? I’m so there.
The Movie: In this adaptation of the Marvel comic series, the thunder god Thor is banished to earth where he becomes a superhero.
Why I’m Looking Forward To It: Thor and Captain America (also on this list) are the final building blocks that make up the foundation of the upcoming Joss Whedon-helmed Avengers movie, and that alone makes this movie worth checking out. Additionally, Kenneth Branagh is directing, which will make things really interesting as he brings his theatricality to what could otherwise be incredibly silly subject matter. And finally, they managed to make Thor look badass instead of like Fabio in a winged helmet. Serious props on that one, Ken.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
The Movie: Captain Jack Sparrow returns in another adventure, this time involving mermaids, zombies and the fountain of youth. Expect much swashbuckling and some great Geoffrey Rush moments.
Why I’m Looking Forward To It: I was a bit skeptical when I heard that they were making a third Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, but now that I’ve seen the trailer, I’m actually really excited. The movie looks like it’s been restricted to a lower budget than the previous two, which will probably mean it’ll be a bit more character-driven and a bit less special-effects-heavy (and in the end, it’s all about the characters in these movies). They’ve ditched Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightley (finally), and they’ve added in some zombies. Sounds like a good time to me!
Kung Fu Panda 2
The Movie: Plot details are pretty sparse at the moment, but Kung Fu Panda 2 promises to unite Po and the Furious Five with a new group of kung fu masters with celebrity voices. Hijinx will ensue, I’m sure.
Why I’m Looking Forward To It: Besides the impressive celebrity voice cast they have lined up, including new additions like Jean-Claude Van Damme, James Woods, Michelle Yeoh and Gary Oldman, I’m a big fan of the first Kung Fu Panda, and I think a sequel will only be a good thing. Isn’t it odd how the first sequel to most computer animated movies tends to work better than the first sequel to a live-action film?
The Movie: The only things we know about this movie are told to us in the trailer. A train transporting an alien across the desert crashes and the creature is let loose to wreck havoc upon the earth.
Why I’m Looking Forward To It: The last time a J.J. Abrams movie was this shrouded in mystery was Cloverfield, which I absolutely loved. So naturally when I heard that Abrams was teaming up with Steven Spielberg on a mystery project involving aliens, I was sold instantly. Of all the movies on this list, Super 8 is the one that I’m most hoping will deliver the goods.
The Green Hornet
The Movie: Playboy millionaire Britt Reid’s life of partying is disrupted by the death of his newspaper mogul father. When Reid discovers his dad was a masked hero of sorts with a martial artist manservant, he decides to don his father’s costume and fight crime.
Why I’m Looking Forward To It: I was initially pretty skeptical about The Green Hornet. Its release date got moved around a bit, it was given an unnecessary 3D conversion, and the first couple of trailers looked mediocre at best. Then a new trailer was released (seen above) that put Michel Gondry’s wacky visuals front and centre, and now I’m totally interested. Not to mention the fact that my new favourite big-screen baddie Christoph Waltz is filling the villain role!
Cowboys and Aliens
The Movie: Jake Lonergan, an outlaw cowboy, wakes up in the desert with a strange device attached to his wrist. After making his way back to civilisation, the town he finds himself in is attacked by flying saucers! Jake must then band together with a posse of cowboys to, well, save the earth.
Why I’m Looking Forward To It: I’m a sucker for genre mash-ups (see also the vikings and aliens movie Outlander), and after Jon Favreau showed us that he can direct an action movie with the Iron Man films, I’m intrigued to see what he’ll do with this one. Cowboys and Aliens has a great cast, too, with Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell and Harrison Ford all playing parts. The only stumbling block for this movie could well be its title, which some people consider stupid, but I think it’ll give us exactly what it promises: cowboys and aliens.
The Movie: Steve Rogers volunteers for a top secret military experiment and is turned into Captain America – a super soldier assigned to fight Red Skull and his army of Nazis.
Why I’m Looking Forward To It: Along with Thor, this is one of the final movies setting up The Avengers, so as with Thor I’m curious just because of that fact. I’ve never been a big Captain America fan, but I’m slowly coming around as more and more promotional materials are released. The WW2 setting gives the movie a pulpy, Indiana Jones feel, and I was actually quite surprised when I realized that I’m growing more and more excited to see what Joe Johnston brings to the film. Could this make up for his previous attrocity: The Wolfman? I’m not holding my breath, but I’m hoping this will be a good time.
The Rum Diary
The Movie: The semi-autobiographical tale of a journalist (Hunter Thompson under the guise of Paul Kemp) who travels to Puerto Rico, goes on a bender, and meets all manner of insane people.
Why I’m Looking Forward To It: Alright, so not only is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas one of my favourite books AND movies, but Johnny Depp is returning to the Thompson role in The Rum Diary and Bruce Robinson (director of two more of my favourite movies: Withnail & I and How To Get Ahead In Advertising) is directing it. If this turns out to be bad, I might just have to throw myself off a cliff.
Other Movies I’m Looking Forward To, But Not As Much As The 11 Above:
X-Men: First Class