Jan 13, 2011

40 to Watch in 2011

I'm terrible at predicting what movies are going to be worth remembering at the end of the year, but as I overlooked an article on Cinematical featuring 75 titles to keep an eye on. I decided to make my own list to see how my opinion differs before I see any promotion.
These are not necessarily going to be the only movies I see this year, but from the casting, the hype, or the director, I have small hopes of seeing it. Do know, there will probably be at least 10 surprises this year that I have no idea about now.
Also, do know that I probably will be seeing a lot of bad movies I forgot to mention due to lack of room in a 40 list.
I will be rating them on an interest scale of 1-5

So, here we go:

One of my favorite TV shows gets an adaptation by some of my favorite comedy writers. While the trailers (and director Michel Gondry) makes it look like an average action flick, I am curious to see how true these so-called nerds stick to the source material.

Hugo Cabret (5)
You don't even need to tell me the plot. It features Chloe Moretz and Sacha Baron Cohen in a movie directed by Martin Scorsese doing his first kid's movie. I am curious to see what he pulls off, if it will be off the wall like Terry Gilliam or more realistic like Christopher Nolan.

Another brilliantly casted movie featuring James Franco, Danny McBride, and Natalie Portman. While the trailers don't do much, I'm already invested in it because this is the follow-up of the Franco/McBride and director David Gordon Greene's classic Pineapple Express. This lampoon on medieval is sure to have some laughs in it.

Bridesmaids (3)
Another Judd Apatow-produced comedy (so I'm already there), but this time we take one of my favorite side gals, Kristen Wiig, and finally give her a much needed lead. I cannot think of the plot, but I really hope it avoids the tropes of Bride Wars (knowing Apatow, there's a strong chance).

Kevin Smith is back with a horror movie. He says it's great (but then again, he loved Cop Out) and from the podcasts, I can sense he is passionate about it. However, I am wondering if he's just hyping or if it actually will resurges his fading career.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (4)
I give the Social Network a lot of shit, but I think that's more because of the overly positive criticism. I think David Fincher is one of the best directors working today if just because of his attention to detail. His choice to put Rooney Mara as the maniacal Lisbeth Salander may seem questionable, but she was the one I cared about most in the Social Network and makes me more curious to what she can do as a lead.

The Hangover: Part II (3)
Two years ago, I called the Hangover the Animal House of our generation. I still stand by it. However, what made Animal House great was that there were no sequels. After director Todd Phillips' Due Date, I am leery to see how this one will turn out, if just because it seems like a retread to the well. However, I'm still curious to see if they can pull it off.

I'll be honest, I am mostly going to see it because of Adam Sandler. I don't think it looks any good, but after Funny People, I still hold out hope that Grown Ups is not really where he is as a comedian/writer right now. I hope that his return to romantic comedies (i.e. Wedding Singer, 50 First Dates) will prove to be a smart move.

Mr. Popper's Penguins (5)
You could've attached anyone onto this production and I still would've been in line for this. Why? This is another piece of my childhood being adapted to the big screen. I remember this was one of the first books I ever read. Luckily, they casted Jim Carrey as Mr. Popper, so I'm already hooked. Also, the recent photos look promising. I really hope this holds up.

I'll be honest, I'm not the one to talk to about the Farrelly Brothers movies. True, I enjoyed Kingpin and There's Something About Mary, but a lot of their other movies, such as the Heartbreak Kid is just gawdy shit. However, seeing this trailer, I got some hope that this could just be an entertaining flick. I just hope it's not like Stuck on You and the trailer gives away all of the funny moments.

Horrible Bosses (3)
I don't know too much of this movie, but putting Jason Bateman and Charlie Day in a movie sounds like a promising team up. I just hope Day has managed to transfer to lead well (I haven't seen Going the Distance, so I am unsure how he is in movies yet). We'll have to see, but as for now, it sounds promising.

30 Minutes or Less (4)
Oh yes... another great casting decision of Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, and Aziz Ansari. I consider all three to be underrated sidemen as comedians. I hope that together, we'll get some comedic zen.

Paul (5)
Let's put it this way: Greg Motolla + Simon Pegg + Nick Frost= Brilliance. I have watched the trailers probably 20 times and I cannot wait to see the director of some of my favorite movies team up with two of my favorite British comedians currently working. I really think they have the ability to make over the top brilliance.

This would've ranked higher, but I think that Legend of the Guardians: the Owls of Ga'Hoole was the moment I got burned out on director Zack Snyder's patented slow motion action scenes. Yes, it still looks kind of cool, though the visuals don't stimulate me that much. However, those slow motion shots seemed to bug me during Watchmen and seeing them in this trailer makes me think that it could bog this production down.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II (3)
Finally, the last movie. I'm not calling this series bad, but the truth is, I don't see much of the appeal. However, those big final moments will probably be some of the most satisfying for the series. I thought Part I was rather solid, though I don't know if I will ever remember them more than the books, which I feel will have a longer shelf life.

Arthur (3)
While I am on board of saying no one can top Dudley Moore's version, I have become a fan of Russell Brand's excess rock star persona. I doubt it will be brilliant, but I'm sure he'll bring some laughs to what I'm assuming won't be an honest adaptation. But, I heard the Batmobile is in it, so I got that to look forward to.

Thor (2)
One of the many comic book adaptations leading up to the Avengers. I don't know too much of this flick other than Kat Dennnings and Natalie Portman are in it (win). I just hope that it doesn't sacrifice itself like Iron Man 2 by turning it into one long promo for upcoming productions. However, I probably will see it because of the hype.

The Muppets (3)
I cannot argue, the Muppets have been essential to my childhood, and they have been a franchise that remains mostly untainted. What makes this appealing is the choice to have puppet enthusiast Jason Segel write the script as his follow up to the great Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Will it pay off? I don't know, but I'm probably going to see it if just because I love those Muppets.

Sherlock Holmes 2 (3)
While I can say I enjoyed the first one, I really want Guy Ritchie to make the Real Rock'N'Rolla (as he promised). However, this seems like a decent franchise to expand upon if just because I buy the chemistry between Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law. Plus, you add Noomi Rapace, and this could be one of the best popcorn flicks of the year. Still, I hope this isn't the only franchise Ritchie will do from now on.

X-Men: First Class (2)
Matthew Vaughn's follow-up to Kick-Ass is another go at the fading X-Men franchise. Truth is, I don't care about the characters too much and this is mostly a director's affair for me. However, I like Jennifer Lawrence and wonder what she can add to this franchise. Also, Vaughn's enthusiasm for the dying comic book genre gives me hope he's putting in extra effort to make this great.

I don't know if the trailers sell me on this, but I really hope Ryan Reynolds will bring life to this character. Like Thor, I don't know anything about the source material, so this movie will make or break my relationship with these characters. Let's hope that, like Thor, this is not going to be another long promo for a million other productions.

Super 8 (3)
I cannot say I am a J.J. Abrams die hard, but I was impressed with Star Trek and his involvement with Cloverfield just make me intrigued to see what he does with this. Like all of you, I don't know anything about it, but with Elle Fanning attached, I am hoping this will prove that Abrams is a gifted director and not just a one-off.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2)
I'm sure I'll see this, let's just say that. I have no idea what Captain America does, I have no idea who is in this, but if the promos hold up, I think it could be good.

Caesar: Rise of the Apes (2)
Wow, James Franco really likes monkeys. However, this is solely another case of me seeing a movie based on actor alone. I just hope it doesn't turn out like Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes or Franco's the Ape. However, this may end up just being proof that Franco is still in the ring of making mediocre movies.

Rango (1)
I'm sorry, but this just doesn't look too great. I still have hope that the more trailers I see will convince me that it's worthwhile. I think it's gotten a little more interesting since the first trailer, but still, I am sure I will enjoy this more than Kung-Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom of Doom.

Ever since the Kids Are All Right, I have kind of held some hope that Mia Wasikowska has potential to be great. I'll probably see this movie just because she's in it. This is, of course, if the trailers I see will make it look more dramatically compelling than what I have already seen.

Hanna (3)
While I hated the Lovely Bones, I hope Saoirse Ronan can kick ass in this movie. The trailer really makes this look like it could be good in a more realistic version of Hit Girl kind of way. I also hope that this isn't one I am plagued to miss (if my interest expands) because of limited release as it seems to feel like.

I have not seen Duncan Jones' first movie Moon, but that should change shortly because of my friend's recommendation. However, this looks kind of good in a Twelve Monkeys kind of way and I'm sure it will continue to restore some of my faith in the science fiction genre. Also, having Jake Gyllenhaal in it probably just sold me a ticket (though apparently that didn't work on Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time).

The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn (1)
I have no idea what this is about, but I know Tintin is a very iconic character overseas. I'm just hoping that director Steven Spielberg does give the character justice. It's been awhile since I've seen something I really enjoyed by him. However, by his history, I am still willing to give him a pass if this turns out to be as fun as his produced WB cartoons.

I need to make sure to get some of my drama in there this year, why not get it with some Brad Pitt? While the trailer did nothing for me, it looks like it could be emotionally complex enough for me to appreciate it. Also, I heard director Terrence Malick is a rather solid choice. Will it be good? I don't know, but something makes me assume this is a shoe in for some Oscar nominations.

Don't give me too much crap, but I still believe Catherine Hardwicke still has some strength in making young girl angst movies. Of course, I have been an admirer of her ever since Thirteen crept into my world and scared me. With Amanda Seyfriend attached, I am kind of curious to see how this will turn out and hope it's just not another version of Twilight and more like Thirteen.

I don't know why, but I am curious to see this movie because it looks quirky in a Smart People kind of way. Also, it's been awhile since I've seen a promising movie from Anton Yelchin. Again, another movie from Jennifer Lawrence, so the casting around Mel Gibson is already an intriguing bunch. I just doubt Gibson can be a funnier ventriloquist than Chuck and Bob.

Jack and Jill (1)
Was this the one with Adam Sandler in drag? Again, I have no idea what this is about, but I'm sure we'll get some laughs with Al Pacino. I just hope this won't be an amazing feat in making Grown Ups look like Punch Drunk Love.

Happy Feet 2 (2)
Let's put it out there, I love penguins, but I disliked Happy Feet. I'm just hoping that this isn't an attempt to cash in on the Glee song covering stuff that I felt Glee stole from them. However, I think this has potential to be good, though I cannot figure out what the plot could be, since the initial concept has been resolved and there's nothing really to talk about.

Puss in Boots (2)
Remember when they said Shrek Forever After was the end of the series? They were technically right as this is a spin-off. I am just curious to see if this is just another fart-churning factory of jokes or if it will be a bunch of brilliant cat jokes that made him so awesome in Shrek 2. Either way, I probably will see it because of what it was, not is.

Cars 2 (1)
I think this is the year Dreamworks Animation will top Pixar. Honestly, watching the trailer, I do not understand how it could possibly work as a spy spoof. The concept is really stupid and the fact that Larry the Cable Guy is still in here is depressing. Also, I don't know about you, but I could never get behind a world of talking cars.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part I (3)
This is probably not going to be the surprise great film, but when you got Bill Condon, who directed Dreamgirls, I will assume we'll get some musical numbers and a surprise turn from someone... or, we'll just get some epic PG-13 sex scenes that either are necrophilia or bestiality based. Somehow, I don't think the movie will be good, but I still believe Kristen Stewart is only doing this to fund independent films where she shines (so stop giving her shit, you ignorant tweens and soccer moms).

Super (5)
It's Ellen Page as a superhero that keys cars. Need I say more?

Rio (2)
This looks like a rip-off of Madagascar, a film I wasn't too wild about to begin with. However, with Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisemberg on the voices, I can only hope they are doing it justice. However, the trailer makes me believe there will be numerous stereotypes and below the belt jokes to come.

To say the least, the teaser trailer doesn't do enough for me to say more than that it looks like a space ship is going to kidnap James Bond and make Rev. Sunday run for the hills. Why can't Jon Favreau go back to directing comedy?

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