Tuesday, January 25, 2011

11 Potential Surprises for 2011

About a week back I did my list of what I am most anticipating for this upcoming year in the worlds of film, TV, and whatever else I wanted to post about. As with any year, there is always those things that without a shadow of a doubt you wanna see, but there is also those that have question marks about them, they look good, but I have some reservations about them. Of course, such a movie is the kind that can often surprise us more so than any other kind of movie. So today I am devoting this spot to 11 films that I think are worth looking out for in 2011. All 11 of these movies have their things about them that keep me from wanting to anticipate them as much as some other movies, but there is just something intriguing about them that keeps me coming back wanting to know more. So here are the 11, in order of release:

* Sanctum - It is not just James Cameron's name attached to this movie as executive producer that makes this movie look interesting. In the past year we've seen a huge uptick in the number of thrillers produced regarding these type of claustrophobic, man vs. nature adventures. I've always loved the ideas of exploring the unknown reaches of the world, and a movie about cave divers trying to escape a flooding cave in a monsoon sounds like a fantastic spectacle to behold, not to mention it comes out in February, one of the drier months of the year for movies, so it might be a nice movie just to see for the heck of it.

* I Am Number Four - Director D.J. Caruso has made some very interesting movies in the past few years. From Disturbia to Eagle Eye, he is a good crowd-pleaser, who has a talent to handle action with teenage romance extremely well. Not to mention, this movie has a lot more going for it. It is a movie about a teenage alien hiding out on Earth, who goes to school, falls in love, makes friends, while also being hunted by alien mercs who wanna kill him! Toss in the fact that the movie was godfathered by Spielberg, written by Smallville creators Al Gough and Miles Millar, and you've got me on board. And just like Sanctum, what else comes out in February that is really worth seeing?

* Rango - When it has come to feature films, Nickelodeon's animation has been a bit hit-and-miss, but with Pirates of the Caribbean director, Gore Verbinski on board, maybe they're hoping to turn it around. The movie is the story of a pet chameleon who escapes to an odd Wild West town run by animals, where he becomes Sheriff. I don't really know much else, other than what I've seen so far looks interesting, not to mention the whole movie's dialogue was recorded on a soundstage where the actors, like Johnny Depp and Bill Nighy, acted out the scenes alongside one another on cardboard sets in front of cameras, then the animators used that footage to animate the scenes using the actor's movements and expressions to influence their characters. For March, this one may be worth a look.

* Paul - I love Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, Hot Fuzz is one of the funniest movies ever, but this is their fist collaboration done entirely with an American crew, set in America, and without their Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead director, Edgar Wright. Regardless, the movie (written by Pegg and Frost) looks funny, telling the story of two geeks traveling the US searching out geek hotspots like Area 51, only to pick up a talking alien on the side of the road named Paul. I love alien movies, and Pegg and Frost truly are funny together, so this may be that comedy to look out for when it hits mid-March.

* Hanna - Director Joe Wright (Atonement) is really stepping far away from his usual drama-centric narrative arc as a director, into the world of high octane action. Not to mention, he has cast this action/thriller entirely with dramatic actors from Saoirse Ronan to Eric Bana to Cate Blanchett, all teaming up to tell this story of a 14-year-old girl, who was trained by her father to be an assassin! There looks to be some sort of conspiracy in this movie or whatever, that's typical of the genre nowadays, but in April, there's not much else that looks this promising.

* Water for Elephants - While I am not a fan of actor Robert Pattinson, this movie looks very interesting. Movies about the circus, and circus life have always intrigued me, and having Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz on board as the ringleader is always a good thing. If the movie can keep from dipping into melodrama and manage to sell the fantastical things that still makes circuses popular the world over, this could be a good April pleaser.

* Pirates on the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - You know, I didn't really like the second or third movies in this franchise, but after so-so critical reactions to the past two, producer Jerry Bruckheimer really cleaned house, getting a new director (Rob Marshall) and shedding two main characters (Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley). The focus has been shifted entirely to Jack Sparrow this time, and while his over-the-top antics in parts two and three were two of those movies' biggest detractors for me, I really think the inclusion of Penelope Cruz as his love interest could liven things up in this new installment. I'm giving this new take the benefit of the doubt, and we'll see if it works out come May.

* Drive - September is a statistically dead month for movies, so this might be something to tide you over till the good stuff come in the holiday season. I've kept my eye on this action/thriller for some time, about a Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway driver for crime. The movie stars two of the finest working actors, Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan, and the script once had such big talent attached like Hugh Jackman, so the story may actually be up to snuff, here's hoping the movie delivers the thrills.

* Johnny English Reborn - If you haven't seen the first Johnny English, shame on you. It is the best spoof of the secret agent genre ever made, starring Mr. Bean's Rowan Atkinson as a known nothing 007 type, who does everything wrong but ultimately saves the day in the end. The first movie is one of my favorite hidden gems, and I was so happy to hear of a sequel, so I hope it doesn't disappoint come September, cause it has some big shoes to fill.

* Real Steel - I have huge amounts of respect for Night of the Museum director Shawn Levy, so much so that I really think that this may be his big breakout from his usual niche market of family comedies into something a lot more my tastes. Real Steel is set in a future where humans no longer fight for sport, but they just train robots to get in the ring and fight for them. The story stars Hugh Jackman as a former boxer, turned robot trainer. This could be a fresh shot in the arm for the tried and true boxing genre which hasn't really been infused with nothing new since the early '80s with the Rocky movies and Raging Bull. This is one to look out for come October.

* Arthur Christmas - Who doesn't love Aardman Animation, the makers of Wallace and Grommit and Chicken Run. This movie, about St. Nick's son, looks to be another expansion of their trademark humor, infused with their usual wit and charm, and dare I say it, could a new Christmas classic be in the midst? We'll find out this November.

So that's it, obviously there are many other movies I wanted to include, but didn't. Oh, what the hay, I'll toss 'em out there anyways: Source Code, Unknown, The Beaver, Mr. Popper's Penguins, Your Highness, The Three Musketeers, and many, many more.

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