Early enough in the year to still be effective, late enough in the year that I had to strike 2 films off the list (The Green Hornet and The Adjustment Bureau) because their release dates already passed!
My anticipation for this film has slowly dwindled in recent months as the release date kept getting pushed and the buzz seemed to get worse and worse. (Zack Snyder has long been accused of style over substance but he allegedly achieves new highs and lows with this film, unfortunately.) However, Snyder’s decision to veto the film’s 3D conversion and a pair of relatively interesting trailers have held my interest enough that I’ll still be catching the film.
14. Scream 4 (April 15)
Like everyone else in the 90s, I loved the Scream movies. An odd thing happened in the wake of the first 2 Scream films, however: our perception of the line between spoof and satire became so blurred that when Scream 3 and Scary Movie were released a mere 4 months apart, it was hard to tell the difference between the two. While the first 2 Screams had been clever and somewhat biting, Scream 3 ended up being more goofy and too self-referential to be taken seriously. In the years that have passed since then, the Scary Movie franchise (and the many, many spin-offs and knock-offs) has overrun the marketplace but we’ve also seen brief glimpses of the sort of smart, genre-reverent satire that the Scream franchise once represented (films such as Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Zombieland or even in a different genre, I Love You, Man; films that poke fun at their respective genre while still managing to be a legitimate entry in it). Which side of the fence will the next generation of Scream land on? Fingers crossed, guys.
13. Source Code (April 1)
A gimmicky premise mixed with an underwhelming trailer and Jake Gyllenhaal’s recent track record (I didn’t see Brothers so as far as I’m concerned, homie hasn’t made a worthwhile flick since Zodiac) should make me hesitant on this film but the screenplay has been much-buzzed about for the few years its been in development and director Duncan Jones’ debut film, Moon, was so unequivocally awesome that I still have faith in Source Code.
12. Kung Fu Panda 2 (May 26)
I actually didn’t see Kung Fu Panda until late last year and since I had already seen (and been awesomed by) the Pixar-esque How to Train Your Dragon, I was impressed but not really blown away by Panda‘s maturity and depth (compared to Dreamworks’ previous animated fare, of course). Nevertheless, Panda 2 will at the very least be a fun time and at most will help quell the fears I have concerning the upcoming Dragon sequel. Plus the teaser trailer is silly fun.
11. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (December 21)
I have not read Steig Larsson’s Millennium Series, nor have I seen any of the Swedish film adaptations of his works. So why am I anticipating this film? 1) David Fincher. 2) Music by OSCAR-WINNING COMPOSERS Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. 3) It’s always fascinating to see the result of/reaction to American remakes of foreign films, especially in cases such as this, when we’re remaking a film that is barely 2 years old.
10. 30 Minutes or Less (August 12)
Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer teams up once again with Jesse Eisenberg for a screenplay (about a pizza delivery guy taken hostage and forced to rob a bank by two inept thugs) that was on 2009’s Black List (industry list of the best unproduced screenplays of the year). Also starring Danny McBride and Aziz Ansari, this film feels like it could definitely be the comedy surprise hit of late summer.
9. Cowboys and Aliens (July 29)
In case you missed it: somehow the guy who brought us Swingers and Elf became a totally bad-ass action director. Summer blockbusters and Jon Favreau are seemingly synonymous now and thus Cowboys and Aliens has bulit-in excitement value. Plus the fact that it’s called COWBOYS AND ALIENS. As Firefly/Serenity taught us, westerns + futuristic stuff = amazing. Oh, you’re still not sold? HARRISON FORD, BEING ALL ACTIONY AND STUFF AGAIN.
8. Moneyball (September 23)
This movie’s anticipated-ness has been yo-yo-ing for a few years now. When I started paying attention to it, Steven Soderbergh was directing and Demetri Martin was cast in a primary role. Both of those facts are no longer true. After various creative shakeups, the Moneyball film releasing in September stars Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and Phillip Seymour Hoffman and while I am saddened that Soderbergh was ultimately replaced by Bennett Miller, this change brought forth a rewrite of the screenplay by OSCAR-WINNING SCREENWRITER AARON SORKIN. So, yeah. I think the wait for this film will be worth it.
7. Wanderlust (October 7) RELEASE CHANGED TO FEBRUARY 2012
David Wain is generally amazing. Ken Marino? Also generally amazing. Paul Rudd? Unreasonably amazing basically all of the time forever. So let’s break it down: Screenplay by David Wain and Ken Marino, directed by David Wain, starring Paul Rudd and other ridiculously rad people such as Justin Theroux, Joe Lo Truglio, Christina Hendricks and ALAN ALDA? AND to add to the madness, Judd Apatow is producing? Unreal. (Jennifer Aniston is there too. But I was trying to focus on the positive here, people.)
6. Bridesmaids (May 13)
Kristen Wiig has been a favorite of mine basically since she first joined the cast of SNL in 2005 and as she has been stealing scenes as a bit player in various awesome movies since then (Knocked Up, Walk Hard, Adventureland, MacGruber), it is about damn time she starred in a movie of her own. Not only is Bridesmaids starring and co-written by Wiig, it also stars another old SNL fav, Maya Rudolph, and the comedically underrated Rose Byrne, is directed by the awesome-sauce Paul Feig and produced by Judd “Has-Yet-to-Do-Wrong-in-My-Book” Apatow. All I keep hearing is “OMG, it’s classic Apatow humor but finally from a woman’s perspective!” I cannot wait.
5. Thor (May 6) / Captain America: The First Avenger (July 22)
2011’s big Marvel releases are lumped together for a few reasons: 1) It’s a little bananas that the studio is releasing 2 movies a mere 6 weeks apart. 2) They’re both based around characters I only care about peripherally, therefore it’s hard for me to be more excited for one over the other. 3) The quality of Thor, for better or worse, is probably going to impact my further anticipation of Captain America – and the quality of both films is definitely going to impact how I feel about 2012’s Avengers flick.
Marvel’s been a bit hit-or-miss for me in general, but especially as of late. While I loved about 87% of both Iron Man films, the epic mishandling of the X-Men and Spider-Man franchises have made me a bit ~cautious~ about comic projects. My concerns here include but are not limited to: hopefully since Thor and Captain America were developed basically for the purpose of facilitating the Avengers franchise, they won’t suffer from the exposition!shoehorn! effect that Iron Man 2 seemed to succumb to and hopefully the 3D conversion of both films (SIGH, GRUMBLE) won’t negatively impact their critical success too much. Both films’ trailers have been effective if not exactly awe-inspiring, (to be honest, I gasped/clapped more at their posters than the trailers) but I digress. I am the stereotypical comic fan: ever the pessimist, for which hope springs eternal. For better or worse, I will be seeing these films (in 2D, dammit!) opening night.
4. Your Highness (April 8)
Previously featured as my #3 Most Anticipated Release of 2010, Your Highness is much anticipated for these simple reasons: Danny McBride. James Franco. Zooey Deschanel. Justin Theroux. Written by Ben Best & Danny McBride, directed by David Gordon Green. The trailer is insane and not like, “OMG, that was so good, it was insane!” – it ACTUALLY seems insane (as one Twitter user put it, “It looks like it should be released directly to the New Beverly for frequent midnight showings.”). The main thing I’m looking forward to seeing about this movie is seeing how exactly this is a movie. I am UNREASONABLY excited to take on (and hopefully embrace) the stupidity/absurdity.
3. Paul (March 18)
Previously featured as my #4 Most Anticipated Movie of 2010, Paul marks the first Simon Pegg/Nick Frost collaboration without writer/director/dreamboat Edgar Wright (who was busy changing nerds’ lives everywhere, working on a little film called Scott Pilgrim vs. The World). Filling in for Wright is the always impressive director, Greg Mottola, whose previous works Superbad and Adventureland were my #1 and #2 films of 2007 and 2009, respectively. Factoring in a supporting cast featuring the likes of Jane Lynch, Kristen Wiig, Jason Bateman, Jeffrey Tambor, Joe Lo Truglio and Bill Hader in what I hear is a loving tribute to geek culture? I think it’s a strong possibility that Mottola might be on somewhat of a streak here.
2. Super 8 (June 10)
While I do not necessarily bow at the throne of J.J. Abrams, I am enough of a nerd to know that when his name is attached to something, it is worth getting excited over. And I know enough to know that when his name is on a movie poster in conjunction with Steven Spielberg, it is time to freak the hell out. Besides the geekery of the credits, the film’s trailers have been amazing thus far, the most recent of which have utilized the score from Cocoon, which I thought conveyed a cool, epic 80s/Amblin tone without necessarily exploiting Spielberg’s history.
1. The Muppets (November 23)
There’s a good chance this movie could’ve landed at #1 on this list just based on title alone. But not only is it massively exciting that we are finally getting the first theatrical Muppets release in 12 years, but the list of talents involved with this movie are unbelievably, mind-blowingly awesome. Like, they pretty much read as if I personally infiltrated the collective minds of Walt Disney Pictures and planted these credits Inception-style: Written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller. Directed by Flight of the Conchords collaborator James Bobin. Music by Jason Segel and Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords. Starring Jason Segel, Amy Adams and an embarrassment of celebrity cameo riches. AND most recently announced, a new Toy Story short will be play before the film. THEY ARE RUNNING OUT OF WAYS TO MAKE THIS EXPERIENCE SEEM MORE PERFECT BUT SINCE THERE ARE STILL 8 MONTHS BEFORE ITS RELEASE, I’M SURE THEY WILL FIND A WAY.
Also worth mentioning…
– Super (April 1)
Writer/director James Gunn gives his take on the superhero genre in a dark comedy starring Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Nathan Fillion and Michael Rooker.
– The Hangover 2 (May 26)
Sequels are always risky business and The Hangover was such a stroke of luck in the first place… I’m curious to see if lightning can strike twice in the same franchise.
– The Tree of Life (May 27)
Breathtaking trailer for a film written/directed by Terrence Malick, featuring Brad Pitt.
– X-Men: First Class (June 3)
I am still/plan on forever being intensely bitter about the last X-Men movie and the goofy trailer for this reboot/prequel (not to mention James McAvoy in general) doesn’t exactly make me excited for this installment. But still, Michael Fassbender in silly turtlenecks. January Jones actually portraying the ice queen, Emma Frost? I’m not dead inside, of course I’m still interested.
– Cars 2 (June 24)
I still haven’t seen Cars (from what I hear, I’m not missing much) so I wouldn’t really say I’m excited for Cars 2, I’d say I’m excited for the Toy Story short that is playing before Cars 2!
– Bad Teacher (June 24)
This movie doesn’t look too fantastic and Cameron Diaz really needs to just stop already but do you think that I could really say no to a movie co-starring Justin Timberlake and Jason Segel?
– The Sitter (June 24) Moved to December 9
David Gordon Green directs Jonah Hill and Where the Wild Things Are‘s Max Records in a comedy that’s been described as Adventures in Babysitting meets Superbad.
– Horrible Bosses (July 8)
Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Julie Bowen and Kevin Spacey are among the stars of this comedy with fascinating creative credits: directed by Seth Gordon, who was responsible for one of the worst movies I have ever seen, Four Christmases BUT who also directed the delightful 2007 doc, The King of Kong as well as episodes of The Office, Community, Modern Family and Parks and Recreation. Screenplay by none other than Sam Weir himself, John Francis Daley.
– One Day (July 8)
I haven’t found Anne Hathaway tolerable since The Princess Diaries but Jim Sturgess is lovely and this film is directed by Lone Scherfig, who previously directed An Education, my #2 film of 2009.
– Winnie The Pooh (July 15)
Not only is it awesome that we have a hand-drawn, 2D animated movie opening smack dab in the middle of summer, but it’s Winnie the Pooh! (And Craig Ferguson is doing the voice of Owl!)
– Friends With Benefits (July 22)
Neither trailer for this film has had me doing backflips, but with pretty pretty leads such as Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis and director Will Gluck coming off of the surprisingly near-perfect Easy A, this movie can’t be all bad, right?
– Red State (August 19)
Without going into a diatribe, I’ll say that like a lot of people immersed in both movie and internet culture, I’ve slowly but surely fallen out of love with Kevin Smith over the past year or so. That being said, I’d like to think I am capable of separating the man from the artist and thus his supposedly game-changing Red State still remains a must-see for me.
– Drive (September 16)
Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Christina Hendricks. I’m not asking any questions, are you?
– 50/50 (September 30)
Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anna Kendrick. See above question.
– Puss in Boots (October 4)
While the Shrek franchise was inevitably run into the ground, I somehow still have interest in the Puss in Boots spin-off. The giggle-worthy teaser poster (which my theatre placed next to the Thor poster without a hint of irony) makes me hope against hope that the film will follow the same silly-clever path.
– The Ides of March (October 14)
A political drama starring George Clooney and Ryan Gosling, directed by Clooney. I think I’ve made my point.
– Contagion (October 21)
An action-thriller featuring the likes of Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Demetri Martin, John Hawkes, Bryan Cranston and many more, with Steven Soderbergh directing a script by Scott Z. Burns, the scribe behind The Bourne Ultimatum and The Informant.
– Now TITLE CHANGED TO: In Time (October 28)
Justin Timberlake runs around doing sci-fi action-y things with Amanda Seyfried. Again, am I expected to say no?
– A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas (November 4)
Threequels are very rarely worth it and adding 3D and a Christmas theme to the mix should be immediate cause for alarm but I have a feeling that this franchise is self-aware enough to avoid/exploit the tropes to their advantage. Long live NPH.
– Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (December 16)
BRAD BIRD DIRECTS REAL, LIVE HUMANS. REAL, LIVE HUMANS THAT INCLUDE JEREMY RENNER AND SIMON PEGG.
– Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (December 16)
Robert Downey Jr. I think I’ve made my point. (In case I haven’t, Stephen Fry and Mad Men‘s Jared Harris have also joined the cast this time around.)
– We Bought a Zoo (December 23)
Matt Damon stars in Cameron Crowe’s latest. So yeah. (Yes, Cameron Crowe is still a selling point for me. The man created Lloyd Dobler, I will forever root for Cameron Crowe.)
LET’S HOPE TO GOD THIS MOVIE GETS RELEASED THIS YEAR:
What movies are you looking forward to this year?