Sunday, January 08, 2012

In Which Harry Potter and Bella Swan Un-Typecast Themselves

It's not that 2011 was bad at the theatres, per se. It's just that it wasn't great. It was, rather, quite lukewarm - nothing too terrible (New Year's Eve notwithstanding), but nothing too great. I liked a lot of movies last year, but my excitement at this time last year was not quite met.

This year, however, looks to be different (knock on wood). Despite everything that's ever been made getting re-released into 3D, there are some very exciting things coming out, and some adaptations that aren't all based on comic books. There are things that I skipped, and it's not that I'm not looking forward to them, or not suggesting that you should see it, but what do you want me to say about Expendables 2?



Meryl Streep was probably the only person to cast in this film, if there is any hope of making Margaret Thatcher a sympathetic character (if that's what they're going for). A significant portion of Britain hated her guts, she severely slashed funding to public programs, and was forced to resign when her own party challenged her leadership. But, as it's Meryl, there will be plenty of people who will suddenly become "inspired" by the Iron Lady.

Coriolanus, January 20

I include this only because I saw a short clip of it on The Daily Show, and, without knowing what it was, I thought, "Oooh, I gotta see this." Ralph Fiennes directs as well as stars, and God only know what kind of an accent Gerard Butler will try to feign, but it could be interesting.

Despite being stupidly named (at least you know what you're going to get!), this has some pretty solid talent in it (hey, Edward Burns plays a guy with a stereotypically Irish Catholic name! Shocker!), and Sam Worthington is slowly showing he can actually act.


There is other stuff coming out this month (how is Nicholas Sparks not responsible for The Vow?), but Studio Ghibli deserves some love. Go see this, if only to make Hayao Miyazaki a happy old man.


This has got to be good, right? Jason Segel, Ed Helms and Judy Greer? Although, Jason Segel may want to be careful not to pigeonhole himself as "slacker", but I've got a good feeling about this.

Directed by James McTeague (V for Vendetta), this is sort of in the same vein as Anonymous, a revisionist story about an author. In this case, John Cusack's Poe tracks down a serial killer emulating his works.

There's a few good reasons to see this - the movies are based on pretty well-acclaimed books, Jennifer Lawrence is in it, there are goofy names aplenty, and people are whining because Jennifer Lawrence is 17 in the movie, but only 13 in the book, or something stupid like that. Ooh! Donald Sutherland is in it. Eww. So's Lenny Kravitz.


It'll be fun to see just how badly everyone (*cough*Tara Reid*cough*) has aged, and yes, this should be, far and away, the crudest of the series, but as long as they don't make Stiffler the focus of the entire movie, it should be a very nice journey back to 1999. Here's hoping for a good soundtrack too. When did movie soundtracks go in the toilet?

Another Jason Segel entry, with this one featuring Emily Blunt. It's directed (and written, with Segal) by Nicholas Stoller, who directed Segal in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Plus, in this one, no Russell Brand!


Joss Whedon directs (and helps to pen) the movie featuring Marvel's superhero team of Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, and Thor. Edward Norton is the only person that doesn't return (Mark Ruffalo is Bruce Banner), and, so long as everyone remembers that this movie is being made, with such a break between all the films from first concept to final realization, this will be one hell of a blockbuster.

Dark Shadows, May 11 Tim Burton directs (again) Johnny Depp as well as wife Helena Bonham-Carter in a Gothic tale about vampire Barnabas Collins. A neat (albeit dorky) supporting cast features Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass), Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen), Christopher Lee (bucketloads), and Alice Cooper (he's Alice Cooper).

Two words: Anna Kendrick


This has got something to do with Alien somehow, and features a who's who of non-American talent (Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba, Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron). The long and the short of it is that it's a sci-fi film not based on a comic book. And kudos to that.

Essentially, this is Pixar saying to Dreamworks, "Hey! You think you're so tough with How to Train Your Dragon? Well, we can make a movie about ancient tribes and defeating prejudices! And we'll put an angry redhead at the forefront!" But, hey, if it keeps them from making a Cars 3, we're good.


Spider-Man 3 was such a flop, plans for a Spider-Man 4 were scrapped, and the franchise was rebuilt. Gone are Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, in are Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. No J. Jonah Jameson, but it's a small price to pay to get back to basics on such a promising franchise.

All that matters.


There's not much known about this one, but with Jeremy Renner quickly turning himself into a very marketable action star, this should be worth a watch after you're done with The Dark Knight Rises

Total Recall, August 3

Colin Farrell steps into Arnold's place as the lead in this Philip K. Dick adaptation. There is a solid supporting cast shaping up (although director Len Wiseman is bringing along Kate Beckinsale; there must be a couple of leather bodysuits laying around), and Colin Farrell hasn't done much lately, so this should be good viewing.

Warm Bodies, August 10

Director Jonathon Levine really surprised me with 50/50, and it sounds like Warm Bodies is more Zombieland than it is Dawn of the Dead.


Argo, September 14

Featuring a super cast - of which Ben Affleck is the most recognizable name, but definitely not the most talented - and a Canadian ambassador, this should speak to the inner spy of anyone that still hasn't been able to find Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy anywhere.


Frankenweenie, October 5

A Double Burton year? Splendid! A Double Burton/Undead Dog movie? Even better!

The Gangster Squad, October 19

Emma Stone has been busy this year! She teams up with Ryan Gosling, and a host of others in Ruben Fleischer's (Zombieland) Mad Men cop movie.


Skyfall, November 9

Who the hell knew there was a new Bond movie coming out? Apparently, it's been kept very under wraps until just recently, but now there's been quite a flood of publicity for it.

And it's all over. We'll see if Stephenie Meyer sinks into the background and hopes to have another hit like she did with Twilight, or if she goes full JK Rowling and sues the pants off of anyone that uses the word "Vampire", "Werewolf" or "Sparkle" to ensure that she gets every cent from her creation.


What The Dark Knight Rises is to summer blockbusters, The Hobbit is to Christmas blockbusters. Other than the fact that Thorin Oakenshield looks a little too much like Terl, if this is half as good as Jackson's other efforts, it'll be a great way to end the year.

World War Z, December 21

If the world doesn't end, I'll be watching Brad Pitt in a movie about...the world ending. Whoa. Trippy.

The Great Gatsby, December 28

Leonardo DiCaprio stars with a cast of super-white folks in this adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel. No word on who will portray the Occupy East Egg protestors.

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